Connectors

I have these “things” in my brain I call “connectors.”

What's really going on in Ron's brain?

They are typically not understandable to others, and when I try to explain them to people I usually get this twisted-face look in response.

They are the bells that ring when one thing is said and another thing immediately pops into my mind.

I’ll give you an example:

If I am watching football and there is a fourth-down situation and whether or not they got the first down is in question, the refs will call for “the chains” to measure if the yardage was achieved.

Have any of you stopped to realize that the refs pretty much already know? It is my opinion that the reason they call for the chains is to transfer the blame to an inanimate object.

Do you understand what I mean? Typically, if it is a short-yardage situation and the defense is all pumped up to stop the opponent and the offense is all pumped up to achieve the yardage, emotions are running high.

Everyone is yelling and screaming, there is this huge buildup, the play is run and the air fills with anticipation. Well, if the ref just ran out there waving his arms and signaling “NOPE–you didn’t get it,” the crowd would go for his hide.

The same holds true the other way. If he came out and said, “OH YEAH, you got it,” the other fans would go for the tar and feathers.

By saying, “GEEZ–I AM NOT SURE … let’s measure,” the focus goes to the inanimate measuring device, not the man in charge of it.

The chains are pulled, the ball is an inch short of its intended mark, the crowd says, “AWWWWW,” and the ref trots back to the line saying, “WHEW!”

See the beauty of that? So in the moment they say “they’re calling for the chains,” my connector kicks in and I immediately am transported back to a day when, at 8 years old, I broke the lid to my mom’s antique cookie jar while a bunch of people were at our house.

The jar was glass and cracked in two complete pieces. I was able to put the two pieces back on top of the jar as if they were one, and it wasn’t until a day later that someone went to open the jar and it fell apart as they touched it.

Everyone said, “Oh no,” including me, and I had to hide my smile when Mom said, “With all those people over yesterday it could have been anyone. Plus, it is very old–you never know.”

One of the greatest victories of my childhood–which I probably just blew wide open with this story, by the way, but I’m pretty sure the statute of limitations has passed in the last 42 years.

So that’s an example of my personal connectors. I have a bunch of them bouncing around in my head all the time, little snippets of things that made an impression on me that somehow connect to something familiar.

Here are a few more:

• Former Colts quarterback Peyton Manning will be playing for Denver this year after a long, illustrious career with his former team. Before leaving town to report to Denver, he called 10 or 15 of the most prominent sports news reporters in Indianapolis and thanked them for being so kind, generous and accurate in the years they covered him.

That is such a classy move, in my opinion. It reminded me of the kind of lessons I was always taught by my father. I think of the day I lettered in football and came home that evening and propped it up on his dresser, where it stayed till the day he died. He taught me the importance of strength, discipline and class. He earned it as much as me.

• I recall reading Lee Iacocca’s first book as a very young man and being impressed with his disciplined rules of work and personal time. He said in the book that he refused to work weekends no matter how important the business needs were that week.

He wanted to be sure his children could grow up without ever having to say, “Dad was never around.” He figured they could always at least say that for a minimum of 2/7ths of every week, he was completely theirs.

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