Here’s why reading is so vital to me. I’m nearing the end of Jonathan Eig’s fine biography about Lou Gehrig. Because of Eig’s diligent reporting, I’m there with Gehrig as a young boy, as he leaves home for the first time for college at Columbia, as he tries out with the Yankees, as he and Babe Ruth slam homeruns together and then apart. This ain’t no movie. I have hours invested. And now that I’m to the part when he contracts ALS, I feel his devastation. Because I know what’s coming, I don’t want to finish the book. Though I will. I’ve heard about Gehrig for decades. I’ve watched the Gary Cooper movie, which I now realize captured Gehrig’s character fairly well. I’ve read about what we now call Lou Gehrig’s disease. But now I understand the magnitude of the crippling disease that took away what he prized most: his physicality, his work. We all hold dear our physical bodies, I know, but Gehrig embodied his nickname, Iron Horse—playing through injuries and headaches and backaches without complaint, appearing in over 2000 consecutive games. So his illness seems especially cruel. But because I have been a reader-witness to all this, his spirit will live on for a while in me, and for that I feel privileged.
My reflections on writing, reading, and random thoughts.