OPINION COLUMNS

Don’t mess with Senor Purpose

By Joy Carrico | Published Wednesday, August 10, 2016
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On Sunday, Aug. 14, the Texas Rangers will be giving away a promotional bobblehead of Adrian Beltre, their third baseman.

His helmet will be removable. This is so you can touch his head.

Why? You may ask.

Because Adrian Beltre hates having his head touched. This is an obvious fact anyone can read on his face every time one of his teammates takes off his batting helmet and touches his head. He obviously abhors it.

I will be the first to admit that I don’t understand men. They call each other names and laugh and genuinely seem not to be offended by each other’s behavior.

But I think this whole thing about touching Beltre’s head stinks. And I think it stinks that it has become a running gag to everyone. So much of a running gag that it is the defining characteristic of his bobblehead.

When the Fella gets stressed out or feels a lot of pressure, he shows a side of himself I call Mr. Purpose. Mr. Purpose is very driven to accomplish things and … well, that’s pretty much it. When the Fella is in Mr. Purpose mode, he has identified a problem and is wholly consumed with solving it. I don’t mess with Mr. Purpose.

Adrian Beltre reminds me of Mr. Purpose. I once saw a photo of him on the Internet with a headline that claimed he was angrily glaring at a teammate. I looked at the photo and thought, “What are you talking about? That’s his normal look.” Beltre definitely qualifies as another Mr. Purpose – but let’s call him Senor Purpose, so as not to get confused.

Senor Purpose does not like having his head touched.

Why is it funny to repeatedly do this to him, despite his obvious negative reaction to it?

Let’s say I go to work and my coworkers and I repeatedly do something to one of our collegues that they hate, and we know they hate it. But we derive amusement out of torturing them. There’s a word for that out here in the real world: harassment. We would be reprimanded and eventually fired.

Plus, it’s just plain mean to do something to someone when you know they hate it.

Now, in all fairness, Beltre could probably put a stop to the head-touching by setting some boundaries and keeping them. But boundary setting is a skill that takes years to develop and he may not know where to begin. Or the boundary necessary might be beyond what he is willing to do. I bet if he decked the first head-toucher, the others wouldn’t follow. And I bet if he hauled off and slugged his head-touching fellow sluggers every time they touched his head, they would eventually stop. Even the most callous of jokesters will stop doing something if the consequences for doing it are consistently unpleasant.

People are complex and have phobias and quirks. Sometimes there’s a reason behind these seemingly weird behaviors. Ordinary people, even baseball players, can have traumatic childhoods.

I don’t know why Beltre doesn’t like having his head touched. Maybe there’s some childhood trauma around it. Maybe it’s deeply psychological. Maybe it’s just a thing about him that has no direct explanation.

It should be enough that he doesn’t like it.

So I have a message for the Rangers (except for Choo, who would NEVER do something like this – Go Choo!) and anyone else in a position to get at Beltre’s noggin.

DON’T TOUCH HIS HEAD!

He doesn’t like it.

It’s easy to not touch people’s heads. I go about my business all the time, and there is absolutely no head touching going on.

And another thing, if I get my hands on one of those Beltre bobbleheads I’m putting his helmet on his head and not taking it off. I might even glue it on there so that nobody can disrespect Beltre, via bobblehead, in my presence.

Joy Carrico is a graphic artist for the Messenger. She would never disrespect a Texas Ranger via bobblehead, although she has been known to fuss at the Elvis Andrus bobblehead from time to time.

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