Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, January 30, 2015

From the edge


Vic Fleming

If you’re not living on the edge, you’re probably taking up too much room.” This lyric, from a 1998 folk song bearing David Roth’s byline, appears earlier in H. Jackson Brown, Jr.’s 1993 book, “Live and Learn and Pass It On.”

A song titled “Livin’ on the Edge” made Aerosmith a lot of money in 1993.

“Living on the Edge” is the title of a 1989 Dewey Redman album; a 2007 British reality TV show; a 2005 Canadian documentary about poetry; and a 2002-2013 reality show in Pakistan.

“On the Edge” is a popular title also, being borne by movies starring Fred Williamson (2002), Stephen Rea (2001), and Bruce Dern (1986), and albums by Iron Fire (2001), Northern Lights (1986), and The Babys (1980).

The title “The Edge” heads a 2010 Russian film that was nominated for a Golden Globe, a 1997 Anthony Hopkins film, and a 1989 “three-part anthology,” an episode of which featured a youthful Patricia Arquette.

On the edge, idiomatically, connotes being in a precarious situation, in a state of excitement, or on the verge of doing something remarkable. This should not be confused with on edge, meaning anxious or nervous.

Nor should one mistake on the edge for on the cutting edge, which means in the foremost position. Hyphenated to adjective form, cutting-edge means as per the “most fashionable ideas.” Wordnik (citing Princeton’s WordNet 3.0).

Against this backdrop, consider the fellow who wound up with the Seahawks-Packers game ball several days ago. Seattle wide receiver Jermaine Kearse catches a touchdown pass in overtime. So, his team wins the NFC Championship and now gets to go to the Super Bowl. Deep down, Kearse wants the ball he’s just scored with.

However, to “let out frustration,” he will explain later, he instead throws the ball as far as he can, upward and into the end-zone bleachers. Hardly a cutting-edge reaction, if you ask me. Though perhaps a sign that he had been on edge. The NFL has fined Kearse $5,512 for his heave, it being in violation of “crowd-control” regulations.

Speaking of crowds, up in those end-zone stands sits this fan, on the edge of his seat, no doubt. And the ball “bounced … right into my lap,” says the 32-year-old unemployed father of two – a twice-convicted felon with a recently-imposed jail sentence that he has yet to serve.

A sports memorabiliaist finds the fan hours later and, being on the cutting edge, perhaps, offers the fan $20,000 for the ball. The fan declines. Next day, “the Man” calls the fan. That’s right: Suffering from tosser’s remorse, Kearse offers a jersey and his game helmet in return for the football.

“Game helmet?” think I, remembering what mine smelled like in high school. “Ewww!”

The fan counters that what he’d really like is to see the Seahawks beat the Patriots. In person. Two weeks hence. His jail sentence doesn’t commence until the day after the Super Bowl. How perfect is that?!

Edgy, huh? Dude’s toting more than one ball.

Vic Fleming is a district court judge in Little Rock, Ark., where he also teaches at the William H. Bowen School of Law. Contact him at vicfleming@att.net.