I tried to tout my son’s first baseball glove as a Big Deal. Frankly by the time we got to the store he was more excited about lunch at McDonald’s later, and somehow the day ended in tears.
On my 34th birthday, a friend asked me what it’s like getting older in a big city, but it’s no different than in a small town or the suburbs. It’s about reassessing your own life, but with that comes acknowledging your faults and accepting regret. Aging is about understanding that you still have a lot to learn.
When I was a kid, I assumed my dad took pictures like this expressly to torture me and my sister. Now that I have my own kids I understand why he did this. He needed to take those pictures to remember being there, to make sure it really happened, because our real memory falls apart so quickly.
Who decides what to preserve as the true mementos of childhood? Parents usually do, and it tends to be the easiest things to keep: drawings that can be slipped into a file folder, blankets and stuffed animals that can be shoved in a closet. But what about the random bits and pieces that take up just as much of their attention?
In 2004, a drifter murdered the 79-year-old librarian of Poseyville, Indiana–my home town–in cold blood. It was an open and shut case that shocked the tiny town, and it made me rethink my definition of home.
First base is a position for aging veterans with bad backs and gimpy knees, the place to hide the worst fielders, the slowest runners, and the weakest arms. It’s the place for guys with enough offensive skills to command a place in the batting order but no place on the field. It’s also the only position I ever played.
Some people play video games in their free time; others like to exercise or read. My hobby is organization. I put things away. I’m not one of those poor souls who is paralyzed by the presence of a speck of dust on the floor. I don’t wash my hands until they are raw. I grasp handrails on the El without hesitation. But I sort and I categorize and I de-clutter. I have a platonic idea of where things belong, and spend an inordinate amount of time making sure they stay there.