Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Distinction Between Perspective & Point of View

I came home last night from playing softball seriously pissed off. I was beyond annoyed at a combination of things - not the least of which was my own atrocious play or the fact that we lost our final regular season game in the bottom of the 7th and final inning. The cherry on top was that we lost to the team on which the guy who pitched for us last season now pitches. The decision to part company was ours - not his (think the slow-pitch softball version of Carl Pavano) and he has never been missed - either for his on-the-field performance or his off-the-field stupidity.

He reminded us again last night, by insulting one of his former teammates on a couple of separate occasions, what a complete horse's ass he is. And perhaps the single-most pathetic element of his personality is that he is not a child. He is a middle-aged man - fast approaching sixty. Had my oldest brother Bill's ability to think, to comprehend and to interact with the rest of the world failed to mature beyond age six, then he and "OP" would have something in common other than age. Believe me they do not.

Nevertheless as angry as I was last night when I initially arrived home, it took about 60 seconds to be reminded of what is really worth being angry about and what is truly important in this world. And it most certainly is not slow-pitch softball.

This morning, Margaret's dad Joe shall go for a biopsy. Having played the supporting role on too many hospital visits to count with his beloved Suzy over the course of the final five years of her life, this shall be his day in the white hot spotlight. While he has publicly declared that he feels well and that all is good, one suspects that he is prognosticating more than reporting the news.

We now are on the cusp of what is my least favorite (well second least favorite) part of the process: the waiting. For while Margaret and Joe shall go for the test tomorrow, he will likely not know the results for a couple of days. And while we wait, we will wonder. And hope. And pray. Pray for the result he deserves - the result that he and Margaret and the rest of the family all deserve.

And as if Joe's travails were not enough to make one appreciate what truly is important in life, I arrived home last night to learn that one of the world's truly great human beings - Evan Peterson - is back on the battlefield in his own struggle against cancer. Several months ago, he had gotten clean, ultra-positive test results and was on top of the world. Now, his son Chris reports that there is concern that the bastard - or some variation of it - has returned.

Evan Peterson is a man I have had the privilege of knowing for most of my life. On the Sunday morning in 1981 when my father died in my parents' bed at our home in Neshanic Station - about an hour's ride from anywhere - the first person who arrived at the scene to assist my mom, Kara, Jill and me was Evan Peterson. How it was he made it to our home from his own so early on that Sunday morning remains - almost thirty years later - remains a mystery to me. All I know is that on that morning when we needed him, he was there. And in the years following my old man's death, when I was plotting a course for self-destruction, he prevented me from doing so. To say I shall be eternally grateful is an understatement.

This week, two men of significance in my life and in the lives of many people I know and love shall once again have to endure their time in the cross hairs. As one always does, they shall continue to hope for the best and work towards achieving that result. And once again all that those of us who care them and who love them can do is hope and pray. And then do it some more. Over and over and over.

-AK

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