Saturday, January 11, 2020

Smile Mode
On my way home from the store, I sat behind this truck at a light. Marshawn again. Beast Mode Fever has taken over the city. Goodness, it's so fun to be a 12.

I was picking out apples when I saw her. 

She was shuffling around the produce department, clinging to her shopping cart for deal life. Probably in her eighties, though she didn't look elderly so much as greyed out, dried up, and wrung out. She looked tired, this woman, worn from life and stripped of joy. 

The eternally friendly produce worker saw her and gave her a grand welcome. Clearly they had a history of chit chat, these two. and though he gave her a cheerful hello and howdy do, she merely grunted an unintelligible reply and slowly stumbled on.

Ever one to rise to a challenge, produce man earnestly doubled down. "Hey, did you see that Seahawks game last weekend?"


The tired old woman stopped in her tracks. "Marshawn Lynch is back." Her voice came alive, firm and clear, full of interest.

In the off chance that you haven't heard, let me explain that Marshawn aka Beast Mode, a legendary and delightfully colorful running back for the Seahawks during most of the past decade, has picked up a one-year contract to help the injury-beleaguered team through the rest of the 2019 season and post-season  The team's fans, known as the 12s, have gone berserk.

"Yeah, yeah, Beast Mode!" produce man encouraged her. "He played great, didn't he?!"

She beamed with delight, her previously tremulous voice now rang clear. "Yes. He scored a touchdown. And everyone threw Skittles on the field."

As I twisted shut my bag full of apples, tucked them into my cart, and moved on the next aisle, I listened to them talking and laughing together about their football team. And I thought to myself, I wonder if the Seahawks have any idea how much joy they bring to the people they know as the 12s.

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