I wouldn’t call it mellowing, exactly. If you’re reading this with no personal knowledge of me, let me start by saying that, in the part of New York City where I grew up, when picking teams, you grabbed a hitter, a pitcher…..and an arguer….not necessarily in that order(yes, I was picked early). I’ve offered countless game officials the use of my glasses, once arrived at a game where an opponent had threatened me...in a coffin, have berated musical sidemen who blundered badly (I once threatened the Super-Heavyweight Karate Champ of New England….”one more screw-up and I’ll Kill ya”). So maybe I have a temper. How about this story as background: A few years ago, my wife and i were leaving the western Mass basketball tournament when the head of court security recognized us….and asked why we were in attendance. “Our son Willie was in one of the games tonight” I answered. “Oh”, he replied…”That bratty little thing...he was so mouthy when he got his 4th foul, I was amazed he didn’t get tossed….I should have known he was your kid”. Pride of fatherhood.
But one of the few benefits of getting older is perspective. I don’t think anyone who knows me will confuse me with Buddha, but things that would have caused me to blow a gasket years ago, now actually make me happy. You say you’ll need some examples before you buy that? As you wish.
Late night service calls that are tricky…..at temperatures that are dangerous? The new me thanks his lucky stars that he’s seen pretty much everything that can go wrong, made almost every kind of mistake already, and has a huge reservoir of parts, suppliers, specialty experts, friends….and strong young students….to get things back on track…intimidated by a problem? No longer a problem…..take fear away, and it’s amazing how your brains will grow back!
My recent illness, for another example--besides the aforementioned army of contacts and friends, the familiarity of how my body usually reacts makes the process and timeframe clearer (it was nothing serious, btw). It’s also worthwhile to notice how “urgent” day-to-day tasks can be pushed back by a sick day without the sky falling…..who knew in our 20’s, when we needed to get “straight to the top”.....immediately…..or…...what? I no longer even have to repeat “Jim Henson was busy too” as a mantra.
Let’s go further out on a limb…...though I have no interest in donating him another plane, and though many people have questioned whether his actions match his words, I find the words of televangelist Joel Osteen often brilliant. One theme he likes is this : “The Lord who carried you through life’s previous disasters will surely carry you through today’s…..why would you doubt that?” When a young person tells me about one of their disasters (sometimes asking why I’m so annoyingly positive in my old age)....I have an awfully long list of situations I never thought I’d survive, mistakes I thought were irreversible etc. Perspective…. A beautiful thing
But I’ll still be having a cow if the refs cheat poor old Tom Brady tomorrow