Saturday, September 20, 2014

Church of Broken Toasters

Thursday afternoon I got a phone call from my new ticket agent at DC United. Yesterday afternoon I got a phone call from United's Chief Revenue Officer Mike Schoenbrun. My ticket agent had told him about our phone call and Schoenbrun wondered what United had done to so alienate me and wondered what United could do to win me back. I gave him the it's not you, it's me speech, the I don't want to wear a uniform and go to church anymore speech. Loved one's know this is the core of my apostasy, but the ticket agent didn't buy it. The ticket agent said, Schoenbrun said, that you were angry over the season ticket packages, and I said yes, it angered me that ticket prices have been raised while the number of games has dropped, but really, it's not you, it's me. He talked about the generous new season ticket packages United has planned for next season. I believe him, by the way, I'm not snarking here. Or rather, I believe he believes what he was saying. I said, I also find it maddening that United will not publicly state that Supporters Clubs and LOUD SIDE! will not be banished to an endzone in any new stadium, but really, it's not you, it's me. He said that United is confident the new stadium will happen (and while I have stated forever that there will never be a new soccer stadium in DC I concede I am closer to being wrong than I've ever been) but until the stadium is a certainty United can make no public declarations on the seating of a stadium. I said, of course you could say that whenever there is a new stadium the Supporters Clubs and LOUD SIDE! will get a sideline, but really, it's not you, it's me. He praised the Supporters Clubs and season ticket holders profusely while admitting the possibility Supporters Clubs and LOUD SIDE! might be banished to an endzone in a new stadium. He invited me to forums and events, assuring me that my voice and all season ticket holder and Supporters Clubs member voices will be listened to, told me that we are the core of the business of United. I didn't say, if that's true, why doesn't United promise to make a sideline available at reasonable prices to Supporters Clubs and LOUD SIDE! because what would have been the point? Instead I said, I'm really not an event-goer, though I'm sure Supporters Clubs and LOUD SIDE! season ticket holders will make their voices heard, though really, it's not you, it's me. He said, I understand, anything else, and I reiterated that's it's me, not you, I don't want to wear a uniform and go to church anymore. He told me to call him directly if I have more concerns and questions. Once I would have been concerned that I don't want to wear a uniform and go to church anymore but now I'm not. And I do appreciate the reaching out - United won't go bankrupt when I don't renew my season ticket (and I'm not going to renew my season ticket) - it is to United's credit that a top team executive picked up the phone to call me. But though I have quibbles that would once have been indulged issues - the season ticket packages, the refusal to promise there will be a sideline LOUD SIDE! in a new stadium, the corrupt rinky-dinkness of MLS (I didn't mention this to either the ticket agent or Schoenbrun) - it's not them, it's me: I don't feel like putting on a uniform and going to church anymore.


Brian Komei Dempster

Church of broken toasters and singed fuses,
church of the dripping roof and chipped chimney stack,
of the flooded garage and its split door,

gas-hissing pipes and sibilant water heaters,
church of piss-poor light and shaky ladders
where I unchoke windows and dislodge chopsticks

from pipes, smooth curled up wallpaper and key the locks,
fix clocks sticking or ticking with different times,
church where wings of dead flies drift like petals

from cobwebs, ghosts sift through floorboards
and the homeless sleep in compost, steeping like tea bags
pungent from the leaves' damp weight.

Church where I am summoned by the door's clatter of brass
to the brown-toothed vagrant who spreads open
her overcoat; to the chattering man who communes
with pines and brooms the stairs; to the bent, old Japanese woman
who forgets her keys, waits for me to twist the lock free
so she can scrub floors with Murphy wood soap

and a toothbrush, wobble atop a ladder and polish the two-ton bell.
On this path I am my uncle setting cubes of cheese into jaws
of traps, and my grandmother stirring peas into a pan of fried rice,
and my grandfather padding the halls in slippers and gloves,
the cold globes of his breath a string of prayer beads
weaving me, a mixed-blood grandson, into them.


  1. broken toasters

    Family and Society in American History
    University of Illinois Press, 2001
    edited by Joseph M. Hawes, Elizabeth I. Nybakken

    Do-it-yourself: constructing, repairing, and maintaining domestic masculinity / Steven M. Gelber

    In a general how-to article on setting up a home workshop, James Tate advised "Mr. Amateur Mechanic" to be sure he had the tools necessary necessary to fix a loose coffee pot handle, put up a few shelves, make the screen door fit, and and repair the cord on the toaster. Tate was not advocating do-it-yourself repairs because they would save the homeowner money. On the contrary, he said he was addressing "the man who gets more fun out of twenty dollars' worth of time spent in tinkering with tools than in paying out five to have the job done."

    p. 281

  2. Your forgot to say, "For the last time until the next time."

  3. While it's clear to me that it's not them, it's you, it's sounds to me like they are making the "everyone has a price" case - and rather weakly, at that.

    1. I keep assuring them I'm an outlier and the death of my faith in no way reflects a general trend in 232 I think they worry that I reflect a general trend in 232. And Landru pointed out in an email that as far as the phone call goes, it's entirely possible that the front office staff at United have nothing better to do than call the apostates.

      But I do think it might reflect United's concerns ahead of how they are planning contingencies should they decide to royally fuck Supporters Clubs and LOUD SIDE! and were sounding me out after I made the comment to the ticket agent that I expect United to royally fuck Supporters Clubs and LOUD SIDE! Though I'm no doubt over-thinking this - the sounding me out part, not the part about the probability of United royally fucking over Supporters Clubs and LOUD SIDE!

  4. That sounds like a much more friendly conversation than the one I had with the DCCC fundraiser who called me a couple months ago.