Wednesday, March 28, 2018

"Getaway Day"

That’s what they call it in baseball, the day when, after a team plays its last of multiple games at an “away” venue, it takes off for its next “away” venue, or it travels back home. 

That jumpy “Traveling Feeling” is what’s happening today, reflected in this post, appearing on a Wednesday but actually written on a Friday, before a weekend excursion to Arizona. 

Consider this a challenge for your imagination.  Although today’s Wednesday, think:  “Friday.”  According to Seinfeld, “Tuesday” has no “feel”, while “Hump Day” Wednesday and “End-of-the-Week” Friday do.  Getaway Day” Friday augments the usual “Friday Sensation” with a condition described in Yiddish as “Shpilkies.” 

(Note:  It is a known fact that as a Jewish person gets older, traditional “Yiddishisms” seep increasingly into their patois.  The “Talmud” itself cannot explain this phenomenon.  “Secular Science” has not bothered to try.)

“Shpilkies” – more authentically pronounced, “Shpilkis” – is like temporary “ADD”, a feeling of visceral excitement, deftly described by “Tony” in West Side Story when he exuberantly sang,“… something’s coming, something good…”

“And I can’t wai-ai-ai-ait…”


You get it?

It’s not just this trip.  I get “Shpilkies” before every trip – the more momentous the journey, the sooner they materialize.  I sense murmurs of “Shpilkies” for my upcoming trip to London for The Oxford Experience… and that’s not till July!  Still, my brain’s “Playlist” is already cued up to “Eng-a-land swings, like a pendulum do…”

Our “Arizona Experience” is multi-faceted in nature.

We’ll be connecting with my friend Shelly, whom I’ve known since we were six.  Somewhere in this house, there is a large, black-and-white picture, taken at my six-year-old birthday party, where a dozen or so birthday guests, and myself, are posed sitting atop our basement “Recreation Room” bar, our spindly “kiddie legs” dangling restlessly in the air.

One of those kiddies is Shelly.

Shelly and I were also cabin-mates at Camp Ogama, starting at age nine, and again later, and we eventually became close friends.  (It was a "natural."  Nobody else liked either of us.) 

When I was thirteen, I received an electric shaver for my Bar Mitzvah.  Lacking a father, I had no available role model.

Shelly taught me how to use it.

When we were sixteen, we were in the “Hungarian Revolution” pageant together. Shelly, the malevolent prosecutor, got me, the Prime Minister of Hungary, dispatched to the Firing Squad.

Today, Shelly’s a retired sociology professor who’s become an adept “Personal Trainer” in his condominium community. 

My friend Shelly.  A guy who did not know how to swim. 

Once, when I went on a canoe trip and he couldn’t because he was unable to meet the prescribed swimming requirement – which was dumb, because if a canoe ever tipped over, you would just have to “Dog Paddle” back to it and hold on, a distance of, perhaps, six feet of swimming.     

Even Shelly could do that!

Anyway, when we returned three days later, I was so happy to see him, I raced up and bonked him soundly on the back of the head with a souvenir “tomahawk” my counselor had made me.  A caught-off-guard Shelly wheeled around and socked me mightily in the jaw.

To this day, it was the only the time I have ever been punched.

So you see we have “history.”

Shelly’s terrific family includes two male grandchildren, barreling through their teens, both of whom have worked tirelessly to achieve their dream of becoming professional baseball players.  Which brings up the other pleasure of this visit.

It is “Spring Training” in Arizona.  (Arizona gets spring before we do.  It’s like they’re “breaking it in” for us and a month later, they seamlessly pass it on "West."  After that, the local temperatures hells up to a hundred, and more.  “A hundred and more”, they can keep for themselves.)

Part of the trip’s fun is attending “Spring Training” games with my friend, his wonderful wife Vikki, and one or both of the savvy ballplayers, whose brains I endlessly pick for valuable tips and “insider” perspectives.  (Although, now as teenagers, they likely have better things to do than assuage an Old Jewish Man’s unquenchable passion for the game.  I was a teenager myself once and I know what it’s… no I don’t.       

I’ve could go on, but I am going to stop here.

It’s true I’m a professional. 

But nobody can write,

When they’ve got “Shpilkies.”

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