Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

Category: Life (Page 2 of 9)

Sheltered, Part 1:
The why

#flatteningtheclyde

I want to say something, but it’s less about the what than the why.

What I’m going to tell you won’t be anything you need to know. It goes back, as it always does, to this core dilemma: I have feelings, and I want them to be heard. I want them to be felt, even if they don’t matter. 

What’s different now? Less distraction, maybe? I don’t have a commute. That is time I’ve filled with exercise — walks and short runs and sit-ups — rather than writing. But never not thinking. 

What’s the same, but maybe more pronounced, are feelings of inadequacy. We are living through the singular event of my 52 years. How am I rising to the occasion? By following the best instructions for hiding. 

I have one skill, which is to arrange words into thoughts, and I haven’t been using it. It doesn’t help that the Dodgers aren’t playing, but then again, the Dodgers aren’t relevant. It doesn’t help that I’m at the very, very beginning of turning the first draft of my novel into a second draft, and I’m feeling intimidated by the work. 

I’m jealous of people who are producing. I’m jealous of people who are relevant. I’m a jealous person. 

If I focus on my family, I’m fine. I’m grateful. I’m grounded. But my mind wanders, to very specific places. 

We are living in a life or death world, and I don’t want to be silent. 

Podcast: Morning walk

This is the first episode of Word to the Weisman that I’ve posted in more than a year, so check it out. You can also get it on Apple, Spotify, etc.

The coronavirus turbulence

My wife hates to fly. She gets very anxious, more so with each passing year.

I’m pretty good on airplanes. I completely buy into the data that it’s safer to fly than drive, and I know driving almost as much as I know breathing. That’s not to say I enjoy a whole lot about air travel, but I’m pretty calm about the mechanics of it all. It’s one of my few great strengths as a husband. 

Turbulence is part of the equation. So many flights have it, and for the most part, it’s a series of speed bumps. You go through through the bumps, and you go on your way.

My wife finds any turbulence deeply unsettling, and if I’m next to her, I take her hand. I try to reassure her. It’s one thing I can reliably do. It’s neither ironic nor coincidental, but on point, that when I proposed to her, it was after midnight on the wet tarmac of the Binghamton, New York airport after a difficult flight from Washington D.C. through a rainstorm. 

But sometimes the turbulence gets rough. Really rough. Rough like some hidden hand has picked your plane up in the air and is shaking it. The ride isn’t bumpy, it’s jagged. I’m being jerked around, literally and figuratively. And then my mind takes me places. And I worry about dying. 

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Thoughts I shouldn’t be having on a coronavirus Monday

Remnants of a tree, Calabasas, February 1. One person I showed this photo to asked, “Who is that?”

In some ways, there’s nothing better than being awake in the middle of the night. It’s only a shame you have to pay the price later in the day. 

I woke up at 3:30 a.m. and couldn’t get back to sleep. It wasn’t because of these thoughts, but as the next hour passed, it seemed like as good a time as any to get them out of my system. 

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Why aren’t I better?

It’s 1988. My favorite baseball team has won the World Series. My favorite basketball team has won the NBA championship. My college’s baseball team has won the College World Series, and I am on the ground in Omaha to cover it for the school newspaper. Our men’s basketball team is about to have its best season in 47 years, and I am the one telling the story. As a sportswriter and sportslover, I am at the top of my game. One of the sentences I write is Xeroxed from the newspaper and placed on a window in the editor’s office. Handwritten underneath it with black Sharpie in capital letters are the words, “SENTENCE OF THE VOLUME.”

I have great friends. I don’t have a girlfriend, desperate as I am for one, which is all you need to know about that story. I’m in love, but she loves someone else. That’s my biggest lament. It’s not the first time nor the last time that happens. 

I play pickup basketball, like I’ve been doing since I was 3 or 4. When it began, in our family driveway in Encino not all that far from the exterior of the Brady Bunch house, my older brother says he is Gail Goodrich and tells me I’m Happy Hairston. Now, in 1988, I’m just me. And I’m not really all that good. I’m fine, I guess. I can make plays, even a great play, but I can’t be counted upon to make them. I’m never the best player on the court or on my team, not for lack of trying. I’m just missing something.   

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Father and child

This morning, I was driving Youngest Master Weisman to a school event and while preparing to make a left turn, a car coming the opposite direction sped through the red light. I shuddered. And once again, I thought, “that’s how quickly it can happen.”

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Novel progress, 2019

I’m not here right now — this just seems like a nice, writerly pic.

Over the past year, I have published as little as I have since nearly the start of the 21st century. But it has been one of my most fulfilling years as a writer.

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Halfway to the beginning

It was August 11, 2018, according to my journal, that I made the decision to put aside the non-fiction book I started working on and dive into trying to write my first novel.

On Sunday — 51 weeks later — I reached the halfway point of the rough draft. 

Just to put that in perspective, my first book on the Dodgers, from conception to completion, took about six months. My second Dodger book, took about nine, mostly accomodating the interviews I wanted to do. 

Those books came with deadlines, and deadlines haunt you like shadows. You can hide, but you can’t outrun them. So there was no choice but to stay up late, wake up early and give over massive amounts of free time to getting those books done. 

But still – a year in, I’m only halfway through a draft that will need heavy rewrites. Why am I doing this to myself?

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The fundamentals

As long as enough people continue to prioritize hate and blame over love and equality, we won’t get anywhere.

As long as enough people continue to prioritize a will for power over a will for peace, we won’t get anywhere.

I feel like we won’t get anywhere.

We all have the ability to embrace the other. People need to choose to do it.

Our leaders need to set an example.

Our citizens need to stop nursing their grievances into blood feuds. 

Stop closing your fist and open your heart. 

The last damn walk to school

For 51 years I’ve been on this earth, for nearly 17 of those years as a parent and for 12 as a parent at our neighborhood elementary school.

I have been walking one or more of my children to that school since 2007. Today was the last day.

This wouldn’t matter so much if those seven-minute walks hadn’t been my favorite moments to be alive.

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The scourge of the backward apostrophe

The nearly ubiquitous word processing program, Microsoft Word, has perhaps been a net positive for society. But it has its failings, including one so deleterious that it is rotting away the core of punctuation — and in turn, society — as we know it.

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Baseball is not a kids game

So many times in my life, I’ve heard how Major League Baseball players should be happy they’re getting paid to play a kids game.

Baseball is not a kids game. Baseball is a game, that kids happen to play, that can be unspeakably joyous, but that is almost punishingly adult.

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You don’t win friends with salad dressing

Monday, I ordered a salad for lunch, because I wanted to eat something healthy.

I know when I do this, there are choices. I can ask for light dressing or dressing on the side, in order to combat the otherwise nearly inevitable flooding. That’s what most civilized people are forced to do.

Every so often, however, I test the better angels of my nature and order a salad without any specifics on the dressing, to see if a place can achieve what should be a simple equilibrium on its own. Monday was another try. Sure enough, the salad came with so much dressing that not only was each piece within just soaked, there was a thin liquid layer at the bottom of the To Go container. (Carry-out places should be particularly wary of this issue.)

But why do I have to do this? Why do stores and restaurants err so often on the side of too much, when you can’t remove dressing, instead of too little, when you can always add dressing?

While slurping my leafy lunch, I put a poll on Twitter: For salad orders where you don’t give instructions on the dressing, which is more common?

  • Too much dressing
  • Not enough dressing

I expect the results to rally America into solving this problem in the food services industry once and for all. Instead came this abomination …

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Bookin’

Warning: Personal, non-Dodger content ahead.

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Celebrating 20 years of So Weird (and of dating my wife)

This won’t be a big deal to many people — certainly not in comparison to something like the recent anniversary celebration of The Sopranos — but today marks the 20th anniversary of the night that the Disney Channel show So Weird premiered.

It’s a doubly major milestone for me, because it was the biggest break in what was then my screenwriting career — I wrote four episodes and shared credit on a fifth — but the premiere party on Sunset Boulevard was also the first official date for me and my future wife.

Last summer, I talked about those experiences and more when I did an episode of The So Weird Podcast. I never posted that here, but today’s a good day for it. It’s a fun listen if a) you were a So Weird fan or b) are interested in the career experiences of the Jason Grabowski of screenwriters.

So Weird, I truly believe, deserves a more popular legacy than it has gotten. I mean, it’s certainly not The Sopranos, but it was a Disney Channel show with uncommon depth, willing to take on real life issues but in an imaginative, non-Afterschool Special way. It remains one of the greatest work experiences of my career, one that I’m forever grateful for even if it was relatively short-lived. (Fortunately, my marriage continues to be renewed season after season.) And, aside from the technology changes since the pre-Y2K era, I think it holds up. (Same.)

I even got to write an episode set largely on a ballfield, which remains near and dear to my heart. I’ll put it up against The Sandlot anyday …

Anyway, there’s no way you’ve read this far if you didn’t like me and/or the show, so if you have, join me in an anniversary toast …

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