The Passing of an Old Friend

You know time is a funny thing. When you are young it seems as though you have a surplus of time. There always seemed to be enough of it to do whatever you wanted to do with time left over for something else as well. As a child it seemed as though time almost stood or at the very least crept along at a snail’s pace. As we got older time appeared to speed up. In high school and college time fluctuated. Part of the semester it seemed as though time did not pass at all but come finals week time took a trip on the autobahn going well over the posted speed limit. As I graduated and started a family of my own I suddenly found that time was no longer my ally. Time began playing games with me, games I was obviously not good at. Time is especially adept at playing hide-and-seek. It seems as though whenever I look for time I cannot find it but when I don’t want time around it is always there tripping me up. This wouldn’t bother me that much if it were not for the ramifications and the effects of time.

Age puts a quantitative value on time as we try to explain how much time an object has been exposed to. We can then evaluate the effects time has had on a specific item to further describe quality. For example, to a fine wine time and age can be a very good thing. It can bring out the qualities and attributes that only come about after a period of time has elapsed. The longer the time, the greater the age, the better the vintage becomes. There are likewise objects that do not do quite as well when subjected to the rigors of time. For a brief moment I thought about describing the effects of time and age as they pertain to my wife Trina but after a quick assessment of how many nights there are until baseball season coupled with the comfort level I would place on sleeping on the couch I decided it would be prudent for me to keep my comments to myself on that subject and instead compare her beauty to that of a fine wine (that’s “wine” not “whine” for those following along) that continues to grow with each passing day. The point I am attempting to make is that there are certain objects that embrace time and age gracefully and there are other objects that reject time and find themselves unable to overcome the barriers of age. I came to one such realization today and it has been bothering me ever since.

In 1999 I was an eager Arizona Diamondbacks fan wanting to embrace this team as my own. I already had season tickets and had spent 81 glorious days at what was then Bank One Ballpark. During the off-season between 1998 and 1999 the Diamondbacks had retooled their roster making them at least on paper seem to be a dominating force. The future was looking very bright for this franchise and I was pretty excited. At about this same time Trina assessed my wardrobe and lamented that nearly all my clothes dated back to before we were married and looked like something that a college student might wear. She suggested that perhaps an update was in order. I’m not much of a clothing shopper but I agreed that I should probably let go of my “Mr. Potatohead Picks His Nose” T-Shirt and other similar fashion statements. So armed with a credit card and my wife’s approval I went down to the team shop and purchased 7 Arizona Diamondbacks polo shirts in various colors. That’s not exactly what Trina had in mind when she suggested I change my wardrobe but she did have to admit that it was a far cry better than the “Save the Plankton, Nuke the Whales” T-shirt or my Jaws necktie. I guess she figured that baby steps towards dressing like an adult were about all she could hope for.

As the years have progressed I have accumulated clothing here and there but those 7 Diamondbacks polo shirts have remained in the standard rotation. One in particular has become a favorite of mine. It is turquoise with a white “A” logo embroidered to the breast. It is one of the first shirts that I will wear after laundry day. Today was just such a day. I put on “Ol’ Teal” and then slipped on my Mozilla sweatshirt (the teal in my shirt matches the fins on the surfing dinosaur (you have to see it to understand). It was kind of rainy and chilly and this seemed like the perfect ensemble to wear to work. It was functional (warm) and stylish (who doesn’t love a teal Diamondbacks shirt under a surfing dinosaur sweatshirt). As I walked out the door I stopped at the hallway mirror to make sure everything looked fine. It was then that I noticed that “Ol’ Teal” was showing his age. What used to be a nice crisp collar was now wrinkled and more than a little thread barren. My heart sank at the thoughts that my good friend was hurting. I ran back through the house yelling for Trina. She rushed out thinking I had somehow fallen and busted more ribs or something. This though was much more important than that. I was trying to save a friend. I showed her the areas on the collar and with a voice deep in desperation I asked her what could be done. “It’s just wearing out, there is nothing we can do” was her answer. Nothing we could do? How is that possible? We can put a man on the moon, we can clone a sheep, we can even cheer the son of Satan when he runs out to shortstop for the Yankees (ok maybe cheering for Derek Jeter is not possible)’ how can we not save a shirt? I was devastated at the thoughts of having to retire “Ol’ Teal”. I wondered if there was anything I might do to reverse the effects of aging. I even briefly considered contacting Brian McNamee and Roger Clemens to see if either of them knew whether steroids or SGH (Shirt Growth Hormone) may help me to bring back my friend to his glory days. There has to be something we can do. You can’t just wear a shirt for a while then throw it away can you? This day started out so brightly and just as quickly it has turned to darkness. My heart and my spirit sank as I thought about the fact that this might be the last day I will spend with “Ol’ Teal”. I made a note to stop by the Hallmark store on the way home from work. I am sure they have to have a “sorry you have to throw your shirt away” card. I think that is the least I can do for my old friend.

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