Last week’s undisputed eternal galactic champion of This Week in JPEGs was Ol’ Hoss Saddles Up. Giddy up, doggies!
This week’s theme is Return. Whether gone for years or even a few minutes, the return necessarily elicits both familiarity and change. A return reminds you of how the past was, but also brings in to sharp focus just what has changed in the interim.
I was driving to work the other day on a chilly, gloomy morning. I looked up at the highway exit sign and the skyline hulking behind it. And in that moment, I contemplated driving right passed it.
"Do it, pal. Take the day off. Go do anything else."
"Nah, c’mon. That’s dumb. I gotta make the bills. I have responsibilities, you know."
"Like what? Family and house and cars and loans and all that shit? Forget it. You’ve already given enough of yourself to that bullshit. You don’t even want it."
" … "
"You know that. Don’t make that face. Now drive."
" … "
"Drive faster. I like this car. No traffic at 6:45 in the morning. C’mon, see what she can do."
The needle pushes 80.
"vrrrrrrrrrmmmm!! Yeah, that’s great! It’s fun to feel something again, isn’t it?"
" … "
"Forget work. Forget her. Forget the boy. Drive south. The south is warm."
"The IRA has enough in it now that you can start over. Sure, you’ll pay a decent fee, but whatever. There’ll still be enough. Change your name and get a place, work at a bar or something. Anything, you know? You can feel something. You feel nothing for yourself now. That’s no life to live."
" … "
"Seriously, you should disappear. You are already invisible."
Depression is strange experience. See, things have been going really well for me of late. My baby boy is nearly a year old. He has really warped my experience of time. It seems only yesterday he was born, but I strain to try to remember what my life was like without him, it feels so long ago. He’s the best. And the funny thing is, my marriage is better now because of him than it ever was. Having a kid actually fixed a lot of things, and that irony entertains me to no end.
So with things going so well, I decided to try to step off of my depression medication. I’ve been on it for three or four years and it has done an incredible job of leveling me out. Without it, I’m pretty confident that I would be divorced.
That morning on the way to work, an old familiar friend returned unexpectedly. It was striking how familiar he could be and unrecognizable at the same time. Kinda like seeing someone you knew a long time ago, and you stand around talking to each other for five minutes trying to figure out where from. In all honesty, it was exhilarating. He entertained my worst impulses, he questioned my deepest assumptions, and he challenged me intellectually. He was the charming friend who would talk you into another pitcher of beer or four, coax you into the strip club, and use your credit card for the bill when you weren’t looking. He was awful, but fascinating. And he showed up that morning for the first time in years, swinging a bottle of bourbon in his hand like a dinner bell and calling me to come with.
I ended up taking the meds as soon as I got home.
But for as uncomfortable as that all sounds, it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. Not the whole depression thing in general, but that morning. See, I have been undepressed for so long that I had forgotten what it was really like. I didn’t really think about it anymore. Or, I guess more accurately, I couldn’t think about it anymore, thanks to the pills. But now I had a frame of reference. I had a very long and very intimate yet very toxic relationship, but I couldn’t really know how toxic it was until I was able to see him again with fresh eyes. Rare are the experiences that can be so transformationally self-revelatory.
The Golem Falling Apart
Devin Mesoraco has had the devil’s own time the past few years. As you know, he was out for basically the entire season after tearing the labrum in his hip. Recovery was long and arduous for him, but he was pretty much ready by Spring Training and everyone was hoping his All-Star bat could again anchor the lineup.
Then he tore the labrum in his left shoulder and thus he made his crapful return to the disabled list. He may be done for the year and he may not, but The Golem of Cincinnati is splitting at the seams. This Shabbat, please sing a Mi Sheberakh for him.
The Long A-Cuet-ed Return
On Monday, Johnny Cueto and the San Francisco Giants began a three-game set with the Reds in Cincinnati. Cueto took the rubber at Great American Ballpark for the first time ever wearing something other than a Reds cap. Leading up to it, I was kinda bummed. Johnny Beisbol was one of my absolute favorite Reds of recent vintage and I still kinda haven’t made peace with his departure. I wasn’t sure how I would handle is return. But man, seeing him out there, doing that little twitch-wiggle he does every now and again, watching him battle with Joey Votto, watching him flash that hundred-million-dollar smile – man. It was fun. It was a ton of fun. Vámonos, Johnny Beisbol.
Joey Walker Red
It’s no secret that Joey Votto had a terrible April. His frustration was wholly evident, as was the frustration of a certain sector of Reds fans who most likely purchase extended warranties with their HP laptops. Over his last 12 games or so though he has really returned to form. Since April 23rd against the Cubs, Joey is OPSing .935 and getting on base as familiarly Vottonian .449 clip. Walk on, Joey Walker Red.