It's all a matter of perspective.

Tuesday, July 23, 2002

An old man is married 40 years. He is retired and not altogether a hermit, he will leave the house if he needs to. His trips outside are ruled by one goal only, which is to get back home as soon as possible. What drives him to rush from place to place and hurry home ASAP?

Why his recliner and television of course.

The recliner is his comfort blanket, the television his best friend. If you would like to have a nice unrushed visit with him, you had better have it at his house in his living room with him in the chair. Also you had better hope that there is nothing good on. No Yankee's games, no PGA tournament coverage, no decent movies on HBO and he will be glad to sit in the chair and visit. The television does not get turned off, however. Only turned to something that does not require one's full attention and perhaps the sound muted.

How did this man come to this, you may ask? The last thirty-five years he worked eight to five, Monday through Friday. He helped coach junior's little league baseball teams and peewee football teams. He took the boy to his piano lessons and his little girl to her dance classes. Then they would come home and eat dinner and help mom clean up. Next are bath time and story time, and then how do you do this math homework and one more drink of water and I have to go to the bathroom.

For thirty-five years the only time that he got that was truly his was at the end of the day, when the kids were in bed and the wife was in her room reading a book and he could finally crawl up in to the lap of his old friend. He would pull the lever to elevate his feet, grab the remote from the crack between the seat cushion and the chair arm, flip it to TBS and catch the last two innings as the Braves put it on the Cubs, 8-3. Then, as Dave introduces us to his good friend Paul, he would relax his neck and let his head rest on the top pillow and drift away. Eventually the wife would come out and coax him to the bed. Thirty-five years of longing all day for this one fleeting moment has conditioned him. He does not have thirty-five left to break the cycle. The best thing for you to do would be to learn to sit with him in silence and enjoy a good show.

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