03x14 - A Slump, a Cross and Roadside Gravel

ADULT SHELDON: The Clean Air Act required all new cars to be equipped with catalytic converters to combat air pollution.

The first state to do this was California, which led Texans to say things like - I hate California.

- ADULT SHELDON: And When will that place fall in the ocean?

(HACKS)

ADULT SHELDON: While not everyone was happy about it, six years later, one particular Texan saw an opportunity to get rich quick.

Oh, man, I'm gonna get rich quick.

I just got my ticket out of here.

Adios.

I'm serious.

This thing is full of tips on how to make a fortune.

Only cost me a dollar.

Is one of the tips "make a crappy newsletter and charge idiots a dollar for it"?

No, but not a bad idea.

Listen to this: "Raise bees and sell the honey for profit.

" Do it, and I'm living with Meemaw.

"Sell blood or non-vital organs.

" Mm, give 'em your brain.

You're not using it.

(LAUGHS)

I think that's the only time I've ever heard you laugh.

That's the only time you've ever been funny.

Oh, platinum can be extracted from ordinary roadside gravel.

No, it can't.

Actually, it can.

Catalytic converters contain platinum.

Microparticles of that platinum are expelled in the exhaust and are mixed in with the gravel.

See?

This thing's a gold mine.

It would be more apt to call it a platinum mine.

I laughed at your joke.

Nobody else is stronger than I am Yesterday I moved a mountain I bet I could be your hero I am a mighty little man - UMPIRE: Strike!

- Keep your eye on the ball.

Strike two.

You got this!

Strike three.

- You're out.

- MEEMAW: Hey, ump, you're blind.

- She swung and missed.

- Fine.

Hey ump, you're bald.

Better?

Come on.

You can do this, girl.

If I pitch, can you catch Strike one.

You can do it, sweetheart.

Strike two.

UMPIRE: Strike three.

I still think you can do it, sweetheart.

UMPIRE: Strike one.

Strike two.

Strike three.

You're out.

Strike one.

Strike two.

Strike three.

You're out.

I'm a big-league pitcher Get your bat ready, baby, hit that ball It's okay, Cooper.

You'll get 'em next time.

Want to go to Dairy Queen?

I don't deserve Dairy Queen.

It's not your fault, honey.

That other pitcher was almost a grown man.

I think I saw him at the bar last night.

Y-You're just going through a little slump.

Happens to everyone.

Well, how do I get out of it?

When I've been at the craps table George, you give advice.

Oh, smart.

Man's been in a slump his whole life.

You just got to get out of your head.

You you're thinking too much.

I promise thinking too much has never been my problem.

When I'm feeling down, do you know what I do?

OTHERS: Pray.

It works.

In fact, I'm gonna pray for you tonight.

Everybody prays to God at night.

Do it now while he's got some free time.

Hey what you doing?

Playing a historically accurate game called The Oregon Trail.

That sounds boring.

Hardly.

My wagon broke an axle, and my wife died of dysentery.

Well, can you pause it for a sec?

It does seems rude to push on to Oregon while my daughter Mabel is mourning the loss of her mother.

What can I do for you?

Remember when we were talking about platinum in gravel?

Do you know how to get it out?

It's not a complicated principle.

I could probably do it with my Professor Proton chemistry set.

- Great.

- And an oven that reaches 2,000 degrees.

Does our oven do that?

No, but I read you can build one out of a garbage can and a leaf blower.

Cool.

Let's mine some platinum.

No, thank you.

I don't care about money.

(VIDEO GAME MUSIC PLAYING)

But you care about science, right?

- (VIDEO GAME MUSIC STOPS)

- Of course.

So I offer you the chance to do an experiment and you'd rather play a video game?

What would Professor Proton think?

He'd be disappointed.

So what do you say?

I say we collect gravel.

There you go.

ADULT SHELDON: In case you're worried, Mabel and I did finally make it to Oregon, where I remarried and lived to the ripe old age of 41.

(VIDEO GAME MUSIC PLAYS)

DALE: All right, Cooper, remember what I told you, okay?

Knees bent, elbows out, eye on the ball.

(SIGHS)

Hang on.

Hi, God.

It's Missy Cooper.

I know my mom talked to you about me the other day, and she's, like, your biggest fan.

Hey, what's going on?

What, did you fall asleep?

Sorry, I was praying.

Oh, my apologies.

MISSY: Anyway, I could really use your help getting a hit.

Amen.

- Okay.

- Are we good?

I don't know.

We'll find out.

Okay, remember, elbows up, knees bent.

I'm coming at you, Cooper.

Way to go.

Perfect.

Thank you, God.

How about, "Thank you, Coach"?

- Thank you, Coach.

- Too late.

This should be a good spot.

It's a high-traffic area, which means plenty of exhaust, and therefore plenty of platinum.

Great.

Let's get shoveling.

You ain't gonna help?

No.

How was practice?

Great.

I hit the ball further than anyone.

Sounds like a little prayer helped after all.

- I guess it did.

- You seem surprised.

Well, God knows everything, and I have some pretty evil thoughts.

Oh, Missy.

Ooh, what if I start wearing a cross so God knows I mean business?

You could also clean up your thinking.

Nah.

(TRUCK HORN HONKS)

What's taking so long?

It'd be faster if you helped.

Well, we know that's not happening.

MISSY: I know you got your hands full with all that sad stuff, like disease and war and hunger and poverty, so thanks again for helping me get some hits at practice.

Amen.

Don't forget to ask him to keep our family safe and healthy.

I just hung up.

Don't make me call him back.

Should I be wearing all that?

I recommend it.

Those rocks are filthy.

I'm good.

God made dirt.

Dirt don't hurt.

Where do we start?

The first step is to put the gravel in these colanders, and then sift it over the tray to collect the dust.

It's like finding money in the street.

Why do you care so much about money?

You saw Back to the Future when their dad's rich at the end, his wife is all skinny and loves him way more.

So you want a wife who loves you because you have money?

A skinny wife.

I have something for you.

You said you wanted a cross, and this is the one I used to wear when I was your age.

It's so pretty.

I'm glad you like it.

It's a nice reminder that wherever you are, God is always with you.

And it means a lot to me that you want to wear it.

Thanks, Mom.

I'm gonna pray right now.

God, it's Missy again.

If you can hear me better, it's 'cause I'm wearing a cross now.

Please let me get a lot of hits on Saturday.

And if their star pitcher breaks his arm or gets run over by a truck, I'd totally be okay with that.

Amen.

Amen.

Now we have to sift the powder again because the platinum particles are extremely small, sometimes no more than just a few atoms.

If I was as smart as you, I'd play the stock market.

Or go on Price Is Right.

I'd rather spend my time focusing on important things, like figuring out how the universe works.

So, say you figure out how the universe works.

Then what?

I'm not sure, but in the meantime, I agree with Richard Feynman.

I simply enjoy the pleasure of finding things out.

I agree with the Beastie Boys.

You got to fight for your right to party.

Well, it's good to have a personal philosophy.

- GEORGE JR. : What's next?

- We create a chemical flux by combining borax, sodium carbonate, lead oxide and flour.

Did you know Sheldon and Georgie are working on something together?

That's nice.

And guess what Missy asked me if she could wear a cross.

She's in her bedroom saying prayers right now.

Hmm.

I don't like it.

What are you talking about?

Our kids are behaving.

Exactly.

Something bad's gonna happen.

Why can't you just be thankful?

Because that's when life kicks you right in the plums, Mary.

Dad, where's your power drill?

- Why?

- Our oven doesn't reach 2,000 degrees, so we're going to make a homemade kiln out of a garbage can.

And there go the plums.

Are you two trying to burn down the house?

No, we're trying to make platinum out of gravel.

You're not building a 2,000-degree oven.

Fine.

Just so you know, I was gonna cut you in.

Really?

You'll fight for your right to party but not for your right to make a device that'll exceed the melting point of lead?

GEORGE JR. : Shut up.

Ooh, "Why can't you be thankful?" What's your problem?

Mom and Dad won't let me build a kiln, so Georgie and I can't finish our experiment.

Before you tell me, I don't care what a kiln is.

Okay, but you'll never know it's a high-temperature oven.

If you're unhappy, just ask God for help.

I don't believe in God.

(SHUSHES)

He can hear you.

He knows if you've been bad or good.

Like Santa, but he can send you to hell.

I'm not going to ask some magical being to solve my problems.

I asked him to help me with my batting, and he did.

There's a pottery kiln in art class.

We can use that.

(DOOR OPENS)

Georgie, I figured it out!

Good job, but that does not count as one of my wishes.

Why are we being sneaky?

I thought you said we have permission.

We do.

I just don't want anybody knowing about our platinum.

Smart.

Last week, I bragged about having a Nutter Butter, and some rat stole it right out of my lunch bag.

Well, it sure wasn't me.

And then I hit it over the right fielder's head.

Sounds like you had a good practice.

I did.

Coach said he's gonna have me hit cleanup.

BILLY: Missy, will you rub your cross on my bat?

No.

Have you been doing that?

On mine.

It's working great.

Please?

I'll give you a dollar.

Fine.

What do you think you're doing?

Sharing God's love and making some cash.

Absolutely not.

How about I give you the dollar?

God's love has nothing to do with money.

What about the collection plate at church?

That is different.

That's where I found this dollar.

Okay.

(SIGHS)

Bye.


So now we just wait for the concrete dust to dissolve and the lead to melt?

That's exactly right.

I know.

I listen.

- And you understand it?

- I work in sales.

I don't need to know what I'm talking about to make it sound good.

Don't you think it would make you better at your job if you understood the products you were selling?

- No.

People don't want to hear facts.

- I do.

Normal people don't want to hear facts.

I'm normal.

Are you?

No, I'm special.

- Is it supposed to be doing that?

- Something's wrong.

Maybe we didn't sift out all the rubber.

- I think it's burning.

- Okay.

Okay, calm down.

I'll handle it.

I'm having difficulty remaining calm.

Come on, come on, come on, come on.

(ALARM RINGING)

I'm feeling more calm now.

- What were you thinking?

- Well I don't want to hear excuses.

You could've burned the school down.

What do you have to say for yourselves?

I thought you didn't want to hear my excuses.

Oh, no, we didn't break into the classroom.

Georgie had permission from the teacher.

That is not important right now.

So you think a teacher said it was okay for a ten-year-old and an idiot to use a 2,000-degree oven unsupervised?

You fibber.

(GASPS)

You also stole my Nutter Butter.

Are you mad at me?

- No.

- You sure?

'Cause that's how you look when Dad had that breakfast beer.

To be honest, I'm a little concerned that I have given you the wrong impression about how prayer works.

I get it.

I ask God for stuff, he gives it to me.

It's not rocket science.

Missy, God does not grant wishes.

So he gave me good luck?

(SIGHS)

It's not luck.

Luck is chance, and God has a plan.

Right, and his plan is to give me what I want when I pray.

That's why he's so cool.

No.

I I mean, he is cool, but sometimes that might not be his plan.

Then what's the point of praying if he's just gonna do what he wants?

You don't pray to God to get things.

You pray to build a relationship with him.

This is too complicated.

I'm just gonna keep rubbing this thing on my bat and kicking butt.

Okay, that is it.

Take it off.

No, I need it.

The game's Saturday.

There are more important things than baseball.

Now, hand it over.

God, cover your ears.

Damn it.

Missy Cooper!

You are not ready for that.

You give that back.

Oh, you Get!

MARY: Lord, I really need you right now.

I have tried so hard to lead my family to your light, but so far, Sheldon doesn't believe in you, Missy thinks you're a magic trick, and you're not a teenage girl, so Georgie doesn't think about you at all.

I never thought I'd take a cross away from my own child, but what choice did I have?

She was rubbing it on sporting equipment.

I didn't think there was a wrong way to pray, but leave it to that girl to find one.

Please give me the strength to keep guiding my family to you.

I can't do it on my own.

Amen.

So, how was everybody's day?

(THROAT CLEARING)

That good, huh?

How about we just say grace?

You're gonna ask him to bless the food?

Interesting.

That is enough.

Oh, come on.

How can I appreciate all this tension if I don't know what it's about?

Mom took my cross away, and I have a game on Saturday.

Why would you do that?

She's out of the slump.

She was being sacrilegious.

Mary, this is sports.

When something's working, you do not mess with it.

I am not changing my mind.

God is not a good-luck charm.

Well, how about all the players that kiss their crosses before they go in the batter's box?

They can take it up with their mommies.

So she's finally hitting good, and you're gonna let her go to that game all up in her head?

Her relationship with God is more important than getting some hits in a baseball game.

This is perfect.

They're mad at each other.

Takes the heat off us.

Thank you.

I had no idea what was going on.

Mary, give her the cross back.

When she is ready for it, I will.

I have a bunch of crosses in my jewelry box.

You can take any one you want.

I don't want another cross.

I want my lucky cross.

And that is exactly why she is not ready.

Let's say grace.

(MARY SIGHS)

Bless us, Lord, for the food we are about to receive, and bless the hands that prepared it.

Amen.

ALL: Amen.

Amen.

I'm glad we're no longer in trouble for almost burning the school down.

MEEMAW: Ooh.

Let's talk about that.

- (KNOCKING ON DOOR)

- SHELDON: Georgie.

Yeah?

Are you still interested in getting rich quick?

No, I want to do it slow like a chump.

Oh.

Never mind.

Tell me, Sheldon.

It occurred to me that a good way to generate a positive cash flow would be to curate popular songs and make them available in a digital form.

Possibly on a small device that could also be used as a phone or even a camera.

Right.

A phone, camera, music machine.

Get out of here.

Psst.

Hey, Missy.

Come here.

What?

I'm up next.

I know.

Here.

Don't tell your mother.

- I think I want to do this on my own.

- You sure?

Just in case Mom's right, I don't want to make God mad.

UMPIRE: Strike three.

You're out.

All right.

Go get 'em.

- Strike one!

- Dad!

GEORGE SR. : Coming!