May 15, 2001
"Perfection at the Plate" by Rabbi Paysach Krohn
You are outside. The sun is shining, birds are flying through the air, and people are outside on this beautiful day. You move toward a building. Two people jog past you. A person bicycles past you on the opposite side. The door to the building opens and you enter. You go buy a few people carrying gym bags. You are at a fitness club.
You go down a hallway and notice people working out. You see two men who are wearing bandannas and carrying racquetball rackets. You continue moving and another set of doors open. You are now on the basketball court.
Dan and Casey are playing one-on-one basketball on the court. Dan has just scored a basket and is heading back out past the three-point line.
Dan: Fifteen, seventeen. Check.
Casey bounces the ball and flips it back to Dan. Dan takes the ball, fakes the long shot, and tries to dribble around Casey, but Casey stops him.
Dan: You're fading. You always fall apart at the end.
Dan once again tries to drive around Casey, but he can't. Dan takes a shot and misses. Casey grabs the rebound.
Casey: Trying to motivate yourself? Trying to talk yourself into winning?
Casey dribbles back out, takes a long jumper, and makes it.
Casey: There you go! Eighteen, fifteen!
Dan: Lucky shot.
Casey: Luck, my friend, has nothing to do with it. Check ball.
Dan passes the ball to Casey. Casey takes the ball and drives around Dan for an easy layup.
Casey: Oh! This is too easy! Nineteen, fifteen.
Dan shakes his head as he grabs the basketball.
Casey: I'm two away. You didn't know I could still play could you?
Dan: There's a lot I didn't know about you. What are you going to do next? Dunk on me?
Casey stares at Dan.
Casey: I thought this was supposed to be a friendly competition.
Dan: It is. Just remember you won't be doing this much longer. You're leaving in July. Check ball?
Casey grits his teeth.
Casey takes the ball and takes a haphazard shot. He misses badly and Dan tracks down the rebound.
Dan: See? You're supposed to tell me things. You leaving the network. You seeing Dana. It helps your friends to know what is going on in your life.
Casey: Shut up and play ball.
Dan: Oh, you would like that, wouldn't you?
Dan dribbles to the top of the key as Casey stands near the foul line. Dan drives to his left, then to his right, then back to his left. Casey guards him very closely. As Dan goes to the hoop, he puts his shot up and Casey tries to swat it away. The ball goes into the hoop.
Dan: And one, baby!
Dan: Count it and one. Sixteen, nineteen.
Dan moves to the foul line.
Casey: No foul.
Dan: What? You whacked me.
Casey: No harm, no foul.
Dan: That's bull, Casey. Give me the ball.
Casey whips the ball at Dan. Dan catches it before the ball slams into his chest.
Dan: You got a problem?
Casey: Yeah, I do.
Dan sets the ball down.
Dan: What's your problem?
Dan: What are you going to do about it?
Casey gets up into Dan's face.
Casey: Remember a few months ago, when you injured your wrist? You said you sprained your wrist trying to dunk. You dunk left-handed. You injured your right wrist.
Casey walks off.
Dan: What's that supposed to mean?
Casey: It means you didn't tell me what really happened. That's what it means.
Dan grabs the basketball and kicks it across the gym.
"You never told Casey."
Dan is sitting on a couch in Abby's office.
Dan doesn't respond.
Abby: You never told Casey how you injured your wrist.
Dan: At the time, I thought I had good reason.
Abby: I'm sure you did.
Dan: Don't take Casey's side in this.
Abby: I'm not. You injured yourself and you felt it was better to fabricate a lie than to tell the truth. Casey knew he wasn't coming back to his job, so he withheld the truth.
Dan takes a deep breath.
Dan: I had a good reason.
Abby: I'm sure telling people that you slammed your fist into the wall after a fight with your girlfriend would have made you feel foolish. I'm sure you realized you reacted that way because you were insecure in your job and relationships.
Dan doesn't respond.
Abby: Do you still love Rebecca?
Dan: I haven't seen her in months.
Abby: That wasn't the question.
Dan: I was pausing. I haven't seen her in months, pause.
Abby: I'm sorry. I thought you had just finished your one-sentence statement.
Dan: Well, okay. Pause. I haven't seen her in months. Pause.
Abby rubs her neck and waits for Dan to continue.
Dan looks down and shades his eyes with his hand.
Dan: There will always be a place in my heart for her. A part of me will always love her.
Dan looks back up at Abby.
Abby: You're done?
Abby: Good. Which part?
Dan: Which part loves Rebecca?
Dan: The part that... the part that is in the past. The old Dan.
Abby: There's a new Dan?
Dan: Yes... no... I don't know.
Abby: How about an evolving Dan? The Dan who is continuing to grow and learn.
Dan: That works.
Abby writes something down on her notepad.
Abby: Do you love JoAnne?
Dan: It's growing. I've started noticing things.
Abby: Like what?
Dan: On the wall in her bedroom... there is a picture... a picture of her and her dead finacé.
Abby: While he is dead?
Dan: No, while he is alive.
Abby: That's good.
Dan: They are along the coast and he has his arm around her and they look...
Dan: Yeah. They look like they have their futures ahead of them. They didn't know what was going to happen.
Abby: Is the photo in a frame by itself?
Dan: It's in a collage with other pictures.
Abby: But you noticed the one photo?
Abby: Have you asked JoAnne about the photo?
Abby: Why not?
Dan: Because I'm afraid I won't measure up.
Abby: To her finacé?
Dan is standing outside of his apartment. He opens his door and turns on the light. A figure emerges from a darkened room.
JoAnne leans against a door frame with her right arm reaching toward the top of the frame. She is wearing Dan's 'Sports Night' baseball jersey.
JoAnne: Batter up.
Dan drops his keys on the floor, and JoAnne laughs.
JoAnne: Strike one.
Dan: Are... are you wearing anything?
JoAnne: Yes, silly. I'm wearing this jersey.
JoAnne tugs at the jersey.
JoAnne: I'm also wearing socks.
Dan closes the door and locks it. He walks through the living room as he looks over JoAnne.
Dan: Jo? May I ask you something?
JoAnne drops her arm down and walks into the living room.
JoAnne: Uh-oh. It sounds like you had a bad day.
Dan: It was all right.
JoAnne: What would you like to ask?
Dan: I... I...
JoAnne: My eyes are up here.
Dan refocuses on JoAnne's face.
Dan: I wanted to know if...
JoAnne: If what?
Dan: If when you were dating Josh and everything was going on... did you ever think of me?
JoAnne: I haven't thought of Josh when I've been with you.
JoAnne: If you're hungry, there's some left-over chicken in the refrigerator.
JoAnne: It was fresh. I also made you the cheddar potatoes you enjoy so much.
Dan: Yeah, thank you.
Dan just stands in the living room.
JoAnne: Are you hungry?
Dan: Not really.
JoAnne: Something else is on your mind.
JoAnne: What is it?
Dan: Um... if you were to compare... you know, Josh and me... would I be better than him?
JoAnne: In what?
JoAnne: Nope. Josh was a better swimmer. I know because he swam in college. So, there is at least one thing Josh could do better than you.
Dan: I mean... if you were to pick who was the better man... who would you choose?
JoAnne's smile turns serious.
JoAnne: You're joking. You're really asking me this?
Dan stands in silence.
JoAnne: Do you really want to know the answer?
Dan thinks about it for a moment.
Dan: Uh... no. I don't want to know.
"Not only do you feel inferior to her former finacé, but you also feel inferior to her ex-boyfriend."
Dan is back in Abby's office.
Dan: It was stupid for me to ask her that.
Abby: Yes, it was.
Dan: Because if her ex-boyfriend was better, then she would have been with him instead of me.
Abby: No. Because you made an attempt to damage the relationship.
Dan: Not on purpose.
Abby: Maybe it was. Maybe your subconscious wants you to damage the relationship.
Dan: I'm not still in love with Rebecca.
Dan: I'm not.
Abby: I never said you were.
Abby: Back to the picture- how did you know it was her former fiancé?
Dan: I saw the engagement ring on her hand. That's how I noticed it.
Dan reaches across the table in front of him and picks out a piece of candy from a dish. He unwraps it and places it in his mouth.
Dan: You've got the best candy.
Abby: Thank you.
Dan: I mean it. That grape hard candy is the best I've ever tasted- and I've eaten a lot of grape hard candy in my time.
Abby: I bet you have.
Dan shakes his head.
Dan: You're not laughing.
Abby: Am I supposed to be laughing?
Dan: Maybe not.
Dan leans back against the couch as Abby glances at the wall in front of her.
Abby: Our time is up.
Dan: Really? That was an hour?
Abby: Yes and yes.
Dan stands up and starts fumbling through his pockets.
Dan: I thought we had more time.
Abby: There's always next week.
Dan: Do you have anything sooner?
Abby: My schedule is booked for the rest of this week. I can fit you in next week. You will be fine.
Dan: If anybody cancels-
Abby: I will let you know.
Dan starts walking toward the door.
Dan: It didn't feel like an hour.
Abby: I haven't seen you in a couple of months. We have a lot of catching up to do.
Dan: Next week?
Abby: Or sooner, if possible.
Dan opens the door and leaves Abby's office. Abby closes the door behind him.