Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Day Of Rest

Everyone has days in their life when a 90-hour workweek catches up to them and they give in to the snooze button that’s weighing down on their eyelids. 

A day when they are content with wearing nothing but sweat pants, and laying in bed with a bag of peanut butter M&M’s, catching up on the latest season of “The Big Bang Theory”.   

Days like these make the quarter mile walk home from church the only form of physical activity I will be performing whatsoever. 

And also make me not care one bit about writing a moving 900-word blogpost just to keep a smile on the faces of the handful of readers out there.   

Today is one of those days.  

Friday, June 28, 2013

This Is Why You Suck

A few days ago a dear friend of mine had a celebration on behalf of another candle being added to the birthday cake she blows out every year.  In between Olive Garden dinners, bags of chocolate, and a cheesy Wal-Mart card making jokes about her booty, I think it was an overall success for her turning the ripe old age of…

Wait, what am I doing?  That’s one of the cardinal rules of womanhood.  NEVER reveal her age. 

For full effect, download “Der Bluten Kat” by Umphrey’s McGee and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post. 

As the birthday evening was winding down there was a knock on her apartment door, and in walked a man who could be classified as, well, let’s see, what category would I put him in, a friendboy? Yeah, I think that would work.  A guy who is more than just a friend to her, but also not someone who is worthy of a changed relationship status.  Come on, we’ve all had a few of those in our lives, haven’t we?

As he waltzed in hours after all the birthday events had ended, to wish her congratulations and join the now almost dead festivities, he said he had a sweet present for her.  The Ted Mosby inside me expected something like an overly stuffed bouquet of red roses, or an authentically signed novel by her favorite author, or a cooler full of her favorite brand of ice cream driven all the way from Texas.  But instead, he gave her the cheapest rip-off gift any pinhead friendboy could think of, a handmade coupon book. 

Cue the roar of groans and headslaps from the audience.

What is this, Mother's Day, 1991? Come on man, you're killing me! For those of you who are unfamiliar with this cheap excuse of a present, the coupon book is essentially a beggar’s way of giving a gift.  It’s a few sheets of paper decorated with acts of service as well as some of the quirks that defines one’s relationship all sketched out in crayon, and I daresay every one of us has handed out one of these things before, right along with a polyester tie and a hand-stitched batch of oven mitts.

And then we all turned seven, and stopped being useless pieces of crap to our parents. 

For the record, I would like to issue yet another formal apology to the female gender on behalf of muttonhead schmucks like this who feel a few stapled pieces of construction paper with their handwriting on it constitutes a legitimate present for you.  Actions like these are what help me understand why so many of you ladies out there settle for the “projects” that litter the dating world every single day.  If a girl ever gave me one of these, there’s no question I would begin to consider batting for the other team.

Coupon Book Project: “Can’t you see, this one says ‘Good for one 15-minute back massage’.  I would hold on to that one.”

My Dear Friend: (forced laughter) “Oh thank you.  That is so sweet.”

Coupon Book Project: “And if you’re lucky, there is more where that came from. If you know what I mean.”

Cue perverted night stalker’s laughter from his end, and a whole slew of eyes being rolled from everyone else's.  This is just wrong.  Insensitive, disgraceful, and flat out cruel to anyone who has this forced upon them, especially my dear friend who had to sit through ten minutes of this joke. Gifts like this cue Ryan Reynolds’ character talking to himself in the flick “Just Friends” and stating as the camera zooms out, “You’re not worthy of a penis.”

To the coupon book buffoon in the room next to me, neither are you.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Where's My Diaper?

Last night I went to bed before 10 pm for the first time since 8th grade.  I think something is seriously wrong with me.

For full effect, download "People My Age" by John Gorka and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post.

Seriously though, I think Father Time is catching up to me.  And that is starting to make my undies a little bit soggy with trepidation.  THERE! I DID IT RIGHT THERE! I SAID THE WORD UNDIES! WHO SAYS UNDIES FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, JOAN RIVERS?! Who says soggy either?  That's an old person's term too.  Same with the phrase, "for crying out loud." What is happening to me?

And I'm not saying that just because my bedtime was before the sun went down yesterday that I am automatically qualified to be in the post-menopause club.  Wait, do guys have menopause too?  It has the word "men" in it, so I'm assuming they go through it as well.  But seriously, I am to the point in my life where I am actually thinking out my life scenarios, and adjusting the choices I make because of what is best "long-term" for me.  It's like I'm a walking retirement plan, or living a real Met-Life commercial.

Take for instance the other night when I got into a heated conversation with Keith Tronic about the advantages and disadvantages between having an FHA or a conventional home loan.  Those are discussions that only Ben Stein or any potential accounting majors would have, not this guy! But I had that discussion and I hashed out my reasoning for wanting a higher mortgage payment.  Listen to me, I'm saying phrases like "mortgage payment", I'm a mess!

And it's only getting worse.  My new favorite sport is golf. I fall asleep to reruns of "House Hunters" on HGTV. I began using an electric razor. Heck, I've even started to get my bowel movements to fall on a normal cycle.  That's right kids, I have come to the point in my life where I have established a regular schedule to poop. I am that old. And please, don't bother me in between 9:10-9:16 in the morning, I'll be occupied.

Vanessa: "He has a five year plan."

Big Daddy: "What is it, don't die?"

Yeah, that's me.  The one who Adam Sandler makes fun of for being geriatric.  The one who doesn't make little kid jokes about Viagra, but will probably be on a daily dosage of it instead.  The one who still thinks blogging is a cutting edge form of social media! I am at the end of my rope. Can someone out there please find me an estate planner, I think I am about to the point in my life where I need to have a legal, binding will in stock in case the man upstairs calls my number.  Either that or someone ship me to the nearest rest home, I'm ready to play bingo for six hours a day.
And as long as I can plan my poops, I'll be fine.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

After Midnight

You'll probably be calling me a hypocrite by the time you're finished reading this, but the best part is that I don't care at all.

For full effect, download "I Love It" by Icona Pop and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post. 

Due to the fact that it's Sunday, you may be looking for some positive/spiritually uplifting/tear-inducing post about the meaning of life and the invaluable lessons I’ve learned over the past week.  But this isn't one of those posts. This is one where I want you to imagine a slow-motion Lebron James hovering toward a basket, followed by a time-lapse scene of a broken street in Akron, Ohio, then followed by a sharp cut to black with a Nike swoosh giving you the motivation to go out and do something great in your life.

This is a post where the grumpy bear inside me slaps your ego upside the head.

I haven't seen a car on this street in 20 minutes. But then again, in a town full of Metamucil junkies who curse me out using only their gums, who says there is supposed to be any type of conscious activity when it's quarter to one in the morning?  At the same time, I don't care that I'm the only one awake enough to lace up a pair of New Balance runners. I don't care that in a normal world I should have dozed off to reruns of “Saturday Night Live” by now. I don't care that there isn’t anyone else out here with me keeping track of my pace every mile. I just flat out don’t care. 

But you?  You care a lot, don’t you?  You care about what people will think when they see that one picture your team posted after finishing the race, with the tagged line at the bottom saying you were there, you were a part of that honorable group of individuals. Or what about the hand-carved, copper-plated finisher’s medal you received with that little spinny thing in the middle that shows both sides of your accomplishment.  You care about people liking the picture you posted of that piece of rock with the caption, “Ragnar” just below it, so when they’re liking and commenting left and right you will think they have a voice in the back of their heads saying, ‘this kid is a badass.’ 

I often wonder what the real motivation is behind you signing up to be in a Spartan Race, or LOTOJA Competition, or any other one of those half-mustered group 5K’s that an obese Oompa Loompa could achieve record times in after having started training just after breakfast got over that morning.  Is it a memory you want to log in your journal later that night so you can brag to your future posterity about the athletic skill you once held?  Is it so you can feel the camaraderie with a bunch of other Associate-Degree seeking nimrods getting shocked in a mudpit by groups of hanging static wires in your faces?  Is it so you can arrogantly place a sticker on the back of your yellow mid-size SUV, so all of the lesser-qualified fairies in Dodge Calibers won’t be upset when you cut them off on the freeway, because after all, they should be amazed and owe you respect for what you accomplished.

And you wonder why the media is predicting narcissism to be a worldwide pandemic?

I come to a stop in the middle of the desert and have an unspoken moment with God that Steven Spielberg couldn’t dramatically recreate on film.  Being out here.  Alone.  After midnight. Moments like these are the real reason I keep lacing up my shoes.  Moments like these put a picture of a beach with some cheesy inspirational quote superimposed over the top of it to shame.  Moments like these are what I would consider my own personal motivation.  And no, I don’t care if you like or comment on this scene of my life on Facebook, because my self-gratification does not revolve around other people’s online pity.  

But that’s me.  My drive is not the same as yours.  And that’s fine, because really we are all wired just a tad bit differently.  My motivation is late-night runs all alone when no one else is watching that will put bags under my eyes and soreness in my joints when I’m collecting my retirement checks.  And yours may be mouse clicks on a picture that will be lost and forgotten in the archived world of Facebook in the years to come.  So what if you're a superficial prick who needs compensation by adding another Ragnar sticker to the back of your X-Terra, at least you’re doing something, right?  Whatever push you need to get off your apple fritter-coated butt and get out there and run, it doesn’t really matter.   

Just Do It.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Summer Has Lost Its Luster

Today marks the worst day of the year.

And no, this is not the Anniversary of when the Backstreet Boys released a mix album with New Kids on the Block, however that piece of music is a shame to humanity in itself.

For full effect, download “Tubthumper” by Chumbawamba and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post. 

Today is honestly the most pathetic, most gruesome, most dull-inspired day that we are all forced to endure every single year.  Today feels worse than getting a canker on the roof of your mouth after eating nine bowls of Cap’n Crunch.  It’s the day when using sandpaper as deodorant feels better than watching what Sportscenter is airing 24 hours a day.  It’s a day when true sporting events die, and we all have to try and stomach the hot days of summer with the joke of a game known as baseball. 

Ugggh, I think I might join a quilting club to make the days pass by it’s that stale.  Can somebody please buy me some fabric?

If you have paid attention to any form of media coverage online, on your TV, or on that little device that vibrates in your pocket, you may be familiar with last night being Game 7 of the NBA Finals between the San Antonio Spurs and the opponent that shall not be named.  It was a great contest with a certain team being crowned the champion, a slew of champagne bottles being uncorked left and right, and a 6’9” 245-lb. behemoth of a creature saying that he couldn’t wait to go to Disneyland. 

But after the festivities had stopped and the elationary cigarettes had fizzled out, we all had to face the fact that we would now have baseball forced down our throats for the next three months.  And not just one boring type of baseball, all boring types of baseball.  I’m talking Major Leagues, minor leagues, NCAA championships, Pan-Am challenges, Little League World Series, everything.  Yes that’s right, we are so bored in the summer we have the number one sports broadcasting network do around the clock coverage of a team who think girls still have cooties. 

Announcer: “As you can see, Johnny Cartwright is a heck of a pitcher for the team from Hampton, Virginia. He’s got a slider you wouldn’t believe.”    

Color Commentator:  “You’re right, and Johnny just got an “A” on his spelling test and has a pet frog named Optimus Prime, this kid is a dandy.” 

And you wonder why I think the sports world has lost its luster in the summertime?

By the way, have I mentioned that as of today, June 21, 2013, the Major League Baseball season has only played 71 games?  Yeah, that’s right, 71 games.  They’ve been playing for over two months now and haven’t even reached the halfway point. True story.  Major League Baseball plays 162 games a year.  That’s nine innings of crotch-sniffing, dirt-smudging, signal-calling boredom that the American public is forced to endure every single summer.  Baseball to me is worse than being strapped down in a hair salon and forced to watch a looping Sham-Wow infomercial.  It’s a crime I tell ya.  

The sad part is that there is nothing we can do about it.  The rest of professional sports in this country have all died out, crowning champions left and right, and have all moved on with their preparations for the upcoming seasons which can’t start soon enough. Meanwhile the rest of us are obligated to deal with a bunch of grown men wearing makeshift Halloween costumes playing a game evolved from cricket.  There is nothing else in the sports world worth wasting any more time and energy on.

Wait, what’s that?  The Stanley Cup playoffs aren’t finished?  You mean the real sports year isn’t over just yet?  Never mind then.  Cancel my reservation with the quilting club

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

You're A Freak Of Nature!

You: “Wait a minute, you blog? Oh my gosh, who does that anymore?”

Me: “Uh…this guy, and I’m awesome at it too, so shut your yapper.”

For full effect, download “Old Grand Dad” by Fats Waller and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post. 

Why do all of you think blogging is some form of ancient record keeping tactic that was created right after the Egyptians start chiseling out their hieroglyphic graffiti?  Give me a break people, are all of you just waking up to the digital orgy we’ve been living in since the Clinton Administration? I know, Weblogging is one of the first channels of social media, but just because I blog does not mean the first vehicle I ever owned was a pioneer handcart.  You’re throwing out way too many stereotypes here.  

You: “I’m so confused, you’re not a stay-at-home mother in her late twenties who writes posts about do-it-yourself garage sale ideas.  This doesn’t make any sense.”

You’re right, because when mulling over the terms and conditions that Blogger, or Wordpress or any other blogging site makes you agree to, the title rule says that any users of this program must have a minimum of three kids, have not put on makeup in the past six months, and have the physical and emotional ability to sync up their cycles. And yes, I lived in a household of women. I know what that phrase means. Believe it or not, there are a few male diamonds in the rough who know how to express their thoughts using a keyboard that are given full permission to blog.  And yes, I am one of those gems.     

You: “Wait, so if you’re not a woman, then do you blog to try and promote the latest fantasy/sci-fi novel/catastrophe that’s never going to be published?”

Does every single potential best-selling writer out there need to be categorized as someone with a blunder of an idea that they’re going to write the next Star Wars trilogy? No, I just like telling you the stories of my life that aren’t associated with a cosmic apocalypse.  Like the time I lied about being a schizophrenic on a blind date, or when I fooled my Grandma into believing I was gay.  These are the things that make you and me and everyone else laugh.  Just because they didn’t happen on a space station or in the not too distant future does not mean it’s a criminal offense to blog about them. 

You: “But you actually update your blog, like every other day.  Who does that?”

Umm, people who actually care about their blogs, which statistically speaking is less than 8.3% of the worldwide population.  I know that everyone else out there gets some kind of mid-life itching to accomplish something in their puny existence, which in turn leads to a rushed jumble of words with a few close-up photos of a beach scene with their husband and kids, only to be abandoned for six months when that mid-life itching starts up again and they feel the obligation to “update the old blog again”.  But hey, there are a few of us out there who know what we’re doing, are skilled at keeping you entertained for six minutes, and have more self motivation than a dehydrated camel to update our pages three times a week.  Yes, we exist. 

You: “Wait, so you’re telling me that you, a heterosexual man born in the 1980’s, who doesn’t yard sale hop in Park City every weekend, who isn’t showcasing the 19th book in his Inspector Spacetime series, who posts on a consistent basis every other day or so, likes to blog? And you’re not piss-poor awful at it either?”

Me: “Exactly. Just don’t ask my Grandma about the gay part.”

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Three Men And A Baby

For the most part I write this blog to do random rants on the quirkiness that defines our society, which in turn triggers a chuckle or two from your end and a “like” here and there on my Facebook page.  But really, this blog is more of my own personal journal to my future kids, helping give them an explanation as to who their Father is, and how much of a nutcase he was growing up.  Today, I’m not talking to all of you out there who read this blog hoping it will put a smile across your face and a tear in your eye.  Today I’m talking to my kids, and helping explain to them who my Father was. 

Or rather, who all three of them were.   

Kids, today marks the annual holiday filled with mushy Facebook shout outs, gift-wrapped Dewalt power drill sets, and ugly polyester ties from Shopko that most people think qualify as return favors to that certain male figure in their lives who used to read them bedtime stories.  By the way, I hope you never gave me a tie from Shopko.  You’ve seen the beautiful collection hanging in my closet, haven’t you?  For all of the countless nights I’ve spent reading to you, you owe me something better than that.      

Each one of the three men I’m going to tell you about played the part of “My Dad” at different times in my life, with all of them taking on a vital role in the shaping of my character.  Not many people can claim three different men for raising them, but then again, if you’ve read my story up to this point you know that my life is not a cookie cutter “Leave it to Beaver” 22-minute episode.  My story is an “Arrested Development” alien plotline with a Molotov cocktail thrown into the mix to turn it into a state of continual chaos. 

And these are the three men who narrated that story better than Morgan Freeman ever could.     

The first five years of my life were given to your Great-Grandfather, a man who would sit with me for hours in the front window and count out the passing cars and trucks in front of our house.  This is a man who would read books to me on his lap, take me up to the gas station to buy bags of M&M’s and would proudly showcase me as his own.  Legally, for the first five years of my life I really was his.  And I am certainly proud to say that I was.    

The baton was then passed on to a middle-aged Seminary teacher who fell in L-word with your Grandmother and decided to tie the knot with her just before I turned six. For some reason this man was genetically engineered with the ability to only make girls, (hence all of your Aunts), so in his eyes I was an added bonus in the deal for your Grandma’s hand.  I even remember sitting in the Copper Mill restaurant two weeks before their wedding, and him formally asking me if he could take her to be wed.  He was a classy man, I’ll tell you.  Respecting a five-year old’s claim on a woman.   

The last man on the list is your current Grandpa.  The first time I met him he farted in my face after eating a lunch at Pancho & Lefty’s.  That’s right kids, how many people can say their earliest memory of their Dad was when he flatulently relieved himself of the bean burrito he just ate for lunch?  For the first nine years I knew him he played the role of a substitute Father here and there, until he was officially given the title last winter.  But in all the years I’ve known him, the guy sure has done a Hell of a job being a Dad.

Over the years I tried to learn as much as I could from all three of them.  The first one taught me how to think, how to serve, how to shoot jumpshots, and how to love.  The second man gave me my work ethic, and explained how to give a four-star public speech without pissing my pants.  The last one helped me buy my first house, you know the one your mother and I first lived in.  He even helped give me the idea on how I should propose to your mother too.  On the surface he may seem a bit cranky, but deep down, he’s just a big softy. 

Everyone has memories they shared with their Fathers.  And a vast majority of those memories make you cringe in embarrassment.  For the record, I am not issuing some kind of formal apology for my outlandish and immature behavior that makes you feel ashamed about claiming me as your own Father. Like the time I smushed brownies in my teeth and smiled at your high school English teacher, or when I told your prom date that I’d have him arrested if he brought you back one minute after curfew.  Those are memories that I’m sure you’ll laugh about in years to come.

But as far as the memories I shared with my Fathers, well, those are just some of the best times of my life.  I remember when my Dad would take me to lunch at One Man Band or CafĂ© Rio and talk with me about the meaning of life.  Or when he wore his bright purple to suit to church on Mother’s Day.  Or how about when he drove 300 miles to help check me out of the hospital after I had my brain surgery.  Yeah, my Dads have been some great men, that’s for sure.   

Kids, I guess the point of all this is that I want you to know how lucky I have been in my life as far as who drew the task of raising me. These are men who I feel deserved the Father(s) of the year award every third Sunday in June.  If it weren’t for all three of them, I would not have been able to raise any of you at all.  And yes, biologically speaking none of them are my “actual” Father, but that doesn’t really matter now does it?  The real fact is that they were all great men, men who I honor and respect, who I love, and who I cherish.  And men whose shoes I am constantly trying to fill every single day.

All three of them I am proud to call my Dad. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

I Might Go Ballistic

Everyone has a pet peeve or two.

Whether it's which direction the toilet paper is supposed to unroll, people who forget how to use coasters, or the idiots behind you who won't shut their yappers while the rest of theater is trying to enjoy "Man of Steel".  There's a whole slew of things that drive us mad, drive us crazy, and push us to the point of grabbing fistfuls of our own hair and start charging angrily down the road in a naked hissy fit.

The one thing that pushes more of my buttons more than anything else though, are the lazy fools at Wal-Mart who think that a parking lot doubles as a valet service for their shopping carts.  For the love of everything that is holy people, make your obese ankles walk a few extra steps and return it to the designated area a whopping ten feet away from you.  Actions like this give further ammunition to the argument that mankind as a whole is decreasing its amount of intelligence.  

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Motivation For Hostages

Once history runs its course and future generations will have the chance to read the stories that make up the books of our lives, it will be a sad day when they get to the chapter where the characters we’re all playing come to the realization that nearly all of the decisions we make are contingent upon manufactured rectangles of paper that have dead guys' faces painted on them. 

For full effect, download “Sixteen Tons” by Merle Travis, and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post. 

At some point every one of us will have to face the semi-depressing reality that the choices we make are primarily driven and controlled by money.  That sounds like the plotline to an accountant’s version of George Orwell’s “1984”, but it’s the honest truth.  Money is what binds us.  It’s what drives us.  It’s the motivating factor behind 90% of the decisions we make.  And sadly, we are all victims of a monetary-driven pandemic that’s been around since Jacob bought out Esau’s birthright. 

Think about it.  Where we live, where we eat, what we drive, what color pair of Crocs we’re going to buy, all of these decisions are based off the number one factor being how much bling bling we’re gonna bring bring.  And yes, that last sentence is a white man’s version of trying to use inner-city slang for comedic effect, but don’t go judging me too harshly.  Every single material thing that makes up your personality was at one point or another purchased by some form of currency. That last statement scares the Tom’s Deli Sandwich I had for lunch right out of me. 

EVERYTHING revolves around money.  And yes, I all-capped the first word of this paragraph just to get through your thick skull how petrified I am by this concept.  The next 50 years of my book will be decided largely by either a vast collection, or on the opposite side a depressing lack, of money.  Every last detail of my life will be written by this factor.  Any job I take, any house I buy, any car I purchase, any girl I decide to settle down with, these are all decisions that have money playing a key variable as to whether or not the equation will make any sense.    

I’ll even ask you, why are you doing the things that you are doing right now?  Just think about it for a second and go ahead and stew over that for a few minutes.  Why?  Why are you going to school?  Or why did you just sell your car? Why is she wanting to be a nurse?  Why did he interview for that job? Why is that couple deciding not to have kids for a few years?  Why the heck do I want to get a PhD?

For money.  All of these decisions are made because of money. 

Some of you out there will take the opposite side of this argument and say that your decisions aren’t entirely decided off money, and that you make choices based on your innermost personal wants and desires in life.  But if you say that, you’re about as honest as O.J. Simpson.  And if you’re not seeing my side of things by the end of this blog, well you’re just as foolish as him too.   

You can make pathetic attempts of slanting your perspective all you want and try to swallow some placebo-like justification that money isn’t what runs and rules your daily actions.  But don’t kid yourself.  That small plastic rectangle with 16 engraved numbers sitting in your pocket is the real reason you get up every morning.  It’s what controls your actions from Point A to Point B.  It’s the vice-like grip on your subconscious pair of nuts that’s keeping you in check.       

I’m baffled.  And angry.  And frustrated.  And scared to death that my life, and your life, and every other cornbread-fed sucker’s life out there has been forged, molded, and now revolves around money.  That we live, we breathe, we eat, and we die, all for money.  That the choices I make, the career paths I walk down, the relationships I nurture or extinguish, that every single ounce of my existence is being held hostage by a subliminal briefcase keeping tally marks on whether I’m in the red or in the black. 

Is this real life?  Is this what you and I will be working towards for the next fifty years?  

You tell me. 

I don't know what else is.  

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Talking to Strangers

If you’re looking for some sarcastic rant about me being single, then you might want to just close your browser window now.  I think this might be one of those “feel good” posts that’s so emotionally charged it would make Nick Saban tear up.  Sorry to disappoint.

For full effect, download “Welcome Back” by John Sebastian, and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post. 

I had the chance to catch up with an old college buddy this past weekend, a man who I haven’t seen or talked to in over nine years.  (Seriously, stop reading at the end of this sentence, it’s only going to get mushier from here on out, I promise you).  He and I were a pair of chummy roommates back in the day when the Governator had just been elected and “Crank Yankers” was a popular show on Comedy Central.  I am that old, I know.

It’s been nearly a decade since we have really had the chance to catch up with one another and relive the old times we used to share “back in the day”.  Normally, long spaces of time like that make conversations with former friends as awkward as forgetting your girlfriend’s last name in the middle of a prayer, but for the two of us, we hadn’t missed a beat.  As Forrest Gump would say, ‘we was peas and carrots’.

For over an hour and a half we sat and talked with each other.  About life.  About relationships. About careers.  About dirty pictures.  He told me about his cross-country escapades building churches, with his wife and kid along for the ride.  I told him about turning down blind dates and having my head professionally sliced open.  For 90 minutes we sat there on a warm summer night, the sun setting behind us, with the reception buzzing all around about the newlywed couple, and us just drinking blue lemonade and relishing in the lessons we have learned in the years we’ve spent on our own.  I know that’s a cheesy line, but hey, I warned you.

At the end of the night we exchanged bear hugs, and vowed to do a better job of staying in touch.  In the back of our minds though, we both knew that wasn’t true. We wouldn’t stay in touch.  He had his life in California playing the role of one hell of a husband and father, and I would stay here in St. George, continuing my evolution as a 6’4” big kid who still laughs at “That’s what she said” jokes.  I hate to admit it, but without Facebook I wouldn’t know he even existed anymore.

I know what you’re thinking, this sounds like a semi-depressing post about the empty feelings of former friendships being treated like a bag of used condoms, but that’s not the point of this at all.  The real giddy feeling I had as I drove home that night was that I knew he was one of my truest friends, a man who has more value in my mind than my Netflix account.  If I can be away from a buddy since the Bush Administration, and then meet up with him and pick right back up our unfinished late night conversations about “The Matrix” trilogy, then yeah, he’s a winner in my book. 

The best part of all of this is that I know you have people like this in your own life.  You have BFFFOMWYDNTSUTOFBEOM, or as kids older than 17 would put it, “Best Friends Forever From Other Mothers Who You Don’t Need To Suck Up To On Facebook Every Other Month”.  You have those people in your life who you can ignore for a decade, and then randomly meet up and finish each other’s Moons Over My Hammy during late night Denny’s binges. And when you realize who they are, they’ll make your life that much sweeter. 

So just sit back, close your eyes, listen to the last few chords fade out of that one song you were supposed to download at the beginning of this post, and revel in the fact that you have a handful of strangers scattered out there who fit you like an old glove, and pray to high heaven that you’ll randomly bump into them at backyard wedding receptions.  Because I’m telling you, those will go down as some of the best nights of your life.   

Friday, June 7, 2013

She's Out Of Your League

Let this be a proclamation to any member of the male gender that is searching earnestly for a potential mate.

Stay away from my little sister Jade, ya hear?

Now don’t be confused, this isn’t the part where the overprotective big brother inside me takes you into my office, shows off the collection of dead animal trophies littering my walls while I massage my .357 Magnum and warn that if you ever make this little girl of mine cry, I swear to high heaven I will break a bone in your body for every tear that she weeps.  No, it’s actually the complete opposite.  I’m doing this because I feel you need a word of warning about going after my little sister.  Because I’m telling you, this girl is only a shopping cart full of troubles. 

And when I say troubles, I mean that there is no way in frozen Hell you are going to keep up with her.  For instance, say when you go out in public together and you see every other man (and a handful of women) around you become entranced with her ridiculous good looks.  When people are gawking at her beauty faster than you can blink, what are you going to do then?  This girl turns heads without even trying.  She’s got a face that makes Neil Patrick Harris question his own preferences, and you think you are going to be able to handle this?

Or how are you going to feel when she unintentionally makes you look like less of a man in everyday situations?  I say this because I think your boyhood is going to be a little more shriveled once you see her outperform you on so many levels.  Whether it’s outworking you at any job she’s been assigned, learning a second language, or knowing how to raise a family, cook you dinner, maintain a landscape, and sing the second verse of "Shenandoah" a cappella all without breaking a sweat, she can do it.  This girl has been a victim of middle-child syndrome in a household of women and survived and conquered it all.  You don’t think she can’t outhustle you at any task possible?

All I’m saying is she’s way out of your league. Seriously, WAY out of your league.  If you know how to road trip between two countries your entire childhood without a father figure whatsoever, and do it all with a drop-dead gorgeous smile on your face, then you might stand a chance.  But by that point she will have already lost interest and moved on to more important things in life like getting a PhD in European History, or becoming the highest paid teen model. You are really not worth a second date in this girl’s book. 

And if you think you have the slightest chance of getting into some kind of Facebook status-changed relationship with her and potentially tie her down in the next eleven months or so, well, think again.  She’s already mentally checked out of any serious commitment with the anticipation of teaching the gospel to anyone who will listen to her in about a year or so.  This girl is tougher than snot and can’t wait to live in a cave in Fiji for 18 months just to help other people.  She’s dedicated, knows what she wants to accomplish, has a desire to serve the Lord, and you think a box of chocolates and a late-night guitar solo are going to woo her away?  I’m telling ya buddy, you’re a waste of time for this girl. 

I’m saying all of this because I’m really nervous for what is about to hit the fan.  After all, she’s going to graduate from high school in about thirty minutes, and from that point on we’re all in a world of trouble for how awesome she’s going to be.  At times, the annoying big brother inside me comes out to play, and jokes with her that secretly we all know she’s adopted.  Her hair alone should give a slight indication that somehow the nurses switched her out when she was born.

But the more time I spend with her, and the more I realize what this girl is going to accomplish, the potential that she has, the more I know that she is way out of anybody’s league. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Chicks Dig Scars

Hospital waiting rooms taste like a plastic sheet coated with Icy Hot when you're sitting by yourself at 1:45 in the morning.

Can someone please tell the Doctor to stop playing Candy Crush in the back and come give me a hand?

For full effect, download “Bleeding Out” by Imagine Dragons, and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post.  On a side note, if you ever meet a kid named Pace Beckstead, do the world a favor and kick him in the prostate.

I could try and come up with some emotionally charged metaphor to describe the glories of the Lord's hand at work with the creation of Zion's National Park. But those words would be a waste of space, because a chill-giving paragraph or two wouldn't do it justice. You just have to see it for yourself.

Zion's National Park is even more breathtaking when seven random people from all different walks of life join up to hike through the narrows, reveling in one another's company, and making fun of the way all the foreign people smell as you pass them by on the trail.  Seriously, try and find me one French person that isn't wearing a decade-old coating of B.O. cologne.

Dr. Andrus: "Good morning sir, I’m Doctor Andrus, and wow that’s quite a big…"

Me: "Hey, don’t interrupt me when I’m blogging in my head. Just do your duty and just get me out of here before Christmas, understand?”

It's amusing to walk waist-deep in a river and gawk at the different tourist stereotypes that litter National Parks year-round. There are the Canadians who can't say their vowels and have oddly shaped front teeth, the Europeans who haven't told any of their women that the bra has been invented, and of course there are the classic Asians who are caked in makeup, have a $9,000 camera hanging off their necks, and who hold two fingers next to their faces in order to look a tad bit thinner.

On the flip side, I wonder what kind of stereotypes they mutter in their own heads as they pass by all the local Americans with wide-eyed glares of confusion plastered on their faces. "Look at all of these obese, ugly, lazy nincompoops wearing Hawaiian shirts and Birkenstock sandals. And how come they're all staring at their phones in this beautiful canyon? Are they that in love with themselves?" Yes, we look just as ridiculous as you do, let’s just accept that.

Dr. Andrus: "There, I'm just going to numb it with this agent, and you'll start to feel..."

Me: "Shutup Doc, I'm in the middle of telling a story here."

I think if they were to take a gander at the group of friends I was walking around with, those bug-eyed stares would have looked more like we had just been accused of witchcraft in the 1600’s.  In fact, everyone did look at us like we had just escaped from the local asylum.  After all, how many times do you walk past a group of young adults wearing Camelbaks and inflatable dragons?  Yes kids, you read that right, we were wearing inflatable inner tubes designed for children ages 2-4, shaped like Dragons, Hippos, and Rhinos. I named my Deshawn. He was very intimidating.

I didn't mind all of the strange looks I was getting left and right. In fact, they kind of made me laugh the entire time. You probably would look at me like I was a walking leper if you saw the 6'4", 230-lb. sexy beast that I am wearing a blown up dragon that looked like an oversized bib from T.G.I. Fridays. He even did a pretty good job keeping an eye out for me when I lost my balance on a mossy rock and...

Dr. Andrus: "Just about done here. You doing anything fun for the rest of the weekend?"

Me: "Seriously, why do you keep interrupting me? Zip it and snip it buddy. I've got places to be before the sun comes up."

My dragon Deshawn didn't really save me, but at least I kept a slice of my dignity getting back up from my spill in the river.  And the fact that the six other people I was with were looking just as ridiculous as I was with their own inflatable napkins, made this trip to Zion's well worth it in the end.  And one day, I’ll have a pretty neat story to tell my kids about the scar I've got on my…

Dr. Andrus: "There, that should do it.  Now you can get back out there and enjoy the rest of your night. Do you have any fun plans?"

Me: "I'm taking shots of Lortab at 3:30 in the morning Doc, you tell me."

I assume it's going to take another two hours for the hospital to come ask for my Herbie Hancock, and by that time I more than likely will have slipped into a coma by pure boredom and intoxication from Icy Hot-coated sheets of plastic.

Where's Deshawn when I need him?