Wednesday, August 7, 2013

a wednesday in august ...

"How do you let it go?
When you -- you just don't know?
What's on the other side of the door?
When you're walking out?  Talk about it.

Everything I tried to remember to say?
Just went outta my head.
So I'm gonna do the best I can,
To get you to understand,

'Cause I know,

There's never a right time, to say goodbye.
But I gotta make the first move,
'Cause if I don't?
You'll start hating me.

'Cause I don't feel the way
I once felt about you ...

-- "Say Goodbye" by Chris Brown.  Yes, THAT Chris Brown.

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I actually took today off.  Only my fifth PTO day* of the year, and two of them were wasted dog-sitting for my brother.  Another was blown on my failed interview back in March ... and I'd be lying if I said I remembered what the other two were for.

And I had grand plans for this day.  (Pause).  OK, fine, not grand ... but I still owe you the Big Brother 15 Power Poll 5.0 (since tomorrow is a double live eviction!), and like the good folks at Grantland (story one; story two; story three; story four), and Alan Sepinwall (story one, story two, story three), had noted, this is the tenth anniversary week of "The OC" entering our lives, and you will not find a bigger OC fan than me.  I'm still working on my tribute post to that fine television show.

This has been one weird day.

In a very good way.

Hence, tonight's (unplanned) post.

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(*: I still have 27 to burn through by the end of the year.  I wasn't joking when I said I might not show up at work until Plinko appears during "The Price is Right".)

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The Royals are five games out of a playoff berth.  And it's after May 15th.

That's weird enough in and of itself.

The Chiefs kick off their (pre)season on Friday.

And I honestly couldn't give a damn.

That's really, really weird.

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The rain woke me up this morning, about 4am.  I swear to God, I thought the huge boom of thunder was a gunshot.  Hey -- if you lived in South KC, you'd confuse thunder with a gunshot too.

I finally truly woke up about 8am, moseyed over to the laptop, and moved the mouse around to turn it back on out of sleep mode.

Nothing.

Apparently I suffered some kind of power surge, or who knows what, but that bastard is fried.  It's deader than the conservative wing of the Democrat Party (of which I am a member).

Thankfully, I brought my work laptop home last night (something I rarely do), since even on a PTO day, I had to log in occasionally and monitor email (since I am the only person left in my department who can process an invoice).

I managed, after about fifty reboots, to get my personal laptop to at least get to the point that I could see my background wallpaper, a few icons, and I nearly got the Windows Explorer to open up ... and then it crashed again.

Still, getting it that far is a good sign -- all I care about off that thing, is saving all my iTunes stuff.

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Undaunted by LaptopGate 2013, I anticipated that rarest of privileges in life during a weekday: cracking open a beer before 9am.

Go figure -- I downed 'em all last night.

And it was pouring down rain outside still.

(Pause).

You're damned right, I'm that guy, who walked a couple blocks in the rain, to grab an 18 pack of Coors Light ... at 8:30 in the morning.

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No Plinko on "Price is Right" today.  But they were six for six in contestant wins, and they had a spin-off on the second group of contestants trying to reach the Showcase Showdown.

And I'm guessing a few pets were spayed and/or neutered, thanks to Drew Carey's helpful advice.

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I committed to going to Subway for lunch.  That new pulled pork sub is phenomenal.  Throw some lettuce, red onion, and horseradish sauce on that puppy with cheddar, and it's absolutely perfect.

It had finally stopped raining.  The sun was shining, and it was humid as hell.

I threw on a wife beater, found my flip flops, and headed out the door for the ten minute walk.  Fired up Rush on the iPhone, and he did not disappoint.  (His reaction to President Obama using "The Tonight Show" as his first "speech" to us, his citizens, regarding the elevated terror threat, mirrored mine ... only Mr. Limbaugh's reaction was more subdued and classy than mine.  How any supporter of Mr. Obama can justify last night, I have no idea.  Also, I loved how Barry has no clue Russia is hosting the WINTER Olympics, not the Summer Olympics.  Don't worry Barry -- at least 80% of your voters are so f*cking retarded, and more specifically, so f*cking selfish and greedy, they'll never turn on you!!!  Because you're still campaigning, right?  You haven't run the country for four plus years at this point, and own every failure of the last four plus years, right?  You gotta love low information voters, who apparently have no clue that the man they vote for, implements the agenda.)

Got up to the B of A, where you'd cross the street to go to Subway ... and noticed that some school had a hot dog cart out, grilling.  Intrigued, I stopped in.

Three Johnsonville Brats, a bag of a ridiculously addictive Munchies Ranch chips and a Diet Coke later?  I spent less than I would have for that pulled pork footlong ... let alone the chips and drink.

And helped a great cause -- if whatever the hell junior high is now where Hickman Mills used to be doesn't raise enough to get new uniforms for their varsity team?

They can't blame me.

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"When did TNT stop airing "Vegas" midday?" -- me, to noone in particular, about noon.

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"When did TNT stop airing "Cold Case" midday?" -- me, to noone in particular, about 1pm.

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"When doesn't USA air a "NCIS" marathon all day long?" -- me, to noone in particular, after giving up on my old TNT midday staples from last year.

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I got an email from "The Voice of Reason", also known as our fantasy football league's commissioner, regarding a few things today.

First, team tito version 1.0 "earned" the top overall pick in our draft next week, thanks to my bottoming out 3-11 season last year (and 0-2 Toilet Bowl performance).  Somehow, a roster that featured Matt Stafford, Jamaal Charles, CJ Spiller, Reggie Wayne, DeSean Jackson, and Vernon Davis, finished dead last.

In a league of twelve.

Of all the indignities suffered over the last year?

That might be the worst.

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(your last place fighting ... ok, lazy drunk titos.  (photo: me, via snag-it).)

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"When the hell did Jeannie -- wait ... holy sh*t!  That IS Jeannie Zelasko!  When the hell did Jeannie Zelasko become Judge Joe Brown's courtroom reporterette?!?!?!" -- me, to noone in particular, about 3pm today.

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After firing off the obligatory "yeah, team tito sucks -- we earned this!" self-deprecating email in response to "earning" the number one pick, and firing off my keeper pick (I kept Jamaal Charles ... and didn't contemplate anyone else.  Charles in "Fat" Andy Reid's offense = Brian Westbrook 2.0.  Or Frank Gore 2.0.  Or Garrison Hearst 2.0.  Or Dorsey Levens 2.0.  Color me giddy with excitement!) ... I checked some other emails.

And saw this one:


Are you f*cking kidding me.  No -- really.  Are you f*cking kidding me?!?!?!?!

(photo: me, via snag-it.)

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No sooner did I click on that email, and shout out to no one in particular, the very long, very offensive string of naughty words that email was guaranteed to bring up in me* ... than my phone rang.

It was my mom.

Cue another round of expletives.

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(*: I had a damning footnote to post regarding all the bullsh*t they ... and we all know who "they" is ... have dumped on me over the last fifteen months ... but I choose not to.)

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Figuring I had nothing to lose, I answered my mom's call.

After exchanging pleasantries ... well, let me set the stage.

My mom and I are not exactly close.  We're better today than we were a year ago, better today than two years ago, certainly better today than we were ten years ago.  But we've never been close.

My parents never played favorites -- both my mom and my dad, have done for me and my brother, far and above any reasonable expectation for a parent / child relationship.  (Especially in my case.)  But they have their favorites.  My mom and my brother are very close ... as are me and my dad.

And look it -- I don't care what bullsh*t you spout off, everyone has their favorites.  I love my nieces to death ... but I love Reghan more than Fallyn.  She's more like me -- the "tends to be quiet, sit on the couch, and just be there" type of personality.  Fallyn?  Is my brother -- is the life of the party, and knows everyone there on a first name basis within five minutes.

But as much as I love my "special little girls"?

I love my "Special Little Guy" the most.

Does that mean I show favoritism when I give them things, or on those happy occasions I get to be their custodial figure for a couple hours, that I play favorites?  Hell no.

But everyone has their preferences.  It happens.

Me and my dad get along because ... well, I'm not exactly sure why -- other than we're almost polar opposites.

My dad is the life of the party (like Drew).  My mom prefers to sit on the couch with a glass of wine, and let others approach her (like me).  My dad couldn't give a damn about basketball (ok, Drew does care ... but for gambling purposes only, for the most part).  My mom and I could sit and watch the NBA or NCAA packages non-stop from December to March, and then demand a refund because it only lasted four months.

My mom and I's biggest beef -- other than being 99.7% the exact same person -- is that I just don't care about religion, or matters of faith, like she'd like me to.  Sorry, but I don't.

But if this last couple years has taught me anything?  It's that when mom calls with some kind of spiritual or religious thing to say to me, you listen.

This was her exact quote tonight ... and again, my mom (like my dad) rarely swears:

"I feel like you need to hear this."

(Note: anytime Mom begins a conversation with that phrase?  Prepare to be hit.  Hard.)

"Stevie*?  Stop giving a damn about (them)!  (Again: we all know who she means by "them".)  If they won't have your back through your rough patch, after all the crap you stood by (him) through?  After all the lies and wrong he did to you at ... wherever you lived with him?  Then you have to let them go!  Because they aren't worth it!

No true friend would EVER turn their back (on you), no matter what you do.  And no one who truly loves you, would ever hold against you, your failures.  God knows your dad and I haven't!

I felt like God told me, that you needed to hear that."

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(*: my mom has not only never once called me "Stevo", as so many of my friends and family do ... she still calls me Stevie ... and she's the ONLY ONE allowed to get away with it.  Scuba Steve is still off-limits to everyone.)

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My weekend began with a call from a great friend, also struggling, far more than me.  I mentioned this on my Facebook status Sunday night, but holy crap, what amazing friends I have, that they care more about me struggling, than their own struggles.

That's what true friendship is.

And that is what today taught me.  Jesus, I feel like Doogie Howser here, logging my daily thoughts into the computer as the episode draws to a close ... but it's true.

No matter what you do, no matter how you fail ...

Well, I'll let Coach say, how I'm feeling:



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"Every man at some point in his life?  Is going to lose a battle.  He is going to fight ... and he is going to lose.

But what makes him a man?  Is that in the midst of that battle?

He does NOT lose himself."

-- Coach Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler), from "State", the season one finale of "Friday Night Lights", embedded above.

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Everyone struggles at times.  This is my year to struggle apparently.

I've tried to be mostly honest on this site, about the Thomas the Train style-wreck most of my life has become.  And God knows, certain people over the last couple years, have not made existence easy.

But most have.

Everyone at some point in their life, loses.  Fails.  Craps out.

To which I am finally able to respond, with honesty: who gives a sh*t?

Your true friends will never turn their backs on you.  They'll do the opposite -- they'll double down on supporting you, no matter what you do to them.  Or what they do to you.

Anthony?  I got yours dude.  Just like Gregg has mine.  Just like Brent has Gregg's.  Just like ...

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I'll close with this.  We did a neat little deal at work last week, called "Who Is Packing Your Parachute?"  It was a week to recognize the behind-the-scenes folks who make our department function.

Someone always gets the glory, always gets the credit.  99% of the time, they aren't the reason why, something works.

The same is true with my life.  You -- my friends, my colleagues, my casual buddies, my random hook-ups, my readers I've never met -- is why my parachute will open, if I ever have to pull the cord.

I keep thinking back to that chance encounter -- the "what are the f*cking odds?!?!?!" encounter with Jose a couple weeks ago.

I look at the last few weeks, the last couple months, and reach life's logical conclusion:

There is a morning after.

And I believe it started today -- officially -- with that phone call from my mom.

I anxiously await, what the future holds ...

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also, apologies on the layout ...

Something went bat sh*t crazy when I tried to upload the previous post.  I'll work on fixing it Tuesday.  I didn't change a thing; t...