Friday, May 14, 2010

A New Milestone on the Odometer

In a few days from now, I will officially have left my twenties to enter a new decade in the thirties.


I can’t say that turning thirty years old really bothers me too much, if at all. In fact, everyone I know, and by everyone I mean no one, keeps asking me if I feel different, sad or depressed to be hitting this milestone. And honestly, I tell them I am not bothered by it at all.


Just the other day, I went to the local basketball court to play some pick-up games with a few same-aged friends. We typically play on Thursday nights, and this was supposed to be like any other night of intense skill. When I arrived, I was surprised to see a dozen or so new, young faces. Most of these new comers couldn’t have been more than a year or two removed from high school, and they all strutted around like they were the stuff. Anyway, one of them decided to take control and organize all of us into teams for a little tournament, instead of our usual king-of-the-court style of play. Names were then written down on pieces of paper and put into a hat for team selection. My friends and I all happened to be picked from the hat and put on the same team. Even though I can’t say I was too surprised by this particular dividing of teams, I could tell that these younger kids wanted the gym to themselves without having to share it with the “old married guys.” This was just their way of sending us all home quickly.


After the teams were all established, the tournament and game play began. Our older, washed-up team then proceeded to give the younger, “abler” teams a spanking they never expected to receive. Not only did we win the tournament, but we left them shattered and embarrassed for even being born as males.


Now, if I am not mistaken, that was a pretty cool story. What is even cooler is that I used it to express my lack of concern or depression for my advancing age. The way I see it, my twenties were a time of establishment and experience. A time that had it’s moments but was relatively stressful and rough. I mean, think about it. High school is a breeze for most guys —carefree, fun and easy. The twenties, on the other hand, are full of decisions, growing up and responsibility. But the thirties…that’s where the fun begins. Plus, chicks dig guys in their thirties…if that mattered to me, which it doesn’t because I’m happily married, another thing I don't have to worry about.


So, the way I see it is I have nothing to hide from. I am ready and excited to jump on board the thirties train and enjoy the ride… just as soon as I am done icing my knees.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Something To Ponder

With all of the known and classified plants, seeds, fruits and vegetables in the world, have you ever considered how many people in the history of human existence have died finding out which were safe to eat and which were poisonous? I mean, think about it. The mushroom family alone probably wiped out an entire nation. I can just imagine how it went down.


“So, the other day, Eddie, from hunting and gathering, ate this weird looking mushy thing he found in the forest. It doesn’t have a name, obviously, so I’ll call it a mushroom. It turns out they were poisonous, and it killed him. Which reminds me, no one eat the mushroom thingies growing in the forest. Anyway, I happened to stumble across another bunch of mushroom things in another part of the woods, but these look distinctly different from the one Eddie ate. So…who wants to try them?”


Or, what about berries?


“Dang, no birds are eating these berries. That’s not a good sign.”

“But Larry, we took an oath. Be it fungus, leaf, berry or root…we swore to try them all. It’s for the good of the tribe.”

“You’re right. Why don’t you go first on this one?”


Something to ponder, I suppose.



I don’t have an official stat on this, but whenever you ask someone what they plan to do after retirement, more often than not their answer is something along the lines of “play more golf and travel.” In fact, just the other day I was discussing the topic of post-retirement plans with a few co-workers. It was interesting to note that the majority of those involved in the discussion were excited by the thought of having more free time to golf. This triggered an immediate question in my head. What does a professional golfer do after retiring? Do they apply for a regular job at the local Wal-Mart? Do they limit themselves to only playing nine holes? Maybe they just move up to the white tees.


That's something to ponder.



When Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden, do you think that either of them ever had a mental lapse where they forgot that certain of earth’s creatures, like the lion or the grizzly bear, were no longer the cuddly kitty or huggable bear? After being in the peaceful, friendly garden setting for so long, I imagine the concept of boundaries would have taken some time to get used to. However, not all animals are aggressive or dangerous. So, could one assume they kept a master list of animals that were approachable and another of those that weren’t? If so, the snake section of the list would have been the pits to collect.


And while we’re on the subject of Adam and Eve, how long do you think it took before Eve felt comfortable picking fruit from the surrounding trees? I would have to think there was some hesitancy in that arena. After all, her first experience didn’t go so well. And let’s not forget about Adam. He must have questioned everything Eve prepared for meals. “What’s this?” or “Where did this come from?” or "Should I be eating this?" were probably questions that were all too common at the dinner table.


Just something to ponder.



A certain dried fruit company uses the slogan, “A healthy snack; the one Mother Nature would eat!” on all of their packaging. Is there anything weird about that statement? I guess the real question is: Does Mother Nature only eat meat? I mean, if the earth’s vegetation and environment —in all its forms— are her children, then I think we have an ethical dilemma on our hands. Now, I realize there are plenty of creatures living in nature that are known to eat their own young. As scientists, we accept this. As humans we can’t understand it. On the other hand, human characteristics and qualities are typically associated with Mother Nature and Father Time. So, is this an issue of cannibalism, or is “Mother Nature” just an occupation title —like “chicken sexer” or “forest husbandry?”


Something to ponder.


Friday, February 12, 2010


It’s that time of year again —the time when men around the world leave the comfort of their couch or chair grooves, turn off the sports broadcasts and hide from their significant others. Yes, I am referring to Valentines Day, which is actually just the shorter version of its original name: “Pay Attention to Only Me Day. I’d venture to say that Valentines is the one holiday that consistently comes unwelcomed every year to roughly 50% of the population.

I wish that I could properly express my feelings for this holiday in a way that would be understood by women and, simultaneously, have men around the world stand behind me in full support and agreement. But since I have conceded on the first part of that wish ever becoming a possibility, I have chosen to give a history lesson as a way to explain the male’s inability to live up to the lofty expectations of this romance-filled celebration instead. Hopefully it will be able to fulfill my second wish and elicit male support.

A friend of mine once asked, “Why are men such jerks all the time?” The friend was, of course, a female, and the question was most likely rhetorical. However, being the all-knowing man that I am, I went ahead and answered it anyway. After all, what good is all this male knowledge and advice if it goes unused? Am I right, gentleman? Anyway, my response came in the form of this history/biology lesson:

Most guys, me included, are born without the exhibitus sensitivula bone (commonly known as the “sensitive bone”) in their body, a point we are frequently reminded of by our female counterparts. Anyway, if research is correct, this bone was located in or near the rib cage originally, anatomically speaking. However, in the beginning of time and human existence, the patriarch of our race demonstrated an unfathomable amount of unselfishness and, ultimately, sacrificed this bone in order to create a companion for this dreary life. This act was, by far, the most generous deed ever perpetrated by man to date.

At the time, we (by we, I am, of course, referring to mankind —in the male-kind sense of the word) thought this was a good and necessary idea. We thought we had weighed our options adequately and come to a solid conclusion and decision that companionship would be worthwhile and completely essential. After all, companionship —in principle— sounds like a great alternative to dismally roaming the globe in lonesome fashion. However, unforeseen side effects (pun somewhat intended) began to surface, jabbing us like a thorn in our proverbial (and incomplete) rib cage. Not minutes had passed, after the transfer of bone, before a barrage of nagging, whining, complaining and belittling erupted from our newly created partner. Horrible mood swings, a roller coaster of emotions, and statements of “why can’t you be more like…” became frequent occurrences. Suddenly, “roaming the world a lone man” started to seem like a metaphorical “walk in the park.” It was at this moment that we began to second guess our decision to open up and share (pun intended most emphatically).

The consequence of our first father’s actions still surrounds us to this day. Females all over the world gush sensitivity out of every pore, whereas males are unable to display even an iota of sensitivity on any given issue. It’s what scientists call “human nature.” And women, bless their hearts, are conceiving and attempting every way possible to change it.

Truth be told, I don’t mind Valentines Day quite as much as I may make it seem. Where I hate the obligations to meet or exceed the romantic expectations that this holiday generates, I do appreciate the opportunity it affords to show my loved one just how much she means to me. Too often in our busy lives, the act of showing care, love, and even (dare I say) romance gets lost in transit. We may have given up our sensitive bones, but we still have our hearts.

I may not be able to gripe openly about the chore of being romantic without certain repercussions, but I will complain until my sides split about the commercialism of February 14th. Who knows, maybe I’ll lose my attitudinal excessivitus bone in the process.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

A Decision Has Been Made

As of 2:41, Mountain Standard Time, on January 7th, 2010, I have come to the important decision and conclusion that I don't care if the Manatee becomes extinct.

Not that I really ever cared before, but I am now officially and publicly vocalizing my stance on the issue. I mean, if the Manatee is not going to make a more concerted effort for its prolonged survival on this earthly sphere, then why should I worry about it? of 2:41, on said day, I'm not going to.

That is all.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Corralling the Caroling

Is there anything more uncomfortable than standing awkwardly in your own doorway as friends, neighbors or even people you don’t know serenade you with well-wishes and holiday cheer by means of a Christmas carol?
I submit that there isn’t.

I don’t want anyone to think that this statement, in any way, insinuates that I hate Christmas —because I don’t. I am just simply stating a simple truth that many are afraid to say themselves for fear that, in doing so; they will be demeaning another’s efforts to spread a little holiday cheer and kindness. After all, it is because of this kindness and longing for universal peace and love that this season is such a popular time of year —world wide. The presents help too, I’ll admit.

However, in an effort to continue with unabashed honesty, I do feel that, in following the guidelines of spreading said peace and love, the act of caroling might be, in and of itself, a direct contradiction to achieving that goal, not to mention one of the least thoughtful deeds a do-gooder can commit. Think about it, visiting friends and neighbors, ringing their doorbells, interrupting their evenings and proceeding to sing popular Christmas hymns in courageous but excruciating, amateur fashion for several minutes, while simultaneously letting cold air in the house because the kind-hearted listeners are too nice to shut the door before the song is finished —or too slow to get it closed between song selections— may be one of the rudest forms of teasing one human being could bestow upon another.

Caroling is a generational thing, pure and simple. In the days before hundreds of channels, movies on demand, iPods, singing greeting cards, and “elf yourself” holiday e-cards, people loved going caroling. It was all they did. It brought color to their monochromatic world. In the olden days, people would wait anxiously by their doors and windows, Kruger style, hoping to secure an invitation from a passing caroling troop. Sometimes, when an invitation wasn’t proffered, they would just try to blend in with the group and see how long they could last before they were sent home —usually at the behest of the old, frumpy school teacher who sang a painful soprano part louder than the rest of the choir. I think I even read somewhere that caroling was a tradition that was practiced all year long. They would just interchange their Christmas song selections with hymns or a mind-numbing renditionall forty verses of “She’ll be coming around the mountain.” Caroling was, for our generation X through Z understanding, the equivalent of an evening watching a High School Musical movie or “Glee.” The only difference being that, instead of singing along with Zac Ephron confidently behind closed doors to an unresponsive flat screen HD TV, you would be singing sheepishly on a front porch to an audience that, believe it or not, probably feels more awkward than you.

This brings me back to my first and original point: caroling, even with good intentions, seems like a brutal way to express neighborly love and holiday-season warmth. But then again, I was born on the flip side of the last century.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Most Wonderful Time of Year?

It’s that time of year again. The time when we fold up our shorts and t-shirts, bring out the pants and jackets, and settle in for several months of refusing to leave the house until the need to run the defrost in the car has passed.

Winter is a bleak, less-than-favored time of year for me and many other people who have asked that their names be left unmentioned. I think that the founding fathers —not the Washington, Jefferson, or Franklin type, but the ones that laid the framework and schedules for our seasons— anticipated the lack of popularity for the winter season and, therefore, stacked all the best holidays in those months in an effort to even things out. The only problem with this is, they left January and February wide open with nothing to look forward to but Groundhog Day —which really isn’t a holiday at all. It's just a little rodent’s opportunity to rub several more agonizing weeks of coldness in our frost-bitten faces.

I once expressed my loathing for winter to an acquaintance of mine. This person is what many people refer to as a “ski bum,” which, essentially, is someone who has trouble holding down a job, has less-than-stellar hygiene, frequently asks to borrow money for bus fare, and wears snow pants all year long. In fact, come to think of it, the only actual difference between a ski-bum and a street-bum is the shopping cart and accordion. As I lowered the gates and let loose with a flood of reasons explaining my lack of fondness for the frosty season —general coldness topping the list— this perceptive and wise person responded with a piece of advice designed to help me cope. His exact words were, “Maybe you could take up snowboarding.” I turned around and walked away. I was bored with the conversation anyway.

I didn’t always detest winter. I remember, as a kid, looking forward to snow, sledding, and snowball fights. But, with each year I age, my flare for winter and its wintery wonders seems to melt. Now I understand why St. George, Scottsdale, and pretty much all of Florida are such popular destinations for old people. Although, that still doesn’t explain dinner at four in the afternoon or driving with the left blinker on. I expect by the time I reach retirement age, I won’t even like opening the freezer anymore.

So, unless I decide to uproot my family and move somewhere closer to the equator, I guess I will just have to come to terms with the unavoidable turn of seasons. It’s only a few months of excruciatingly miserable coldness. On the positive side, wrapping up in several layers of sweaters and blankets on the couch doesn’t sound all that bad. I suppose the biggest obstacle will be finding something to occupy my time until summer returns.

Maybe I could take up snowboarding.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


If you sit back and think about it, golf is kind of a silly game. But then again... so is curling.


The origin of golf is as muddy as the water hazards conveniently placed on courses around the world. Some believe it can be traced back to the Romans. Others believe it made its roots in China. The most common historical belief, however, is that the modern game —the game we know and love…then hate, as we dig our way out of the bunker on eight…and then love again, as we make our way back to the club house, bragging to our friends about how well we played— is that it originated in Scotland around the 12th century with shepherds knocking stones into rabbit holes.


Another popular rumor, specifically among the antiquated or chauvinist male crowd, is that the word “golf” is actually an acronym for “Gentlemen Only Ladies Forbidden”. It’s no secret that golf is known as a gentleman’s game, and whether or not females were allowed to play in its early beginnings is of little consequence to me and the current times in which I live —with exception of my music. I like 80s music. Deal with it. Anyway, I just hate the pressure of having to consistently hit my tee shot past the ladies tees on every hole in order to avoid the embarrassing march to my second shot with my pants around my ankles. What “gentleman” developed this unofficial rule?


Golf is an interesting sport, and I’m not just stating that as a personal opinion. I know a lot of people who would agree and many who would unconsciously agree. I don’t claim to be a pro, by any means, even though I have bragged up my game on several "water-cooler" occasions. I guess what it all boils down to is, golf is just one of those sports that seems within our grasp of attaining professional status. With other sports, such as basketball, football, or the Olympic sort, there are very apparent physical qualities associated with the top tier athletes. For all of us sub-six footers, we know that the NBA is probably a little out of reach, so we limit ourselves to “dominating” in pick-up games and church ball. And, I think the majority can relate to the fact that I can’t bench press a dump truck, nor do I weigh as much as one either. So, the NFL isn’t a viable option. Soccer and baseball don’t really count because baseball requires interest and soccer is for poor people and children with too much energy.


In contrast is golf. Golf is different. Every time someone young or old steps up to the first tee at a local municipal golf course, they believe that their game is going to be very reminiscent of Tiger’s the weekend before. Then, three balls and two bent irons later —as they make their way to the first hole’s green— they’re shocked at realizing they’ve already hit course par.


An example of this mentality was demonstrated recently when my dad and I made an attempt to finish 18 holes in under seven hours. We made our way through the first few holes feeling pretty confident about the direction our scores were headed. Then, the back nine happened. It got so ugly and miserable that, at one point, I had to encourage my dad to stop sulking, get out of the sand trap where he was sitting, put his left shoe back on and finish the hole. As added incentive, I may have even promised a special trip for ice cream on the way home. The point is this: it got pretty bleak to say the least. If either of us thought we were just strokes away from obtaining our tour card, we were quickly reminded that, in reality, we couldn't be further away. In fact, it's pretty humbling to realize that, not only are you undersized and under conditioned for the mainstream professional sports, but you can’t even hack it, (yes, hack it) at a novice level on a city course with an unlimited amount of mulligans at your disposal. At least there were no ladies around to observe our shameful display of ability.


The Saturnine Examination of Saul Goodman