As a Noun: A subdivision of a company of soldiers, usually forming a tactical unit that is commanded by a lieutenant and divided into several sections.
As a Verb: (in baseball and other sports) Have (an athlete) play in rotation with one or more teammates at the same position.

*********         *********         *********

I still daydream. Sometimes, knowing full well I’m delusional, I play with thoughts—push them to the limit—just for the sport of it. Not sure if it’s a healthy exercise, but it keeps my mind active. Problem is though, sometimes I believe my own nonsense.

I first heard the word “platoon” in the late fifties. Not only was Sgt. Bilko’s squad a staple on my father’s TV, but the term came into vogue through sports world as well. LSU’S national champs had a defensive squad— a platoon, if you will — known as The Chinese Bandits. Still, the word was just not part of my working vocabulary. Nor was it in the half century that followed.

In early August, though, I had an epiphany. Live music playing, I walked Legacy Village one Saturday, bored. Flying solo that night, the brainstorm came!

Why do I look, on dates, for “the one”? She may not exist. Why not, (I asked myself), just platoon? If pro baseball has a lefty-righty theory, why couldn’t I?

The concept had promise. Too often I’d missed events because they were matters you just didn’t take a first date to—like “Les Mis” last April, or a wedding, months later. (After all, receptions play only so many Horas).

It occurred to me, then, (in my idiocy): I should have one person for movies, another to walk with, and yet another for Jewish events.

A friend urged reality: How, he inquired, could finding three persons of interest be easier than finding one? I ignored him, though; there is nothing, but nothing as powerful as an idea whose time has come.

What were the odds, I wondered, of finding a nice Jewish girl that likes movies, temple, and casinos…that would fit in Cleveland, New York and Chicago…?
10-1? Like making a hard eight? It could happen, but it hadn’t.

I thought further: Being honest about it, what were the odds, REALLY, that a nice Jewish girl would take to a guy with more charm than money?

Again, it could happen, but it hadn’t.

No, I’d concluded: at this stage in life, perhaps the skeptics were right. Perhaps, indeed, I should cease picturing some enchanted evening and stop waiting for that magic moment. Indeed, eighteen years post-divorce, I just wasn’t going to find someone across a crowded room. Maybe I should…platoon…and be done with it?

I shared this “brilliance” with a pal or two; they scoffed. “If nothing else“ claimed one, “You’re a dreamer.”

The very next night we were sitting on the couch, watching Michael’s wedding video. Tired, exhausted from the flight, I heard the Maid-Of-Honor’s toast.

“How great it is,” she told the couple, “To wake up each day with your best friend.”

It made me think—right there on the couch—to past relationships.

I’d found, when I really thought about it, that synchronicity before. I’d rolled, yes I had, that hard eight.

Moments later the movie ended. Retiring soon after, I lay my head down, ready to dream again…and yes, to pick up the dice.

Leave a Reply