Wednesday, December 31, 2008

That hardest and most wonderful of all years

Dad called the other night. "We're just sitting here enjoying these cute pictures of Nephew Bone." (One of the things I gave them for Christmas was a Nephew Bone calendar I made at Also, he doesn't actually call him Nephew Bone, which I find odd.) "There's just one thing we don't understand."

"Uhh, OK?" At this point, I'm thinking I got someone's birthday wrong or something.

"What is this fes-TEE-vus in December?"

And I thought he read my blog.

Festivus IV was a rousing success. There were thirteen survivors in all this year. That's one shy of the all-time mark set back in 2006. In hindsight, I'm glad I decided to have Festivus again this year. After all, airing the grievances I have against myself gets old after awhile.

Highlights included some of the Festivian children learning the difference between a Festivus pole and a shower curtain rod in a tree stand. The group singing of Silver Pole was a hit, as usual. Next year, I think we may try it in the round. (Or whatever you call it when you sing "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" and everyone starts at a different time.)

The Festivus Dinner featured a tempting schmeer of pizza, cupcakes, chips and salsa, and Twix--the only candy bar with the cookie crunch. As an added feature this year, we watched The Dealership episode of Seinfeld, which features George's candy lineup. ("Please, I think I've reached the point in my life where I can tell the difference between cookie and nougat. So let's not just say things that we both know are obvious fabrications!)

The Feats of Strength this year featured two card games of immense skill and lightning quick reflexes: Spoons and Egyptian Rat Screw. I wanted to play Scene It Seinfeld, but got out-voted like twelve to two. (I voted twice.) Wolfgang and Little Joe were the first people knocked the first couple games of Spoons, which resulted in Wolfgang letting the expletives fly. Fortunately, the children were gone by that time.

I also received a The Office wall calendar from LJ. Then later I found out he got Wolfgang a calendar featuring scantily clad women giving golf etiquette rules. "I didn't want to get ya'll the same thing," he explained. And here I thought he was just impressed with my golf etiquette.

So, grievances have been aired and the pole is back in the crawlspace. All that's left now is to repair damaged friendships and reflect on another year that has passed us by. And I will do that now.

Two-double-naught-eight. It was the year I first had something I'd written published in an actual book. It was the year I first became an uncle and a godfather. The year I visited Myrtle Beach for the first time. And of course, it was the year Bama spent seemingly half the season ranked #1.

But most all all, I will remember 2008 as the year the each member of my immediately family experienced one very significant event. The year began with Mom recovering from her minor stroke. Then Dad found out he needed open heart surgery and had a successful triple bypass in April. And then in August came Nephew Bone. Now the world revolves around him, and no one would have it any other way.

The worry and uncertainty about Mom and the hours sitting in the waiting room as Dad underwent his surgery were the most anxious moments of my life. Then there was the indescribable wonder, joy, and hope Nephew Bone brought with him into the world. Those are the reasons that 2008 was the hardest and most wonderful of all years.

Thank God that Mom and Dad made it through everything OK. And thank God for Nephew Bone.

In a few hours, the ball will drop on 2009. Though personally, I would prefer not to spend New Year's Eve with Ryan Seacrest. I mean, does he have to take over everything? First, it was American Top Forty. Then it was Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve. Next thing you know, he'll be guest starring on General Hospital and dating Audrina on The Hills. At which point, I will not be able to take it anymore!

I wish you all have a happy and safe New Year's and an amazing 2009.

"Today, you know, that's good enough for me. Breathing in and out's a blessing, can't you see? Today's the first day of the rest of my life. And I'm alive, and well..."

Monday, December 29, 2008

A thousand words doesn't begin to cover it

It was one of those mid-December days in the teens--the thirteenth or seventeenth, maybe--that all seem to run together. A lady came by looking for my mother. She was accompanied by a younger woman and two girls who I would later learn were her daughter and two granddaughters. Not recognizing them, I was reluctant at first to share any information.

Then as she started to leave, she said, "We're related to her."

"Oh... well, I'm her son."

Upon hearing that she sat her purse down and opened it. In a few seconds, she produced a small, somewhat worn flip photo album.

"Here's what I wanted to show her."

She opened the album. It was filled with pictures of my aunts and uncles when they were kids, teens, and newlyweds. In all, eight of Mom's eleven brothers and sisters were in at least one pictures. And most of them were in several. There were pictures of Mamaw and Papaw, great aunts and great uncles, and even my great grandmother. Pictures I had never seen. Most of them black and white.

I was overwhelmed. I had never seen more than a handful of photographs of my family from those days. As she flipped to each new picture, she would pause to see if I recognized the people in it. Sometimes I did. And if I didn't, when she told me who it was, I would see it immediately and smile and shake my head in amazement. Each photograph was priceless.

One picture had an old wall calendar in the background that dated it at 1968. Another had my fave aunt in it as a teenager. She was wearing a Bama t-shirt and looking a tad mischievous. Then there was one of Mom's elementary school pictures. And near the end of the album, a picture of Mom and Dad together, with Dad holding a guitar. I guess some things never change.

Some of the pictures would elicit a story from her, this lady who I found out during the course of conversation had married one of Mom's first cousins. The people I didn't know were almost as interesting to see and hear about as the people I did.

One picture was of my Uncle R with his arm around some girl I didn't know. They looked happy and young and full of life. I knew Uncle R wasn't married until he was in his forties.

"That's Alice," she said, as if sensing I was about to ask. "Oh, they were so in love. Those two would have gotten married but her daddy stopped it."

"Did her daddy have a problem with Uncle R?"

"He didn't want his daughter to marry R because of his..." She motioned her hand, unable to think of the word.

"Epilepsy." I finished her sentence. Uncle R had pretty severe seizures as long as I knew him. He died when he was fifty, just three months after Mamaw passed away. Hearing this story, I was very sad for him.

There was a picture of my Great Uncle J, who I'd never seen. His hair was slicked back and he had a Clark Gable moustache which caused me to remark that it looked like he was a ladies' man.

"Oh, you have no idea." She then proceeded to tell a story of how he got a job at a restaurant and dated a waitress there until his first paycheck, then he quit. He called the waitress and told her he couldn't work anymore because he'd been in a bad wreck and broke his arm, his leg, and several ribs, none of which was true.

There must have been fifty pictures or more, and I guess we sat there thirty or forty-five minutes looking through every one and talking about them. My eyes had already gotten moist. Then when we were done, she held out the album as if to give it to me.

"Oh, no. I couldn't possibly..."

"Yes. That's what I brought it for. I figured your mother would like to see these."

I was floored. There were no words to express my gratitude or emotions in that moment.

An idea occurred to me, so I asked her if it would be alright if I wrapped up the photo album and gave it to Mom "from Santa" for Christmas. She said she would like that very much. I promised her I'd guard them with my life. I told her I'd be sure Mom knew that she was the one responsible for the pictures, and even had her write her name and number on a piece of paper and slipped it inside the front cover.

I'm sure I told her thank you at least ten times. And before she got up to leave, still shaking my head in amazement, I said, "This is Christmas."

And it was.

"Here's the last one that we ever took of Daddy. We tried hard to make him smile but never did. And here's one I caught of you when you weren't ready. And here I am when I was just a kid..."

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

"I have waited for tomorrow from December 'til today..."

Sleep never came easy for me on Christmas Eve. The excitement and anticipation of Christmas morning was just too much. Every creak, every thud, every noise sounded exactly like sleigh bells or reindeer hooves or someone on the roof. One year, I know I must have gotten out of bed five times, walked into the living room in my baby blue Dallas Cowboys pajamas and told Mom I couldn't sleep.

I was always the kid who woke everyone else up on Christmas morning. Well most years. One particular Christmas, I remember I got out of bed at 1:30 in the morning. I'm still not sure I fell asleep at all that night.

My "big" gift that year was a little mini Casio keyboard. It had four settings: piano, flute, violin, and something called fantasy. I turned the volume on the lowest setting and sat on the couch and played with it until everyone else woke up. I think Dad was the first to venture into the living room that morning, around 5:30.

I was afraid my parents might be upset. Normally they liked to watch as we found what Santa had left us scattered around the living room. But Dad didn't seem to mind. Then again, I was fourteen.

For awhile, my sister would tell me to wake her up on Christmas morning. But that only lasted a few years. Then she got too old. But I never did.

I still find it hard to go to sleep on Christmas Eve. Back then, it was the anticipation. Now it's because I don't want it to end. That magical feeling of Christmas Eve and Christmas morning.

When you're a kid, those first twenty-four days of December seem to take forever. And when it's over, the next Christmas seems a hundred years away. The years pass a lot faster these days. Still, for just a little while tonight, I wish that I could stop time. It all goes by so fast.

Or maybe I'm still just a kid.

Merry Christmas, from my home to yours...

(Bone's Christmas tree and presents, circa 2008.)

"I'm as slow as christmas. I'll be up before the dawn. I'm not gonna miss this. I know that old saying's wrong. Every Christmas day makes every other day seem long. And what seemed would never get here has so quickly come and gone..."

Monday, December 22, 2008

Festivus IV

Every year around this time, I start hearing the questions. It really should come as no surprise. I mean, I'm single, thin, mid-thirties, and have an above average knowledge of all things Seinfeld.

"When's Festivus?"

"Are you having Festivus this year?"

After last year's 3rd Annual Festivus At Bone's drew only eight guests, down from the previous year's all-time high of fourteen, I had been considering not having Festivus this year. (Pause for gasps and bellows.)

I know, it's like telling a child Christmas has been cancelled. I just never realized how hard it would be to sustain a fake holiday. As I wrestled back and forth with the decision of whether or not to have a bunch of people over to trash my place, time just slipped up on me.

Tuesday is Festivus. Yet my Festivus pole remains in the crawlspace. Festivus evites have not been sent. And no Twix have been purchased for the candy lineup. Most importantly, my apartment has not been cleaned because I haven't had a girl over in weeks.

It's all these menial tasks. Laundry, grocery shopping, getting on here and surfing the internet. Do you have any idea how much time I waste on this computer? Throw in the fact that the city council has outlawed cockfighting, as well as unsanctioned cage fighting--severely limiting the options for the Feats of Strength--and it looked like Festivus wasn't going to happen.

Still, I was holding out hope right up to the last minute. Maybe some unexpected event, the magnitude of Donna Martin Graduates or the Save The Max radiothon, would occur to save Festivus.

It's kinda like in Liar Liar when Jim Carrey promised he was going to play baseball with the kid who played Lucas on General Hospital. And that girl from ER waited and waited until the very last minute even though Jim Carrey had let them down time and again. Then Jim Carrey gets thrown into jail, which is where the Festivus analogy kind of goes awry. Except that they boarded a plane for Boston with the guy who played David Lookner on Seinfeld, which kind of brings the whole thing full circle. But anyway...

I was ready to come to terms with the fact that there would be no 4th Annual Festivus At Bone's. Then the female portion of Kywana called the other day and said "Silver Bells" had come on the radio when she was in the car, and Kywana Jr. started singing "Silver Pole" instead of "Silver Bells." *sniff sniff*

Well, I just about lost it. And that's when I remembered what Festivus is all about. It's not about having a clean apartment or how many of your friends don't show up even though they tell you they will. Festivus is about getting together with people and feeling no obligation to buy them a gift. It's about letting those you care for know all the ways they have disappointed you over the past year. Most of all, it's about passing Frank Costanza's vision on to the next generation.

So Festivus at Bone's is on for Friday night. It's another Festivus miracle! Besides, if I don't do it, who will?

Sure, it's probably too late to book Christopher Cross. Actually, it's probably not. Still, there'll be lots of shouting and plenty of food if you get there early. And considering how close this Festivus was to not happening at all, I'd say there's a good chance it will surpass all Festivuses (Festivi?) past--all three of them.

Here's wishing you all a Happy Festivus For The Rest Of Us! Now, please join me in singing that favorite of all Festivus songs, Silver Pole.

"Silver Pole, Silver Pole. It's Festivus in the city. Tinsel free. So sturdy. Soon it will be Festivus..."

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Take me home...

A few weeks ago I found myself on a road I've been on many times before. A two-lane country road not all that distinguishable from any of ten thousand others. It wasn't the most direct way to get to where I was going that day, but it was the way I needed to take. As I drove, I remembered. And though I never lived on that road, it felt like years of my life had been spent there.

Almost immediately, I recalled an icy night some years ago that resulted in a scarcely visible dent beneath the passenger side door of my Jeep. Suffice it to say the fourth mailbox on the right side of the road used to be wooden. You never forget your first.

A little further down I passed the old ball field, still standing but barely. The roofs gone off both of the concrete dugouts. The outfield fence rusted and torn down in places. The grass grown high. I remember when it came to life almost every summer night with bright lights, kids playing, parents cheering, coaches yelling.

If you take a left across from the ball field, it'll take you past the high school and the football field where one cold January morning I ran headfirst into the goalpost while not wearing a helmet. (Not intentionally.) Being knocked unconscious isn't loads of fun when it happens, but it makes for a decent story later.

But I didn't drive out by the school. I stayed on my current path, and I knew what was next. It's the fifth road on the left after you pass the Baptist church. The memories started to come. I pressed on the gas a little harder, maybe hoping I could outrun them. I loved a girl who lived down that road, and probably always will.

Almost to the top of the hill is the cut off to Roller Coaster Road. I'm sure I smiled as I passed it, thinking about all the afternoons spent running wide open up and down those hills. Top down. Stomach flipping. And time to burn.

The thought of turning around and taking one more ride on Roller Coaster Road briefly crossed my mind but I continued on, down the hill and finally to the stop sign. There on the corner is a little country store. Or used to be. It's been closed for years now, but the building is still there, looking dilapidated at best.

Some nights we would stop there and get a cold drink out of the machine after parking in the cotton fields, if we had enough change and enough time before daylight. I don't know what good it would have done, but part of me wished the store was still open. And I probably would have stopped off for a coke if it had been.

If you go straight at the stop sign, the paved road ends and dirt roads lead through miles of cotton fields. There are a couple of sharp curves and if you don't know the road well, perhaps on a foggy night, your friend's car might end up in a cotton field, on its side. And you might have to go back the next day to help him push it over so that another friend can tow it home.

I turned left at the stop sign. It was Thanksgiving day, and I had decided to visit the cemetery. Mamaw and Uncle J had been such a huge part of Thanksgiving for so many years, it just felt right to pay them a visit.

As I left that two-lane country road behind for another, I was astounded by how many memories were associated with that single stretch of highway. I felt a sense of home. I felt grounded.

There's something comforting in a place like that. Knowing that the memories are always there, just waiting until the next time I take a slight detour from life and go for a drive down that road. A road I know so well it feels like I could drive it with my eyes closed.

And sometimes I think I did.

"Ain't that just like a dream, runnin' wild and runnin' free. We were rebels chasin' time against the wind. Sometimes I long for just one night of the way I felt back then. But ain't that just like a dream, it always ends..."

Thursday, December 11, 2008

It takes effort to be this unproductive

Also known as "What I did tonight instead of Christmas shopping, writing Christmas cards, alleviating the nakedness of my Christmas tree, or anything else that might otherwise be deemed as productive."

I listened to iTunes. "Higher Love" by Steve Winwood came on. I googled it to see if it was "think about it" or "thing about it." I thought it was think, but also thought it could be thing. It turned out to be think, which is what I first thought.

While looking at the lyrics, however, I realized the chorus does not go "Great day of higher love!" Who knew?! All these many years I've been singing it wrong. Looks like somebody would have told me, instead of letting me look like an idiot.

I mean, if a woman is walking around with a little mini moustache, you don't just let it go and snicker behind her back. You say, "I think you gotta a little something on your lip there, ma'am... Oh! It's hair." Unless you're dating her, in which case you just have to pray someone else mentions it to her.

Otherwise, I practiced my skills at Yahoo pool. You know, because that's so much healthier than trying to go out and meet a girl or something.

I also watched a couple of Seinfelds, "The Rye" and "The Dog." I have a rule that I always stop if a Seinfeld is on TV, even though I have the DVDs. (Except for Seasons 8 & 9, which would be on my Amazon wish list if I had one.)

No fewer than fourteen times I looked out the window to see if it was snowing yet, because according to the weather people there was a 50 percent chance. "Up to an inch accumulation," they said. Of course, I never saw the first flurry. You'd think they would eventually luck up and get it right JUST ONE TIME. I mean, people win the Powerball. How hard could it be to close your eyes and predict snow?

Let's see, I know I must have done something else. I think the problem is I did so much, it's easy to forget some of it. Oh yes, now I remember. I heard a dog barking, so I cut off the lights and looked outside to see if there was a dangerous prowler or angry ex-girlfriend lurking. I'm basically a one-man Neighborhood Watch.

Ooo, I watched The Office! I think tonight was the best episode of the season so far. Here are a few random quotes, which may or may not mean something to you, largely depending on whether or not you watched the show:

"We are not going to support your alcoholism anymore. The next time you light yourself on fire, we are not going to help put you out."
"Ah, as fire marshal I would have to."

"Have you ever, under the influence of alcohol, questioned the teachings of the Mormon church?"

"I am not going to judge Phyllis for desecrating Christmas. There is one person who will though, and Phyllis just stuffed him into a drawer."

"Was John Belushi fine? Was Bob Hope fine?"

"Fire girl! ..... Too soon?"

OK, I must get to bed. Whoever knew there could be so much involved in doing nothing. May tomorrow be a great day of higher love for us all. Sorry, I just had to say it one last time. *sniff* I'll miss it.

"Think about it, there must be higher love. Down in the heart or hidden in the stars above. Without it, life is wasted time..."

Sunday, December 07, 2008

And I still don't know who Scuba Steve is

While chatting with an ex-girlfriend last week, a blog entry materialized...

Her: Damn you, Scuba Steve.

Me: Scuba Steve?
I think you've got your guys confused again, dear.

Her: No no no.
You've obviously never seen Big Daddy.

Me: Nope.
Well I saw part of it, I think.
Is that where they pee side by side?

Her: Mmm . . no?
You would like Big Daddy.
You should rent it.

Me: Are you sure?

Her: Yes, they don't pee together. I know that movie backwards, frontwards, sideways and upside down.
No peeing.

Me: Mmhmm.
Wanna bet?
(This is where I quote a Roger Ebert review I found after googling Big Daddy...)
"The predictable story arc has Sonny and Julian bonding. This is not as easy as it sounds, since any Adam Sandler character is self-obsessed to such a degree that his conversations sound like interior monologues. It is supposed to be funny that Sonny has a pathological hostility against society; when McDonald's won't serve them breakfast, he throws another customer's fries on the floor, and when a restaurant won't let the kid use the restroom, he and the kid pee on the restaurant's side door."

Her: He didn't pee.
The kid peed.
Because he has to pee every three seconds.

Me: OK, so Roger Ebert is wrong and you are right. Sure.

Her: Adam Sandler's on the lookout for him and says something like "Gee, you and my grandmother pee this much!"

Me: You're so self-assured when you're wrong. That's the amazing thing.

Rent the movie.

Me: You still wouldn't believe me.
I remember it. It's the only scene of the movie that even stands out to me. Roger Ebert wrote about it in his movie review. You're wrong.

Her: You stink, Justin Matisse.

Me: This is why we're not together.

Her: Because you stink?

Me: Because you can never ever ever admit you're wrong.
About anything.

Her: Oh for the love. . he doesn't pee on the wall.

Me: Even with written proof from one of the 3 most popular movie critics in the history of the world.
So what chance do I have in a regular argument?

Her: Oh oh oh.
I'm wrong.
When Julian can't pee on the wall because they're in public, Adam Sandler does it to show him that it's no big deal.
You're right.

Me: Wow.
Let us commemorate this day.

Her: Goodnight, Bone.

Me: Or we can not commemorate it and say we did.

"I hope them cigarettes are gonna make you cough. I hope you heard this song, and it pissed you off. I take that back, I hope you're doing fine. And if I had a dollar, I might give you ninety-nine..."

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Thirty-six reasons to be thankful

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. It was a perfect weekend here. Thursday was Thanksgiving (you know, in case you somehow missed that), I took off work Friday, I golfed, and I attended the Bama game on Saturday.

But there could have been a massive cranberry shortage causing them to cancel Thanksgiving. Golf could have been rained out. I could have had to work over finishing up my TPS reports. And it still would have been perfect.

Why? I can answer that question with two words and two numbers.

Alabama 36, Auburn 0.

That's right. The magical mystery season continued Saturday with a thrashing of our cross-state rivals. They're calling it the Beatdown In T-Town. And who am I to argue? Nothing short of Jason Morgan leaving General Hospital could have made this weekend anything less than perfect.

To fully convey what the Alabama/Auburn game means to persons in this state would be impossible. For many years, the success and tradition of the Crimson Tide served as a source of pride for the state. College football is king here. "Are you for Alabama or Auburn?" is literally a more popular conversation topic than discussing the weather. Why, I posed that very question to a cute waitress at my favorite theme restaurant this past Friday night. When you add to that the fact that you are playing your in-state rival--whose fans you have to see Sunday morning at church or Monday at work--suffice it to say that it's a big game.

Alabama and Auburn first played one another in football in 1893, without helmets!!! (Oh, wait a second. Apparently no one played with helmets back then.) The teams played eleven times between 1893-1907, before a dispute between the schools caused the series to end. The teams would not play again until 1948.

During the forty year hiatus--which by the grace of God I was not alive for--several attempts were made to resume the series. At one time, Alabama's Board of Trustees was against the resumption, saying that an Auburn-Alabama rivalry would lead to an overemphasis of football in the state of Alabama. Hmm, ya think?

When I was but a lad, and Alabama would beat Auburn, we would load up in the car and drive to a sporting goods store thirty minutes away. There we would stand in line with anywhere from thirty to fifty other fans waiting for "score shirts" from the game to literally roll off the press.

The "score shirts" would obviously have the score of the game, and usually some really cheesy slogan. The one that sticks out in my mind for some reason is "No Sugar Bowl Cause The Tide Did Roll." (cringe) And we bought these. And wore them. Proudly.

Nowadays when we beat Auburn I'm just exorbitantly happy. And if we lose, I typically go into my room, bury my head in a pillow, and refuse to answer the phone or have any contact with the outside world for two or three hours. I'm so glad I've matured over the years.

As I stated earlier, to fully convey what the Alabama/Auburn game means to the people of this state would be impossible. Though perhaps the following scene can shed a bit of light.

One of the popular outbound routes from Tuscaloosa is Highway 13. It's a two-lane road that winds around curves and over hills. Over about a sixty-mile stretch there are maybe four gas stations, a couple of roadside diners, and not much else.

Coming home Saturday night, there was an uncommon sight in front of one of the diners. Out near the road, in the light of one of those yellow portable marquee signs, two women and three children were standing. Thirty miles from anywhere, at 8 o'clock at night, there they were. Just standing and waving at the train of cars traveling home from the game.

We honked as we passed by. Because though it might be impossible to put into words, somehow we understood why they were out there. And as strange as it might have seemed to someone else, to us it made perfect sense.

"Go roll to victory. Hit your stride. You're Dixie's football pride, Crimson Tide..."

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The curious case of the drive-thru attendant

I'm not sure if has to do with being from the South, or how I was raised, or because when I was little my uncle would give my cousins a whoopin' anytime they dared address any adult without saying sir or ma'am. But I say "yes ma'am" and "no ma'am" to most all women.

A couple of weeks ago, I stopped by a local fast food establishment to order a dessert. A woman's voice came on the thing and I placed my order, which included me referring to her as "ma'am" a couple of times.

When I got up to the window, all I saw was this guy. He took my money and handed me my order. That's odd, I thought. (That it was a guy, not that he took my money and handed me my order.) But I know sometimes they'll have one person with the headset taking the order and another person just handing out the food--or at least that's how it is when I imagine the innerworkings of a fast food establishment--so I didn't think much more of it.

Then this past Thursday, we ordered from the same place for lunch and I went to pick it up. It was sort of a long order, so there were quite a few "yes ma'ams" and "no ma'ams." When I got to the window, the same guy was there. Except this time, he started chatting with me.

"It's finally warming up out there," he said.

My friends, he spoke with the voice of a woman. A real life high talker! Not a loud talker, a high talker. Just like the Seinfeld episode.

I wasn't able to look at him because I felt bad and also because it was taking everything I had not to laugh. But on the other hand, it was such a rare phenomenon that I was tempted to call someone just to let them hear.

He seemed like a nice guy, and this was the second time in a week that I had called him "ma'am." But what could I do? He sounded more like a woman than most women I know. They put him in the drive-thru where no one can see him. Plus we're basically in the sir and ma'am capital of the world here. It's entrapment!

I'm sure many "normal" people would let the story end there. But not me. Oh no. This wasn't over. For the next couple of days, it was all I could think about. I jovially shared with family and friends my story of meeting the high talker. I even pondered the possibility of a Bone Reality Tour, with the high talker and my Festivus Pole as the featured stops. Or, the only stops. But at the same time, I felt terrible about the whole ordeal.

After much consideration, I devised a plan. I would go back up there and no matter what, I would say "yes sir" and "no sir" when I ordered to make the high talker feel better. It seemed like the natural thing to do.

It was perfect. So inspired. Yet so simple. I imagined how good the high talker would feel to finally be called sir after hearing ma'am day after day after day. It made me proud that I was such a good person.

I carried out my plan yesterday. Of course by this time, I was sick of eating at the place--it's far from my favorite anyway--so I decided I'd just get a coke. What follows is the unedited version of the conversation that transpired shortly before 1:00 PM Central Time Saturday afternoon:

"Welcome to KFC, may I take your order?"

"Yes. Uh, yes sir." (I almost forgot, right off the bat!) "I'd like a medium Mountain Dew, please."

"One medium Mountain Dew. Is that all?"

"Yes sir."

"That'll be two-fifteen."

$2.15?!?! Suddenly coke has become more expensive than gasoline? Wow. Still, I figured it would be well worth it to right this wrong and bring this episode to a happy conclusion. I pulled up to the window and, um, well... it seems the high talker wasn't working.

Turns out there was but one flaw in my carefully designed plan. And that was it. So basically I paid two dollars and fifteen cents to call a 16-year-old kid "sir."

I'm sure many "normal" people would let the story end there...

"I won't make the same mistake by coming here again, cos I can't tell difference between the hers and hims. No, I can't tell the boys from the girls. And friends, it's really messing up my world..."

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Great Sibling Experiment Of 1980

Today is my sister's birthday. I should know. Twenty-eight years ago today, I spent the wee morning hours in the ER waiting room, puking my guts out. (At this point, it strikes me that if I truly desire to someday be a writer I should probably come up with a better phrase than "puking my guts out.")

Anyway, in honor of Sister Bone--as she is known in blogging circles--I proudly present this edition of Sibling Memories. It's sorta like home videos for the blog. Enjoy, and thanks again for having internet.

One of the first memories that comes to mind is the Telecommunications Treaty of 1987. This was where my Dad, in a sudden burst of King-Solomon-esque cut-the-baby-in-half wisdom, ruled that on odd numbered days my sister would get to watch what she wanted on TV. And on even numbered days, I could watch what I wanted.

In time, I realized that in months having thirty-one days, Sister Bone would get control over the TV on back-to-back days (I never watched so much Full House in my life), making this treaty completely unfair. Still, it remained binding under the reign of Dad The First and was quite inconvenient, at least until I starting driving and working and wasn't home as much.

Zoom forward to the Fourth of July, 1989. I was going to pick up my uncle and aunt who didn't have a car and bring them back to our house for the holiday festivities. Sister Bone and two of my younger cousins were in the car with me so that I could show off my new driving abilities.

Soon after I put the car in reverse, we felt a jolt and heard the sound of crunching metal. I had backed into Mom's car. Terrified, I cautioned everyone in the car not to say anything until I figured out what to do. You know, because as long as no one told her, Mom surely wouldn't notice the huge dent in her driver's side door for weeks. Before I even got the words out of my mouth, Sister Bone was out of the car and running inside to tell on me.

Needless to say, no one was happier than me when Sister Bone's tattling phase finally ended, also known as the day she turned twenty-two. I really did enjoy having a sibling, though. So much so that I distinctly remember several times after Sister Bone was born begging Mom and Dad to have me a baby brother.

All along the way, we engaged in high-level psychological warfare. One of my favorites was when Dad would tell us we were not to touch each other. I would put my hands ever so close to Sister Bone's face and taunt her repeatedly with the words, "I'm not touching you. I'm not touching you." (You may have heard other kids using this, but I assure you I invented it.)

In turn, she would whine to Dad, "He's looking at me." And then I would be told that I was not to look at her. Thinking back sometimes, I'm amazed Dad The First didn't abdicate the throne.

Of course, times weren't always so good. There was the day I was playing a pickup football game and ran head first into the goalpost. I had a slight concussion and had to stay overnight in the hospital. A few weeks later, I found a letter Sister Bone--probably fourteen at the time--had written to me in a spiral notebook. All about how she missed me and was worried about me. I know, how mushy, right?

Sometimes I don't think a brother realizes what he means to his sister. And probably vice versa.

Happy birthday, sis. This concludes year twenty-eight of the Great Sibling Experiment of 1980. If Sister Bone read that line, she would probably say something like, "You're so weird." To which I would promptly reply, "I know you are but what am I."

"Or maybe head up north, to Knoxville, Tennessee. I know my baby sister has got a couch where I can sleep..."

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The man in the red suit

I intended to post this yesterday, but I never could get it to come out right, so I decided to scrap it. Then when I went running tonight, instead of counting my steps to 100 and making sure I took exactly five steps on the short bridge and eight on the longer one, all I could think about was this post. I came home and wrote it, though I'm still not sure it came out right.

The first thing you notice about the man in the red suit is his outfit. The bright red coat, pants and tophat would stand out almost anywhere. But especially so on a steamy afternoon near summer's end, at a football game. That is when I first saw him.

Everyone else wore shorts or at least short-sleeves, except for the man in the red suit. He walked alone and at his own pace, a bit slower than the rest of the crowd. He seemed to be the definition of the phrase "in his own world."

Almost subconsciously, I filed him away in my mind as just an eccentric old black man. But as the weeks passed, I came to realize the man in the red suit was fairly well known around town. Or at least recognized. A couple of people even knew his name. And I began to ask questions.

Everything I know about the man in the red suit comes from things others have said. He draws a check from the government. He is always behind on his bills, but he pays them the best he can. No one seems to know if he has any family, but they have witnessed him speaking to his imaginary friend. And of course, there's the suit. No matter the season, no matter the weather, there is always the suit.

Casually and not really expecting an answer, one day I asked why he was the way he was. The answer came back in a single word.


It was spoken as if that one word should explain it all away--the curious attire, the imaginary friend, the struggling to make it on a fixed income. As if I am to accept it as that's just the way it is.


And with that, my view of the man in the red suit forever changed. Instantly, I had great respect and admiration for him. And albeit from afar, I felt a certain compassion for him. Anytime I see him now, it touches a soft place in my heart.

I also grew much more curious about the man in the red suit. I wonder about his life. I wonder if he has any family. When the fighter jets fly over before kickoff, does he get tears in his eyes like me? I wonder what he thinks about. Then I'm thankful I don't know.

Most of all, when I think about him struggling to pay his bills, I can't help but wonder if the country he risked his life for has turned its back on him.

A few weeks ago, I spotted the man in the red suit inside the stadium. He was sitting just a couple sections over from us. The crowd began to do the wave and I watched anxiously to see if he would participate. He didn't stand up, but did raise one arm as the wave passed by. I smiled.

The first thing you notice about the man in the red suit is his outfit. And that's OK. I think he has more than earned the right to wear anything he would like. But if that's all you notice, you're missing a lot.

On gameday, many fans put Bama flags on their cars. They fit on the side windows and most people have two flags, one on the driver's side and one on the passenger's side. At the most recent game, I saw the man in the red suit in his car. (Out of 92,000 people, we had parked in the same lot. Go figure.)

He had a Bama flag on one side.

And an American flag on the other.

"Some stood through for the red, white, and blue, and some had to fall. If you ever think of me, think of all your liberties and recall, some gave all..."

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Have you Scene It?

It was your typical weekday afternoon. I was fighting to stay awake for another hour or so of work, trying to get over the shock of seeing Sonny Corinthos stabbed and dropped in the river with cement blocks chained to his feet. (Fortunately, Carly happened by the waterfront, dove to the bottom of the river, somehow picked the locks on Sonny's chains, unchained him, and swam him back to the surface, all while holding her breath.) A commercial break came on, and that's when I heard it.

"General Hospital, brought to you in part by Scene It Seinfeld."

Wait. Did I hear that right? It couldn't be, could it? Two of the very cornerstones of my life coming together? Apparently, the answer to those questions is yes. Yes I did. Yes it could. And yes they have.

My initial reaction was probably not unlike many of yours--after all this time, my Nuvaring post was finally paying off! At last, they've begun marketing to the 25-39 year old straight male soap viewing crowd. And why not? There must be dozens of us out here.

Next, a Vagisil commercial came on and my thoughts turned to this new product: Scene It? Seinfeld. They've done it! It's been done.

The problem here is the same problem I always face with Seinfeld-related releases, especially around the holidays. Either everyone will get me one and I'll wind up with like four, or no one will get me one because they think everyone else will be getting me one. It can be quite the conundrum.

It didn't take long for people to start contacting me. I must say, there is something quite comforting about friends--even those I've not heard from in awhile--knowing me so well that I'm the first person they think of when there's news regarding Seinfeld, Matchbox Twenty, or Lindsay Lohan.

The female half of Kywana IM'd me one morning to see if I'd heard about it. We discussed what a great addition this will be to this year's Festivus celebration. Then Friday, a girl I've spoken to maybe once in the past year called to tell me about it. She also raised an issue I had yet to think about, saying, "No one will want to play with you because you'll know every single answer."

Drat! She had a point. I would dominate. It'd be like Kramer fighting children in karate. After careful consideration, meditation, and asking myself what would Jason & Jerry do (WWJJD), I came to a decision.

I've decided that I'm perfectly fine with always winning.

"Master of the house, doling out the charm. Ready with a handshake and an open palm..."

Monday, November 03, 2008

Stormtroopers, shakers, and we're #1?

Friday was Halloween. I should have warned you about this ahead of time. I know how unsettling it can be to have people dressed in scary costumes wandering down the street and knocking on your door if you're not prepared for it.

My final trick-or-treater count for the night was four. Kywana brought their two offspring by, which gave me a much needed reason to clean my house. The kids were dressed as Batgirl and a lion. They also had a stray stormtrooper in tow, who apparently had escaped the Death Star but forgot his helmet. I never realized how vital the helmet is to the stormtrooper ensemble. Otherwise, it just sort of looks like a bad Cameo getup. Word up?

After they left, I took the Millenium Falcon over to my sister's to visit Nephew Bone. My sister didn't want to get him out for some reason, so we had to bring his gifts to him. Talk about having it made! Nephew Bone was dressed up as a turtle, as you may or may not be able to see from this picture. Just trust me, he's a turtle.

There seems to be a general decline in the number of trick-or-treaters each year. I find that very disheartening. Kids who do trick-or-treat seem to be giving it up earlier and earlier, bowing out by age nine or ten. I'm thinking of speaking at a couple of Kindergarten assemblies to try and encourage kids to get out there and collect candy from these fools who are so stupidly giving it away.

Saturday, I attended the Bama/Arkansas State game. It was the first time Bama had played Arkansas State since 1982. I was also at that game, which we won 34-7. I remember ASU blocked a punt late for a touchdown. I also remember Mom pointing out Bear Bryant standing by the goal post before the game. It was Bear's last season. That was only the second Bama game I had ever attended. So Saturday had sort of a coming full circle feeling for me.

This week was also homecoming and several of the regulars who sit around us--Earl, DUI, Ultimatum, Carlin--weren't there. Before the game, my sister turns to me and says, "Does this guy behind us have a mullet?" Trying to be as inconspicuous as possible, I turned and discovered that yes, indeed, he did. It was old school, too. A vintage Camaro crash helmet. I immediately nicknamed him Billy Ray.

Bama won the game 35-0 thanks to a strong performance by the defense and a solid running game. And after Texas lost to Texas Tech Saturday night, Bama became the #1 ranked team in the nation. It's nice to be recognized, but honestly it makes me even more nervous than I am normally. I'd rather have remained #2 and then jump to #1 after the last game. Rankings don't mean much until the end of the season. I'm going to be shaking like a car with an out of balance tire on the interstate watching the LSU game this coming Saturday.

Speaking of shaking, I want to close today with a heartwarming brother/sister story. Red and white shakers are a big thing at Bama games. It seems like at least half of the 92,000 fans have them, yours truly included. Well, a streamer from one of the shakers wound up in my sister's Coke. So she turns to me and asks, "Is it OK to still drink this?"

"Yeah," I replied, waiting a couple of seconds before continuing. "It's OK for you. It wouldn't be OK for me."

"Wave your hands in the air like you don't care. Glide by the people as they start to look and stare. Do your dance. Do your dance. Do your dance quick, mama..."

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Like Elvis, at Libertyland

I have decided that I have the ideal life for a writer. Oh sure, there are no Hemingway-esque safaris to Africa. No lavish Black & White Balls, a la Capote. But my life is so routine that it provides a monumental daily challenge for me to try and make it sound interesting. It's excellent practice really.

I was, however, unusually social this past weekend. Included was dinner at a theme restaurant, a mini Seinfeld marathon at Axl's, and watching the Bama/Tennessee game at Kywana's. It is this latter event which I want to focus on today.

Here is something you should know about me in case we ever hang out. I don't really like watching Bama games with anyone.

First of all, watching the game on TV is like a four hour exercise in anxiety for me. I get extremely nervous just before kickoff and remain that way until the outcome is decided. I pace the floor, put my hands over my face, walk into the kitchen and open the freezer multiple times for no apparent reason. My neck and shoulders become one gargantuan monkey's fist. And we haven't even gotten to the yelling. It's like 95% anxiety, 5% elation and relief. And that's if Bama wins.

As long as I'm at the game, I can stand up and jump and cheer, providing an outlet for my nervous energy. But at home, there isn't as much of an outlet. Especially not with other people around, who I would rather continue to think me sane and allow me around their children.

Over the years, I've conditioned myself to be able to watch a game on TV with one or two other people who know how I am. Anymore than that, or anyone I don't really know, and I'm very uncomfortable. There are certain times one needs to be alone or with one or two members of one's inner circle. It's kinda like when Elvis would rent out Libertyland for the entire night and ride the Zippin Pippin over and over. Or it's nothing at all like that.

Anyway, all season long, various friends have invited me over to watch the away games on TV. And I had turned them all down, or just not answered my phone. Until Saturday night.

Feeling generous, or guilty or something, I accepted Kywana's offer to watch the game at their place. Needless to say, I would never agree to such a meeting without preconditions. I was under the impression it would only be me and Kywana watching the game. The main reason I was under that impression is because they said it would only be me and them watching the game.

Well, I was misled. There wound up being seven adults and five children present--if you consider me an adult--prompting me at one point to remark, "It's like Romper Room up in here." (NOTE: "Up in here" is a hip, cool phrase meaning "in here" or "in dis hizzy.")

I was none too happy at first. But once the game started, I zoned everything else out. Fortunately, I managed to keep my outbursts to a minimum. I think I only yelled a couple of times. Athough it could have been more. I'm not sure I even realize I do it sometimes. It turned out to be not the worst experience in the entire world. Of course, it helped that Bama won.

So I'm thinking maybe being a bit more social isn't so bad after all. I might even start answering the door when someone rings the bell. Or making eye contact with people.

"Thought I knew her, this lady. Opportunist, misled. Always searching for adventure. Like Pandora's box, misled..."

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Through the eyes of a child

My blog friend Cami is doing a walk Saturday to help raise money for breast cancer. I hope you'll click over and help her out if you can. Not only is it for a most important cause, but she's also a Bama fan.

I think you like the outdoors. Whenever we walk outside, you get completely quiet. It's as if you are overwhelmed by all the sights and sounds and are just taking it all in. I try and look at the world through your eyes. I see the greens of the trees and the blues of the sky and wonder what it must be like seeing them for the first time.

I shield your eyes from the sun, and I think how someone must have done the same for me. You cling to my sleeve with your tiny hand and I cannot imagine a more precious sight.

Turning your head, you find me. And I smile until my face literally hurts, because lately my only goal in life seems to be bringing a smile to yours. There is a hint of one. It is gone as quickly as it came. But it makes me think you are happy. And so I am happy.

Through your eyes, I see the world anew. Vivid colors and the sweet sounds of life replace the grays and noise of my previously jaded view. I see a world that still has a lot of good in it. I see a future with endless possibilities for you, stretched out as far and wide as the East is from the West.

I think about my life. About unfulfilled potential and dreams not chased. Somehow, looking thru your eyes, I realize many of those same possibilities still exist for me, even now. I want to be a better person for you, an uncle you can look up to. And I want you to have so much more than I ever did.

You have reminded me that life is a wondrous and magical thing. That there are few things more important than eating and sleeping. And that people are generally most content and carefree when they are completely naked.

A sudden stiff breeze causes your head to jump, your eyes to close, and for the briefest instant it steals your breath. And I wonder when I lost that ability.

As we start back inside, you turn your head for one more look at the great wide world. Still completely quiet. Still clinging to my sleeve. But it is I who is wrapped securely around your finger.

"I hear babies cry. I watch them grow. They'll learn much more than I'll never know. And I think to myself, what a wonderful world..."

Friday, October 17, 2008

The race is on

Girl: I knew there had to be another side to you.
Jerry: No, no, there's no side!
Girl: There is a side, an ugly side.
Jerry: No, no, no ugly side.

I'm not sure how each of you view me. My inclination would be as some sort of odd Jerry Seinfeld/Jason Morgan conglomeration. But I do have vices. And here is one: I don't like to be passed.

I'm not talking about driving, like those psychotics who hold up traffic and then speed up when you try to pass them. No, I'm talking about when I'm running. There are two ways to be passed while running. One is when you're going the same direction as someone else. The other, and maybe less obvious way, occurs when you're running opposite directions.

Two people, running opposite directions at the same rate on the same track, will meet in the same spot, exactly two times per lap. Let's call this spot Checkpoint Charlie. Thus, it stands to reason that if one person is running faster than the other, they will meet in a different spot each lap, and it will be obvious who is more fit and manly and who is the slowpoke.

So anytime I'm running and someone else is running the opposite direction, I speed up a little so that I can pass Checkpoint Charlie before they do. Some people might not notice such a thing. But that's what makes me different.

I say all that to say this. Last night while I was running, there was an incident. I was nearing the end of my second lap when I encountered this high school kid on his first lap. I made a mental note of where we passed so I could be sure I was ahead of him the next time around.

Only, I wasn't. I had lost about fifty yards to this punk kid in one lap.

Alright, we're taking it up a notch.

I increased my speed a bit, but still lost ground on lap four!

Good grief, what are they feeding this kid? And how tall is he? I'm 6'1" but this kid's like a gazelle, whatever that is. He covers like ten yards a step.

It was at this point I decided that no matter how far this kid ran, I'd keep running until after he was done. I would run all night if that's what it took to prove my superior stamina and conditioning.

It's a marathon, Junior. Not a sprint. You may be faster. But I'm stronger. I'm like Dwight Schrute on 'roids. Bring it!

Lap five was more of the same.

This kid's like a machine. It's like I'm running against Ivan Drago here. Hey kid, Manute Bol called. He wants his legs back.

Then it happened. On my sixth lap, Manute Drago had slowed to a walk.

Aww, could the little baby only run four laps? That's exactly how far I had originally planned to run not bad... for a beginner.

I kept running until he finished walking, careful each time we passed to make it seem as if I was barely putting forth any effort at all.

I was running when you got here, and I'll still be running when you're gone. Bone rulz!

I wound up running seven laps in all. To recap, that's:

Bone - 5.25 miles (<-----WINNER)
High school kid - 3 miles (<-----LOSER)

But who's counting?

"And I ran. I ran so far away. I just ran. I ran all night and day. I couldn't get away..."

Monday, October 13, 2008


I hope and trust you are all having a grand Columbus Day. If you're like me, it's not much different from any other day. No day off work. No parades. No TVLand marathon. No delicious sugar cookies shaped like the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria.

Columbus Day is sort of the Tito of holidays. Not all that remarkable. Nobody's favorite. But as far as we know, it is still technically a holiday. Oh well, I guess that's what happens when you discover a continent by accident.

I considered recapping my week for you today. For instance, last Wednesday I got spit up on for the first time ever. Then Thursday, I sank a 45 foot putt, the longest of my career. But I figure you've had enough baby and golf stories, at least until tomorrow.

Instead, I want to share with you some tips for saving money in these uncertain economic times. Things I've practiced that have helped me to scrape by for umpteen years on my own now. Not obvious things, like selling your plasma. But more subtle ideas that you can use, say for instance, if you've already reached your 12 times per year plasma donation maximum.

Tip #1 - Ignore expiration dates

We are taught in this country, likely by the biased media, to throw food away if it has expired. Well that's fine if there's a money tree growing in your front yard, or if you go to the grocery store more than once a month. But what about the rest of us?

Expiration dates are nothing more than a way for food companies to get you to buy more often, and probably to avoid litigation as well. An expiration date is like a little ultimatum saying, "Eat me by this date or it is so over!" You wouldn't stand for that from your significant other, so why stand for it from your dairy?

This weekend alone I had a hot dog on buns that were six days past expiration and cereal with milk that was two days past expiration. My rule is, the nose knows.

We all have five to seven senses. Use them! When we're injured we feel pain and curse. When we need to communicate, we open our mouths and speak or grunt. When we hear Celine Dion, we feel pain and curse. And when food has gone bad, we can smell it.

Tip #2 - Do a supper scavenger hunt

How often do you find yourself in this situation? It's 8 or 9 o'clock at night. You don't feel like putting clothes on to go get something to eat, but you haven't been to the grocery store in a long, long time so you figure there's probably nothing to cook.

Well, you just might be surprised. By scrounging around in the cabinets, I'll bet you can come up with a decent meal from things you already have. It's kinda your own personal episode of Survivor. Or maybe not. I've never actually watched the show.

For example, in my cabinet right now (I just went and looked), I have some penne, a thing of syrup, a few sunflower seeds, some unopened Valentine's candy, some peanut butter that "expired" February 23rd, and some corn.

Now, from this... let's see... I could easily make... hmm... Well anyway, you get the idea, I'm sure. Let's move on.

Tip #3 - Never turn down anything from your parents or a free meal from anyone

In my early bachelor days, some of my favorite memories are when I'd be looking thru mostly barren cabinets containing only peanut butter and corn, and Mom or Dad would call asking if I wanted to come over and eat supper.

I learned early on to never turn down a free meal, and here's why. By eating one free meal, you have immediately contributed to a fiscal surplus. Even if it's not the best meal, or not particularly your favorite food. You can eat better food another day, but you can never get back the money you just saved.

As a general rule, parents want to help us. No, they need to help us. Giving makes them feel good. And we should not be so selfish as to deny them that good feeling by not accepting their gifts, or monthly allowance.

So never turn down anything from your parents. And never turn down a free meal from anyone. Ever. Unless, of course, the person preparing it has some sort of massive germophobic violations going on. No amount of money is worth that.

Tip #4 - With laundry, less is more

I do laundry as infrequently as possible. Basically, as long as I have clean underwear, I don't see a reason to do a wash. I'm all about wearing jeans two or three times. And while this has more to do with laziness than frugality, surely there are financial benefits as well.

Do you have any idea how much electricity it takes to run a dryer for one sixty minute cycle? Well, me neither, but it's probably a lot. My suggestion would be to buy up as many pairs of underwear as your drawers will hold, and let everything else go.

Of course, you might occasionally run into minor problems down the road, say if a shirt you want to wear doesn't happen to be clean. That's why I also suggest leaving laundry you think you might wear again lying around on the floor. That way, it doesn't get that musty, stinky hamper smell in it. Because once it's buried in the hamper, all the Febreze and Drakkar in the world won't get that out. Trust me.

Less laundry means less electricity, less costly detergent to purchase, and also less folding and ironing. And that means more fun for everyone.

Also, in the future when you see the bachelor, don't be so quick to judge his fashion sense. Most likely, he's wearing the only thing he could find that was clean, or had only been worn once.

"I ain't goin' down on the border with you tonight, drinking tequila and taking chances on our lives. All the women are crazy. They like to party 'til daylight. On second thought, if I can find a clean shirt, I might..."

Monday, October 06, 2008

Golf in the time of cooing

Life is--how shall I put this... ah yes, that's it--a highway. An unpredictable series of ups, downs, and embarrassing gaffes. 'Tis a colorful array of accomplishments, milestones, moments, and naps. I recently experienced two such events on the same day.

Two weeks ago this past Tuesday marked my 13,000th day on the face of the Earth. I'm not one to be shy about my age, as I've been told I have the body of a man several thousand days younger. OK, I really haven't been told that, but consider it a suggested compliment.

I embrace the next... hmm, what do you call a thousand days anyway? A long time to be married? Oh, please, shut up. Seriously, stop applauding. Don't start throwing lingerie. Especially not you, sir. Thank you, thank you. I'll be here the rest of my life.

One thousand days. It's not a millenium. We'll call it a minilenium. The dawn of a new minilenium is a time to take stock of one's life, to reflect on just how little one has accomplished and matured in the past thousand days, and to wonder aloud (perhaps while sobbing openly), "What the heck happened to my life?" It's a most joyous occasion.

My 13,000th day passed without any fanfare. It did, however, involve a round of golf. In that way, it was not unlike days number 12994, 13003, et al.

I was on the par four 8th hole at the beautiful Valley Landing Golf Course. I'd hit my tee shot off to the right, over the cart path, and into a little ditch beside the road. A not uncommon predicament to find myself in.

I took out my three wood and hacked away at my second shot. It was as if a huge breeze from heaven lifted my ball. It went sailing up into the sky, held there for a moment, then dropped right onto the edge of the green, about ten feet from the hole.

Arriving at the green, I took out my not so trusty putter and studied the slope, reading a bit of right to left break. The putt appeared to be on line at first, then began to drift ever so slighlty left. It slowed nearly to a stop just as it reached the left edge of the cup. I thought I had missed it.

Then, as if a little invisible golf gnome wearing a red and white striped hat was helping it, the ball fell in. I dropped my putter to the ground and raised my hands to heaven in near disbelief. It was the first birdie of my life.

I don't know if it was divine intervention or the kinship of all living things, but at that moment, I was a golfer. I briefly contemplated retirement. The thought passed quickly. I mean, what else would I do in the afternoons?

My first birdie and turning 13,000 on the same day. The new minilenium is off to a rousing start.

In other milestone news, guess who turned forty last week.

Don't worry buddy. Forty is the new six weeks. Can't you see the resemblance? Although I'm not sure I could rock that shirt. Actually, as a guy, I'm not even sure I should be using the phrase "rock that shirt."

Nephew Bone has been racking up quite a few accomplishments of his own. Sometimes he smiles if I talk to him about trick-or-treating, or maybe just because I'm funny lookin'. And he coo's now. Everybody seems a lot more impressed by that than by my birdie, including me. Next thing you know, he'll be rolling over. And in another few thousand days, I might break 80.

"Life's like a road that you travel on, when there's one day here and the next day gone. Sometimes you bend and sometimes you stand. Sometimes you turn your back to the wind..."

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Comes in threes

Dad called Monday morning to let me know that an old boss of mine had passed away. A couple of months ago I heard that he had the cancer pretty bad, so it wasn't unexpected. I hadn't seen him in two or three years, but figured I'd go to the visitation. I worked there for eight and a half years, my longest tenure at any job.

As I was looking online for the funeral arrangements, I came across the obituary of someone else I knew--a lady I used to go to church with. Even though I hadn't seen her in probably fifteen or twenty years, she still mailed me a birthday card each year. A couple of years ago, she wrote that it would probably be the last time she'd be able to send a card as her health was failing. She sent at least one more after that.

After that, I was left wondering who the third would be? I would find out Tuesday, when Mom told me a guy I went to school with and played youth league basketball with had died a couple of weeks ago. Turns out the third had already occurred, I guess. He was 36. Brain cancer.

The news left me feeling solemn. Reflective and quiet. I felt guilty because I wasn't particularly close to any of the three. Even though there was a time where I saw each of them weekly, if not more often, years and years had passed since then.

I know each of the deceased were a mother, father, son, daughter, sister, brother, and friend to so many. And obviously, my heart and prayers go out to them. But for me, it was a strange feeling. It felt like death from a distance. And I feel guilty or selfish or something for even thinking that.

Death hadn't come into my home. But it passed nearby. I heard it swirling outside. I felt it wafting thru the windows, reminding me of it's ever-presence. And leaving me with a chill.

Driving home from the visitation last night, I rolled the windows down and opened the sunroof. I wanted to see the stars, feel the night air, and be reminded that I was alive. Most of all, I just wanted to keep driving.

"And we'll climb up on the mountain, ya'll, we'll let our voices ring. Those who've never tried it, they'll be the first to sing..."

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A bachelor looks at thread count

"I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I'm awake, you know?" ~ Ernest Hemingway

I think I may have made a big mistake.

I purchased some new sheets this past weekend. They were of the higher thread count, extra soft variety. And now all I want to do is lie in bed. Granted, that's mostly all I wanted to do before, but now it's even worse.

Have I ever shared with you my deep affection for sleep? I love sleep. Literally love it. I think I could marry sleep. Really. I'd have no problems with the vows. In sickness and in health? Till death do us part? Please. I sleep when I'm sick. I sleep when I'm well. I'll sleep till I'm dead. I'll sleep dressed in red, said Fred.

Sleep and I have had a long relationship. At times we've been almost inseparable. When I was little--and by little I mean between the ages of seven and eighteen--it was so difficult to wake me that my mother resorted to dripping icy cold water on my face. In thirty-five years, n'er a day has passed that sleep and I haven't spent time together. I thought I knew love, er, sleep. But I didn't know anything until I met these extra soft high thread count sheets.

To me, sheets were always kinda like underwear. Just something to help keep you from getting itchy. Often, my parents would get me some for Christmas. And when I did buy my own, I went for the lowest price. After all they were just sheets, right? Oh, how naive I was.

Now, it's like sleeping on a happy, fluffy, velvety cloud in a Bob Ross painting. No, make that a velvety fog. Yes, that's it. It's like sleeping on Mel Torme's voice. Sometimes I just lie in bed and run my hands all over her, I mean, them. Throw in a new foam mattress pad and it's a horizontal Xanadu!

I may never get out of bed again, save to golf and work and go to Bama games. And work would totally be negotiable except that's the only way I can afford to do the other two. And by can, I mean, can't really but do anyway. The only thing that bothers me is that I'm just now discovering this. I've basically deprived myself of thirty-five years of velvet fog sleep that I can never get back.

Well, here's to making up for lost time. As if it wasn't hard enough for me to get out of bed in the morning already.

"I've been a-waiting for you most of my life. Now that we're together and we're where we belong, I can't help but wonder why, why did it take so long?"

Monday, September 08, 2008

The twin I'd almost forgotten

I had almost forgotten about it. It had been so long. It was part of my past, much like tapered leg jeans, crying at the end of Mister Holland's Opus, or being a productive employee. It was who I was, not who I am. Or so I thought. Until Saturday, when I was reminded all over again.

I was at the first Bama home game of the season, waiting near the will call window a couple of hours before kickoff for my tickets. Normally, the tickets arrive a couple of weeks before the season starts, but due to some snafu this year they didn't. We get our tickets from Ben, who orders eight in all. My sister and I buy one pair, and this year he sold the other three pair on the internet.

So while Ben was in line at will call, I was talking to one of the other guys who bought tickets from him. We'll call him Earl. Earl and I had been chatting for five minutes or so when he paused and gave me a look. I wasn't sure what was going on and was wondering if maybe I had a rabid nose hair or something. Then, he said it.

"I hope you don't take this the wrong way. I mean, I don't want to offend you or anything but... has anybody ever told you you look exactly like Steve-O? You know from that show Jackass?"

Only everyone.

And by the way, how necessary is it to clarify which Steve-O you're talking about. What, am I gonna get him confused with the famed 18th Century composer Steve-O or Supreme Court Justice Steve-O?

Anyway, we talked about that for a few minutes. Once I had assured him that it didn't bother me to be compared to Steve-O, he brought his wife over so that she could see me. Maybe I should start charging. Just when I was starting to feel like the guy who met Andy Griffith, Ben walked over with the tickets and we dispersed.

Once inside the stadium, I stopped off to grab a hot dog and coke. Gulp! Cokes had gone up to $6 and hot dogs were $4. Last year, both were $3.25. It's a good thing I didn't break that ten the other day at Sonic.

Our seats are in the same spot as usual this year, with some familiar faces around as well as some new ones. I thought I would introduce you to a few in case I decide to write about them later in the season.

Let's begin with our returning characters from last season. First, we have Audrina and Lo. Now, I like Audrina, but I'm not crazy about Justin for her. That being said, he's still so much cooler than Heidi's boyfriend, Spencer. I mean, is it just me? Does anybody like Spencer? Talk to me, people.

Oh, sorry. I guess I got sidetracked. I'm good now.

Sitting about three places to my right is DUI. You might recall him from past seasons. DUI is the guy who mixes his Jack and Coke in the stands, makes a minimum of six restroom trips per game, and basically smells like he's wearing 80 proof cologne. Except Saturday, DUI brought a girl with him for the first time. He only got up twice to go to the restroom and never did I catch the scent of alcohol. If this keeps up, I might even have to change his nickname.

Back for another long season in their joyless existence are the two ornery old couples two rows in front of us. They never stand. They never cheer. The men complain the whole game. And if these early leavers haven't already left by the end of the 3rd quarter, it's probably a good idea to hit them in the head with a program to see if they're still alive.

Behind me and to the right is a guy I refer to as Ultimatum. He'll say things such as, "If we don't score on this drive, I'm leaving." Then after we don't score, he'll say, "OK, if we don't score on the next drive, I'm really leaving." Still, I like Ultimatum. He's emotionally invested and takes the losses really hard, like me. He never brings a woman with him, which leads me to wonder if maybe he used one too many ultimatums in his life.

New for 2008, we have a guy who I have dubbed Carlin. This pottymouth sits directly behind me, and appeared to be doing a perpetual tribute to George Carlin's seven dirty words the entire game, with heavy emphasis on the F word. He displayed a firm grasp of the F word and the ability to use it as at least six different parts of speech. However, his grasp of the remainder of the English language is questionable at best.

In front of me and to the left, and also new this year, is a girl I have affectionately tabbed OMG. She appears to have little to no interest in football. Instead, OMG is constantly texting and checking her phone throughout the game for new messages, mobile Hills updates, and who knows what else. JK, OMG. XOXO

In front of me and to the right is a guy I call Vandy. This Eddie Enthusiasm is a hardcore-fan-wanna-be. Many of you probably know the type. A pseudo-expert who wears the team colors, cheers, groans, and tries to make insightful comments during the game, but fails miserably. He always seems to be a few weeks/months behind on his team news, and certain information seems to have alluded him. Little obscure facts like: Last year's starting wide receiver was a senior. Therefore, he's no longer playing. So quit yelling his name.

Saturday night, he was looking at the scoreboard as they flashed scores of other games and saying things like, "Ooo, Michigan barely won" and "Arkansas is losing to Monroe" and then excitedly, "Vandy beat South Carolina!" Um yeah. We know. That game was Thursday night. And that's how Vandy got his name.

Most everyone was already in their seats getting ready for pregame festivities when Earl made his way down the aisle. Upon seeing me, he flashed an abnormally big smile, stuck out his hand to shake mine, and yelled, "Steve-O!!!!"

Then later, during a break in the action, Earl leaned up and said, "Hey man, I gotta get a picture of you after the game. Nobody will believe this!" Fortunately, he'll be sitting next to us all season.

Maybe it's true what they say, that everyone has a twin. I know I do. One thong-clad semi-celebrity to which I will forever be linked. Though only one of us is banned from ever performing again in Terrebonne Parrish, Louisiana.

"Well, there's a football in the air across a leaf blown field. Yeah, and there's your first car on the road, and the girl you'd steal..."

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Letting out my inner Costanza

After reading J-Mo's post about one of the great sociological questions of our time, I decided to go to Sonic for lunch today.

So I'm sitting there and of course I have no idea how much to tip or even if I should tip at all. Because the place is like a gigantic roundabout anyway. Who knows what to do. You pretty much just hope to get out of there without running into anything.

Anyway, my order comes to $5.39. I briefly consider giving her $6 and telling her to keep the change, but that never seems like enough to me. I feel like the carhop is standing there thinking, "Gee thanks. This will pay for my little brother's operation to fix his lazy eye."

Next, I consider giving her a $10 bill. Then as she's giving me the change I can make it a point to return one of the dollars to her. This seems like a pretty good idea, except who wants to break a ten. Those big bills just disappear once you break them.

So then I dig around in the coin repository that is the console of my car and find thirty-nine cents. I don't have a five, so I decide that I'll give her six one dollar bills and thirty-nine cents in change. That way, she'll be getting a full dollar tip. That should help her brother out.

Well, she comes, I pay, she leaves. Story of my life. But she doesn't count my ones. She just takes the money and walks away. So then I'm thinking that she's thinking I gave her exact change and has no idea I even tipped her. I mean, she said thank you. But it was just a regular thank you, not an oh-thank-you-so-much-kind-sir-for-my-tip-is-there-anything-else-I-can-do-for-you-today thank you. So basically, I got NO CREDIT for my tip.

Oh sure, when she gets back inside and starts going thru her money, she'll find a nice little Washingtonian surprise. But what good does that do me? Isn't the whole point of tipping at Sonic so I don't get dirty looks or feel guilty?

Oh, it's not?

Oh... Well, nevermind then. Forget I said anything.

"If you wanna go and take a ride with me, we three wheelin' in the fo' with the gold D's. Oh why do I live this way? Hey! Must be the money..."

Monday, September 01, 2008

Lunch Lady Land

Blogging away while wondering if I ever really knew how to play hopscotch, because surely it can't be as simple as what I think it is...

Well, I promised more uninhibited bachelor tales, so here you go. Parents, safeguard your children.

Last Wednesday, I had lunch at the local elementary school. When I told a fellow blogger about this, her reply was, "For work? Or to be among your real peers?" See what hilarious friends I have. Although honestly, I do think I fit in pretty well with the fourth grade crowd, other than the two foot differential in our heights.

Actually, I met Kywana and the godson and we had lunch with Kywana Jr. That's the real reason for my return to Lunch Lady Land. I must admit I was a bit nervous, with many of the same anxieties any kid would have their first day at a new school. What is the proper lunchroom line procedure? What if no one talks to me? What if I can't find a seat? Will I be able to pilfer two desserts?

The food was set up sort of buffet style, with two lines of kids, one down each side of the buffet. My first misstep occurred fairly quickly. Shortly after I had gotten into line, I heard Kywana Jr. calling to me from up ahead. "Bone! You're in the girls line."

Looking around, I had failed to notice that all the girls were going down the left side, while all the boys were going down the right side. Oops! Hoping not too many kids had seen my gaffe, I made my way over to the boys line as inconspicuously as a six-foot-tall fourth grader can.

Allow me to interject here. When did they start segregating the boys and the girls? It wasn't only in the lunch line. In the hall as we were waiting to go in, classes would walk by single-file with all the girls in the front then the boys. Shouldn't we be teaching harmony among all sexes? I have fond memories of "accidentally" running into Keisha Cantrell at the water fountain after school, hoping she'd smile at me or talk to me. That was the only thing getting me out of bed in the mornings for the majority of my fourth thru seventh grade years. I'm for desegregated, coed campuses. And dorms!

Getting back to Wednesday, first up on the lunch line were beverages. Juice, milk, or chocolate milk. What, no soft drinks? What an outrage. I chose chololate milk. It was like a half pint. Next up was a cooler of all kinds of ice cream--popsicles, push ups, ice cream cups, etc.

Figuring a little conversation would divert attention away from my girls' line faux pas, I exclaimed, "We get to have ice cream!?" The kid in front of me answered, "Yeah. You can get a slushy, too." He also told me to make sure I got an ice cream spoon, which turned out to be a flat, thin piece of wood. Yes! My first day and I'd already made a friend. Although I forgot to ask his name, and later on when we were eating I was looking around the lunchroom but didn't recognize him.

The buffet choices for the day were quesadillas or taco salad. I chose taco salad. With the ice cream and milk, I was quickly running out of room on my tiny plastic tray. I glanced around at some of the other kids to see where they were putting the food on their trays.

Then it was time to pay. Kywana had told me lunch was $2.75. So I was a little surprised when the lunch lady called out "$3.25." Apparently, the ice cream was an extra fifty cents. Glad I didn't get two.

The rest of my fears were eased when I found that Kywana Jr. had saved us all seats. The kids weren't allowed to talk that day because apparently they'd misbehaved or something. Although as guests, we were allowed to talk.

I found out later that they don't get to talk for the first ten minutes of lunch anyway. That seemed a bit excessive. Although I remember when I was in fourth grade, we had this big traffic light in the lunchroom. Kinda like in Mister Rogers' house, but not as fun. The light was supposedly a noice detector. If it was on green, we were being quiet. Yellow meant we were getting loud. And if it went to red, this really large teacher would stand up and yell "It's red!!!" and we couldn't talk for the rest of the day.

The whole traffic light thing was a bit confusing later in life, as you might imagine. I remember when I started driving and I ran thru a red light, Dad yelled, "Bone! What are you doing?" And I told him, "Shhh! It's red." None of this paragraph is true.

Anyway, back to my story. When I was done eating, I showed the kids how to make a little trash can out of an empty milk carton. Then lunchtime was over. We lined up, deposited our trays in the trash can, and exited the lunchroom single-file.

After that experience, as you might imagine, the rest of my weekend paled in comparison. But to quickly recap, Thursday night, I hung out with the Darryls. The highlight of the evening occurred as I noticed Wolfgang taking an abnormal interest in the outcome of the Oregon State/Stanford game.

Wolfgang: "If Oregon State covers, I win $155."
Me: "Wow. That's pretty good."
Wolfgang: "Yeah. Then I'll only owe the bookie thirty bucks."

Yeah, he has a bit of a problem. Unfortunately for him, Oregon State lost.

I took off work Friday--the Friday before the first Bama game. No it isn't a state holiday, yet. Then Saturday, my beloved Crimson Tide defeated Clemson 34-10! Some of the Bama faithful were understandably exhausted from lots of cheering. This picture was taken shortly after Bama's first touchdown:

OK, so 95% uninhibited bachelor tales. 5% cute nephew blog.

"We learned wondrous things from our teacher so nice. Sat on marshmallow desks with teddy bear smiles. The world seemed to all make sense. But that sense seems to slowly fade, after the third grade..."

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hard habit to break

Lately I've been wandering about the house in a state of disoriented malaise. OK, so that's not really anything out of the ordinary. But I've also been unable to go to sleep before 2 AM on weeknights. My body is rebelling. It stays up, expecting to see volleyball, or platform diving, or Michael Phelps' Mom. But instead all that's on are Will & Grace reruns or the Steve Wilkos Show. I like Steve, but that only lasts an hour. Then what.

I'm having withdrawals. And I think a huge part of the problem is the lack of anything decent on TV right now. The Democratic National Convention is OK, but it doesn't quench my gold medal thirst. Maybe if Hillary could have done a front handspring with full twist and stuck the landing. Or maybe if they invited Bela Karolyi to be a guest analyst. How sad is it that I know how to spell Karolyi without even looking it up anymore.

I've been having a recurring nightmare of a female gymnast who falls during her vault landing, but still receives perfect 10's. (Yes, I know they don't give 10's anymore, but it's a dream, go with it.) Each time, I wake up in a cold sweat calling out, "Bela!!!"

I miss the secure feeling of knowing that some Olympic event is on NBC, CNBC, MSNBC, or USA no matter what time of day or night it is. I miss cheering for the Americans, and sometimes cute German and Australian girls. (This means you Britta Steffen.) I even miss Jim Lampley's stoic, monotone delivery.

I've tried everything I know to get my fix. I searched for that hokey Olympic theme music (BUM BUM ba bum bum bum bum) on iTunes, sent Hope Solo a friend request on MySpace, and I'm seriously considering giving myself a Dalhausser. I even tried showering off each time I use the restroom just to be like the divers. Didn't help.

How bad has it gotten? Last night, I turned over to Jimmy Kimmel to see if he had any Olympians on.

Jimmy. Kimmel.

Clearly, these are desperate times. Thankfully, he didn't but Letterman did. Bryan Clay, the decathlon gold medalist, was on the Late Show. I watched him throw shot puts and javelins at a cab. Clay, not Letterman.

Tonight, Misty May and Kerri are on. Thank goodness, too. Google images just wasn't doing it for me anymore. Anyway, that should tide me over until tomorrow. And then, who knows. With an addiction like this, all I can do is take it one day, one hour, one Logan Tom-less moment at a time.

At least until college football starts Saturday.

"I guess I thought you'd be here forever. Another illusion I chose to create. You don't know what you got until it's gone. And I found out a little too late..."

Friday, August 22, 2008

Babies R Us

Guess what.

If you guessed that I shaved my facial hair, you are correct. I actually did it a few months ago. It was a pretty big decision, but I figured it was time.

Did you notice anything else different in the picture? Look closely and see if you notice... A WHOLE OTHER PERSON!!!

That's right, my friends. After all these years, I've finally done it. I'm an uncle! Say hello to Nephew Bone. (He's the one on the left.) This picture was taken just as I was telling him all about blogging.

My sister was admitted to the hospital early Tuesday morning to be induced. Nephew Bone finally arrived Wednesday evening at 8 pounds, 3 ounces. I figure thirty-six hours isn't that long to wait for a whole 'nother person, right sis? And no, they didn't name him Seven or Jacob Martin, despite my constant urging friendly suggestion.

From what I can tell, here is a breakdown of how Nephew Bone spends his day:

Sleeping - 70%
Eating - 15%
Causing people to swoon by opening his eyes - 10%
Whining at bothersome, albeit sometimes attractive, nurses - 5%

Total time spent looking cute = 100%

I want to be the best uncle ever. And by best uncle, I mean, fave uncle. However, I've been unable to find any books on uncle-ing, so I've had to come up with other means of research. I have devised what I think you will find is a simple, yet comprehensive two-pronged approach.

First, I have been trying to recall things my uncles taught me. Things like if you hit a golf ball just so, it will run along the cart path and greatly increase shot distance. Although I guess I would have eventually figured that out myself.

Secondly, I have been trying to catch reruns of Full House, Dukes Of Hazzard, and My Three Sons whenever I can. I figure the knowledge I can glean from Uncle Joey, the Uncles Jesse, Uncle Charley and other famous uncles will be invaluable. And what about that old guy on Lost In Space? Was he an uncle, or just some odd character they picked up somewhere in the galaxy?

It is an incredible thing hold a baby while thinking he wasn't even born a few hours before. To experience the miracle of life is... indescribable. I can only imagine how it will be someday when I finally impregnate some unsuspecting girl.

What? I didn't want you to think this was going to turn into one of those boring uncle blogs. I promise a return to golf, General Hospital, and other uninhibited bachelor tales very soon.

I also want to say congratulations to Kywana on the birth of their son this past Monday. He is beautiful! And thanks for letting me be part of that. Well, a small part. It's not like I was there for the delivery or anything. I am also honored they have chosen me to be Kywana Jr's godfather. Starting immediately, you may refer to me as Godfather B.

It's been a busy week around here. Lots of time spent in hospitals. I am most thankful that everything went smoothly (easy for me to say) and that everyone is healthy.

There are two less pregnant women in the world. Two new beautiful Bama fans. And one proud new uncle and godfather.

"His fingerprints are everywhere. I just slowed down to stop and stare. Opened my eyes and man I swear, I saw God today..."

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Obligatory Olympics entry

I've never had much of a problem going along with the crowd. When I was four and some neighborhood kids were taking turns throwing bricks at a wall while one person stood against the wall and tried to dodge the bricks, with mortar stained hands I willingly participated. In 1987, I was rolling my jeans so tight and so often I'm surprised I don't have long term chronic circulation problems in my feet.

Tie dye, slap bracelets, talk to the hand, 90210 sideburns, the Rachel haircut, you name it. Whatever the crowd was doing, there I would be, following along and trying not to stand out. Just put a numeric neon green pager in my hand and prepare to be amazed by my upside down spelling abilities. So in the spirit of fitting in and going along with the blogging crowd, I now present my obligatory Olympics post.

I wasn't all that excited about the Olympics before they started. I figured I would watch Misty May and Kerri Walsh, maybe some of the basketball, and not a whole lot else. Then Jason Lezak happened. By the time he had smashed the French and I found myself standing up yelling "(non child friendly word) France" all alone in my bedroom, I was hooked.

The past ten days, my TV has been on something other than the Olympics and General Hospital for maybe two hours. I'm watching NBC, CNBC, MSNBC, and USA. Men's water polo, team handball, women's double skulls, you name it. Morning, afternoon, evening, and late night. I get very sad when I can't find Olympics on any channel.

A few other thoughts...

Why are they taking softball out of the Olympics? How is BMX a more popular sport than Jennie Finch, I mean, softball? A bunch of twenty-something-year-old guys riding around on dirt bikes? Please.

One sport I truly don't understand is the 3000 meter steeplechase. They run around, there's a hurdle every once in awhile, then once a lap they go completely off the track to jump a wall and land in one or two feet of water. It just seems all really bizarre, and I'm not sure what it determines. Maybe if there was a small flood or water heater disaster and you needed to jump out a window and run thru standing water--but not a lot of standing water, just a couple of steps--to safety, these would be the best people for the task?

Anytime I get a little fed up with Bob Costas, Jim Lampley, or Mary Carillo, I just remind myself, "Hey, at least it's not Joe Buck or Chris Berman."

Why is there no 100 meter doggie paddle?

Here's maybe the oddest fact I've learned during the Olympics: Georgia's men's volleyball team is made up of two Brazilians named Geor and Gia. Seriously? That's an onomatological phenomenon! That'd be like if the US team was made up of two Serbs named Bratislav United and Nikolai States.

But of course, our men's beach volleyball team are the dynamic duo of Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser, the latter of which George Bush affectionately nicknamed Big Fella. I can only imagine how that came about. I'm guessing it was after several failed attempts to pronounce Dalhausser.

I think if I were a diver, and I was way behind going into my last dive with no hope to medal, I'd have to try a cannonball. Oh come on, like you hadn't thought the same thing.

I love Dara Torres. And here's why. When I watch these teenagers and twentysomethings winning medals and representing their country, inevitably I begin to examine my life and how very little I've done with it. Of course, it doesn't help that as I'm watching, I'm lying on the couch trying to lick the last bit of icing out of a cupcake wrapper. But then I watch Dara Torres and I think, "Eh, I've still got time." She's like the Kenny Rogers of the Olympics.

I love Natalie Coughlin, too, but for entirely different reasons.

"When Brian Boitano was in the Olympics skating for the gold, he did two Salchows and a triple Lutz while wearing a blind fold..."

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Expectant mothers, Nintendo, & the bachelor

Well, I haven't been blogging much lately. That could be attributed to a number of things, such as being exhausted from NaBloSoThaDraWe, which with at least two participants including me was a rousing success. (Thanks, Eileen.) But I think mostly it comes down to the fact that I haven't been typing things in this box and hitting publish much lately. I've done that like zero times in the past ten days.

It was quite an eventful weekend for me, though. Friday night, I hung out with the Darryls. We did your typical guy stuff. Shot pool, discussed the latest happenings on General Hospital, and even sang a bit of karaoke without music. (I know what you're saying. Is it still considered karaoke without the music, Bone? And all I have to say to that is, probably not.) It was all very manly though, not that I needed to clarify that or anything.

Saturday night, I went to a friend's 40th birthday celebration. At some point in the evening, I found myself in a not uncommon position for a bachelor, wedged between two pregnant women. Not physically. Well, sort of. Anyway, that was even more fun than it sounds.

Unfortunately, I didn't plan ahead, and had no signal to get me out of a conversation, such as head patting or chicken wing. So there I sat, as they discussed contractions, itchy stomachs, minivans, and dilations. Who knew pregnancy affected the eyes!

I found myself unable to contribute much to the conversation, since my gynecology knowledge is pretty much limited to Nuvaring commercials. But I wanted to learn what I could, figuring it could always come in handy later. So during a break in the conversation, I chimed in with, "So what exactly does a contraction feel like?" Not long after that, I went over and started petting the dog.

After the party, I went back to Kywana's for a bit. It's what the kids call the "after party." They had downloaded Super Mario Brothers for the Wii, so we were all taking turns playing. Then when it got to Kywana Junior's turn to play, she asked her mother, "What do I do?"

Oh my gosh. She's never played. It was like I had stepped on a rake and the handle smacked me in the face. Except that I didn't cry. I was sad for her at first, because she had never played Super Mario Brothers. Then I was sad for me, because I was old.

All turned out well though. It wound up being sort of like a little video game history lesson. Early Mario World Civilization 101: The Origins Of Mario Kart.

Tune in next time when I offer Bone's Helpful Lamaze Tips. And also provide an editorial commentary on why Luigi got the shaft. Or maybe I'll just blog about the Olympics.

"Her boyfriend, he don't know, anything about her. He's too stoned, Nintendo. I wish that I could make her see, she's just the flavor of the weak..."