- USD 9.99
One day, when I was quite young, as I was walking on the amusement pier in Santa Monica, I noticed that a new concession was being erected on the midway. I could see that most of the building materials consisted of canvas sheets. There was also a cartoon Negro being chased by a baseball. One sheet had a hole in it. There were words, too, but I had not learned to read much. I could read one small sign that read “Three balls for twenty-five cents.” When the rear panel was hung, it became clear to me what it was for. This was the canvas with the cartoon of the black man running from the baseball. This also explained the hole to me: the Negro was supposed to put his head in it while people threw balls at it.
The man seemed agreeable to it. He headed around to the rear of the new structure, stuck his head through the hole, and they were open for business.
The first customer was a tall, lanky blond man wearing silk pants and a matching shirt. He paid his quarter and took aim. The first two balls were misses, shaking the canvas backdrop with the impact. The third ball hit the Negro square in the face, much to the glee of the watching crowd. He staggered back, only to reemerge a moment later through the hole again. I wondered what would make a man take such a job. Then it came to me: he was hungry too. The laughing and giggling spectators were giddy as they watched the hero buy three more balls.
The laughter had to hurt more than the baseball.