Friday, February 21, 2014


After literally months of what used to be normal winter weather that we now regard as the coming of the apocalypse, things have at last, or at least for the time-being, warmed up in New York.

The soot and carbon monoxide crusted snow has all but melted, except for some still persistent neolithic-looking mounds that rise dark and mysterious like ancient burial sites.

Warmer temperatures came yesterday and are meant to come again this weekend (that is, if this weekend ever does arise.) The streets are dotted with puddles of deep grey slurry, obscuring the potholes beneath that further bang the crap out of 300,000-mile taxi cabs.

Yesterday, however, the sun shown. The temp nudged into the 40s and you could almost feel baseball in the air. I know we might be in for more winter weather, and this glimpse of spring might be passing, but the fact that it was there at all was enough to give you hope.

Over the past few years, dozens of new forms of exercise have sprung up. Women who prize the porcelain delicacy of their well-pedicured feet talk unashamedly of going to boot-camp. Others who have never even made tea with a kettle grunt over a heavy apparatus called a kettleball. Still others talk about strengthening their core, while I worry about the weakness of their souls.

For me, still fighting a losing battle with my summer's travails, (my heart still palpitates with almost any exertions--a lingering effect of my lingering pericarditis) I too want to get back in the exercise swing of things.

But I don't want to ride a stationary bike in the gym, or sweat on what my Uncle Slappy calls the "epileptical." Nor do I want to lift weights or deal, like Rich Siegel, with the tedium of water and chlorine.

Instead I want to buy ten beautiful white baseballs and hire a kid from Collegiate or Dalton and play catch.

Catch, if you've never played it, is a beautiful thing. An hour or so of loose throwing, chatting, transferring your weight and loosely flapping your right arm. Slap, whoosh, slap, whoosh.

I think about hiring a junior varsity player from some prep school for $20 an hour. But of course, it's something you can't do today. Have catch with a young man. Someone would suspect I was a incipient pederast or that I had some sort of prurient interest in something other than just having a catch.

Having had daughters I never had a catch companion. They weren't interested in baseball no matter how I tried and, in fact, they never really understood the delightful monotony of an hour of catch. I guess it's not that different from an hour of hitting a tennis ball back and forth, or driving golf balls. But somehow the to-ing and fro-ing is easier with catch, more methodical.

Donald Hall, the great poet, wrote a book of essays that's one of my favorites. I recommend it and no one reads it. Such is my life. It's called "Fathers Playing Catch with Sons." You can find it here. It's a soft and gentle book about softer and gentler times.

That's all for now.

I have to field some client problems.

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