Tuesday, July 04, 2006

July's fictional speaker

In this patriotic installment of the Fictional Speaker Series, we here at Brevity briefly considered inviting President Whitmore of Independence Day, but then we encountered two problems:

1. He gives one good speech. What else is there to quote?

2. Was that guy played by Bill Pullman or Bill Paxton?

There are things far more American than an alien invasion movie. Like baseball, Mom, or apple pie. Not wanting to go the Debbie Reynolds or Jason Biggs route, we got sporty. So, with baseball season in full swing, so to speak, Brevity presents this month's fictional speaker: Terence Mann of Field of Dreams.

Terence Mann on enforcing security measures: I'm going to beat you with a crowbar until you leave.

On retirement: I was the East Coast distributor of "involved." I ate it, drank it, and breathed it. Then they killed Martin, Bobby, and they elected Tricky Dick twice, and people like you must think I'm miserable because I'm not involved anymore. Well, I've got news for you. I spent all my misery years ago. I have no more pain for anything. I gave at the office.

On disgruntled employees: You're seeing a whole team of psychiatrists, aren't you?

On delegating authority: I want them to stop looking to me for answers, begging me to speak again, write again, be a leader. I want them to start thinking for themselves. I want my privacy.

On marketing nostalgia: How about this: "Peace, love, dope"? Now get the hell out of here!

On casual Fridays: There are rules here? No, there are no rules here.

On environmentalists: Out! Back to the sixties! Back! There's no place for you here in the future! Get back while you still can!

On personal liability: You see? That's the sort of crap people are always trying to lay on me. It's not my fault you wouldn't play catch with your father.

On giving people what they want: People will come, Ray. They'll come to Iowa for reasons they can't even fathom. They'll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they're doing it. They'll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past. Of course, we won't mind if you look around, you'll say. It's only $20 per person. They'll pass over the money without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and peace they lack. And they'll walk out to the bleachers; sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon. They'll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. And they'll watch the game and it'll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they'll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come, Ray. The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh, people will come, Ray. People will most definitely come.

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