WORLD’S GREATEST HITTER

I don’t even remember what the television ad was plumping, but the ad itself was a real “grabber.”  You watched it develop, and then you chuckled, chortled and flat out howled.

A little boy stands at home plate, totally alone on the diamond.  He confidently refers to himself as “The world’s greatest hitter.”  He tosses a baseball up, takes a mighty swing . . . and misses.  He picks up the ball, says “The world’s greatest hitter,” tosses the ball into the air, takes an Aaron Judge-like swing . . . and misses again.

Undaunted, and still full of vim and vigor, he repeats the process, all the way through to his deflating swing and miss.  But wait, our waif is not defeated.  “World’s greatest pitcher!” he intones boldly and with a fierce certainty to the wildly cheering masses in his fertile imagination.  “World’s greatest pitcher!”

Brilliant.  When you’ve got lemons, make lemonade.  And learn something about yourself that you didn’t know before.  That is the recalibrating process called “life,” if we are paying attention.  If we are reassessing ourselves when we are given new information.

Had that happen to myself a couple of weeks ago.  I didn’t enjoy the process.  I hated it, in fact.  An email conversation with an outlier family member—a sort of “in-law” several times removed—turned out to be quite unmooring for me.  I think of myself as being open-minded, yet here I was making cavalier judgments about circumstances I only had at second or third hand (and then, only from one side of the social equation).  I had taken the comments and judgments from one side of the family and transferred them wholesale to the son-in-law without any first-hand evidence.  (Also, more than a little self-righteousness insidiously snuck into the discussion on both sides.  Not helpful.)

Well, he called me on it, as he should have, and I had to back away and admit my flawed judgment.  I still don’t know which side is in the right.  I may never know.  What I do know for sure is that I’m going to take a large step backwards from now on and try to make what few judgments I engage in from a more distant perspective.  This whole thing was thoroughly upsetting.  I felt like I was walking in quicksand and that the slightest misstep was going to suck me down into the quagmire.

And I promise to be a whole lot slower to “judgment.”  Maybe even step away from the whole “judgmental” landscape.  We do have to make assessments.  Those come up on a daily basis and you avoid them at great personal risk.  But maybe the judging of other folk is not useful.  Perhaps the judging of other people falls under the “Not my circus, not my monkeys” tent.  Then again, perhaps it is best left to the omniscient, a cadre of which I am not presently a member.  You?

©2017 Richard Paul Hinkle

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