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. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Wake Me Up Before You Go

It's 5:07 am on the West Coast and I'm somewhere on Route 95 going 90 in the dark. 

For full effect, download "Broken Crown" by Mumford & Sons, and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post. 

Nacho Libre: "When you are a man, sometimes you wear stretchy pants in your room. It's for fun."

Me: "When you are a college recruiter sitting on four hours sleep due to a red eye road trip and a 4:15 hotel wake up call, sometimes you talk to your phone to make sure your eyes stay open for 90 minutes in the car. It's for fun."

Yes, I just quoted the only Jack Black movie I have ever had the ability to watch without wanting to poke my eyes out with a paper clip, and no it does not make any sense nor have any relevance to anything I'm writing about but at this point when all I'm looking at are the yellow painted lines whizzing by to my left and the hairline of a mountain range silhouetted to my right, sometimes completely random comparisons between drowsy higher education situations and comedies about a Mexican wrestler are the best therapy to keep me from crashing headfirst into the oncoming semi. 

In a few hours I'm going to be knee deep in procrastinating lip rings and twitterpated pimples wandering around like cloned sheep drones named Dolly trying to understand the meaning of their lives. I'll be saying the same seven sentences to all of them. Encouraging their hopes of a college degree, offering sage words of advice about how to get the most out of their financial aid application, and using filler statements with their counselors to talk about important things like weather patterns. 

Kids, this has been my life for the last five years. And I've loved it, I really have. Maybe not the plastic imitations for ham and cheese sandwiches that college fairs pose as refreshments, or the case of Bed Bugs I contracted from some hotel in Boise, or the 4:15 wake up calls from the front desk this morning, but all the rest I have adored more than any movie not starring Jack Black. The people, the places, the half-empty gas stations, the baggage claim counters, the hometown diners, the class presentations, the long distance romances, the audiobooks at three in the morning, all the stories that have made up my life since I turned to chapter 25. I know I've been in lesbians with it all. 

Wallace Wells: "No, the other L word."

Anyway, don't ask where this Muse of recollection is coming from. I sure as Shirley can't explain my thought process this early in the morning. For all I know I'm hallucinating this whole blogpost and my body is hanging out the front of a shattered windshield in some ditch on the side of the road somewhere in between Fort Mohave and Boulder City. I have no idea at this point. The only thing I know is that my cars a runnin', I've got a Dew in one hand, and a steering wheel in the other, being serenaded by the posterity of Mumford, and flying down route 95 to go sell my school to a fresh batch of kids. 

You can't paint a better picture than that.