A Cup of Coffee--Saturday, August 25, 2001

By Sean Clancy
From The Saratoga Special, reprinted with permission

"Where were you last night?"
"Why didn't you go?"
"What you been doing?"
Where was I . . . ?
Why didn't I . . . ?
What have I . . . ?

Hold on a second. Scream. Wing the lap top on the floor.

OK, regain composure.

Now, let's start again. Ask me anything but don't ask me where I was, what I been doing and why didn't I go/visit/support/call/give/see/lend/help/play.

I have a stone cold alibi for this meet. I was in the office. Want proof?

Read the bylines, please. And ask Joan at the Parting Glass. "I haven't seen you all meet," she said to me at the races the other day.

Don't worry Joan I haven't sold my stool. At least not to another bar. I just traded it in on a metal chair pulled up under a long folding table with a window overlooking Congress Park. Well, I have to stand up to see the park but it's there somewhere.

My brother Joe's worse than me. He says he feels like he's in prison. Now, that's a hell of a selling point for the journalism profession. Right now he's next-desk over fighting with ads and trying not to jump out the window facing Congress Park.

We scan photos instead of going to Sperry's. We design ads instead of seeing the first half of the card. We deliver papers instead of reaching eight hours of sleep a night. We write about everything we can think of or at least make up columns (voila) instead of enjoying anything we're used to at Saratoga.

We missed the Fourstardave Gala. The Travers Ball. And the Museum Ball. They say Marylou's been looking for us; tell her next year if you see her.

We missed Rod Stewart. Matchbox 20. And Black Sabbath (thank God).

We missed daily breakfasts at Beverly's. Daily mornings with the New York Times. And daily runs (damn).

We missed handicapping the card. Taking naps. And the Lincoln Baths.

But we accomplished one of the greatest feats in journalism history. Let us have our fun will you?

Saratoga's one of those places where you stop and check in. Especially around or just after the Travers. That's why it makes all of us crazy. It's the one time where you take inventory. See where your life is.

Sometimes it isn't pretty. That's the good thing about this year; we haven't had time to even wonder.

You should have a project like this. You have a second chance every day. Like this column, it's not much I know that, but tomorrow I get to try again. How about that? It's like having a horse in every race, you can forget the last mutt who dwelt at the start because you have another in 25 minutes. Sometimes they pile up but for the most part you're always redeemed at some point.

And there's always next year. Joe, Joe, shut the window and get back in here.

Contact Sean Clancy via e-mail at sean@thesaratogaspecial.com or telephone at 518-581-1947.