Sunday, May 31, 2015

How I Met Your Mother

Kids, I have told you dozens of stories over the years that have moved from Point A to Point B with hopefully some kind of moral at the end. Out of all of the stories you have heard up to this moment, none are more important than what happened last Sunday night on the shores of Lake Pontchartrain.

For full effect, download “And There She Was” by The Solids and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post.

I think I am somewhat of a wise man. What I mean is, I have picked up a few pieces of wisdom in the three decades I’ve been wandering around on God’s green Earth. I can change a tire on my own car, I know the difference between subsidized and unsubsidized student loans, I can look up at the night sky and point out a handful of constellations, I can even tie a bowtie on a good day. I think it’s safe to say that I know some things here and there. Despite all of that, last Sunday night as a pretty girl and I sat in a dirty restaurant off Bourbon Street eating $50 salads, laughing at how New Orleans was the equivalent of the devil’s anus, I sat with my sweaty palms under the table trying to figure out what I was going to say to this girl. 

“Let’s get out of this place.” I said.  She stared back with a puzzled look on her face.

“What do you mean lets get out of here? We just got to New Orleans.”

Valid point. We did just pull in to the most disgusting city in the history of humanity. A place that makes Las Vegas look like a G-rated movie. A town that is the closest creation to what Hell will look like in the afterlife. As the seconds ticked on and my brain scrambled for an answer, I just knew we had to get out of this dump.

“I don’t know, let’s uh…lets just uh…go for a drive or something? Maybe? Maybe go umm…out to the lake?” I said. 

Nailed it. She had no idea what I was about to do. That confused/perplexed/WTF look on her face meant she’s not suspecting ANYTHING out of the ordinary. I, Brock Bybee, was a genius. That’s a cold hard fact.

“Uh…sure. Let’s um…go for a drive.” She said. Out of the corner of my eye I thought I saw her swipe a salad fork and put it into her purse for protection, but no, my mind was just playing tricks on me.

Cut to a mid-sized rental car on Interstate 10 being pummeled by a thunderstorm the size of Mongolia with two young kids sitting in trepidation going 17 miles an hour on a freeway with our flashers on like the rest of the city.

“Maybe we should just go back to the hotel?” She said. “This weather is crazy!”

“No! This is nothing. I’ve seen plenty worse storms than this.” I lied kids, I had never seen worse storms than that. It felt like Hurricane Katrina’s big sister was unloading her bowels on this city all over again. Despite the weather, I knew for certain I was not going to drive back to the hotel without asking this pretty girl a single, simple question. A question that would change the course of both our lives forever. That last line sounds cliché, I know. But it was the direction both of us were heading.

Cut to the paved walkway on the shores of Lake Pontchartrain where two crazy kids with no one else around stood with each other looking out at the water. The rain had stopped but the storm had not, and lightning flashes were dancing around us every 30 seconds. It was like a glimpse from a Bob Ross painting. Seriously, not a better setting for what would happen next. You want to find a more romantic scene than two people standing on a beach with a lightning storm going on and no one else around? That stuff would make Putin intoxicated with love. 

“So when do you think would be a good day to get married?” I asked her as we stood there watching the lightning. She hesitated to answer, probably because this was the first time in the history of our relationship I had ever brought up the M-word without making the entire situation morbidly uncomfortable.

“I don’t know, there are plenty of days to pick. This isn’t something we need to talk about right now. There are so many other things that have to happen first before we start thinking about this. So…I don’t know?”

“You’re right.” I said. “We might as well get those small things out of the way.”

And with that I knelt down before her, looked up in to her eyes and said the most famous four-letter phrase uttered by millions of scared-stiff men holding a small box in their hands.

“Will You Marry Me?”

This is the part where this pretty girl looked at me with an unexpected look of surprise but a gentle smile on her face. She wasn’t taking me serious.

“But you don’t even have a ring.” She said.

For a moment I was confused. However it took me a split second to realize that me, a 6’5” giant kneeling down to meet her 5’3” gaze, this was the first time in our history we had actually been eye level, therefore she was now looking directly into my eyes, and not down at the small box I was holding in my hands.

“Well if you’d look down there’s a big one right in front of your face.” I said with a smile.

Cue sudden rush of emotions, followed by tears in her eyes, hands over her face, and the shocking reality that this moment, the moment that every girl dreams about when they’re young, the moment they will cherish until they take their last breath, that defining pinnacle moment of taking a leap into the unknown with another person, was now happening to her. With lightning blazing and rain beginning to spatter, I was on one knee asking this girl to change her last name and become my wife. 

“So uh…yes? No? Maybe?” I said after 15 seconds of silence.

“Yes! Of course yes!” She said back finally after catching her breath.

And that was it. We stood on the shores of Lake Pontchartrain holding each other, kissing each other, knowing that things were heading in the right direction. That no matter what happened in the future, we would make it out alright because we had finally found one another. If you would have told me six months ago that I would be standing at this point with this girl in my arms, I would never have believed you. But kids, that’s the funny thing about life. Things never really go according to plan. We don’t always know the answers to the problems that get thrown at us. We just have to buckle down for the long haul and push our way through all the chaos until the answer comes blooming out of nowhere. 

You see the one thing I never could figure out in all my years was what I needed to do to fall in love with someone. There’s no uniform answer for that of course, but for years I’ve been trying to solve that puzzle. Everyone has a different way they do it. And mine was as unique as they come. All I had to do was move to St. George so I could go back to school after my mission. Go on a double date with the wrong girl. Total a car. Nearly drown in a reservoir. Graduate from college. Have brain surgery. Start working as a recruiter. Move up north so I could live on the road. Start watching HIMYM. Date the wrong girl. Send an accidental text message. Fail the GRE. Move back to St. George. Become a professor. Run a marathon. Then an Ironman. Move into my first house. Date the wrong girl. Date the wrong girl again. Date the wrong girl a few more times. Watch your Aunt Danielle and Uncle Jared get married in Cabo. Pass the GRE. Apply to grad school. Date the wrong girl for the last time. Talk to the big man upstairs a few times here and there. Go to a Dixie State basketball game and meet up with a pretty girl who went out with my best friend on that same double date nine years ago. Turn to her at halftime with a lump in my throat and butterflies in my stomach and just start talking to her.

See? Easy. And that kids, is how I met your mother.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Call Me Peggy

So remember that one time when I used to write on this thing called a blog? 

For full effect, download "Changes" by David Bowie and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post. 

Seriously people, I sound like a cookie cutter mid-30's stay-at-home Mother named Peggy with three kids who just washed either chocolate or poop from her split-end littered hair, when I say the words "Here's a new post on my blog, just love me and send uplifting comments about my stay at home life. Please! I need your attention!" That's who I am now. My name is Peggy, and I have a problem. I have relapsed from publishing bi-weekly chronicles about my above-awesome life as a 30-year old college recruiter and transformed into not caring about self-imposed deadlines and pleasing a few hundred people with social media advertisements. What the Hell is wrong with me?! 

For years this blog has been my outlet, my release, the vodka martini I would sip in doses to release my creative juices or whatever moronic metaphor you want to use for me writing this. This blog was my priority. It was, well, my life. And it has been for the last five years. Every single event that has happened since I gave that divorced ginger a tub of ice cream for her birthday has been marked on Randomity. This blog has been my life partner. And I felt guilty as a Catholic bishop when I missed a day, let alone a week publishing. But now all that has changed. This blog has become just another blog. Just another website. A domain name that will be forgotten in years to come when push comes to shove. And I am now just another Peggy who will publish something slightly above mediocre once every three months. Never thought this day would come, but the fat lady inside me is about to be unleashed. 

The unavoidable reality is that life is full of blogs like this. Things that were once important, vital, that were held in the highest regard to us are now just meaningless piles of scrap tossed into a metal bin with the initials WM spray-painted on the side. Things change, they always do. Not that there is anything wrong or disturbing with change, because honestly change is incredible. There is just a dampening feeling at times when you realize you are morphing into something that will join the hordes of Peggy's across the country that have new priorities on their plates. Priorities like other people, and school, and a bunch of other grown up stuff that haunts people into having a mid-life crisis. Don't be confused, I'm not throwing in the towel on this blog by any means. I'll still check in to make you laugh and cry and teach you valuable lessons that have guided the course of my life and may give you a dose of advice here and there. But this blog, it doesn't matter anymore. This blog is just a bunch of helter-skelter letters thrown together, doused with sarcasm, chock full of movie references.

This blog doesn't mean that much to me anymore. A pretty girl holding a yellow umbrella 252 miles away from me, she does though. And she means more to me than this blog ever will. 

Life is crazy kids, that's all I can say.

Friday, May 1, 2015

This Makes No Sense

Kids, right now I'm sitting in front of a class of students who are taking the final exam for the Interpersonal Communication course I taught this semester. Yes, actual people are taking a test that I wrote for a class that I taught. I'm not saying this to boost my ego, I'm saying this because holy freaking curse word, I am the mediator for how a student's academic future will look like. 

There has to be something wrong here. 

For full effect, download "Something's Wrong" by Eric Benet, and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post.

You may be saying to yourself, WTF is going on in your life Brock? Where have you been? What happened with the consistency in your blogs? I know, I know, these last few weeks I have fallen off the social media radar and drifted into some type of digital purgatory, focusing solely on building relationships with actual people. That's crazy talk, tell me about it. Something people only born in the 1980's know about. But to be honest with you, I have no idea what's going on in my life right now. I mean, I do, but I don't. That makes no sense to you really, but let's be honest, it makes no sense that I am behind a computer assigning grades to my students while they wrap up their finals. That makes absolutely no sense whatsoever! We're talking about a kid who once had a seizure in this exact classroom and accidentally punched a hole in the front of a laptop while as an undergrad, now being given the keys to another human's academic development. Something has to be wrong here. 

I will admit, I am very uncomfortable at this stage of my life. There, I said it. Things just don't make sense. Not logically, emotionally, mentally, any way you look at them, this is all some kind of jumbled mix of what appears to be erratic decisions and leaps of faith. I'm not in my "zone" as the sports world coins the phrase. Cue Johnny Thunder and his baritone voice reciting a play-by-play narrative of the NBA Finals. Please don't confuse the previous two sentences as my cry for help that an impending panic attack is on the horizon, all I am saying is that things at this point of my life do not, and I repeat, do not make sense. But then again, since when do I have to make sense about everything that happens? 

Kids, I know I've tried to teach you a number of lessons with this online journal. Things like how you need to be your actual, true self in a relationship with another person, or how you need to listen more than you talk because frankly people won't care about you, or how Costco is a hidden gem of a cult that all of us need to bow down and worship. I have tried to sell pieces of both wisdom and crap to a handful of creatures that are still waiting to be made. And no, this isn't going to be yet another moral breakthrough that I want you to write on a piece of rustic leather and post to Pinterest, (does that even exist anymore). 

I guess all I'm saying is that right now in my life, things do not make sense. They just don't. They are a chaotic wreck of possible events that I have no stinking idea as to how will pan out. I am uncomfortable with where my life is going. And I'm okay with that. Shit's about to go down, and I'm not pressing the panic button. Call me crazy, but I am comfortable with being uncomfortable. 

Go ahead and sell that last line to Pinterest, it's gold I tell you.  

Monday, April 20, 2015

Hit The Road

Kids, right now I'm heading south on I-15, somewhere in between Mesquite and mile marker 127. I've got a bowl of Cap'n Crunch in my belly, a pair of fancy schmancy sunglasses on my face, listening to Matthew White elegantly serenade profanity to me as I use my left thigh to navigate past truckers, trailers, and Priuses while I write down my memoirs on what will be the last road trip I will ever take as a recruiter for Dixie State University.

For full effect, download "Holy Moly" by the above-mentioned artist and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post.

Life on the road has taught me a thing or two, I will say that. Things like how you should never break the speed limit in Idaho, or that Best Westerns are a very undervalued hotel chain nationwide, or that the state of California needs more money to fund their drivers education programs, or how sunflower seeds are the best therapy to keep your eyes open when you have a few hundred miles to go and it's just after midnight. I sure have picked up a few “life lessons on the road” over the years. Geez, that sounds like a roll your eyes premise for an ugly Nicholas Sparks novel or something. What is wrong with me?

I've been around kids, I really have. And yeah, go ahead and smirk a dirty thought or two about that last sentence, we all do. I've logged miles from Newport Beach to Spokane, from Boise to Phoenix, from Logan to Vegas and every single small town in between, I kid you not. Duchesne? Check. Lyman? Been there. Pioche? Done that. I've got a few hundred thousand miles logged on to my tailbone at this point in my life, and it hasn't even been five years yet. Damn, life on the road goes by too fast sometimes.

It's a little screwed up to think this will be the last time I sit behind this steering wheel on a trek paying my dues to the institution that raised me. Going 80 on a freeway by yourself sure does makes you think about the hypothetical direction you're headed. Kids, the next three months of my life are without question going to be some of the most path-hinging moments I will ever experience. And as I'm nearing the California border, I can't help but wonder what crazy tales will be spun in the next 90 days. Things are going to get batshit crazy, that's for sure. But at least for right now, the things that haven't happened yet, the things that will happen, the lunatic/WTF-is he thinking things, they don't matter yet. All that matters now is I've got my seeds, my tunes, and a full tank of gas, ready to tackle the last long road trip of my young recruiting life.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

This Is How I Met A Girl

"So you really need to tone the blog down. I mean, just quit telling all these stories and stuff. You're making us look bad." Said one of the brothers.

"Totally man. I mean, you need to just stop blogging altogether. That way you'll be more likable." Said another.

"Wait, so I need to stop telling my future kids this story of how I potentially met their Mother?" I ask.

"Absolutely." They agreed. "I swear your stock will shoot through the roof if you do."

For full effect, download "Fell In Love With A Girl" by The White Stripes, and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post.

Now there may or may not have been a slight influence of sarcasm on both sides in that conversation, but that's neither here nor there. The words we tossed back and forth did in fact get me thinking about the picture I'm painting to a bunch of paint-covered boogers that aren't even close to be conceived at least for another decade. Yes, I have told quite a number of stories on this blog. 584 to be exact. And perhaps there may have been a few of these stories that have been slightly exaggerated for a more dramatic effect, but hey, that's the beauty of telling a damn fine story. You have to keep the audience entertained. And sometimes the details need to be stretched for full effect.

I say these words because based off my experience with hearing my married friends tell the stories of how they met each other, I kind of want to put my head in a vice and pluck my eyeballs out with a pair of rusty tweezers. Yes, that's how pathetic your tales are when it comes to how you met your soul mates. Now dear brothers, I'm not saying that's the story you are both telling of how you met your own wonderful wives, but seriously, I have heard some awful narrations of how it was "love at first sight" between two people, a.k.a. she didn't mind when I farted, so I guess she was the one.

Anonymous Friend: Well, we hooked up at a rodeo, and at first, I was a little ashamed to call her my girlfriend. Like, I didn't want anyone to know that we had made out. But then one thing led to another, and now we've been married for eleven years.

Anonymous Uncle: We dated for like six years. And neither of us could really make up our minds. I mean, we both kinda thought getting married was good, but neither of us really had that 'push'. Anyway, I was almost 40, and she couldn't really find any other guys to date, so we just decided to get married. And uh, yeah. It's been uh…good, I think.

Anonymous Student: So it was late, and I had been on Tinder for a while. I swiped right for a good time. And after the booty was…eh…mediocre, we decided to tie the knot. It's been six months and uh…well, I guess I'm happy...

What do you want me to say? That I created this fake profile on and sent her a stalker message asking her to meet me at Zupa's for dinner? Or that I had taken her best friend out and when I got dumped, I thought I would handle sloppy seconds? Or that I got bored one time at a family reunion and decided to hit on my cousin? Come on people, I need a story that will sell millions as a best-selling novel and make the author of The Best of Me look like an incompetent chump! Damn you Nicholas Sparks!

No! You want a story that will trigger a whir in your heart and make you have a bunch of flutterbys get stirred in your stomach realizing that maybe this is True L-word. You want juicy details about eight-year hiatuses in between our first and second dates. You want me to tell you about that one time where I spent $150 on a second date with a different girl, and ten minutes in I was already missing the one girl I shared sushi with the night prior. You want the rose-colored stage being set for a grand ol' showing of two people making a connection at the right place and at the right time in both of their lives.

And that's what I'll tell them. Whether or not this girl ends up being the Mother of my future #awesome offspring, I'm going to tell one Hell of a story about this chapter of my life. Because that's what life is anyway. It's dramatic, full of twists and turns, it makes you laugh, makes you cry, puts Nicholas Sparks to shame, and makes you feel happy that the good guy wins in the end.

And that's the story I'm going to tell. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Why, Thank You!

“I never send an after date text.” Brooke says to me last Friday night.

“Come again for Big Fudge?”

“If a guy is interested, he’ll fight to take me out again. Since when is that text a mandatory thing every girl MUST do once the date is over?”

Um, why does anyone spend money on another person and not get a thank you in return? Since when is the dating world we’re all playing in a figurative version of a strip club?

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

Kids, when it comes to the messed up world of modern dating that all of us single people have been condemned to wander around in for years at a time, there are a number of rules that get set in place in order to keep things somewhat structured. It’s not like there is a formal monarch enforcing these rules to make sure we all have the best experience, because lets face it; everyone has been the victim of a bad date. But regardless, there are a certain number of rules and regulations that all of us have subconsciously vowed to abide while we’re out looking for the next Mr. or Mrs. who will share last names with us.

For example, men have been handed the following rules to live by:

1. The rule of the gentleman. A man is required to open all doors, drive all vehicles, and pay for all meals. No halvsies or going Dutch is allowed whatsoever.

2. The rule of the tool. A man shall not wear any shade of pink on their upper body. If wearing a collared shirt, they are not allowed to pop the collar and/or tuck the front of the shirt into their belt buckle. A side addendum to this rule is the Corey Hart decree that a man shall not be allowed to wear sunglasses indoors, or 30 minutes after the sun has set below the horizon. 

3. The 60-40 rule. On a first date, a man will allow things relating to the woman’s life to make up at least 60% of the conversation, where he will make up the remaining difference. In the future, the 60-40 ratio will substantially grow in the favor of the woman’s life to the point where if both sides agree to be married, it then becomes the 90-10 rule. 

There are of course many other rules and stipulations that we as a male gender have been asked to abide by, but those are all contingent on circumstances and context. With that being said, there are a few rules the female gender have been asked to abide by when a stranger asks for their digits and takes them out to a night on the town.

1. The Dress Your Doll rule: A girl is required to wear clothes that are above average for social settings. Never on a first date may she wear sweat pants and an un-matching hoodie. (Okay, maybe there’s a little biased bitterness behind this one, but I think you all agree.

2. The PT rule: On a first date, a girl shall not bring up any information, whether positive or negative, that has anything to do with a previous relationship. You have no idea the disqualification it does to a man to hear about a previous douchebag’s Dodge Ram and the size of his biceps.

3. The Text of Chivalry rule: Following a first date, depending on the time it takes for a man to return to his own dwelling, a girl is REQUIRED to send an after date text, thanking the gentleman for his kind efforts in courting her on that lovely evening. 

“Out of all of the rules that girls are handed down, why do you have to disregard the after date text rule?” I rant to Brooke in hysterics. “Why can’t you just send a tiny blip of 1’s and 0’s to space and back, letting them know you appreciate the amount of time, money, and courage they mustered up to take you out? I know you want to make a guy chase you, but for the sake of common courtesy, why can’t you just send a text message with the two simple words of ‘thank you’?!”

“Well I didn’t send the after date text to you, and look what happened! You sure came chasing after me, didn’t you?” She says.

Valid point. Maybe women really do know everything.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

What The Hell Is This?

“So you kind of stirred the pot with your latest blogpost.” My boss says to me this morning in the middle of our Title IX training.

“Stirred the pot with my blogpost? Uh-oh, with who?”

“People think you’re getting married.” He says back.

For full effect, download, “No Way In Hell” by the Bomfunk MC’s and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post.

Historically speaking, these blogposts are primarily written for my children who have yet to vacate and/or book a 9-month stay in the nearest available womb. I want them to know about the crazy adventures their dimwit Dad took before they ever decided to grace me with their presence. However, every once in a while there perhaps may be a few other couple hundred bystanders who click on this link for some witty entertainment on a bi-weekly basis, and are secretly living their single lives vicariously through my personalized/humorous adventures in the dating world.

With that being said, I must say I have been a little taken back as to how many people have socially assaulted me with point blank questions about the pretty girl with the rusty voice who I was buying groceries for at Wal-Mart at 3 in the morning.

“Is this blog post telling me what I think it's telling me?????????????!!!!!” Asks my old college roommate’s wife.

“Word on the street is that you might be making some ‘big plans’ in the future with someone.” Yells a co-worker from down the hall, with an overdramatic “wink-wink” gesture and embellished smile tossed my direction.

“Who’s this girl everyone’s buzzing about?” Says a lovely imitation of my Grandma who praises my blog like it’s her adopted child.

“9-11 Emergency Meeting through a text. Brockasaurus, are you in L-word??” Writes my honorary little sister who I haven’t seen in person since Obama’s reelection.  

People, people, get a hold of yourselves! All I did was compare two chick-flick stories between my high school football coach and my almost dead Great Uncle about how they met their significant others in dramatic fashions. Who’s to say that I was referencing anything similar happening in my life at all? I haven’t been to a stake dance since I still had pimples. I have never attended Utah State University. And I sure as Shirley have never had the crowds part in a large social setting, seen a pretty face standing in front of me and knew without a sliver of doubt she was the girl I was going to marry. Sorry to be the cynical pin bursting your romantic bubbles, but that’s just not me.

There are a number of assumptions being tossed back and forth about why I was in Wal-Mart at three o’clock in the morning holding an armful of groceries, many of them including the potential of a small ring and a future selection of groomsmen. Who’s to say I wasn’t just on some daydreaming kick and this entire event didn’t happen years ago? Who’s to say the pretty girl with a rusty voice wasn’t some kind of fictional character I made up, a character I hypothetically hope exists somewhere in the world. Who’s to say I wasn’t just buying breakfast for a chain smoker standing outside in the parking lot? There are an infinite number of possibilities that could explain my last blogpost, with me falling victim to the disease of twitterpation absolutely last on the list.

I guess the point I’m trying to make is that no, I am not getting married. No, there aren’t any big plans in the future. No, the Brockasaurus is not in L-word. He will not pass go, he will not collect $200. Come on people, falling head over heels for a girl is one of the last things I would ever expect to happen at this exact point. I’m quitting my job, selling my house, and moving clear across the country for school in a few months. A bowl of cake batter has better odds of surviving a woman going through menopause than I do of finding the mother of my future children at this stage of my life.

“I miss you.” A pretty girl with a rusty voice says in a text message at 6:54 am Monday morning, automatically spurring a small rush of emotions that puts a smile on my face. 

Meh…To Hell with the odds. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

That Spark

You wouldn’t think that a Wal-Mart at 2:30 in the morning would be the place that gives you some of the most divine inspiration about the meaning of life, but every once in a while, crazy stuff happens.

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

A while back it was a Thursday afternoon in October and I was in Anaheim, California, sitting in a living room that hasn’t been touched since the Chia Pet was a best-selling toy. To my right was a ruthless old woman flirting with Alzheimer's, having a hard time trying to understand how a remote control does its job. To my left, her 89-year old, 100-pound, sopping wet husband sat in his La-Z-Boy and mouthed the instructions back to her, shaking his head as this odd couple pondered in the back of their minds how they had stuck with each other for almost three quarters of a century.

“You dating anyone, boy?” The old man said. And the answer is yes, when you have been born before the stock market actually crashed, and your parents crossed the plains in a handcart, you are still going to care about the romantic lives of your posterity. That kids, is a cold hard fact.

“Not really Uncle Lavar.” I said back.

The old geezer nodded his head to me and looked over at his totes adorbs geriatric molding of a wife who was still trying to understand the dimensions of a small piece of black plastic in her hands.

“Have I ever told you about when I met your Aunt Afton?”

For the record kids, I have heard this story almost a dozen times over the course of my now, ‘gasp’, 30-year existence, but due to the fact that I had time to kill on a Thursday afternoon, and statistically speaking this might be the last time I would actually hear this story from his own mouth thanks to old age and a bad liver, I thought I would entertain the old man once again and hear his own Ted Mosby version of how he met the mother of his children.

“I remember standing in the middle of the ballroom at Utah State my freshman year, and I turned around and looked in the doorway and saw your Aunt Afton standing next to the girl I was going steady with. And as she walked in, I knew right then that she was the girl I was going to marry.” He said.

“You just knew?”

“I just knew.”

“But how did you know?” I asked him.

“There was a spark about her, boy. Something inside me just went off when I saw her face in that doorway. I took her home that night, and the rest was history.”

Flashback to the fall of 2001, where my high school football coach, Brian Berrong said the same thing to me during a weightlifting class my senior year. And yes, I know a story about twitterpated romance while you’re bench pressing does not seem like a normal combination, but hey, Berrong was a hell of a coach and taught me more lessons about life than just a bunch of X’s and O’s on a chalkboard.

“We were sitting at a stake dance and I saw this beautiful girl walk into the gymnasium.” He said. “Right at that moment I turned to my buddy standing next to me, pointed at her and said, ‘That’s the girl I’m going to marry.’”

“You knew? Just like that?”

“Just like that.”

“But how? That’s crazy.”

“I don’t know how to explain it. But sometimes you just know.”

The similarities between these two conversations are a bit eerie, I will admit. A, because there is a 13-year gap between their existence, and B, because of the stark contrast in the characters that gave them; one being a very simple, nearly 90-year old Navy vet who is on his last dying leg, the other from a very brilliant offensive coordinator who walked me through my own spiritual awakening. How these two men share the same viewpoint about relationships is undeniably alarming.

But as the clock ticks past 3 am, and I’m walking through an empty Wal-Mart that’s as deathly silent as a funeral home, holding an armful of groceries so I can cook breakfast for a pretty girl with a rusty voice in a few hours, I can’t help but wonder if maybe these two wise old men are on to something.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

It's Just Money

“Tickets! You need tickets? I got two of ‘em! Left corner in da Gonzaga section, $175 a piece. Come on man, take ‘em off my hands.” A fat man with French fries for hair says to us before we even get out of our car.

For full effect, download “Holy Moly” by Matthew E. White and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post.

Kids, I have seen some great sporting events in my lifetime. I sat courtside at the Delta Center to watch my beloved Utah Jazz dozens of times. I saw Big Papi go yard on the first pitch in the most beautiful baseball park in the West. I’ve had beer thrown on me while watching two of the greatest college basketball teams ever duke it out at the Final Four in San Antonio. I cheered with 108,000 other loyal Buckeyes and watched the best team in the country beat the tar out of the Bearcats. I have scalped and stubhubbed, finagled and fibbed to watch what I think God put on this Earth to make sure I wouldn’t lose my sanity; sports. And last night as we got out of the parking lot and had a fat man with beer on his breath breathing cheap seats down our throats, I added another story to my memoirs.

For the record I would like to make it very clear that I have no affiliation with the University that is associated with Brigham Young, a.k.a. The Provo Bubble’s Mecca, a.k.a. The Holy Land for Sheltered Idiots. With that being said, whenever they decide to play in the West Coast Conference Championship Basketball game against one of the most Bandwagoned teams in the country, you’re dang right I’m going to throw on a blue shirt and get in a car with my best friend and his Dad to go cheer for the Cougars. Somewhere in Northern Utah my Grandma fist bumped the air in elation at that last sentence.  

For the record, I would also like my children to know that I am anti-Gonzaga. Yeah, I’ll say that too. I flat out don’t like the Bulldogs. First of all have any of you been to the piece of belly button lint known as Spokane, Washington? On a scale of 1 to Cher, Spokane is as hideous as 80’s fashion on Meth. Second, any team that invokes a bandwagon/cult following because of a few upset wins over a decade ago does not deserve the national respect their rose-colored glasses are figmenting in their Jack Daniels-soaked, delusional minds. Third, they have a lousy long distance ed. program that purposefully gave my best friend 9K of debt and forced him to withdraw from their school because of piss-poor communication. Ironic that it was their Comm. program too! Fourth, have I mentioned that Spokane was ugly? Oh. I did? First reason? Well yeah, Spokane is the phlegm that a two-legged pug coughs up before breakfast.

Flashback to the parking lot of a second-tier Vegas casino where fattie fat fats with Boston accents were roaming around like mosquitos trying to pawn off tickets to foolish tourists holding red solo cups with watered-down beer in their hands.

“So 175 each. I’m tellin’ ya, it’s only gonna go up from ‘ere. Ya can’t fahnd a bettuh deal dan dat!” The balding French Fry wearing Miller High Life as cologne said to us. I looked at my best friend with the same face a little kid wears when he’s trying to protect an alibi for sneaking out of the house, and with that we shrugged him off and continued our quest for official places to plant our butts in the Orleans Arena.

“How much we looking to spend?” My best friend’s Dad asked. Which by the way, have I mentioned yet that this man’s name is Ivan? He sounds like a Polish monarch who just conquered Mongolia in a chariot with that kind of title.

“I don’t know? Are we wanting to dish out that kind of cash? I mean, I’m a fan of sports and all, but is it worth $150 bucks a ticket? I don’t know if I want to spend that kind of money.” I said. Which at that point in our deliberations, standing in a parking lot in the crust of Sodom and Gomorrah, Ivan the Brilliant said one of the most profound statements I have heard in my adult life.

“But it’s just money. I mean, you can’t take it with you.”

The three of us looked at each other, almost in a trance-like state as if the clouds had parted and some deeper meaning of life had just been wiped across our foreheads and the Scrooge McDucks inside our wallets had been shot in the chest. Without saying anything we found the nearest French Fry smelling like beer and shelled out $375 for fifth row tickets behind the bench. And you know what kids, it was glorious. One of the most entertaining sporting events I have ever had the privilege of witnessing.

Cut to three hours later where three men wearing blue shirts are running down the stairs to escape the drunken mob of Gonzaga fans wanting to revel in their victory. Yeah kids, it was THEIR victory. All 6,500 of them who made the pilgrimage in a drunken stupor to the city of sin to support their Bulldogs. Every single one of them had won they game! (Cue sarcastic font). Escaping into the Vegas night, Ivan looked at me.

“Well that was fun wasn’t it?” He said.

“Yep. $125 a piece fun!” Scrooge McDuck said back to him.

“Well hey, it’s just money. We’ll remember this game tonight for years to come. We sure as heck won’t remember our money.”

With those words, Ivan the Brilliant took a penny-pinching cartoon character out behind the woodshed and shot him right in the head. He was right, it was just money. And that game, regardless of the fact that the holy team from Utah County lost to a horde of drunken slobs, the three of us will talk about it for years.  

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Well Uh…This Is Awkward...

Birthdays suck. Unless someone else is celebrating one then everything is fine. But when you're blowing out your own candles, a birthday is about as awkward as prom in West Virginia

For full effect, download "Cigarette Daydreams" by Cage The Elephant and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post. 

I've been on this Earth a hair over three decades now. Some of those years were beautiful, some of them ugly, but needless to say 30 years have come and gone and I am sitting here yet again plugging away a blogpost on a freeway just after midnight thinking deep thoughts about the direction of my life. Yep, this ain't my first rodeo. 

I'm not a fan of birthdays, but then again who really is? When you're at a party for someone else everything is cake (pun intended). But when it's your birthday, you almost feel like you've got a venereal disease everyone is forced to celebrate. I want to go on record that singing Happy Birthday to someone is without question the most uncomfortable 16 seconds anyone has to endure. It's more painful than childbirth or being the big spoon while cuddling, neither of which are appealing. 

"Happy Birthday To You!" 

Oh boy, here they go… 

"Happy Birthday To You!"  

Who do I look at? I don't want to make eye contact with anyone as they're singing this, I'll look like some kind of geriatric pervert if I look at them for longer than half second intervals. Please stop this madness! 

"Happy Birthday Dear Bro-ock!"

Wait, they're singing this song to me? For a minute there I thought we were playing a drinking game.  

"Happy Birthday To You!" 

Right now I kind of wish I died some type of horrific death at any point in the last year. 

That's a birthday in a nutshell. Uncomfortable songs around a flaming cake and forced text messages from people offering their congratulations on the best accomplishment any of our Mothers have ever done. 

Old Maid also known as my Grandmother: "What are you doing to celebrate on your 30 day?" 

Me: "Oh you know, just spend time with friends and text my Grandma, the usual. #smileyface" 

Old Maid: "How fun! It will be more fun at 5....30!" 

Me: "Part of me wonders if you've been drinking…" 

Old Maid: "Really! This proves to you I don't have to drink to be stupid." 

Text messages from my Grandma hinting at the idea that she could be a member of Alcoholics Anonymous escaped from her Psych ward, could have been the best birthday text exchange I have had the privilege of enjoying. 

Despite all of that nonsense, I will say that changing decades makes you think. About where you are now, about where you are going, about all of the dumb things that happened since 2005. One of the most common forms of personal self-reflection on our birthdays is recalling all the moments that we wish had never happened, that we regret. The moments we wish we could take back. Lessons we hoped to have learned before many of our infamous debacles ever occurred. If I could go back and talk  some sense to 20-year old Swamp Thing, there are a few pieces of advice I would offer that might make his ten-year journey a little bit easier. 

1. Never eat sushi from a conveyer belt in Portland.

2. Do not drive Lacey Fawson's Nissan after your family Christmas party in 2006. Your seizures haven't been fixed just yet. 

3. When you travel 300 miles to break up with a girl, make sure you don't accidentally send a text to her which was meant for your friend that says you guys just broke up, even before she gets home. You need to deliver this message in person. 

4. Crossfit is kind of a cult, minus the grape Kool-Aid. A good cult in some ways, but you really don't have to buy into their brainwashing. 

5. Start writing your blog immediately. Don't wait until 2010. You have a dumpload of stories that need to be told on this website. 

So yeah, that's where I am at this point. Close to 2 am sitting in a cold driveway listening to a band from Kentucky serenade me their wonder about the mysteries of life. Birthdays kind of suck kids, they really do. I've never been a fan and I don't think I really ever will. They are celebrations about absolutely nothing, a holiday inspired by Seinfeld. For the longest time I've always had a half-empty feeling associated with March 6th. A day full of my least favorite dessert and mandatory "Happy Birthday" voicemails from people you don't have saved in your phone. All these festivities seem like a wash I tell you. 

But then sometimes things change, and you play pick up basketball with some of the best men alive and you all gorge yourself silly on Austrailian cuisine. And then you eat your Mom's homemade Jell-O that's is your personal version of what Birthday cake should be. And then you take pretty girls up to the mountain and face plant on the slopes all day long. And when those things happen, and your Facebook is going through seizures trying to keep track of all of the friends who took 15 seconds out of their day to connect with you, that's when you realize that birthdays, well maybe they really are some of the best days of your life. 

Even if you're 30.