Thursday, July 22, 2010

We're baaaaaaaaaaack.

Matt and I have not been very consistent posting to the blog this spring and summer but, as Charlie Parker wrote in song, now's the time.

We're baaaaaaaaaaack.

Posting hasn't been easy this summer. My laptop went tornado, afflicted with every disease you could identify and some unidentified ghosts in the cogs. And I spent much of the summer in annual magazine hell. The magazine will be out next week -- thank god. And thank god for a couple of dedicated students who rose to the occasion like seasoned professionals. A shout out to Jordan and Richard is in order.

I have a lot of pent up stuff to get off my chest. My god the world has turned nasty right in front of our eyes, hasn't it? It's almost too much to write about. So, I'll make this pledge: I'll only comment on the state of the world when I think I actually have something to add to the discussion / argument.

And I'll write some lighter stuff about the Royals and baseball in general when I feel it. I got involved in an interesting exchange on the Star's Web site recently over a nice story by Sam Mellinger about our reliever's discomfort with Arizona's anti-illegal immigration law. I'll go into some of that soon because I think it is a lightning rod topic in sports.

Today, I'll share something personal with you.

Here's the title for a novel: The Man who loved cats and baseball.

There is such a man. And he lost one of his beloved cats two weeks ago, which has placed a wet wool blanket over his world since. His sturdy, healthy, Moses had a heart attack and died at his very feet. The moment was a kick to the belly. He was standing at the mirror upstairs admiring a new pair of tennis shoes when the boy came racing around the corner as he had done a million times in his eight years. Racing around like that was his best way to start a good scrap with his less boisterous sister.

This time he spun out on the hardwood floor the way cats do in cartoons but something was wrong. He didn't get back up. His top half was motionless while his powerful back legs kept pumping, sending him around in circles. After about two turns the man grabbed him up thinking he had lost balance or was stunned, put him on his feet, and Moses collapsed again, sending terror down the man's spine. He ran to the back room, got a cat carrier and came back to put him in it. But the truth is, Moses was already gone.

Just like that. Gone.

The veterinarians made a valiant effort to bring him back, but Moses was gone. That's the only way to put it.

In three days, he would have curled up on the man's lap like a big hot rock and watched Home Run Derby all the way through. The man called him "little son" and liked to pat his athletic flanks the way you pat a dog. He had never taken a pill, never been sick, never had a problem. Until that moment.

At that moment, his heart gave out. That's all there is to it. And, of course, for the rest of us there is a message. Nothing is promised. Not one day. Not one hour. Not one minute.

A few mornings later, I was sitting on the front porch before dawn, watching the trees in the valley to the east sway in the wind. I shut my eyes for a moment then I opened them. The sun had breached the tops of the trees. And right in front of me all along was a huge, intricate spider web. I couldn't see it until the sun lit the threads. In grief, I thought about the spider and web, how the spider has to build the same damned web every day and how the spider lives a year or so to eat and die. Life, it seemed to me then, is not much different. I was thinking my life has no more meaning than this spider's life, no more permanence than her web.

Which might be one reason to start writing again. To at least leave something behind in the light.


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