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Eight dollars and three keys

By Mark Carpenter – 

We have made life too complicated. Blame it on technology, the rush to access new information, get everything at our fingertips within minutes. We have left the days of Mayberry far behind and now live in a rush, rush, rush society where it seems that we have to be looking over our shoulders at all times. “Slow down” seems to be a phrase of the past.
We even have to wonder now what places are safe, and never was that more evident than last week when a baseball field nearly turned into a killing field. When we go to a local baseball park, we want to be surrounded by smiles, laughs, and cheers, not someone shooting at the second baseman. When I grew up, a baseball field was a sanctuary, the safe place to be a kid. Today, even that has become complicated.
Let me tell you, though most of you have figured out, the life of an Editor/Sports Editor is way beyond complicated sometimes. Early morning hours turn into late night hours which evolve into weekend hours, all necessary to get the job done right. Do I like it that way? Well, not always but sometimes work can be that same escape, like the baseball fields of our youth.
I was thinking about how to un-complicate my life last week, while driving of course, and it occurred to me when I pulled into a gas station, which as you can imagine I do quite often. In an epiphany of some sort, I decided that my life could literally be summed up in one phrase “Eight dollars and three keys.”
Let me elaborate. For some reason, whenever I pull into gas stations, I seem to always put eight dollars of gas in my car. Where did I come up with that number? Really not sure, other than somehow measuring in my head how many trips that would make from home to West Union, Seaman, Manchester, or Peebles. Of course, with the gas prices around here, it’s not too many trips and with all the ball games that I love to travel to, you can see I spend a good bit of time at the gas pump. Why do I not put more than eight dollars in the tank? Who knows? We all have our odd quirks.
The other half of the phrase occurred to me when I got back in the car from pumping gas, looked down and realized that all I needed again to survive was the three keys hanging on my University of Kentucky keychain (BBN!). There is a key to my house, a key to my car, and the key to our office. Really, now what else do I need? Everywhere else that I go, I don’t need a key. The doors are always open. I don’t need keys to the local gyms or ball parks, I just walk in like Norm on “Cheers” and everybody knows my name.
Sit down and see if you can sum up your own life in a short phrase. You will find that is not so easy to do. Why? Because your life is too complicated too, but if you are like me, you wouldn’t have it any other way.
But just remember this-when things get crazy and out of control-take a deep breath and think, “Eight dollars and three keys.” Works for me.

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