local man “never played baseball.”

Being the youngest child in a family has its ups and downs. On the one hand, the baby of the family gets cuddled a little more, excused a little farther, and pushed a little more gently. No one wants to see the baby grow up and move out, so he/she is encouraged to remain childlike and youthful. To the baby, this is fun! (I should know — I’m the baby in my family.) On the other hand, being the youngest is lonely. The baby gets dragged around to older siblings’ activities, is told, “Aw, honey, you’re too young,” and learns to occupy him- or herself at such uninteresting events. Then the siblings grow up and move out, leaving the baby alone in the nest. The youngest can be an outsider, but also… independent and resourceful.

This is what I thought when I saw the cover and read the preface of Chris Howdyshell’s new book (yes, you read that right) I Never Played Baseball. He goes on to discuss aging, ultimately explaining the reason people get grumpier with time is because our bodies slow down while life maintains its speed. In fact, he almost named the book Old People Are Pissed, but perhaps it wouldn’t have matched the photo on the cover, of his son watching a baseball game. Maybe he didn’t have a picture of pissed off old people at the time. And I guess baseball is more timely for spring, wouldn’t you agree?

book on phoneThe book is roughly divided into sections. If it had a table of contents, it would read something like this:

Contents

A Series of Positive Poems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pages 1 – 27
Jokes I Wrote . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 29
<untitled section> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pages 31 – 50
The Last Point . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 51

And over the course of its fifty-couple pages, it goes way farther than baseball or childhood memories. Common themes include age, disillusionment, technology, love, war, God (I think), human interaction, and Elton John.

I must mention a few notable parts, like the part about Tuggs the bastard child of Lilly McCoy, raised by bears. “Jibber Jabber,” which reads either like a dream or like a situation involving too much Theraflu, contains Ralph Sampson, newspaper-eating creatures, Julia Child, a witch, leprechauns, ogres, unicorns, and a VW bus. All at Reddish Knob. And “What It’s All About” — a really sweet piece about… well, the meaning of life: “It’s about being thankful/it’s about being here.” Presence and gratitude.

Chris and kidsBut I have to say my favorite part is called “Attic,” a frame story-ish piece that starts with how he’s never been in his own attic either because a) there are bees up there, or b) he’s too lazy to get the ladder, and ends with the idea of finding a (small) treasure chest or even a copy of the Declaration of Independence. Sometimes you gotta fight your fear and/or laziness and haul yourself up in that stuffy space!

Things you will come to understand about Chris after reading the book, if you didn’t already know: Chris loves his home (except the attic) and he loves his family. He’s happy where he is, not because it’s “perfect,” but because he sees life as a gift. He hates bees and war, and he loves music and people. And, he never played baseball. Who knew?

You can find Chris’s book here on Lulu. It’s funny, it’s weird, it’s poignant and confusing, sentimental and sad. Download it, read it, and be inspired to share your story/poems/joke/anecdote/lyrics/musings/ramblings/weird dreams!

Howdyshell FamilyCopyright © 2012-13 · All Rights Reserved · ilovemyburg.com. Written content by Katie Mitchell. Photos by Brandy Somers. This material may not be copied, downloaded, reproduced, or printed without express written consent. Thank you for respecting our intellectual property.

4 thoughts on “local man “never played baseball.”

  1. Oh, and I agree about people getting pissed as they get older. I’m living that at age 53 working with nothing but 20 to 30-somethings. The “Gen Y’s” lose me when they talk tech (video games) or music. Whenever I ask “who does this song?”, I almost immediately regret asking because it will inevitably be someone I’ve never heard of. I can remember as a teen thinking how I would always know music and never be out of the pop culture loop! Ha!! You get pissed about feeling lost in that regard and wondering when and how it happened.

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