Mexico and Venezuela were competing on TV yesterday for what seemed to be the world series of Little League baseball. My eyes and ears idly took in the scenery -- kids who seemed to be 10 or 12 dressed in uniforms that might feed an African village for a couple of days ... very spiffy and athletic and it always makes me wonder at what precise point that gimlet-athletic stare enters the player's eye ... the one that says "I'm gonna kill you!"
My mind came to a full stop. Five feet six and weighing 170 pounds??!!
From my advancing-age perspective of someone coerced into keeping a daily track of his weight (concerns with the heart), it was weird: Here was a kid who was shorter and considerably younger than I was who weighed more than I did at six feet and 155-plus pounds. Had the world's axis reversed course? How could this pipsqueak whose killing days had barely begun weigh more than I did and yet be shorter by several inches? It was a jolt. A reality check I wasn't entirely ready to digest. No one else might care, but I was, for the moment, caught flat-footed.
The world moves 'forward' until such times, it seems, that it begins to move back.
The recognition was not a time to pull out the old-age violins ... but ... but ... but one of my habitual views of myself had received a bitch-slap: I was not taller, heavier, stronger and more of a killer: I had been outflanked by a 12-year-old who couldn't give a shit one way or the other. Life moves on ... what's the big deal?
The big deal, of course, was my long-standing habit: I saw myself as stronger when in fact I wasn't stronger at all. My habit might flex its 'killer' muscles, but the only factual 'killer' was some killer wuss brought into focus by a Little League game.
Moving backwards: How did that match up with moving forward? There was a nanosecond of topsy-turvey to it all. The killer who had once sprouted wings seemed to have lost his flight/fight potential. Please don't take away my habits!
Nor was my Little League moment the only turn-around for the day.
Several days earlier, I wrote to the local paper and begged off writing a monthly column. It was more freight -- however minor at 600-700 words -- than I was willing to take on. I excused myself from the chore I had once agreed to shoulder ... until yesterday when a flight of whimsey overtook me and a somewhat sloppy bit of fun popped off the computer keys ... belatedly, there was a column in hand. It was silly, it was fun, it wasn't very-well argued and yet I enjoyed the smile: If it costs so much to raise a child in the United States, is it possible to sell off the kids for the price it cost to raise them ... and thus ease the fixed-income burden of those who are retired?
A ludicrous proposition and yet ludicrousness had a certain allure. How many of the serious and solemn propositions of daily life dwindle away into ludicrousness and, if there are quite a few, why not enjoy the ride? There were plenty of others hell-bent-for-leather on seriousness and solemnity, so why not pay some small homage the the ludicrous?
Even as a sloppy attempt, I enjoyed the fun... which is quite a far cry from the seriousness and solemnity I have brought to bear in the past?
Is the clock turning backwards ... or forwards?
Somewhere, Jonathan Swift is smiling.ReplyDelete