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Watermelon on a Sunny Day

by | Apr 12, 2017 | The Feed

We thought they would be worth something someday.

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We put the cards in plastic sleeves and curated them by team or by position in pages of nine, this museum of miniature players, to maintain their mint condition. The ones worth most, we’d frame like idols, untouchable, untradeable, unprofaneable.

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-Hey Murray, wanna play third base?
-Yeah, Coach!
*Runs from right field*
-Well then learn how to THROW!

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People love scrapbooking. They take photographs from their adventures and curate the memories beautifully. They purchase kits of readymade art to thematize the photographs. It’s a gallery and a shrine and a museum for the experience.

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Art is worth something different in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. That is to say, it too is worth something different.

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Wanna play third base?

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Not holding onto them makes them worth something, not having something makes you want it. That’s what worth is, that’s what want is.

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I liked the people named Guillermo Hernandez. I liked that Hrbek was missing a vowel. I liked how Jerry Reuss looked like a constipated septuagenarian on the front of his ’87 Topps. I thought it was funny if their ERA was over 10, altering the kerning of the four-point Times New Roman on the back of the card.

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Walter Benjamin understood that objects obtain their value through scarcity, even objets d’art.

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“We had the experience but missed the meaning.”

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I remember playing baseball, the long grass slowing the baseball down and barehanding it. Lights cracking a black sky. Umpire with his plate brush.

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One boy said of my unique collection, “You’re a two-Fleer queer and your daddy’s name is Donruss.” Only partially true. I am weird, not gay, and my father’s name is Russel.

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Well then learn how to throw!

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We take pictures of the stuff. As if there aren’t a billion pictures of the same thing we can own the same way. As a pixel dump we can access whenever we want. I guarantee you I can look at the picture you just took of the Grand Canyon from my couch on Flckr.

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Stale pink gum, stalactite detritus, wax paper. I’d look through them for the one that was worth something. I look for an error card. Might I have missed it on the first go-through? I go through them again. Nothing but no-names and repeats.

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Your daddy’s name is Donruss.

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One very serious scrapbooker found a remarkable scrapbooking kit designed specifically for someone who had enjoyed watermelon on a sunny day. She had never done that, and therefore had no photographs. The next sunny day, she acquired watermelons in order to fill that page in her scrapbook.

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You’re ugly and your mother dresses you.

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When my empty-nested folks downsized, they said I needed to get my baseball cards. They didn’t have room for them. Neither did I.

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My brother hated baseball and he was afraid of the baseball and so my father paid him to get hit by a pitch. He leaned out over the plate and absorbed the dull thud of some pudgy kid’s 30 mph pitch. He and the local ice-cream shoppe advertisement on his t-shirt trotted down to first base. There he was on base squinting at the sun and rubbing the red spot. He got $10 later and I think that was the only time he enjoyed baseball.

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In the Four Quartets, T.S. Eliot writes, “We had the experience but missed the meaning.”

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Well then learn how to throw!

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Because it was my eleventh birthday I got to bat first and we ran out into my yard and I swatted a baseball through the window of my dining room.

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I have a photograph of myself and the boys I disliked from my baseball team. It’s in a box with my baseball cards and yearbooks, and my poems. Loads and loads of poems.

Gregg Murray

Gregg Murray

Gregg Murray is an Assistant Professor of English at Georgia State University and the editor for Muse /A Journal. Having received his Ph.D. in English from University of Minnesota, Gregg has published scholarship and reviews in various magazines and journals. He is also a poet and the author of “Ceviche.”
Gregg Murray

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