A little game called Pepper

My Father-Law stole one of my red ripened jalapeños.

Right off the plant.

And it's the second time he's done that.

Drives me up the wall.

Now, it's important whenever you get irrationally pissed off at people, to kind of take a step back and see things from their perspective, cause there is always (and I meant it, ALWAYS) a better solution than sitting around in your jammy pants ticked off and blogging about it.

[blogger takes deep breaths]

So for starters, the red ripened jalapeños are considered "over ripe" and some insist that they are less hot and less sweet, though some insist the exact opposite. All I know is that they are pretty. And I've got one last big harvest of jalapeños before the season comes to a full close and I was planning on going full "Portlandia" and pickling them for future enjoyment. The red one's were going to add a nice little visual touch to a steaming hot plate of nachos.

There is no way for Vito to know this.

He cares nothing for plating techniques, and rarely eats nachos.

What he sees is fruit over-ripening on the plant and needs to be picked. And he was in the neighborhood. And, well, you know, why not?

His motives are filled with love and purity.

Which isn't true at all, but let's just believe that for a moment.

So what to do? What to do?

The simplest and best answer is to just ask him not to pick any of the red jalapeños. Yet, now that he's done it twice, it might send the wrong message, and I might inadvertently hurt his feelings, or worse, end up in a debate about the optimal time to pick jalapeños, when all I clearly want is for him to leave my peck of peppers alone for me to pickle.

"Pick 'em before he sees 'em" My wife says.

The passive aggressive act isn't always the correct one, but listening to your wife will always and forever be the smartest move a young man can make.

Can I call myself a "young man" anymore?

My father would say yes, but the gray in my beard clearly says no.

I should save that thought for next week.

So either I deal with it, or I "sorta" deal with it, or I just let it go.

You ever played an actual game of Pepper?

Where you're the runner between two people? And they're throwing the ball back and forth and you're trying not to get tagged out?

It's a game about commitment and error.

The throwers only have two choices: Throw the ball, don't throw the ball.

But the player in the middle has three: Run right, run left, or don't run.

The game only ends when the runner commits to run.

And the runner will only commit to the run when he/she sees that a thrower has made an error. Either the ball was thrown too slow, too high, out of the lane or dropped.

The runner decides when to end the game, but chance decides the out come.

Sort of a macabre distillation of life itself.

Yet, we really have to extend the metaphor out a bit, cause life isn't just a single game of Pepper.

Life is infinite games of Pepper.

Sure, sometimes you're playing Pepper in the sand lot, and sometimes in the ninth inning of the World Series, but it's still just a game of Pepper.

And here's the thing:

We all have multiple games of Pepper going on at the same time. Take anything you can think of regarding your life and there is a Yes, No, Maybe solution.

For instance, I want to use my red ripened jalapeños for some seriously awesome Super-Bowl Nachos. But if I bark at the old man, I could create familial tension, and as tough as it is to admit, his love is more important than a pretty plate of nachos. Even if only by a little.

But I know exactly when he's most likely going to show up in my back yard.

Sunday morning between the hours of 10:00am and 1:00pm.

So I have until about 9:45am to go out into my own backyard in my jammy pants and pick any over-ripened jalapeños myself.

His error,

my commitment

and the game continues forever.

And Joann gets to be right.

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