I was upset when the Golf Channel dismissed me after more than 12 years, a formative time in the network’s history when my efforts enriched a great many people out of all proportion to what I was being paid. So it goes. But I also liked the job, and in the months after it was clear that my contract would not be renewed, it was hard not to feel negative. So it also goes.
In the throes of perceived loss, no one likes to hear that old saw about a setback being an opportunity or a blessing in some odd get-up. Doesn’t make it any less true, though, even if you believe for awhile that when God closes a door, he opens a window, and it’s -10ºF and windy out.
I have since moved into a much better situation, which has a lot of benefits. Not just the payroll deduction kind: I mean the lifestyle stuff. My company is in Japan, with a North American headquarters in Vancouver. In the age of airplanes, email, and Skype, it hasn’t been necessary to move. So I have stayed in the Orlando, Florida area, and I work out of an office in my home with only occasional travel.
This enables me to be much more involved in the life of my family, especially my son, an only child who is 13. It’s always important to be there for your children, but as a former boy myself, this seems to me to be a crucial stage. As he learns to be a man, surely his mother is a big influence. But I have my role too: Example Man. I’m glad to do it. I went a lot of exciting places around the world when Joseph was young, but I also missed a lot. Augusta National was all well and good, but I would have liked to have seen him roll over that first time.
There are little things, too. As we know, they have a habit of adding up to big things. One is lunch. I meet friends for lunch occasionally, but the best restaurant I know is still right downstairs. And I’m the chef. When I do travel, it’s often to Asia, where I have been fortunate to discover whole new universes of taste and texture.
As a result, on any given weekday, lunch may be soba noodles, braised tofu, and steamed bok choy, all topped off with Thai fish sauce, a squeeze of lime, and a healthy shot of sriracha-sauce heat. We have bamboo steamers from the Asian grocery, inexpensive workhorses of the kitchen which, when placed over boiling water in a wok, transform all manner of vegetables and leftover rice into hot-and-happy entrées. I’ve gotten so good at this that my wife will call from wherever she is and tell me she’ll be home for lunch. Throw on some extra udon.
As we found when we started making homemade pasta after an Italy trip, what once seemed arduous is really no big deal. Here’s a sample step-by-step:
1. Get a block of extra-firm tofu. In the morning or the night before, unpack it, drain it, put it in a baking pan, salt it, and bake it for an hour at 350º. Let it cool.
2. At lunchtime, wash and chop a bunch of bok choy. Put it in the bamboo steamer. Get water boiling in the wok. Plunk that bamboo badboy on there. Count five minutes.
3. Carefully remove the steamer (very hot) and throw three ounces of soba noodles into the water in the wok. Count four minutes.
4. Put a teaspoon of sesame oil and a shot of sriracha sauce in a bowl. Slice half the tofu into chunks; save the rest for later, unless your wife is coming home for lunch.
5. Drain the finished noodles; toss ’em in the bowl that has the oil/sriracha combination. Swirl ’em up.
6. Put the bok choy on top of the noodles and the tofu on top of that. Sprinkle with fish sauce or soy sauce, and squeeze a lime all over it.
7. Dig in. You’re about to eat around 500 calories of delicious stuff, chocked with protein, and you will be full.
Kinda all came together, didn’t it? Lost a job, gained a new one, learned some Asian cuisine, and I get to enjoy it. And share it with my family.
The next loss, whenever it comes, will likely smart. So it goes.
But I’ll make sure to have noodles and sriracha sauce around. So that goes.
© 2014 Adam Barr