Thursday, October 07, 2004

I am going to spend today goofing around. My wife says I spend most days goofing around, but what does she know? I probably work as hard as, say, The President of the United States, even. Well, except that I don't get to mountain bike or lift weights every day, and I don't watch ESPN News Center every day...Oh, and frankly Folks, I pretty much never watch a live baseball game, let alone do it every single day. I do want to take a nap after lunch but I don't get to do it most days like the Prez.

I did take a long nap the day after the Allman Brothers concert just so I could stay awake through the whole Veep debate. I was worried that the nap would keep me awake the rest of the night, but, afterwards, I slept like a big old baby. I am older than I was, by the way.

Double Nickels!


At 10:45 am this morning, October 7, 2004, I will celebrate the fifty-fifth anniversary of my personal gift to the world...Being born!

It was probably the most notable event in my life, being born...Without that having happened, so much of the rest of my life would still be a mystery. That is to say, nonexistent. As it turns out, I am very fond of existing, so I am grateful to Joe and Betty for going to the trouble to make me happen. I hope they had fun, such as it was in late winter of that fateful year, for I, myself, am the announcement to the world that Joe and Betty Scarborough did not have safe sex at least once in 1949. Their gift to the!

OK, there were more "gifts" to follow, which cut into my exclusivity, but hey, it's my birthday and I get to try and enjoy it a little, OK?

So anyway, at 10:45 am on October 7, 1949, in the town of Dublin, Georgia, a man named Ty Cobb Jr., who had previously been disowned by his father for becoming a doctor instead of pursuing a baseball career, reportedly smacked my ass and I started squalling. To hear some folks tell it, the squalling has continued pretty much unabated for the last Fffty five years and shows no sign of letting up.

Yes, I have often thought about the Ty Cobb connection. I wish he had been a more agreeable man. He was not thought of as a nice person, though he was a hell of a baseball player. A "rules-smules" kind of player, he was into the win-at-all-costs thing, sometimes using a grinding wheel before games to let the other team see him sharpening his cleats. I suppose I would have gotten into the world anyway if his son had made a different career choice, the events set in motion in the winter of 49 being essentially unstoppable.

I would have liked to have met Ty Cobb jr. From the accounts I have, he was a person of character and well liked, unlike his father, who was just a character. He is now a legend but what did he really leave for the world? I know about the really cool old photos with Babe Ruth, Lou Gherig, and the other New York Yankees, but what did Ty Cobb give the world? If you leave out his son, not much!

But he did give us his child, as did Joe and Betty... I have also carried on this tradition. Somehow or another, Ty Cobb produced a good child in Ty Cobb jr. This is a high calling. Perhaps the highest demanded of us humans. Ty Cobb jr. grew up and placed himself in the service of others by becoming a doctor in a small rural Georgia town. His father never forgave him.

This was a time when all doctors had a "house call" bag and probably saw more patients at their own homes than they did in an office. The bag was black and opened up and sort of folded out to reveal tongue depressors (washable not disposable), a physician's light, and the most hugest syringes and needles you ever saw waiting to terrify a sick child. As one of those children, I always associated doctors with fear and pain. Still do, sorry. As an adult I have finally gotten myself to where I can take a shot without cringing in expectant fear, every muscle tensed awaiting the agony about to infold when that instrument of pain, the doctor, would pierce me with a metal rod dulled to a bludgeon tip, bruising deeply into my flesh and then injecting liquid fire into my insides. Then I got old, my parts wore out, I was introduced to the cortisone shot, and agony took on a new definition. Old Doctor Watkins, the first doctor I actually remember, was a pretty mellow dude and didn't hurt me all that much after all. Flu shots are nothing. The "Black Bag" was a thing of life and salvation after all!

I never saw Doctor Cobb's black bag. He died of a brain tumor six months after I was born.

Thanks, Doc...Wish I could have met you! If we could chat, I would tell you that 55 years later, things go pretty well. The kids you helped come into the world have also brought kids into the world and some of them have kids too, but not mine so a late start. I'm sitting in a beautiful spot and this morning a couple of eagles and great blue herons have come by to wish me happy birthday. Well actually the eagles didn't say anything and the blue heron said something that sounded like a cross between a dinosaur chirp and a bowl of hot chili landing on a large frog. I'm sure it was heron for, "good wishes on your special day, Steve. Have fun today, but make sure you get the kids to soccer practice and don't forget about the school board meeting tonight."

Stupid bird...



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