One of the great things about writing this blog is the people who tell me about reading it. Sometimes it reminds them of an experience or memory they had; sometimes they agree with what I say (and sometimes they disagree, but as the kids say, it’s all good). I appreciate everyone who takes the time to read this and to let me know that they have read it. One lady of my acquaintance who is both fashionable and intelligent said to me a few weeks ago, “I really liked what you said in your column this week.”
I quickly began thinking of all the insightful and resonant ideas and images that were in the piece. However, as sometimes happens, I couldn’t remember what it was about. “Which one in particular?” I asked her, stalling for time and insight.
“I liked where you said you were easily amused,” she answered. “That’s really important.” She went on to say if more people were easily amused the world would be a better place. I thought hers was a great insight. And it is so true that I am easily amused.
One interest that I have that proves I am easily amused is that I like baseball. I know, some people would rather watch paint dry than sit through a baseball game, but even with the long periods of time in a game where it seems nothing is happening (or actually nothing is happening), baseball fascinates me. There is such subtlety to the game and so many combinations of circumstance. Did you know, for example, there are eight ways for a batter to reach first base? (Answers at the end of this piece.)
I am also entertained by grocery stores. Most people, I would say, go to grocery stores to buy food and most of them find the trip a necessity. I could spend all day in a grocery store. There is such an abundance and variety. There is produce no one has ever heard of! There are ten or twelve varieties of potato chips! There are dozens of kinds of cheese! There is so much to look at, I would think anyone would be amused by it all. We are fortunate to have such choice. Prices, of course, are another matter that we won’t go into here.
I also find certain programs on television fascinating. One is Unwrapped on the Food Channel. This program is hosted by Marc Summers who used to emcee a program called Double Dare which my children loved. One of the features of Double Dare which kids couldn’t get enough of was the regular sliming of people on the show. The slime was a nasty-looking green stuff that poured from the ceiling onto some of the hapless youngsters at intervals. I was never sure why. Anyhow, after watching Unwrapped for a while, it occurred to me that many of the programs are much the same. They deal with the mass production of a food (cookies, potato chips, taco shells). The process starts with thousands of pounds of ingredients being combined in huge mixers. Then the dough or batter or whatever results from the mixing is dealt out by huge automated machines. Then it’s baked in an oven hundreds of feet long, packaged, put into boxes and shipped to consumers. Although I can predict how the product is going to be made, there’s still plenty to keep my interest. Who designs these machines? How long do they last? How can people stand all day culling rejects? What happens when one of the machines breaks down? Who fixes them? You can see that there is much to think about.
I hope you have some things that amuse and entertain you. There’s something almost everywhere you look, if you think about it. And oh, the eight ways to get to first base? 1) hit, 2) walk, 3) hit by pitch, 4) reach on an error, and 5) reach on a fielder's choice, 6) catcher drops strike three, and the batter reaches first without being put out; 7) catcher's interference; and 8) a fielder obstructs the runner on his way down to first base. Now you know!