Build a soapbox and they will come.
2 "I could get shot in many countries for that." Name: Harry Baldyga
Occupation: Insurance agent
Last year, Harry Baldyga and his son went to an Orioles game at Camden Yards. His son was keeping score, when a twentysomething fan leaned over and asked: "What are you doing?"
"We're keeping score."
"What's that?" the intruder said.
Something sacred and living died just then in Mr. Baldyga. He hasn't felt the same about the new park since. He wonders about the type of crowd that goes there. What, they don't keep score themselves anymore? What, they need a fancy scoreboard?
This season, he didn't go to a single game at Camden Yards. And it wasn't because he couldn't get tickets.
He went to see a couple of Bay Sox games at Memorial Stadium. It just feels better walking out of Memorial Stadium after a game, he says.
' "I miss the old place." Name: Joyce Logan
Occupation: Hospital admitting representative
Call it a calling. Instead of "the horror, the horror," Joyce Logan thought Marlon Brando in "Apocalypse Now" was muttering "the harbor, the harbor."
Last year, Ms. Logan left Timonium for Canton.
"I fled the suburbs. Abnormal people there. If you take your dog for a walk, people kind of watched you to make sure your dog wouldn't take a leak on their chemically sprayed lawn. Really weird people. They watch you, size you up to see if you are worthy of getting to know.
"I like the city. The people are real. They are not trying to put on airs. They are just trying to live their lives."
Name: Eric Samuelson
Residence: Ellicott City
Occupation: Trainer in management consulting
For 10 years, Mr. Samuelson has been conducting workshops in management consulting. He's very careful to use gender-neutral terms when talking about women. Recently, he was addressing a group of 40 people at a Baltimore workshop.
While passing along an anecdote, he referred to two women in their 20s as "girls."
"In the room was a lady, an admitted political liberal. After the workshop, she caught me in the hall and thanked me for my very gender-neutral commentary. She said, 'But frankly, Eric, I thought you'd like to know the use of the word 'girls' is outmoded.' "
"I said good point, etc., etc., and walked away."
He got to thinking. His own wife, who is 30, will say to her friends, "Let's get the girls together and go out." He's heard her say this. "Why is it OK for them to use that term?" he wonders. It's not pejorative, he says, remembering his workshop encounter.
G; "I'm not going to have anyone emasculate me over this." Name: Pat Weadon
Residence: Riviera Beach
Occupation: Government worker
"I happen to think fur is very beautiful," Mr. Weadon says. He knows this is a very wrong opinion (bad Mr. Weadon), but he can explain.
When he gets old and rich or just rich, he wants to buy his wife a full-length mink stole. Then, she can wear the skinned critter "at the appropriate time," Mr. Weadon says.
Wait a minute. That's not how he first phrased it when he called Sundial. He's being politically correct on us, which threatens his induction into our gallery. Let's check the Sundial transcripts . . .
For the record, Mr. Weadon said: "I would hope that she would greet me at the door someday in the mink stole without anything on underneath it."
$ Welcome aboard, Pat. Name: Howard Eigenberg
Residence: Owings Mills
Occupation: Owns a radiator and air-conditioning business
Howard Eigenberg was one of these really popular guys in college. Everybody's bud. People would come to him with their problems. Years later, something snapped.
"The politically correct thing is to be kind and nice to everyone, but you can only give so much," he says.
"I'm the most important person in the world."
The problem with the world, he says, is that people don't care about themselves. "They'd rather whine," Mr. Eigenberg says.
He has a close group of friends and calls himself the most giving person there is. He just thinks the world has gotten too up-tight and correct. Not enough levity, he swears. So, he's doing his part.
Eating out every night, he manages to embarrass and mortify his friends by communicating with the various waitresses in a manner (or manners) unbefitting a 33-year-old successful businessman.
Take the night at the Pancake House. He made a childish and sexist remark to the waitress about her appearance. Friends ducked under the booth in embarrassment. Howard Eigenberg was chastised by his friends for his unspeakable speaking. Mr. Levity finished his meal and started to walk out of the restaurant.
?3 "The waitress patted me on the butt," he says.
Social Crime: Reads the "National Enquirer"
Name: Joan Wilhelm
About every week, Joan Wilhelm buys the National Enquirer at the checkout counter of her supermarket. She doesn't care if this isn't politically correct reading. She doesn't care if anyone sees her reading the Enquirer. She doesn't sneak peaks.
"I like it because it's juicy gossip," she says. "I know a lot of the stories aren't true in it, but a lot are."
Conventional wisdom says Elvis remains dead. Ms. Wilhelm is almost completely sure of this fact. But the Enquirer's recurring photos of alleged Elvis sightings make her wonder sometimes.
"I still don't believe it, but I'd give everything for him to be alive."
She's constantly impressed by what she calls the tabloid's knack of predicting the kind of news she can use.
"I'll give you an example. A little while back, they predicted Raymond Burr had cancer. He denied it, remember?
"But there he is, dead."
Social Crime: (See list below)
Name: Bob Hill
Occupation: Parts manager for a contractor
1. "Who is Seinfeld? Is he a tailor, or what? Never heard of the guy. Actually, I caught a little of his show. I don't know . . . maybe it was over my head." For laughs, you can't beat Gallagher smashing watermelons, Mr. Hill says.
2. On cholesterol: "I think it's a bathroom cleaner."
3. "Red meat or die. Steaks, you know it. The rarer, the better. It's my arteries, darn it." (He really said a bad word instead of "darn it," but we have to be politically correct.)
4. The man still has his purple bell bottoms, just in case heck freezes over and people start wearing purple bell bottoms again.
5. "You aren't supposed to drink these days? Give me a Bud, the real stuff."
6. Just a hunch, but we are almost certain Mr. Hill does not spend any quality time on a Stairmaster.
7. And just for kicks, "I've been known to sit in non-smoking sections and smoke."