Monthly Archives: November 2016

Home

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My family moved a lot when I was growing up—every year and a half to seven years—and I didn’t like it or the way it affected me. After the first few times, it just becomes a part of who you are. Each time you make new friends, you wonder how long it will be before you say goodbye again, and the feeling of home gets less and less real with each new address. Someone at work asked me once, “Are you going home for the holidays?” I said, “What do you mean by that?”

When I started my own family, I wanted my wife and kids to have a home, not just a series of houses. Let me tell you, there is nothing fancy about the house where our kids were raised and where my wife and I still live. And I’m still finding crazy things the previous owner did himself that he definitely should have hired a professional for. All the same, I’ve already lived there three times longer than anywhere else, and I don’t have any desire to leave. It’s home to me, and I know it was to my kids.

Of course, there can be good reasons for moving, but I firmly believe that sticking around long enough for my kids to go all the way through one school system is one of the most important things I provided them. Growing up in more or less one place gave them solid roots and helped them develop a strong foundation for life. And I couldn’t help but think that, as my kids got older, returning to the home where they had grown up (at the end of the day or the semester or on holidays) provided a refuge for them.

It’s easy to forget that each of us has our own little movie playing in our head, and “moving on up” to a new house that for me says, “I’m a success now” may well say for my kids, “Life as I knew it is over,” “I’ll never see my friends again” or “I don’t belong here.” Our house seems a lot bigger now that they’ve moved out, and they still have a home to come back to…even after they’ve started their own.

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Safe at Home

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I have a love-hate relationship with sports; they are inarguably intoxicating and photogenic, but they bring out the worst in many people and their place in society is magnified to a ridiculous extent. There are differences, however, and the nature of some sports is superior to others.

In 1990, George Carlin talked about the differences between baseball and football:

“Baseball is a nineteenth century pastoral game; football is a twentieth century technological struggle. Baseball is played on a diamond in a park, the baseball park; football is played on a gridiron in a stadium, sometimes called Soldier Field or War Memorial Stadium. Baseball begins in the spring, the season of new life; football begins in the fall when everything is dying.”

“In baseball, during the game in the stands, there’s kind of a picnic feeling. Emotions may run high or low but there’s not that much unpleasantness. In football, in the stands during the game, you can be sure that at least twenty seven times you are perfectly capable of taking the life of a fellow human being. Preferably a stranger.”

And most significantly, only one sport draws constant comparison with war. “In football, the object is for the quarterback—otherwise known as the field general—to to be on target with his aerial assault, riddling the defense by hitting his receivers with deadly accuracy in spite of the blitz, even if he has to use the shotgun. With short bullet passes and long bombs, he marches his troops into enemy territory, balancing this aerial assault with a sustained ground attack which punches holes in the forward wall of the enemy’s defensive line. In baseball, the object is to go home and to be safe. ‘I hope I’ll be safe at home! Safe at home!'”

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