Sunday Potpourri: “It’s the Big Heat”

As is the case with many buildings of a certain vintage, the campus building that holds my office has what is called a chiller/boiler heating and cooling system. In practice, this means that the building operates at two temperature settings: Meat Locker and Crematorium. When I swung by this afternoon, it was clear that we had moved to option B.

So here I sit, with my window wide open and a fan going, a week into December. Go please the world.

***

It’s been a quiet week, in which a highlight was a trip to Lowe’s to select a new faucet for our kitchen sink. Mrs. M was torn between a couple of candidates, and at one point, I suggested a coin toss might be in order. My suggestion went unheeded, and a few minutes later, when a member of the store staff came to help us, she explained her dilemma, and asked for a recommendation. The guy reached into his pocket and pulled out a quarter.

As I began to cackle madly, Mrs. M said, “My husband just did that!”

“I do this with my wife all the time,” the staffer said. “She usually throws the quarter at me.” So I guess I got off easily. A few minutes later, she settled on a choice with which we were both happy, and it will be installed later this week.

The fact is, of course, that Mrs. M is a good steward, and she wants to make the best possible choice when she buys something, both from aesthetic and functional standpoints. And because the differences between, say, one model of kitchen faucet and another may be small indeed, that can make the choice that much harder for the consumer. Meanwhile, her attention to detail and quality makes me wonder how she’s managed to put up with me for all these years. But then, a lot of things do. At least she knows now that I’m not the only wiseass with the quarter.

***

My beloved U of Kentucky Wildcats finished their regular season football schedule last night, thumping the visiting squad from Real City. Not surprisingly, many of my local friends and neighbors support the Real City teams, but I’ll try to be a good sport about things. Honestly, this season has had some serious peaks and valleys for my team as well, most notably in the form of a 63-3 beatdown from Darth Saban’s crew from Tuscaloosa. But even when our team was undermanned because of injuries or illness, they showed up for every game, one of only two teams in our conference to do so. (The other, by the way, was the U of South Carolina, and last night it was their turn to be short-staffed. Credit to them for staying the course as well.)

An old saw about sport is that it builds character. Most of the time (and because of most of the headlines), I have my doubts. But in this bizarre season, I think there may be some truth to it, at least in the case of last night’s teams. All season long, they kept showing up. Sometimes they won; sometimes they didn’t; and in the case I mentioned above, sometimes they got bludgeoned. But they showed up and won their games or took their beatings, even when no one would have objected to their begging off.

Over the course of my life so far, I’ve come to value that quality — the willingness or sheer bloodymindedness to keep showing up, even if you know you’re going to get stomped. You don’t go in wanting to get stomped, but it happens from time to time. The trick is to keep showing up.

So congrats and thanks both to my Wildcats and the visiting Gamecocks. You kept showing up. I’ll try to do the same.

***

While I continue to read and write (more of the former than the latter lately), I’m also beginning to think about my upcoming courses. It looks as though I’ll be teaching those virtually, because I’m a middle-aged fat guy with some other issues. But I’m finding solace in the coming vaccines, and hope that I may be able to return to my familiar classrooms by fall of next year. I’ll be grateful for that — I miss being around the kids and my peers as well.

***

On the musical front, I hope to get back to hitting things this week. One of the advantages to rock and roll is that social distancing doesn’t preclude rehearsals. We can all be six feet apart or more, but trust me — we’ll hear each other. This is a new lineup, but again, the coming vaccine gives us hope that by summer or so, venues will be open once more, and we’ll be able to take the stage when it happens.

***

Because I have been writing pretty regularly for the past few months, I’ve spent a fair amount of time thinking about writing as well. As a consequence of the writing and the thinking, I found myself in a receptive frame of mind when this song came on the campus radio station last night. I’ve got it on vinyl — a copy of the Who Are You album that the girl up the street gave me in 1979 or so. Her mom forbade her from listening to it when they discovered the f-bombs in the album version of the title cut. My household was more. . . um, relaxed about such matters. So with thanks to Casey Behne (nee Zmurk) and her mom, here are the Who.

See you soon!

About profmondo

Dad, husband, mostly free individual, medievalist, writer, and drummer. "Gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche."
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