On March 8th, I woke up in the middle of the night as I usually do and noticed the time was 1:53 AM. I decided to stay awake (like I had a choice in that matter) and see what it looks like when the time changes for Daylight Savings. I watched it go to 1:55 then closed my eyes. When I opened them again, it was 1:59 so I waited. I focused on not closing my eyes again. Next thing I knew, I saw 3:00. The hour was completely gone and with no celebration. It mirrored my life.
I began to flash back to the days when my sons were little in the springtime, when they loved playing with bubbles and giant plastic balls from Walmart. I can smell that gentle soapiness. They’d walk around the yard dragging those giant orange baseball bats behind them like Bamm-Bamm from the Flinstones. Sammy used to pick Sweet 100’s, tiny cherry tomatoes, from the garden. His little cheeks were all puffed out, stuffed with the juicy “meenos” as he called them, and they would toss grimy tennis balls to the dogs, wipe their little hands on their bare bellies, then sip on their green freeze pops. They loved playing kickball, badmitten, and some type of tag. They’re all over thirteen now, but I can still hear it.
“Mom’s base!” They always declared, their little bare chests puffed out like the idea was original.
Base gave the tagee a sturdy safety bubble that surrounded them with protection from the most shameful title of It. If the tagger touches someone, he says, “You’re It!” and everyone laughs. If everyone makes it to Base before they get tagged, the tagger loses. It’s a dishonorable loss, too, and It is a terrible thing to be called.
Base is a definitive belief that becomes almost tangible in the heat of a competition like tag, one that saturates every corner and rounded edge of the player’s mind. It’s strong like a hallucination or a placebo.
I remember one time I said to Tyler, my oldest, “It won’t work.” We were talking about some type of placebo.
“Why not?” he asked.
“Because it’s just a placebo,” I said in a snarky Mom way.
“So?” After he replied, he remained silent knowing he was right.
The human mind; It’s incredible.
The boys believed in Base, and sometimes, I hated that it was me. They would get rough or fling mud or Cheetos all over my shoulder when I wanted to rest for a minute. Most of the time it wasn’t so bad, but I’ve lost my powers.
They can’t place their hand on my shoulder and receive any safety from me, not in times like this, not during a pandemic. I’m a tough guy, but all of this is scary. I’ll take a hurricane any day over this. It’s easier to protect yourself from something you can see, cause nobody wants to be It.