March 6th, 2006

individual-i

Unforseen benefits of soduko

For access control to our work areas, we use a standard 10-key touch-pad. The code changes periodically, including today at 11:00 a.m. I remembered this on a trip to the bathroom that, since I pass through the publicly accessible elevator lobby, requires use of the code to complete the trip.

I thought I'd remembered the code, but when I tried it, it didn't work. I could press the "need assistance" button and endure the ridicule of co-workers I haven't yet met, or I could try to puzzle out the code. I knew that it was a four-digit code that included three numbers. So I set about to go through them methodically.

As I did so, I reflected on the sudoku puzzles that I've played with on and off since erickavan took them up. I don't know that the pattern recognition of those helped, but it felt like the same brain processes were being tapped.
kirby

A Legend Passes

Kirby Puckett has left this earth and passed into a gentler realm. That place where all our baseball legends go. Where Lou Gherig still plays every day. Where Babe Ruth jokes in the clubhouse. Where Jackie Robinson has friends on both sides of the color line.

And yet, Kirby remains with me. We'll always have 1987. That magical year when a rag-tag bunch of players won it all. I was at games 6 and 7. I don't even remember clearly how it all happened. I remember sitting in the little notch of seats above center field, seeing Kirby go up against the glass to grab hits away from the batters. And in 1991, the crack of that last at-bat, the roar of the crowd. How I rushed out of the doors of the Metrodome in a cheering crowd, our Homer Hankies waving maniacally, and somehow ending up on the 10th Street bridge (I never remember the intervening blocks), running in traffic while people honked their horns in celebration.

That's what Kirby gave us. Day in and day out, he poured joy into this world. It built up a feedback loop that year and exploded with that one swing of the bat. Joy poured over the city, the state, the entire upper mid-west. And no one was happier than Puck. Pumping his fist and those stubby little legs of his as he trotted around the bases.

He was a man who never should have made it. Born in the wrong place, in a body that wasn't made for the game. His life shows us that anything is possible, that love and joy will carry you to heights you cannot imagine. The next time you find yourself thinking that it's all too much, that you can't do it, remember that lesson: pour all your heart and all your joy into it and you can make it happen. Kirby did it. You can too.