How we react to situations that befall us in life tells a lot about our general disposition toward those things. We don't cry over spilled milk not because we're told it's not something we should do, but because we don't care all that much about milk. Similarly, you don't get angry when you find out your neighbor's son stays out after curfew because you don't have much of a stake in his well-being. Your reaction is different when it is your own son.
According to Friedrich Nietzsche, laughter is the most profound way we can reject something. He holds up the image of a laughing lion as the ultimate symbol of rejection and destruction. We can't help but laugh at the teachings of the Westboro Baptist Church because we reject their ideas so completely that everything they say rings with comedy. When a teacher laughs about a student cutting a class, it's because that teacher has given up on the ability of the student. Laugher is a sign of rejection. When we laugh at what on the surface is a serious situation, we have long ago rejected everything about it. We are no longer invested in its outcome at all.
When we wish we could laugh, but aren't yet properly disposed, we sigh. The sigh represents our anger or frustration when we have become resigned to our miserable condition. I sigh when my computer becomes unresponsive. I used to get angry, but it has been happening so frequently and for so long that the anger isn't there anymore. To have a computer that often struggles to open a new tab or interact with a dropdown menu on FanGraphs. This is my condition.
As we get older, we cry less and sigh more. This isn't the result of our developing a more nuanced expression for our emotions; we have just become accepting of the inevitability of life and the constancy of misfortune. As babies and young children, we cried because we truly believed things could be better. If we cried loud enough and long enough, it would all stop and be good. As adults we sigh because we're sufficiently disabused of the idea that things will ever be noticeably better and we know, at the very least, that our reaction doesn't change anything.
We sigh because we wish we could laugh, but can't. We can't totally reject everything while still maintaining a baseline will to live. I still want to use my computer. After all, I have work to do, emails to send, blog posts to write. I can't laugh when my computer freezes up on a Play Index search the way my grandfather might laugh at my situation. Anything of or relating to a computer is of utterly zero importance to him. I'm too invested in my situation, so I am force to sigh.
I sighed a lot tonight. When Vince Velasquez gave up a two-run home run to Michael Conforto in the first inning, I sighed. When Ryan Howard dropped a throw from Freddy Galvis at first, I sighed. I sighed even louder when Yoenis Cespedes hit a three run home run off a curveball later in the inning.
Neil Walker homered in the 6th; Lucas Duda and Walker homered in the 7th; Curtis Granderson homered in the 8th. Sigh; sigh; sigh; sigh.
I sigh because I'm stuck. Even as I've started writing about other baseball teams, I can't completely divorce myself from Phillies fandom. I'm damned by being born across the Delaware in South Jersey to care about this team. I want to laugh when misfortune strikes--I was usually able to do it when Kyle Kendrick was pitching or Michael Martinez was hitting--but I was socialized to sigh before I had any say in the matter.
That socialization that was done to me causes me to feel slight pangs of excitement when a flyable shot off Maikel Franco's bat toward center field.