He’s finally done it. Barry Bonds has at long last passed Hank Aaron and forever cemented his name in the record books as the “Greatest Home Run Hitter In Major League History”. Of course said accomplishment is clouded in a great deal of controversy, most of which I’ve either vented about before or some other reporter, talk show host, news anchor, or arm-chair baseball expert has. So really, there’s no need to re-hash that nonsense here. However the whole spectacle of Bonds’ chase and eventual passing of Hammerin’ Hank got me to thinking this morning about something I never really thought about before. I speak of course about our friend the asterisk.
There it is.
Now due to his alleged use of performance enhancing drugs (whatever the hell THAT means), a great number of people would like to see an asterisk put next to Bonds’ name in the record books. The strange thing is, they somehow are of the opinion that this would be a BAD thing. Personally, I don’t see it. In fact, the thought of it makes me jealous. I wish I had an asterisk next to my name. Think about it. You’re perusing a list of some kind, be it record holders, or award winners, ex-presidents, you name it. As your eyes gloss over name after name, your focus begins to wane. The names start to blur into one and their impact lessens. And then – BAM! – you come across somebody with an asterisk next to them. What do you do? Why you search high low on the page to find out what they did to EARN the asterisk! In an instant they become far more interesting than the other names just because they have some footnote attached to them. Anybody can make a list, but to have an ASTERISK? Mmm… indeed you must be special, regardless of whether its for a good thing or a bad thing.
Me? I’d like an asterisk. I’m not sure what I’ve ever done to earn one, but I’m sure there’s got to be SOMETHING. Maybe something trivial in my past that I accomplished under dubious circumstances. I remember in my very first year in little league baseball I was promoted from the t-ball division to the legitimate “B” division after only 2 games. That kind of thing NEVER happened, so clearly I was a star on the rise! Except for the fact that I wasn’t even supposed to be in the t-ball division in the first place but they apparently had my age wrong. That and the fact that the only reason they caught their error was because some other kid broke his arm and one of the assistant coaches was my best friend’s Dad and he pointed out that I shouldn’t be in t-ball anyway, so why not bring me up to replace him. A pathetic example to be sure, but does that deserve an asterisk? Probably not. I doubt highly anybody ever kept a list of kids who jumped divisions in little league within a single season. It’s hardly sought after info.
As a lad in DeMolay I became the first young man in the over sixty year history of our chapter to go through the complete line of elected officers twice. At the time I was certainly proud of it. Of course maybe they should throw an asterisk up there to point out that the only reason I went through twice is because the chapter was slowly dying and I was the only loser in sixty-plus years to still be hanging around in any meaningful way after they’d completed their first term in office. Of course, putting a asterisk next to someone’s name just to point out that they are a loser is a rather nebulous idea. If we started regularly doing that everybody I KNOW would have an asterisk. WAZAAA!!!
But seriously, folks. I want that asterisk. I NEED that asterisk. There must be something…
Wait! I’ve got it! My High School Diploma. THAT deserves an asterisk. You see, my High School Diploma reads that I graduated along with the rest of my class in June of 1990. This is untrue. I didn’t participate in the graduation ceremony because I didn’t actually graduate until August. For you see, I skipped SO much school my senior year that I managed to fail English on the grounds that I didn’t submit enough of the required assignments, so they made me take Summer School to earn my degree (true story). So even though it says I graduated in June, there should probably be some sort of footnote about the whole summer school thing. Then again… maybe that takes me back to the “adding an asterisk for being a loser” argument.
Damn. This is harder than I thought. I really want that asterisk!
Perhaps I should… no, the idea is crazy. And yet… brilliant in its simplicity. I could just give myself an asterisk. I don’t actually need to DO anything for it. Just start throwing one up there next to my name. No one will no what it means, but they’ll be intrigued. My name will be suddenly shrouded in mystery. “Why the asterisk?” “What does it represent?” “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!” Yeahhhhh. I like that.
It’s got character. It’s got intrigue. It says, “Here I am. I may be good, I may be bad, but I’m somehow different.” Stupendous! With one simple keystroke I have achieved what I set out to achieve 35 years ago…
LONG LIVE THE ASTERISK!!!*
(*Batteries sold separately.)