The Press was proud of the way it handled obituaries. When I went to work for it in 1963, it was proud of the way it did everything. Proud of the fact that it paid the estimable Maxwell Riddle to spend his full time as a practicing expert on dogs. Proud of its brand new building at the end of Ninth Street … proud that it had convicted Samuel Sheppard of the murder of his wife …
I suppose you think that because this column is called “The Great Indoors” its author never goes outside. Just a couch potato who watches TV and eats Smokehouse almonds all night. A shlub who shuffles around the apartment giving himself carpet shocks. A guy to whom nothing happens.
Most of that is right. I do give myself shocks because I don’t pick up my feet when I walk. I’m trying to conquer this. I do watch a lot of TV, but that’s my job. I cover the waterfront. I admit I lie around on my can quite a bit. However, lots of things happen to me—amazing and exciting things. And they happen indoors.
I’d like to begin with my most exciting indoor incident. It involves Irma La Douce and a roach.
The field of Cleveland Municipal Stadium is as brown as dry, dead leaves, as brown as any ground has a right to be, as brown as any ground on which men play professional sports. On sunny days it is a yellow, sandy brown, but the first time I ever see it, during a dispirited 6–2 Browns loss to the Dallas Cowboys, it is a wet, muddy brown in a thick stripe down the middle of the field. The game is longtime coach Blanton Collier’s final home game, and the uneventful loss means more than I have any way of knowing at the time …
The day Cleveland came back, I was sitting in my bathrobe sucking on some coffee and trying to wake up. Then the telephone rang. “We are calling from National Public Radio’s ‘Morning Edition’ program,” a nice young man from the East said. “We wonder if you will let us interview you. Cleveland has come back, you know.” “I know,” I told him. “I read it in USA Today. They had a front-page story saying we were back, so we must be back.” The young man assured me that we were. “The only trouble is, I’m not sure I’m the right person to interview about it,” I said. “I don’t feel as if I’ve ever been away. I’ve been here all the time.”