Friday, September 30, 2011

W.O.W. Day 5

7:45 a.m.- Muffled Hispanic voice: "Housekeeping?"
Confused/perplexed/WTF look across my face as I sit up in the grimy hotel bed.
Muffled Hispanic voice: "Housekeeping? Sir? I need to change linens?"
Stumbling over to the door I ask for ten more minutes to get ready. I had no idea that my morning wake-up would be a petite woman asking me to change the sheets this early. I think I would have preferred the earwig instead.

8:02 a.m.- I think I feel less clean after taking a quick shower here. For some reason there was sort of a film that came out of the shower head along with what they think is water. I fumbled with my shampoo/conditioner that came in an imitated ketchup packet until I threw in the towel, literally. The second I get home I am going to take a long shower with actual soap. Not a meager splashing with condiments that I've been doing all week here.

8:31 a.m.- Walking into Big Piney High School I am greeted by their 8-foot tall mascot. See above picture. I don't even think I need to say any more about this.

8:54 a.m.- An anonymous Wyoming recruiter comes over to make conversation while we wait for the students.

Wyoming Jane Doe: "So where'dya stay last night?"
Swamp Thing: "Oh just up the road in Marbleton."
Wyoming Jane Doe: "Really, we all stayed in Jackson. You should've stayed there. We all went to the bar last night and had a real good time!"
The dark circles under her eyelids and bloodshot retinas make me wonder why this trip is making attempts at me becoming an alcoholic.

10:01 a.m.- A young student wearing bleached Levis, a "Wyoming Rules" t-shirt and a bruised green cowboy hat approaches my table.

Cowboy student: "Whoa, what the heck is that?" he says pointing at my display.
Swamp Thing: "Oh, that's an iPad."
Cowboy student: "An iPad? Like, can you watch movies on it and stuff? What does it do?"
Sighing, I give the cowboy a pat on the shoulder and ask about his academic interests.
Swamp Thing: "So do you know what you want to go into?"
Cowboy student: "Yeah, Florida!"
Only a few more hours...

11:17 a.m- Just passed South Park, Wyoming. Somewhere, Kyle and Stan are plotting another great 22-minute episode.

11:58 a.m.- I stop by the Wendy's in Jackson Hole. This has to be the most advanced town that I've been to on this entire trip. The most modern at least. I glance up in the mirror and notice that I haven't shaved the entire week. A decent beard has started to develop adorning my face. Grizzly Adams had a beard. Grizzly Adams did have a beard. (LTT)

12:09 p.m.- I pull into the parking lot of Jackson Hole High School and notice a smorgasbord of trucks all around me. Suddenly, my Nissan Rogue feels a bit intimidated. I then realize how many trucks I have seen while on this trip. I think if you don't have a Ford F-150 up here then there is no way you could survive from October to June.

2:06 p.m.- The fair is done, I am getting the heck outta here.

Anonymous Wyoming recruiter: "Hey Dixie, what are your plans? You wanna come with us? We're goin' to the bar again tonight!"
Turning my back on them, I ignore the last futile attempt at my ingestation of alcohol.

3:45 p.m.- I pass back through Star Valley on the way home. Hesitantly, I keep my eyes open for the four-pointed furball who was two yards away from becoming a hood ornament for me on Monday. And they say Utah drivers are bad. I pass by the Lazy B Motel. I bid farewell to the place that had an insect as my continental breakfast, and the golden retriever who was posing as the manager.

4:38 p.m.- Cross over from the Wyoming border into Utah. It's almost as if a breath of fresh air has suddenly taken over. I feel more clean, more rinsed off, would you say? Despite the fact that I've been playing connect the dots with all of the splattered bugs on my windshield, I can sense a glimmer of hope that I am almost home.

6:09 p.m.- I pull into the driveway and take a long, deep breath. That was one heck of a trip. Between earwigs and alcohol and dressed up cowboys, I will say that was one of the more draining points of my life. The fact that I have been in the seated position for 916 miles over five days says something. It's a good thing that "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" as an audiobook was my consistent companion throughout all of this. I am now back to my satellite "home". A place where actual wi-fi connections exist. Where credit cards are put to good use. Where random drunks don't yell out phrases about bobcats in suitcases. Yes, that is my life. Now if you'll excuse me good reader, I have one long shower to take.

Location: Big Piney, Jackson, WY, Home

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, September 29, 2011

W.O.W. Day 4

7:30 a.m.- Got up a bit earlier than expected. Didn’t have an earwig to greet me. Things are only going up from here on out.

8:12 a.m.-I liked Penny’s Diner so much I decided to head on over and grab a quick Denver Omelet. John Travolta didn’t greet me like she did last night, but I was still taken care of. Behind me sat two construction workers who were grabbing some coffee and a doughnut meanwhile the F-bomb littered their vocabulary. Across the way was an elderly couple who were turning down their hearing aids because of the foul language. I thought the old geezer was going to bust out his cane on these two curse word dummies. We exchanged glances and I gave him a smile, calmed the old sucker down.

9:17 a.m.- Began setting up for Green River High School when one of the Wyoming recruiters from an anonymous institution began to chat with me about the trip.

Wyoming John Doe Recruiter: “So where’dya stay last night?”
Swamp Thing: “I was over at the Oaktree Inn. I kinda liked it.”
Wyoming John Doe Recruiter: “Oaktree huh?” He chuckles. “You know what that place is known fer don’t ya?”
Swamp Thing: Confused/perplexed/WTF look across my face. “Uh…no?”
Wyoming John Doe Recruiter: “That used to be the place where prostitutes got the hook up.”
I instantly pause setting up my table and give him a blank stare.
Wyoming John Doe Recruiter: “Yeah, I remember one night I was sitting there in bed, and all of a sudden I hear this…”
Swamp Thing: “Alright! That’s it! I’m done!” I throw my hands up in the air and walk to the nearest bathroom in hopes that there’s a can of bleach I can sterilize myself with.

11:01 a.m.-I finish setting up for the Rock Springs fair when a counselor drops by my table and hands me a Quizno’s sandwich. They have a Quizno’s here in Wyoming? On the wrapper it says the word “Sammy”. Curse you B.E.P. Longhorn, you and your southern slang.

12:38 p.m.- I run over to the local Chevron to fill up my tank when I see a giant statue smiling at me from across the street. (Hence the picture). The bald Buddah is standing outside a local convenience store with the words liquor being advertised to Rock Springs patrons. Across the street is a large adult movie store with the letters XXX littered all over the sides. Ironic that the plaster pervert is staring at the dirty building. Either that’s sheer coincidence or some clever marketing. I’ll put my money on the first. They’re not smart enough to do something like that.

1:41 p.m.- Halfway through my drive up to Big Piney I notice something about this state. Wyoming is a dirty, dirty, place to live. I am speaking both figuratively and literally. Literally because there is nothing but dirt, everywhere. Brown and grey are the state colors. People don’t seem to shower on a bi-weekly basis, and the whole place just seems encrusted with filth. Figuratively because I have never seen this many adult stores and liquor cabinets in my entire life. Any direction I look I see the word liquor. Heck, it’s probably even scribbled into the rocks as a state monument for all I know. This place puts Ogden, and Richmond, Virginia to shame as one of the foulest, most dirty places I have ever been.

3:03 p.m.-I arrive at the only hotel in town. A tiny mouse hole in a town whose population is smaller than my graduating high school class. No exaggeration there. I make chit-chat with the hotel cashier about possible recreational activities.

Swamp Thing: “So what’s there to do for fun in this town?”
Cashier: “Well, let’s see, we ain’t got no movie theater. I think there’s a bowlin’ alley somewhere around here.”
Swamp Thing: “Ya’ll got any golf courses?” I’m starting to talk like them.
Cashier: “Yeah, about 40 miles south.”
Swamp Thing: “Hmm…I don’t know if it’s worth the drive for that then.”
Cashier: “Well, we gotta bar. You drink?”
Shaking my head, I contemplate the pro’s and con’s of throwing my morals down the drain and becoming an alcoholic.

7:18 p.m.- After three hours of homework I call up B.E.P. Longhorn just to have some connection with civilization.

B.E.P. Longhorn: “Yeah, I’m just sitting here at Pasta Factory about to eat. What’ve you been doin’ all day?”
Swamp Thing: “Nothing. This place is empty. Not even a cowboy like you would enjoy it up here.”
Secretly he smiles as his Chicken Alfredo is served to him. Meanwhile, I debate about going gopher hunting for dinner.

7:41 p.m.- I take a quick drive to scout out my surroundings, when I approach the following sign.

I think they should rename this Little Piney. No, better yet, how about Miniscule Piney. This place is so small, I don’t even think that Horton the Elephant would have heard it. Despite it’s lack of size, I have now passed five bars. Yes, five. There are more places to get drunk here than there is in all of Utah County. And that’s saying something.

7:59 p.m.- I walk into the only food joint that I can find, and am greeted with icy glares from every obese pair of eyes that are holding a Bud Light. I’m getting this icy treatment for one of three reasons. A. I’m not wearing a cowboy hat, B. I’m wearing clothes that do not have a stain on them, or C. I’m sober. Whatever the case is, I’m the sore thumb that’s sticking out.

8:30 p.m.- While I’m waiting for my chicken fried chicken I hear a pair of conversations to my left and right that would have been too risqué for my high school football locker room. Heck, Daniel Tosh would have said these dialogues were a little too crude. The six guys surrounding me have dropped more F-bombs and sexually provocative slangs than Dave Chappelle and Dane Cook combined. And out of nowhere one of the town drunks yells out the phrase “I then, I saw Everrett holding a bobcat in a suitcase!” No exaggeration there kids, that drunk schmuck tossed that line out there verbatim.

8:48 p.m.-By the time she brings out my chicken fried chicken, I could have hunted down a chicken, cut its head off, taken it down to Penny’s Diner myself and had a piece of pie and ice cream.

Waitress: “Sorry hun, we just had a big order uh chicken fried chicken. Like 50 of em. Sorry for the wait.”
Lady, there aren’t 50 chickens in this entire town to begin with, just be honest and admit that you took forever on my order because I’m the only person in this joint that’s not boozed up.

9:10 p.m.- And now here I sit on a grimy bed with nothing but a laptop and a blogpost to keep me occupied. I know I sound really negative about this town, but in all reality, this place is just full of gross, dirty people. People who think that alcohol is more important than water. People who think the F-bomb is appropriate in front of 3-year olds. People who yell out random thoughts about bobcats in suitcases! I gotta get outta here. Turning the lights off, I rotate to the fetal position on the bed and think happy thoughts. One more day. One more day…

Location: Green River, Rock Springs, Big Piney, WY

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

W.O.W. Day 3

8:57 a.m.- Rolled out of bed this morning, sadly I wasn't greeted by an insect. They must have better room service here. The shower however was a little disappointing as the water pressure seemed like the nozzle was just drooling on me. I was a split-second away from grabbing the telephone by the toilet and asking for better room service.

10:10 a.m.- Senior day starts for the kids here at Evanston High School. For some reason they're all dressed up like cowboys here too. What's the deal with this theme? I grab the first John Wayne and ask him what it's all about.

John Wayne: "See, it's Homecoming Week and we're all sposta dress like 'em. (And yes, sposta is a word in Wyoming)
John Wayne's buddy: "Yeah, we play Mt. View on Friday, and we're gunna butcher them Bison." I think that Sarah McLaughlin would have a panic attack if she was up here.
Swamp Thing: "Well that's cool that you're showing some school spirit being the Cowboys and all."
John Wayne: "Oh, we ain't the Cowboys, we're the Red Devils!"
Swamp Thing: Confused/perplexed/WTF look across my face "Wait, so shouldn't you be dressed up as Red Devils then?
John Wayne: Confused/perplexed/WTF look across his face when he realizes the conundrum. "Wait a minute...then, we're not...Oh my gosh!" He walks away from my table in disarray. I think I might have just burst his bubble.

12:15 p.m.- In between sessions, I stop at a Subway in Lyman. Wait, what? They have Subway's here? I will admit it has been amusing to just take a look at the people around me in Wyoming. Take for instance two out of the three stooges that are standing in front of me wearing half-camouflage, half-Keystone light t-shirts as their wardrobe. Then there is the Dad mid-50's, who just love tapped his mid-70 year old mother across her bosoms. Meanwhile the three-toothed server with a drunk tattoo across her forearm asks me for the third time to remind her what bread I will be having. Wait, is that Amy Grant music playing in the background? This place makes no sense! I'm in somewhat of a Hitchcock film here!

12:49 p.m.- Just passed the "Jim Bridger Club of Wyoming" A place thats advertising for 'liquor', 'dancing', and 'kareokay'. I might stop by later tonight if I'm bored.

1:51 p.m.- It's a lot of hustle and bustle as I'm trying to explain to students the benefits of going to college. A young man with a lasso attached to his belt, (I kid you not) comes to my table.

Gene Autry: "If I come to Dixie, do ya'll gotta place that I can put my horse?"
Swamp Thing: "Uh...uh...I think so. It depends on where you live I guess. But you probably won't need your horse on a daily basis at college, I mean, you don't ride him to school everyday up here do you?"
Gene Autry: "YessirIdo" (All one word) "And the principal's gotta corral in the back where he keeps 'em all day. You gotta corral at Dixie for me?"
Swamp Thing: "Umm...I'll get back to you on that one."

3:28 p.m.- On my way out to Green River. The only things that I've seen on this highway are closed down gas stations with overgrown weeds everywhere, and billboards advertising some mini-oasis hotel called Little America. It seems like every quarter mile I see another billboard marketing the 50-cent ice cream cones, and the marble showers for semi's. This place has got to be a truckers haven.

5:01 p.m.- I check into my lodging, the Oak Tree Inn. Not bad for B.F.E., Wyoming. What should I do till dinner? There's a golf course just up the street, maybe I'll go hit a few balls. I should call ahead to see if they're busy at all. HA! What am I thinking? This is Wyoming.

Golf Course Attendant: "Rolling Green Country Club, how can I help you."
Swamp Thing: "Yeah, I'd like to get a tee time over there for this afternoon, how busy are ya'll?"
Golf Course Attendant: "We're wide open. Are you a member of our country club sir?"
Swamp Thing: " Is this a private course?
Golf Course Attendant: "Yes sir, and we only allow members to golf."
Swamp Thing: "How in the heck can this be a private course? It's the only golf course for 30 miles, and the population of this town is less than the amount of students that go to Dixie State College.
Golf Course Attendant: "I'm sorry sir, if you're not a member, then you'll have to find some other accommodations."
For some reason I think this attendant and the theater manager from last night are in cahoots.

6:30 p.m.-Well, since those plans got shot down, I guess I'll repeat the classic dinner and a movie routine as I did yesterday. This single dating life is starting to get kinda boring. The only movie theater in town is playing "Crazy, Stupid, Love". The cashier gave me an odd look as I paid for my ticket, maybe because I'm a single guy going to see a romantic comedy. I need a life...

9:01 p.m.- Watching a movie like that is like kicking me in the nuts and then patting me on the back as the credits roll. I pull into Penny's Diner, yet another hometown buffet. My server looks somewhat like she's following the fashion trends of John Travolta from the movie "Hairspray". I ask a fellow yokel what there is to do in this town tonight.

Fellow Yokel: "You gotta gun?"

Swamp Thing: "Nope."

Fellow Yokel: "Eh, you sissy." He turns back to his coffee. Well, I guess I'll hit the sack early yet again. I'll put money on the fact that it will be "Cowboy Day" at Green River High School tomorrow. Somewhere, Jim Bridger's Club of Wyoming is having a heyday with kareokay.

Location: Evanston, Mt. View, Green River, WY

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

W.O.W. Day 2

8:45 a.m.- As my alarm goes off I notice a 2-inch earwig just chilling on the pillow next to me. I'm not sure if this is their version of a continental breakfast. I then proceed to be hosed off by the nozzle mistakingly confused as a shower head. The water is scorching out so fast it could remove the paint from my car. I think the red scars on my chest will be a constant reminder about the Lazy B Inn. You could give me the nickname of "The Boy With The Showered Tattoo." That might be a best-seller. We'll see.

9:27 a.m.- I'm greeted by a Student Body Officer at Star Valley High School who's wearing a giant 10-gallon hat and a plaid neckerchief. At first I think it's the hippest way to dress in these parts. But then I am told that it's Cowboys vs. Indians day at their high school for the week of Homecoming. Oh boy...

12:58 p.m.- I pull into Kemmerer. And I thought my bathroom was small. Wait, what? There's a high school here? What was that? The ceiling in the gym is lined with asbestos? Did you just say half of the school is torn down? Alright. I'll do my best to try and talk these kids into coming where there aren't 7-foot snowdrifts in July.

3:01 p.m.- Two exits away from Evanston, I see a giant billboard on the side of the road advertising for Chick-Fil-A. At the bottom of the billboard, I see two live cows grazing in the field surrounding it. Either thats some incredible advertising, or there's some cows out here that could outthink the slow sheep from yesterday.

4:18 p.m.- I walk into the lieu of my hotel room to take a "void" (if confused, find a nurse and she'll explain that to you) when I am greeted by a telephone planted right next to the John. See picture. Wait, so they are expecting me to be mid-bowel movement and pick up the phone to check in with The Swede? Alright, but only because you put it there for me.

5:41 p.m.- Stop by Wally's which is the local hip food joint in town. I'm trying to get as much of the "home-cooked" meals as I can. Meanwhile my arteries are getting a little bit pissed off. Behind me there's a retro mid-90's arcade version of the game "Action Sports Hunters." If I had a nickel for every time I saw one of those. Well...I guess I'd be flat broke then.

6:12 p.m.- I overhear the following line from the kitchen, and this is verbatim:
"I told the kid if he didn't shave then everyone would know that he's a pedophile."
I put down my pastrami sandwich.

6:21 p.m.- I take a little drive around Evanston to understand the culture here. I think that English majors would have a heart attack at all of the grammatical errors that show up in the advertising. "Fre Snikers" and "Dubble Fresh Beeff" just to name a few.

6:47 p.m.-I walk up to the local movie theater to see the movie Drive, when the cashier shakes her head.

Cashier: "Sir, we don't accept debit or credit cards here. Only cash or check."

Swamp Thing: "Check? What's a check?"

Cashier: "It's a form of paper that you can...". I tune her out. They must not take witty sarcasm here either.

6:58 p.m.- I'm seated in the theater after finding the only ATM in 50 miles. While I pull out my phone to finish up this post, the theater manager walks down the aisle to address me.

Manager: "Sir, can you please put your phone away, we do not allow distractions such as this."

Swamp Thing: "Huh? Is this your form of witty sarcasm? A: the movie doesn't start for another twenty minutes, and B: I'm the only one in this entire theater. Who am I distracting? The 109 other empty chairs, or the curtains that haven't been washed since the depression?"

Manager: "Sir please, or I will escort you out."

For the sake of a potentially award-winning film, I stuff my smart phone away.

9:35 p.m.- Good movies like this make up for eh, decent towns where I'm trapped in. Rather than go drive the boulevard or go bunny bashing, I'll turn in early to get a fresh start tomorrow. Hopefully, the Best Western here has a better breakfast than the one I dined on this morning.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location: Afton, Kemmerer, Evanston, WY

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Week of Wyoming!

You know, I have gotten really into this "Week of _________" theme lately. I've got topics left and right to choose from, but I think that it has been pretty entertaining to jot down my thoughts from different angles on a whole slew of subjects. I know I just finished up the monthly topic for September, but I thought for the reader's preference that I would give you a condensed version of where my life is headed, at least for the next 108 hours.

This week's topic shall be the 44th great state of the union, and where I shall be spending my day job until late Friday afternoon. Yes that's right kids, I'm talking about the least populated state in the entire North American continent. This is a state who's state colors are brown and grey. The place that shall be known as Wy-OOOOOOOOOOOO-ming. (Say the letter O with the accent of a coyote).

For full effect throughout this entire W.O.W., download "Song of Wyoming" by John Denver from iTunes and play at maximum volume up until Friday evening. I think his last name should be changed to Cheyenne just for the sake of the song, but that's neither here nor there. This cliffnotes week shall be more of an hourly journal of some of the thing that I run into while I'm out here. Hopefully it will keep you entertained.

2:32 p.m.- Got my car packed, the gas filled up, grabbed my cowboy boots, HA! What am I thinking, I'm no Cowboy. Estimated time of arrival will be just under four hours. It's a good thing I'm doing this by Nissan Rogue, and not by horse like I should do to get the full experience. But I'll say this again, I'm no cowboy.

3:59 p.m.- I think this is the right direction. I've actually never been down this road before. For some reason, Captain Picard's voice is ringing in the my head saying the phrase "To boldly go where no one has ever gone before" Yes, I am a trekkie.

4:17 p.m.- So there have been 11 straight signs to my left that say "Slow Sheep Ahead" Now, I'm not going to gramatically correct a farmer's warning, but is he talking about that I need to slow down my car because of the sheep, or that there might be a really stupid sheep on the side of the road? Maybe it's a combination of both.

5:27 p.m.- Just passed through Smoot, population 100. They're pretty proud to advertise that. I think that there's a paved road somewhere around here...

6:31 p.m.- Welcome to Afton, WY in Star Valley. Home of the gold-medal winning Rulon Gardner. There's a billboard and a restaurant named after him here. A gent in a giant green tractor is in the passing lane next to me. I'm staying at the Lazy B Inn tonight. Nice name eh? There's a dog sitting on my front porch. I can't tell if he's the hotel manager or the town mayor. We'll see how this goes.


7:54 p.m.-After a few minutes of catching my breath from the near-death experience, I pull into "The Hayloft" or, Afton's most happening food joint. I'm greeted by a 14-year old wearing plaid pajama bottoms and dirty slippers who tells me to sit wherever I want. As I walk to a single booth in the back, I am given dirty scowls by the local farmers and their wives. I think it's the fact that they can see a cellular telephone in my hands. I'm such a new-age hippie to them.

8:19 p.m.- Alright, that steak made up for all of the negative feelings that mechanical John Deere's and actual John Deere's have thrown in my face so far in my stay. Home town cookin' goes a long way.

8:32 p.m.-Back to the Motel. I asked the adolescent server what is there for me to do in this town and she just started laughing with the reply of "Nothing." The fact that I have a six-inch television screen that's offering a total of three channels, I think I'm going to hit the sack early. We'll see what tomorrow has in store.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

True L-word

I think that this post pretty much sums up the entire W.O.D. in a nutshell.

For a comedic effect, download "What is Love" by Haddaway from iTunes and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post. Or if you're looking for something a little bit more sentimental and romantic, why not try "Somewhere Out There" by Our Lady Peace. That tune can help erase images of Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan bobbing their heads in sync at the Roxbury.

I think that the topic for today's post is the pinnacle of the subject of dating. The thing that we're all searching for on a continued, frustrating process. The thing that even myself as I write this post about it, have a difficult time believing if it actually exists. I am talking about the four-letter verb that's not a curse word. Well, maybe sometimes it even is. I'm talking about the L-word also known as Love.

Cue lispy voiceover by the priest in The Princess Bride.

The Impressive Clergyman: "And wuv, twu wuv, will fowow you foweva..."

The L-word, the big scha-bang. That little dangly thing that you're supposed to drop when you think that you're going to spend the rest of your life with another person. Cut to the scene from The Sandlot.

Michael "Squints" Palledorous: "Forever. For-Ev-Er. For-Ev-Er!"

So I've heard that this is kind of a big deal. This L-word supposedly makes a major difference as to how couples treat each other, how they spend their lives together, heck, it's the Ron Burgundy of interpersonal relationships. In the 26 years that I have spent on this earth, I have never told a girl that I L-word her. Not once. I've come close, but then again, no cigar. And believe me, I want to know what it's like. I've asked almost everyone that I know what the L-word is, and responses make no sense. I remember a conversation that I had with VRM Mt. Pleasant Baker one afternoon while we labored on the streets of Virginia Beach.

Swamp Thing: "So dude, what is L-word?"

VRM Mt. Pleasant Baker: "L-word is... It's when... you have a feeling in your chest that's like fluttery rainbows and like your spirits are getting lifted up."

Swamp Thing: "Honestly, that is one of the dumbest things that I have ever heard in my entire life, but ok...?"

VRM Mt. Pleasant Baker: "No, no, no, scratch that. L-word is like when you want to be with someone all the time. Like you always want them around you. Like, when they leave, you miss them, and when they show up, you get so excited!"

Swamp Thing: "Well, I guess I could say I've had those feelings for a good Porterhouse steak, but I wouldn't say that I've been in L-word with a dinner from Outback."

We then proceeded to discuss the in's and out's of the L-word for the next 3 1/2 hours. He told me stories, and gave me analogies and tried to explain the concept of what L-word was, but every time he thought he had given me a good description of it, I still shook my head in disbelief about what this mysterious word was. After 210 consecutive minutes of bafflement and perplexity he threw in the towel.

VRM Mt. Pleasant Baker: "See the thing is, you just gotta experience it yourself and then you'll know."

It's been over six years since we had that talk, and I still haven't figured out what he was trying to explain to me. I've tried, I really have tried to figure this conundrum out. For a few moments I thought I felt it, but then again it wasn't the actual thing. And so here it is at the end of my second W.O.D. and I'm staring out the window at the Wasatch Front wondering where my life is headed, right back at square one trying to understand what this exciting, heart-stopping feeling is like.

As the night goes on, I see my Grandma walk into the hospital room and stand next to my ailing Grandpa lying in his bed. A place that he's been for the last three weeks since doctors decided to go in and give him a quintuple bypass. She walks up to his bed and softly embraces his hand. A hand thats rigged with I.V.'s and heart monitors. His eyes open up just a sliver and he looks up at his high school sweetheart. A girl he's been with for 53 years plus. A girl who he let wear his letterman jacket. A girl who he went to war for, and traveled the world with. She leans down and presses her lips against his forehead squeezing his hand just enough to let him know that she will be here for him through thick and thin, and boy have the two of them been through it all.

It's just me in the room quietly looking over at the two of them as they share a tender moment with each other. And then it hits me like a roundhouse kick to the emotions.

This is it. This is true L-word.

Location: McKay-Dee Hospital

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Relationship Status

I have talked a lot this week about what defines a relationship. The true factors that make up a bond between two people. In the past two W.O.D.'s that I have done, I have talked about first date personas, games that are played, being a gentleman, and the in's and out's of kissing. But...I will say that the sole factor that truly defines what a relationship is the digital crutch that we are all leaning upon; Facebook.

Yes that's right kids, the variable that most sincerely constructs a dating escapade is just a few clicks of a mouse away, the infamous relationship status update.

For full effect, download "Cult Status" by A.F.I. from iTunes and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post.

A few months ago I went into depths about how Facebook is ruining us as a culture. It has weakened us, destroyed our interpersonal communication skills, and has become the tool for which close to 15% of Mother Earth's population uses to destroy their own personality with. On Tuesday I comically wrote about the "DTR" or the "determine the relationship" talk that periodically happens between two people. With Facebook, that pathetic discussion can be avoided by one swift adjustment to your own profile. A relationship status on Facebook has become the new "DTR"

Jane Doe: "So...what are we?"

Swamp Thing: "What are...we?"

Jane Doe: "What is...this?" Cue awkward hand movements back and forth at chest level.

Swamp Thing: "This is...uh...?"

Jane Doe: "Well, what I'm trying to say is...can I change my relationship status to 'in a relationship' or should I just leave it as 'single'? You tell me."

Cue awkward silence as I brace myself for the next step in a serious commitment with Jane Doe.

I tried to explain this concept to my Grandma this evening, and she had an entirely different perspective on "relationship status."

Grandma: "See back in my day, we didn't have things like Facebook to tell people who we were dating. If a girl was dating someone, she would usually wear his class ring on a necklace, or she would have on his letterman jacket. And if she was about to get engaged, she would tote his fraternity pin. We used to say that she was pinned."

Swamp Thing: "You would call it 'getting pinned'?"

Grandma: "Yes. See the process was you would date, you would go steady, you would get pinned, then you would be engaged. None of those kinds of formal romantics exist anymore."

Nope, they sure don't. Not at all. Dating, going steady, and getting pinned has now been replaced with Facebook updates, wall posts, and relationship status changes. Heck, you really know when two peas are in a pod when they combine their Facebook profiles to become one person. You know what I'm talking about, when your friends Alex Golding and McCall Stevenson have changed to who they shall now be called, AlexMcCallStevensonGolding. All one word.

Yes, the acts of the gentlemanly dating romances are just farts in the wind in our day and age. We now live through our Facebook profiles. No longer will we need courtship, or proper dating, or even letterman jackets for crying out loud! Those are all far behind us. Now we live through social media. And the way that you tell if someone is off-limits is by what their profile says, not by the pin that they are wearing.

Location: McKay-Dee Hospital

Friday, September 23, 2011

I Don't Like Big Buts

From the title and the iconic image that I used for this post, you already know what song to download from iTunes and play a maximum volume throughout the duration of your reading. If you haven't figured it out yet, just type in Sir Mix-A-Lot into the search bar, and YouTube his disgusting one-hit wonder.

In other news, I will give a short shout out to any of my fellow Royals out there that are reading this post. I spent this morning recruiting at our Alma Mater, and I will say that I did get a bit sentimental feeling right at home with everyone donning black and gold. Good times I must say, good times.

But, back to the buts. And if you're an English major correcting my grammar, don't be alarmed just yet. The "but" that I'll be writing about today has only one T, not two. Which in turn leads me to pose the rhetorical question to you readers, how many of you clicked on this post thinking that I would be writing about something dirty? Sorry to crash your hopes and dreams, but that's just not me. Anymore.

So, Big Buts. I use this term as the theme for today's post, I think mainly because the word "but" is the most common term to describe the skeletons in all of our closets. And you have to admit, everyone has a skeleton or two dangling from coat hangers in their own personal/subconscious closets. However, rather than call them skeletons, our culture has learned to rename them by using the infamous term "but".

Hear me out on this.

Think about the last time that an awkward family member wanted to set you up on a blind date with someone that they knew. They would ramble on for a good solid 45 minutes about all of their accomplishments and achievements, but then once you started to lose focus for a moment or two, they would then throw the "but" in there when you're not looking. Seeing if they can slide a fast one by you. Model John V does it to me all the time when I'm headed up north.

Model John V: "Oh Brockie, I've got the best girl that I want to set you up with. She's smart, and pretty, and funny, and has a degree in business, and she's been to the moon and back, and she once saved an entire village in Uganda from burning down, and she can hold her breath under water for 11 minutes, and she can literally stop time when she wants to. Just like that, stop time. She is that incredible. I think you two would really hit it off."

Swamp Thing: "That's great, she sounds wonderful. But...?"

Model John V: "But, she used to be in a bloodthirsty gang and was once shot in the femur by someone who she had a 'hit' on, and that's why she walks with a limp, and because of that, she is now in the witness protection program, but that's all behind her. You two would be great."

Swamp Thing: "Check Please?"

There are buts everywhere. All over the place. And the older that I've gotten in this great state of dating escapades, the wilder and more outrageous the buts have gotten as well. And you hear them left and right, once the initial praising has calmed down, the but comes in to be the factor as to why they are still single. And believe me, I've just about heard them all.

Jane Doe: "...but, she's a bi-polar schizophrenic who has a fear of the color orange."

M. Brave Aurelius: "...but, she is 47 and lives with 13 cats."

VRM Mt. Pleasant Baker: "...but, she has a seven-eyed twin growing out of her back."

Fishmitts: "...but, she did serve a mission."

Alright, I'm playing on that last one, there's nothing wrong with a girl serving a full-time mission, but for other people, that seems to raise up a red flag on a potential relationship. These buts are everywhere. And I have found that the older I have gotten, the bigger the but has grown. I'm scared to think about what kind of buts I'm going to run into if I'm still in the single pool in ten years.

Random Stranger: "...but, she used to be a zebra. Aside from that, she's got a lot going for her. You two would be wonderful!"

I guess when it comes down to it, everyone has buts. No matter what size they may be, (giggity) we all have some type of but that makes us unique, that personalizes our own authentic character. And maybe true L-word means that you're able to look past those buts and care about the person in spite of the fact that they still sleep with their Care Bear doll and haven't shaved their legs or mustache since 8th grade.

What's my but you may ask? Hmm...that's a good question. I guess that we are all our own harshest critics, but if I were to be describing what my own but is, I guess I would just say that I'm missing a part of my brain and have eleven sisters? Yeah, that may be a tough but to swallow. Hopefully someone can handle a but like that. If not, then maybe I will take out that zebra girl. I just might have a chance with her.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location: McKay-Dee Hospital

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Who Has The Power?

I might as well get used to this location.

With my eyelids drooping and yet another day stumbling along, I thought I would delve into yet another component of dating and relationships, this of course being the highly touted W.O.D. part deux. Thank you Charlie Sheen. Oh by the way his angels are making their second-tier debut tonight on television. Join the classy yet casual shindig at my apartment if you'd like to. I wont be there, but Chief Kent is a mighty fine host.

Back to live action.

For full effect, download "Spirit of the Wild" by Ted Nugent from iTunes, and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post.

In my life I have come across laws and rules that I know to be more true than the fact that women L-word chocolate. The first rule of Brocktrine was something that I blogged about a few weeks earlier, and this is that we always want what we can't have. The second rule of Brocktrine, something that has driven all of us mad when it comes to any type of dating scheme is this; whoever has the least amount of interest in a relationship has the most control in that relationship.

Chew on that for a bit while Nugent drones away in the background.

Think about it from your own personal perspective. Take your last intimate relationship with someone and use it as the example for this. Whenever two people meet and make some type of connection, one becomes the giver and one becomes the receiver. One of them is the hunter and the other the hunted. Whoever is the hunted controls the movement and dynamics of the relationship.

The hunted do what they please, they frolic around on their own schedule, on their own time, meanwhile the hunter breaks down the logistics of the relationship, analyzes the movement of their prey, ponders and thinks about the next steps of flirtation and courtship that will be taken, caters their course of action around the movement of the hunted. Meanwhile, the hunted doesn't give a whim about the other, they just enjoy having the power.

You may be shaking your head in disagreement at me right now, thinking to yourself, "Oh Swamp Thing, you are so naive and incorrect about how relationships work. If only you had a clue as to how they really are."

No, this is exactly how they really are. I know this.

Take for instance my most recent attempt at a failed relationship. I met a great girl, a girl, (yes I did just use the phrase She was smart, witty, ambitious, educated, and tough. Add to the fact that she was ridiculously good-looking and she seemed to be the total package. After knocking me off my feet I became the victim of being the hunter. I waited impatiently for text messages, I debated with friends about what my next plan of attack would be, heck I even read the second volume of the Hunger Games in hopes that she and I would have something to talk about.

But it was to no avail. She was the hunted, and therefore had total control of the speed and potential of a future doomed relationship meanwhile I sat on the sideline twiddling my thumbs playing the role of a pathetic loser who had never spoken to a female counterpart before in my life. Heck, Elmer Fudd did a better job chasing down Bugs Bunny than I did. I was befuddled, frustrated, and because I got caught up in the chase I came off like a creep.

Cue background music by Radiohead.

Who knows what might have happened had the roles been reversed and I had been the hunted? And yeah, it's sad that this law of Brocktrine exists. But it does. And if you're currently the prey, enjoy it while it lasts. Because one day you might be the hunter. And thats the worst role you can play.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location: McKay-Dee Hospital

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I Should Have Signed A Pre-Nup

So I was at a wedding last week. Don't worry, not mine. The single me is still in tact. Like I'm sure most of you are worried about.

No worries though, I'm still here.

Anyway, I was making my rounds at this wedding, and it was a grand occasion. One of my better friends, VRM Garth Shiftyeyes had finally taken his girl to the altar after close to two years of dating. They are a happy couple, an exciting couple, a couple that is madly and deeply in L-word. And while I stood on the side and watched him serenade her with "If Tomorrow Never Comes" I will say I felt overjoyed and happy for the duo.

While I was driving home that night I did however get to thinking about if a certain someone would have showed up at that reception as well. That someone who might have been a mutual friend of the Garth Shiftyeyes newlyweds. A someone who I might have dated and broken up with in the infamous "text-gate" scandal over six months ago; the Ginger Aggie.

It really wouldn't have been that big of a deal, I respect her and hopefully likewise, but I will say that the awkward bells might have been ringing in the background if we were to randomly bump into each other on the dance floor that night at the reception.

Swamp Thing: confused/perplexed/WTF look across my face "Oh...uh...hi. How are you uh...doing?"

Ginger Aggie: confused/perplexed/WTF look across her face "Uh, good. How uh, are you?"

Swamp Thing: "I'm uh, doing alright. Can't complain."

Ginger Aggie: "Yeah, neither can I."

It was at this point when the awkwardness would have been addressed.

Swamp Thing: "So uh, I didn't know that you'd be coming to the reception tonight. I mean, Garth Shiftyeyes and his wife were kinda like my friends to begin with."

Ginger Aggie: "Yeah, I know, so what? I knew her better than you did. I just thought I would show my support."

Swamp Thing: "Yeah, but they were my friends first."

Ginger Aggie: "So? That doesn't mean that you own them or anything!"

It was at this point when an all out mudslinging brawl would have erupted on the dance floor with the Elton John tune "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting" ringing boldly in the background.

I use this fictional situation as an example of the mess that sometimes affects people once the relationship papers have been ripped up between them. It can be a sticky situation brewing if no boundaries have been set in stone as to who's property is who's, especially if that property is a victimless couple celebrating their nuptials.

Is there necessarily a right or wrong answer in these types of circumstances? Sure I may have known the couple first, but just because my relationship with the Ginger Aggie didn't progress does not mean that I can take my friends and go home with them as if I'm temper tantrum tossing third grader on the playground.

Young Swamp Thing: "NO! These are my friends! Mine! You can't have them!"

The maximum of awkward to say the least. And I think this awkwardness is approached on a constant basis whenever a serious relationship comes to a halt. Whether it's mutual friends, mutual pastimes, or a ragged old pair of blue basketball shorts, lines get drawn in the sand as to who's is who's.

This is something that will always exist. Until we as a humanity decide that we're going to live asexual, single, anti-relationship lives, there will continue to be the debate as to the ownership of a particular property between two parties.

I guess it's a good thing that the Ginger Aggie wasn't there. Because if she had been, I might have busted out my pre-nup.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Location:McKay-Dee Hospital

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Yes, those three bold letters are crucial when it comes to understanding where a couple stands in the dating process. I'm sure every one of us has had a DTR at some point in time. And I'm sure it was probably as awkward as could be whenever this acronym happens. For the record the letters DTR stand for "determine the relationship." Awkward, I know.

Initially, a DTR starts out with the phrase, "So what are we?" This is followed by an awkward lowering of the chin and random movement of the hand back and forth at chest level. The instigator of this conversation is not shocked or stunned by the development of the dialogue, however the opposed takes this inquiry in as awkward of a fashion as possible.

Joe Schmoo: "Uh...what are we? What's that supposed to mean?"

See the thing is, he knows exactly what she means. I have stereotyped her as the instigator, and he as the instigat-ee because on average, those genders follow the same pattern of dialogue. Normally the DTR occurs after a few dates, and few moments of physical contact. Repeated nicmo offenders are destined for a DTR, however a repeated nicmo is an anomaly in itself. Repeated nicmo's can no longer e classified as actual nicmo's.

For the record, if you do not know what the term nicmo means, browse on over to and type in the word nicmo. I promise, there will not be any pornography in doing so.

Ahh, I remember my first DTR. It was 1:30 in the morning. Myself and the Willow Diva were just wrapping up a solid nicmo session on my couch. Rolling over she turned and started making the accusations.

Willow Diva: "So...what are we?"

Swamp Thing: "What are we...what?"

Willow Diva: "You know, this." Cue awkward hand movements.

Swamp Thing: "This apartment?"

Willow Diva: "No, I mean, what are we doing here?"

Swamp Thing: confused/perplexed/WTF look across my face. Is this a trick question?"

And from that point on things between me and the Willow Diva fizzled out. She wanted to know where we stood in the relationship, and I wanted to know if she was going to let me get a few winks of sleep in any time soon. The DTR is the Achilles heel in any type of relationship between two people. It sliced up our romance quicker than the creeper from Saw.

When push comes to shove the DTR is the ultimate relationship killer. If a couple has to have the DTR, then they don't know where the relationship is headed and a potential break-up is in the not too distant future.

Somewhere, the Willow Diva could still be wondering.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:McKay-Dee Hospital

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Best Advice I Never Heard

This may sound like a rushed post, but believe me, I have plenty of things on my plate currently, so the majority of my attention is not going to be focused on writing. I will however attempt to entertain you for a good solid three and a half minutes like I usually do with these posts. And I'm sure I have the ability to keep a chuckle across your face with the intro to the Week of Dating, part deux. For the record, I am saying Part Deux, in honor of the sequel to "Hot Shots", which was easily Charlie Sheen's best cinema production.

The other night a fellow comrade of ours, Johnny Trojan was lamenting about his difficulties with the women. You see, he was on the verge of accomplishing something great with a member of the opposite sex as his attempts at wooing her were working like a charm. I will say this, Johnny Trojan does have a lot going for him. That evening, myself, Chief Kent, Roger Winston Eddingbright the 3rd, and Four-Eyed Fidelito were surrounding him in our basement handing out some of the best manly advice that can be heard from a group of Dr. Love's.

Four-Eyed Fidelito: "See man, you have to have confidence when you're with a girl. You have to make her think that you could take down anyone or anything that comes in front of you."

Swamp Thing: In agreement. "Yeah man, confidence is a big one with the ladies. Plus, you have to listen to her. You will get more girls in two weeks than you will in two years if you try to get to know them, rather than try them to get to know you. That's just the way it works. Plain and simple."

Roger Winston Eddingbright: "Amen to that buddy. Listen to her, have confidence, and also be gentleman. I think that taking care of the women in our lives is a lost art, and there aren't that many guys who know how to treat her like a queen."

This is all great advice wouldn't you say? And for roughly an hour and a half the five of us gave him Dr. Love-esque suggestions on how to romance this possible relationship-ee into courtship. It was the manliest of all discussions, and in those 90 minutes I think we made some real progress with Johnny Trojan. I think we gave him some of the best advice possible from a handful of guys who have experience, who have knowledge, and who have a so-called understanding of the opposite sex.

Then it hit me like a load of bricks as I laid on my cotton sheets with my sub-conscious starting to take over. I gave some really good advice, some of the best out there. And being a communication major who has dated plenty of girls, a guy who also has 11 sisters and a feminine father, I think I am one of the most reliable, most respected sources out there in regards to "How to Date a Girl." But the thing that suddenly slapped me upside the kisser was this:

I never take my own advice. Ever.

And I think that this semi-doctrine can be applied to us all. Every single one of us may have the best opinions out there when it comes to romance, and courtship, and all of that fluffy stuff, but when it comes to actually applying it to our own relationships, we can't do it. Almost as if we refuse to do it.

I think back to the many times I have made an absolute buffoon out of myself on dating escapades. There was the time that I told a girl I felt awkward for her holding my hand (granted I had been home from my two-year trip for a solid three weeks). There was the evening when I thought that the best way to romance this girl was impress her with all of my accomplishments and accolades, (which by the way she didn't care about one bit). And of course there is the infamous text-gate, which all of you know about very well, if you've been following this blog since around March.

I am a fool. I never listen to my own proddings on how to make a lady swoon. It's almost like I have Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan sitting on my shoulder shaking their heads in disgust while belting out the phrase, "DO YOU UNDERSTAND THE WORDS THAT ARE COMING OUT OF MY MOUTH?!" (LTT)

No, I don't. I never do. And while I may be one of the best Dr Phil/Love advice givers in St. George, heck in all of Utah, I never take my own advice and apply it to the girls that I look at as potential long-term relationships. And that is why I am still single in this pool of single women swimming everywhere around me. I can give the best advice out there. Advice that could change your relationship and your future with a member of the opposite sex. But then again, what do I know. I'm still a menace to society.

At least I'm not drinking my juice in the hood.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The W.O.D. Part II

With the month winding down I will now be transcribing another weekly topic. For those not too familiar with Randomity, I select a topic to hash out and discuss for an entire week with any comments or pokes from my audience. This month, my half-empty demeanor has shuffled me back to a topic in which I previously discussed a few months earlier, and I felt that there were even more angles to attack this subject from. With that being said, I unveil...

Wait for it...

The Week of Dating; Part Deux!

Yeah, I know I've brought this up before, but there are still so many points to be brought up and argued over. Add to the fact that a major case of frustration and a Keystone "bitter-beer face" encrusting my demeanor have been an influence as to why I think this topic should be brought up again.

But with that being said, this week I shall be bringing forth seven new independently thought out point of views about dating, relationships, and anything else associated with camping out on cloud nine.

I remember when I used to work as an editor for my college's newspaper, we had a very distinctly original fellow who published a weekly column. I give him the blogalias of Dr. Love because that was the pen name that he gave himself. And every week he would write a relationship advice column for all of his readers.

In a sense, I am walking in the footsteps of Dr. Love by writing yet another W.O.D. You can take it with a grain of salt because these words of wisdom are going to be given to you by a 26-year old single guy in southern Utah. Which by Utah standards means that I am currently a menace to society.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Do You Know So-And-So?

The soggy night is fading on, and I’m midway through a “Bro-date”. We just had a very manly dinner at the Outback and are waiting for a very manly movie later on. As noted in my status, Bro-Code rule #317 states that if four Bros ever go out for dinner and a movie, the c-word should never be uttered mid-conversation. By c-word I mean cute. That lingo instantly diminishes our masculinity.

In between our steaks and cinema, myself, Rocksteady, Chief Kent, are seated in our living room listening to Four-Eyed Fidelito, (nice blogalias eh?) pluck away on his guitar and belt out the lyrics to a random song about a guy who has a relationship with a houseplant. I have no idea where the song comes from, but Fidelito is a talented sucker with a six-stringed strummer tucked away between his fingers.

For full effect, download “Remember the Name” by Fort Minor and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post. Either that, or if you can find the random tune about a guy loving houseplants, you’ve got my blessing as well.

Driving in the rain this afternoon I passed exit 42 southbound on I-15, this exit takes you to a tiny town called New Harmony. I know a few folks from this neck of the woods, in fact we even have an ambassador working for us from New Harmony, a great one at that. I even remember the first time the two of us had a conversation. It went as follows:

Swamp Thing: “So where are you from then?”

New Harmony Ambassador: “I’m from a small town up the road called New Harmony. Have you ever heard of it?”

Swamp Thing: “Yeah, once or twice. New Harmony huh? That’s cool. I went out with a girl from New Harmony. Do you know New Harmony Cardboard 5?

New Harmony Ambassador: “Uh, yeah, I’ve met her once or twice. She’s fun.”

Cut to awkward pause between the two of us as we both sat in sullen silence with the realization that we both know the same person. OMG! THAT IS SO AMAZING!

Why is it our natural instinct to ask someone mid-conversation if they know someone when we find out the location of their origin? ‘Oh, you’re from there? Do you know so-and-so? Cool! So do I! That is so amazing!’

When in reality it’s not. We both know the same person? Well LA-DEE-FREAKIN-DA! (Say in a Chris Farley accent). Yeah, there are some cues to reminiscing about all of the good times, or bad times, that we had with so-and-so, but for the majority of the time it’s not going to matter whatsoever.

I often found an exaggeration of this so-and-so questioning when I spent a couple of years on the other side of the country, when in random conversations people would find out about my hometown and ask if I knew so-and-so as well.

Virginia: “Oh, you’re from Utah? Do you know Kelly?”

Swamp Thing: Blank stare of pure awkwardness.

Virginia: “Kelly’s from Utah, you have to know her.”

Swamp Thing: Continued blank stare… “Yes. Yes I do.”

Virginia: OMG, that is SOOOO cool!”

Cut to awkward silence.

Why do we instinctually wonder if someone we just met knows someone that we know from our past? Why do we care about this at all? Why is Four-Eyed Fidelito singing a song about a man who is in love with a plant? I have no idea. The only thing that I know for certain is this, if four Bros ever go out on a Bro-date, the c-word should never be said.

Cut to awkward silence.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

When I am an Old Man

So I may have had someone get after me for not updating my blog recently. Yeah, I’m a slacker. This is the busiest time of year, and there are some crucial things going on in my life at this point, but hey, I can’t let you down. I need to give you 36 readers that seven and a half minute highlight for your day that will keep your mind occupied meanwhile you’re dropping the kids off at the pool.

Especially you, Rocksteady.

In other news, I just perhaps might throw a red stapler (LTT) at one more person who asks if I have lost weight yet again. I know that I’ve blogged about this in the past, but honestly, why is the non-existent fluctuation of my weight something that seems to be a continually running topic in your own minds?

The Glee President: “Dang Brock, you’re really thinning out. You losing weight at all?”

Swamp Thing: “Thinning out? What kind of a behemoth was I before? I’ve been the same weight for five years straight, and you think I’m thinning out?”

The Glee President: “I’m just sayin’, you’re lookin’ pretty good.”

Swamp Thing: “I don’t know whether to say thanks, or to worry if your wife will get jealous from those comments.”

The fact that this came from a guy made the unpleasant inquiry a little bit more awkward. And maybe I am losing weight. How the heck should I know? Guys don’t weigh themselves do they? Maybe my diet of Mt. Dew and sunflower seeds for the past two weeks straight is having an influence on my poundage. Either way, please don’t text me and attempt a shallow compliment that my love handles are losing their volume. I might go a little bit Dwight Schrute on you.

Whew! Now that I’ve got that off my chest, I will address the topic at hand that may put a little chuckle across your face. Last week while I was touring central Utah as a traveling collegiate salesman, I made a pit stop in Richfield, UT and moseyed on over to the Wal-Mart on the outskirts of town. Which I may add is the town’s most happening and popular joint. All the “cool” people shop at Wal-Mart in Richfield.

As I walked through the squeaking glass doors around 11:45 at night, I noticed a fragile old man plopped down in a shaggy brown wheelchair at the entrance. He had on the classic blue vest and smiley face pin that all senior citizens wear when they take on the role of “awkward entrance folks”. This chap was so far ahead in his age though that I don’t even think he knew anyone was even in Wal-Mart to begin with. Heck, he probably didn’t even know that HE was in Wal-Mart.

I felt sympathetic for “Donald” as I bought a package of socks and walked back into the night. And as I hit the road for another couple of hours, my inception-esque thought pattern swirled to the speculation of who and what I will be like when my name is Donald and I’m half-consciously planted in a seat with wheels, making $3.75 an hour to forcefully put a smile on my face. Keep in mind I don’t even think I’m going to make it that far in my life. But that’s a completely different blog post at a later date.

There are all stereotypes as to the personalities of “old people”. There is the sweet Grandpa that always has a drawer in his office full of hidden candy that he “secretly” gives away to his adoring grandkids whenever they pop in for a visit. There is the imitation of Donald who is a jumbled paragraph away from being locked up in the room with the white padded walls and the hug myself jacket. There is also the cranky old geezer who’s always yelling at the kids from down the street to get off his lawn, a combination of the Dad from “That 70’s Show” and Clint Eastwood’s character from Gran Torino.

I think I’ll be that last specimen. An ornery pucker with a scowl splashed across my face that scares Medusa away from my own cave. I think I’m working on being that kind of a guy already. I never share my candy. I always hand out deathly cold glares to random people. I negatively and sarcastically toss out comments to innocent puppies who I think are trying to pick a fight with me with their semi-serious yips.

Yeah, that’s me, in a nutshell. You’ll either love me or hate me as a disheveled Donald who stands at the entrance to Wal-Mart and glares at the customers with a demeanor that will make them one day write their own blogposts about the crazy lunatic who failed to greet them when they went in to buy their own package of socks in Richfield.

I hope by that point in life someone doesn’t walk up to me and ask, “Hey, have you lost weight?”

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Unshaven Red Rock

I'm still on the road roaming from town to town as a traveling salesman living out of the back of my Nissan Rogue. Today's journey has carried me from Richfield to Beaver to Cedar City, including pit stops on the side of the road with highway patrol lights flashing in my rearview. But don't worry, I know how to talk my way out of those types of situations.

Cop: "Mr. Bybee we clocked you going 73 in a 55. Did you know that you were speeding?"

Swamp Thing: "Oh really officer? I had no idea. I must say you look ravishing in that dark uniform with the badge, very attractive." Cue the smooching lips.

Cop: "Why thank you Mr. Bybee, but I'm married. And plus I don't swing that way."

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

In other news I was driving down the road in Cedar City this afternoon when out of the corner of my eye I caught a glimpse of something that from a Bob Ross perspective would make someone cringe.

Now I'm not being critical of Cedar City with these next few paragraphs They had no say in it at all. Plus, I've learned to really like this community 49 miles north of where I live. SUU is a great school and it's a nice, quaint town nestled in the rocks around it. It's the rocks however that have the real problem.

Because they're UGLY!

See the above picture for dramatic emphasis. Don't get me wrong, I L-word the red rocks, I really do. It's something that looks great against the blue sky and desert clouds surrounding it. Yeah, so what If I'm sounding a bit artsy fartsy, I think the red rocks look spectacular. But when they have a spattering of ugly green sagebrushes all over them, that seems to ruin the ultimate effect.

Those plant-like boogers that are painted across the rocks makes it look like the canyon is making a weak sauce campaign at growing a peach-fuzz beard meanwhile just entering puberty. A failed environmental attempt at being a man, with a sad case of scruff dotting the landscape.

It's ugly. Plain and simple. I almost want to take a couple hundred barrels of Edge shave gel and a Gillette Mach 5 razor and help this hillside become a man. Because right now, it's getting shut down by all of the pretty little ladies surrounding it.

Especially the belles from down south named Dixie.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Dates With Myself

So I sit here in the epitome of a run-down old-timers movie theatre in classic Richfield, Utah. Yes that's right kids, I'm hard at work on a Tuesday night, fully immersed in my attempts at convincing high school students to join the ranks of the Red Storm. If you read my last post you caught a sliver of a glimpse at what life is like for me, on the road in the middle of nowhere that is.

For full effect, download "Sparks" by Coldplay from iTunes and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post. No, seriously, stop reading this blog right now and get that song. It is hands down the best possible background music that can be played while you read about the adventures of my life.

All 36 of you.

As mentioned a few days ago, it is difficult to have a relationship on the road. It really is. Not many girls want to go out with a guy that they'll see once every four weeks. And it's hard to schedule a date with a girl when I'm driving all over Utah.

Swamp Thing: "So uh, you want to go out some time?"

Jane Doe: "Yeah, we really should. When are you free?"

Swamp Thing: "Well, we could uh, go out when I get back from that financial aid night in Price. How about I'll come pick you up around 1:45 in the morning when I'm pulling into town?"

Her response of the click of her telephone has become all too familiar to me at this point. That sound is just one of the many factors that causes me to settle for a nice evening of serenading myself to sleep.

Having a social life on the road is in essence difficult to say the least. When my friends are getting together for the weekend to have a road trip to Las Vegas and all I can give them is a figurative high five 536 miles away, it makes it tough to keep up with all of my interpersonal relationships other than through Facebook and text messages.

It is because of all these circumstances that I have developed a new dating system. I have found one of the most perfect, humorous, tall dark and handsome glasses of water that I have ever laid eyes on, and someone who I L-word spending every waking moment with.


I know this sounds weird, but hear me out. This may appear to be comical and in a humorous fashion, but honestly being on the road has given me the impression that the only one who I have time to have a serious long-term relationship with is the guy who I see every morning as I look in mirror. And I will admit, he is devilishly handsome.

Take tonight for example. I picked myself up around 7:00, drove 97 miles across Utah where I had dinner at PepperBelly's, a Mexican/drive-in diner attempt at a restaurant. My date wasn't that talkative over dinner. All he did was stumble through his spicy mashed potatoes and kept checking his iPhone for score updates on the Indians-Tigers game.

After dinner (which by the way I had to pick up the check for) we stopped by the theatre where we're at now. Again, this kid wasn't that talkative so I decided to pull out my phone and blog. I hate playing head games with him, but for some reason I seem to be able read him so well and know exactly what he's thinking about ALL the time. Uncanny, I must say.

This may sound semi-hilarious, but this is just the way that I live my social life these days. I work, and study, and go to dinner and movies with myself. That's just the way that it works. I've got no complaints at all. I really don't. I have enough self-confidence that I really can go to a cheap Mexican diner and a crummy movie theatre all by myself. And I'm used to it. Who knows how long this relationship is going to last? And hey, I may even update my status on Facebook. Is it possible to post that I'm in a relationship with myself?

Whatever happens, I'll be alright out here on the road. And whenever this feeble attempt at a scary movie gets over I'll go ahead and take him home.

Who knows what the doorstep scene will be like.

Location:A Random Theatre in Richfield

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Life On The Road

Lying on a worn out leather couch on a Saturday afternoon wearing a pair of basketball shorts and a Buckeyes t-shirt, I think that I’ve finally gotten caught up with the whir and commotion that made up my life this past week. Gratefully I tip my hat to the season premier of college football to keep my sanity at a “normal” level. Lately I’ve tried to “catch up” on my sleep, but for some reason I was informed that doing so is physically and mentally impossible.

The Half-Empty Buffalo: “People always say that they need to ‘catch up’ on their sleep, but you just can’t do it!”

Swamp Thing: “You can’t? Why not?”

The Half-Empty Buffalo: “Because once the hours have gone by and you’ve let them pass while being awake, they’re just gone. Finito! You cannot have them back. To try and think that you’re going to somehow regain the hours of time by sleeping more just makes you a fool.”

Thank you Half-Empty Buffalo for ruining the glorious potential of my snoozes this weekend. You have just made me realize that all of the time I spend asleep will be in vain. That’s why I sure love ya buddy.

For full effect, download “Road Trippin’” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post. The reason I selected that tune as the theme music for this post, is because the road is where I live my life these days. The road is my life.

Life on the road isn’t as delicate and simple as I thought it would be a year and a half ago. Don’t get me wrong, I L-word my job. I really do. There are just some unique aspects about life on the road that have me shaking my head in a semi-bewildered stupor at moments. Life on the road involves time, money, and energy that sometimes wear out a 26-year old single guy like me.

Life on the road is putting 993 miles on my Nissan Rogue in 3½ days alone. Life on the road is trying to explain what the concept of a “mall” is to a hometown hero in the small town communities of southeast Utah. Life on the road is wearing the same red shirt and khaki pants five days in a row. Life on the road is losing to my Grandma in a game of hand and foot on a Saturday night.

Life on the road is a giant pack of jumbo sunflower seeds that are revolving through my mouth at an alarming rate just so I won’t fall asleep at the wheel at 6:41 in the morning. Life on the road is belting out the verbatim lines to the song “We Didn’t Start The Fire” by Billy Joel 81 consecutive times to keep my eyes open from Nephi to my apartment. Life on the road is being able to drive from St. George to Layton blindfolded, and knowing exactly where all of the speed traps are. Life on the road is playing connect the dots with all of the bugs splattered across my windshield.

Life on the road is making a pit stop in Parowan to buy a large can of Pizza Pringles, two bottles of grape soda, and a bag of gummy worms as my unhealthy extremely late dinner. Life on the road is having my butt cheeks make a crevasse in the polyester fabric of my drivers seat. Life on the road is chiropractic adjustments to compensate for being in the seated position for six consecutive hours at times.

Life on the road is Best Western’s, Fairfield Inn’s, and Holiday Inn Expresses. Life on the road is tiny bottles of shampoo, and tiny bottles of conditioner, and even tinier packets of soap that I scrub up with every morning that cause me to imagine I am a giant standing in a hotel’s shower. Life on the road is alarm clocks that make the noise, “This is the front desk issuing you a 5:45 morning wakeup.” Life on the road is crashing in the backseat of my car because all of the hotels are booked in Price, UT caused by the local rock convention.

Life on the road is putting dating and any kind of relationship development on hold because I’ll only be able to see them on the weekends. Life on the road is paying rent for an apartment that I’m going to sleep seven nights in over the next three months. Life on the road is not being able to stay in contact with an ex-girlfriend because wireless networks won’t be developing in Duchesne, UT until 2019.

Life on the road is putting down a basketball from September to December, and looking like an uncoordinated third grader when I get a chance to lace up in the middle of winter. Life on the road is having a social life solely through Facebook and Reddit. Life on the road is quiet dinners by myself at backcountry diners that haven’t yet killed the cow for the spring hamburgers. Life on the road is deleting the words “diet” and “workout” from my memory bank for a couple of months. Life on the road is paying my crossfit dues, and never able to show up to the gym.

Yes, that’s my life, in a nutshell. A life where I give high school students the opportunity to pursue a higher education. A life giving 126 consecutive keynote presentations that put a smile on a student’s face. A life where I realize that I made a difference in someone’s life, and they in turn are going to make a life changing decision about where they’re going to go to school.

I sure do L-word life on the road.