The Art of the Deal

One of the real signs of growth for Nate was when he started haggling with us. It started when he was in high school and revolved around school work.

“Nate, let’s start work at 3,” I would offer.

“I want to do homework at 4,” he’d counter.

“How about 3:30?” My final offer.

“Uhh, OK.” He’s no Donald Trump, but it was effective and we had a deal.

For the last five years, Nate’s obsession with taking pictures of bathrooms at big box stores, restaurant chains and rest stops has been a major part of our life, but it’s starting to wear on us. We’ve always catered to his whims, Karen more than me. After all, Nate works so hard that giving in to reasonable (or unreasonable) demands has been standard operating procedure around here.

Last year we tried to convince Nate to stop this hobby on his 19th birthday. He balked, to put it mildly. There was a lot of yelling and moaning about it, so we backed off. At 20? Still no give. On our summer Chicago trip, which was completely precipitated by Nate’s desire to take bathroom shots, there was a breakthrough and it came from Nate himself.

“I’ll keep taking pictures until my 21st birthday and then take a break until 2015,” he proclaimed out of nowhere as we watched the fountain at Millennium Park.

I was stunned and needed some clarification.

“Nate, are you saying you will take four years off?” A lot can change in four years of Nate Katz’ life and, invariably, I believe he’ll lose interest in resuming his lavatorial quests.

“I’ll keep taking pictures until my 21st birthday and then take a break until 2015,” he repeated.

I wished I could pull a lawyer out of my pocket and sign a contract with him then and there, but his word his good enough for me. Since then, he’s repeated his proposal and I keep reiterating what that means, hoping to reinforce his stance.

So, I think we’ll be good to go as of 8/30/11. No more toilet pictures for four years and then, hopefully, this period will be part of Nate’s rich and interesting past.

What will take its place? That’s the fear.

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About Jeff Katz

Jeff Katz is Mayor of Cooperstown, the “Birthplace of Baseball” and home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. His latest book, Split Season:1981 - Fernandomania, the Bronx Zoo, and the Strike that Saved Baseball, (Thomas Dunne Books, 2015), received national attention, with coverage appearing in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Sporting News and NPR’s Only a Game, among others. Katz appeared on ESPN’s Olbermann and The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap and MLB Network’s MLB Now, with Brian Kenny. Split Season: 1981 was a finalist for the 2016 Casey Award for Best Baseball Book of the Year.
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