One of the hardest lessons I've had to learn as I get older is being able to recognize when I've been completely wrong about something.
I know that nobody likes to admit they're wrong, but it seems especially difficult when you get older--you tend to get entrenched in your thinking and you're less likely to accept the notion that you just got it all backwards.
I've had to backtrack and re-think some deep, long-held philosophies over the past few years, and it's always a little mortifying to realize that maybe I'm just a bit more mule-headed and contrary that I really ought to be.
I don't choke on the words "I'm sorry" every time I say them, necessarily, but boy, sometimes it can be a real struggle to get them out. My wife has been the recipient of that phrase the most in my lifetime, of course, and to be honest, there have been a few times in the past decade where she has actually said "Hallelujah!" after I finally retracted a stubbornly-held conviction. She's casually mentioned that it's not much fun to beat her head against the wall when arguing with me, that she much prefers when I actually try to think objectively and consider the wild, crazy notion that I might not know everything every time.
And I can certainly sympathize: for just this past week, I had another instance occur that forced me to accept that maybe my wife is absolutely right about how wrong I can be.
Now, I've been on record as stating that I really think that cell-phone addiction is one of the worst afflictions known to modern man. My personal belief is that people are so crazily over-connected to their devices that that usage has just about killed social manners, polite conversation, attention spans, spontaneity, and the capacity to enjoy anything going on in the "real" world. People seem more interested in staring at those bleeping gizmos in their hand they are in human interaction, physical wonders, or any naturally occurring beauty that takes place in the world. It's a real loss, I've told all my acquaintances, and I sort of demand that everybody turn their phones off when engaging with me in a social or private setting. Never, I say, would I allow myself to replace something that's going on in the "real" world with something going on in the "fake" world of the cell phone.
But then the baseball playoffs started, and . . .
I'm sure I haven't hidden this deep secret very well, but the truth is, I'm particularly crazy about a little baseball team from the North Side of Chicago that's doing really really well this year. So well, in fact, that there's a good chance that. . . well, now I'm not even gonna say it, in case I might jinx it. But it's been fun this year to follow them, and as the season has headed into the playoffs, I've started to hear from more and more old friends who are also fans. Some guys I haven't talked to in years, but we're still connected by that old, die-hard reverence for our favorite team. It's been fun to reconnect with these guys, guys who I've had a long though sometime intermittent history with.
What's happened, then, during the games, is that I've been texting non-stop to about a dozen different friends about every little play that happens in every game. It's gotten crazy. I watch the games by myself, at home (because I'm too nervous to watch it in public), but I keep texting and venting and arguing and cheering with just about everyone I know who's a similarly deranged fan. It's gotten so intense, this constant updating and answering of texts, that sometimes, I'll miss an important play because I'm desperate to comment on the previous heart-stopping moment. And this from the guy who hates people who don't know when to put the cell phone down, the guy who used to ridicule anybody who would divert their attention from important events by constantly looking at their hands. And now, guess what? I'm just about the biggest hand-starer of them all.
And so I've either become a total hypocrite...or maybe I've just learned that it's time to eat a little bit of crow and admit that I've been wrong.
Truth is, I love texting during the games. It's so much fun to keep up with my crazy friends out there! And while I love watching the highlights of the game, later, on television, (especially if they win), it's just about as much fun to scroll through the timeline of comments from my friends, later, on my phone, and sort of chart the ups-and-downs of the game by our various exultations and miseries.
I've watched the games by myself, true, but most nights I feel like I've had a whole roomful of good friends all around me, sharing a beer and roaring with approval every time our team scores a run. And all this due to a device that I've often derided as being an annoyance. I have to say that it's been a real pleasure, this autumn, to admit just how wrong I have been. Cell phones, texting, technology?
(especially if the boys on the team continue to win)
Until next week,