My owner, a gentleman by the name of Mr. William Sianis, was a kind enough soul, albeit an opportunist. Never one to miss the spotlight, he was flamboyant and prone to anger. He valued me above all else, for I was a novelty, a curiosity and of course a money maker.
“A goat?” Mr. Sianis would say. “A goat gives milk. A goat gives cheese. A goat is a friend! What is not to like in a goat?”
He was in fact so fond of me that he named his establishment after my species: The Billy Goat Tavern. It was quite a catchy name and drew in much business, especially since he often propped me upon a bar stool and fed me beer.
In those days, you see, we had no such organizations as PETA nor the ASPCA. Animals were mere servants to humankind. If occasionally we rebelled, who could blame us?
My owner was obsessed with me to an unnatural degree. He had his beard trimmed in a goatee to match mine. He changed his name from William to ‘Billy Goat’ Sianis. He took me with him on various sojourns around the town. It was not unusual for me to be seen on my leash at the grocery store or the distillery. He took me upon cable cars and to the occasional social event. And so I suppose he did not think it peculiar in the least when he chose to bring me to a baseball game.
The city of Chicago was enmeshed with stockyards back then, the slaughterhouses of my dear sister cows and brethren pigs. The stench of dead animals was commonplace. Though not desirable, all had grown somewhat accustomed to it. And so, on that fateful day of October 6, 1945, when my owner saw fit to bring me to Wrigley Field for the World Series game, he had no inkling that his fellow attendees would complain about my smell.
Yet complain they did. We had barely entered the park and taken our seats at the bleachers when some spectator took it upon himself to shout: “That goat smells baaa-aahhd! Take it out!”
Humankind, I suppose, are amused by their own crude puns. As for myself I had no interest in being there. I am hardly what one would call a ‘baseball fan’. The bleachers are most uncomfortable seats for a fellow like me. I would vastly prefer a barn with some fresh bales of hay or tin cans to munch on. And so when I was ordered to leave I would gladly have gone peaceably. If nothing else, it would end the ridiculous charade.
My owner, you see, was merely using me as a prop. I provided free advertizing for the Billy Goat Tavern. (In later years the advertizing would go nation wide when a man named Belushi would immortalize the the tastiest meal on the menu: ‘Cheezeborger’.)
However, on that day, upon hearing the comment, Mr. Sianis became most offended. He had paid my way after all. I had a ticket just like any other customer. William refused to remove me. In fact he became so belligerent that the Field owner, one Mr. P.K. Wrigley, appeared in person to formally order us out.
Poor Mr. Sianis was highly insulted. So much so that he laid a curse upon the ball team. “The Cubs!” he shouted. “They ain’t never gonna win no World Series no more!”
And they never have. At least not yet.
Seventy one years has passed since that day. It has been chiefly for my own amusement that I have kept the curse active. You may doubt my power, but I bid you not forget my long standing association with the ancient Dark Lord.
It has been grand entertainment to observe the past century, as this team has periodically come so close to winning, only to be thwarted by some small mistake. My favorite stunt was in 1969 when I sent a black cat to cross their path in the dugout.
That year the Cubs lost the World Series pathetically to the New York Mets.
For many seasons the beloved but ever-losing Cubs have suffered defeat. But now, in 2016 I am growing rather weary of this prank. If any debt was due me it certainly has been paid.
It occurs to me that my owner is long dead. Mr. P.K. Wrigley is also long dead. Players have been changed and traded and interspersed so many times, the Cubs are scarcely the same team anymore. And so. From where I stand I believe I’d like to see the Northsiders finally take their long deserved win.
With all due apologies, I officially deem this curse lifted. It was only ever artificial to begin with. There is but one remaining question:
Chicago Cubs, wouldst’ thou like to live deliciously?
**NOTE** Folks living outside of Chicago might not know that this story is actually true! Read more here.
The late, great John Belushi created a hilarious skit on Saturday Night Live to spoof the real Billy Goat Tavern.