Dealing with the Horror Show in New York

When I was a kid – probably 9 or 10 years old – I conned my folks into buying me a set of earphones that would plug into the radio I had at my bedside. This was back in the days of the 15- and 30-minute radio programs that we listened to faithfully every day after school and before bedtime. With the headphones I could (a) listen to my favorite programs in bed and (b) keep listening long after official lights-out-radio-off time. When my mother came in to check on me I would feign sleep. She would gently remove the headset, tuck me in and head off to bed herself … none the wiser. I think.

At any rate, my favorite afternoon serials were Jack Armstrong, Sky King and Sergeant Preston of the Mounties. After dinner it was The Lone Ranger, The Shadow and The Green Hornet. (The Green Hornet’s sidekick was Kato, an ethnic Japanese until December 7, 1941, when he was morphed into a Filipino literally overnight.)

I also listened to a couple of mystery shows, Suspense and Inner Sanctum, which were tame by today’s standards, but which scared the hell out of me at the time. The two programs came on a bit later in the evening, so these were the programs I listened to in the darkness of my bedroom through the headset. I would snap the radio off during the really frightening parts – as when the terrified woman was tiptoeing down the dark staircase to investigate mysterious sounds coming from her basement. After 10 or 15 seconds I’d turn it on again … and off right away if she was still on that creaky staircase.

More than a half century later, I watch Red Sox-Yankee games the same way. I hate the Yankees, you see, and have since my first Sox-Yankee game on May 25, 1946 (Sox 7, Yankees 4). For me, a Yankee rally is just like the creepy staircase. I keep snapping the game off, then turning it back on again. I can’t bear to watch one of those goddam Yankee sluggers batting in a crucial spot in the game. I’ll figure out what happened after the fact, thank you, but watching disaster occur in real time is just too damn painful.

The Red Sox, who are struggling at the moment and not playing well at all, face the Yankees tonight at Yankee Stadium in New York. I know in advance, it’s going to be awful. I’ll watch, but the off button on the remote will be close at hand.

I should probably try to get some help for this.