Recently, I told a story about my mother playing softball with the Kennedy family in Hyannisport, Massachusetts. The other day she called me to set me straight.
As my mother remembers, there were two groups of young people on that part of the Cape, in the early 50’s. My mother hung with the crowd that lived a dangerous, hot-house life. Frequented piano bars. The Kennedy’s crew called them the “Pansies.” In return, my mother’s group called the Kennedy crew the “Barefoot Boys.” Because, I suppose, they ran wild and free.
One year, the softball games between the Pansies and the Barefoot Boys went on all season. Came the final game. Apparently, in an act of ruthlessness, focus, and sprezzatura, the Kennedys brought in some Boston Red Sox as ringers. The story does not include a record of who won. We can guess.
Whether to call this “cheating,” or a brilliant act of nonchalant insolence, I leave to you. Along with the implications of terms from another time.