PATRICK MCVAY

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My Musings

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The Acorn Spitter

When I was a lad getting fed a lot of mumbo-jumbo at St. Matthew's Grammar School in East Syracuse, New York in the 1970s, a teacher assigned us a short story to read about a midget, as they were called back then, who was signed by a minor league baseball team because he was an expert bunter. This guy wasn't just able to lay down a bunt; he could place the ball anywhere he wanted (within bunting distance). My memory – which is always 100% accurate – tells me that he was discovered at a circus, where he was bunting balls into various buckets that were placed around his batting cage. He never missed, directing each ball with spin and bounce and speed in such a manner as to expertly deposit them into containers of various sizes. Needless to say, he became very valuable to the baseball team that picked him up.

This makes me want to write a modern-day version of this story in which I (the narrator) am cast as the hero. Except in this case, I don't bunt balls into buckets, but instead spit acorns from under the treads of my bike tires at motorists who irritate me on my morning commute.

The story starts with me on my sleepy bike ride into the office on a crisp fall morning. There is a traffic jam, but I, as a cyclist, am unaffected, able to breeze past all the cars that are belching greenhouse gases into the atmosphere while not making much progress on their commutes. As I ride along on this beautiful fall morning, my front tire runs over an acorn, which squirts out and strikes the side of a shiny, black BMW sedan, making a funny "ping" sound as it does.

The damage is non-existent, but that doesn't stop the douchebag driver of the Beamer, after traffic starts moving again and he catches up to me, to roll down his window and call me an asshole for purposely spitting an acorn at his stupid-ass car that costs like $150 just to change the oil. Of course, I didn't "purposely" shoot the acorn at his car. Who could do something like that? Wait, that bunting midget in the short story I read in fifth or sixth grade could have.

So, I set myself to learning how to shoot acorns from under my bike tires at cars stuck in traffic, particularly at douchebag drivers who leak into my bike lane because they are reading threads on X while driving about how bike lanes are ruining life for drivers. With time and a lot of practice, I become an expert at this obscure "sport," able to use my perfect vision to pick out acorns in the road ahead and determine, instantaneously, where to run over them to propel them at Hummers and Navigators and any car that I don't like or driver who has irked me. Soon, I become famous, alleged on obscure websites that I have caused "thousands of dollars of damage," never mind that you could shoot an acorn out of an air gun at high speed and not even put a scratch in a modern auto paint job.

Police try to set up roadblocks in bikes lanes to nab me, but I am too wily, weaving through traffic, dodging cars trying to "door" me, spitting acorns at cars all the while.

I haven't figured out the denouement yet, but I know that this story will have a moment when it seems like I will be caught, and then a happy ending as I get away Scot free, just like the story of the bunting savant had a happy ending.

[Editors note: I found the story online in a copy of The American Legion Magazine from August, 1949. Titled "Lay it Down Ziggy!", it starts on page 11, but don't let that stop you from perusing through the rest of the magazine. Plenty of fun stuff to see, including on page 2 the "The Bracer Royal Supporter Belt," which appears to be a male girdle.] 

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