I had a term for my friends who would sometimes, back in the day as we say, get so involved with their “partying” that they could not remember things that occurred while they were in that presumably happy state. I would refer to them as Ripped Van Winkle. I should not assume that everybody knows the story of Rip Van Winkle because that assumes that everybody reads or gets read to them all of the books and stories that I enjoyed back in my youth, which was so long ago that people had telephones merely for talking to each other. Rip Van Winkle, a fictional character in a story written by American author Washington Irving, takes a walk in the Catskill Mountains purportedly to temporarily get away from his nagging wife. He runs into a strange group in the woods and imbibes some of their mysterious liquor and, tying one on for the ages, falls asleep for twenty years. While he slept, the American Revolutionary War began and ended and his beard grew by a foot. When he awakes, he goes back home but doesn’t recognize anyone. It all eventually works out. To me, the best part was that Rip had a dog named Wolf.
I had a similar experience a few months ago. I was hospitalized for a week and that week proved two important things to me which I will now reveal. First, the health care system in the United States is just another business like casinos and dope smuggling and selling iPhones and the fact that it is considered an industry is a national disgrace. Second, it is absolutely assured that nurses and other healthcare workers are some of the hardest working, compassionate, and skilled people on the planet and I will be eternally grateful for their care and love. So I slept a lot. Some of the dreams I had were nightmares and some of the waking hours were like that too but mostly I was treated very well while at the same time I was quite anxious to get the hell out of there.
Even after I got back home I was sleeping a lot while recovering. After one of those long nights, I woke up feeling like the world had changed. So had I, or so it seemed. The mundane matters no longer held my interest. life was far too short to remain hung up about relatively trivial things. If people like Trevor Bauer were being rewarded for mediocre careers with wildly inflated salaries, so what? It’s not my money. If certifiable idiots like Rob Manfred wanted to alter the game beyond recognition with ridiculous rule changes, let it be. If owners of teams with loyal fan bases like the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Oakland Athletics decide that winning isn’t important as long as they get TV money, calm down and accept life for what it is. They can’t all be Buster Posey or Mike Trout. Stop yearning for the days of Roberto Clemente and Willie Stargell, Tom Seaver and Gil Hodges and Chuck Tanner. The time may soon again be upon us when young boys and girls are free and healthy enough to get together and play just for the fun of it. I feel like Rip Van Winkle about a lot of things. Music, for instance. Now, with the help of Apple and others, we have dozens and dozens of what they call genres. Where did all of that come from and where was I when it happened? Like, what is House? Happy spring training everybody.