Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Righting all the wrongs

When I started out as a copy editor, before the Internet was available on every desktop (yep, true!), the one thing I hated about my job fact-checking. Fact-checking meant hauling myself over to the bookshelf in the newsroom and pulling out an almanac, or an encyclopedia, or—I don't know—a bird identification field guide or something and spending 10 minutes trying to find some obscure bit of trivia in some part of the story that was probably going to end up cut anyway (I worked for Gannett, which rarely gave its readers any credit for any kind of attention span—but it did at least still care about accuracy).

I was so happy when, four or five years into my career, the Internet came to all the newsroom computers. Fact-checking was just a matter of learning how to use a crazy new tool called a "search engine," and it was a breeze. All that information! At the push of a button!

Of course that sort of golden age of fact-checking was rather short-lived, and you've probably guessed where I'm going with this, but I'm going to just say it anyway since I've gotten this far and am proud of myself for not yet having used the phrase "these days."

Fact-checking is still not that difficult—as long as you use discernment and critical thinking skills as well as buttons—but it's wasting my life all over again, because every single thing you read on the Internet now is in error, biased, taken out of context, unsubstantiated, or just made up.

I know it would be easier to just not believe anything ever and get on with my life, but when people blithely pass misinformation around it nags at me in some deep-seated, former-journalisty way that I can't really explain, and even if I don't try to correct them, I usually look it up so at least I'll know the truth. It's lonely, these days, caring about accuracy.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Play ball

Since I eat in a way that's sort of counter to conventional wisdom, and read a lot of blogs about it, I also get exposed to quite a few other ideas that run counter to conventional wisdom. (Earthing! Oil pulling! Never washing your hair! Brushing your teeth with dirt! Avoiding plastics and microwaves and sunscreens and insect repellent!)

Some of these things I tentatively buy into, and others I tentatively do not. But I've been reading a lot recently about how playing is a fundamental human need. I don't know if softball really qualifies as creative expression, but after two successful games of it now, I gotta say, it beats the heck out of most other forms of exercise.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Softball report

So we had a practice today: It turns out my teammates are friendly, I can pitch just about as well as anyone, can hit as well as any of the women, and, okay, can't field to save my life, but it all added up to a pretty good time.

Wait. Scratch that. I field as if my only goal is to save my life.

Can't wait to find out where I'm sore tomorrow.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Also, not breaking anything

Backstory: My sister has played for several years on her church softball team. Because there wasn't really enough interest to put together a co-ed team, she just played with the men's team. The kids and I would often bike over to the field and watch—it looked kind of fun. Then in the middle of last season, the league decided they wouldn't allow women on the men's teams, and she was booted out. Tragic! Unfair! So her teammates decided to convert to a co-ed team for the next season. She asked me if I'd like to play to help make sure there would be enough women, and even though I go to a different church (which might even have its own co-ed softball team, actually), I said I would.

Fast-forward to today: Dex (He Who Knows How to Text) just found a message on the phone saying there would be "another" practice tomorrow and, by the way, our first game is Monday. Ohhhhh, no. I am so busy that I've been out of this chair basically only for yoga and to visit my hospitalized grandmother. Not to mention I haven't played softball in nearly 30 years (I am 42, for reference) and fully expect to throw like a girl and be afraid of the ball.

Oh, well: Getting out of my chair is good for me, and I'll just keep repeating my new mantra: "This is not about your softball ability. It's about having fun, supporting your sister, and lacking a penis."