Today’s find: Who’s On First?

Abbott and Costello we are not, this ol’ Gramps and Grandma. But that didn’t seem to matter much to the grandsons with whom we recently shared the comedy team’s famous “Who’s On First?” routine.

We’d picked up a “kid’s book” version of the baseball sketch on a recent trip to Cooperstown, hoping it might provide a chance to create some memories with the young ‘uns. And I’m guessing our read-alongs will have the desired impact, over time.

But it could be we jumped the gun a little bit – trying to engage our “almost-6” and “almost-4” year-olds in a funny-and-frantic word-play that also requires a bit of basic knowledge about the sport. Our comically expressive readings produced a few giggles, I noticed, but on the whole the boys’ laughs were outnumbered by puzzled looks.

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Sure, i gave it my best shot…but I’m no Bud Abbott.

Maybe in a year or two they’ll grow into a deeper appreciation of Bud and Lou’s genius…

Or maybe they just need to access a primary source…

I say this because hilarity pretty much ensued when I later pulled up an internet recording of the original “Who’s On First?” movie clip. The boys found themselves immersed in mirth as the scene unfolded. And my heart filled with wonder – at the magic of a comedy routine that reaches undimmed across four or five generations, still tickling the funny-bone of grandsons and their great-grandma alike…

Wonder, too, at how powerful a simple snuggle can be.

The truth is, the boys didn’t seem to mind if their Gramps’ delivery fell a bit short of Bud Abbott’s comic genius. My “presence,” it seems, was more important than my “presentation.”

And what a gift it was, a day later, to be reminded in the first reading at Mass that the Holy One desires just this sort of personal connection with us, as well:

[God’s command] is not up in the sky, that you should say,
‘Who will go up in the sky to get it for us
and tell us of it, that we may carry it out?’
Nor is it across the sea, that you should say,
‘Who will cross the sea to get it for us
and tell us of it, that we may carry it out?’
No, it is something very near to you,
already in your mouths and in your hearts…

Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.


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