Long ago and far away when I played third base for the Saraperos de Saltillo in the Mexican Baseball League, I spent a year traveling from city to city through the dust and grime of various Mexican bergs with about 40 other young men as we bused from game to game.
These were the days before Walkmen and iPods, before even boom-boxes. These were the days when we were lithe and alive and full of hope about the future.
It's a common thing today for people to say they want to change the world, they want to make an impact. They want to make pollution-free cars, or traffic-free cities, or cold-fusion warm toast or they want bring clean water to remote villages in something-or-other-stan.
I've never harbored any such illusions. And certainly did not 40 years ago when I was just 17 and more interested, of course, in the rewards of the flesh and in, perhaps, slamming a clean double down the line. Those two pursuits were more than enough for me.
There's a Jewish notion called Tikkun Olam--repairing the world. I could be wrong, but I've always interpreted it this way: If you help one person, if you've saved one person, if you've raised one person, loved one person, you are doing the job, your job of repairing, repairing the world.
If everyone was a decent sort, doing kindnesses, doing--in the parlance of today--a solid, well the world would be a better place.
When I played ball, I never tried to hit a grand slam when no one was on base.
I never tried to win the game with one swing. I just tried to move the runner over, or get on base, or put wood or leather on the ball. Maybe by doing my job, in as exemplary a manner as I could, I could make the guys ahead of me or behind me in the line-up do their's.
Maybe by raising children who are good citizens of the world, and loving, caring, human beings to boot, maybe that's how you heal the world.
I find it's the same at work.
So I do my best. My best according to my brains and my skill and my craft and my judgment. I can't and won't browbeat others into doing the same. I can only control what I can control.
I write my copy, rag my rags, read my proofs.
And maybe repair what needs repair.