"You know what your problem is, don't you," he said, sounding somewhat perturbed. "Every time you get up to bat, you're swinging for the fence."
I pondered that statement for a moment, giving him enough time to draw a breath, get a hold on his irritation, and proceed.
"And you always get up to bat in as many innings as possible. Somehow, you've set up the rotation so that it comes right back around to you, before you even have a chance to sit on the bench."
Staring at him unsympathetically, and taken a little off guard, I asked "What do you mean?"
"You don't have to hit an out-of-the park home run," he started, "every time you're at the plate. Some people feel very satisfied with in-the-park home runs, or even a triple. If you hit a double, you think you've failed. Then you jolt up the intensity of the game, like the future of mankind depends on the outcome."
"I don't know what you're talking about," I coldly responded. "I always try to do my best for the team."
"The team!" Excitement and agitation laced his words. "Why don't you try getting on first sometime and letting someone else bat you in? Do you think you could do that?"
I squirmed uncomfortably. "What if I got stranded on first? What then? How would that look? That's an awful lot of pressure to put on someone else, to leave my destiny up to her."
He rolled his eyes. "Getting stranded on base isn't the worst thing that ever happened to someone. It's not like earning an error. And, besides, you get RBI's all the time. I don't see you breaking under the pressure."
"I know when the pitcher throws to me I'm going to give it my all. I can't stand the idea of letting anyone down or disappointing someone who counted on me. Why is that so bad?"
"Well," he said, redirecting the flow, "the real problem is, even when you hit it over the fence, you run like they could tag you out anyway. You need to relax. Recognize when you've done well and give yourself a chance to take a victory jog around the bases. Breathe."
"I breathe," I countered, defensively. "But I've got to get ready for my next at-bat. You never know what kind of curves you'll get thrown."
"Thus, my point: you're always at-bat. Let someone else step in as your designated hitter once in awhile. Set the burden down," he advised.
"It all sounds good on the surface, but I still have to worry about how well my DH performs," I insisted. "His performance reflects on me. And if he makes a mess of things, I have to clean it up. That's more work than just doing it myself."
"So choose better."
"Why do you keep trying to simplify the game? You know it's more complicated than that! We've got to protect our stats. If everyone would try to win every game, every time, we'd be a lot better off." My face turned red and anger oozed from my pores.
Sheepishly, he offered an explanation for himself. "Honey, you set the standards so high that I feel like I can't meet your expectations, no matter how much I drive up the score. You make things hard on the rest of us."
I let a tight lipped "Um-hmm" slip out.
"All I'm saying," he finally whispered, "is that I can wash clothes."