Pee Wee Nathan

Fall brings allergies and Nate suffers. He’s always sniffling and coughing, rubbing his eyes to the point of redness. Pills help, but don’t solve the problem.

Elise, Nate’s one-on-one aide, brought Nate home after class last week and, after her usual smile and cheerful “Hi!” she went straight into a fit of laughter.

“OK, so today, in Art History, Nate’s allergies were really bothering him and he went to the bathroom to get tissues. When he came back his eyes were scotch taped shut. I asked him why he taped his eyes and he told me it was to protect his itchy eyes. The class thought it was pretty funny.”

It is pretty funny. We’re long past mortification when it comes to Nate. Embarrassment? What’s the point? Episodes like this are typical. Karen thinks Nate isn’t quite sure whether he’s real or a cartoon. He does make for an excellent fictional character.

Nate has a constant stream of consciousness that he plays out loud. One of his favorites bits is a recitation of Pee Wee Herman’s breakfast scene in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure.

“I pity the fool who don’t eat my cereal!” Pee Wee shouts as he pours a plate of Mr. T cereal atop a Mr. Breakfast made of pancakes, egg eyes, strawberry nose and bacon mouth.

Has Nate ever seen Pee Wee’s old “tape face” bit? I don’t know, but I don’t know a lot of what’s swimming around in that boy’s head. Pee Wee would scotch tape his nose, eyes, brow, ears and mouth to form a hideously hysterical look. (Jim Carrey stole the bit in Yes Man).

I can only imagine how Nate looked when he reentered the classroom adhesived up. As ridiculous as it must’ve have been, there he was at college, in History of Art II.

Pee Wee would be proud.


About Jeff Katz

Jeff Katz is the former 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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