Back in June, I told the story of how my childhood wish for an autograph from my hero, Carl Yastrzemski, was finally fulfilled by way of a circuitous combination of some long ago promotional endorsement of encased meats and the kindness of a Boston Globe reader, Ann Beaudoin, who’d seen a story in that paper about me and my gods that mentioned my unrequited desire for the Hall of Famer’s scribbled name. Yesterday I got another piece of mail from Ann with a newspaper flier inside and a message relating that she had seen the photo on the cover of the flier and decided to pass it along.
Sometimes I wonder about things. I wonder a lot, obviously, about the past. I suppose all this wondering is a way of asking if the past and present can ever meet. I don’t know if they can. But now, at least, I know that there is a place “where the past and present meat” and that they do so in the very spot where Yaz once stood.
I also wonder about the future. I wonder what happens when we die. Will there really be a question and answer session when the final out is recorded? This is a common story we like to tell ourselves anyway. Maybe it’s true.
And what did you do with your one brief life? I’ll be asked.
I picture a guy at a desk, holding a clipboard. (In my version of the afterlife, celestial intake workers have not yet been upgraded to computers.)
I’m not really sure, I’ll reply.
Come on, give me something, the intake worker will prod me. It’s on my list, and we can’t leave it blank. We had a whole meeting about it.
Well, I guess there’s this, I’ll say. I don’t know if it says anything about what I chose to focus on in my life, but there was one time when someone I’d never met saw Carl Yastrzemski holding kielbasa and thought of me.
Whether or not this tidbit gets me processed to some higher plain or to a more purgatorial or even punitive realm or, worst of all, to nonexistence altogether, remains to be seen (or not seen), but in this world it made the past and the present and the future meat and I couldn’t help but smile.
A “book tour” note:
I’ll be part of a reading at a bar in Chicago this Sunday.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 19TH, 6 PM CENTRAL
Orange Alert Reading Series
2421 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL
also reading: Adam Golaski (“Color Plates”), Davis Schneiderman (“Drain”), Ben Tanzer (“Lucky Man”)
Free and open to the public
(Metromix listing of event here.)
Hope to see you there. If you can’t make it and are suspicious that my ability to read is a hoax, I’ll leave you today with some grainy, Zapruder-ambiguous proof in the form of a bit of digital-camera video taken by my Uncle Bob at a reading I did this summer at the general store where, long ago, I first made the acquaintance of most of the gods who live in a shoebox on top of the file cabinet next to my desk.