My buddy Sean called me last night all the way from Wooster, Ohio. He wanted to confirm a rumor he was hearing about me throwing out a first pitch at the Reds game today (on Saturday, April 11). He seemed 90% confused, 5% curious, and 5% super confused. One of his exact lines went something like, “Why … I mean … you haven’t won the Nobel prize … yet. So … why did they ask you?”
His playful badgering went on for a few hilarious minutes.
95% of my friends share Sean’s confusion. It’s been fascinating to receive people’s reaction to this strange occurence. Some people’s brand of confusion comes out as a fast and furious, almost angry declaration, “Why?! You’re not famous!”
As if I’m not fully aware of my social/cultural status.
Some friends just don’t believe me. They think I’m a lying liar. Years of crying wolf over a long list of pointless embellishments leave them skeptical. I can’t fault them.
Some friends don’t care. They act like I told them I ate oatmeal for breakfast. Feigned or genuine apathy is almost the most shocking response.
Most people just need to know why. Immediately. They hear the news and they won’t rest until they understand who’s behind this injustice. There’s been a tear in the universe of how things operate, a nobody is getting to do something cool, and they have to figure out why. Ferocious little detectives interrogating lil’ ole’ me.
But then there are others. I’ve encountered a small band of grace-gypsies who respond with fast and generous joy. Their blink reaction is happiness and excitement. They don’t care why or how. Those questions certainly come later, but their immediate response feels like a burst of confetti and hip hip hooray. This response makes me feel warm inside. Sunshine fills my cheeks around these friends.
I don’t fault anyone for their response. Nor am I offended because I get it. And do it. I just know how I want to respond the next time I hear irrational good news from someone.
I want to burst quick with selfless joy. I want my words to feel and face to read like a parade thrown for just that person. I want to be more of a rocket ship than a rusty anchor for those people. I just want to be genuinely happy for them. Because I know how that feels; better than the first pitch itself I bet.
Photo (Flickr CC) by Jofre Ferrer