Yankees legend Yogi Berra passed away in 2015. Amazing clutch Hall of Famer that he was, the great Yankee backstop was almost as well-known as a philosopher — his Berra-isms (colloquial expressions that lack logic) made a special mark. And like most deep thinkers going back through the centuries, his brilliant malapropisms still ring true in today’s challenging Covid world. Here are a few of Yogi’s best … and my thoughts on same:
- “It ain’t over till it’s over.” — For goodness’ sake, let’s stay true to this one. I daresay that we won’t be going back to the old normal for a spell yet, but let’s not take any reckless, irrational steps until it’s safe to do so … for everyone.
- “It’s like déjà vu all over again.” — We’ve overcome challenges like this in the past, and we always come through stronger on the other side. Let’s be grateful for all we have in pursuit of all that we will overcome. Which we will.
- “No one goes there nowadays, it’s too crowded.” — How about we all stay sequestered for just a little while longer and just … be? Get out and “stretch” (safely, of course), but keep learning that you can like yourself and those around you in the house, in your online community, in your gotomeetings and zooms, etc. My own laughter has been just as healthy, and my tears just as heartfelt, virtually. Weekends still go too fast. Yours?
- “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” — Ahhh … Homeschooling and problem-solving! Parents have quickly learned that our teachers are the most underappreciated and underpaid professionals in the entire world. A positive outcome!
- “Baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical.” — Staying strong mentally AND physically is, if possible, even more critical in these taxing times. You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have, so believe in who you are. What was it that JFK said? “When written in Chinese (how ironic, eh?), the word “crisis” is composed of two characters — one represents danger and the other represents opportunity.”
- “You can observe a lot by just watching.” — We’re doing a lot of that lately. Has watching helped you appreciate new things (e.g., phenomenal artists giving back and brightening our days and nights; NYC neighbors clapping and cheering for first responders; patients’ inspiring messages; uplifting, inspirational, heroic stories of first responders; good-deed stories) AND old, familiar things (West Wing binging, from episode #1; your puppies and kitties; a good novel; cards or dominoes around the kitchen table; “bubble” playoffs)?
- “A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.” — But it will be. Markets rise, and they fall. Financial markets are adept at planning for what is known. When our pain is behind us, the economy will at least be on its way to recovery. It could take some time, but it will be. Most local businesses, too.
- “We made too many wrong mistakes.” — Early and still, unfortunately, but wiser peoples will ultimately rule the day.
- “The future ain’t what it used to be.” — That’s true. It will be better because that’s what we do. Believe. Stay positive. Be the person who you want to meet. Do the right thing. Always.
- “I knew the record would stand until it was broken.” — Turning this one on its head, the numbers are … devastating. Occasional flattening of the curve aside, the facts are so incredibly sad. These are records of which we won’t be proud and stats that will stay with us forevermore. God Bless them every one.
- “You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.” — Praise be to those businesses hanging in there with curbside and otherwise limited service! Support them so they’ll be there on the other side — ditto to the grocery workers and farmers.
“I usually take a two-hour nap from one to four.” — How many of us are learning in these times that naps are pretty cool things? Short naps can improve alertness, mood and memory. Look it up! Maybe, post-virus, we can legislate for them.
- “Never answer an anonymous letter.” — My mind here went to some of the talking-news heads who are the furthest thing from journalists and reporters. That being conjectured, when our leaders threaten or put down journalists, they are threatening the First Amendment, along with our most basic rights. “Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press,” said Jefferson, “and that cannot be limited without being lost.”
- “Slump? I ain’t in no slump. I just ain’t hitting.” — To me, read: stay the course and persevere. Don’t be discouraged, no matter the challenges. What’s the saying? It’s often the last key on the ring that opens the lock. If you hit before, you’ll hit again. Keep swinging.
- “We have deep depth.” — True that! Police officers, firefighters, nurses, doctors, and emergency medical personnel are our genuine guardian angels, putting their lives on the line to keep us safe. That’s a heroic, deep bench for which we will always be grateful. Eternal gratitude to their unsung families, as well.
- “All pitchers are liars or crybabies.” — As are a good number of our politicians, it turns out.
- “Even Napoleon had his Watergate.” — As have a select number of our politicians.
- “You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going because you might not get there.” — ‘Nuff said.
- “I never said most of the things I said.” —Sound serially familiar?
- “It ain’t the heat, it’s the humility.” —Just saying.
- “Take it with a grin of salt.” — You pick … Applicable to debunked stories and facts or attitude. Or both?
- “I want to thank everyone for making this night necessary.” — Ditto with these sensible restrictions and constraints on our movements. They aren’t boundaries on our freedoms. They’re necessary for us to safely put those freedoms back in play for everyone without potentially hurting anyone.
- “If the world were perfect, it wouldn’t be.” — Even in tough times, we can help it get closer to perfection. Buy the Starbucks coffee for the guy in line behind you. Mow your neighbor’s lawn. Bring his recycling bin up to his garage. Put the cart back in the place for carts in the supermarket parking lot. Pretend that every person you meet, hopefully with mask-and-gloves attire, has a sign around their neck that says, “Make me feel important.” Set one exciting goal every day. Don’t judge. Observe. Assess. Be happy and pay it forward. How about this one … If your family is “good,” break up your stimulus check and send it to folks who or organizations that could truly use it. Empower yourself to be happy in the midst of tough times, and do things to make others feel just a little bit better, too.
- And lastly from Yogi, “If the people don’t want to come out to the ballpark, nobody’s going to stop them.” This is one person who looks forward to getting back out to the ballpark, and you can use that as a metaphor for whatever you wish. I miss a lot of things. We all do. Have Faith. They’ll return. I know that we may not be where we want to be yet, but we’re closer than we were yesterday.
Stay strong. Stay smart. Keep the Faith. The end is in sight. Thanks for listening.