Sunday, August 17, 2003

How I Got Connie Evingson's Pants or Why a Balk is Called a Balk

A couple of week(ends) ago I had a choice to make although not really. Which is kinda like life but not exactly. With a ring like (or is it Target-like?) rash appearing just above my knee (kinda itchy, kinda stinging) and the ensuing Lyme disease symptoms that appeared a short time later (in my head and maybe in my body) I am a boy with limited energy these days. It was the weekend of my twentieth high school reunion (man am I getting old), the weekend the Minnesota Twins were giving away a Corey Koskie bobblehead, and the weekend that Bob Dylan was playing as close as he's gonna get to the Twin Cities this year- just across the borderline in Somerset Wisconsin. I knew I was gonna go to one and one only and the choice was as daunting as the choice between Dennis Kucinich, Howard Dean, and Carol Mosley-Brown.

When I received my invitation to my reunion, a mere few weeks before the event was to occur, it occurred to me that no matter how much I hated high school (and believe me there is no one still alive that hated high school more than I) that I should go and put on a show- after all that is all I did for the three years I actually attended Frank B. Kellogg Senior High just outside of downtown Little Canada Minnesota. For all the misery I went through back then I thought I'd get even and balance the scales and show the happy go lucky side of me that now permeates my personality- I'd mess with my classmates minds by bringing two of my female friends, introducing one as my wife and one as my mistress and showing pictures of the multitude of children I've had with both and others. When asked what I do for a living (something in reality I'm not entirely clear about) I'd of course tell everyone I was a choreoanimator (the person who designs the dance routines for cartoon characters). I'd leave them all wondering about me (again continuing the pattern established in the early 1980's) especially that darn Bernice (who was either my drill sergeant in the army or the girl who crushed my heart by dating a senior in our freshman year and holding hands with him in my presence).

But a certain refrain from the most relevant Bob Dylan song to me kept echoing in my mind, "People are crazy and times are strange/I'm locked in tight, I'm out of rage/I used to care but things have changed..." In other words (somewhat my own), why bother? So a fleeting thought was instead given to trying to add to my collection of bobbleheads, the most impressive part of my admittedly lame home decor. The thought of sitting on the hard concrete surrounding America's second to the worst baseball stadium in the hot humid air to get the best hitter from a team of underachievers just didn't appeal to me. I think my love of the jiggling noggins is starting to wane.

So instead I listened to what was wailing in my heart (a rare occurrence these days even though it's all I've ever known to do) and instead found myself seated and waiting on the sharp gravel outside the gates of the Float-Rite Park in Somerset, a mere stone's throw from downtown Hudson. I was with the lovely former music editor of the Minnesota Daily who happened to be in kindergarten just about the time I was graduating from high school. I could hear the woo hoos from the guys who I tended to hang with in high school, the woo hooers, that I was where I was with who I was with. But I wasn't even thinking in the same universe as I'm sure they'd be thinking. I was glad that I was attending a Dylan show with someone who was just as much of a fan as I am, who'd get a kick that he added the lyric "She had eyes of blue, and blue hair too" to "If You See Her Say Hello" (Sgt. Bernice) just as much as I did.

So go ahead B- and eat all the sushi you can eat for $27.95 and go ahead and pick all those ripening yellow tomatoes and odd shaped cucumbers from your once weeded home garden. You are where you are and I am where I am. And that's all that matters (or can exist) anymore. And you haven't lived nor should you presume you know me until you see my gliding around the bases of a dusty softball field (I'm gonna have to take up golf one of these days to acknowledge my frightening age) carefree for a fleeting moment even as my legs are betraying me during an all day softball tournament where we finished fourth out of eight teams and I did my part playing third base- the same position as Corey Koskie (but truth be told, I'm more like Denny Hocking).

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