I’ve always been impressed with the service I get at Fort Smith’s Academy Sports store.
Tonight, I realized just how knowledgeable they are about their “game.”
After spending a few hours last night wondering what ever happened to the big softball bat I had way back when I was a reporter living alone and getting the occasional threat from an angry news maker, I realized how nervous I am about having thick plastic on my windows — one of which is less than a foot from my bed. The storm damage from Wednesday night is a little too inviting for mischief-makers.
So this evening I strode into Academy Sports and made a beeline for the baseball bats. I chose the longest, heaviest wooden bat I could find. It’s a 180 Manny Ramirez Louisville Slugger.
Seeing a big, yellow practice softball for about $2, I thought I might have some fun knocking the ball around in the back yard. Also, it might not seem so obvious for a middle-age woman to be at the checkout with just a big, wooden bat.
Then I spied some of that really good, really soft, really sweet bubble gum, and remembered all the gum I’d chewed playing softball, and I added that to the counter.
Well, the cashier picked up the bat to scan it and mentioned that it’s awfully big and that perhaps I’d prefer an aluminum bat for softball.
“No, this’ll do fine,” I replied.
Then she put some pieces of paper in my bag. I pulled it out and saw it explained manufacturers warranties for various baseball bats. I put the documentation back on the counter and the woman looked at me. She said, “You’ll need to read that. It’s about what to do if your bat splinters.”
I said, “If I ever hafta swing this bat in game conditions, I guarantee you it’ll break.”
She gave me a suspicious look, then politely explained that I couldn’t return it to the store. The other woman nearby was now paying very close attention.
Finally, I laughed and said quietly to both of them, “I have storm damage. No glass in my windows. It’ll be a week or so before my home is as secure as it needs to be.”
Both women visibly looked relieved — realizing they probably wouldn’t be called as witnesses in a murder trial. They nodded and said, “I don’t blame you a bit.”
Thanks to my friend Nathan Williams and my workout routine, I’m absolutely certain I have enough swinging power to defend myself, if necessary.
Most of us in the neighborhood have deliberately left some glass under the windows and enough jagged edges in the frames to dissuade any bad guys from climbing into our homes.
Still, I’ll sleep much better tonight knowing my high school/college Manny Ramirez $20 Louisville Slugger will be one quick motion away from my right hand.
Please don’t sign me paranoid. Do sign me “prepared.”