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Spare the Rod, Spoil the Headline

BY RICH HERSCHLAG
07.31.2008 | SOCIETY

This summer, we are facing shortages of epic proportions. Fuel, food, credit, and equity are all on short supply, and prospects are looking bleaker by the day. But the most serious shortage may be something most Americans are simply afraid to confront. The truth is, we are running out of kitschy, campy mutations of Alex Rodriguez’s nickname, A-Rod.

Over the years, tabloids like the New York Post have had a field day with these mutations. Pay-Rod when he signed a humongous contract. Hooray-Rod when he lived up to that contract. Double-Play-Rod when he choked. Stray-Rod when he was unfaithful. And most recently, referring to wife C-Rod, Divorcee-Rod.

However, lately we are seeing run-of-the-mill tabloid headlines in which A-Rod is dubbed simply A-Rod. Even worse, we are noticing from time to time the use of non-rhyming mutations: D-Rod, Prenup-Rod, Say-It-Ain’t-So-Rod. Still worse, occasionally a perfectly slimy, uncorroborated Alex Rodriguez story is buried beneath some Iraq War fluff piece for lack of a good Word-Play-Rod.

With the dollar already at an all-time low, this editorial trend cannot be allowed to continue. The trickle-down effect of selling yellow rags may, after all, be the difference between actually pulling out of this recession and having to hear Phil Gramm tell us again to quit whining. For this reason, as a public service, free of charge, I am offering a lifetime supply of A-Rhymes.

Upon his conversion to Judaism after studying Kabbalah under Madonna: Oy-Veh-Rod. After presumably menopausal Madonna misses her first period: Pray-Rod. Once C-Rod has cleaned him out and destroyed his credit rating to the point where he has trouble purchasing a simple household appliance: Layaway-Rod.

In the somewhat unlikely event that there is a subway series this season and he actually comes through in the clutch during a road game: Shea-Rod. After taking the collar in the following game and formally acquiring the gist of the appellation Dave Winfield once owned (and later shed) for having great springs and miserable autumns: May-Rod. When he ties or passes Willie Mays’ lifetime homerun total: Say-Hey-Rod. When he approves of a trade—in exchange for three starters, a setup man, and a promising rookie right-handed power hitter—to Tampa: Ray-Rod. Or, naturally, Bay-Rod.

When in an attempt to rehabilitate his tarnished image he signs up for Afghanistan: Green-Beret-Rod. When in an attempt to repent for his various sins he becomes a philanthropist: Give-It-Away-Rod. After developing an obsessive-compulsive disorder regarding hygiene: Bidet-Rod. During a nasty bout with alcoholism: Tanqueray-Rod. After his first term as a U.S. Representative is cut short by a campaign finance scandal: Tom-DeLay-Rod.

Upon appearing as a guest on a well known cooking show: Soufflé-Rod. After being romantically linked to the host of that cooking show: Rachel-Ray-Rod. When he remarries: Love-and-Obey(?)-Rod. Upon being photographed during their honeymoon tanning on the French Riviera: Bain-de-Soleil-Rod. Upon being charged with manslaughter of a paparazzo: Slay-Rod. Upon emerging from several years of psychotherapy: I’m-OK-You’re-OK-Rod. When he finally discovers the root of his insecurities: Gay-Rod. Immediately following: Ballet-Rod and Sashay-Rod.

Upon giving up life as an athlete and joining recording artist Beck: Odelay-Rod. Then joining a has-been pop band with a hip-hop feel: Sugar-Ray-Rod. After becoming an expatriate and getting involved in Chilean politics: Pinochet-Rod. Upon taking up arms in a Latin American coup: Che-Rod.

When signing on to do one of the voice-overs for a remake of the cartoon Fat Albert: Hey-Hey-Hey-Rod. When playing an aging version of himself in a made-for-TV biopic: Portray-Rod. After being reduced to doing margarine commercials: Parkay-Rod. When in order to pay the IRS he auctions off his old bats, balls, and gloves: eBay-Rod. Forty years from now, when no one really gives a damn anymore: Gray-Rod. Or, simply, Yesterday-Rod.

About the Author
Rich Herschlag is the author of a new book, Before the Glory: 20 Baseball Heroes Talk About Growing Up and Turning Hard Times Into Home Runs (HCI, 2007). His other books include Lay Low and Don't Make the Big Mistake (Simon & Schuster, 1997) and Women Are From Manhattan, Men Are From Brooklyn (Black Maverick, 2002).

Also an engineer, he runs a consulting business, Turnkey Structural, that specializes in the rehabilitation of residential and commercial buildings. Also a radio commentator, he can be visited at RichsRant.com.

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