The Perpetual Calamity Of Tony La Russa, Bench Salesman

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Tony La Russa knows we live in uncertain economic times, and he knows we live in the age of sofas and day beds, but he sure would like to sell you a bench.

Things ain't what they used to be. No, sir, they ain't. No, ma'am, the times ain't never been so bad. Used to be, a fellow could hammer together a bench and sell it to folks in need of a place to sit down. Ain't that way no more! So many places to sit these days. A fellow down the road just started selling chairs. They got armrests and everything. My bench ain't got armrests! How'm I to compete with the burgeoning chair industry?

I been makin' benches for 30 years, the best dang benches you'd ever hope to sit on, and for what? So's people can visit my humble business establishment, only to say, "they got couches down at the mar't for the same price you're askin' for these here benches"? I'm ruined! I'm yesterday's cornbread!

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I felt like benchmakin' was my callin' in life. Used to make these green wooden benches and get compliments from three towns over. I'd sell a fella or ma'am a bench and help 'em hitch it to their wagon and it wouldn't be a week before I'd hear the praises of a satisfied customer. "What a green bench," they'd tell everyone in town. "What a spectacular green bench!"

Maybe this was my lot all along. Maybe I'm s'posed to be crushed beneath the heel of chair purveyors an' sofa outlets an' day bed merchants. Maybe the humble little world we human bein's have carved out for ourselves ain't come along with no guarantees of a stable livelihood, so long's you put in an honest day's labor.

That's what's really got me gummed up, friend. That's what's really givin' me the bumblebees. My lot's to life hard an' suffer, on account o' no one wants my humble benches anymore.

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MERCY! Another would-be happy customer come and gone! Well I won't suffer no fools. I'll keep makin' an' sellin' m'benches on account of they're real swell. "Why spit when you can sit?" That's been the gospel of my craft for more years than I can count.

Do you enjoy benches? I sure enjoy benches. Sure enjoy my bench. Sure would like to sell you a bench. You stooped down but you didn't knock your hindparts on the dirt? What happened? Hocus pocus? No sir, just a Tony La Russa bench, made from hard work and the finest materials.

I'm Tony La Russa, and I'd like to sell you a bench. Cobbled it together myself, the best way I know how. And if that ain't good enough, well, I s'pose I'll spend my days eatin' cabbage under a hole in the roof.

Sigh. I'm such a fool. I'm such a dang jimmyjohn.

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