Lack of Filter (Chapter 2,475)

Nate’s lack of filter has caused him trouble, particularly when he hurls epithets without any sense of understanding. He says the N-word at home quite often. It’s something he’s heard on You Tube and we always yell at him when he says it. Not only is it wrong and rude, but something that shouldn’t be part of his vocabulary as he walks through a campus with a decent percentage of African-American students. It’s bad, bad, bad, and we try to have him cut it out.

Often, his lack of filter is wonderfully charming, and, to a large degree, it makes him enjoyable to be around. How many people are emotionally open all the time? I’ll let Elise, Nate’s one-on-one aide, take over from here.

In Biology, the professor got all choked up. The subject for the day’s class was cancer, and the professor’s father was  recently diagnosed. He’s very sick. She started to cry and Nate tried to make her feel better.

“It’ll be OK,” he said. “We gotta make those tears go away.”

Most twenty year olds would sit in uncomfortable silence at that moment and I’m sure almost all did. I know I would have. But Nate saw his teacher was sad and voiced his concern. Today I thought with wonder that this kid, who once couldn’t even talk to us, was now expressing empathy and support for another person who was clearly hurting.

Nate’s having little ability to control his emotions can often work to the benefit of all who are lucky enough to come in contact with him. Most of us never come into contact with someone so real.

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About Jeff Katz

Jeff Katz is Mayor of Cooperstown, the “Birthplace of Baseball” and home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. His latest book, Split Season:1981 - Fernandomania, the Bronx Zoo, and the Strike that Saved Baseball, (Thomas Dunne Books, 2015), received national attention, with coverage appearing in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Sporting News and NPR’s Only a Game, among others. Katz appeared on ESPN’s Olbermann and The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap and MLB Network’s MLB Now, with Brian Kenny. Split Season: 1981 was a finalist for the 2016 Casey Award for Best Baseball Book of the Year.
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