Saturday, September 04, 2004

More Than You See

Last night I went to a football game with my new son-in-law. I don’t love that term — son-in-law — and prefer to think of him and address him as, “Son,” but the “in-law” part does serve to clarify. We saw the Montreal Alouettes eek out a probably undeserved win over the Ottawa Renegades.
Aside about football: you can skip this part…

For those who don’t know, I am speaking of Canadian football as opposed to what is called football in most of the world but what we call soccer. Canadian football is almost identical to American football. You can easily adapt from the one version to the other as there are downs, touchdowns, field goals, passing, rushing, blocking, and tackling. The differences are minor in a sense but affect the tenor of the game. With a slightly wider and longer field and only three downs, it tends to be more of a wide-open game because if you only gain three yards on a rush, you only have one more chance, not two as in the US version, to gain the next seven yards. Therefore, you’re less likely to content yourself with another three-yard plunge into the line.
That’s just a little background-filler and not particularly newsworthy. What does arrest my attention is the realization that I saw my last and only live, pro football game before my son-in-law was born. I was younger then than he is now. A meaningless piece of information in a sense, but little realizations like that bring me up sharp. Although meaningless on one hand, they seem terribly significant in some almost indefinable way on the other hand: poignant and important in a sense that I cannot readily explain.

This whole aging-business continues to surprise me. Although I inhabit the body of a man who now lives at the far side of that broad expanse of life that we label as middle-age, I am more that whom I chronologically appear to be, for I am not only this age, but I am all ages. There are many me’s all jumbled together into one package that has a single one-dimensional façade to others: for example, my offspring who know me well but, in a sense, not at all.
(And I have no doubt, they would say the same in reverse. Superficially, this may seem to be a pity but is, perhaps, a blessing.)
In an instant my thoughts slide from those of a child to those of a gaffer. It’s not even really just that: not just my thoughts shifting randomly. In a very real sense I am the child, the teen, the young adult, the forty-something, the sliding-into-sixty me. I do not just recollect a thought, feeling, or impression from back then, but I am back then: back then as if no time whatsoever had elapsed. For that instant, I again become the ten-year-old or whatever age-track to which that my memory disc spins and rests at that moment.

I am not explaining this very well, and my family whom I am visiting are bestirring, and it is time to visit with those loved ones whom I see all too infrequently. It’s okay; I am only beginning to explore the topic, only beginning to worry at its edges. If you are of an age, of course, you know whereof I speak and can probably articulate my jumbled musings better than I can this morning. If you are not of such an age, you probably cannot begin to comprehend this babble on any account although I would at least hope that you are aware that I am attempting to communicate something about time and life and that there is a new experience awaiting you.

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