Everything I Learned About Home Ownership I Learned From Scooby Doo And The Harlem Globetrotters


[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_C2HJvtRDY&w=584&h=390]

Nobody seemed to question when Scooby Doo and the Harlem Globetrotters teamed up to find out that Mr. Jenkins was both the caretaker of the house AND the ghost that haunted it.

Every six year old KNOWS that “haunting” is a crime and must be stopped. Particularly if you are just renting a house and are not the owner.

I never wondered why Mr. Jenkins would even want that old house? It was isolated and needed a lot of maintenance. The property taxes would kill you, particularly if you were like Mr. Jenkins, who seemed unemployed.

My dad didn’t allow Fruit Loops or Cap’n Crunch in the house. “Those cereals are bad for your brain.” But since I was addicted to starch I’d “cook” 4 bagels for myself to get me through the hour long mystery.

I’d get it that Scooby Doo and Fred and Velma were interested in solving the crime. Fred, with his scarf, was clearly a good guy. And Velma was so smart with her glasses. And Shaggy. That Shaggy!

But it was an extra special treat when the Harlem Globetrotters came along. I can’t remember why they were there. But they were needed. Some mysteries require height to solve. Or extra skills with a basketball. And that music. I’m whistling it right now.

They also had the power of “Jumping”. The Harlem Globetrotters could jump really high when they were on the show. Although sometimes they ended up stuck in the ceiling. It was really funny. I don’t know if you laughed. Maybe it was just me, eating my bagel, trying to solve the crime with the rest of them.

A couple of months ago someone called me. “Do you know anyone who would want to buy the Harlem Globetrotters?”

It was the call I had been waiting for since I was a kid:

“You can’t tell anyone they are for sale,” he said. I said, “ok.”

He ran through the numbers. Profitable, business has been flat, but they want to expand in China and Las Vegas. “What’s the price?”

He told me the price. It sounded reasonable. Particularly if they get China. Maybe 99% of China is poor. But if each of them ponied up just $1 to see the Harlem Globetrotters do their thing then that was a lot of money.

“Ok,” I said, “I’ll try to find someone to buy them.”

But I didn’t. I got busy. I wrote a book. I started my podcast. I drove my kids to their dance lessons.

I gave Claudia an intensive course on the history of rap via youtube videos. “You should do this for Coursera,” she said, after she was bored out of her mind while listening to endless songs by “Naughty By Nature” and “Poor Righteous Teachers”.

Lots of things were on my plate.

“Did you find a buyer?” my friend called me a few weeks later.

“Nobody was interested,” I said, “Everyone thinks they were just this 70s fad.”

“Ok,” he said, “I’ve got some buyers anyway,” he lied.

“Good,” I said.

What an educational show that was. My first exposure to openly gay people (Fred and Velma), drug addicts (Shaggy), people from Harlem, and, Daphne, who I was in love with but who would never love me back.

I learned that unrequited love was ok. I learned that boys and girls could be friends together.

I learned that dogs weren’t completely disgusting. Sometimes they solved crimes. I learned if you were a good person then sometimes famous people (the Harlem Globetrotters, Batman, etc) would help you solve your problems.

I learned that whoever was taking care of a house but didn’t actually own it was probably guilty of the crime of dressing up as a ghost and making scary sounds. Home ownership was sacred and you WOULD get caught if you were just renting and trying to scare the owners.

I was a little sad the Harlem Globetrotters were being sold. It took the mystery away. They were just a company. They didn’t solve crimes. Or hold Mr. Jenkins up really high while his feet kept running so he couldn’t escape.

All of that was fake. Like most things from my childhood.

My dad didn’t let me watch “Mr. Ed” either.

“It’s sexist,” he said. “It’s about a man who goes outside and talks to his horse whenever he has problems with his wife.”

I was six years old.

It wasn’t until many years later that I had problems with my now ex-wife and finally understood what he meant, long after he was dead and I can no longer tell him for the only time ever that I loved him.