Today’s post comes to us from Ben.
Photo credit: berkemeyer

I was working in the sports center preparing for commencement. This particular room of the sports center, largest of them all, is the “Fieldhouse”. It’s basically four basketball courts with a track around the outside and retractable nets separating the courts. You’ve all seen something similar.

To my left is, what looks to be, an intramural, co-ed basketball game. They don’t seem to be keeping score and they’re all having a good time and laughing and teasing each other. There are a couple girls and while there are some older guys, some guys are younger than other guys. I hear them talk about “shirts” and “skins” and I also heard them say something to the effect of “If Jane stays a shirt than Joe can go skins”. I couldn’t see them so I don’t know.

Mind you, I know nothing about sports. But I could tell they were having a good time.

I was driving around in a genie lift, 40’ in the air and hoping 1) I wasn’t distracting them, and 2) they wouldn’t hit me with a basketball. OK, there was a screen separating their area from the area I was working in but still. Wouldn’t it be awesome to hit the guy in the genie?

Off to my right (with no separating net) a group of young men, most likely students. As they started to play, the difference between these two games was interesting. Of course, the language was much rougher in the first place. Disputed calls, harder playing, more “trash talking” as my wife would say. There had to be teams but I didn’t hear any talk about that.

And I found the dichotomy of the two games very interesting. They didn’t hit me with a basketball either.

Next week the entire fieldhouse will be blocked off (in terms of scheduling) for commencement. But that doesn’t mean if there’s an open corner some group won’t start a basketball game.

Talk about dichotomy in your life.

19 thoughts on “Dichotomy”

  1. i used to play golf with my kids and had a challenge getting them to ignore the score. the boys would get so pissed that they lost but i guess the opposite side is they were so proud when they would sink a putt or do really well that it obviously made a difference.
    i tried to point out that if you celebrate the hole you are on and remember the hole you’ve finished as a fond recollection instead of a dagger held over you brothers head it could be enjoyed more.
    right dad…

    Liked by 4 people

    1. YA and I used to do mini golf quite a bit when she was younger, especially on vacation. We could never pass up a mini golf course. Back then I worked pretty hard to not do a lot better than she did so that our scores were pretty even. But now that she’s older I have to work pretty hard not to lose terribly.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My dichotomy is the same as as it has been for many many years. I love my job although I’m well aware of the fact that we are not curing any diseases here. There are many days I find it hard to justify what I do, usually falling back on I’m helping to keep the economy running. But I am not a great lover of Corporate America.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I hear ya, vs. When I left the law firm after six years, that decision was driven, in part, by a deep-rooted sense of not doing anything of socially redeeming. It was essentially my job to ensure the office ran smoothly enough to enable a bunch of already wealthy lawyers do their work and become ever more profitable. Of course my ultimate decision to leave a well paid job with a lot of benefits and perks was driven by an ongoing battle with a partner who would give DT a run for his money in the obnoxious department.

      My subsequent job at the alternative school provided, at least for the first few years, the satisfaction of knowing I was doing my part to improve the lives of disadvantaged youth and their families. Then the realization hit, there was an unending supply of disadvantaged youth. It felt like trying to empty the ocean with a teaspoon. By the time I quit after fourteen years in the trenches, I had no illusion that I had made a difference, but at least I had tried.

      I recall Bill at some point saying something to the effect that he doesn’t worry about things he can’t control. Wish I had perfected that ability.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. PJ, it may be that your work there made a difference to some child(ren) in the long run, but you will never know about it directly…

        And it sounds like former partner (are we talking about Wasband?) was quite a piece of work!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. No, not wasband. He was a senior partner of the law firm. And yes, he was a piece of work; probably still is although he has now retired. He caused a couple of his own partners to leave the firm. He was volatile, unpredictable, and mean spirited, and he didn’t care if what he wanted was unethical, unfair, or downright illegal.

          For example, he wanted me to fire our receptionist, a lovely black woman who was doing an excellent job, because he didn’t like the way she dressed. I suspect he also didn’t appreciate that I had hired a black woman, but was smart enough to not make that the issue. She liked to wear vintage clothes, always neat and clean, but he didn’t think she was an appropriate presence at our front desk. Everyone at the firm loved her, and several clients had commented on what a nice job she was doing on the phones; her performance was not the issue in any way.

          Also, when his long-time secretary quit her job because she wanted to stay home with her kids, he had a conniption fit. It was my fault because I had granted her a six week leave over the summer so she could spend time with her kids. I told him I didn’t have any option. Another senior partner the previous year had granted his secretary a leave over the summer. The difference, of course, was that the other secretary returned, his did not, and I knew perfectly well why she didn’t; she was sick of his tyranny.

          He was also extremely unhappy that the replacement secretary I assigned to him was an older woman and no beauty queen. She was the most senior “floater” on our staff, and was very well qualified for the job. She worked for him on a trial basis for three months, and though he admitted she was doing an excellent job, he wanted me to go outside the firm to find him someone prettier.

          I saw it as my job to stand up for our employees and not subject them to his – or anyone else’s – whims and prejudices, so he and I locked horns frequently. I earned every penny they paid me.

          Liked by 3 people

    2. I’d like to add to my comment above that the fact that you love your job should weigh very heavily on the scale. The likelihood of finding another job you love, that pays the bills, and also gives you the sense of doing something worthwhile, are pretty damn slim. Besides, you find many other ways in your life of contributing to a better world by volunteering, donating to charitable causes, being kind and helpful to others. You’re doing your part.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Very early on, I decided that the reason I worked was to provide a good, comfortable life for my family. If I liked my job, so much the better. If the job had meaning, better yet. But I tried never to let the job obscure the reason I was working. I used to think of work as my deal with the devil.

        Liked by 4 people

        1. I don’t know if my attitude about work would have been different if I had had kids, Bill. Maybe it would have been. As it was, I had always assumed that I would work so I could take care of myself. I don’t know how parents with small children manage to have full time careers and satisfying relationships with their kids. It was wise of you to not get caught up in the corporate rat race.


      1. I wish I was home farming. I’ve got a bit of a break here, then back over to the sports center for the big ceremony.
        It nags my insides on days like this and I’m here working and all my neighboring farmers are out farming. And rain for the next several days…

        Oh Fer Heck!

        Liked by 3 people

  3. I think my dichotomy is that I love to go out and do things, be part of “do-gooder” organizations, etc., but I also love love LOVE to have time at home to putter, esp. mornings. This week with some days in the 70s it’s much-needed puttering outside in the little gardens, etc. It is a constant pull to find the balance.

    I had to look up dichotomy to make sure I had the right word in mind: “2. division into two exclusive, opposed, or contradictory groups: a dichotomy between thought and action.” Interestingly, #3 is “a mode of branching by constant forking, as in some stems.” and #4: “the phase of the moon or of an inferior planet when half of its disk is visible.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for looking that up. I was halfway through reading it today and though to myself “I hope I used that right!” But I figured Sherilee would have fixed it if I hadn’t… 🙂

      And Puttering! Man, I can putter with the best of them.
      But then I complain I haven’t gotten anything done today.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I think of a dichotomy as being a choice – a clear choice between one thing or another.

    The thing that I always find difficult is choosing between two paths to go down, whether I want to have time, or whether I want to have money. If I have time, I’m not working, then I don’t have money. Then I feel worried that I’m going to run out of money. But if I work more, although I feel more secure about money, I feel I’m wasting my time. The tradeoff doesn’t seem worth it. That’s the dichotomy I deal with every day.


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