Philosophy: Why I don't stand for the national anthem.


Mrs. Moore made me recite the Pledge of Allegiance in fifth grade, and I didn't like that; if I got curious about the seams in her nylons when she bent over to pick up the blackboard eraser, I didn't want the Flag interposing.

Sister Mary Catherine made me pray in seventh grade, and I didn't like that; if my corduroys got too tight in her sex-ed class, I didn't want God consulted.

When Uncle Sam called me to serve in Vietnam, I asked for a college deferment to study Greek, hoping the draft board would draw a useful sexual inference (though really I just didn't want my balls blown off for U.S. Steel).

Consistent with those situations, I often have nightmares that I'm conspicuously naked in stadiums. This may relate to the fact that I don't stand for the national anthem at the start of sports events, even though:

* At a Lakers game, a scowling patriot asked why I didn't rise or take off my red-white-&-blue Pabst Blue Ribbon cap for "The Star-Spangled Banner"; he was unsatisfied by my (false) explanation that I was Canadian.

* At a Dodgers game, a Texas musician friend mocked my abstention as evidence that I considered myself "radical."

* At a football game, a gentleman with a Raiders tattoo on his 20-inch bicep told me to get up and sing the f*cking anthem; I complied enthusiastically.

Despite such general and specific disapproval, I still stick to my seat. Main reason: The Flag has nothing to do with sports. (And no, I don't care if the U.S. team wins in the World Cup, the Ryder Cup or the Olympics; I prefer to exercise my primitive hostility more locally.) I also don't stand for the Wave, a power trip instigated by some loser in a clown wig who's not even watching the game. And I don't slap the beach ball around, because it's usually in front of my face when Dee Gordon is stealing second base.

Maybe I'll start standing for "The Star-Spangled Banner" when the Ensign worldwide starts representing the U.S. Constitution, or when the nine-member Supreme Court forms a non-corporate baseball team, or when flags and white hoods stop hanging out together so much. Naw . . .

Meanwhile, an exception to my rule about non-sports-related traditions at games: Select women may continue to wear minimal clothing. I'll rise for that; it's the American way.