I was talking with a co-worker. I've noticed I have different co-workers I go to with different tasks. If I need help with something I see the "helper co-worker", if I want to chit-chat I head over to the "chatting co-worker". If there's a hot woman around, I usually talk with our sexual harassment expert. Sometimes the same co-worker can fill the different tasks. There's one guy who I talk sports with who is also pretty knowledgeable about personal relationships. He's a Cardinals fan and single, so he's usually not much help, but anything's better than work. By the way, it's usually these multi-tasking co-workers who end up becoming full-fledged friends.
So, on this day I was talking to my "movies and television co-worker" about a show I had watched on the History Channel that covered the history of NASA's mission control from the Mercury program through the moon landings. Growing up in 1960's I was all about the space program. G.I. Joe astronaut stuff (including orbiter), Major Matt Mason, and various other space-related paraphernalia covered the floor and walls of my bedroom. I was telling my co-worker about how they'd roll a TV into our classroom so we could watch the launch and splashdown of all the flights, when suddenly it dawned on me...this guy had no idea what I was talking about. Although he was in his mid-thirties, no one had walked on the moon IN HIS LIFETIME. Talking to him about moon landings was like talking to me about Charles Lindbergh's solo flight across the Atlantic. Yeah, I had heard about it, and it seemed some people got pretty excited about it, but yeah, what's the big deal? How could something that was so iconic, so HUGE when I was growing up, become an after-thought to an entire generation?
And then I thought of something else...an entire generation of ballplayers has been born, grown up, played a full career, and retired since a man has walked on the moon. Consider my mind blown. Eugene Cernan was the last man to walk on the moon on December 14th, 1972, a year-and-a-half before the birth of Darin Erstad. Or to put it another way for you baseball neophytes, almost a 5 years before...you might want to sit down...BILL JAMES PUBLISHED HIS FIRST ABSTRACT! Yeah, you can pick up the pieces of your brain off of the floor now.
As most things do these days, this got me thinking about how I'm getting older. I'll turn 50 this summer, and while I'm not freaking out about it, it has got me thinking about mortality, death, cancerous growths, painful and agonizing death, and death. When I'm not thinking about all of the cool things I have to look forward to (such as death), I find that I spend a lot of time reminiscing or tripping out on how much the things in my life have changed. Here's an example; my son and I were driving on the interstate and a Led Zeppelin song came on the radio. My son, bless him, loves Zeppelin. He's 14, but listens to most any music and has become my mentor for genres outside of "classic rock". Anyway, we're driving along and I started thinking about how when I was 14, listening to a song that was popular 35 years prior, I'd have been listening to my dad's pre-WWII big-band boogie stuff. Not that that was a bad thing looking back on it now, but something a 14 year-old tends to find lame at the time. This gets my geriatric brain segueing into thoughts of Willie Keeler, Babe Ruth, Stan Musial, Sandy Koufax, Jim Fregosi, Darin Erstad and Peter Bourjos and how they are all connected in the cosmic pool of baseball transience. Pretty weird shit, huh? Now you get why I think about death.
What does this have to do with baseball? Nothing. But wait until you're nearing your half-century mark and tell me the thoughts that occupy your mind.