The Remedy to “It’s Not You” Syndrome

I don’t tend to suffer peeps who dish up apathy as if it’s homemade mac and cheese. Because life is unforgiving enough, and I happen to think that if you’ve arrived at an age where you can legally rent a car, you’re doing better than you probably imagined you might. So yanno, quit blaming everything and everyone else.

So it was that I was asked for my opinion on someone else’s particulars recently, and the preamble had me wishing I’d called in sick. She’s a pleasant enough young lady, pushing thirty with a vengeance. By this I mean, she’s angry at the fates for not having prescribed her domestic patent replete with matrimony and motherhood. An annual trip to the Caribbean would be peach, but she’d settle for a showplace to staycation in because she ain’t greedy.

I learned all of this over the course of a ten minute conversation, and while it’s ten minutes I ain’t ever getting back, at least I collected a post out of the deal. So there’s that.

When she arrived at the gritty of the nitty, his name was Pete. And he was many things, none of them rhyming with Prince Charming. I wasn’t able to get a word in edgewise as she recited the numerous offenses perpetrated by a guy whose crimes didn’t seem to warrant a trip to Nuremberg.

“So it was all him?”

“Huh?”

“This guy. The reason you guys didn’t work out was entirely his fault?”

“Well . . I mean . . I’m not saying I’m perfect . . ”

“Of course not, but that’s not what I’m asking. What I want to know is, did you take an inventory of your shit and his shit?”

“No,”

I proceeded to explain that it’s usually shared shit that sinks the ship. Unless he was beating on her (he wasn’t), in which case she would have had every right to take his ass out. And I’d have brought the shovels, lime and a bottle for the adjudication of the sonofabitch.

Short of that, I told her that the bogeyman application doesn’t work. Subconsciously, you’re burning your own bridge by manifesting this skewed portrait of a person who is no longer in your life. You’re actually questioning your own judgement without even knowing it, thereby stunting your emotional growth. And that kind of cycle only gets more vicious as time goes on.

“Own your shit. Be thankful for the experience and move on . . .”

It was all I could think to say, because it was evident she was going to choose option whatever else. Which is why I never understood why people ask for advice when what they’re really asking for is consensus.

I applied this same line of questioning to my friend Barry. His love thing is flickering into obsolescence on mortal coils whose romance done left the building long ago. And he suffers from the same affliction as most peeps who find themselves in the relationship checkout line. Shocked by the purchase of forever as if the individual they’re gonna Paul Simon out of their life came with a money back guarantee.

“You chose the drama you speak of, knowing full well that it wasn’t going to be nearly as adorable once you had to share basically every fucking thing,” I said.

“Yeah but I thought things would change,” Was his response.

That’s the Vegas lock response, every time.

“Did you ever think that maybe it’s your fault as much as hers?”

“Yeah . . .” He chuckled, with not even a hint of believability to it.

“Hey man, if you’re getting off the pot . . just do it. There’s nothing sadder than a grown ass man crying about how unhappy he is. Move to the Poconos and become an outdoors man and start a YouTube channel and stop whining about how some woman did something to you that you really did to yourself,”

I would’ve gone on, but I was out of liquor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The NFL Double Issue Edition!

 

Football Players in Action

The NFL season is more than halfway cooked and the more things change, the more the Patriots still look like the favorites to fuck up a lot of Super Bowl parties come January. I mean, does anybody else see the irony here? A league that prides itself on parity has the most prolonged dynasty in sports history.

Despite the specter of that long national football nightmare moving into yet another decade, it’s been a fairly entertaining NFL season to this point. The Cleveland Browns are winning . . on TMZ.  The Oakland Raiders are actually winning on the field. The Titans, Seahawks, Steelers, Colts, Panthers and Lions have been plucky. The Packers, Cowboys, Eagles and Bills have been lucky. And the Jets? Still suck.

If sports ain’t your thing, here’s an alphabetized list of teams complete with a cocktail party anecdote or observation for each. You’re uh . . welcome?

Arizona Cardinals- Investing in semiconductors is the same difference.
Atlanta Falcons- There is a Chick-fil-A in Mercedes Benz Stadium. Chicken Jesus doesn’t do business on Sundays, and this year? Neither do the Falcons.
Baltimore Ravens- Lamar Jackson is to quarterbacking what Jimi Hendrix was to acoustic guitars.
Buffalo Bills- The fan base is known as “Bills Mafia”. They guzzle beer, smash tables and have a guy named Pinto Ron who has a condiment fetish.

Because . . sports fans!

Carolina Panthers- The peeps in South Carolina take great pride in the fact that the Panthers play in North Carolina.
Chicago Bears- True story. Bears fans traveled to Nashville once, and drank the town dry.
Cincinnati Bengals- If Kandahar ever gets an NFL team, they’re perfect.
Cleveland Browns- The NFL version of Apple TV’s “Morning Show”- flashy, big name cast with little payoff.
Dallas Cowboys- Sugar Daddy Jerry Jones, built them a $1.2 billion dollar crib (Arlington taxpayers forked over $325 million). The Boys have a grand total of three playoff wins there since 2009. Only Congress offers up a weaker bang for the buck.
Denver Broncos- Unless you live in Colorado, the Denver Broncos will never come up in casual conversation. If you live in Colorado, just use lots of four letter words.
Detroit Lions- Motown legend Marvin Gaye once tried out for the team.
Green Bay Packers- They are the only publicly owned franchise in the league.
Houston Texans- They became only the second expansion team ever to win their first game when they defeated the Cowboys in September of 2002. It remains the high point.
Indianapolis Colts- In 1983, the franchise packed their shit on Mayflower vans and left Baltimore in the middle of the night. It doesn’t get any more Paul Simon than that.

Jacksonville Jaguars- Like the car, they’re expensive and rarely worth it.
Kansas City Chiefs- They have more offensive weapons than the US Army and a weaker defense than the French Army.
Los Angeles Chargers- Most peeps don’t realize they left San Diego. And most of those peeps live in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles Rams- Warren Beatty remains the coolest player to ever don a Rams uniform. And I know it was a movie, but it still counts.
Miami Dolphins- They’re not the worst team in football.
Minnesota Vikings- Unless you live in Minnesota, the Vikings will never come up in casual conversation. If you live in Minnesota, just bring the sausages, cheese curds and beer. 
New England Patriots-
 Before the Russians started rigging elections, they re-calibrated a middling football coach named Belichick and created a cyborg named Brady. The idea was to create a hatred of the red, white and blue. Those Russians are crafty.
New Orleans Saints- Charlton Heston starred as an aging Saints player in the film Number One. 
New York Giants- 
Jimmy Hoffa wouldn’t be caught dead in the Giants end zone.
New York Jets- Haven’t appeared in a Super Bowl since Joe Namath was wearing pantyhose on purpose.
Oakland Raiders- Will relocate to Las Vegas next year . .  move back to Oakland in 2030 . . relocate to Germany in 2035 . . . move back to Oakland in 2042 . . . relocate to Mars in 2050!
Philadelphia Eagles- Their former digs- Veterans Stadium- housed jail cells. And if you ever attended a game there, you understand why.
Pittsburgh Steelers- They haven’t returned to the Super Bowl since Bane blew up their fictional stadium in Dark Knight Rises. Not a coincidence.
San Francisco Forty 49ers- Joe Montana was chosen with the 82nd pick of the 1979 NFL draft. It worked out alright.
Seattle Seahawks- They aren’t the first pro football team to go by the name Seahawks. That would have been the Miami Seahawks, who did their business back in the ’40s.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers- See my suggestions for Broncos and Vikings. After which, feel free to mix and match.
Tennessee Titans- The designers of their uniforms imagined Masters of the Universe having sex with Ross Department Store.
Washington Redskins- No team matches its locale so perfectly. They’re corrupt, inept and divisive as fuck. 

As for the NFL season, there’s still time for the resistance to thwart the Evil Empire. And if Sam Rothstein were to ask me for a top ten best bets to take down Darth Vader Inc., Imma go with these . . .

1- Ravens: They kicked the shit out of New England last week so they get the top spot.
2- Chiefs: They’ve got Patrick Mahomes.
3- Packers: They’ve got Aaron Rodgers.
4- Seahawks: They shouldn’t be doing what they’re doing, but they’re doing it anyway.
5- Texans: They’ve got Deshawn Watson.
6- Eagles: Because they kicked the shit out of New England in the Super Bowl . . what, five minutes ago? It seems like it. And I still love Carson Wentz, even if I think he’s got to step up big time.
7- Browns: There’s a better chance Drew Carey plays center for the Cavaliers and leads them to the playoffs, but hey . . this is a top ten and I need warm bodies.
8- Cowboys: Yes, I put them below the Browns because they piss me off and I’m not even a fan. All that talent and they can’t beat Kirk Fucking Cousins . . at home?
9- Raiders: Because Jon Gruden deserves some props from those clowns (me) who said he was a mistake. His Raiders play hard, they came together after the Antonio Brown debacle and they’re fun as hell to watch. And while I really don’t think they’ve got a chance to sustain over the rest of the season . . who wouldn’t want to see Gruden and the Raiders back in New England in January? Almost twenty years hence from the “Tuck Rule” game that began the Patriots dynasty.
10- Dolphins- Again, this is a top ten list and since I can only come up with a legitimately serious top fourish, why not Miami to put a cap on it? Because I believe they have as much a chance to win it all as the Vikings and Bills. And that might be none at all, but that just makes it equal. And I cannot and will not include the Saints on any list after how they carried on after the NFC title game last year. The same franchise that brought us Bounty Gate . . . railing on about a bad call? Nope.

Up until a couple weeks ago, Miami was destined to go down as the worst pro football team of all time. I even wrote about it, somewhat excitedly at that. Because I wasn’t so much interested in the ignominy of a possible 0-16 season, as in the idea that my team actually had a brain trust in place that wasn’t an oxymoron.

History is toast now that the Dolphins are on an actual winning streak. And maybe we blew our chance to score Joe Burrow in the draft- a kid who happens to be the latest QB du jour. And I don’t care right now, because all I know is that Brian Flores has a gutted roster playing as if it’s the Super Bowl. So let the Jets and Skins, the Bengals and maybe even the Falcons dog it out for the top spots in the draft. Because maybe my team has something they don’t have.

A plan.

 

 

 

 

 

Heroes Of The Week! (World Series Edition)

Roberto Clemente

Montreal has its long deserved World Series title . . . And okay, so this isn’t what happened on Wednesday night. It was the Washington Nationals who actually won the World Series, but Imma stick with celebrating it under the Expos banner. Because this is the 25th anniversary of the baseball strike of ’94, which led to the cancellation of the World Series. It also canceled out a Montreal Expos team that possessed the best record in the game (74-40) when the lights went dark.

The Nationals season could be titled “The Comeback”. They dug themselves out of a 19-31 start to make it to October. After which they came from behind in the eighth inning of their winner take all playoff game against the Brewers to advance. They weren’t supposed to beat the heavily favored Dodgers in the NLDS, until they came from behind and did just that. And then lost three straight games in Washington after taking the first two in Houston to start the World Series, and so everybody figured this was the end of the Nationals magical ride. Because no team had ever won four road games in a postseason series. In any sport. 

When the Astros went up 2-0 in the 7th inning on Wednesday night, it started to feel as if all the crazy chances the Nats had rode in on were about to turn into pumpkins. And then Anthony Rendon turned on a Zack Greinke sinker that didn’t sink, and then the Nationals were coming back again. All the way back. Again. Twenty five years worth of comeback, painted in red, white and sacre bleu.

On the flip side of all that nostalgic feel good, there’s the MLB. Coming off an historic World Series in which the visiting team won every game, you’d think the league would be riding a wave. But you’d be thinking wrong, on account of the fact that most peeps who might have watched, didn’t, since every game lasted longer than a Ted Cruz filibuster. I mean, how in blessed hell do they expect to grow the game when future fans are fast asleep before the final outs are recorded?

Would it kill Rob Manfred to start World Series games at 7 pm on the East Coast, thereby giving kids a chance to stay up and watch? And would it be such a bad thing if they streamlined the bucco pitching change process instead of making each one a five minute commercial break? And how’s about getting rid of instant replay, which is anything but instant and kills the flow of a game? And don’t even get me started on the juiced balls the league went to during the regular season in an inane attempt to make each game read like an NFL score. The bosses seem intent on ruining the qualities that make it unique from any other game. Why?

The Houston Astros have done just about everything right over the last five seasons, following a painful rebuild in the first half of the decade that saw them lose over a hundred games three years in a row. From the ashes of that rebuild came what looked to be baseball’s next dynasty. And it got cooking in 2017 when the Astros won 101 regular season games and then beat three of the best teams in baseball in the postseason (Boston, New York, Los Angeles) to capture their first World Series title. Over the last two seasons, Houston has arguably had the best team in baseball- best lineup, best rotation, best manager- and they just won 107 regular season games to make it three seasons in a row in which they’ve topped the century mark. And yet, that dynasty hasn’t quite happened the way most of us figured it would. Maybe it still happens, as the Astros are early Vegas favorites to win it all next season. But it just goes to show how hard it is to win, in any sport. And maybe Houston never gets its dynasty, but I wanted to take a moment to recognize the damn good baseball they’ve given the sport.

Once upon a time Josh Hamilton was a feel good story. A blue chip prospect, he was selected first overall by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 1999 MLB draft. His life was full of brilliant possibilities when a car accident in 2001 changed everything. It led to Hamilton’s addiction to drugs and alcohol and a spiraling journey that saw three teams cut bait with him before his recovery. In 2008, he landed with the Texas Rangers and it seemed as if all those brilliant possibilities had finally shown up. Hamilton made five straight All Star games, won a HR Derby and an American League MVP. He scored a $125 million contract with the Angels in 2012. But things never reached that zenith again as Hamilton battled injuries and then a relapse. For all intents and purposes, his baseball career came to an end in 2017.

Hamilton was arrested Wednesday on charges of injury to a child- a third degree felony-  after being accused of physically assaulting his 14 year old daughter. And now all those brilliant possibilities he once carried with him feel like they happened a million years ago. And how tenuous a thing it is, to have it all.

And finally, Imma take the way back machine to get to my hero of this particular edition. Way back to 1972 and a baseball player named Roberto Clemente. Born in Carolina, Puerto Rico, he received plenty of push back in his climb to the major leagues on account of the fact he was a black man from Latin America who did not speak English. This was a triple edged sword that he overcame by sticking to the lessons of his upbringing.

It served him well, to the tune of a Hall of Fame career in which he was both a National League MVP and World Series MVP. He amassed 3,000 hits, was a four time N.L. batting leader, a twelve time Gold Glover and a fifteen time All Star. But it was his influence off the field that has resonated.

Clemente became the Latino equivalent of Jackie Robinson, as he was one of the first Puerto Rican born players to reach the majors in 1955. Today, almost thirty percent of the league is comprised of Latin born players.

His work off the field is what lands him in this spot, however. Because Roberto Clemente never forgot where he came from, and he understood his responsibility to those in need. His legendary efforts on the field exist on equal footing with his immense contributions off of it. He spent his off seasons doing charity work, bringing aid and hope to those in need. As a result of his example, the Commissioner’s Award- given to the player who ” . . best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team . .” was renamed after Clemente in 1973.

It was a posthumous undertaking, as Clemente was taken from the world he had given so much to on New Year’s Eve of 1972. He was accompanying a relief mission on a plane he had chartered to Managua, Nicaragua after the capital city had suffered a devastating earthquake the week before. It crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Isla Verde, Puerto Rico immediately after takeoff. So distraught was his best friend and teammate Manny Sanguillen, that he decided not to attend the memorial service. He dove into the waters where Clemente’s plane had been lost instead. His thoughts inside those desperate moments is every bit as relevant almost fifty years later.

We didn’t get nearly enough of him.

 

 

Boogeyman

In honor of my favorite holiday, I went looking for a piece I wrote several years back and never got around to tinkering with further. Until now. It’s a re-imagining of Michael Myers, not as some supernatural entity but as a real person.

Happy Halloween . . . 

Michael grabbed the keys from the hook in the foyer before moving into the garage. His eyes squirmed and then settled as he located the light switch. He jabbed at the button beside it and the garage door came to life. He studied the jumble of keys in his hand, all of its purpose had gone dead now. A couple of pumps of the key-less entry and he was sitting behind the wheel of a jet black Audi and tap dancing on the candy coated rev. He checked the fuel indicator . . full. And with a diesel engine to crunch tire on, it would bridge the five hour gap between his toes and Long Point, Illinois very nicely.  He set the GPS and smiled.

With open road came enough leisure with which to settle his mind on some tunes. He plugged in the i-Pod he had gathered on his way out the door. He toggled at the concert panel, tapping the media selection into life and fingering his way through a stack of entries. Dr. Henley Warren had been an academic of some repute, but his taste in music? It was shit for. Michael switched over to satellite radio and pumped up some White Zombie before turning his attention to Warren’s smart phone.

Dr. Warren had lived the retrofitted American dream of the baby boomer generation. He had morphed from counterculture propagandist to stock market gangster, after which he moved his doctorate into a cushy tenure at a university. The sonofabitch had been a someone thanks to humping the backs of real someones.

Warren’s writings on cognitive dissonance produced four books, after which he scavenged the realm of Disassociative Identity Disorder for his profit. It was the chapter entitled “The Mythology of Michael Myers” that sealed the doctor’s fate. In the chapter, he opined on a culture that glorified monsters. As Warren saw it,

Our deification of fictionalized characters such as Michael Myers speaks of a nation whose lonely eyes are woefully out of focus. We created Myers from the ether, his existence a dubious counter punch to an establishment whose dictates have impaled all hope. 

Warren wrote of Michael Myers as if a stranger. Despite having gained an audience with him in 1981, five years after Myers murdered his entire family in cold blood. He wrote of Myers as if clueless to that meeting. As if never having known that Michael Myers was a fictional representative of a real event.

But he knew, all of it. Warren had first learned of Myers through a little known scribe whose article on the Myers family murders in a weekly periodical was retracted in November of 1976, a week after it ran. The author of that piece, Reid Loomis, was the editor of the Long Point Herald. A brilliant writer, and a drunk. No one batted an eye when the story was retracted. And no one was shocked when Reid was found dead in his bathtub a couple weeks later.

The composite of Michael Myers happened into being on the crumbs of that long lost article by Loomis. Its afterlife was achieved when a little known director by the name of John Carpenter bought the ‘premise’ from a government agent at a poker game in Los Angeles. For twenty bucks. After which Carpenter turned the nightmarish events into a rhythm sectioned profit center, never knowing how right he had been.

Urban legends work best when there is no one left to blame. And with Michael Myers imprisoned in a government facility for the rest of his natural born life, all that was left was the money to be made off those murders. Warren’s meeting with the fifteen year old Myers was of a classified nature. The Myers family murders had been sealed. Permanently.

This cloak of darkness had come as the result of an experimental drug born of Dante’s worst tale. HR-9 was developed by a team of U.S. Army doctors in the hopes that once the drug was perfected, it could be given to combatants. It would introduce a killing machine the likes of which the theater of war had never seen. Soldiers who were tireless, merciless and inhumanly strong.

Thomas Myers was a doctor in the program. His son, the last known casualty. The ten year old Myers had wandered down to his father’s basement office on Halloween night with his bag full of treats. When he found his father asleep on the sofa, he swapped a milky way bar for one of those pink discs on the desk. They looked like smarties, his favorite.

Hell was unleashed shortly thereafter when Michael bludgeoned his father, along with his mother Judith. After which he turned his attention to his teenage sister Audrey and his infant brother Jason. Michael was finally apprehended by police, running the streets in a blood crazed ruin.

Technology had gone wicked in its depth and reach since Michael had been shuttered away to a government facility in New Mexico for the rest of his natural born life. But Michael had kept up. He possessed thirty-seven years worth of unencumbered education on the world and now that he was free, he was prepared to show his full reach.

He would never own a permanent residence. His mind possessed volumes of information on cities and towns and hamlets- from San Diego, California to Estcourt Station, Maine. His whereabouts would prove as impossible to nail down as the wind. He would hide in the plain sight of cities that concerned themselves with low flying airliners and homemade bombs and striking Congressmen. He would go small town whenever those big brother subsidized empires started gaining on him.

Dr. Warren’s smart phone held names that mattered, Names that had once helped to make that horrible night in 1976 possible, and names that had helped to bury it.  Names that were going to pay dearly for such a thing, just like Dr. Warren, whose head was resting comfortably at the bottom of the aquarium in his living room. To those who had passed, Michael would take his rage out on their families. It wasn’t fair, but neither was losing your life to a pill that never should have existed.

Michael set the Audi into cruise as his body went lazy on the leather seat and his brain went blank, in preparation. All those years of wondering what he might do with a life on the other side had served to turn his patience heavy. Now, he was busy slimming the purpose of it all into shape.

His new life would start in the sleepy bedroom town of Long Point, Illinois- better known to fans of cinematic horror as Haddonfield, He would visit a retired sheriff by the name of Laurie Strode and he would lay his response to Thomas Wolfe on her corpse, and it would read simply.

You can go home again. 

©2013

Heroes Of The Week!

Dead Pool

This week’s episode is gonna be short and sweet, seeing as how I’ve been preoccupied with not paying any attention whatsoever to the news cycle. Blissful? Meet ignorance.

And now what I got of the news . . .

The Houston Astros were losers on and especially off the field this week in the aftermath of their now former assistant GM’s bully tactics towards some female reporters. After dispatching the Yankees in the ALCS, Brandon Taubman yelled “Thank God we got Osuna! I’m so fucking glad we got Osuna!”during the postgame celebration. Taubman’s reference was to Astros closer Roberto Osuna, whom the team acquired last season after he had been suspended for violating MLB’s domestic violence policy.

Kudos to Astros manager A.J. Hinch for being the voice of reason and class in the organization. While his organization originally refuted the female reporters’ story, Hinch knew better and said so.

And speaking of lone stars, Harrison Barnes of the Sacramento Kings showed his shine recently when he helped to cover some of the funeral expenses for Atatiana Jefferson. The twenty eight year old Dallas woman was shot and killed by Fort Worth police officer Aaron Dean while she was watching her young nephew. Barnes is tight with his North Texas people, having handed out dozens of Thanksgiving meals last year. He also sponsored a couple of basketball courts at the Mesquite Boys and Girls Club, where he has hosted youth basketball camps. The dude is a slam dunk of righteousness.

In yet another disturbing incident of fan entitlement last week in the Bronx, some Yankees fans went lower than an entrenched incumbent in an election year. First they hurled bottles and souvenir baseballs onto the field after a replay review didn’t go their way. But it didn’t stop there. Some fans decided to hurl insults at Astros starter Zack Greinke as he warmed up in the bullpen. They referenced his mother as well as his battles with social anxiety and depression. What a sad and disgusting spectacle.

Milwaukee police officer Kevin Zimmerman brings more than a badge and his service issued particulars to the job every day. He also happens to bring a heart and soul whose perspective gleans best case scenarios from trying situations. As he did during a traffic stop recently when he came through for a young mother and her three children. Zimmerman had pulled over Andrella Jackson for driving with an improper registration, after which he saw that her young children were not in car seats. Jackson explained that she’d just bought the car at auction, but could not afford car seats for the kids. Zimmerman decided not to issue her a citation . . and then he bought the kids some car seats. That’s called a good day’s work, and then some.

One minute Marlon Anderson was just doing his job as a security guard at Madison West High School in Wisconsin and the next, he was given a pink slip. The reason? Marlon Anderson uttered the N word at a student he was escorting off the school grounds. This unruly student had been calling Anderson every variation of the N word, as well as the slur itself. The security guard, who’s worked for the school for eleven years finally had the shit of this punk’s fit and told him to quit calling him that word. So the school board made sure to punish Anderson since they have a zero tolerance policy, which is just another way of saying they had their heads up their asses and were not bothering with context in the least.

And finally, U.S. astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir made history last Friday when they stepped foot outside the International Space Station, becoming the first women to go on a spacewalk together. 

The dynamic duo spent more than five hours in space; repairing a failed power controller and then working on some ‘get ahead tasks’ for the space station. There was no sign of Sandra Bullock or George Clooney, and there was no need to go looking for ’em. These superwomen achieved a literal top billing, giving wings to some little girl in her backyard with dreams of touching the stars one day.

So accomplished and yet so very humble, they made sure to give thanks to those who came before them.

” . . . we recognize that it is a historic achievement and we do of course want to give credit for all those who came before us,” Meir said. “There has been a long line of female scientists, explorers, engineers and astronauts and we have followed in their footsteps to get us where we are today.”

Now that is what I call girl power.

 

 

 

Heroes Of The Week!

Bat Peeps

These Heroes episodes never fail to prosper four corners worth of kickback on the daily, from bloggers, adult beverage pals and even the unlikeliest of readers. My life is an ensemble of interesting peeps delivering up interesting comments- be they a sugary yea, a disgruntled nay or a curious hey. And as I’ve said before, ‘y’all  make the Heroes posts worth it. Alls I do is serve ’em up, and I am plenty fine with that. Just as I am plenty fine with the decision not to mention Trump in my Friday round table anymore. Because it’s too easy, and I’m easy enough as it is.

And now, let’s get to some of the peeps with keeps . . .

All the Washington Nationals had to do was say goodbye to Bryce Harper in order to get to the World Series? It’s been eighty six years since a baseball team from Washington made it to the Fall Classic. The last time it happened, the Washington Senators lost to the New York Giants in five games. FDR was President, gas was eighteen cents a gallon and Nosferatu, I mean . .Wolf Blitzer had just celebrated his 100th birthday.

As for the team the Nationals will play next week? Welp, my Yankees might have fucked up their chance by not throwing down the dagger in Game 2 of the ALCS. Which allowed Carlos Correa to make my Heroes list two weeks running after delivering on a home run promise to 16 year old Jalen Garcia, who is battling osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer. I find the Astros to be highly fucking annoying, seeing as how they seem to have the Yankees number in October. But I simply cannot hold anything against Carlos, you understand.

As for as those fellas in the Association are concerned, I’m not feeling quite so buttercup about my privy. LeBron James became the first NBA player to speak about the Daryl Morey tweet heard ’round the world by saying the Houston Rockets GM was diving in the deep end on matters outside his pay grade. Which sounds disturbingly similar to what Laura Ingraham once said about LeBron in her infamous “shut up and dribble” rant. I wish LBJ would’ve just said something like Hey peeps, I ain’t down with losing the ten percent China is bounce passing our way. At least admit it’s about the money.

The Cherry Hill School District has its mind on the money and its money on their minds. Because they decided to punish kids with lunch debt by excluding them from certain after school activities and class trips. These kids also would face restrictions as to what they could order up at lunch time. And for the high school seniors, well . . don’t bother with your prom plans if your lunch debt has you $75 in the hole, because you might not be allowed to attend anyways. Go Team Spirit!

Big props to the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Department for coming to the rescue of a 3 year old mastiff named Floyd. The boy was out on a hike with his owner when he became fatigued and couldn’t walk any further. So a search and rescue team went and got him, scaling the two mile climb Floyd and his owner had made and bringing him down in a four hour rescue operation. Floyd is doing just fine now, and hopefully his owner is switching to Verizon. (Editor’s Note: Verizon ain’t my carrier).

College football is a religion in the South, but one Alabama student took his psalm reading a little too seriously last weekend. Connor Bruce Croll called in a threat to LSU’s Tiger Stadium during a game between the LSU Tigers and Florida Gators. We’re still not sure as to the specifics of the threat or Croll’s endgame, but it’s obvious he ain’t aware of the legal ramifications that arise when you don’t separate your church business and the state’s business. Which means he probably made his fraternity.

The kids in Wilmette, Illinois, appreciate Alec Childress.

Alec Childress is the great grandson of a slave. When he was fourteen years old, his father left their Mississippi cotton farm to look for work up North, leaving his son in charge. Later on, when his family joined his father, Alec had to go to work as a dishwasher in order to pay for his schooling.

Alec learned the value of hard work and a positive attitude from an early age; a mindset that served him well in his thirty six years of working construction. And just twenty eight days into his retirement, Alec decided he didn’t feel like sitting around at home so he took a job as a crossing guard in Wilmette, Illinois

For the last fourteen years, Childress has been dealing up stories and smiles to go along with his trademark “Peace, I gotcha!”. He has come to own the corner of 9th Street and Lake Avenue, turning an intersection into the heart and soul of a neighborhood.

And so for his eightieth birthday, the neighborhood said thank you by throwing him a surprise party. Yard signs greeted him with “Peace, we gotcha!” and students who had moved on to middle school and high school returned to take part in the festivities. One girl who was off to London for college made it a point to stop by to wish her favorite crossing guard a happy birthday as well. In all, more than a hundred people showed up with cookies and gifts, and plenty of hugs.

“For me to be able to experience that kind of love tells me we have more good in the world than the bad,” Childress said. “It reaffirms my knowledge and belief in people.”

Well, he started it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Matters Of Little Consequence

December 31, 2009: 

“So you’re really doing this . .” Jen said, shaking her head.

“Jen, what exactly do I have to lose in this transaction? She’s obviously in a professional relationship with her husband that has provided her with much swag but precious little sway. I’m a temporary excursion, her much deserved reward for sticking to the matrimonial script,”

“And when it doesn’t last?”

“What lasts, Jen? When we stop blinding ourselves to the realities, what lasts? Marriage behaves like a cranky Supreme Court verdict on love and romance, with plenty of loopholes in the decision . . ”

“Such as?”

“Such as ’till death do us part'”.

“How is that a loophole?”

“Because we predictably assume it to mean mortal death, without considering death on a more philosophical level. There’s the death of romance, of hope, of trust . . .”

“I never realized how intelligent your penis was!” Jen laughed as she sipped at her martini.

“Laugh all you want, but I cracked the code and I’m not looking back,”I said as we toasted to the differences of opinion that provided the solvency to our friendship.

“You go Indiana Jones,” She winked as Red approached.

“What are you two conspiring on?” Red asked as she gestured for me to hand over my martini glass for a sip.

“You are creepy, reading minds like that . .”I said as I watched her lips settle into negotiations with my adult swim.

“Excuse me while I double down,” Jen said, removing herself from the confab.

“I’m a witch. Didn’t you know?” Red winked as she handed me back my martini.

“That explains the artwork,” I laughed.

“Come here, I wanna show you something,”

She led me to a hallway replete with photographs and artwork and pointed to a signed copy of David Bowie’s Young Americans album and then proceeded to tell me how it was gifted to her by a biker she dated when she was going to school in Philadelphia. I was so transfixed by her story that I forgot why I’d come to the party in the first place, and then she reminded me by leaning in for a kiss.

“Ah . . holy shit?” I said when we came up for air.

“Don’t you dare tell me you’re surprised,” She said.

“No, I just thought I’d ask you out for that drink . . after which we’d get to this,”

She leaned in for another kiss before taking another sip of my martini and then returning to the party.

“Call me,”

That call turned into drinks and those drinks turned into a five year affair that navigated some stormy times in the early going. But we figured out the math and became the kind of bad romance that didn’t ask questions. And it worked until it didn’t, and that became that.

For years, I tried pushing the Dame out of my thoughts for fear I might come to the conclusion that we had vandalized some kind of epic forever after love story. But there really was no alternate ending to our story. We were trespassers, true believers of a mighty thing whose promises were cosmically challenged from our first hello; like a tarnished pair of tapers whose wick spoke wonderfully foreign languages to our tortured souls inside the all too brief embrace of forever.

The combustible effort to the final chapter of a love story we penned in short used to defeat me. It used to make me think I was an utter failure at unlocking the secrets to the heart. But time shows you differently when your shoes are earnest and your steps abide, and so I look back from here and consider myself the better for the women I’ve loved. Well, excepting for a short lived re-union with Maria and a bizarre tryst with a girl named Rachel that led to a Cuban Missile Crisis standoff where she actually held my Drinks Well With Others blog hostage for a short time.

The truth of the matter is that the women of my life have always been the greatest part of me. They were always the better half of a clueless romeo who never had a rap, and whose only real plan of action when it came to curls and curves was to provoke a laughter that might settle my wayward soul for a spell.

Those days of satire and gin martinis with the Dame feel as if they happened inside another lifetime, as if it was all a fever dream.

In the dream we’re having dinner in the Italian restaurant we found very much by accident. It’s where we had our very best date ever, which ended with the owner of the place gifting us a wine jug the Dame had been fawning over. And it’s also where we had our very worst date ever; the one that let me know it was all coming to an end.

This is our tie breaking feast and we’re having a time of it, with big fat glasses of red wine and Sinatra tap dancing along the walls and a summer breeze that is tickling our deepest wishes into a sublime flavor. And the dying sun is clashing with an opinionated moon and they’re birthing the most wonderfully handsome children. The dusk feels as if is breathing eyelashes onto a cantilever and the words we share feel as if they’ve never been uttered by another living soul. There is no beginning and there is no end to this magical place, but only the here and now. 

“I love you,” She says sweetly between sips of her wine.  

And then she lifts herself up from the table and retrieves a snub nosed Ruger from her purse and gives me the Solozzo special with two shots to the head before collecting her glass of wine and lighting up a smoke on her way out the door.

All things considered, the dream could’ve been worse.