Saturday, February 7, 2009

Eye On The Ball, Sport...

One of the phrases I've been hearing ever since I was a wee tyke. Up until I was about, oh, for the sake of simplicity let's say 15, I was WAY into baseball. I'd been playing the game since I was old enough to walk. At that time, my dad's glove was large enough for me to play hide and seek in. Okay, maybe a toe would stick out, but the point stands. But I digress...

It was my senior year in Little League. By Senior, I do not mean a year away from graduation, nor do I mean ridiculous hats, lambskin diplomas, and weeping grandparents in the audience...okay, maybe the grandparents part...and the ridiculous hats. I was a 15 year old, long-haired kid, and it was almost game time. The sun was shining brilliantly in the sky, and the hot dogs were grilling. This is important to the story, so note it. The beautiful smell of baseball dust and never-been-trimmed outfield grass filled the normally horse-crap smelling Norco air. We were taking fly balls in the outfield, because as you all know, catchers need to prepare for the common event of a fly ball.

I step out to center field and prepare for my third catch. I was currently two for two, although admittedly, it was only due to my teammates chanting an almost operatic chorus of "LEFT, LEFT!!!!" that I was able to find that stinkin' sphere. Our coach throws the ball up and hits it, and I swear on my unborn kids, Luke and Leia, that I had never seen a ball hit so damn high. That ball shot up like a teenager's libido after seeing his first Playboy article. For a moment, I just stood there gawking at the sky like a moron, pondering the legitimacy of the "What goes up, must come down," theory. Of course, my doubt was soon to be misproven as, like a bat out of hell, that ball shot back to earth. Or, to be more accurate, back to face. It was as every external portion of my face was shooting to the back of my skull that I had the common sense to put my glove up. However, as one could connotate from the beginning of that sentence, it was too late.

I have a few fuzzy and dizzy memories from the moments immediately following the bombing. Mostly, I remember twelve other teenagers standing around me without a clue on what to do next. I also remember what seemed to me the stupidest question of all time. My dad ran out onto the field to see how badly I had been wounded by an object I'd been able to catch since my diaper days. I remember him asking, "Where does it hurt?" My response, which my dad to this day says is the most comforting words he ever heard from me, was what I believed to be an obvious answer to an obvious question. I stated, through all the pain and delirium: "Where it's bleeding from." Now, I realize today that the blood covered every square inch of my face, and half of my torso, so there was no way to know where it was originating from, but at the time, I was dizzy, and a little bit in pain. After I stated my response, he stands up and says, "Yeah, he'll be just fine."

There was an upside to this story, however. The setting is the hospital room where I am being stitched up. My left eye is roughly the size of Neptune, and also a similar shade of blue. I look to my right, and see the most beautiful young lass I'd ever laid eye on. Every aspect of her face was perfect, if one were to ignore the pus-leaking, swollen, greenish, self-inflicted attempt of a piercing-gone-wrong occupying the space one would expect to find a lip. Other than that, though, she was an angel.

Being the disoriented and slightly drooling dork that I was (At this point due to the Novacaine), I decided that there was no better atmosphere for flirting than a hospital. I opened the conversation with what I THOUGHT was sarcasm, and asked, "So what happened to you?" Well, the joke was lost on her, and she answered with completely sincerity, "I twied to peewf my ode wib-ip!" "Ah," I said, choking down a chuckle. "What about you?" she asked, keeping with the rhythm. I looked her in the eye and replied, "I kept my eye on the ball."

Friday, February 6, 2009

Emos, committment, and teens...OH MY!!

Into the eternally leprous and macabre realm that is teen angst I venture. Every time I think I couldn't possibly be more disinclined to accept myself as one of them, they manage to not only prove me wrong, but to make me question my sanity as to why I doubted the inevitability of further disappointment. However, this post will not be dedicated to numbered paragraphs listing all the issues I see with teen hormones and "love" in today's society, but rant about the issue in general, incorporating past patterns and the intricacy of sociological epidemics known mainly as peer pressure and media manipulation.

It used to be in the grand old days that a boy and a girl did not become a "couple" for quite a long time. In those days, they didn't STUPIDLY misconstrue dating as being boyfriend and girlfriend. As a matter of fact, dating was seen as a way to find OUT whether they'd be a compatible couple, back when "first base" and "second base" actually existed. In those days, a boy or a girl had what was known as a "little black book," which would contain the phone numbers of ALL THE PEOPLE THEY WERE DATING. A boy could take out a different girl every weekend of the month, or even every saturday of the month, without ANY commitments. Holding hands was considered an advancement in the relationship, not a prerequisite. You worked your way UP to holding hands, not beginning with it. In recent days, nay, years, the little black book has ceased to exist. As Oscar Wilde so wisely stated it, "It seems in these times that all the married men are living like bachelors, and all the bachelors are living like married men." If this is unclear to you, it means two teenagers who act like they're in a monogamous marriage, although they are TEENS and not married! Young people today are so desperate to get involved in a "serious relationship," when the fact of the matter is that they're supposed to be exploring the field! When you get two people who have been monogamous with each other since they were16, they will not only have issues, but will deprive themselves of exploring other people in the world! If they commit themselvesto a single partner at an age when hormones dominate their conscious being, they will never have a point of comparison to what truly makes them happy. And in the same vein, when they start to have issues like a married couple, they will not know how to end the relationship or adequately resolve the issue, because they have not granted themselves the experience to maturely analyze a problem in a relationship.

I find it impossible to sympathize with teens who are having "relationship trouble." In my very Conservative opinion, you shouldn't be HAVING relationships. Sure, we all do anyway. I am not a stranger to a relationship, but it should not be treated as a marriage. There comes a point when rationality and logic MUST be allowed to make an appearance in the way you run your life. If you allow yourself to belong to a single person for the better part of your life, even if you KNOW that the issues you may have cannot be resolved, you're CRIPPLING yourself. And the WORST is when they get mad at their parters because they have to grow up. Do those people realize that they are asking their partner to inhibit the natural stages of development into adulthood? It is called having a life, and a "lover" (snort) you have at such a delicate age should not be a factor into how you're going to run your life. Your future comes first. And to you hopeless bleeding-heart romantics who just got pissed at that, do NOT try to tell me that "That special person IS my life." If that is true, then you have some serious growing up to do. Wake up and smell life, because you're sleep-walking through it and need to snap back to reality.

Sure, I understand why teens THINK they need their boyfriend/girlfriend. Being in a monogamous and committed relationship makes them feel special, important, a prominent figure in their "lover's" life. That is why it seems that those with the lowest self-esteems are in the most relationships in their younger year: It gives them a chance to feel good about themelves. Knowing that you mean so much to this other person, even if its only a shallow importance, gives them a feeling of self-worth, and a significance to their existence. But in regards to the above paragraph, when that relationship INEVITABLY ends, are they any better off for the experience? Or even more convinced of their own worthlessness? Does a whore feel better about their moral convictions after a night on the job? Or do they feel even dirtier for allowing themselves to be exploited again? True moral conviction stems from being able to stand up after a rough experience and say, "Okay, THAT didn't work. Time to move on." Moral conviction does not mean that you must bind yourself to a presupposed state of self-immolation, while all the while attempting to convince yourself that it's the right thing to do. When you enter a relationship purely for the sake of feeling better about yourself, it can ONLY end in pushing you further.

And then there are those who honestly think they "love" their partner. These people, I pity the least. These teenagers, who have completely surrendered all logic and rationality to "emotions" and "feelings" and all those other words that bring bile into my throat, draw no bliss tunes from attempting to pluck at my heartstrings. I have come to realize that if you have to learn to convince yourself over time that you do love a person, then you do not. It is the same concept in baseball for the hall of fame. If you even have to WONDER whether someone should be inducted, he shouldn't be. Love should never have to be persuaded into you. If these love-struck, overly-hormonal, chick-flick-watching-while-munching-slowly-melting-bon-bons-in-the-middle-of-the-night-talking-about-how-fat-it-will-make-them teenage girls and "boys" allow their genitals and "feelings" control their actions, then it can only end in misery. I use quotation marks on "boys"above because I refuse to classify those sniveling, whiny, self-loathing, delicate, emo little losers as being of the same gender as I am, although there is no other way to identify them as of yet, although I'm sure there must be a recessive estrogen gene that when astray in their conception (I am SO writing that one down). If these CHILDREN would step back from their little pink haze of sunshine and kisses long enough to see the glare of reality shining in their faces, they would see that not only are they NOT in love, but that they know next to nothing about their partner! Common interests and knowledge about each other does NOT include "we both like Family Guy," or "The way he looks into my eyes is magic," or, and I swear I was told this, "We both use the same eyeliner." I'm telling you now it was a heterosexual couple, more or less, that told me that. How am I supposed to sympathize or RATIONALIZE with people whose entire basis for life is void of rationality? How do you use logic with a person who is unaware of its meaning or use? These people get so wrapped up in these "happy endings" that they refuse to see that the fairytale isn't even CLOSE to over yet.

Another sad reason I have seen in why teens get overly-involved too soon is fear. This fear goes beyond peer pressure. Beyond the need for acceptance. This fear is rooted in failure to find love in the future. These people are scared that they will grow old and die without love. This isn't ALL teens who get monogamous, but it exists. These people are so CERTAIN that love will never find them again, that they CLING to the one lead they have towards obtaining it, shallow or unstable as it may be. They cling to it, both in the hopes that it sticks, and out of the fear that this may be the closest they'll ever get. This aspect seems nearly pathological, and cannot be easily explained without making me out to be more of an asshole than I already know I am. These people, I do pity. I pity them greatly, for they are crippling themselves out of the FEAR of crippling themselves. It is among the most vicious of circles.

Now, just to be sure we don't have misunderstandings, I am not opposed to teens going out. It's cute, it's fun, it's healthy, it's PLAYFUL. Teen relationships aren't about commitment and promises and future plans, it's about having fun, exploring a new world, learning what you do and don't find appealing in the opposite gender (or same, no discriminations here). Dating at our age is, or supposed to be, seeing a scary movie, or going to the mall, not making out in a car out at the lake in the middle of the night, looking into each other's eyes talking about the names they've chosen for their future children. And above almost all else, TEEN DATING IS NOT ABOUT SEX. There is no more dangerous or immature way that teens completely screw themselves over (no pun) then when they become sexually active in a relationship. This only contributes further to the idea that they have to be completely monogamous to each other, further distancing themselves from the dating world, and, in most cases, finding the true person for them. And if either participant draws an STD, or god forbid, the girl gets pregnant, then both have to suffer very serious consequences, all over juvenile attempts to be grown up and mature. The problem is....teens these days try to mature so quickly, they fail to mature at all...and that is the most glorious and complete irony of it all. That's all for now.