Life is tricky. It likes to throw curve balls. Which, when I come to think of it, is impressive — I can’t throw curve balls. And, just like in baseball, each pitch can end in a multitude of ways: a strike, a home run, a black eye. The important thing to know is that the batter (the liver of life) has a hand in how it ends. That’s not to say the LOL (liver of life) has complete control, but they have a say in the matter.
With practice and experience, confidence can grow. Adapting to the pitches as they come, switching up your stance, tightening up your grip, keeping both eyes on the ball, and getting the timing just right, can all help. When a LOL is active, doing something, making decisions, and not stepping back from the plate, much good can come, even if the pitch is thrown, the bat is swung, and the ball explodes in the catcher’s mitt.
I recently read that, and excuse the horrendous paraphrase, suffering is not caused by unfortunate events in life but by our response to those events. People, in controlling their thoughts, their attitudes, can shape their existence. I know, I know, this is all fine and good until the car breaks down, the bank account flashes zero, and your neighbor’s kid throws a watermelon through your kitchen window; but bear with me. If you will, allow me a moment of your time — you’re already here, might as well stay — to share a recent experience my wife and I had. One that is neither too awesome or too funny — it’s just everyday, regular — so of course, it’s the kind of experience that matters most.
It was Wednesday. The meeting was over and I’d just stepped outside when my phone rang. It was Rinda. She wanted me to go to the store and pick up a few things: peppered turkey, a head of lettuce, yeast packets, and dough enhancer (whatever the H that is). She was making wheat bread and it was to be used for sandwiches. I’m a fan of homemade bread and sandwiches, so I complied.
I hate to do this, but I am going to stick with the baseball metaphor as a way to highlight the balls, strikes, and hits of our experience.
I was at the store. Everything I needed was in the cart except for the dough enhancer. Again, what is dough enhancer? I’m smart enough to assume that it enhances dough, and thanks to the disturbing infomercials and early morning radio ads you hear about other types of enhancements, I could gather that it improves bread’s ability to rise; but still, what was it? A powder? a liquid? Two stones you clap together while spinning in an office chair? Already having lost my pride due to the mental link I made between dough enhancer and other enhancers, I had no problem reaching out for help — I asked the nearest old woman (the official makers of homemade bread, right?) if she knew what or where dough enhancer was. She did not. I let Rinda know my excursion to find the world’s first dough enhancer was a failure, she understood. BALL 1.
At home, Rinda started the bread, but not before she realized she had somewhere to be in an hour or two; meaning I was left in charge of part of the preparation process. If I could have, I would have declined: it’s always best to be as far removed from the success or failure of a new recipe as possible — both outcomes can be disastrous. That did not stop Rinda from repeating and then, again, repeating my tasks: put a hot, moist towel over the dough; put the dough in the oven; let it rise; after so much time, pull it out; knead it; let it rise some more.
When, in response to her request, I repeated the steps in a high voice, while doing a silly dance, Rinda was not amused. I’ve said it before, but my wife does not think I’m funny. Good thing I think I’m funny, or life and dough making would be a lot more boring. BALL 2.
Rinda left, leaving me to my silly dance and dough duty; and that, of course, is when strike one came hard and fast. I did exactly as I was told and it was now the dough’s turn to do its part. Most of you are laughing at me now. Don’t worry I am laughing at me now, too. This was not my first dough rodeo: I should have remembered that dough is like unto a 15-year-old — difficult, non-responsive, and unable to do what it’s supposed to without a lot of convincing. Needless to say, the dough did not rise, the first time or the second time.
Where are you dough enhancer? Why can’t I find you? Why have you gone away? Where is the laughter, you used to bring me, why can’t I hear the music play? STRIKE ONE.
Rinda came home. The dough was in its pan, ready to go in the oven. Cooked, cooled, and it stood an inch and a half high. Rinda did not laugh at my Jesus bread joke. STRIKE TWO.
Slicing the bread the regular way was not an option — unless we wanted bread the width of ketchup packets — so we cut it lengthwise, crafting as many normal-looking slices as possible. HIT 1. The ball sailed out of the stadium; but wait, no, it was kissing the line between homer and foul. The bread was so heavy and so coarse, that the gallon of water we each drank to swallow it, was not enough to wash it down. FOUL BALL.
Rinda still wanted sandwiches. We had no bread and, due to slow work conditions, not much money for bread either. So, we got creative. I wish what followed was a sure sign of our culinary genius, but, no, it was a result of ruined bread and poorness.
In came the Lettuce, Turkey, and Tomato sandwich, hold the bread:
Add a cute baby and we had a serious HOME RUN. With this simple experience — recognizing that it does not represent a huge trial or triumph — we were bombarded with all types of pitches. It took balls, fouls, and strikes for us to finally hit a home run. In the end, the home run had nothing to do with baseball and everything to do with making the best out of a situation. Oh, and guess what, I’m positive we will make LTTs again; this time, on purpose.
INGREDIENTS: Head of lettuce, peppered turkey, provolone cheese, tomato, onion, mustard, mayonnaise.
Break off 2 large pieces of lettuce. Spread mustard and mayonnaise on the lettuce. Add turkey. Top with cheese. Add chopped onion. Add tomato. Wrap the two pieces of lettuce together. Eat while humming a tune from the 80’s.
UNFUNNY HUSBAND MOMENT: See above: recipe repetition using a high voice and silly dance & Jesus bread joke.
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