I have a lazy eye.
I got it as a small child when I had a high fever. Most people don't notice it. It is such a part of me that I forget about it sometimes.
There are people in my house that take it upon themselves to remind me.
My children think it is funny to talk about my lazy eye. They ask me to show it to them. They bring it up in conversation.They refer to it at the dinner table.
Sometimes I laugh because what they say is really funny. They get to me that way.
Sometimes I laugh because I am completely astounded at their sheer audacity.
What am I supposed to do?
Have I taught them nothing about manners and respect? Do I call further attention to my eye by yelling at them to stop?
Should I beat them?
Mostly I say "hey! that is not cool. We do not go around calling attention to others by pointing out the ways that they are different or odd."
They mumble something about being sorry. And I truly think they are. I try to keep it low key because it doesn't really bother me and I feel like making an issue of it will only compound the problem. We address it repeatedly...because it comes up repeatedly. Eventually it will sink in.
For now, lets face it, lazy eyes are just funny.
See, I can poke fun at this because it doesn't bother me. I don't remember being mocked because of my eye.
I was mocked because of my buck teeth. Then I got braces so that really isn't an issue anymore either.
(I did make my first child a bit neurotic because I would pray to God and command her teeth to line up in the name of Jesus...until, at the age of four, she asked me to please stop praying for her mouth...sigh)
So the Bucky Becky thing isn't really an issue.
Not. at. all.
Well ok, maybe a little bit.
Wanna know my real childhood issue?
Are you ready?
You heard me. Baseball.
I come from a ball family. Dad was a great catcher. Big brothers were constantly on the field, baseball, football, soccer. Big sister was a mean basketball player back in the day. Little sister could smoke em in Softball.
You might be wondering why I would even step onto a ball field. Well, when you come from a sports family you just do these things. There really is no thought about other options. If you say "I'd rather not play" you will be looked at like Grandma saying "these cinnamon rolls probably aren't worth eating"...nonsense. Of course you want to play.
C'mon Beck! Let's get on out there and hit some balls!!
I remember standing with a bat in hand at Pile-High Stadium (we played in a cow field).
Everyone was so encouraging to me.
"Come on Beck...you can do it. Keep your eye on the ball!"
Now you might just be thinking...which eye?
Think it all you want but don't ask it out loud. Even tho it doesn't bother me I might get irritated.
Don't get me wrong, I would laugh.
And then I'd punch you a little harder than necessary in the arm with one hand as I slapped my knee with the other.
But seriously, which eye? I have this little depth perception problem. I have a really hard time tracking a flying object that is hurtling towards my person at 50 something miles per hour.
Anyone with an ounce of athletic ability will say that such a thing is easily overcome. I beg to differ.
Well, I guess I can't really argue. It is that pesky "ounce of ability" that ruins my position on this matter.
See, I have not one ounce of said ability.
Nor do I want any.
Even tho, as a child I wanted more than breath itself to be able to knock that ball into next week.
But I just couldn't do it.
Honestly, I really should get points for chutzpah. (hoot-spa)
I would stand at the plate every Sunday afternoon and and beg for God to "please for everything that is good and right, please please please let me at least make contact with the ball".
I don't think He ever said yes.
I think I would remember.
I do remember feeling the humiliation of having the other team motion all the outfielders inside the baseline.
Yeah...that'll stoke your confidence.
The pitcher would walk forward to about midway between the mound and the plate and lob a gentle one right at my bat. I believe a toddler could have hit that ball.
A toddler with two good eyes that is.
I am ok with the fact that you are snickering.
I was mature enough to know when to swing the bat. I was just not capable of swinging it a straight line which is what was required to actually hit the ball.
I would swing mightily. And the ball would laugh as it hit the catchers glove. Nobody else laughed. They were busy yelling "good try Beck! Watch the ball, Beck! You can do it Beck!"
"Keep your eye on the ball Beck! " they would chorus and I would watch...as the ball danced its way past my bat two more times.
I knew how to watch the stupid ball ok? I just didn't know how to hit it with the stupid bat.
The very best thing about baseball was each time my at-bat was over. My torture had ended.
I did not step away from the plate in humiliation hanging on me. I stepped away in relief. I was done.
Praise God! (even tho He didn't say yes to my plea.)
I would return to the sidelines and read my book while my teammates took their turns at ball smacking.
I was free...until the next part.
Actually, the other part of baseball was not nearly so bad. In fact you might say that it was kind of payback for the batting humiliation. This part was called "in the field".
Now, when I say in the field, I mean in the field. That whole depth perception thing...yeah...I was no better at catching balls than I was at hitting balls. In fact, if you can believe this, I was even worse at it. At least I had an inner desire to hit the ball with the little stick.
In the field I had no desire, not one, in any part of my body, nope, no desire to catch that ball.
This is why they put me in the field.
Because they knew.
They knew from experience that should the ball come towards me I would duck. Or move out of the way. Maybe,on a good...really good...day I might stick my glove out but you can bet yer bottom dollar I would be praying hard for that ball to land anywhere else.
Picture me, wayyyy out in the field in my polyester shorts and buck teeth squeezing my eyes closed while holding a glove bigger than my head out in front of me and chanting "pleasegodpleasegodpleasegod-not-in-the-glove".
He always answered that prayer with a yes.
Then the ball would bounce and roll on past and I would open my eyes to see the rest of my team windmilling the air and shouting "GET THE BALL BECKY!" and I would turn and chase the bouncing ball and pick it up and throw it towards the infield and it would fly.
About three feet.
So I would (sort of) run up to it and pick it up again and it would go another three feet. And I might do this one more time before some big boy would lumber out and pick the ball and launch it all the way to home plate. Which was a good thing because that was where the runner was heading by now.
I think they should have been smarter about putting me wayyyy out in the field.
There is always gonna be a ringer on the other team that can knock it right through the hole and every man on that team knows just where the hole is...look for Becky...
I think the decision to put me out in the field was a calculated risk. I might miss every ball that flew at me but at least if I was out there...nobody would trip over me.
Thank goodness for small favors.
I mean that so seriously.
In the outfield is peace. No sweaty bodies barreling toward that tiny tiny white island that you defend. No hard flying objects launching toward your head every few minutes. Nobody breezing by you as you try and locate the ball visually while it jolts and bounces from glove to glove to glove.
Every glove except yours, that is.
Like Ferdinand in his field of flowers I could reflect on life and witness from afar the ludicrous antics of the sportsmen infield. My sanity assured me no contusions, concussions, dislocations, or even rash. What's a little verbal harassment between friends (or siblings)? I could face it all if it meant that the ball, and my body, would not, under any conceivable circumstances, ever, make contact.
And in my peaceful reflection I could laugh. These people would get so stressed out about that little ball.
What is up with that anyway??
Veins would bulge. Sweat would drip. Knees would bloody. Life and limb would be continually sacrificed to the baseball "gods"...all in the name of either stopping that ball, or launching that ball.
Silliness I tell ya.
I chose to rise above. To exist on a higher plane.
Maybe my utter failure at hitting the ball allowed me a certain superiority in my self preservating aloofness.
Nobody expected me to shine in the field. I was free from all preconceived notions about ability or might.
I could write my own ticket. And I did...
I chose to be cool. Too cool to care. Let the commoners do the dirty work. I had flowers to smell.
Baseball nirvana?? (Nirvana- in the state of being free from suffering)
But it would have been sweeter with one good hit.