Tag Archives: Columbus Clippers

Price of Dignity < Price of Shampoo

The Reluctant Volunteer

by Hope Madden

Years ago, we took the family tour of Orlando theme parks. Much to the chagrin of my son and me, my husband, George, declared this the vacation to volunteer. Every attraction in need of a villain to shoot Indiana Jones or a handsome prince to dance with the princess, George was their man.

I’m not a volunteer by nature. I like to mind my business in the stands and enjoy the show. Not that it actually matters to George. You see, at Nickelodeon Studios, when the emcee announced he was looking for “some brave soul to volunteer,” George’s hand shot up.

Then the emcee finished his sentence with the words “their spouse.”

Wait a minute, what?

I’d been volunteered.

They dressed us like giant beavers, or more specifically, like the “Angry Beavers” in the Nick cartoon. I swear to God. I wore a beaver head and tail and my team battled a squad led by a similarly, ridiculously clad George in building a dam using giant Lincoln Logs.

My team won. George remembers it differently.

What brings this memory back? George volunteered me again.

This time it was during a Columbus Clippers baseball game.

Barely into the first inning, as George and I were trying to tune out the annoying banter from the teenage date going on behind us, a representative from the Clippers’ promotion team approached me to enter a contest.

They needed three participants with long hair.

Move along, sir. This is not for me.

But George was so excited!

“What would she do?” he asked.

“She’d just need to pull her hair up into a hat, and then take the hat off,” he explained.

“You could do that!” George encouraged.

“I don’t want to do that.” I thought I’d been clear.

He pursued the issue. “What would she win?”

“A bottle of Pert,” explained the Clippers guy.

A bottle of Pert.

“Come on!” George urged. “We’re low on shampoo!”

George often persuades me to do things I don’t want to do just because of his giddy enthusiasm. But I also felt a little sorry for the Clippers guy who had to try to lure contestants to look like idiots, all for a $4 toiletry item.

Plus, George was right. We were low on shampoo.

I caved.

The staff was lovely. They even moved us to seats directly behind the dugout – despite the fact that George had just finished directing his loudness at the chatterbox teens, “I’ll buy you the damn lemonade if you’ll just stop talking!”

As we waited for the fourth inning, when the Clippers rep would return to lead me and two other contestants to the field, George coached me on how to make the most of my time in the spotlight.

He urged me to do my impersonation of Cousin It.

Sometimes, I’ll pull all my hair in front of my face and put a pair of sunglasses on top, transforming into the old “Addams Family” character. It’s a big hit with kids. It’s nothing I’m willing to do in front of several thousand people, however.

Eventually, the time came and I headed onto the field to face my fate. As they fetched me from our new seats, George shouted: “Do the Cousin It!”

And then he said, “Show no mercy! Don’t stop with shampoo. Hold out for the creme rinse!”

“It’s called conditioner, George,” I shot back. “We’ve talked about this!”

“C’mon, stay focused! Eye of the tiger!”

I ignored him, fearing a complete medley of 1980s “jock jams” was next.

As I walked to the holding area, I met the other contestants: Barbara, a cute blonde with her wee grandson in tow, and Mark, a sweet mountain of a man. Mark had more beard than I have hair, and on his head was a glorious mane: long, thick, shining, dense, gray and spectacular. I had no chance.

Clippers fans would vote by applause for their favorite contestant: Grizzly Adams, an adorable grandma with a cute kid or some lady who did not do the Cousin It.

I went home without the coveted bottle of Pert.

But at least no one dressed me like a beaver.

So that happened…George OK’s clubbing one particular seal

by Hope Madden

I got up last Valentine’s Day morn to a package containing two tee shirts. One was a Leonard Cohen tee. I love me some Leonard Cohen, and George had long heard my complaints that I’d been too cheap to buy a shirt the last time Cohen performed in Columbus. Our son Riley had splurged on one, and every time I saw him wear it, I openly coveted the garment and bemoaned my cursed frugalness. So last February, George rectified the issue nicely.

There was also a bonus garment: a white tee shirt that read “I’m fine” above an enormous blood stain. Nice!

I donned the bloody tee shirt and marched off to work. (Since it was not Casual Friday, I naturally paired the shirt with a respectable blazer so as to broadcast my bone-deep professionalism.)

I was pleased as can be, but it turns out the shirts were only a diversion from the real gift.

Do tell!

George and I had planned to meet for a lunch date at 1:30. George called around noon to confirm. I confirmed. George sounded mildly distressed.

I picked him up at 1:30.

He continued to seem distressed.

As I pulled in to park, my phone rang. George asked, “Is that my phone?”

This struck me as odd. I have, as a ringtone, the theme from the movie Halloween. If you’re not me, you don’t hear that song and think, “Is my phone ringing?” Instead, you might think, “When was the last time I saw our butcher knife?”

My ringing phone was in my purse, which was on the floor in front of George’s feet, so I ignored it. George, however, did not. He fumbled madly through the purse to hand me the phone, which I’d previously had no intention of answering, but did so now.

It was my colleague Christie. She thought I should call our boss. She was cryptic at best. She seemed amused, even.

I hung up, and immediately our receptionist called me.

George took the phone.

“Put him on….That’s not what I said…Your email said 10 am…I don’t see how that’s going to help anything…Great!”

Perplexing. Why the hubbub?

It turns out that George had arranged for the Columbus Clippers to send a Valentine to my office at 10 that morning. They were tardy. Apparently, they had e-mailed a notice of the time change but that e-mail, now a full year later, has yet to arrive.

At  2pm, both Clippers’ mascots – Lou Seal and Krash the pirate parrot – plus several other pep squad types, arrived at my place of employment bearing a basketful of flowers, baseball tickets, snack treats and balloons, and, of course, a great deal of spirit and pep.

As you know, I was not there. Instead, I was about to partake of a lunchtime sub with my incredibly thoughtful, wildly disappointed husband.

The Clippers posse made a little circuit around my office, entertaining everyone and, frankly, making all the other husbands in the place look bad.

Oh, did you get flowers? I had balloons delivered by a guy in a seal suit who mimed sliding into home plate in front of the Editor in Chief’s office door.

The fact that all this was done in vane only made George that much more tragically romantic to my officemates.

So, what does my exuberantly romantic husband have planned for this Valentine’s Day? There is a new Die Hard movie releasing this weekend, correct?

Well, you can’t slide into home every year.