“I don't have to be anything other
Than the birth of two souls in one.
Part of where I'm going?
Is knowing where I'm coming from.
I don’t want to be anything
Other than what I’ve been
Trying to be lately.
All I have to do is think of me,
And I have peace of mind.
I’m tired of looking around rooms,
Wondering what I’m supposed to do,
Or who I’m supposed to be.
I don’t want to be anything
Other than me ...”
-- “I Don’t Want to Be” by Gavin DeGraw. The anthem of my life. I was privileged enough to see this at KC Live on July 15th, and it’s five minutes of my life I will never forget. 2011 was a good year. Because of not just things like seeing Gavin at Power and Light, but because of, and completely due to, the people that make life worth living. For Post 500 ... thank you. Seriously, thank you. To all of you, who read this site, who know me, who support me, who stand by me, who simply desire to be nothing “other than you”, or at least enjoy the hell out of me being nothing "other than me" ... thank you. I treasure you all, no matter how minor an impact in my life you might think you play ...
Every year, the “Annual Column” gets harder and harder to write. And that’s a very good thing.
I am way too blessed in life to have this many people I can genuinely call my friends, my family, the people who make this life worth living. I do not deserve all that I have, that is for sure. If I was a cat, I’d be on my eleventh life by now, given how much I’ve screwed up in my past and my present.
But the future? Is always optimistic, because of the people I am going to attempt to thank in some small way below. As always, if I ignore someone, I sincerely apologize. Again, I have so many people to thank that this post could reach “the next great American novel” size proportions if I wrote how I feel about everyone.
So allow me to change the traditional opening (sorry mom and dad), and choose to open with this:
* This is the 500th post on this site. Unreal. This site started because (a) the 2008 conventions were coming up, (b) I knew I’d be recapping them on email every day, so (c) why not shorten the email to a one-line link to my thoughts? It made total, complete, rational sense to me.
Since then, its evolved into a look into who I am, and since so many of my readers compose the material I write about, a look into who you are as well, and for that, I am very thankful. Believe me, without “Dustyland”, I’d only be on about post 325 right now (rimshot!)
So to all of you, thank you for 500 posts, 3 ½ years of blogging, and please, keep the comments and reactions coming, be they here in the comments section, or on email (at firstname.lastname@example.org), or on Twitter (@teamtito15). They’re always appreciated, no matter how negative they are. I’d rather be hated than ignored.
* Now we’ll get back to the more traditional format, by (as always) thanking the two people whose night of fun, tomfoolery, hijinks, and failure to use protection resulted in me. To my mom and dad, the two greatest (and most patient, understanding, and incredible) parents a kid could have, thank you for the gift of life, thank you for your love and support, no matter how much I f*ck up, and most of all, thank you for showing that a marriage can be a partnership, that marriage isn’t doomed to failure, and I know I for one can’t wait until the massive bash we put on for anniversary number forty next summer. (I trust Drew has the cost covered, right? Right? (crickets chirping ...))
* To my brother, thank you for all that you’ve done this past year. Thank you for being the best friend a guy could ever hope to have. We’ve come a long way from “bashing my head repeatedly against the window sill”. Thanks.
* To your better half, wow. I never imagined a little less than ten years ago, when Drew texted me that “ive found the one”, and found out “the one” was his local bartender, that he could have gained someone as incredible as you. Well, maybe I should have known – of COURSE someone in our family would know the perfect bartender to make his partner in life.
* To the twins, watching you two grow the last year has been amazing. (Even if I still only manage about a 50/50 average in telling the two of you apart. In my defense, if your mom would put a R on Reghan, and a F on Fallyn, Laverne and Shirley style, it’d be so much easier. That, or Reghan? Just start sucking your thumb constantly, that’s the key to telling you two apart). Hearing Fallyn say “uncle!” when I sat down next to her on Christmas Eve might have been the high point of my year.
* To “My Special Little Guy”, who somehow is turning four in a couple months ... where has the time gone? How are you going to be four? It seems like yesterday that I was violating every traffic law known to man, including driving on the curb in rush hour, to make your delivery on time. As always buddy, I’ll deny it if anyone ever calls me on it, but “Unca Teve” plays favorites ... and you’ll always be my favorite.
* To “The Voice of Reason” and his better half, thanks for another amazing year. Sadly, I never got a breakfast burrito this year. That’s gonna change in 2012, even if I have to force it to happen at “stevo using his finger like a gun” point. Another “what are the f*cking odds?!?!” relationship – who’d have thunk you’d meet someone as amazing as Ashley at a wedding reception on St. Patrick’s Day? (And for anyone who doubts how amazing this girl is, let the following fact sink in. Ready? Here goes: we tailgated at her wedding. How many brides are like “yeah honey, its totally cool if you and your friends want to go to the parking lot, at a church, and get sh*t faced drunk for the next two hours, before we face the minister! I’m totally down with that!” I’m going to guess, not many. I love girls that are keepers. Just like I’ll always look back in awe at your husband never giving up on me, no matter how easy it would have been at times. Thank you.
* To “The Kid”, who even if the first digit of your age now matches mine again, you’re still “The Kid” ... or “The Self Proclaimed Champ” ... whatever’s clever, anyways, let’s just say, March 5, 2011 was a day I’d have bet every cent of my future earnings on never happening. And I couldn’t be happier to have p*ssed away that $82! Because ...
* When you have a chance to hitch yourself for life (or something like that) to the likes of a girl like “boasheao”, you HAVE to do it. You HAVE to. Holy cow man, I can’t believe how far beyond your coverage you have kicked. And I couldn’t be happier that you have.
I figure we got one last solid summer of fun left as “The Family”, before you two actually, you know, form a legitimate family. Here’s to believing 2012 lives up to the hope and the promise it has (at least in my eyes).
* And to the fourth member of “The Family”, who would be “The Ex”, thanks for a great year, one of the funnest summers of my life, and for being you. Good luck with the new relationship, and for the love of God, hit the f*cking headpin more often in the new year, ok? If only so that we don’t have DJ blaming us if we blow a league championship.
* To “The Crush” ... yes, it’s a “crush”. Christ, I threw together the crappiest mistletoe ever constructed in the history of mankind just to steal one kiss on Saturday (and I make zero apologies for it). I knew the second I met you that you were a keeper. Life is what it is, and I wish you nothing but the best out of it. If only because you deserve it after the “Stubbs Experience”, and sweet Jesus, do you deserve it after what he put you through.
* There are plenty more friends and family and “Chiefs family” to get to ... but sadly, we lost a giant this year. I guess technically, we lost Greg last year, when he suffered his stroke during the bye week, but kept fighting and hanging in there for a little over a year, before passing this past October. Life is way too damn short, hence part of the reason for this column, so that at least once a year, I record for as long as an Internet exists what I feel about the people I care for. Section 132 will never be the same, and yes, it pains me that I typed those words only seven years ago about Randy as well. Chris, Dr. Frank, hang in there. We’ve got your back. Always.
* To Russ and Mona, my second parents, thank you for your continued friendship, kindness, hospitality, and couch to crash on after a glass or two too many. Most importantly, thank you for your friendship.
In case I’ve never put the “how did Sunday Funday at the Pool come to be” in type before ... well, I posted earlier this year on what “Double Header Day” means, and the second of those, in August of 2003, it was so freaking hot that night at the Vikings game, that I got the “hey, why not swing by the pool after you go to the Royals game tomorrow?” So, I swung by ... and wouldn’t dream of spending a 100 degree Sunday in July anywhere else (other than maybe the first few hours of it tailgating at a Royals game). Ten years. Unbelievable. I am way too lucky and blessed in this life.
* To a few “Pool Folks”, and I’m combining a few to save space, thank you for all you bring to the table, especially come about 6:30, 7pm on a Sunday evening when Russ gets done smoking or grilling on the West Wing. I know I’m going to forget at least three people, but here goes my best effort at remembering everyone: Tom and Laurie and your kids, Mike and Christy and your kids, Stacey and Jose and your kids, and whatever obvious people I’m missing, I’m definitely looking forward to that magical Friday in April when I get the call to “help us open the pool in style!”
* To Susan, or Sussan, or Pam, or ... to Susan, I’m glad you’re in this group. Sometimes the best things in life, emerge from something you can’t envision ending positively. What can I say, sh*t happens. Glad you’re a part of us.
* To the Chiefs tailgating crew, and wow, I’m gonna miss at least 3 or 4 people in this grouping, but thank you for making the “second generation” of tailgating even sweeter than the first. And here’s to believing that in 2012, we get back on track, return the AFC West championship where it belongs, to One Arrowhead Drive, and have not 10, not 11, but 12 fun home games (at least 10 of which I plan to attend. Sorry, until I see what sh*tty squads compose our preseason slate, or see that “Yes!!! Double Header Day!!!” exists, I refuse to commit to preseason football). So, to (ok, here we try ...) ... Phil, Grandma, Texas, and the rest of their crew, Roger and his crew next to us, Castro and his delinquents across from us, Anthony and Jaimmie, Michael, Ana, Paul, and whoever else from your group I inadvertently omitted, Tyler, Will and Robin, “Tony and Lisa” (yes, I know: Jeff and Paula) ... and anyone I missed, please, you are always welcome to join us for a Sunday of fun.
* To the “first generation” Chiefs tailgating crew that has moved on to its own deal, you’re missed, and I still love ya. So to Bill and Vessie, Joe and Robert, Debbie, Beth, Davey and Tracey and your kids, Jennifer and Tony, even Maria, here’s hoping 2012 goes really well for y’all, and I at least wish each of you nothing but the best as the new year dawns.
* To the “57th Terrace Regulars”, and I’m lumping three of you into the group, thank you for all that you are, for the comic relief at least two of you provide, and for the friendship, love and support you all provide. Thank you Nancy, Griffin, and Donnie. And yes, THE unintentional comedy moment of the year had to be Donnie’s reaction to meeting Damien for the first time. Speaking of “Doc” ...
* To “The Kid’s” friends and family that I am grateful to know, Merry Chrismukkah, Happy New Year, and “don’t be a stranger” wishes and dreams to Damien and his lovely other half, to Mark and Sarah (congratulations!), to Mickey and Amy and Owen (congratulations!), Brett, and to Aunt Vickie and Beth, best of all to you all. Especially Vickie and Beth, that trip to Scottsbluff and the tailgate for the Royals / Cardinals game was way too much fun!
* Which means I added another Vickie (I apologize if I botched the spelling) this year too, in “boasheao”’s mom and her dad Bill, plus her brother Wade. I don’t say this often about someone, and maybe I’m stepping out on a foot thick limb here ... but you won’t regret adding Dusty to your lives. And I’m glad to add you to mine.
* OK, now the other ex-roommate’s friends to give praise to, most of which I count as my own as well. To Brent, congrats champ! If I had to cede my spots on G’s couch to anyone, I’m glad it was you, you deserve it. And good luck with the whole marriage thing. If the last few friend’s weddings I’ve seen planned out are a guide, I’d suggest you invest heavily in vodka sales the next few months, you’ll definitely want some. To Jasson and Tara and the kids, best wishes in the new year. And to Brent’s friends from Carolina, Mark and Will and Jared, we definitely gotta take in a KU game again ... in a Snuggie ... after a few drinks with Brent’s awesome folks. I definitely want a “Mark-a-Rita” come next September at Harbor Lights. (brent voice) Christ Stevo, that was TURRIBLE! Even by your standards! (stevo reply voice) uuh, yeah, that might be the worst joke I’ve ever typed ...
* To my ex-TA friends, I wish I’d seen you more this past year, but again, sh*t happens, life evolves, but it’s still sweet to keep track of what happens with you, even if we aren’t spending every Friday night getting bombed at P Otts anymore. So, to Hadley and Shari, Brett and Shannon, Heath and Sarah, Phil and Lacey (congrats!), my old boss Mary, Scott and Rachelle (muy congratulations!), Tim, and everyone I’m forgetting (and odds are, if I didn’t mention you, I currently work with you, because “social media policy” at “stevo’s current employer” is too ridiculous to name-drop either people or corporations), thank you for helping shape me into the absolutely mediocre corporate flunkie that I am! (At last count, I work with 12 – 12! – ex-Transamerica employees. The talent drain the shutdown left behind? Is why TA is in the sh*tter. Stunner – you shut down 700 plus talented, competent people, and your business dries up. What a SHOCKER!!! I could turn the rest of this post into a “why corporate America is THE single greatest evil in the world today” post, but why bother – even Satan is nodding his head in agreement at that previous statement.)
* Two more before we hit the free-for-all finale. Congrats to my cousin Kristin, for marrying one helluva great guy in Bryan last month. And I’m not just saying that because I got to spend hours on the beach in November. (OK, fine, that’s at least 11% of the reason for the shout-out. Fine, fine, 12%.) Also, so glad that I got to see the whole extended family on my dad’s side for the first time in a long time, including my uncle Bruce and aunt Marsha, my aunt Gail (always my favorite aunt), my cousin Spencer and his wife Sam, my cousin Jordan, and my cousin Zach (told you we’d have your back at the bar). Plus the extended family – Fred and Nancy, Skip and Sandy, and because anytime you can legitimately ask as a minister walks in the door “wait, is he wearing assless chaps?”, you HAVE to show up. God I love Miami. Let’s pray the schedule works favorably and the Chiefs and Dolphins both finish in 3rd next year, to ensure a return visit.
* And also to my favorite cousin, Brooke, and her husband Craig. God bless it I wish y’all lived in KC instead of Milwaukee ... but then, I wouldn’t have my winter get-away for a Bucks game disguised as a “spend time with my favorite family members” vacation.
* Time for the final shout-outs. To my buddies, friends, amigos, pals, descomisatos ... Neeck, Phil and Jenny, fantasy football folks, fantasy basketball folks, Cassie, Kelli (I think I spelled it right), Kaela, our float trip neighbors from hell on Floatapalooza Uno this summer (although I liked 3 of you! Its just your fourth who drove our group bat sh*t crazy), my co-workers Steve and Carol, (insert ex-Transamerica people here), Ginny, Courtney, Lucy, Pat, Brad, to my bowling league friends Penny, DeHart, Ash and Cam, Ammie, Dale and Susan, the Hoxsie’s, Mark, Wayne (our Gate 6 overseer as well), the Shepherds and Graham, Daryl, the Pink Ladies, the McPeek’s. To Pickell, my gambling buddy at all hours of the day. To anyone else I’ve forgotten, thank you for the year that was.
A year that opened with a Chiefs playoff home game for the first time since 2003. A year that closed with a brutal home defeat that cost us a home playoff game (potentially). Had one helluva run in between, a lot of things chronicled on this site for your amusement, your enjoyment, and your “thank God I’m not this f*cked up!” satisfaction.
I enjoyed the hell out of 2011, thanks to all of you mentioned above, as well as the unmentioned who read this site on a daily / weekly / monthly / “somehow I stumbled onto this” basis. Thank you for all that you mean to me, and I truly do mean that. I am nothing without all of you. “Either we live together, or we die alone”. I’d much rather live together. If only because (the beatles voice) in my life, I have loved you all ...