Thursday, August 31, 2006

Monday, August 28, 2006

Why The Natural Isn't About Me

Beth Doke was crying because I’d hit her in the shin with a baseball bat. I was in the height of my love affair with baseball, which started when I was six and was still going strong almost a year later. For me, it wasn’t the smell of the field, or the crack of the bat, or the heroism of the players that made me passionate about the game. For me, baseball was a great game because my big brother collected baseball cards, and some of them came with gum.

But right now I was learning that whenever the neighborhood children were gathering players for a game of street baseball, that was an opportunity I should turn down. During my first at-bat I’d hit the ball and let the bat fly to my left in one sweeping motion. I was too busy with running toward the first base cone to see the impact. When I turned around to see what all the commotion was about, Beth’s dad was kneeled down beside his fallen daughter, looking at me with a strange mix of hate, confusion, and fatherly affection, like how a dying buck might look into the eyes of an approaching hunter he recognized to be his own son. I’m not sure how that would happen, but then again, I wasn’t sure how this had happened either.

Beth Doke was the prettiest, if not the only girl my age in the neighborhood. She must have been six inches taller than I was, with long brown hair and the kind of gymnast build that all but the least fortunate girls have at age seven. She was pretty enough that I knew better than to pay any attention to her if at all possible. It wasn’t okay with anybody that I had hit her in the shin with a bat.

“Andrew, don’t throw the bat after you swing it,” my brother said. He knew so much about baseball.

I said I was sorry, and I was.

They sent me to first base, where I tried to keep my head in the game while thinking about what went wrong with the last play. I’d watched baseball numerous times on TV, both in real life and in “Ryne Sandberg Plays Bases Loaded 3” on Nintendo. I didn’t know exactly who Ryne Sandberg was, but I thought he might have been Wayne Gretzky, who I was pretty sure was a famous baseball player. Whoever he was, everyone on TV threw the bat before they ran, so what had I done wrong?

At some point before my next chance to bat I had scraped up the side of my leg. Maybe I’d tried to slide like I’d seen Gretzky do so many times before. However it happened, it must not have been that traumatic because I was still in the game, and the only reason I even remember this minor detail is because I had to keep brushing away mosquito eaters that were landing on the open wound. It was kind of gross and creepy, but I also recognized that it was totally rad and that I was a man for playing on.

Somewhere around this time I’d also come to a conclusion about the accident: I’d thrown the bat with too little control, and in the wrong direction. Now everyone was counting on me to be awesome, and I wasn’t going to let them down.

The pitches I missed were of no consequence to my long-term memory, but the one that connected will forever stay with me because of what happened next. I held onto the bat. I brought it back in front of me and grasped it in both hands, and then carefully and deliberately tossed it to my right. I watched as the bat quickly closed the gap between where I was standing and Beth Doke’s kneecap. Then I said I was sorry, and went inside.

Beth Doke went inside too.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

What I Was Wondering While My Professor Read the Syllabus

Can the word "arbitrary" be spelled incorrectly, or is that impossible by definition?

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Nine More to Go

As I approach the end of the hallway,
With arcing path and leaning body
In anticipation of the bend,
My toe looks on with dismay
At the corner blocking his way
And asks,

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The New Title, an Explanation

As it turns out, I am usually right. This is true despite popular opinion. In addition, I can generally come up with a reason to be troubled. It's a gift. And finally, modern American adolescence lasts until around age 25. Mine will probably last longer. Although I have yet to determine if I am usually correct in being troubled, all signs point to maybe, save one I haven't seen for a while.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Move Over, Lone Star

It has been decided by myself that no other slogan has been ripped off and misapplied more often than "Got Milk?" not even "Don't Mess With Texas," originally part of an anti-littering campaign, now the key "point" of the vast apologetic propoganda defending that endless expanse of desert, concrete and sewage smells (see also, "Everything's Bigger in Texas").

What brought me to this conclusion? (Surely you must be wondering.)

Not the "Got Jesus?" devotionals, or the "Got Crabs?" memorabilia sold by various seafood restaurants, or even my Pacific Islander friend's "Got Adobo?" t-shirt, as you may have thought. No, today I passed a printer supply truck with the giant white lowercase letters on a black background spelling out "Got Toner?"

That was the kicker.