It started with a scratchy throat. Some sneezing. Some more sneezing. A headache. I was tired. And then it dawned on me. I was sick!
Look, I haven’t been sick in fourteen months. Isolating and wearing masks kept pesky germs away. But now I’m vaccinated against Covid, so I’ve been playing it looser with masks. We had dinner with vaccinated friends the other night. I’ve been returning to the lost art of face-to-face improv theatre. So germs have been circulating. And some must have crawled into my nose. My immune system has been on vacation. Having a drink on a beach in Cancun. Like Ted Cruz. But I called it out of retirement. To take care of my scratchy throat. My sneezing and headache and exhaustion, too. Go get ’em, white blood cells. Fly my pretties. If you remember how to fly.
Remember the witch from the Wizard of Oz? Remember when she tells her monkeys to fly? And she calls them her pretties? Well, I remember watching the movie as a kid. When it was a big deal to watch a movie like that on TV. ABC and NBC and CBS and all that. And I remember thinking that the monkeys in Wizard of Oz looked like my grandmother. I told my parents as much. They died laughing. Not actually. But you know what I mean.
Funny the things we remember.
“You better not get the boys sick,” my wife Katie told me pointedly. “I don’t want them missing their last few days of school.”
Sickness came upon me the week that our boys were finishing school. The final days of first grade for Solomon. The final days of kindergarten for Samson.
“Do you need to go hang out in the basement so we don’t get your germs?” Katie asked me.
“So I’m banished?” I replied. I pronounced banished like banish-ed-ed. The way that a Shakespearean actor would say it in a production of Romeo and Juliet from the late 50’s.
“Yeah,” Katie sad. “You are.”
I quarantined in the basement for an evening. I played Out of the Park Baseball ’21 on my laptop. What a baseball simulator. Do you know what I’ve learned from playing too many seasons of Out of the Park Baseball? The Minnesota Twins should fire Falvey and Levine. Hire Tanner. I’d have a dynasty on our hands in no time. Trade Sano and Berrios and Buxton before you could blink. Gather some prospects. Invest our budget in player development and scouting instead of a fat contract for Josh Donaldson. Go to work chasing an elusive World Series title. It’s been a long time since 1991. And if Out of the Park Baseball has shown us anything, it is that Tanner can end that drought.
About ending droughts: My cold-like symptoms came and went. I survived. The White Blood Cells did their work. And the boys finished their last few days of school without so much as a sneeze.
And then summer fell upon us.
I love my children. They are beautiful boys. So smart and creative and fierce. They are also very loud. And very energetic. And very loud. Did I mention they are loud? What I’m getting at is this. I don’t know if I can handle a summer at home with them.
Look, it’s been fourteen months. We’ve spent countless hours in very close proximity with each other. Think about this with me for a moment:
Solomon has a stuffed Creeper. A Creeper is a green character from the video game Minecraft. Solomon named his stuffed Creeper Baby Jasper. Baby Jasper likes to scream and yell and scream. Really, it’s Solomon who likes to yell and scream and yell. It just comes out through Baby Jasper.
“Baby Jasper, you better stop screaming,” Solomon tells the stuffed animal.
“Aiiiiiiieeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!” Baby Jasper says.
Rinse and repeat. Four hours later, and Solomon isn’t remotely tired. Sadly, neither is Baby Jasper. Pray for me.
I’ve been listening to Jasper scream and yell and scream for months. So school has been a welcome respite. The boys go out in the world with other children. And other adults. And I get a moment to catch my breath. Katie does too. But those days are ending now.
We signed the boys up for a basketball camp. And we’re still trying to figure out what sort of travel we feel comfortable with. We will have to fill the days with something besides screaming. Well, I will.
Sickness came and went. The school year came and went. And now we fly into summer, my pretties. And I hope that the flight is pretty. Unlike the flight of a pitch from Matt Shoemaker towards home plate. That is not a very pretty flight at all.