There’s this moment I fixate on. The apprentices are scurrying around trying to prove their worth. Showing they’ve paid attention. One of them might be next. One of them will be next. The camera pans back and we see more. The voiceover, courtesy of José Ferrer, continues to speak. The audience gets a wide view.
Someone from among these students will be the next yaro-kabuki. Describing the scene, Ferrer utters the words, “To surpass the master is to repay the debt.” I’m smitten. The film is National Geographic’s Living Treasures of Japan. The airing is 1981. I think. My life changes in a moment. Suddenly, I’m on a new path.
Bicycles mean precious little to me. My industry even less. For as long as I can remember, for longer than I care to remember, it’s a bunch of commodified crap. Every new thing has been distilled down to a SKU. And each comes with a tagline describing how much better your life would be if you just bought it.
I think about where it’s going. I’ve worried about it too. But less as seasons pass. We each get a turn at the plate. How we take the swing is up to us. Since 1981, and certainly since hearing Ferrer’s words while watching that film, I’m less inclined to take a pitch from anyone. I’m not here to hit the ball, but rather the whole game.