Thursday, August 16, 2007

Halfway Home

Ready.  Fire.  Aim!My name is Chuck Gitles and, today, I am 40 years old. A little over four years ago I started this blog because I wanted a place to record and search some e-mails I posted to a Cubs's listserve group. It shocks teh hell out of me that I've kept up with it. If I've learned anything it's that I understand why people keep diaries. It's fun to go back a few years and try to recall what the hell I was thinking.

As an aside, that other people actually read this space has never ceased to surprise me.

Since it started as a place to record my thoughts, today seems to be a good day to use this place to do just that. Pardon me if you came here expecting something pertaining to baseball, but it’s my site and I’m calling the shots.

A lot of people have been telling me lately that 40 is the new 30. You know who says that? Forty year olds. To me, what 40 seems to be is the halfway point. You are 19 years into your career and 19 years from being able to tap your IRA. You are 40 years from birth and, with some luck, about 40 years from death. So, how have I done at the midpoint? Well, let’s see.

I live in a house right near where I grew up. Call that a strike against diversity. I’ve got a wife of 10-plus years who still puts up with me. Call that a point in favor of patience and cochlear implant batteries that run out of charge with regularity. I’ve got three children whom I adore and would do anything for, no matter what they think of the high a standards I hold them to. I’ve got a good career that supports my lifestyle and gives me the freedom to participate in and enjoy the irregularities that pop up from time to time. I’ve been able to give back to the community through elected public service and pure volunteerism. And I spend way too much time obsessing over professional athletes who wouldn’t know me from any other shlub they ignore and couldn’t give a crap that this page exists.

So, given that life has dealt me a hand akin to “three of a kind,” it would seem that I’d have a rather positive outlook on everything. Why so curmudgeonly on the Chicago Cubs?

Like father like sonI think that it’s precisely because things have gone so well for me that I can’t stand to see ongoing struggling with the team I follow. “So, why follow them?” people ask me. I respond simply, “I’m a Cub fan for the same reason I am Jewish. Because my dad told me that’s what I was.”

I guess my biggest regret in life, so far, is that my father didn’t get a chance to meet his grandchildren (of which he has four as of last week, thanks to my new nephew). He’d have loved the fact that The Seven Year Old has also turned out to be a huge sports fan. He’d have loved to give piggy back rides to The Four Year Old. And he’d have melted when The Two Year Old Girl would have run to him and hugged his legs. With any luck, I’ll get a few experiences he missed out on. When he was 5, the Cubs were in the World Series. It’s gotta be my turn one of these days.

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