Thursday, October 7, 2010

George Rogers Ruined My Childhood

My mother not only supported my addiction, but she personally funded several transactions.

She used to let me go through her purse for change to buy football cards.

My mom’s purse smelled like spearmint. My mom always had gum but she would only chew half sticks at a time. Not many people knew about the horrible gum shortage of the 1980’s. She would ration her gum for the greater good. Because her purse contained several ripped pieces of Wrigley, you would reach into her purse for dimes and come out with sticky fingers.

It was all probably a scheme to get my fingerprints in case I ever turned to murder.

The first eight years of my life were loose change and football cards. Nothing else mattered. I hardly ever worried about politics or global warming.

Small stacks of Topps Football cards were about 40 cents. The big mother pack with a featured 1,000 yard rusher were 75 cents. The wrapping was clear, so you could see the first card. The advantage of the extra 35 cents was the ability to choose your 1,000 rusher. That way, you could assure yourself of not getting a double.

I hated George Rogers. Something happened at the Tops plant in 1986 that caused the mass production of ‘George Rogers’ cards.

Some poor guy, probably at the end of an overnight double shift, accidentally backed into the ‘George Rogers’ button right before heading out on a 3-day weekend. Now, 8 year olds who just managed to scrape together 75 cents had two choices; their 5th George Rogers 1,000 rusher card or no cards.

It was like a plague.

I had over 20 George Rogers. My G.I. Joe troops used ‘George Rogers’ 1,000 yard rusher cards as target practice for their boot camps; Police firing range-style.

I wonder if George Rogers ever imagined, while following Joe Jacoby off-tackle for a 4-yard gain, that all of his hard work would ultimately mean his image would be burned onto a glossy 2.5 X 3.5 card that I would use to kill spiders.

I’ll bet he would have kneeled at 999 yards.

I kept my George Rogers 1,000 yard rusher cards in a separate pile, stacked upon my dresser. They came in handy as drink coasters and scrap paper for phone messages.

If I was playing 1986 Tops Football card War with Michael Bauer, the ‘George Rogers’ 1,000 yard rusher card was the ‘2’. (Steve Largent’s ‘Record Breaker Most Seasons with 50 or More Catches’ card was an ace.)

Sometimes I would feel bad about my treatment of George Rogers 1,000 yard rusher cards. Luckily, I could use all of those extra George Rogers 1,000 yard rusher cards to dry my tears. And plus, screw him because he was probably a millionaire.

The only thing worse than the 1986 George Rogers 1,000 yard rusher card was the 1986 E.J. Junior. Put your helmet on, loser.