Getting Ready to Play Ball in the New Economy…


Originally published in the Grand Rapids Business Journal, October 19, 2009

Back in the day (when we didn’t use trite expressions like “back in the day”), one of the three television stations we got would show old Abbott & Costello movies on Sunday mornings. And back then Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Burton, Michigan had like 27 masses on the weekend to choose from. I tell you this to assure you that we never skipped our holy obligations to take in an old movie — we had lots of church options but very few programming choices. I only missed mass for good reasons like when my parents had a party the night before and I drank for the sludgy coffee our of the industrial percolator left in the kitchen, which made my head spin and my body convulse until I threw up. Good times.

But there were only so many Abbott & Costello movies so the chances of seeing the one with the “Who’s on First” bit was pretty good. I remember watching with my Dad and convulsing again, this time from laughter and no throwing up. It was clever and funny and you could pick it apart line by line to see where they were talking across each other. A little while ago Atticus pulled it up on YouTube, and we had the same experience. So it was fresh in my mind when I was coming up with this week’s comic. The absurdity of the routine dovetailed nicely with all the endless talk in Michigan about the need for an educated workforce, but no real plan for getting one. Remember the fella who plays shortstop? I just hope our routine doesn’t play out to that point.

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