Thinking in a quiet house

Selecting a few words or a scripture to read at the Thanksgiving table was tricky. I chose words from Robert Benson, “The Game—One Man, Nine Innings, A Love Affair with Baseball.” (Tarcher/Penguin, 2001)

His few paragraphs on keeping score—“…it requires that you learn the language of the game.” For example, 1B stands for a single, HR for a home run, CS for caught stealing. There is room on a score card in the little boxes only for shorthand. If you are keeping score, you must pay attention to the game all the time. “Each pitch, each move on the base paths, each fielding play has to be recorded….”

A trip to the bathroom or to get popcorn can cost you two or three batters and the rhythm of the game. “You can end up with the dreaded WW marked on your card.”

“The WW is a mark invented by Phil Rizzuto, the famed Yankees player turned broadcaster. He said it stands for “Wasn’t watching.” It equals ‘I was not paying attention.’” (page 48)

“So, what are you most thankful for this year?”

The deepest thanks stimulants sneak up on you and they are upon you before you can reach your phone to take a picture. Some of them are not cosmic or recognized by the crowd. They come more like flashes of light, glancing blows or hints. When my turn comes to answer the “Most thankful for?” question and I settle for “family” or “Pumpkin Spice Oreos” it is a good indication that I haven’t been paying close attention. Wasn’t watching.

Headlines that caught my attention this season:

“Americans use to get happier in their thirties. Not any more.”
“Gratitude keeps us hopeful.”
“Positive emotions make us more resilient.”

The letters “PA” in the entertainment world means “Personal appearance.” That is foundational for having valuable experiences to talk about over the turkey gravy and dressing. Short hand for showing up and paying attention and I’ve carved back my narcissism. Whoever is keeping score be informed: I’m not going to get this perfect. I am self-absorbed at times just trying to survive or to indulge my pathetic self, but I intend to pay attention. I do take notes.

Jesus, thank you for forgiving my sins. I ask you to help me erase the WW from my brand—the way people perceive me.


© 2015 D. Dean Benton
Writer, Wonderer, Ponderer, Meanderer

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