Morning comes the sunrise and I’m driven to my bed
I see that it is empty and there’s devils in my head
I embrace the many-colored beast
I grow weary of the torment, can there be no peace?
And I find myself just wishing that my life would simply cease
I saw a squirrel running across the street today, with a full slice of pepperoni pizza in his mouth. He had the crust end in his teeth, and the pointed end out ahead of him. Hauling ass.
That has to be an omen of some kind, a portent of something. Only, I have no idea what; and I have even less of an idea of how to look it up and find out.
At the time, I was on the way to my ex uncle-in-law’s house, to bring him a tubing plum set for an IV pump, the kind with the cartridge at the end of the tube, instead of a filter.
Long story, but I’ll get to it …
By the way, after a shockingly brief World Series just past, the hot stove season is now upon us. I was listening to the MLB channel on XM today, and there was already news of roster moves, option buyouts, potential free agent signings, etc. Some people call the off season The Void, I presume with negative connotations intended; but, in fact, I enjoy it. There is a steady if modest stream of baseball news, almost all winter long. Except for during the winter meetings, which are a lot of fun in their own right, there is just enough actual news day-to-day to keep the hibernating baseball aficionado inside of me sustained, without overdoing it to the point I am driven to distraction.
I miss the actual games, sure; but spring training will get here soon enough. Anyway, the games are a big part of why I have always been such a fan, but not the only part. All the peripheral stuff interests me, as well; and without the season and the pennant races, etc., to drown it out, the ancillary baseball stuff can be savored a little. The off season is when I learn about the byzantine rules of player movement, options, club control, type A or B or Z or whatever free agents, etc. That kind of stuff goes right by me during the season, but in the off season I have time to listen, and ponder, and learn.
It is sort of like if you took a song you really liked, and mixed out the lyrics. Kicked back with the headphones on … and now you hear your song in a different way. Maybe you understand it a little better, without the lyrics/vocals to distract you. You learn new things about it. And when you hear the song all put back together again, you hear it a bit differently than before. You feel like you understand it a little better, and you enjoy it even more.
That is what the off-season is to me. Not a void, but a quiet time, to learn more about the subtleties of the game I love so much. When next season gets here, I’ll be good and ready. And, hopefully, a little wiser. Baseball-wise, I mean.
There is this nurse, maybe a few years younger than I. I know her, but not all that well. So I was a bit surprised when she told me the other day that she has been having lurid sex dreams about the two of us, off and on, for a couple of months now. Wow. She is decent looking and all, and really nice, but I am not interested in her in that way, and she knows it. And she has told me that, in the waking world, she doesn’t feel strongly about me in that way, either. But she said she lies in bed at night and thinks about the normal, everyday stuff we all think about just before we fall off to sleep; then sleep comes, and then she soon finds herself involved in these graphic dreams, so lurid that sometimes she wakes up aroused. Now, that’s fucked up.
She lives with some guy, and he hasn’t a clue. Probably thinks that smile on her face when she is sleeping is because of him. He should think that, too. Most guys would. The fact that in her dream she is far, far away from him, writhing around with someone he doesn’t even know …
The universe is fucked up, man; fucked up in some basic ways. We look out into space and we see the smooth, starry sky, the Milky Way, the evenly expanding universe. But there are anomalies, rents in the fabric here and there. There are folds in the otherwise smooth surface that throw everything off. I don’t know the reason why a girl has dreams about screaming, wild sex with a guy she only cares for as a friend, as he does her. She should be dreaming that stuff about the dude lying next to her, who gets up every morning and busts his ass to earn the money to help them keep a household, who loves her plainly and simply, as she does him. That is who she should be dreaming of.
Not of me.
It’s just fucked up, like I said. And I intend to get to the bottom of it, if I’ve got to go to fucking Mars and back to do it. I’ll let you know, when I find out.
I didn’t feel too strongly about either team in the World Series just past. Both played admirably, I thought. We can argue all day about whether the Giants pitching was simply dominant, or that something (the post-LCS layoff?) caused the Tigers to simply stop hitting, at the worst possible time.
Doesn’t matter now. The games we got were baseball at its best. Many will remember this series in conjunction with its MVP, Pablo Sandoval, the Panda. Some will remember it for Sergio Romo, the Giants bearded, slider-throwing, lights-out closer. Personally, the lasting image I will take from this series is of Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum. Specifically of Lincecum, standing out on the mound, all tall and skinny and long-haired. Lincecum, once the Giants #1 starter and a multiple Cy Young winner, had a trying season; so much so that he was relegated to bullpen work for the post-season. But instead of pouting about it, or feeling sorry for himself, he decided to do whatever he needed to, to insure his team would have the best chance to win. And the thing he did, in the LCS and the World Series, was come out of the bullpen several times at key points in the middle innings, and simply blow the opposition away, boom-boom-boom, just like in his glory days.
Lincecum is still young, and I don’t doubt much he will come back from his troublesome 2012 regular season, and be a top-of-the-line starter for many seasons to come. But I think my most vivid memory of him from now on will be of him coming out of the bullpen at a pivotal moment in the game; all eyes on him as he stands out there on the mound, in the middle of the field, in the middle of the storm … he is calling on something deep within himself, and then steps up and toes the rubber, and takes care of business, time after time.
Probably my favorite player in all of baseball, now.
Dusk was approaching, and the evening air was cool, dry, and comfortable. I was sitting on the deck in the backyard of my new house, post-cookout, savoring maybe my fourth or seventh Miller Lite pint of the day. Who knows? I don’t usually count.
I’ve been on a serious Stones kick lately, and I had Let It Bleed playing over the outdoor speakers, pretty fucking loud, too. As Keith Richards launched into the searing, apocalyptic opening chord run of “Gimme Shelter”, I had a shiver run all the way through me. It wasn’t the weather that gave me goose bumps. I looked up and saw my next door neighbor, Ted, sitting in an adjacent lawn chair, a beer in his hands, his eyes closed and his head nodding slightly, to the music. He was smiling.
In the whole great universe, there are many wonderful things to see. I was thinking about that, sitting there rocking to the music, and I’d closed my eyes now, too. I imagined a vivid image taken from outer space, from the kind of spy satellite that can take vivid pictures of the most minute details of things down on the earth. For some reason, on this day, out of all the awesome things on the planet they could zoom in on and look at, the guys operating the satellite decided to zoom in on my postage stamp-sized backyard (I recently moved into a garden home, of all things) in the tree-lined west end of Beaumont, near the Gulf of Mexico, in Southeast Texas.
And what they saw, in vivid detail, was two middle-aged guys sitting in lawn chairs, beers in hand, eyes closed and heads bobbing in rhythm to something, some type of music, it seemed. It was probably the least important thing going on, on the entire Earth at that moment. Seriously, the satellite guys should have been looking for nuclear plants in Iran, or Al Qaeda camps in the Sudan, or something. Somehow, though, they found the sight of these two guys in lawn chairs, perfectly at peace, with the weather, with their lives, and their beers, and whatever the fuck music they were listening to … they found the sight of Ted and I so compelling for some reason that they couldn’t pan away, while meanwhile trucks full of weapons grade plutonium were rolling across the desert north of Tehran …
People are forever seeking inner peace; and they’ll climb to the mountaintop, move to the desert, blast themselves out and up amongst the stars, trying to find it. And good luck to them, too. It is just that some of us found out you don’t have to go very far to find inner peace. Sometimes it comes with the simplest details, in the most mundane surroundings. Not a breathtaking vista in the Himalayas, not the austere, terrible beauty in the heart of the Sahara, or the Gobi, or … sometimes you can find your peace right where you live, in the smallest events, in the simplest details. The reason I shivered at the beginning of “Gimme Shelter” is because the perhaps unlikely combination of 60 degree weather, and Keith Richards playing lead guitar on one of the best songs ever written by anyone, and Miller Lite, and my friend Ted, brought to me a profound feeling of well-being and peace, right there on my 10 x 10 deck in my small backyard in the wild West End, Beaumont, TX, USA, Planet Earth, Milky Way, Universe, 77706. I didn’t need Sherpa’s or a Land Rover or a Saturn 5 rocket to find it. Just a couple of nine-packs of these bad-ass Miller Lite pints in aluminum bottles, a kick-ass outdoor stereo system that came with the house, the second of four straight fucking awesome LPs by the greatest band of them all, and my neighbor Ted, who I have known for maybe two months now. That’s it.
The say you can see God in the tiniest details. I am not going to say you cannot. But, if so, maybe God sees us in the tiniest details, too.
Ponder that over your next nine-pack, while listening to the Stones, in your backyard, with your neighbor. Then tell me if I am right or I am wrong.