Monday, May 12, 2014

monday may 12: in tribute to a friend ...

“She’s got a smile,
That it seems to me?
Reminds me
Of childhood memories.

Where everything was as fresh?
As the bright blue sky …

Now and then?
When I see her face?
It takes me away,
To that special place.

And if I stare too long?
I’ll probably break down and cry!

Oh!  Oh, oh!
Sweet Child Of Mine!

Oh!  Oh, oh, oh!
Sweet Child Of Mine! …”


--------------------

Charles Dickens opened one of his classic works by noting that “it was the best of times; it was the worst of times”.

And I suppose that is how I feel tonight.

There’s three things I want to comment on – one good, one bad, and one really ugly.  I’m not really sure how this is going to flow, but let’s give it a crack, shall we?

Let’s go scattershooting while wondering why, in the bluest of blue hells, the Chiefs ever did away with “Sweet Child O’ Mine”, as the theme song during player introductions.  It is NOT a coincidence, that they haven’t won a playoff game, since going to Van Halen’s “Right Here, Right Now”, to the hideous “We’re Chiefs!  And we’re proud!”, to the tolerable “Cochise” by Audioslave that was employed in 2013 …

* The Chiefs draft.  Oh baby!

If anything?  I can’t believe they did it.  Our conservative, straight and narrow, no matter the administration Chiefs, took a chance at greatness, a little after 2pm on Saturday afternoon.

Do the Chiefs have bigger needs than quarterback?  Of course they do.  We’re replacing three fifths of our offensive line, are apparently willing to wager the 2014 season on Donnie Avery not playing like Donnie Avery, and still have gigantic issues in the secondary. 

(Although I loved our first round pick – it’s the Rex Ryan / “Bulldog” Bob Sutton mentality at its finest.  If you can’t cover anyone?  (And Lord knows after that playoff game, we can’t?)  Then load up the front seven for 3rd and seven, and send the house, to drop the quarterback before the pass can get it off.  And anyone who says it can’t work?  That a loaded front seven can’t cover for a horrific back four?  I give you the Patriots of the early to mid 2000s.  They started a wide receiver at cornerback, for Christ’s sake … and won a Super Bowl, and reached another, along with a third AFC Championship game, with that strategory.)

But for the first time in my recollected lifetime – for the first time in my knowledgeable history as a fan of this team*?

The Chiefs are gambling on greatness.

And that greatness … is Aaron Murray.

I have a decent friend I sit by at work named Dustin (no, not that Dustin), who met me at the door this morning, he was so pumped at Aaron Murray’s selection.

(I also love the guy, because like me, he also has a second rooting interest … and like me?  It’s your New York Jets.  He’s genuinely excited to have a fellow Jets fan in the office.)

Another guy I work with, Jarow, a fellow season ticket holder, when I ran into him in the, uuh, facilities today, he noted “my son was thrilled with the (Murray) pick.  (Pause).  He’s too young to realize our franchise’s history with quarterbacks, I guess.”  (His son is 11.)

Other friends of mine that approached today (for Chiefs related reasons), every one of them, the first thing, the first pick mentioned, wasn’t Dee Ford, wasn’t this corner from Rice who may wind up being the steal of Day Two.  It was that the Chiefs drafted a player that, had he come out after his junior season?

Would have quite possibly been our pick, at number one overall.

We got him 200 slots lower, a year later.

So yes, fellow Arrowhead Nation fans, if it took a blown (al michaels voice) knee to get the Chiefs to pull the trigger on the quarterback from this draft class that I love the most?  Then so be it.

Don’t question why.  Just be grateful.

As for the rest of the Chiefs draft?  I’m good with it.  I hope to post more in a separate post later this week.

--------------------

(*: that linked post, might be my favorite I've ever posted.  I've never nailed how I feel about something, like I nailed that one.)

--------------------

* My job.  Oh baby.

I have my monthly one-on-one with my boss tomorrow, assuming she’s healthy enough to arrive in the office.  (She did not look good leaving early today.)  But if she’s there tomorrow, then the last week will “hit the proverbial fan”, so to speak … and I’m not sure how I feel about that.

Because my immediate boss, isn’t my problem.

My department head, is.

I know there are people in my department who read this, so allow me to say to those of you last week who recognized just how broken I am at this point in performing my job, thank you for your words of support, your actions of support, for simply being you.

And to one person in particular, who I have a sneaking suspicion reads this?  Thank you for every back rub, every "hang in there", every "I figured you were drinking, so I brought you this bag of pretzels ..." encouragement given.  I am truly blessed in this life, to have the friends that I do.

I’ll just leave it at that, other than to note, I miss my “group therapy” on Wednesday night, with a few of you, to deal with this job.  I hope I’m still around in October, to continue to wonder why we do this, on a daily basis.

* News that stuns you, and hurts … in ways you never expect.

If the Chiefs draft was the good, and my job is the bad …

Then yesterday was the ugly.

For me, the day was nearly perfect, for nearly all of it.  A picnic at Gum Springs Park with the extended family.  My mom, my sister-in-law’s mom, my sister-in law, and her sister.  Four moms, nine kids between them, plus my brother, Chad, my sister-in-law’s sister, and my dad, with Fred and a couple dogs thrown in to boot.  (And me, the perpetual “refuses to grow up Toyz-R-Us kid!”)

Couldn’t have had better weather – mid 80s, sunny for the most part.  Got to play some soccer with “My Special Little Guy”, got to slide down an, uuh, slide, with one of my “Special Little Girls”, and got to spend almost five minutes convincing the “Special Little Girl Who Owns Unca Teve’s Heart**” that an orange cupcake, was actually purple (since that’s her color of choice). 

I got home a little bit after 3pm.  I decided to blow off work, and blow off the Clippers / Thunder game, and just go outside and enjoy the day.  I took a nice nearly two hour walk, got some sun, may or may not have stopped in at Eddie’s for a Coors Light or three, before heading home.  Took the “thank you” call from my mom, watched “The Amazing Race”, did a few things for work today, and decided I could watch “The Good Wife” tonight or tomorrow, and hit the sack at about 8:30. 

I was spent – sunburnt, tired, and a few beers flowing through me.

But at least I was alive.

Something, that as I woke up this morning, I discovered … that someone I once considered a friend, and considered to this day an all-around good dude, was not.

Chiefs Red Coater Bill Williams – someone I spent many a tailgate at Arrowhead with, enjoyed many a volleyball game in the pool with, and almost never missed a summer luau for – passed away yesterday.

I read a lot of the tributes to him on his Facebook page this morning, and coming home tonight, and I couldn’t disagree with anything.  His laugh was that infectious.  He was that decent of a dude, 99.99% of the time.

I can’t even count on every finger and toe I have, the number of times, he’d head over next door, and we’d close a night of watching the NBA Finals, or enjoying some pool volleyball action, down with a bottle or four of whatever red he was digging at that time. 

That didn’t happen much the last few years.  And by "not much", I mean "never".  So be it.  Friendships come and go, like it or not.  It's reality.

Which I guess is why, when I read the messages I got personally to let me know Bill had passed on, and read the tributes to him on his page, it actually hurt even more than I would have expected.

Because there won’t ever be, any closure.

--------------------

(**: as always, I don't play favorites ... unless you read between the lines.  My niece whose name begins with the letter R?  Owns my heart, irrationally.)

--------------------

The last time I talked to Bill, I walked over at halftime of the Super Bowl.

Wasn’t a long walk; maybe 50 feet, from Russ and Mona’s, to Bill and Vessie’s.

I did it every year for five years, and I’m glad that I did.

Only … I didn’t do it this year.

I spent this year’s Super Bowl halftime show, playing Beer Pong in the garage.

I blew off the trip next door.

Because I didn’t think it mattered.

--------------------

Which is why I guess, today is ugly.

I heard from friends that check in from time to time, when life truly matters, today.  Heard from Debbie, from Davey and Tracey, from Russ and Mona, from Donnie, from Joe “Knows Football”.

So allow me to close with this.

I hate – I fucking hate (note: no editing that, or the following) – I fucking hate, that it takes tragedy, sometimes, to get people to see what matters in life.

What matters?

Is us.

I fear one relationship in my life, will ultimately wind up the same way, as mine with Bill wound up.

And I hate that I’m the only one who cares about that fact, apparently.

--------------------

I’m sorry this was depressing.  I’m sorry it failed every laugh-check known to man.

I’m disgusted with myself, that I’ll be attending a funeral in a few days, in which I never said a proper good-bye, to a friend.

It’s the first time in my life, I can make that statement.


I pray to God above, it’s the last …

No comments: