The term ‘curve ball’ has lately crept into (almost) common usage. I’m not sure if American citizens are more familiar with the term than we in Australia are, but it is being used commonly in reference to something that is out of the ordinary or not particularly nice - or simply difficult.
I looked up the expression’s origin and discovered that it comes (as expected) from a reference to base ball pitches, as in “Any of several pitches that veer to the left when thrown with the right hand and to the right when thrown with the left hand”.
But the dictionary also includes the slang usage as “Something that is unexpected or designed to trick or deceive”
Or: “To cause to be surprised, especially unpleasantly so”.
So, to say that ‘life throws some curve balls’ is a very fitting expression for most people at some time (or times) in their lives.
Consider this: A fit, middle-aged woman, mother of four and grandmother of five, experiences headaches and some dizziness and, thinking it’s the result of hitting the back of her head after a fall from a small stool, she ignored it for a while. When the symptom did not go away, she sought medical advice, which led to a ‘roller coaster ride’ of X-rays, scans, visits to specialist doctors and diagnosis of two brain tumours - and they were growing.
Though eventually found to be benign, the tumours could normally have been removed by surgery, but these tumours were (are) in such a position that to operate would put this woman’s life in an unpredictable situation. Her physical well-being would be seriously compromised; her vision and speech may be affected – or even lost - and any normal sense of balance would be in doubt, making even walking unaided extremely difficult.
Following radiotherapy and steroid treatment, she is now remarkably well, despite her balance being affected, a buzzing noise ever-constant in her head and a tiredness that is sometimes hard to deal with.
That’s the story of one woman’s ‘curve ball’ situation.
She is my sister.
A brother-in-law of mine went to the dentist a few weeks ago, expecting treatment on a painful tooth to put a stop to his misery. Instead, he too, ended on the ‘roller-coaster ride’ of specialist visits, X-rays and so forth. It was not an abscessed tooth as he thought but an aggressive cancerous tumour in his jawbone.
Now, as he recovers from major surgery, where part of his jawbone was removed and a new section fashioned from part of his leg bone, he contemplates six weeks of radiotherapy and an extended time of learning to walk, eat and talk again.
Just two dramatic ‘curve balls’ that have affected members of my family recently.
These stories, although both of a serious medical type, are certainly not the only ‘curve balls’ that have affected us.
But both recent - and thought provoking.
There must be some equivalent happy story curve balls around – surely.
It’s interesting that any happy ‘curve balls’ (if such there be) are usually of a smaller and simpler nature and not often related to health issues.
Last week I advertised two second-hand windows for sale on Gumtree for $50, meaning $50 for the two. The person who came to buy thought I was asking $50 each and was happy to pay me $100.
Was that a curve ball or just a lucky break?
The same goes for those times you’re driving in a busy parking area searching for a vacant spot and, when you’re just about to give up, a car pulls out in front of you, in the perfect place.
Another lucky break or a mini curve ball?
Shopping in Target and finding out, at the check-out, that the particular jeans you have chosen are part of a ‘half-price sale’ of which you weren’t aware.
Just a lucky break?
I apologise for telling such negative tales early in this post but maybe it can serve as a reminder for all to appreciate each day as it comes.
You just never know when a ‘curve ball’ with be pitched your way.
Tell me about your most recent ‘curve ball’.
I choose to comment on social issues and write creatively on a variety of subjects - for a variety of audiences.