The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Life is like a heap of boiled peanuts, though I don’t know exactly why. (Monte Dutton photo)

Clinton, South Carolina, Friday, July 20, 2018, 3:51 p.m.

By Monte Dutton

I hate the All-Star Break. The game’s fine, though I didn’t get to watch it this year because I was watching Laurens City Council go into executive session and then two men debating whether or not the county’s two public school districts ought to be combined.

The City Council took no action when it emerged, and Districts 55 and 56 aren’t going to be combined any time soon. They almost were earlier this year, but I’m not going into those complications right now. I enjoyed watching the debate, which one of the debaters said was really “a forum.” A funny thing happened on the way to the forum: I didn’t get to watch the All-Star Game.

Things seem a bit out of kilter. (Monte Dutton photo)

Baseball often makes up the background of my day. Afternoon games are on while I’m writing something like this. I don’t pay close attention. In general, I just look up when announcers start yelling and/or crowds start yelling. Other backgrounds that I like are the constant drone of fans during World Cup matches and, the past two days, the martial music and quiet remarks emanating from the Scottish golf course called Carnoustie through the miracle of TV.

The Boston Red Sox resume at 7 p.m. When last I watched the Red Sox – they’ve been my favorite baseball team since I was nine years old – they had won 12 out of 13 and 17 out of 20. At the moment, all that could possibly be better for the Red Sox would be Dustin Pedroia playing in more than three games this year and Eduardo Rodriguez not hurting his right ankle.

(Monte Dutton photo)

It’s hard to beat a 68-30 record and a 4-1/2-game lead over the New York Yankees. In fact, no other team beats it. Nothing teaches the merits of enjoying good times while they last than being a fan of the Battlin’ Bosox of the Fens.

It’s a long season that has so far been marvelous. It’s nice to have a baseball team in Boston to keep me passionate about something.

For 20 years, life revolved around NASCAR. Comparatively, it seems rather gentle on my mind these days. I still follow it closely. It remains important to me, but the sinking feeling is oppressive. It’s the same feeling I have about most of the world.

(Getty Images photo for NASCAR)

Football season will soon be here. Today I have buried myself in relatively menial tasks because I lack the motivation to do anything particularly creative. I value the televised background – Columbo reruns, the Open, a World Cup without the United States, old movies – because it helps me bide my time against the more significant backdrop of politics. The tone of this week was set by two men standing behind podiums in Helsinki on Monday.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way. I’m awaiting the will again. I can’t help but repeat the same phrase over and over in the privacy of my mind.

Nothing. Ever. Works.

It seems as if it’s the Red Sox and I against the world.


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(Cover design by Steven Novak)

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About Monte

For 20 seasons, I mostly wrote about NASCAR. I'm still paying attention, but I'm spending more of my time these days writing novels and songs. I try to blog regularly on whatever happens to strike my fancy.
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