– Everybody asks me about baseball, and I was
only in that about 10 years, but I was in the
abrasive business about 30 some years, and
no one ever asks me anything about abrasives.

– Elden Auker

That’s just the way it is:
I’ve been in the abrasive
business myself for more than 30 years.
Every time I walk into the classroom
I rub someone raw. If students come in
unmarked and leave without an abrasive
burn or two, like sliding naked
into second base on a diamond mined
with gravel and broken glass,
I haven’t done my job.

But I’d much prefer to talk about
baseball, the way the ball curves
across the plate just begging to be hit,
that feel in the hands as the ball drives deep,
Magnus forces affecting its flight.
There’s nothing in the classroom—
no philosophy, no politics,
no art, not even the physics
of the ball being hit
that can sing like that.
Ideas are sandpaper,
and no matter the grit
they wear down faster
than any game we’ve ever played.