Recent scenes from around my world

Column by Michael Alcorn
Posted 4/18/19

One of my favorite activities is people watching. I love to sit back and observe people when they assume nobody is watching, just to see what kind of people they reveal themselves to be, and maybe, …

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Recent scenes from around my world


One of my favorite activities is people watching. I love to sit back and observe people when they assume nobody is watching, just to see what kind of people they reveal themselves to be, and maybe, how they shine a mirror on the rest of us. This week was good.

Observee #1—A middle-aged white gentleman, walking with an air of busy former authority. He reads a newspaper headline and scratches his head, wondering how things have changed so much so fast for he and his friends. Frustrated by recent futility, he signs on for a Quixotic effort to recall the governor, the only basis for which is ideological disagreement. He’ll make the argument, quite plausibly, that the governor has violated the Constitution, but that’s for the courts — not for recall. Nonetheless, Observee #1’s walk has something now it lacked before: purpose. Even windmills are useful for something.

Observees #2 — How about a group of supremely talented athletes whose eyes are about to pop out of their heads and whose forearms are cramped from the energy they’re putting into wringing their hands? They wear black and purple and grey, they play in a beautiful red brick and green grass cathedral, and they look for all the world like they could turn lumps of coal into diamonds, if you know what I mean. Expectations are a horrible thing. One of these days, they’ll remember that baseball is actually fun, and they’ll relax and be instantly better. I hope that day comes soon.

Observee #3 — The movie director flailing for a reason to make the last chapter of a series. So, what? Now the Jedi can accumulate the powers of their predecessors? What is she, “Rey, of the clan MacLeod?” (Deep-dive nerd reference there). This one could be worse than the last one.

Observee #5 — I’ve gotten pretty used to a comfortable cynicism about “customer service” any more. I just find that the less I expect, the less disappointed I’m likely to be. So it’s always a real joy to run into somebody who does it right. Her name is Sarah, and she works for the Colorado Rapids. Not only did she answer my initial question in a timely way, but she called me — unsolicited — a couple days later to give me a heads up about a special opportunity. And then, when Bomb Cyclone 2.0 reared its ugly head, she called me again to make sure that I had seen an email that the Rapids sent out to make sure that the opportunity was still available. Through it all, she was pleasant and professional. And, most importantly, she made my son’s day when I was able to show him the tickets I scored for the Rapids-Arsenal friendly this July. Hats off, Sarah!

“Observee #5 — Speaking of my son, see the pleasant man with the neatly-trimmed grey beard and the friendly Golden Retriever, locking the doors on the Game Fortress for the last time. Tough market, but he was always kind to my son. “Godspeed, friend!”

Observee #6 — speaking of cynicism, I quip frequently that the only thing we love more in modern America than building up heroes is knocking them back down. Which, of course, only leaves us the opportunity to celebrate the redemption story, when those heroes rise again. Now, the story of Tiger Woods is not one of society knocking him down — he did that all on his own. And, as soon as his personal life deteriorated, his physical being and his golf game disappeared, as well. I thought he was done. I was wrong. I can’t think of another sports story as gripping as Tiger coming back over the last year, with a humbler, more mature approach, and then fighting off a legion of young trophy hunters in the final round to win his 15th Major Tournament last weekend at Augusta. It was an epic moment a lifetime in the making.

Observee #7 — Speaking of redemption, observe the bright young lady, also, comfortably cynical, looking at the banner hanging from the wall of the Christian Church this Holy Week, asking herself the most important question ever: “what if it’s true?”

Michael Alcorn is a teacher and writer who lives in Arvada with his wife and three children. His new novel, “Charon’s Blade,” is available at, on Kindle, or through” His opinions are not necessarily those of Colorado Community Media.


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