Sorry, Charlie

Hey–it’s Wild Thing!

Despite (or subconsciously because of) its plethora of male chauvinism and raunch, Two and a Half Men (2003-?) has of late with an excess of syndicated reruns become a favorite sitcom of mine. Apart from commanding laughs with some of the snappiest jokes in contemporary American television, perhaps the show’s strongest appeal for me lies in the deeper, strangely underlying messages of family values amidst all of the “broken family” degradation—and blatant sexism. For here we have a fittingly bizarre aberration in this particular post-Cold War, post-Drug War, and present-Terror War family; indeed, the Harpers appear to be the new “nuclear” family (sans one mom and one daughter, plus one effeminate father). Maybe it’s merely a very general sense of nostalgia at work (and, really, no sport in America evokes and thrives on nostalgia like baseball does), but I necessarily connect a correlative sentiment between the modern Harper family and the modern era of major league baseball: the roles, even the structures, seem weirdly similar, while only the players and names have changed. Along these lines and late-night tangents where one spaced-out thought collides effortlessly into another, I imagined a fantasy baseball card for Charlie Sheen’s infinitely flawed, oddly archetypal patriarch, Charlie Harper.

Then I recalled that, of course, Sheen starred in a pair of those hammed-up Major League films (1989 & 1994). So, instead, I discovered something much better. According to this piece on Beckett, apparently a very limited run of a mere eleven-card series was released for the first Major League film. One card, pictured above, is dedicated to Sheen’s “Wild Thing” pitcher, Rick Vaughn.

Better yet, though, I found a photo (albeit unverified, floating around on Flickr) of a young, almost cherub-cheeked Charlie Sheen. As though from a panel of The Family Circus, he sits with legs gleefully crisscrossed on the field’s sun-toasted grass. He dons a palette of faded finery, decked out in the blue, yellow, & grey uniform of his high school baseball team, the Vikings. A genuine grin, possibly even a smile, stretches across his face. In total, it seems a strikingly touching testament to boyhood—right before the inevitable tumults of corruption. . . .

However, all of it could just as well be part of Charlie’s first acting role (or elaborate scam). Hollywood rumors indicate that by this age he was already well on the Scotch-swirling, cigar-puffing, and womanizing path of his not-so-fictitious, eponymous counterpart.

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