wray.vings KYLE WRAY
Earl took me to my ﬁrst OSU football game when I was a kid. He was one of those salt of the earth, fabric of America kind of guys. We climbed into his truck and headed west toward Stillwater on Highway 51. Me, Earl and a pack of Union Standard chewing tobacco. As we drove down the highway, I watched Earl. I thought he was cool. He had a big orange cup he would spit into every few minutes. “Hey, Earl, let me try some.” “Your mom probably wouldn’t appreciate that,” he said. “I insist,” I responded, and before you could say Pistol Pete, my 12 year-old jaw was loaded up.
Earl and me, going to watch the Cowboys. Earl chewed, I chewed. Earl spit, I spit. There was just one thing Earl didn’t do that I seemed very proficient at: vomiting. Boy did I throw up. In fact, if a person could make an A+ at vomiting, I would have been at the top of the class. I redecorated the inside of Earl’s truck with the pancakes and peanut butter from earlier in the morning. Not a pretty sight. Between the heaving and developing a mental top ten list for why I would never chew tobacco again, I noticed something. Each time we passed another car or truck, Earl would wave. Not a grand, high five type of wave, just a simple nod or fl ick of a couple of fi ngers above the steering wheel. And people waved back. I miss that kind of friendly, personal communication. Today we have such different forms of communicating with each other: MySpace and books for your face, blogs, Twitter, texting … I wonder what’s next? I have a good friend who says, “Never hit send on an email unless you are prepared to see it on CNN tonight.” How true!
Before long they will need to teach classes in grade school called: Texting as a Foreign Language. It’s not for the students, it’s for the parents. Ttyl, rofl, lol, etc. If you have to ask what any of those abbreviations mean, stop the next 12-year-old you see and ask. It’s hard to misinterpret a wave, a nod or a fl ick of a few fi ngers (just make sure you use the proper set of fi ngers). By the time Earl and I arrived at the game that cool, crisp autumn day, I was feeling much better, although I was uncharacteristically uninterested in the hot dogs, popcorn, peanuts, candy and other various concession items. As the crowd parted and I got my fi rst view of that field of sunlit emerald, I quickly forgot about the chewing tobacco incident. So this fall when you are headed to the Cowboys' football game, put down your grande caramel macchiato with whip and notice the people around you. Interact with them, just like the good ol' days. More waving. Less throwing up. Go Pokes.