Son, Just Don’t

, , , , | Learning | April 17, 2019

(When my brother is sixteen he is just starting to fill out, but still looks gangly and breakable. However, having been into sports since he was three and having two older siblings who are rough on him, he’s a lot tougher than he looks. He’s playing soccer, and one of the guys on the other team is being an absolute terror but is good enough to hide his cheating from the referees. This frustrates everyone on my brother’s team, as well as the refs since they can’t kick him out if they can’t catch him. Eventually, my brother’s coach decides to place my brother opposite him. To the surprise of absolutely no one — we are all very involved in the soccer community, and all of the refs and a majority of the players and coaches in our age range know us, at least by reputation, if not personally — the first time that kid tries this with my brother, he is laid out flat. My brother doesn’t bother to hide what he is doing and is given a yellow card. The opposing coach pulls his player. Standing near the team benches, my mom is in a good position to hear the player and the coach talking about it. For context, a yellow card is a warning and a red card is an ejection from the game. Two yellows automatically add up to a red.)

Player: “I’m fine, Coach! I can still play!”

Coach: “You’re not going back out this game.”

Player: “C’mon, he’s already got a yellow. I’ll be fine.”

Coach: *exasperated* “Exactly! He’s already got a yellow! On the next hit, he’s leaving the field, anyway. He has no more reason to hold back! If I put you back on that field, you’re leaving it on a stretcher!”

(Exactly right, Coach. Exactly right. The player sat out the rest of the game and my brother carried the record of his yellow with pride. The player was a lot less vicious after that, now that the idea for how to be rid of him for good was planted. My brother was far from the only one willing to sit out two games if it came to it.)

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No Fortitude For Longitude, Part 10

, , , , , , , | Working | January 9, 2018

(I am a territory salesman for a chemical company. I am sound asleep with my wife at just after 5:00 am and the phone rings beside the bed.)

Me: *groggily answering the phone* “Hello.”

Caller: “Hello, it’s [Caller], from [My Employer] in Toronto calling.”

Me: “Do you know what time it is?”

Caller: “Yes. It’s 8:05.”

Me: “Not in Prince George, it isn’t.”

Caller: *hesitating* “Oh… What do you mean?”

Me: *realizing the caller has no clue how the world works* “Well, you know how the sun comes up in the east and goes down at sunset in the west?”

Caller: *obviously unsure where this is leading* “Oh… Yes?”

Me: *trying to impart just a wee bit of wisdom* “Well, it hasn’t gotten here yet.”

Caller: *sounding really confused* “What do you mean?”

Me: “Well, the sun may be up in Toronto, but it will be three more hours before we see it, so it’s only ten after five in Prince George.”

(The caller is either completely unaware, or disregards the fact that she has woken me from a sound sleep and by this time, my wife is sitting up in bed beside me with a very puzzled look on her sleepy face.)

Caller: “Well, while I have you on the line, can you pop by this morning to [Customer] in Prince Rupert and drop a copy of an invoice that they didn’t receive?”

Me: “Well, I can get a copy to [Customer], but it won’t be this morning. Do you realize that Prince Rupert is 500 miles from here, which is a whole day’s drive, one way? Why don’t you just fax a copy, and then I won’t have to do anything until my next trip out west?”

Caller: *sounding shocked and perhaps just starting to realize the enormity of Canada* “Oh, okay. I guess I can do that.”

(Many years later, I sometimes think of that young clerk,and imagine her hanging up the phone and sitting there stunned by the incredible knowledge that the whole world doesn’t operate on Toronto time.)

Related
No Fortitude For Longitude, Part 9
No Fortitude For Longitude, Part 8
No Fortitude For Longitude, Part 7

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