Sunday, March 2, 2014

New York

One decision my wife and I made early in our marriage is that we would try to incorporate tradition into our family. One such tradition takes place on Friday nights: pizza and a movie.

And so what began as a Friday night trip to the video rental store has now become either a trip to the Redbox kiosk, a trip to the mailbox for the dvd in the mail service, or simply turning on the tv and roku and enjoying something streamed through the internet. The way in which we acquire movies has changed, but our tradition continues- our success rate in 18 years is probably around 90 percent.

The most recent movie rental was a film (unknown to me when I rented it Friday morning) that will be up for an Oscar during tonight's Academy Awards. I've never really given a crap about award shows (which probably explains my naivety regarding this film), so I really don't know how it will do tonight. I will tell you this, though: Nebraska is one of best movies I've seen in years. 

What does this have to do with baseball cards, you ask? Well, it gave me an idea for a spoof, which I thought I'd share with y'all. If you don't know anything about the movie, it's about an aging alcoholic who receives a letter informing him that he might be the winner of a million dollars (it's a scham-sent out to sell magazine subscriptions). The man, Woody, is beginning his descention into dementia and believes that he is going to be a millionaire. And so we decides to head out to Nebraska to claim his riches, which will allow him to buy a truck an air compressor (he had loaned one to an old friend and never got it back) and then finish out his time on earth in peace and happiness. There's much more to the story, of course: a nagging wife who is unrelenting in her put-downs; broken relationships with his sons, due primarily to his many years of drinking; themes such as the importance of personal dignity and family during difficult times. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it.

So, on to...New York.

Our story begins with an aging collector named Woody, whose many years of recklessly spending his disposible income on cards has strained his relationship with those nearest him. Having been a part-time dealer at shows and co-owner of an LCS, Woody has recently discovered the joy of opening up premium products like Topps 5-Star, Topps Tribute and other similar brands. In the middle of one of his breaks, Woody pulls a redemption card- which promises him an autographed card of Guns 'N Roses frontman, Axl Rose.

Woody, whose aging mind doesn't allow lucidity, decides that he will make a special trip to New York City to pick up his autographed card. His wife, who has spent years berating him for his card-collecting ways, is indignant when she finds out that he is determined to redeem his prize (she thinks it's a baseball card- she'd really be mad if she were to find out it was for a no-good rocker like Axl!!). So she seeks out her son- hoping he can talk some sense into the old man...

"I never knew the son of a bitch even wanted an autograph. He should have thought about that years ago and went to spring training for one."

"Where are you going, dad?" You didn't win anything- it's a complete scam. So you've gotta stop this, okay?"

"I'm running out of time."

"How much longer you think he's going to be around? What's the harm with letting him have his little fantasy a couple more days?"

David convinces his mother there's no harm in helping the old bastard fulfill his fantasy and offers to take him to New York City, where the old man can redeem his golden ticket. On the way from Billings to NYC, they decide to stop by and visit family in upstate New York....

"You still collectin' that cardboard, Woody?" 

"Uh, yep."

"You bought any new Fleer, Woody?"

"Nah. Topps."

"We never knew you was a autograph hound, Woody; how come you never told us?"

"David said not to."

"You got it on you?"

"Yeah, we'd sure like to see what a Axl Rose autograph looks like." (As he flashes the devil horn salute \m/ )
**these two are actual Topps executives, making a cameo appearance as Woody's nephews**

One night, David discovers that his father is missing- so he heads out to look for the old man. Suprise- he finds him at the Elks Lodge, enjoying a cold one (and, buying a few cards). While there, Woody runs into an old friend/business partner, Ed Pegram- the man Woody believes stole his case of 1987 Topps baseball. 

"Damn, Woody hit it big. He's got the hot hand! Card pack wars- on Woody!!!"

Ed's no friend, though- as David will soon find out. The former cardshop owner tells the young man about his father's previous love affair with wax, and how Woody had cheated him out of a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle. He even threatens to call an attorney, such as Paul Lesko, if need be...

"If Woody pulled a big hit...that would be wrong."

"You...threatening my family?"

While they're at the show, they walk over to the bar and enjoy a cold one. There, Woody tries to entice his son into opening a box with him- just like they did when David was a boy.

"Come on, rip a box with your old man. Be somebody."

"Nah, I don't play the lottery anymore, dad. 

"Everybody's saying how Woody Grant is pulling big hits."

"Ah- it's no big deal."

"No big deal?! Sheeez...A big hit here, a big hit there...Beckett's gonna do a big write up on you!"

Even his family members seem to want something from poor Woody. All seem to have been involved in the hobby years ago, in one form or another...

"Honestly, right- Woody didn't win anything. Everybody knows those redemptions are a joke."

"You're a damn liar!"

Sadly, upon arriving in New York, Woody is given his "prize," 

and then cries out, "Kip Winger?!!! Why, God, why?!!!" when he realizes he ain't getting no Axl Rose autograph.

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