Point of View: Adieu to Quietude

Changing the message

   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!