Fighting Fear

Confronting phobias and other fears

The Game of the Century

The Los Angeles Animals against the "Super Sam Clones." A better baseball game.

I have never had a patient claim that he was Napoleon, although I did have one who told me he was the son of Howard Hughes. (Because he was the son of Howard Hughes he thought he could direct traffic from the runways at Kennedy Airport. He was transported from there to a psychiatric hospital, which is where I met him.) I have had two or three patients tell me they were the reincarnation of religious figures, usually Jesus Christ. I have never had a patient tell me he came from the future, so I had to invent such a character for “Come One, Come All.” The following account is a record of the interview that Adam Adamson, a visitor from the future, gave to reporters in Bellevue Hospital, where he was hospitalized. It is an account of “The Game of the Century,” the century being the 22nd and the sport being baseball.

 

“… It was a challenge match. The whole nation was paying attention. The President declared his intention to burn the last barrel of oil to mark the occasion. Interest was ratcheted higher by the Great Theodora, reigning queen of stage and screen, who offered to sleep with the manager of the winning team. This was thought to be only a publicity stunt, however, since it was well known that she was already sleeping with both of them. Of course, in her virtual persona, she had already had sex with anyone old enough to buy her X-rated hologram.

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“ Remember, it was still in the early years of genetic transfer. The Los Angeles Animals had genes derived from different species, enhancing their powers. They had the only outfield that could run around on all fours. Charlie, ‘the Cheetah,’ Hirsh was so fast running the bases that spectators would be sucked onto the field. He still holds the league record for bunt triples. ‘Kangaroo’ Kelly caught fly balls headed for the mezzanine and, for fun, picked off low-flying pigeons. The catcher was ‘Larry the Whale’ Levine. No one had ever slid past him into home plate. In fact, players making a wide turn at third were likely to run into him.

The other team was made up entirely of clones of ‘Super Sam’ Jones, who was also a product of bioengineering. He was the first man to win the pole vault without a pole. At the height of his powers, he had himself cloned ten times, enough for a baseball team and a substitute. It was a close game until the seventh inning when Jones clones 2 and 4 were caught batting out of turn by pretending to be clones 8 and 9, the weakest links on the team. Consequently, the game was forfeited, and the Los Angeles Animals were declared the winners 9 to 0.”

 There was a question from the floor. “Ames, from Newsweek,” the man said, clicking a ball-point pen repeatedly. “I wonder if you would comment on the Olympics in the 22nd Century.”

“Modern techniques of training, together with genetic engineering, have produced better and better athletes. They run faster and jump higher. Records are being broken so quickly, they’ve moved the Olympics up to every three years. It’s an era of specialization. Kenya dominates running. Lithuania produces the spin-around champs. I played spin-around with a Lithuanian once and lost in the first topsy-turvy, as I remember. (chuckle, chuckle.) With modern hormone treatments, women can compete with men on an equal footing.

“ Yes...? You over there in the hospital gown.”

“I wonder if you can explain something to me,” said a balding man, who was making strange gestures with both hands. “If someone dedicates his life to Christ, and Satan suborns perjury against him, because I know I haven’t deserved anything like that, I wonder if I can expect anything in the hereafter. God is like the infinity sign. He picks up potential energy at the top of every cycle, going flip-flop! flip-flop down the circle.. .“ The man kept talking as he was led out of the room by two orderlies

“Well, if there are no more questions…,” Adamson said, putting down the pointer and smiling graciously at the audience. There was a smattering of applause.

 

I had trouble imagining basketball games in the future with everyone eleven feet tall and  able to look down on the basket, so I limited myself to baseball.(c) Fredric Neuman Follow Dr. Neuman's blog at fredricneumanmd.com/blog

Fredric Neuman, M.D. is the Director of the Anxiety and Phobia Center at White Plains Hospital.

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