Friday, November 30, 2012

The List

I got in touch with two pretty swell fellas this afternoon. One of them is a Utah State University Ambassador who shared his dating dealbreakers with me over Café Rio. The other is a business student in graduate school who explained to me the ethical dilemmas that he faces as a doctoral candidate in Mississippi. It’s been over six months since I’ve talked with either one of these guys, but for the hours that we chatted and laughed about memories past, it felt like we hadn’t missed a beat.

For full effect, download “I’ll Be There For You” by the Rembrandts, which was also the theme song for the TV show “Friends”, and play at maximum volume through- wait, what am I thinking? Everyone HATES that song! Especially the clapping part in every verse. You know what Rembrandts? NO! Because of you, there will be NO theme music in this blogpost! So there!

Shooting hoops alone in an abandoned gym tonight got me thinking about some pretty monumental things. And yes, I must admit the most deep and spiritually moving moments in my life have come while bouncing a ball on a wooden floor and living up to my nickname of Swamp Thing. Everybody has those places where they are truly enlightened. Mine just happens to be in a stinky gym. Don’t hate.

As I dripped and drove, I deliberated over the concept of interpersonal relationships. There are of course different levels of relationships that we have with people in our lives, that much is obvious. There are those who we don’t know, there are those who we count as casual acquaintances, there are those who we list as friends, and then there are those who we would take a bullet for without blinking; people who mean more to us than the shirts on our backs or the food in our bellies. They are the people who we classify in the same realm as family, maybe even more than family. Heck, these are the people that we don’t awkwardly avoid at eggnog-spiked Christmas parties. These are the people who we L-word their stinking guts.

It was at this point in between bricked shots where I came up with what I shall call…

Wait for it…

The list.

Cue deep-throated bass belting out the words, Bum, bum, bum in a descending tone.

Everybody has a list. You, me, your sister’s best friend’s second cousin’s ugly stepchild, everybody! We all have a list. Whether it’s unprocessed or hand-written, every one of us has a list subconsciously brewing in our noggins of who we think we will still be friends with 50 years from tonight. The people who have been through our ups, been through our downs, and vice versa. These are the people who we can see being with on our front-porches when grandkids are changing our diapers. They are the Marshall and Lily’s to our Ted Mosby’s.

And so, tonight I made my list, my own list. A list of excellent souls who I think are among my top priorities. I shall now transcribe to you the words from the personal journal of Mr. Brock Thomas Bybee, Volume VI, 11/29/12:

“I started thinking about the people in my life that matter the most and who I can still see myself holding a relationship with in 10, 20 years. These are the names I could come up with:”

And from there I wrote down 30 names. 30 people who have a seat at my table until we all kick the bucket, 30 people who I would happily cut off my left arm for, 30 people who mean more to me than chocolate means to a pregnant mother of twins. 27 guys and 3 girls, every single one of them a saint in my book. The two chaps I dined and laughed with, yeah, they’re on the list. They have a place at my bar.

Now dear reader, you may be asking yourself ‘I wonder if I’m on this list of his, did I make the cut? Am I one of those 30?’ That’s not really that important now is it? Do I, a random blogger really mean that much to you in the long run? Instead, the question I pose to you, and this is by far a much more significant inquiry that you need to think real long and hard about for the next ten minutes, or at least until you have a life-altering moment on your own basketball court, but my question to you is this:

Who’s on your list?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Call Me Crazy

It’s ten minutes to midnight and anything masculine on my body has decided to pack up shop and not be abused by the 24-degree temperature that Cache Valley has decided to throw my way.

And everyone always thought my sister was the crazy one in the family.

When it’s pitch black and no one is watching the cyclic movement of your legs on the shriveled sidewalk, or seeing the rhythmic puffs of air beating out of your lungs every third step, almost making you look like a metrical chain smoker, you know you’re the one who has lost a few marbles upstairs thinking that a run in the dark is a sensible idea. Maybe Dr. House took a little bit more out of my beaten head than he thought the last time I was under the knife.

That was his name. House. Crazy, I know.

On cue I let out a mental curse word for the weakened iliotibial band that is gnawing on the outside of my right leg every time gravity pounds pulsating vibrations up the side of my pathetic appendage. It’s moments like this when Thursday morning yoga would in fact be my greatest ally. But then again, what normal guy wants to put on a pair of elastic pants and drip his face on to a training mat while mangling his body into downward dog?

Mental Self: “Uh…I would?”

Shut up Swamp Thing. Everyone knows that you’re a nutcase.

You know something is wrong when the puddles you’re running through on the streets aren’t puddles anymore. They’re just transparent glass fragments that crack and break into shards with every step that you take. Something must be a little bit unscrewed upstairs if you think that the frozen world of late night Logan is a good stage to host your exercise routine. A time when the only ones on the streets are the stumbling teenagers finishing up the third act of a late night booty call. A place where your own spit freezes before it hits the ground.

To my left a split-level house has been plastered with a bombshell of overexposed Christmas lights that are flashing at an absurd level. Almost like Santa on roids having seizures vomited on this guys gutters and front lawn. In the 1200-square foot imitated north pole underneath, a balding mid-life crisis lies in bed and soothes himself to sleep by saying the phrase “Go Big or Go Home” on repeat, meanwhile his stay-at-home housemate has unpaid credit card bills and almond-crusted Symphony bars dancing away in her head.

In my head, when I’m running, I construct some of the most off the wall, outlandish scenarios known to man. But then again, what else am I supposed to think at ten minutes to midnight in pitch-black Cache Valley?

I have gotten to the point where the blood in my hands, in my face, in my chest, anywhere in my body has hibernated away into cold storage meanwhile some lunatic in a black robe holding a scythe is starting to gain ground a few hundred feet behind me. The term shriveled is a good description for how I’m feeling while I keep slugging away trying to find where that curse word sidewalk ends. I pass the house where I first met my Dad. It’s too cold to get chills out here.

Any logical individual might question the motivation or reasoning for being out here, to be torturing myself when no one is watching. And honestly, I don’t really know why I do it. It’s not a therapy, or a form of satisfaction. I don’t do it for you or for me or for her, heck, I haven’t even met her yet, why would she have any say in this? I’m not doing it for you to read about in a future posting that could possibly instill some type of psychological drive to accomplish something great in your own life.

Jane Doe: “I’m going to build a boat!”

John Doe: “I’m going to learn Spanish!”

No you won’t. Now go back to your mundane excuses for a life while I chase after a white-tailed deer up 100 East at an eight-minute pace.

Out here, in the dark, with the cold air drifting me away into a form of insanity, that’s where I am. With the frost starting to gloss up windshields and an extra layer of blankets being tucked over your shoulder, I’m out here in the dark, sweating my life away on the streets of a small town in Cache Valley. At ten minutes to midnight and every ounce of energy being throttled away into my trampled shoes. Out here, in the dark, I’m the crazy one.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

On Behalf Of My Gender

I took a cute blind date out to dinner the other night.

In the words of my Grandfather, "That's the only girl that will fall for you, so keep picking them up at the deaf and blind school."

For full effect, download "All Apologies" by Nirvana and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post.

I must say that it was an enjoyable evening. She was attractive, ambitious, and a shade sarcastic. We talked about education, about politics, and about gluten-free desserts. As the night wound down an embarrassing topic came up to which I am still somewhat ashamed.

The Blind Girl: "I dated a real project once. He was an athlete, a high-school love, but as I look back he was kind of a tool. A real project."

Swamp Thing: "So why did you stick with him for over two years?"

The Blind Girl: "I don't know, because I think girls want projects like him."

It was at this point where I offered my emphatic condolences for this high-school sweetheart's selfish blunders, and with this blogpost I would like to apologize to every woman reading this, for all of the idiotic actions that my gender is responsible for.

I'm sorry for the guys that walk into a college dorm room holding a guitar saying that they "just want to play a few riffs for the ladies". I'm sorry for the guys who only tuck their shirts in at the belt buckle and think that is attractive. I'm sorry for the guys that don't open your door, that don't say you look pretty, that don't pick up the check on your second dates with them.

I'm sorry for all of the two-word text messages sent after 1 a.m. which are essentially booty calls. I'm sorry for the guys who get another girls number even when they are on a date with you. I'm sorry for movies like "The Expendables", "Terminator", and "First Blood" that you've been forced to sit through. I'm sorry for the guys that value the new exhaust pipe on their F-250 more than they value what happens in your life.

I'm sorry for the guys who think that late nights at Iggy's Bar and Grill is more important than your anniversary. I'm sorry for the guys that invest more time in "leveling up" in World of Warcraft rather than investing time in getting to know you more. I'm sorry for the guys that actually know how to "level up". I'm sorry for the accidental text messages that are sent to break a couple up. I'm sorry for the guys who actually take their spray tans seriously.

I'm sorry for the guys that know more about the starting lineup for the Chicago Bulls than they know about your parents. I'm sorry for the schmucks who don't know how to do their own laundry, cook a meal, or even shave for that matter. I'm sorry that they were too lazy to learn anything from their Moms. On the opposite side, I'm sorry for the guys who are more feminine than you are, and who care more about their bikini wax and manicure than you do.

I'm sorry for the drones who are 31, still live in their parents basements, have no career, no education, no motives, no standards, and are hoping that "this gig in California" will somehow work out. I'm sorry for the guys that drive Ford Priuses. I'm sorry for the guys who don't understand the concept that you sometimes L-word chocolate more than you L-word them. I'm sorry for the guys who wear pink.

On behalf of all of the men who are respectful, kind, and devilishly good-looking, I apologize for all of the putzes, for all of the curse words, for all of the projects that you deal with. Don't waste your time with them.

You're better than that.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Best Fifteen Minutes

Swamp Thing: “Hurry, I have fifteen minutes before my flight leaves, we have to go!”

Cue stumped/nervous/WTF-is-this-guy-thinking look from my just over five-foot tall date named S******.

S******: “Where are we going?”

Swamp Thing: “It doesn’t matter where we’re going. What matters is that I only have fifteen minutes!”

I would like to acknowledge Josh Radnor, Sarah Chalke, and the entire writing staff of “How I Met Your Mother” for being the inspiration behind this entire night. If it wasn’t for Ted Mosby’s attempt at swooning Stella away, I would have probably settled for the usual dinner and a movie.

I would also like to mention that the build up for this fifteen minutes took more than just an exchanged phone number and introductory phone call. This quarter of an hour escapade had been brewing all summer. It had been cancelled and rescheduled, evaded and procrastinated to the point where I was about to throw in the towel for going on a date with S******. But the Ted Mosby inside of me still set this entire night up after what seemed like months of child’s play, and if this girl was only going to give me fifteen minutes of her life, it would be the best damn fifteen minutes that she would ever experience.

S******: “So uh, where are we going?”

Swamp Thing: “Oh, its this fancy new restaurant that I just heard about downtown. Word on the street is that it’s called ‘The Park’.”

S******: “Wait, you’re taking me to dinner at a park?”

Swamp Thing: “Not just ‘a’ park, ‘the’ Park. It’s gonna take off, trust me.”

Cue Swamp Thing’s Nissan Rogue pulling up to Vernon Worthen park in downtown St. George, where a candlelight dinner of fresh cut oranges was awaiting us. Oranges because this girl said she was on some kind of cleanse and could only eat fruits and vegetables for a week. And so that’s what we did. We sat in a gazebo for three-and-a-half minutes and ate sliced up mandarin oranges, meanwhile exchanging the pleasantries of getting to know one another. After all, it was a first date. Looking down at my watch I yelled out.

Swamp Thing: “OH SHOOT! WE GOTTA GO!”

S******: Half amused/half confused reaction “Go where? We just got here!”

Swamp Thing: “We have a movie to catch!”

S******: “A movie? Are you serious?”

Swamp Thing: “Yep, grab your purse.”

And with that we ran to my car. Fumbling with my keys, I opened her door, ran around the vehicle and rushed in to my side. Igniting up the car I drove a whopping ten feet before jerking it to a halt.

S******: “What are you doing? What time does the movie start?”

Swamp Thing: “Right now.”

Reaching into my glove box I pulled out an iPad and placed it on my dashboard, the film “500 Days of Summer” already playing at full volume. Cue the scene where Joseph Gordon-Leavitt is singing “You Make My Dreams Come True” with the UCLA marching band behind him.

Swamp Thing: “Don’t tell anyone, but I’ve heard that drive-in movie theaters like this are making a comeback."

Cue blushing by S******.

After another three minutes of formal talking to each other, exchanging the regular “getting to know you” questions that usually accompanies a first date, I looked down at my watch again in a frenzy.

Swamp Thing: “Shoot! We have to go!”

S******: “What? What are you talking about?”

Swamp Thing: “There’s this club that we have to get to before it closes. I’ve heard it’s a really popular place these days.”

Putting my Rogue in gear I drove as quickly, and as cautiously as I could around the entire perimeter of the park we had just been enjoying our flick at. I stopped in the exact spot that I had been parked at when we were there just a few minutes earlier for our exquisite dinner at ‘The Park’.

S******: “What are we doing?”

Swamp Thing: “Going to this great club.”

S******: “Great club? We’re at the same park!”

Swamp Thing: laughing “No we’re not. What are you talking about? I’ve heard that this place is great. It’s called the Gazebo. But the G is silent. Come on, let’s go!”

Rushing out to the same gazebo we had just enjoyed our exquisite dinner at seven minutes earlier, there sat a metal container with a fresh bottle of spring water on ice, with two champagne glasses waiting for us. Cue background music by Ben Folds on my iPod for full effect. Pouring the water, I instigated yet another customary conversation with S****** and enjoyed the remainder of the fifteen minutes that I had left.

S******: “I will have to say, I’m pretty impressed that you threw all of this together at the last minute, especially because we have such a short amount of time tonight.”

Swamp Thing: “I know, if my flight for Morocco wasn’t leaving in two minutes and 45 seconds, I think this night could have gone a lot better.”

And with that, I looked at my watch again, let out a yelp of surprise, and rushed S****** back to the car just in time to drop her off on her porch before my car turned back into a pumpkin.

S******: “We’ll have to do this again sometime.”

Swamp Thing: “For sure. Only next time, I hope you’ll give me more than just fifteen minutes.”

A quick hug, a split-second glimpse at each others lips, and I was back in my car as she shut the door behind her. It was a great date I thought as I drove off to catch the flight to Morocco that was waiting for me in my apartment bedroom. Some of the best fifteen minutes that $7.48 can buy in this troubled world that we live in. I would have enjoyed the night carrying on, but then again, she told me that she only had a short amount of time that night to spend with me.

Now you may be wondering dear reader, did she call back? Was she amazed? Did the sparks fly hot enough that there was reason enough to be a second date between the two of us?

Apparently not.

And the reason is that girls don’t want Ted Mosby’s like me. Girls don’t want to be swept off their feet in a hurry and be romanced like the dread pirate Roberts in a black mask. Girls these days are content with being treated like a 12 oz. porterhouse stuffed away watching B-list movies while the man gets whatever gratification that he needs. Girls are no longer treated like the queens that they should be. And when a charismatic, exciting, respectful man shows up to their door to give them the best fifteen minute courtship of their life, they delete it and restock their dating experiences with dinners at Applebee’s and 1 am booty calls.

Back to the drawing board I guess. We’ll see what the next fifteen minutes are like.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Will My Nephew Still L-word Me?

So what the curse word am I supposed to buy an eight-year old nephew for his belated birthday present?

I haven’t the slightest clue.

For full effect download “Nature Of The Experiment” by Tokyo Police Club and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post. Don’t know what that song is, well neither do I. It just sounded like a good fit for the confusion I’m dealing with as I stare at a never-ending aisle full of dolls and robots.

It’s been almost a decade now since the roles were reversed and I was the recipient of awkward gifts from my Uncles, and for the life of me I can’t remember a solid birthday present received from any one of them. In fact, the only present that I can remember getting from any of my Uncles was when one of them asked me to come and get a “surprise” from his car. As I opened the trunk, I was greeted with two items that I couldn’t understand.

Crazy Uncle: “So you like em?”

Ten-year old Swamp Thing: “Umm…What are they?”

Crazy Uncle: “They’re ski poles you big lush. Come on now, these are some great things.”

Ten-year old Swamp Thing: “Ski poles? Oh, I see now. How come they’re taller than me? And are there any skis, helmets, a coat, mittens, or anything else to go along with them?”

Crazy Uncle: “Nope, just the poles. Happy Birthday, buddy!”

Dad: “What do you say to your Uncle?

Ten-year old Swamp Thing: “Uh…thanks for re-gifting?”

Flash back to my current self staring blankly down the toy aisle at Wal-Mart, dazed and confused at what a kid his age would want, or need for full enjoyment. Maybe I could get him a remote control helicopter? Nah, those things are stupid. You never learn how to control them and they just fly in circles for about three seconds. What about a Miley Cyrus t-shirt, would he like that? Wait, that wouldn’t be good. He probably thinks girls still have cooties, and when did I ever wear a t-shirt with a popular teenage girl singer on it? Yeah, never.

Kids these days are so hard to please. It’s like you give them one heartfelt gift, and they give you a look of disgust, reminding themselves to never remind this lunatic when the celebration of their origin is. See, back in my day we only had… Wait, did I just say the phrase ‘back in my day’? Am I getting to the point of no return? The moment where my hair will start falling out and I’ll be wearing flannel pants held up with suspenders? The point where I’ll only be talking about tax returns and unsubsidized mortgages? Am I getting…old?

Lord have mercy on my ever-dilating mental calendar that’s showing no signs of slowing down.

Down the aisle a redneck wannabe grandmother in a blue vest and nametag is giving me the evil eye for standing in the same spot holding a Nerf dart gun in one hand and a mini cardboard basketball hoop in the other, weighing the options in my mind as to which would be the better present, and what would make him like me more.

Inner Swamp Thing Voice: “If I give him the basketball hoop, then he thinks that I want to play sports with him more, and he’ll like me for that. But if I give him the nerf gun, he may like me even better because I’m on his side for thinking his sister is a weirdo, and have now supplied him with ammunition to silence her. Which one is better?!”

I’ve been at an impasse in the Wal-mart in Tooele for almost half an hour now debating what’s the best gift to give. And honestly, in Tooele, that’s probably the best form of recreation available for me with a couple of hours to kill out here. You know now that I think about it, if I’m having a hard time figuring out what kind of meaningless present to buy my nephew, how daunting of an obstacle will I be facing if I have to decide my own child’s name, or school, or location to live?

A rush of fear/urine rolls down the bottom of my left pant leg as I walk out of Wal-Mart with the Nerf gun in hand. I’m going to be an awful parent.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Holy Hallmark!

Seated behind me a girl has exchanged the sound of her laughter with the mating call of an Arctic Narwhal.

Have I mentioned how curse-wording cold it is up here in Northern Utah? Seriously, I’m bundled up in a parka, long johns, a flannel blanket, and my snowboarding gear every night before I go to bed, and still feel like I’ve caught a hint of hypothermia mixed with pneumonia when I wake up in the mornings. How can you people live like this? St. George is the place to be. I’ll take triple digits in June over single digits in November any day of the week.

For full effect, download the Zeus-awful film “Frozen” from iTunes and watch following the reading of the previous paragraph. Might I add that my wonderful Mother actually assisted with the production of that movie, hauling around chopped off limbs and everything.

Along with the icy tundra shag carpet that has been bitterly greeting my feet for the past eight days, there is something else that I’ve been patiently putting up with day after day. That kids, is the worst of the worst of the worst. I’m talking about Hallmark channel movies.

Yeah, I know. You can go ahead and let out a blood-curdling scream of sympathy for me. I need it.

For those avid readers of Randomity, you may have read in the past about my black-hearted, anti-human, evil-gobbling creature of a landlord, also known as my Grandmother. What, did that sound too insensitive, too callous, too vindictive? Well, you play cards with this malicious maiden and see if you think that she actually has a soul. She doesn’t. Don’t believe me? Read my blogpost about her and you’ll see what I mean.

Despite her ruthless actions with a deck of cards in hand, for some reason this perplexing woman has a passion that she just can’t seem to get enough of; Hallmark movies. I know, crazy, right? How can a woman who would turn away a puppy wearing kitty-covered pajamas in a basket laced with daisies with Kenny G playing in the background want to watch these pathetic renditions of what the world during the holidays isn’t like at all? I have no idea.

Hallmark movies are some of the most sappy, overdramatized, Kleenex-stuffing creations that we have ever been forced to witness. They’re the kinds of films that you only would watch at 3 am when you’re getting intoxicated on Nyquil and suffering from food poisoning in a hotel in Portland. They are the punishment for a very great actor starring in a very bad film.

Al Pacino’s mother: “For the next three months you have to make three Hallmark movies!”

Al Pacino: “Aww, come on Mom, why? What’d I do?”

Al Pacino’s mother: “You know darn well what you did. That’s what you get for being in ‘Jack and Jill’. No one stars in an Adam Sandler movie and gets away with it. Now go to your room and read the script for ‘A Christmas Never Forgotten.’ Your agent is negotiating with Hallmark right now.”

Al Pacino: “Fine! I’m going to that studio and I’m NEVER coming out!”

Yesterday I walked in to the living room and witnessed my Grandmother soaking in what appeared to be hour 37 of the Hallmark movie marathon. There were boxes of Kleenexes and empty popcorn bags scattered around. She was wiping her eye shadow on her nightgown meanwhile Patricia Heaton was getting taught a valuable life lesson that she as a big time news reporter should seriously pay attention to the children supporting her, and take guidance from the lessons that she can learn from everyone around her.

Cue heart-warming/gut-wrenching piano solo in the background as a single tear rolls down Patricia Heaton’s cheek when she comes to the realization that life is more than the money we make. Life is more than the fast cars that we drive. Life is about…sniff, sniff, all of us.

Cue flood of emotions rolling down my Grandma’s cheeks as she emptied yet another box of tissues and wiped away her mascara, blowing her nose and being overwhelmed by emotion, having yet another Hallmark movie teach her about the true…sniff, sniff, meaning of life.

Cue me dialing up the local mental health facility and asking in the most polite voice possible if I could be taken away wearing a strait jacket.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Shane Willard Award

Mankind overall strives for accolades, for honor, and for bronze statues with their names carved into the bottom. There are the Oscars, the Emmys, the Pulitzer Prizes, a whole slew of awards that we all strive to attain.

Growing up, I always wanted to win the Shane Willard award.

For full effect, download “Good Question” by Wayne Gratz, and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post.

When I was nine years old, the Willard family moved in next door. Honestly, they are some of the most generous, most good-natured, most forgiving people that I have ever had the privilege of meeting while on this great Earth. And if you think growing up that you had better next-door neighbors, well you’re wrong. And I will punch you square in the kidneys for making such a false assertion. The Willards are pure next-door neighbor gold I tell you.

I looked up to all of them. From the parents, Tim and Laura, to all of their children, every one of them were incredible people to me. But I most admired their oldest son Shane, who in my opinion was the cookie-cutter model of what a young man should try and be like.

As an eleven-year old such as myself saw it, Shane Willard had everything going for him. He was athletic, good-looking, very spiritual, funny, charismatic, all the ladies loved him, including every one of my older sisters. For being six years older than me, he was who I looked up to as a role model, somebody who I wanted to try and strive to become. It was because of him that I came up with the Shane Willard award.

12-year old Colby Davis: “What’s the Shane Willard award?”

11-year old me: “It’s this award that I’m going to subconsciously bestow upon someone who I think almost lives up to the awesomeness that Shane Willard has. If I think that there’s a man that comes close to how incredible that he is, I’ll mentally give that person the Shane Willard award.”

12-year old Colby Davis: “Hmm… So why are we best friends again?”

11-year old me: “Good question.”

Since then I have come in contact with some very chiseled, very honorable men, and I have looked up to and admired them for being who they are. Not just when everyone was watching them, more importantly when everyone wasn’t. Over the years the list has been compiled and added on to whenever I thought I found those incredible, respectable guys. I’m talking about legends such as Dan Hoover, Nathan Plowman, Casey Chipp, Clinton Merrill, Nate Thompson, Tyler Albright, all of them are heroes I tell you, despite the fact that they may all be from the borough of Roy.

Keep in mind that this is just a subliminal award that I made up to recognize the young men that I admired; there is no plaque, or trophy, or certificate to be handed out to these fellows to formally acknowledge their greatness. But that’s the thing, they don’t need any kind of physical recognition whatsoever. Their humility would put any kind of crown in the backseat just so they could serve the people surrounding them. They are all that amazing.

A couple of days ago I was minding my own business in line at Zupas eagerly waiting the moment where I would be shoveling a BBQ pulled pork sandwich down my throat followed by a chaser of Lobster Bisque when out of the blue, a familiar voice called out from behind me. Turning around I saw the man who I had admired for all these years, the man who I had theorized an exemplary fictional award for, THE Shane Willard.

We talked and caught up for a few minutes before I had to get back to work, and as I listened, I knew that he was still the same great man. The same athletic, good-looking, very spiritual, funny, charismatic guy who is now adored by a beautiful wife and kids. Walking out the door into the cold northern Utah weather, a little self-check button went off in my mind as I evaluated where I’m at in my life now, and where I am headed. As I stared into my rearview mirror the one thing I asked myself was if I ever was, or will be deserving enough to be a recipient of the Shane Willard award.

Good question.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Das Langfristige

Cue current self walking into 6th period German at Roy Junior High School, September 10th, 1996.

Current Self: “Hey, kid! You see your teacher sitting over there at his desk?”

Past Self: “Herr Adams? The teacher that just threw a pack of Black Forest Gummy Bears at Scott Buxton for talking too much? The same guy that makes fun of me for being elf Jahre alt?” (For the record, that’s German for eleven years old).

Current Self: “Yeah, him. In about 16 years or so, you’re gonna run a triathlon with him and his daughter, just thought I would give you a heads up. So be respectful of the guy, would ya?”

Past Self: “Really? Isn’t his daughter in like first grade or something?”

Current Self: “That’s beside the point. Also, make sure and keep track of who you’re sending a breakup text message to. That will save you some grief.”

Past Self: “Text message? What’s that?”

For full effect, download “Macarena” by Los Del Rio, and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post. My reasoning for that song is that was the number one hit during my 7th grade year as a Roy Junior Razorback. Sad, I know.

Cut back to this morning at 8:57 am with current self standing in what felt like single-digit temperature at the starting gate of the Weber State Turkey Tri. Herr Adams and his daughter Courtney just as bundled up as myself wondering what the curse word possessed us to strap a timer to our ankles and pay $40 for some type of sub-zero competition. Due to the fact that Jack Frost decided to empty his insides all over the Wasatch Front for the past 36 hours, this morning’s affair was actually a duathlon, not a triathlon. They had to scrap the bike portion for fear that clip-in pedals and slick road tires would cause a fiasco of accidents all over Weber State’s campus.

Can I repeat how butt-clenching cold it was out there this morning? Seriously. And all of you wonder why I’ve been calling St. George my home for the past eight and a half years. It’s because I L-word the fact that I can wear basketball shorts outside in January, or November, or August for crying out loud. Also, I L-word the fact that when I go for a run in the winter, it doesn’t feel like someone is pouring liquid nitrogen down my windpipe.

That’s how it felt this morning.

Despite the fact that I couldn’t feel the lower half of my body for a solid half hour, it was still a good experience. And yes, there may have been three dozen or so fellow runners in the pool who forgot that the crawl is a much faster stroke than the doggy paddle, I still had a good time sloshing through the lanes dodging elbows and stinky feet. It’s a good thing the swimming leg was at an indoor pool; if not, the great Richard Briggs might be typing up my obituary instead.

Overall it was a great morning. With the snow floating down, and the overripe bananas being shoveled down after it was all over, I sure did enjoy being a part of the Weber State Triathlon club’s event, despite the fact that I have never had any affiliation with that institution in any form whatsoever in my entire life.

After it was all over, we sat in the bleachers and listened to a giant overstuffed turkey raffle off water bottles and keychains. I did get a sliver sentimental looking to my left and seeing a great teacher from back in the day sitting next to me with his daughter, all of us feeling a sense of accomplishment for being fit enough to complete an event like this. It’s memory-logged blogposts like this that make me realize that my life is truly “das Beste”.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

They're Kind Of A Big Deal

For the record, the names that you are about to read in this upcoming story are all actual people, people who literally exist. Their identities however may have been slightly embellished, just a tad. I would also like to point out that the entire conversation below is verbatim, word for word. None of this story is made up.

Cue rambunctious senior with a bottle of Accutane hanging out of her backpack approaching my table this afternoon.

Her: “Hi, what’s your state bird?”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Her: “It says that you are from Dixie State, I just want to know what your state bird is? Do you know?”

Me: “Well, it says Dixie State College of Utah, and since we’re in Utah, I would say that our state bird is the California Seagull.”

Her: “But it isn’t. It should be something else. You know, because your banner says that you’re from Dixie State. The state of Dixie isn’t the state of Utah, so that means that you should have a completely different bird.”

Me: “I’m not quite following you on this one.”

I was then given a four-minute rhetoric on why state birds are so important, and that I should think of a flying creature to best represent Dixie State and it’s entire culture. Her logic was that in order to be firing on all cylinders when I’m on the road selling my product, I needed to have an independently loyal bird to back me up.

Her: “Maybe something like a pigeon.”

Me: “A pigeon?”

Her: “Yeah, you know about pigeons right?”

Me: “Uh…I uh…”

She then preceded to give me an eight-minute rundown on the history of the pigeon, and why they are some of the most beautiful creatures that mankind is privileged to have as a part of their lives; everything from the white rings around their necks, all the way to the little pronged feet that they cling to telephone wires with. This girl L-worded pigeons more than she probably loved chocolate.

Her: “One day, I want to make a statue of a bronze pigeon, sitting on the shoulder of a bigger pigeon. And then have live pigeons sit on the shoulders of the statue. Wouldn’t that be awesome?”

Me: “You mean like a pige-ception?”

Her: “A pige-ception? What do you mean?”

Me: “Never mind.” It’s just the movie man inside me talking.

From this point the young student went on to ask me probably every single question possible about Dixie State College admissions. From class sizes, to tuition costs, to programs offered, to school colors, to mascot name, to the record of our women’s tennis team in 2008, and everything else in between. You think of a question about Dixie State, and this girl tossed it my direction. Near the end of my inquisition, she threw me a curveball that in the three years that I’ve been doing this job, I have never been asked before.

Her: “So tell me who are some famous people that have graduated from your school?”

Me: “Uh…I’m sorry, say that again?”

Her: “Who are some of the most famous, most recognized and renowned alumni to have graduated from your college, and what are they known for?”

For a split second I sat there as a deer in the headlights, a rush of names blurring across my tongue, stupefied by the idea that none of the “famous people” would make an impact in helping this girl decide my institution over another. And then it hit me, a whole slew of souls who are some of the finest products that Dixie State College has ever had to offer.

Me: “Well, there’s Drew McIntrye, C.J. Ferguson, Carlie Adams, Josh Sine, Quin Monson, and Brett Schwartz to name a few.”

Her: “Really, who are they? Like, what have they done?”

Me: “Well Drew McIntyre and Josh Sine own a multi-million dollar restaurant chain that they started in St. George right after they graduated. Quin Monson received his PhD in Theology, and teaches at the University of Utah. Brett Schwartz is the C.E.O. of a multi-million dollar consulting firm called Ebony Industries.”

Her: “Really, he is? I think I’ve read about them.”

Me: “Yeah, just don’t mispronounce his companies name. Um, C.J. Ferguson is a country music artist who actually performs nationwide under the alias of The Rhinestone Cowboy. And Carlie Adams has made a fortune as a renowned blogger for helping mothers work through the difficulties of raising their children. She’s actually married to one of the most highly decorated dual-sport athletes to ever play college sports, Brett Adams. They are all very talented, very famous graduates of Dixie State College.”

Her: “You know, now that I hear their names, they do sound very familiar. I’ve probably heard about their success before.”

Me: “I’m sure you have.”

And with that, the pimple-faced Pigeon lover grabbed one of my applications and started to fill out a potential destination for her future in regards to higher education. A whisk of a pen, an exchange of transcripts, and she was on her way, meanwhile I sat in chagrin at the 14-minute conversation that had just taken place. The celebrity alumni that I described to her may in fact just be a group of young specks that are on the tail end of entry level positions in the admissions office of Dixie State College, but in that moment, to me, and to the pimple-faced pigeon lover, those people were legends.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The End of the Road

Crazy that I can write a blog moving in the air at 30,000 feet while traveling at 740 miles an hour. The fact that I'm able to beam my words from an iPad, to an orbiting satellite in the sky, down to your own computers or cell phones or any other electronic device that you're using to waste life away on Facebook or Pinterest is unheard of. 20 years ago if I were to try and explain this concept of the advances in technology to my former self, past Brock would have slapped future Brock upside the head and had him committed to a loony bin.

Seated to my left is a mid-life crisis just about the size of me, who's trying to somehow cross his legs on an airplane the size of a tuna can with wings. He's invaded my bubble so much I've been forced to pluck this post one handed the entire flight. Hey, muttonhead, get out of my bubble! Funny, the guy is so caught up in himself he has no idea that I'm ridiculing him to pieces while seated next to him. He's so caught up in his cranberry cocktail and John Grisham novel he is unaware that some 100 people will know of his spatial inequities by the end of the night.

15 days have come and gone in what appears to be a blink of an eye. In between continental breakfasts, air terminals, morning dry heave sessions, mid-sized rental cars, emptied Mt. Dew bottles, undertipped waiters, hotel treadmills, performing beggars, bombed tests, missed exits, dead iPods, and recycled admissions responses, I have had my fill with life on the road, in the air, behind a booth, and everything that goes on in between.

Swamp Thing: "So what do you want to go into for a major?"

Every third Boise/Portland/Seattle Senior: "Umm, I'm thinking like Criminal Justice or Forensic Science, do you offer either one of those?"

Swamp Thing: "Can I ask, is your favorite TV show CSI, NCIS, or Dexter?"

Every third Boise/Portland/Seattle Senior: "Yeah, I love all three, how'd you know?"

Swamp Thing: "Lucky guess."

I should have explained to them that going into Criminal Justice is not going to turn them into LL Cool J, or Mark Harmon examining the motives for a murder investigation, or conducting an in-depth blood splatter analysis, but my job is not to trash a kid's demented dreams with a harsh dose of reality, and what life really is like for Criminal Justice majors. My job is to sell a product I believe in; opportunity. And if a farmer's son in Twin Falls has an expectation to be an accomplice to Michael C. Hall examining a killer's tactics, who am I to kick his expectations in the nuts and leave him groveling in the gutter?

Interesting how our expectations of what life will be like, and how it actually does turn out, are two completely polar opposite scenarios.

A few months ago I wrote a post discussing the harsh contrast between what we as humans expect to happen, and the reality of what actually does happen. Life is so jacked up with all of its twists and turns, that we have a better chance of winning the Publishers Clearinghouse than knowing what will happen next. Life is that consistently inconsistent. But those inconsistencies are what make it beautiful

This trip in itself did not turn out how I expected it to. The outcomes of certain situations played out almost in the complete opposite direction than I had planned. You would think that I would be used to that by now. You would think that all of us would be relying on that counterfeit consistence at this point in our lives. Sadly though I'm banking on the fact that both you and I are not used to the conglomeration of confusion that we face every single day.

Funny how life is never what we expect it to be.

We're beginning our descent into Bronco country, also known as Boise. The Nazi stewardess is giving me a dirty look from the aisle for not turning off my iPad, meanwhile the cocktail Grandpa in seat 11C is practically spooning me mid-paragraph, I'm thinking it's about time to sign off. There's a five-hour drive awaiting me once we touch down, which will be followed by Round 2 of Year 3 of my life as a traveling salesman. Again, not what I expected, but I do L-word my life. Expectations tell me that I'm nearing the end of the road for this job. Reality however, always says something different.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Solo in Seattle

I want to fall in L-word with a girl who will fall in L-word with the city of Seattle with me.

For full effect, download "Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want" by The Smiths and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post.

Before I begin I would like to make a formal, legal announcement that I bequeath to Drew McIntyre every pair of athletic training shorts that I have ever sweat to shreds either on the basketball court, a Crossfit workout, or on a long distance run. You ornery little sucker, upset that I didn't include you in my will? Well that's the best I can offer, I told you I'm a man of few possessions. Enjoy those regurgitated articles of sweat every time you play noon ball without me.

Walking the streets of Seattle I will say that I have met some of the most eccentric characters possible.

Deranged Nomad: "Two minutes son, and I'm gonna kick your ***. You can't fool me, I've got eyes in the back of my head. I'm watchin' you son. I'm watchin' you."

Oberlin College Rep: "Was he talking to me or you?"

Swamp Thing: "I think me. I made fun of his Mom four blocks ago, he's been muttering that ever since."

Oberlin College Rep: "Are you serious?"

Swamp Thing: "No ma'am, I'm just a sarcastic bastard. That man is a random lunatic wandering the streets."

Honestly this is one of the most beautiful places to have ever been constructed. You've got Pike's Place Market, the Space Needle, and hey, I think I just saw the worlds tallest midget. No lie, his body had dwarfish proportions and everything. The only difference is that he's about 5'2". Dang! What more does this city have to offer?

Seriously though Seattle is divine, everything about it. In between the smell of fresh fish being tossed at the Market, the hippies with dreds wearing UW sweaters, and the never ending overcast drizzle that's a benchmark for Meteorologists in this area, all of this town is beautiful. To my left a homeless guy on the corner just rolled, licked and lit up...a sandwich, yeah, a sandwich kids, that's what it is. So what though, I don't care. This place is a hidden gem.

I will say that the only drawback to this entire town is that I'm only sharing these experiences with a blogpost. That's it. The midnight showing of Cloud Atlas I enjoyed last night, the panoramic pics I took at the Space Needle overlooking the skyline, listening to the man with a saxophone doing a Kenny G impersonation outside the Cheesecake Factory, all of those memories are mine and mine alone. No one else's.

A little bit of a dark lining on the clouds rolling into my version of Seattle, Washington I know, but such is life.

I had lunch with a first-rate fella yesterday, and we talked at great lengths about the lives we live as single salesmen of higher education. We talked about the girls we have and the girls we have not, potential mates that have traversed in and out of our lives over the years, and the frustrations that have evolved from being young bucks on the road all of the time.

Jo: "I really don't care where I end up. Whether it's here, or New York, or Boston, it doesn't really matter. As long as I have someone with me, I'll go wherever life takes me."

Amen buddy, amen. If the next stop on my ride through life is the Emerald City, I'm praying that I'll have someone else to share it with me.

Friday, November 2, 2012

My Last Will and Testament

Sitting in an airport terminal at 5:25 in the morning is not my idea of a dream vacation.

Between 1983 and 2000, there were 568 plane crashes worldwide. Out of the collective 53,487 people that were onboard, 51,207 survived, over a 90% survival rate. As I pulled up the covers in my hotel room merely four and a half hours ago, I shuffled through the channels to find a soothing flick that would coax me into a quick forty winks of rest. For some reason, I stopped on the Sy-Fy channel where Final Destination was playing. Now I don't bring this up having any demonic predictions that my plane won't make it to Seattle this morning, however if for some lunatic coincidence that does happen, let this be a legal document willing away my life's possessions.

To my best friend Niels, I leave you with every stinky pair of basketball shoes that I have ever owned since college, just as a reminder of how sweaty of a beast I was in the post.

To Keith Tronic, I leave you with my pre-paid membership to Costco. I know you're obsessed with that place. Have a seat in the wicker-woven patio furniture and enjoy an almond covered chocolate bar on my behalf.

To the Rhinestone Cowboy, I leave you my bike, my goggles, and all of my running shoes. I thank you in behalf of getting me involved in the most hippocratic addiction I have ever encountered in my entire life.

To Richard Briggs, I leave you with my four sexy suits and my entire beautiful tie collection. Remember to always suit up and continue searching for that girl with the yellow umbrella.

To Jeremiah Rawson, I leave you the cane that I purchased in North Carolina that secretly has a machete hidden inside of it. It's probably the manliest most debonair item that I own, rightfully so, you'll treat it well.

To Trisha and Jessica, I leave you an unopened carton of rocky road ice cream that's still sitting peacefully in my freezer. Enjoy it with a side of milk, just for me.

To Scott Wimmer, I leave you with my entire Upper Deck Basketball card collection, some 6,000 members running strong. Hold on to those things, one day that Cedric Ceballos Rookie card might be worth a solid $1.25.

To Liz Wallis, I leave you the rights and ownership of my newest yet to be created blog, Run with it Liz, I think that nutcase can really go places.

To Robbie Morrison, I leave you my snowboard and all of my winter gear. Take good care of it as you go shred the gnar every winter from here on out.

To Bryan Uhri, I leave you my iPod, my MacBooks, my iPhone, my iPad, and anything else created by Apple so that you can go burn them in a field somewhere. I know you hate this company more than I hate the state of Michigan.

To my little sister Jazmin, I leave you anything I own that is related to Ohio State. All of my hats, shirts, jerseys, mini helmets, keychains, stickers, Buckeye necklaces, jackets, decorative pins, Brutus bobbleheads, all of it. At least someone with the last name Bybee needs to keep cheering on the Buckeyes.

To Mike Langston, I leave you the two posters hanging on my walls, one of the hallowed Mr. Bryant, the other of the sacred Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Those two items of wall art have really taken me places.

To Holland Olsen, I leave with you my most prized possession. My seven life journals written from my senior year of high school up until this point. Someone out there must tell my story, nobody better at that than you.

To my wife, eh, who am I kidding...

If you're not on the list, don't think that I don't L-word you. I really do. It's just that a single 27-year old guy only has so many possessions that are worth two cents.

The attendant just called out general boarding for flight 2263 to Seattle, WA. Let's pray that I don't end up in the 10% group of people who forgot to put on their seatbelts.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Epitome of Average

It's a terminal moment when you come to the full realization that you are just as mediocre as the Joe Schmo sitting next to you.

Oh well, such is life.