HE WAS ON 60 Minutes Sunday night, something you no doubt know if in your house you love Jerry Seinfeld the way we love him in ours. He was smart, sharp, funny. Then into the conversation a bit, Jon Wertheim asked Jerry if, when the New York Mets franchise was for sale, he ever considered buying it.
“No,” Seinfeld said. “Absolutely not. Why? Why? So I could have more people yelling at me on the street when they lose? The ultimate peak experience of a baseball game is a seat, a hot dog, and a beer. There’s nothing above that.”
There is nothing above that, I thought, in baseball it’s the ultimate peak experience.
What a gorgeous, practical, cut-through-it way to look at things. What a Seinfeld way to look at things, with his comedian’s gift for getting at the heart, for pulling out the essence and shining a light on its significance in a way that invites us, too, to see a situation anew. To see it in such a way that, in fact, we also discard (and get a giggle from) the absurdity of the surround.
It is a wonderful life lesson, I think, particularly in this time of COVID, when most everything feels absurd and short-changed. Jerry’s comment got me thinking perhaps it is…could it be that…maybe the truth is we are living in a time not of sacrifice but of clearing. Maybe instead of restriction these are days of refinement, reassessment, adjustment.
I hope so, anyway. I hope an unexpected result of the year that is 2020 will be not only an acceptance of, but an acknowledgement that, sometimes the ultimate peak of an experience is something quite simple. Really quite common, when you get down to it, and available to us just where we are, most often with what we already have. Like the calm I feel standing at my desk just now, looking out the window as the birds hop branch to branch, pecking at the bright red seeds of the dogwoods. There’s a bluebird, there’s a blue jay, there’s a woodpecker (northern flicker—I do love him) and a grosbeak and a—what? what is that yellow bird? Oh, and a flycatcher, of one sort or another. It’s an abundance, really, this wild community of birds just outside my window.
There is joy in their movement, their song. There is nothing more to ask of them or the situation because for me, in this moment, this is indeed peak.
And so I vow right now. I vow to you and these birds and this dreadful year and the tilted-on-its-axis world I WILL PAY ATTENTION. Rather than obsessing over the missing, I will notice and acknowledge and be grateful for the what more could I possibly want moments. I will celebrate their occurrence in my life, and I will let them lift me in the reminder that so very often, there is nothing in the world that would make this higher or better or more.