Standing in the Outfield

Now that I am in my late 50s, I look at life from the outfield. Meaning, the outfield fence is closer than the home plate. Meaning, there’s less field to play in the outfield there there was if I played catcher.

My only experience with Baseball as a participant was when I was ‘manager’ for my eighth grade school’s team. I was the guy who counted strikes, balls, run, hits. I collected bats, gloves, helmets in bags to store in the locker room. I was treated by the players with kindness and empathy. Overall, it is one of few good times in school. Yet, unlike the guys on the team, I had no dreams of playing the ball in the Majors.

I come across this ad in the batch of comics I bought on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. Unfortunately there were no school like this when I was of the age to develop such a dream, such a career path. And, there would have been absolutely zero support or encouragement from the people who gave (or could give) it if I choose a school such as this. Yet, I wonder, had I gone to such a school and pursued such a career path, what would life be like as I now stand in the outfield of that dream? Would I have the same dilemmas, the same questions are to whether my life has been ‘well lived’ playing in that outfield?

It would have been very difficult to raise four kids, support two ex wives, buy and maintain houses and mortgages, cars, sport equipment for kids, computers, food, entertainment, beer, clothes, vacations, education, taxes, insurance at the level I did on an artist’s (comic book or otherwise) salary. It was difficult on the salary I did earn.

In my youth, it was drilled into me that productivity is supreme, that if you don’t work (that is, be productive) you don’t eat or feed your family and provide all the things listed above. So, working a productive job and climbing the ladder (even though the ladder might have been on the wrong wall) was of importance to me and all other things were only done when there wasn’t the job to do. I suppose ‘art’ would not have been an example of a productive career, especially comic book art.

Advertisement for the Kubert School. April 8, 20221 scan by Dave O from the Batman #107 issue.
Advertisement for the Kubert School. April 8, 20221 scan by Dave O from the Batman #107 issue.

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