The Fun in Life

I was a little frustrated today.

I wanted to write something about Gabby and Brian, but there was nothing substantive I could think of.

And so I turned to watching a video of the 1952 World Series between the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers.

It’s on YouTube, and I’m not sure if I found the video or the video found me.

Since I was born in 1954, I wanted to take a peek back at the world in which I was born.

What a different world it was.

Of course, my impression was colored, no pun intended, by the video being in black-and-white.

But that’s the way the world was. There was no color television in common use until the early 1960s.

How you see this World Series on YouTube was precisely the way we watched it on television back in the day – grainy black and white and not very sharp at all.

It was an imperfect world by today’s standards.

I can see where young people would sneer at that world.

The baseball diamond in 1952 during that World Series was downright crummy.

The grass was unkempt and the baseball paths were ugly.

The players wore baggy ill-fitting uniforms.

In spite of their rough appearance they played the game with a measure of civility.

I didn’t see any fist pumping or taunting.

The same could be said for the audience who behaved with remarkable civility. There were no fans waving towels around. No one charged out onto the field. I saw no vulgar signs or T-shirts.

What a joy. The fans sat in their seats.

When a foul ball dribbled down the first base line close to the stands, a fan reached down, couldn’t reach the ball, but let it go.

As I watched the video I reflected back to my early years of watching baseball in the 1960s.

I couldn’t remember any baseball brawls.

I’m sure they occurred, but I couldn’t remember any.

It seems logical to me now that what our ancestors, the World War I and II generations, lacked in precision they made up for with civility.

They seemed less judgmental.

The players and fans tended to respect the umpire and his decision. Of course, without the benefit of instant replay, the umpire’s word was gold.

This stands in stark contrast to the world which we now inhabit.

Our baseball diamonds are now immaculately groomed. In many stadiums we don’t even permit grass to exist. After all, grass is imperfect and prone to divots.

The baseball players look much better also.

No longer do we have those baggy uniforms that accentuate the ass. Players look great even if they do have a big ass.

Appearances are much more important these days. Nobody in our era would be caught dead with a big ass, unless of course you’re Bartolo Colón and don’t care anymore.

Unfortunately what we have gained in precision we have lost in civility.

We now live in an age that has zero respect for authority. Nobody respects umpires anymore. The players certainly don’t.

Nowadays, players are regularly tossed out of games. There are also frequent brawls.

It’s as if the precision that we demand in our baseball stadiums and uniforms have carried over to the human beings who inhabit those uniforms.

Of course, the world has changed.

The technology has changed.

After World War II, computers became a force to be reckoned with.

Computers enabled reliable and speedy precision.

This force accelerated as we moved forward into the 60s and 70s. The personal computer put precision and the expectation of precision on steroids.

What we see in the 1952 World Series is the America that existed in the pre-digital age.

The computer permitted us to up our game visually. It made us look better.

Crisp graphics came into our homes with the advent of the personal computer.

We were able to wipe out mistakes immediately with our word processors.

Video analysis on that same computer permitted us to perform better at our jobs.

If we were baseball players, we could analyze our swings and pitches immediately and make corrections.

But there was a downside.

We are humans, not keystrokes on a screen.

We are imperfect creatures.

Imperfect living creatures are not mats of Astro-turf that can be conveniently replaced when a divot appears.

Imperfect human beings require greater care.

Imperfect human beings require tolerance and patience.

Imperfect human beings are emotional and made of carbon; computers display no emotion and are made of silicon.

Carbon is soft; silicon is hard.

Carbon-based forms are susceptible to breakdowns and downtimes. Computers made of silicon chug along with perfection.

The computer and its precision have engendered an expectation amongst the fans that baseball’s players and umpires, imperfect human beings, behave with precision and perfection.

This is not possible.

The frustration of not having their expectations met has led to a boiling rage within fandom.

The fans demand perfection. The fans demand winners and superstars. They will not tolerate anything less.

Their rage boils out into the ether.

A greater incivility then exists within the viewing public. They will now do anything and say anything at a sporting event when the team or player fails to meet their expectations.

They will start fights. They will run out onto the field. They will even kill.

They are frustrated.

The baseball players are not immune from this frustration as they are products of society also.

They too demand perfection of themselves and other players, as do the owners.

You can see where this is leading.

We now live in a society driven by computers that is totally intolerant of humanity.

Sports announcers now call for umpires to be eliminated completely.

Why stop there?

If we can replace umpires, why shouldn’t we replace imperfect players?

I’ll tell you why.

It is the imperfection in humanity which makes it great. It is the mistakes and flaws which make our lives interesting.

It is those bad calls by the umpire that is the stuff of legend.

You can’t have hills without valleys.

A life of perfection is no life at all.

It’s an endless series of home runs and base hits.

It’s boring.

We are machining the imperfection out of society.

We are removing the salt and seasoning from our lives.

What makes the 1952 World Series interesting is its imperfection. The crummy baseball diamond and the baggy big ass uniforms make the game more fun.

And that is what the game is all about.

That is what is missing in our world today.

Fun.

Baseball isn’t played for fun anymore; it’s played for profits, marketshare, fame, legacy, and bullshit.

It has affected us all for the worse.

Gabby and Brian were part of that society.

They too lived in our world and were not immune to the forces within it.

They felt the pressure of fame as we all do. Gabby wanted to be a YouTube star and Brian was willing to help her.

They weren’t traveling to have fun; they were traveling for all the wrong things in life.

And it was showing. Gabby said as much. She said that behind all the smiling, happy moments of anyone’s video, a shit show was going on behind the scenes.

This was clear for all to see when they got stopped by the police in Moab.

The demands of our modern age were pressing down upon them.

They both wanted more out of life.

They wanted the impossible fantasy life that is paraded before us on the airwaves. They wanted the life of the Kardashians, Beyoncé and Tom Cruise.

They did a good job together, but they were clearly unable to accept the positive aspects of their life while being tolerant of their own and each other’s imperfections.

They were starting out on their grand adventure in life, and so it is sad to see it end in tragedy.

We human beings want happy endings.

We don’t like the story of Romeo and Juliet because it ends in tragedy. But that is precisely why we have watched it all these centuries.

We want that happy ending.

It doesn’t exist, and it can’t exist.

But we want it all the same.

Perhaps in a better world, one more tolerant and forgiving, we, along with Gabby and Brian, will find it.

Sincerely,

Archer Crosley

Copyright 2021 Archer Crosley All Rights Reserved

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