Author’s note: This installment of Athletic Support is a little different, just like everything else right now. There is no question — no mention of sports — only my thoughts on where we all are, and hopefully where we’re going. Grace and peace, Eli.
Last night the kids were in bed by nine. My wife and I had time, so we took it slow, dancing around the subject at hand, trying to figure out how we arrived in this strange place. This strange time.
Locked in our houses, stuck with our families, eyes glued to a myriad of screens, digital faces and barking voices that have somehow come to mean more to us than our own flesh, our own blood.
I know a septuagenarian who refers to cellphones as “slabs.” He doesn’t own one, so I call his house every Tuesday night after the kids go down. Last week, we talked for over an hour. Almost twice as long as we regularly do. He told me about a recent date where he and his lady friend practiced social distancing but still had a really nice time. They gave each other “virtual hugs” and inspected the dweeby yurts lining the shores of Lake DeGray.
“A dweeby yurt?”
Find the last slabless American and ask him. Keep your distance, please, but seriously, find this man and ask him about dweeby yurts. It’s hilarious.
While you’re at it, put your cellphone down. Go for a walk and talk to people. They’re crazy, beautiful, and currently hiding teddy bears all around my neighborhood. My three-year-old daughter points and screams, “Look, Da-dee! Is a teddy.” Side-walk chalk tessellations are popping up in driveways. Have you seen them?
Parents have been gifted more time with their families than ever before. Yes, the days are long, and there is no overtime pay. For many, there is no pay. Period. But a Jamaican cabdriver in Dallas once told me, “Money’s like air, mi bredren, and you are still breathing.”
I can’t remember if I tipped him or not. I hope I did. I would now. Even with my wife staring down the barrel of a long run of unemployment, I’d still give that Jamaican cabdriver every bill in my wallet.
That line he gave me is over ten years old, and still it remains. How much is time worth? I don’t know, but I can feel it spinning like a roll of toilet paper, going faster and faster the closer I get to the end.
To the best of my knowledge, Walt Whitman wasn’t a Jamaican cabdriver in Dallas (at least not in this life), but he got it right when he said, “The powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.”
So, please, contribute.
There’s still time to find the teddy bears. And instead of just chalk on the sidewalk, I hope you see the cement as something like a stained-glass window, a glimpse of what the world could be when all of this is over.