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Original Issue

Get The Message?

My name is Frankie and I'm eight and I wanna be just like my

Like, I used to hate Latrell Sprewell because my dad hated
Latrell Sprewell. Dad used to yell at the TV about what a jerk
Sprewell was, how the guy choked his coach, and how he never
once even 'pologized for it, and how he kept pit bulls, and how
one of 'em bit off his little girl's ear and chewed her face,
and how he didn't even feel bad about it and even said, "These
things happen."

But now Sprewell's on the New York Knicks, and they're my dad's
and mine's favorite team, and now my dad yells, "Atta baby,
Spree!" and "Take it to the hole, Spree!" And that's what I
yell, now, too, cuz the Knicks're kickin' serious booty in the
NBA playoffs. And now Spree even has a cool commercial out. In
it, he calls himself "the American Dream" and acts like he's
almost glad he choked that coach, and I turn the sound up for
the commercial because Spree is my dream now, too.

And I seen a man on TV talkin' about Iron Mike Tyson and how
things are really lookin' up for the champ cuz, after beatin'
the crap out of two guys, he got out of jail early. The judge
didn't even care that Tyson'd been to jail before for hurtin'
that teenage girl, but like my dad says, "What's she doin' up in
his room that time a night anyhow?"

And now the men who run boxin' in Lost Vegas say it's O.K. for
Tyson to fight again, even though they took his license
s'pos'dly forever after Tyson went totally mental in the ring,
bitin' off a guy's ear like he was Sprewell's dog or somethin'.
And the man on TV says that's good because now it looks like
Tyson can fight not just once but prob'ly twice this year and
make a whole buncha, buncha money, like a hunnert dollars, and
it works out good for the boxin' men, too, because he'll prob'ly
fight in Lost Vegas, it turns out.

And that's really cool because me and my dad watch a lot of
paper view together, which is what best buds do. Like the really
cool pro wrestlin' match when the man on TV told us a guy fell
80 feet down from a rope and landed right on the turnbuckle. We
couldn't see it on paper view, but I bet everybody there thought
it was just another crazy wrestlin' stunt, like maybe he'd lay
there awhile and then jump up and eat the mike or somethin', but
the guy was really dead. They stopped the show for a few
minutes, but then it started up again, and that was cool,
because, like my dad said, this was paper view and what're they
gonna do, rip off the people?

My mom didn't like that one bit, but she's actin' funny about a
lotta stuff lately. Like, after those two high school kids shot
everybody, my mom made me throw away almost all of my cool video
games like Carmageddon, like it was my fault, because she says
they're too violet. I started to complain, but my dad told me to
shut up because SportsCenter was just gettin' to the car racin',
and there was a cool wreck, and when somebody dies in one of
those they stop the race at least half the time.

I like to look over my dad's shoulder when he reads the sports,
and just now he asked my mom what kinda gotdamn world is it when
a guy like Darryl Strawberry is gonna just get a wrist slap for
"doin' Coke and ho's," but I know he doesn't mean it because I
saw him with both out in the yard today, and besides he never
said anythin' mean about Strawberry when he was a New York Met,
which is his and mine's favorite baseball team, acourse.

And sometimes my dad gets tired a me lookin' over his shoulder
at the sports, and so now I'm down in my room playin' sock
basketball and I'm Chris Webber of the Sacramento Kings, and I
see the hated John Stockton of the Utah Jazz come down the lane,
and it's only a minute into the game and I do exactly what
Webber did, which is I just knock Stockton goofy. That's what my
dad says you gotta do to earn a man's respeck, like when
pitchers throw the baseball at guys' heads, which is just part
of the game and doesn't hurt nobody, except if they're Mets
heads, acourse.

And Stockton is layin' there, and Webber don't get kicked out of
the game, and I say, "Chris Webber has sent a clear message to
the Jazz tonight!" just the way the man on TV did that night my
dad and me watched.

O.K., I'm only eight, but like my dad says, you gotta send the
right message.


That's what my dad says you gotta do to earn a man's respeck,
like when pitchers throw the baseball at guys' heads.