Fast & Slow

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“Take your time, hurry up, the choice is yours, don’t be late,” Kurt Cobain, founder and lead singer of everybody’s favorite (?) grunge band Nirvana advised us all the way back in 1991.
But the conflict is nothing new. Our lives seem to be a constant tossup between the need for speed and the urge to slow the pace of life and find some peace. We even get ourselves stressed out with meticulous planning for a relaxing vacation.
Instant gratification and speed are gaining ground as life’s minimal expectation. Fast service, on-demand video, high- and hyper-speed internet connections…even tankless instant hot water heaters so you can scald yourself in the shower long before you can reach for the cold water tap. But at least you can make a cup of instant coffee right from the tap without the dreaded delay of a microwave which is faster than your stove.
Speed even comes together with sport and luxury in our cars. Not many of us have a 200 mph, formula-1 speedster lurking in our garage, but a 600 HP high-end roadster that goes from 0 to 60 in 3.8 seconds can make a car fan’s heart race any day.
But what about “Take your time?” America’s own traditional, homegrown sport is fondly called a pastime. Today, some critics say baseball is too slow for the 21st Century.
Maybe it is just what we need from time to time. Consider a long, lazy afternoon, a summer breeze wafting across the outfield grass, just the right tall, cold beverage in your hand and a few friends with you watching those 18 boys of summer ponder the motion of a single white ball and that slow, sometimes graceful duel between pitcher and batter. Three or four hours can disappear into the sunset – and you never knew the time had passed at all.
Fast cars and a leisurely afternoon at the ballpark occupy the far ends of the “hurry up and take your time” spectrum of 21st century American life. Maybe you have found the magic middle of that spectrum, with just the right measure of haste and peace in your life. If you have, then congratulations and a long life are your due.
In case that perfect formula has escaped you, though, this week’s Jamestown Gazette has your prescription ready for this summer. The World Series of Cars rolls into Bergman Park this week and the Babe Ruth World Series will be coming to Diethrick Park next month.
Cars, both antique and modern, do represent speed to the hurry-up folks of the modern world, but when automotive engineers meld form with function in their road machines they also become artists. Smooth and sleek in their polished precision, the 400 or so cars at Bergman Park will tempt any speed demon to slow right down. Beauty has a way of doing that. Go see a century’s worth of hurry up transformed into just that beauty. It will be worth the slow day’s pleasure.
Then make your plans for a few relaxing afternoons enjoying the leisurely pace of America’s pastime down at Diethrick Park. Those young men have convened in Jamestown from all corners of the United States to play on our field of dreams. Hurry on down and take your time for a relaxing summer afternoon.
And for a somewhat deeper conversation about the value – the virtue – of slowing down, visit page 7 and have a chat with our Pastor Scott Hannon and his Faith Matters column. That old hurry-up habit might be speeding you right past the most important things in your life.
And whether you are a speed reader or a slow studier of the written word, as long as you have your very own Jamestown Gazette in your hands right now, please enjoy the read.

Walt Pickut
Editor
The Jamestown Gazette

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Walt Pickut
Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.