Mary had been after me to change my voice mail message, which, she said, aside from being boring, was way too long.
Allen, our neighbor, said, in a message he left, that it was the funniest thing he’d ever heard. And so, opinion being deeply divided, I tried to be more succinct. Now when you call, you’ll hear me say, “I’m either jumping to conclusions, hurdling obstacles, or running a fever. Please leave a message.”
All of which seems fitting for a sportswriter to say. Mary says she likes the new message much better, and so it stays; though undoubtedly, now that I’ve hit upon a pleasing form, other greetings will come calling at 4 a.m., as the above did. . . .
“I’m either taking the ball and running with it, passing up a great opportunity, or kicking the can down the road. Please leave. . . .”
“I’m either screwing up my courage, plumbing the depths, or wiring for money. Please leave. . . .”
“I’m either fishing for compliments, casting a cold eye, or waiting with bated breath.”
“I’m either (this can be addictive) raking havoc, reeking of garlic, or recreating. . . .”
As to this latter, I am about to re-engage with life following 42 days of quietude imposed as the result of a hernia operation, and simply knowing that I’ll soon be venting my spleen again on the tennis courts seems to be having a cardiovascular effect.
Just to be able to run around Herrick Park the other day was salutary. I say “run,” it was more of a stagger. But I was moving, and when I was done I felt a lightness — of spirit, I suppose, though maybe the blood wasn’t getting to my brain — that I hadn’t felt for a while.
Interviewing John Conner for the sports pages had served as a catalyst. He has had many moments in the international and national track world’s sun, though, despite a serious accident a decade ago — an accident while cycling that virtually ended his stellar running career — he has nevertheless remained undaunted (he walks, he swims, he bikes, he works out), and he’s as irrepressible as ever.
A great example of the life force for the young whom he coaches — and for the old!