Monday, June 26, 2006

Argentinian Insomnia

This is why I stopped following sports. I am awake and anxious when I need to be sleeping to prepare for the all-day toddler onslaught tomorrow holds for me. Here I sit having already web-browsed team stats for 45 minutes, discussed Germany's ongoing keeper saga, downloaded photos from the Sweden game... and now wondering what theological bargain I have to get into for Germany to get past Argentina tomorrow. Unluckily for me, my theology doesn't allow for a divine creator pulling strings for a soccer team. Maybe I could convert just for tomorrow? (Now I'm kidding.)

This is insanity. And this is me on sports. I dropped the sports habit in '93 or '94 after screaming raging obscenities at the television set when "my" Knicks lost the NBA title. I think I actually cried that night. It was absurd and would have been laughable had I not been so ridiculously sincere. I've tried to watch no more than two games of any team in any sport since then. Until this World Cup. And I am up to my ears in the Cup.

There's a story here. Not a good one, but a story. I was in Germany during the '90 Cup. I knew nothing about soccer and walked around my host family's neighborhood during the games because the screaming was too loud in their house. I remember hearing hollers of "Klinsi! Klinsi!" coming out of every home in the neighborhood. (Jurgen Klinsmann was a striker then. He's the coach now, and bless you if you didn't know that.) Upon my return to the states, my mother met me at the airport waving the German flag (it was upside down, but the thought was sweet) and took me straight home so my brother and I could watch the Final. I screamed at the television in jetlagged German echoing the mishmash of hoots I'd heard in Germany. "We" won.

After my Knicks incident I didn't allow any further sports mania, but I peeked in the sports section of the paper, "accidentally" turned on ESPN sometimes, and even took my infant daughter and toddler son to a live minor league baseball game. When I heard that Klinsi was coach this year... well, I thought I could handle it. Thought I could control it. I should have known better.

Now I will go to bed. I will mumble the serenity prayer. I will think about all the happy things that come from a sports-free life. I will wish a bad sushi event on the Argentinians. I will feel guilty and un-wish it. Eventually, I will call myself one of the few slang words of German I still remember and go to sleep.

After this, I mean it.
No more sports.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

German Soccer Fan. Talk Among Yourselves.

I have one sport and I only watch it once every four years.
Soccer's the game.
Germany's the team.
World Cup's the event.

Talk to you later.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Prepared Parents

My neighborhood has been rocked by the sudden death of Margie Robinson-Jeter age 41, married and mother of two beautiful children under the age of 10. She was a talented, beautiful, compassionate woman. I had only met her in a few large social occasions and did not know her personally, but I know some of her friends. And I know many parents of small children.

As a minister, I often remind my older congregants to have their affairs in order: wills, medical directives, funeral wishes. I make files with members' names on them that have favorite hymns scribbled on the backs of envelopes, people they'd like to speak, the type of flower they've always despised. And never once have I told the scores of parents of our nursey age children. Never once have I held a workshop for young parents on how to leave a legacy for their children in case something unthinkable happens. That changes now.

As adults, to be responsible in our love for our families, children, and/or friends we need to prepare for our death at any age. Margie's friends say that she had done some of this and it helped her family. Those of us who have been touched by her death, even if only peripherally have been talking about what we want and need to have in place. Please do the same for the sake of your family, for the sake of your children, and in honor of all parents like Margie.

Grumble away if you've earned it

I just finished Kurt Vonnegut's A Man Without a Country. What a guy! He's funny. He's well-read and reads well. And he's really pretty grumpy. As a rule I don't encourage grumpitude, but for anyone over 80 I think it's an earned right. After all, Vonnegut is kind enough not to grumble about physical ailments and how you can't get a decent oyster any more. He macro-kvetches about war-mongering, ecological armageddon, and how literature without technology is like sex without... actually I don't remember what the comparison was, but I was amused. Buy the book.

There are way too many angry books out there by over-plucked, fake tanned, squishy celebrity talking heads. I generally eschew grumble-ature no matter what the point of view. Why is Vonnegut the exception? I'm an ageist. And a coolist. In other words, he's an old cool smart guy with wild hair, who smokes too much and has a crush on his postal clerk. I'm willing to bet that he's never had anything plucked, at least not on purpose. I don't agree with all of his points, but I yield the floor to the honorable representative of late-life. When I'm over eighty I hope to have some of his wisdom, most of his passion, all of his clarity, and even more panache. (I am a woman after all. Panache is our gig.)

Publishing houses, take note! No more serial killer mysteries, legal thrillers, how-I-lost-the-weight-I'll-have-back-on-by-the-time-you-buy-this memoirs. No more Bridget Jones Moved My Cheese to the Da Vinci Code. It's all about cool clever people over eighty who are willing to chat you up on paper like they would at the grocery store. Let's keep the writers who've been around long enough to know a thing or two and actually remember it. That's inspirational for someone like me from Generation "I'm too young for hot flashes but too old to remember where I left the keys."