“I haven’t seen the sun in so long that I can hardly remember what it looks like anymore…” would be a grossly exaggerated statement and, also completely inaccurate, if I were to make it.
But, even so, all this rain has been pretty depressing. Not really “Donnie Darko” depressing or anything (that movie makes no sense, by the way), but at least to the point of, let’s say, like, living inside of a Johnny Cash song or something.
To make matters worse, games have been getting canceled more often than major cable network pitch meetings for fall sitcom pilots rumored to star David Spade, and the games that have gone on as scheduled have been for the most part pretty unpleasant, at least meteorologically speaking — especially for sports reporters who don’t own umbrellas/rubber boots/one of those Nike Gortex suits that Todd has been sporting for pretty much all spring.
At this rate, the Indians from Indian River will probably be playing baseball longer than the ones from Cleveland this season, and while I’m sure spring will get here just in time for summer, I recently heard someone blame it all on something called “El Niño,” which turns out to be the warm phase of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) associated with higher water temps developing in the central/east-central Pacific, that causes a lot of pretty extreme global changes, including, but not limited to, raining metaphorical cats and dogs.
The last time it was this bad was back in 1997 and 1998, when I was like 10, and Point Photographer Chris Clark was probably, like, applying for his first AARP card or something, but other notorious El Niño anomalies went down in the roaring ’20s, Reagan ’80s, and whatever nickname they had for the ’70s.
So, without getting into all the ones that happened in the 1800s, which would really only be of interest to Point graphic artist David Elliot (because he’s into 19th century American history, and also, because he was born in, like, 1894), I decided to check out what games were getting the ol’ David Spade the last few times Uncle ENSO overstayed his Festa della Liberazione (Italian Liberation Day, celebrated April 25) welcome, and it goes something like this…
The year is 1997. William Jefferson Clinton of Arkansas is the president of the United States. Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico is El Presidente of Mexico. On an unrelated note, a promising young intern at the White House named Monica Lewinsky seems to really be making a name for herself.
In the sports world, heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield enjoys the use of both headphone speakers on his revolutionary new Tomislav Uzelac AMP MP3 Playback Engine until around June 28 and his bout with a then face-tattoo-less Mike Tyson. It is likely that before the match he is listening to “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls — a hot new group from the U.K., which for some reason, in 1997, is popular, Billboard Top 40-wise.
At the box office, the movie “Titanic,” featuring an Oscar-less Leonardo DiCaprio makes an $600 million splash, but nothing like the splash made by the most titanic of oscillation phases ever recorded. The one that put the name “El Niño” on the household map and, subsequently, in “Saturday Night Live” sketches featuring a then-still-alive-and-kicking Chris Farley.
Also in 1997: Chris Clark gets married for the first time.
Also, also in 1997: David Elliot asks the old lady who threw the diamond off the back of the Titanic at the end of the movie why she did it instead of just maybe, like, pawning it or something, after bumping into her at a high school reunion.
1998: Chris Clark gets divorced for the third time.
The year is 1982. Ronald Reagan is president. Infamous corporate raider T. Boone Pickens is a supply-side celebrity. There is no reality television. There is only Reaganomics. America is truly No. 1, in terms of world superpowers. China is, like, No. 8.
In the sports world, the Redskins are actually good. No one really says word one about them changing their name. The Olympian formerly known as Bruce Jenner is also a ways away name-change-wise and does not require use of the word “formerly” during colloquial introductions.
Musically, we’re pre-Nirvana and post-The Doors, but people mostly listen to Olivia Newton-John’s “Let’s Get Physical” on their revolutionary new Sony Walkman Portable Stereos. At the box office, “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial” phones home almost $360 million in ticket sales, which, taking inflation into account, falls just short of Titanic’s cool $600 mil grossed in ’97.
Also falling just shy of 1997 is the 1982 El Niño impact, which fails to warrant much consideration for an “SNL” skit to be performed by Farley’s ’80s comic equivalent, John Beluchi.
Also in 1982: A promising young “dish dog” by the name of Chris Clark gets his first job at Warren’s Station in Fenwick Island. One week after being hired, he asks if it’s cool if he goes on vacation for like a month or so.
Also, also in 1982: A technology-resistant David Elliot embarks on a lifetime boycott of Sony Walkman Portable Stereos, citing the snowball’s chance that they were put here by extra-terrestrials (E.T.’s) and used to keep tabs, telekinetically scatter Reese’s Pieces, make seemingly-ordinary bicycles fly, etc.
The year is 1975. Technically, Gerald Ford is the president of the United States and still alive despite two assassination attempts. Unlike Ford, disco is pretty much dead or, at the very least, dying. I’m pretty sure that Elvis is also pretty much dead or, at the very least, like six peanut-butter-and-banana sandwiches or so away (from dying).
ESPN does not exist. People watch non-pigeonholed major cable networks for their sporting news on their color televisions. Or, they get shot at in Vietnam.
Elton John rules the Billboard Top 100. “Jaws” rules the box office. El Niño takes a pretty major bite out of Oceanic Niño Index (ONI). If it wasn’t raining so much, people still probably wouldn’t get in the water anyway.
Also in 1975: After discovering disco, a young Chris Clark purchases his first pair of zipper pants at a local thrift store.
Also, also in 1975: Done with disco, an aging David Elliot donates his favorite pair of zipper pants to a local thrift store. He also embarks on a lifelong boycott of the Atlantic Ocean.
The year is 1925. Calvin Coolidge is president. World War I (then just called “World War”) is over. Much like World War II, Germany had tried to fight, like, pretty much everyone.
The Billboard Top 100 does not exist. The moving pictures have no sound and star mostly Charlie Chaplin. Marlon Brando is 1 year old. David Elliot is, like, 30 or something probably.
We’re two years away from the first “talkie,” titled “The Jazz Singer” starring Al Jolson in inherently racist, yet then-socially-unobtrusive “blackface” makeup. We’re four years away from the Great Depression (then just called “the depression”), but, even so, things get pretty Edgar Allan Poe weather-wise when El Niño rolls into Anytown, U.S.A.
Also in 1925: In his native country of Germany, a young David Elliot declines an invitation from a uniquely mustachioed artist friend, with a knack for painting German shepherds, to join some kind of new social club. He instead opts to stowaway on an unsinkable ship headed for Laurel, Del., which his other German pals have assured him is on its way to becoming “die nächste große amerikanische Stadt” (the next great American city).
The next El Niño… 2032-2033
The year is 2032. Seventeen-time Oscar winner Leonardo DiCaprio has just been elected “El Primo Presidente” of the Unified Nations of North America (U.N.N.A.) — a newly incorporated mega-nation consisting of the countries formerly known as Canada, Mexico and the United States, in addition to Botswana (for unspecified reasons). The “Fortune 500” has eventually dwindled down to what has become the “Fortune 14” and consists of the 14 remaining companies trading on the NYSE.
The No. 1 song on the Walmart-Samsung-Berkshire Hathaway-ExxonMobil Billboard Top 100 is literally just a recording of an old AOL dial-up Internet sound on repeat, produced by Kayne West. At the box office, “Benjamin Button 2: The Man Who Just Aged Normally” rakes in an underwhelming $42 billion on opening weekend, just behind “Batman vs. Superman vs. Harry Potter vs. Zombies.”
In the sports world, Daniel Snyder has finally changed the name of the Washington Redskins. The D.C. Redskins are still pretty disappointing, football-wise, however.
Also in 2032: Chris Clark finally breaks the Guinness World Record for marriages after meeting his 34th wife at a regional Zipper Pants Wearers Anonymous (ZPWA) convention on an actual trip to Timbuktu. After returning to the good ol’ U.N.N. of A., six days later, he then breaks the Guinness World Record for divorces (also 34).
Also, also in 2032: On his138th birthday (science), Laurel Mayor David Elliot runs for re-election against a politically-desperate Donald Trump. Trump’s “Don’t be a chump, vote for Trump” campaign doesn’t hold an incumbent candle to Elliot’s “Don’t be an idiot, vote for Elliot,” and he wins in a landslide.
2033: Laurel is called “The Next Great American City” by Rolling Stone-New Yorker-Good Housekeeping-TimeInc. Magazine. In the German edition of the magazine, Elliot is named “Deutsch Mutter des Jahres” (German Native of the Year).