I wrote the following post one year ago today on my other blog “idiosyncratic wind”.  I will have new, fresh, and super awesome  material Thursday.  For now, enjoy the long-winded musings of a year ago.

a new picture for an old post

The other day I was in my office while the girls were playing in their playroom. By the way, what makes this room I am in an office? Is it the computer? Or the fact that saying I’m “in my office” sounds more professional than saying I’m “in my re-created dorm room”. Really, that is what it is – lava lamp and all.

Mae and Haze were playing ice-cream truck, and I knew something was coming; they were getting along too well, laughing a bit too much, and sharing everything – it was a matter of time. Sure enough, Growl. Wrestling. Crying.

“Mae, What is going on?” poor Mae, she can talk, Haze can’t, she gets all the questions and the lions share of the blame.

“I, well, I…she was taking my purse”

“and what di…” she jumped on my “…d you do” – it has been asked enough.

“Well, she took my purse and I got it back.”

“Did you hit her?” (What a dance this is, huh.)

“Yah, but only cause she was growling at me”.

“Go take a break” and then I turn to Haze “Are you okay sweetie?”. I laugh so hard while I write this. I’m sure over my shoulder Haze gives a bit of a grin through the tears at Mae as she makes her way to her room – turning back to me with her lower lip quivering. I’ll work on this…

We get out at least once a day, and much to the chagrin of my minivan passengers (all eleven when you count hippo, Destiny, and Shadow – riding shot-gun – Haze and Mae in the middle – and doll 1, doll 2, Jack the bear, Oscar, bunny and some other brown bear with a name in the far back. I’m sure there are some stragglers that Mae hasn’t taken the time to belt in safely) about 75% of the time we are going somewhere during the day I listen to talk radio. I span the dial without one “voice” specifically engaging my thoughts: NPR, ESPN, local left and right, and national left and right – is there a middle anymore? Anymore? Talk radio seems to calm my passengers and offer me the opportunity to hear an adult voice with an adult point of view during the day – not that they make any more sense than Mae, Haze, and the goofy kid at the children’s museum that brings me fake food, but I can drift off in thoughts that someone outside my immediate sphere has created. I do like to listen to hosts who run contrary to my view of the world. I enjoy getting worked up and talking to someone who can’t hear me. “What’s that daddy? What does it mean to “live in reality”” she’s listening again? “Oh nothing Mae, just talking to the guy on the radio.” “But he can’t hear you. That’s pretty weird dad” “I know.” she used to say the same thing when I would talk to other drivers – I don’t do that as much anymore.

Yesterday we went to the children’s museum downtown. Our first stop was “the spring”, where we fed the geese, pigeons, ducks and fish our left over breakfast sausage (mmm), learned to say “get, get, get” to the approaching birds (h. was darn good at this), and sweat our brains out on a “nice” walk that ended at the museum. While at the museum I filled up on plastic potatoes, eggs, and corn, Mae and Haze played with other kids, and we fished for squid on the riverboat.

On our way home “we” were listening to ESPN radio. The show was “the herd” with Colin Cowherd. He generally has an interesting slant on sports, people love or don’t like him, and he, self-proclaiming (not a word but it works) gets to the heart of the matter and doesn’t spend too much time dinking around. He was talking about instant replay in baseball. Not a new topic by any means. He believed, or was saying he believed, that we should get over the “human error is necessary to the sport” way of thinking and embrace technology. Part of his rational was the fact that people pay incredible amounts of money to see the game (he shared that his friend with three kids and a wife paid $500 to see the red sox play the royals – $67 for tickets x5, $40 for parking and $100 for food. ouch.), and that the outcome should be correct – he claims they owe it to the fans to get it right.

As far as I am concerned he couldn’t be further from reality. People watch sports because it stirs us with emotion. We live and die by our team’s performance. We also live and die by the calls that the umps, refs, and other officials make. We love heckling a ump after a bad call, we love to argue with other fans about bad/good calls, we love to claim that the only reason we lost was because “the ump had his head in his rear” – we enjoy feeling that we have a say in the game. If you take that away, and get closer to perfection, you take away a large chunk of sports fans emotional release – the reason we go to games, concerts and movies – to escape. If our escape resembles the perfection that is asked of us at our jobs, by our children, or other avenues where admitting weakness is forbade – what do we have? It takes away our ability to argue, complain, and shout – and sometimes laugh in a setting where it is acceptable. Yes, we can still do those things at games when our team over/under performs, but there is something about releasing your aggression on a third seemingly helpless party. It couldn’t have been my team that lost or was beat by “those” guys – it was the umps.

This style of thinking creeps into many areas of our lives. Listen to the radio, read opinion columns in the paper, or eavesdrop at the supermarket. Couldn’t have been my kid or my parenting – must have been the teachers, couldn’t be my lack of performance – my boss is a jerk, couldn’t have been the fact I didn’t check my blind spot – stupid car. That’s my favorite – blaming inanimate objects. We have all done it. Stub your toe on a chair “stupid chair” and kick it for good measure.

Blame. We used to refer to it at school as the “blame game”. We would teach the kids to look at themselves, their role in a situation, and what they can change rather than blaming someone else for what happened. A great concept. One I agree with. We can lose far too much time looking to whom we can blame for our situations.

But, you know what? Sometimes there is someone to blame and they shouldn’t get away with what they have been/are doing because we are too afraid to look like “complainers”. “Toughen up” they say. “Go get your own if you want it”, but how can I when you are holding all the pieces – and not just the pieces but the game board, box and receipt to take it back.

Damn. It is okay to say “You know what – you. You are to blame for this situation” whatever it is. Don’t get lost in the blame, but make sure that we all know whom it is. If I were the government I would be lobbying like hell to keep instant replay out of baseball. People need that release. An appropriate third-party in a mask to unleash our frustrations on. I believe that we need to accept our role in situations and decide how “we” are going to proceed, but we need to get together as humans and decide what we are really arguing about. What has really created this divide in the nation (right/left) or the divide in the world (religion)? These seem to be the avenues that “they” have left us to decide who our team is. “They” are the umps and claim that every call is perfect – for their fans. “They” have instant replay, but don’t slow it down for us. “They” re-write reality and expect that, as fans, our undying allegiance staves off questions. Wait. “We” are “they”.

What are we doing? I don’t live in the clouds or claim to not play into sides, but I get frustrated that people have limited themselves to the color of a jersey. Time we start heckling the refs a bit more. Don’t give them the ability to look at a replay and be “perfect” – let’s hold us to our initial call, examine the reason for the call, and make changes if necessary. I am certain that this would evoke more confidence in people. We would all be, well, fallible – perhaps we could then be more understanding. It appears when we are able to expose our weaknesses – we can grow. We wouldn’t expose our weaknesses if we didn’t understand that there was a greater “thing” we could become.

…After 3 minutes, and Haze having calmed down, I let Mae out of her room. I asked them to hug and make up. Mae Said “sorry”, Haze said “sorry”, Mae explained to Haze that she doesn’t have to be sorry, and I stepped in to tell them to get ready for nap. They both looked at me. I should have been wearing my black and white shirt.