• DRINK TO THE LASSES: Notes from a Woman's College Womb
    DRINK TO THE LASSES: Notes from a Woman's College Womb
    by Mary Beth Ellis
  • Twentysomething Essays by Twentysomething Writers
    Twentysomething Essays by Twentysomething Writers
    Random House Trade Paperbacks
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Thursday
Apr112019

Very Important Information 

Today's post on Redleg Nation: What certain information means in the context of twentieth century crime dramas involving pastel. 

Wednesday
Apr102019

Like a CVS Receipt 

Latest post:  He may never be the same again

Tuesday
Apr092019

0 For April

This was fun. We all had fun.  Well, not everybody: Check out the prep thread.

Monday
Apr082019

"I Must Be Lucky"

Friday
Apr052019

On Worry 

I cannot abide wasted pixels. I am part of a recent short answer, multi-author article on Redleg Nation here,and, as befits a professional sportswriter, wrote about everything but baseball. The editor asked for 150 words when he posed the question: “How Worried (about the terrible, terrible Reds) Should We Be?” I sent the best shortest short-answer he would ever see and he responded that I might want to tack an additional 149. Then I went the other direction. Here’s what hit the e-cutting room e-floor. 

 

As a person who’s spent significant chunks of time in and out of therapy and pharmacies, I am perhaps more qualified than most non-literary writers to respond on the topic of worry. In my MFA program you practically couldn’t be admitted without proof of prescription and two doctor’s notes affirming your neuroticism.

So here’s some Schedule IV controlled substances talking: When you’re outscored by the city’s soccer team, you’d think you should worry. When my favorite moment from the season thus far is Tucker Barnhart getting dragged across the infield by a tenuous grasp on Yasiel Puig’s ankle, you’d think you should worry. When the pitching buckles a few miles down the road from where the offense lays, you’d think you should worry.

Look, I get it. When we ask why we want our favored sports team to win, then ask why that reason exists, then ask why that reason exists, then ask why that reason exists, here’s what you pretty much always arrive at: This sports team represents a sliver of my identity, and when it wins, I feel happy. Therefore, we prefer our teams to win. Life is simply more fun when this happens. There’s a reason why Seattle and its utter lack of a World Series trophy has such a horrific suicide rate.

So on Sunday, as I watched a man wearing a Pirates uniform double off the Reds’ Hernandez to push non-Reds across the plate on Sunday, I flinched, as though it were a physical blow. I felt sad. This was not fun. I did not feel happy. But was I worried, the way worry happens when daily tasks are a distant echo of the gnawing, nauseating reality inside?

I know this because I lived it non-stop before I was diagnosed with the full-blown obsessive-compulsive disorder that had become the driver, planner, and negotiator of my brain when I was 14. Sitting on a porch swing simply because sitting on a porch swing while terrified is a change of scenery from sitting at the kitchen table while terrified: That’s worried.

Or- Pressing your head against the cold concrete wall of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum because you’re still feeling barfy and not at all bloated and you cannot, cannot, cannot be pregnant, four months into the marriage, with five jobs between you and your husband and the bathroom still unpacked: That’s worried.

So, as I saw the scoreboard numbers at the bottom of the screen flip from a 5-3 Reds lead to a 7-5 Pirates lead, I felt eye-rolly, frustrated, and suddenly more apt to change the channel to the FC game, but not worried.

Because I had just glanced up at outdoor thermometer to see a temperature above 70. Because for the first time in six months I had attended yoga class without pants over my yoga costume. Someday, yes, I will live where you don’t need pants for your pants. But if I’m not there yet, I’m a bit wistful. I’m not worried.

Baseball is not constructed for worry. Worry is darting, anxious motion which won’t keep still. Worry churns. Worry is acidic, constant noise. Worry is cold and rain, not sun and fresh grass. Baseball is none of these things.

Because if you’re worried about a baseball team, you’re doing both baseball and worry wrong.