Monday, July 28, 2008


I grew up two streets away from Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz. In 1970, when I was a fledgling sophomore on the Canarsie High School (Chiefs) junior varsity football team, pimply-faced Howie was a senior and the "star" quarterback (uniform #18) of our traditionally awful varsity.

I remember Schultz as being both scholastically advanced and a cocksure, schoolyard athlete. Due to our age difference and my much lower profile, I'm certain he would have no memories of me...but perhaps his folks would?

At varsity games, my JV brethren and I sat together and cheered our team to its limited glory, (that particular year, Canarsie's top football squad went 1-6-2). That's one win, six losses and two ties...yes way back in the Stone Age (1970) games didn't go into overtime, they ended in ties. If that makes me a relic, I'm guilty.

It's hard to imagine but in one of those tie games, the mighty Chiefs (temporarily changed to the politically correct Red Storm but recently restored back to Chiefs) were heavy favorites. They were playing Boys High, (it should be noted that even when Boys High began admitting females, the school's name remained the same. However, other politically correct people finally got their way and the school's nickname is now...are you ready...Boys and Girls dainty...).

What's even funnier about that tie with Boys High was...the final score: 0-0. You couldn't point a finger at the weather, it was a bright sunny day . So what was the problem.? I have narrowed it down to three major blame factors; A) Our punter didn't show up till the third quarter, B) The band played so loud that the signals on a key play couldn't be heard. C) Late in the game, on a fourth down...(we had no place kicker)...when we only needed a foot or two for a touchdown, Schultz, turned to hand off the ball but the halfback was nowhere to be seen.  So while the whole team surged to the right, Schultz ran left.  Fortunately, even though he wasn't fleet-a-foot, he wound-up with a clear angle to paydirt. The Boys High defenders gave chase as he neared the pylon.  The touchdown and certain victory could NOT be stopped!  All Schultz had to do was put his head down and take the hit.  Instead, 'ol #18 went down on his own, inches short of the goal line, to avoid the dainty.

Afterwards in the locker room, the coach addressed the first dismal issue by reaming out the punter for being tardy. Two days later on Monday, the coach "fired" the band. It was no great loss, they were lousy. The only pieces anyone could distinguish of theirs was the theme from "HAWAII 5-0" "HEY LOOK ME OVER," and, "THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER."

The third reason we tied instead of won was handled as soon as it happened by me and the JV boys.  In our section of the bleachers, (behind our team's bench), we booed Schultz, the fallen hero, as he fake-limped off the field. When he got closer, we screamed our opinions...which included unkind and harsh verbiage. At that point, a woman (from the couple in front of us), singled me out and said, "STOP IT! That's my son."

Well Howard Schultz got the last laugh. As Starbucks CEO, I'm certain he enjoys an incredibly wealthy, celebrity status. Nevertheless, I never set foot in a Starbucks until yesterday. Unless you want to count the time, a few years back in Drescher Pennsylvania, I ran into one just to pee. In any event, my disinterest in Starbucks had nothing to do with Schultz.

Yesterday, my friend ZYMBOT came in from out-of-town and we went to my local Starbucks here in Galloway NJ. We made ourselves comfortable and chatted for ninety-minutes. The ambiance was great, the staff was friendly and hospitable and the coffee GOOD. I expected it to be orgasmic...but it was merely good.

I enjoy the finer things in life but I don't need to surround myself with them for the sake of status. Sorry, I just don't get the Svengali hold Starbucks enjoys over the American (worldwide) market. It's just a good cup of coffee...and a tad on the strong side...and the price, ouch!

They can keep their ambiance. I can sit in Dunkin' Donuts for two dollars less per cup and hobnob with the equally cordial foreign help just the same. Better yet, the 100% Colombian or dark roast coffee at Wawa is worthy of being sipped in the comfort of my car. 

Did I ever tell you I drive a nine-year-old Toyota Sienna mini-van? Talk about the finer things in life, it has 13 cup that Howie Schultz.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Read the "SIPPING WAWA COFFEE IN MY CAR," blog. Did not know you guys really gave it to Schultz. He did go on to play at a small college, in Ohio, I believe. He is, as you pointed out, "laughing all the way to the bank". --- COACH Y