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Living on Planet Tom

no_footballMuch has been written about culture wars, and how religion figures into them.  This post will begin a new category of Interfaith Reflection posts called “culture observed.”  I’m writing as a swimmer trying not to drown in his own culture, rather than a dispassionate observer looking in from the outside.

Most every month the YMCA in my neighborhood runs a fitness challenge to promote good health among its members.  This month’s fitness challenge is mapped out on a small, red card entitled, “Love Your Body Passport.”  The passport bears a table with teeny weeny squares, each containing the description of a fitness activity, such as “get your blood pressure checked,” “get a free adult swim lesson,” and “grab a heart healthy snack.”  Just being able to read the tiny type in those teeny weeny squares was a health achievement I thought merited a square, but it wasn’t listed.  During the short month of February the campaign challenge is to put a star sticker over twelve of those squares, signifying completion.

I got one square checked off immediately, simply by showing up and getting my passport.  Hooray, only eleven more to go!  I scanned the table looking for another give-away.  This one caught my eye:  “Complete our Super Bowl quiz.”  Now, I had no doubt that I would fail this one, because I don’t watch T.V., and I don’t follow sports, either in the newspaper or online.  I just don’t follow sports, period.  This year I didn’t even know who was playing in the Super Bowl.  But I decided to take the quiz anyway, because I’m task oriented, and the challenge said I had to take the quiz, not pass it.  So, I took it, and proudly wrote “I don’t know” for every answer.

The lady collecting the quizes took mine, incredulously, trying to make sense of the man-freak handing over the evidence of his abstinence, not only from the most sacred event of the American year, but — heaven forefend — from television, which makes it all possible.  “Who are you,” asked her wary eyes beneath a furrowed brow.  “What planet do you live on?”

I live on planet Tom, and I burrow in there whenever I get a new idea that strikes my fancy, which is pretty often.  On planet Tom there are no watchers’ games, no winners and losers, nothing but the joy of moving about and the feel of a body in tune.

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  1. Susan Moseley Susan Moseley

    Great post, Tom! Jim and I can affirm that you do visit earth now and then — especially in the evenings when friends call your name and hold out some dark chocolate or a glass of red wine.

  2. I can identify with not watching football. While I don’t condemn those who do, I am one of those who has a clear vision of how short life can be and of how much of this life I want to see before my end comes. I don’t want to be lying on my death bed thinking of all the places I have not been simply because more than half of my life was spent in front of some television watching a sport that never added a penny to my bank account nor a single new experience that would help me appreciate more fully the universe around me. I am a traveler on a ship, and my ship does not dock at the NFL. You’re definitely not alone, Tom. You’re seeing the great world, not some myopic vision dictated by sports cartels.

    • Hi, Bri
      I lied a little about T.V. I do watch a few Olympics events, every couple years.

  3. Tom, I did indeed thoroughly enjoy your post. All I kept hearing was “ground control to Planet Tom” (except they said Major Tom), in that deep, rich voice, can’t remember who sings it. And got a chuckle out of Brian’s response, of being a traveler on a ship that does not dock at the NFL. I’m with you guys, may I join??!!
    Kathy B.

    • Hi, Kathy
      Thanks for commenting. I had forgotten that song.
      No need to ask to join as a fellow space traveler. I think if you know you want in, you already are.

  4. Barbra Ferrell Barbra Ferrell

    I love it! As a wonderful T-shirt said, “I live in my own world but its ok. They know me here.”

    It’s all about you. It really is. I think anyone who says otherwise is missing the point.

  5. I think I’m on Planet Tom, too. Hal and me both. No TV, no football. Though he did know who was playing this year. In any event, I think the world is a better place for Planet Tom.

    • Thanks, Rachel! If it weren’t for your insistence on seclusion we wouldn’t have those wonderful novels!

  6. Elizabeth Bolton Elizabeth Bolton

    I have spent the past few days reading a time travelers trilogy, taking place in the early 1600,s. While the Super Bowl was going,, I was in Dowton Abbey land, and watched a series of movies based on the Ann of Green Gables books. Roaming around planet Elizabeth, wishing the world was less superficial and had more depth. I do watch TV, living alone,, it can be good company sometimes. I prefer a good book.

    • I’m glad I posted so honestly. I’m finding more company than I knew I had. Well, maybe not company on my same planet : )

  7. Rachel Sykes-Marut Rachel Sykes-Marut

    I love this! I’d rather live life than watch it on a little box! #PlanetTom!

  8. RuthAnn RuthAnn

    Most of our Time Bank coordinating committee were willing to meet during the super bowl, so that says something wonderful about the sustainable era and those attracted to local economy cooperatives. We did choose to defer to those friends and relatives who expect designated drivers or go-fers. Meanwhile, I wish we could rename Planet Tom so we can say “I’ll meet you there,” as Rumi says.

  9. Kitty Jones Kitty Jones

    We want to be on planet tom with you! Stay in touch- we enjoy your messages. Jim and Kitty

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