The Shocker Desk Enjoying A Second Life

by Kevin Burton

   The man cave downstairs is certified glorious. I should know, I’m the proprietor and I’m certifiable.

   The man cave houses, among other things, the Shocker desk.  And in that Shocker desk, among other things, is a prescription pad.

   That I will explain later.

   I told you yesterday about a second influx of furniture and other items to the Burton household. (“That Warehouse Look Annoys My Wife,” April 1).

   First my mother downsized, now Jeannette’s mother is doing the same. For the second time within a year we are re-imagining what the house can and should look like. It’s got us thinking furniture, where to move it, whether to keep it, where it came from.

   I am not the sports nut I used to be. But one team has retained a spot just above or just below the obsession line, depending on the day.

  That team, Wichita State basketball.

   Their season was disappointing this year.  (Don’t watch for them in the Final Four this weekend.)

    Nevertheless I mostly stuck to my Shocker gameday routine this year, which is as follows: 

    There is a boom box on the Shocker desk. The CD player doesn’t work. There is a dual cassette recorder deck and the radio works just fine. 

  I listen to the games on radio, KEYN in Wichita, with Mike Kennedy, the voice of the Shockers.  There is a one-hour pregame show before tipoff. I used to be just as fanatical about listening to that, not so much these days.

   During the game I sit at the Shocker desk and keep score on an abacus.  The home team score is on the right side of the abacus, road team on the left.  For neutral site games, the favored team is on the right.

    I have the time remaining in the middle of the abacus and as the game is going on I count down the seconds.  I am pretty accurate in keeping up with the real time. 

   I record these games on cassette.  If the Shockers lose I record over the game with the next game.  In cases of a particularly exciting win, I’ve been known to immediately replay the tape after the live game ends.

   So I am all in on the Shockers and for two to three hours on gameday, glued to the Shocker desk.

    But what I call the Shocker desk had a much more distinguished life at another time in another town.

   It used to be the office desk for Jeannette’s grandfather, Dr. Earl Beauchamp, one of only three doctors at the time, in the town of Sterling, Kansas.

   So the desk has gone from the front lines of securing the health and wellness of an entire small city to the lunacy of the chronicles of a bouncing ball.

   Jeannette remembers the desk well from visits to the man the townspeople called Doc Beauchamp. She remembers being allowed to color at the desk of his office assistant Opa. 

   The desk went from Jeannette’s grandparents to her parents and then to her, although she can’t remember exactly how and when. That is understandable. There have been a lot of moves over the years.

   I asked Jeannette if she cringes when she hears me refer to the desk as the Shocker desk.  She said no, and a torrent of good memories came spilling out. Then I asked her, what about the comedown from doctor’s desk to crazy man’s hoops hangout.

   “My grandpa would probably get a kick out of it,” Jeannette said.

    So that is why there is a prescription pad in the Shocker desk.  It is there to pay loving tribute to Doc Beauchamp.

   It has nothing to do with Jeannette writing prescriptions for me so I’ll be on my meds, after a particularly galling Shocker loss.  That’s not the worst idea I’ve ever heard though.

   What else is in the Shocker desk?  Office supplies, but also blank cassettes for future Wichita State games and some of the tapes of recent games.

     “They don’t make desks like this anymore,” Jeannette said, and that is true. But even if they did, we wouldn’t be interested.  We have the one we want.

   Here’s to family, and go Shox!

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