Soundtrack is worth a thousand pictures

Everyone wants to share vacation pictures, a shot of them or their family standing in front of a monument or statue, proof that they have indeed been there and done that.

It's enjoyable to see nice snapshots, but without the audio to go with the visual, the whole picture isn't always painted. It's the sounds, along with the sights, that make for the total experience.

If you're in Scotland, you want to hear the bagpipes. In London, the synched steps of the changing of the guard. In Ireland, a pub rendition of "Danny Boy." In Spain, the yelling from the bull fights; in Chicago the noise of the El as it passes.

In New York, I was looking, or rather listening, for something else. Something unique to the city. Something I found at a baseball game. The audio for my recent trip.

"Put your shirt on, jerk."

Those five words, said in the perfect "New Yawk" dialect, made my trip. Because you can see pictures of Yankee Stadium, just like you can see pictures of the lions at the zoo, but it's not the same without the roar and attitude.

Unlike the zoo, there were no bars protecting me from the subject I was watching. But luckily for me I was sitting behind ol' yeller and I was wearing a shirt. A gentleman 25 rows in front of us was not so fortunate.

On a sweltering evening, in the right-field upper deck so steep I thought I was at a Clemson football game, one person decided to go shirtless while several others decided not to go tauntless.

The guy in front of me was the ring leader. If you happened to be wearing a Chicago White Sox cap, the Yankees' opponent for the evening, he told you your team wasn't very good. Only he didn't say "very good."

If you happened to be wearing a hat of any baseball team other than the Yankees, he also informed you that team wasn't particularly worth rooting for. He also critiqued players mentioned on the out-of-town scoreboard and even one Yankee by calling them a "bum," injecting so much disdain that the word seemed to pack more wallop than most of the expletives he spewed.

It was a virtuoso performance, one that reached its crescendo when the barbs were aimed at the man who wore no shirt. Not once or twice, but many times the same refrain rained down: "Put your shirt on, jerk."

The phrase was shouted so much that it was eventually echoed by fans one section over, who punctuated their taunts by tossing assorted food, figuratively showing their bottoms to a man literally showing his top.

It was an impressive example of group dynamics - and of the New York disposition.

While I felt sorry for the bare-chested man, I figured if he could take it there, he could take it anywhere. Besides, I had witnessed firsthand the equivalent of a lion stalking its prey in the wild. I had witnessed New York.

E-mail Todd Cline at todd.cline@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Tuesdays.