I Lost My Job to an Immigrant

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THREE decades before Donald Trump (or Brexit campaigners, for that matter) began railing against a foreign invasion of workers, I lost my job to an immigrant.

He was legal, from Puerto Rico. Doesn’t matter: it wasn’t my real job, but my position as starting pitcher on the company corporate softball team was one I cared about..

Carlos and Efrain, teammates from the mailroom and maintenance departments, brought Jose to one of our games. We had a strict rule that only company employees could play; after watching him warm up on the sidelines before a game in New York’s Central Park our president immediately hired him for the mailroom and put him on the mound.

Truth be told, Jose was the better pitcher. He could spin the ball, make it curve or rise. All I had was a fastball, which Jose also possessed and, to be honest, his clocked in faster than mine.

I still pitched some games but Jose was our ace. He remained star starting pitcher until we stopped playing in the corporate softball league a few years later. And then Jose was gone from the mailroom.

I, on the other hand, stayed with the company for 32 years until I retired.

Speaking of retirement and softball, it looks like my playing days on my Temple softball team are a thing of the past. Between intermittent spinal issues and having no desire to get up early on Sunday mornings, plus trips to visit the grandchildren, I have yet to put feet inside my cleats this season.

I can’t say I don’t miss the competition but after more than 30 years pitching for the team, unless I’m needed in an emergency, I’m content to let the younger generation play ball.

Bernie deserves 15 minutes of fame

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THE political world anguishes over Bernie Sanders’ next move. Will he accept reality and, figuratively at least, hug and embrace Hillary Clinton as the Democratic Party’s not just presumptive but inevitable presidential nominee? Or will he continue to soldier on, less a Don Quixote-like figure, more a Sancho Panza, cleaning up a mess his alter-ego has created.

Sanders has defied the odds. Like Donald Trump, nobody thought he would achieve what he has. Trump, however, is the consummate personal optimist. I don’t see Bernie believing he would enjoy the success he achieved when he set out on his anti-Hillary crusade a year ago. After all, he had not even joined the Democratic Party back then.

So why hasn’t he dropped out already? Is it loyalty to the millions who supported his candidacy with small donations, volunteer work and votes? Is it steadfastness to the ideals of his campaign and a hope to influence the party platform and maybe the selection of a vice presidential candidate?

I’m no psychoanalyst, but maybe, just maybe, it is because he really is like every other politician. He enjoys the attention. He enjoys the limelight. The power he never had in Washington, the spotlight—though much dimmer—that he enjoyed as mayor of Burlington, Vermont.

Maybe after he’s “seen Paree,” as the lyric goes, he just doesn’t want to be relegated back to the farm. He’s Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront, wanting some respect and bemoaning he could have been a contender if only that darn Hillary wasn’t there with her superdelegate union bosses throwing the fight her way.

It is all about ego. How often had he ever met one-on-one with a sitting president? How often had he been on Face the Nation or Meet the Press or the evening news almost every night.

Yes, the attention is mesmerising. So don’t begrudge him an extra 15 minutes of fame. He deserves it.

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