Jun 30

My wife was at Walmart earlier today getting a little of this and a little of that.  When she got home, she told me know Walmart has its summer stuff on clearance… and they have some back-to-school stuff out.  IT’S JUNE 30TH…JUNE IS NOT EVEN OVER… SCHOOL GOT OUT IN THIS AREA ABOUT ONE MONTH AGO!!!!????!!!! For crying out loud, Walmart has sooo changed the way we live life in this country… and not for the better.  It used to be that you could buy a swimsuit at the end of the summer, you know, in case you actually lost that weight you were planning on losing.  Not anymore.  By the middle of July, no stores will even be carrying swimsuits anymore and it’s all Walmart’s fault.

Ok, I don’t know if this is all really Walmart’s fault or not, but I have a pretty strong feeling that it is.  Walmart always gets rid of seasonal merchandise slightly after the season has begun.  Walmart also always brings out the next season’s merchandise freakishly early.  Does anyone really want to think about back-to-school when school just got out?  Does anyone really want to think about fall holidays (Halloween and Thanksgiving) before school even starts?  Does anyone really want to start planning for Christmas at the beginning of the school year?  I’m sure the answer to these questions for some people may be “yes”… but those people need to be tied up with Christmas lights in the middle of July and whipped senseless with jack-o-lanterns until they come around to my way of thinking.

Have you noticed how time seems to go faster than it did when you were a kid?  I used to think this was just part of the aging process; I don’t think this way anymore.  I think time seems to go faster than it used to because Walmart has back-to-school supplies out in their stinking stores before June is even over.  I think time seems to go faster than it used to because Walmart (and every other stinking store that has to follow Walmart’s stinking tactics in order to survive) forces consumers into thinking about the next major shopping season many weeks (often months) before that season arrives… all in the name of stinking profit!

So a big THANK YOU to you, stinking Walmart, for your contribution to the increasingly insane pace of life in the United States.  After all, who really wanted to slow down and try to enjoy summer anyway?  Thank you for forcing me to buy what I want and need when YOU want me to have it, not when I really want or need it.  Thank you for making me hate you more than I hate a pair of underwear that is too small and constantly rides up and constantly has to be pulled back down at the most awkward moments… and I really hate that.  And, finally, thank you for keeping your prices just slightly lower than your competition so that I feel like I would be throwing my money away by shopping somewhere besides Walmart!

Well, enough griping for now.  I think I’ll head out to Walmart.  I’m gonna need a new sled for next winter and there is a pretty good stinking chance Walmart has them on an end-display.  It is the last day of June, after all.

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Jun 25

Wow… celebrities that actually had an impact on my upbringing have been dropping like flies this week.  First, good old Ed McMahon kicks the bucket.  The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson could be mind-numbingly funny.  When Johnny and Ed were “on”… you would swear your head was going to explode.  I can remember my mom actually crying because she was laughing so hard watching Johnny and Ed.  Ed was the perfect straight-man to Johnny’s… well… whatever form of perfection Johnny was falling into that night.  Johnny has been missed for awhile… Ed is a fresh loss.

Next was Farrah Fawcett: Charlie’s most beautiful angel.  A great actress and a hottie.  She was hot into her fifties… lets see a current twenty-something hottie actress follow in those footsteps!  Seems like it would be impossible, but I’m sure plastic surgery and loads of cash can make that happen :(

Finally… The King of Pop… Mr. Michael Jackson.  I feel like there are so many jokes I could make right now.  I’m not going to go down that road.  I’m going to take the higher ground.  I loved Thriller. As much as I hate to admit it, I would stare at my reflection in the sliding glass door of the home I grew up in listeing to “Beat It” and practicing my moonwalk.  I actually got pretty good, although the sliding glass door in the only thing to have ever seen it. M.J. was an extremely talented entertainer; no one can dispute this fact.  M.J. is the perfect example of modern America: struggle; work hard; through hard work and developed talent, rise to the top; once at the top, everyone will gun for you.  You may go insane and do all sorts of things that are horrendous and unforgivable… and you will be accused of these things even if you are the purest, most loving being on this planet.

I don’t know if M.J. was a creature of love who was too good for this existance… or if he was a child molesting monster… all I do know is that his face seemed to melt more each and every time  saw him and he freaked me out!

I received a text message less than 12 hours after Michael Jackson’s death.  It shocked me.  It made me wonder what kind of person has nothing better to do than make up sick jokes.  It made me chuckle… and because of that, I’m going to share it with you:

Farrah Fawcett dies and goes to heaven.  Because she has been an inspiration to thousands and has done much good in her life, upon arrival to heaven God tells her, “My dearest Farrah, because of the good deeds you performed and strength you portrayed in your life on earth, I am going to grant you one wish.”

Farrah, being Farrah, looked at God and said, “I wish all of the children in the world to be unafraid and safe from their worst nightmares.”

… and Michael Jackson immediately fell dead to the floor…

Yeah… I know… so much for the high road :)

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Jun 21

You know what?  I played softball Friday night and for the first time this season I felt like I could actually run!  Did I stretch more than usual?  No, I stretched no more than usual.  Have I been running sprints on the days between games?  Haha… seriously, run on days I don’t have to, that’s funny!  So what, you may ask yourself, is Adventurer Rich’s secret to being able to run without feeling like the muscles in his legs are actually going to explode?

When I was a wee tot, I remember something my grandma had around the house.  It came in a small bottle with a funky, sponge-like applicator at the top.  When I would press the applicator against myself, cool green liquid would erupt onto my skin.  Within a matter of moments, the liquid was absorbed into my skin and a mild heat consumed my flesh.  This was an amazing liquid that my Grandma rarely let me touch.  She, however, reeked of this liquids pungent odor almost all of the time.  This magical liquid was the reason for my ability to run in last Friday’s softball game without feeling like my groin was going to burst.  This magical liquid is… Absorbine Jr (I can’t believe I actually found an Amazon link for Absorbine Jr :) )

Absorbine Jr. is amazing.  The cool of the (I’m sure mildly toxic) chemicals that first splash across your skin is invigorating.  The oddly green appearance of the liquid is reminiscent of the Grossolium 90 that transformed Melvin Junko into one of the oddest superheros of all time: The Toxic Avenger .  Remember that awesome flick?  I could do a whole post on how much that single film transformed my entire adolescence… or not.  Anyway, back to the Absorbine Jr.   The cooling of the skin is of course followed by the mild burn that never quite gets hot enough, you know?  It starts to burn pretty good, and just when you think it is going to kick into a full-fledged Icy Hot type burn, it levels off leaving you wanting more.  And that classic smell… that classic “old person” smell… that classic “old person” smell that stays with you for hours after the warming sensation has disappeared and reminds me of my grandma; the smell is unforgettable.

So I bought a bottle of Absorbine Jr the other day because I’m feeling a little sore all the time now since softball season started.  I know it was good enough for my grandma, so it’s gotta be good enough for me.  I get home and I sponge it on all of my sore spots.  The cool feels good, the warm feels great, and the smell waxes my nostalgic.  I’m wishing they would sell the green, stinky magic juice in 5 gallon buckets so I could fill a tub with it and just soak.  Another great thing about Absorbine Jr is the fact that you don’t have to beg a family member to put it on you.  You know how no one wants to rub you down with Icy Hot or Bengay because they have to spend too much time washing the crap off their hands after rubbing you down with it?  With Absorbine Jr, you need no one.  You just rub the green toxin all over your body with the handy applicator-tipped bottle  (or, if you find it in 5 gallon buckets,  just soak)  and let the magic begin.  The smell is just annoying enough that you will keep various family members away from you (which often helps your muscles relax as well).

The Absorbine Jr works so well after a softball game, I’m thinking to myself (which is always a dangerous proposition) that maybe putting the stuff on before a game would be a good idea.  So, that’s exactly what I do, I douse myself down with Absorbine Jr before driving to the Carpenter Center to play ball.  On the way there, the warm tinglies are kicking in and I’m feeling great.  I get to the fields and find some of my teammates.  I saunter over, feeling pretty cool and collected with my major Absorbine Jr vibe going on.  One of the young kids starts to look around and wrinkles her nose.  “What’s that smell?” she asks.  I kind of drift off to the side of our group.

I grab a softball and ask who wants to warm up.  Another whipper-snapper says he’ll warm me up, and we disengage from the rest of the group and toss the ball back-and-forth.  We throw and we catch and we throw and we catch some more until the whipper-snapper finally asks, “You warmed up enough yet?”

I know that if we go back to the group that I’m sweating just enough right now that the Absorbine Jr smell is at an all-time high (it appears that it somewhat lodges in the pores of your skin and when you sweat… POW, the smell really comes alive!)  “Just a few more throws,” I holler back to the whipper-snapper.  We throw the ball until the game is ready to begin.

The thing with Church League co-ed softball is that you always have plenty of guys to play, but you never seem to have quite enough gals to play.  Since there were more than plenty of guys, a few of us sat out for the first couple of innings and would go in as replacements at a later point in the game.  Now, with me being one of the older dudes on the team, sitting out for two or three innings after already having warmed-up freaked me out a little.  I just got through stretching out the old muscles and letting the Absorbine Jr work its magic.  If I just sat on the bench for two or three innings, those muscles would tighten right back up and I’d be in serious trouble, so instead of just sitting on the bench, I’m outside the dugout running little sprints, laying on the ground stretching muscles, and doing everything I possibly can to keep those muscles warm.  In the meantime, I’m working up a little sweat and stinking to Absorbine Jr high-heaven.

When I finally get to go into the game, I’m up to bat.  I can tell that the stink is pretty heavy on me, and it’s making me a little self-conscious.  I get up to bat and I glance back at the catcher.  The catcher’s face is all twisted up in a wad and I can’t help but think it is because she can smell my Absorbine Jr reek (it could have been that the lady just had a kind of wadded-up face, but I wasn’t thinking too clearly… I think the Absorbine Jr fumes were getting to me.)  I hit a little dinker down the third base line and off to first I go.  I’m safe on first.  The first baseman has a funny look on his face and I’m dead certain that he smells the “old” on me.  I start sweating harder which makes the Absorbine Jr stench stronger and when the gal at bat blasts over second base I run like a bat out of hell so that no one can smell my stink.  I run harder than I’ve ever run and any pain in my muscles that had hampered my play in previous weeks was nowhere in my mind as I attempted to leave the hideous old person smell of Absorbine Jr in my dust.

Needless to say, I was out at second.   But throughout the rest of the entire game (which we lost) I ran without giving any thought to my old muscles.  The pains and flair-ups of previous weeks were gone as, with every move that I made, I attempted to keep those around me from becoming disgusted with my smell.

The funny thing is… the way I was pushing my muscles in an attempt to seperate myself from my stench should have made for days of sore muscles and aching joints.  After the game, I felt just fine.  The day after the game, I felt just fine.  Here it is, Sunday, Father’s Day, and I feel just fine.  I’ll admit, the hideous odor following me throughout the game made me rather uncomfortable; however, I feel better than I have felt in weeks.  I think my grandma was really onto something with Absorbine Jr.  I love and miss my grandma very much.  She has passed from life on this earth around 17 years ago.  I am very thankful that she passed the secret of Absorbine Jr onto me… I just wish I didn’t have to smell like her to enjoy its benefits.

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Jun 16

There is a famous quote from Canadian hockey superstar Wayne Gretzky that is often thrown out there to try to motivate people to action:

“You miss 100% of the shots you never take.”

Wayne Gretsky is perhaps one of the greatest hockey players of all time.  He was known not for his presence on the ice or his unbelievable skills; he was known for being a very intelligent player who had a knack for knowing where the puck was going to be before it got there.  Wayne’s quote can be a powerful motivator… unless you really think about what it means.  How can you miss a shot you do not take?  You can’t!  Apparently the Canadian educational system let Mr. Gretzky down.  His statement is incorrect.  You will never miss a shot you do not take.  Your odds of making a goal are significantly impaired if you never take a shot, but you will never “miss” a shot you do not take.

Ok… I know… I’m just being kind of nit-picky.  We all know what Wayne means, and we can all agree with the premise of what he was trying to say.  Still, his statement is fundamentally flawed.

Which of the following courses of action do you usually follow:

*  Risking the shot and potentially making the goal (risk = potential reward)

*  Not taking the shot to avoid the consequences of missing (risk = potential penalty)

I know this may seem like the old glass half-full/half-empty debate (it’s half empty… duh!)  This dilemma is a little different, however.  I have a feeling that most successful people see risking the shot as the only way to succeed, and they would, for the most part, probably be correct.  Each shot you make is a potential goal.  Each scored goal gets you one step closer to winning the game.  Successful people are willing to keep chucking away at the goal, pucks flying wide left and right.  However, every time they miss, they learn; every time they score, they learn.  They work toward perfecting their game and learn when to take a shot and when to pass the puck.  Non-successful people (or, the vast majority of us) don’t even take the shots.  If we miss, the crowd may boo.  If we miss, we may lose our position on the team.  We are happy (not satisfied, but happy) just being on the team.  We will never be the star player.  We will never have our name in lights.  We will never make the huge salary.  We will never be embarrased.  We will never be booed off the ice.  We happily skate around the ice and pass the puck to the star players in hopes of helping them win the game… and, deep inside, we are miserable.  We want to be a star but the fear of the penalties of a missed shot are too much for us.

The puck-passing, non-goal-attempting players are important to a team but are easily replaceable.  The stars are hard to replace.  If we could  find a way to care less about a booing crowd and more about perfecting our game, our chances of becoming a star are greatly improved (but not guaranteed… stinking unfair life).  Too bad we can’t all be Wayne Gretzky… but then, who really wants to grow up in Canada?!?

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Jun 12

So the first game was a couple of weeks ago.  We batted first, and when I got up to bat, I really wanted to make that ball fly.  I swung as hard as I could and the ball flew… straight into the pitcher’s mit.  Seriously, the dude didn’t even move; the ball just went straight into his mit.  At least I didn’t have to run.

The next time I got up to bat, I bopped it right over the infield and I made it to first.  I don’t know what really happened next.  I don’t know who batted next and whether they got out or not.  You see, I am so out of shape that all I could do was breathe in – breathe out – and try not to pass out and all this was just from the run to first.  None of this seems right.  I have been exercising almost every day for almost 6 months: 30 minutes on an elliptical or exercise bike daily.  I guess the smooth movements of exercise “equipment” doesn’t really prepare a guy for an all-out sprint from home to first with all of the flailing arms and flying spittle and whatnot… nor was I prepared for what followed.

The next thing I remember is our stinking coach getting up to bat.  I think that at this point I’m on second, but I could be mistaken; everything is fuzzy and I find myself breathing heavy just trying to remember!  Our coach is a young dude… early twenty-something, just out of college, freshly engaged to be married, still probably thinks life is going to be fair (and given these negatives, I still like him) and he can run like greased lightening (and I don’t even know what greased lightening is but I think it has something to do with John Travolta and Olivia Newton John and I’m assuming it’s really fast!)  So he hits it deep into the outfield and I start sprinting.  Before I get to third, I can hear Coach round second behind me!  You’ve got to be kidding… when did I turn into the slow old guy?!?  I struggle around third  and sprint for home.  The ball is still out in the outfield and I could have let up a little, but I don’t want Coach behind me to have to hold up at a base just because the old guy is in front of him (I used to get upset when an old dude held me up in my base running… and now I’m the old guy) is limping along.  I hit home and try to stop.  I can’t stop.  I run straight into the chain-link fence behind home and steady myself.  My lungs are on fire, my legs are burning,  and the cheering hourd on the otherside of the fence is fading in and out of focus (ok, there are like two ladies cheering from our church, but “cheering hourd” sounds cooler than “couple of ladies”).  I stumble back to the dugout, yearning to place my rear on the bench for a couple of minutes.  Suddenly, someone hands me my glove and says, “We’re in the field.”  Apparently the next batter had no respect for the elderly and got out immediately… stupid whipper-snapper.

So, the rest of the game is a blur because I never really got a chance to catch my breath.  I am relatively certain that an inordinate amount of brain cells died that evening due to a lack of oxygen.  My wife and two boys had watched the game (which we won) and waited for me after the game.

“How do you feel?” my wife asked.

“I feel great,” I lied.

“You looked great out there,” she lied.

The walk back to the car was painful, but I tried to walk as normal as possible.  I couldn’t let my family know that their husband and father was really a semi-pathetic geezer who is too old to play softball.

A week passed until our next game.  During that week, I was a little sore but never felt like total crap.  When the second game rolled around, I thought I was ready.  I was mistaken.

Before the game, I started stretching.  Something didn’t feel right.  My thighs started to semi-cramp.  ‘No big deal,’ I thought to myself, ‘just stretch it out.’  So I stretched and I stretched and I stretched some more.  By the time we were ready to play, I’m thinking that I’ve got to have about the most stretched muscles in the WORLD (or at least at the Carpenter Center’s Church League Softball games for the night).

We start playing and everything seems just fine.  I get up to bat and I smack that silly ball right between the 1st and 2nd basemen.  I start my sprint to first, and I think aliens may have temporarily taken my thigh muscles… seriously, it’s like they were not there!  You have no idea how important your thigh muscles are to your ability to run until STUPID ALIENS TAKE THEM!  I had no power to run!  I couldn’t sprint, I couldn’t run, I couldn’t even jog; I think “mosey” may be the only word that can possibly describe my jaunt from home to first.  And the crazy thing is, I was safe!

Ok, so now I’m freaking out.  I’m miraculously on first base and must be prepared to make it to second if the batter behind me hits it.  With my thighs missing, I’m trying to figure out a way to make that happen.  I reach down and feel my legs where my thighs should be and my fingers are greeted with cries of pain from my thighs!  Stupid aliens somehow put them back, but they must have put ’em in upside down or something because they most definitely do not feel right!  Sharp, shooting pain is flickering across the surface of my thighs like someone lit a sting of Balck Cats on my thigh on the Fourth of July.  My thighs are starting to cramp so I’m standing there on first base pulling my foot up to my butt on one leg and then another trying to stretch out the alien evil from my legs when the gal batting behind me hits one right between short and third!  CRAP!  I start my limp/hop/mosey toward second as fast as I can when I feel a small fire starting right between my legs in an area where fire, no matter how small, is most unwelcome!  I glance to where the ball is: an outfielder is winding up to chuck it to second.  I know that if I push just a little harder, I will beat the throw.  I know that if I push just a little harder, the fire between my legs will stretch into a full-blown inferno and I will be safe at second with the prospect of finding a way to third with a pulled groin safely beside me!  My mosey slows to a … I don’t even know what’s slower than a mosey, but I found it, and I watched my impending out come to fruition as my foot hit the base less than a second after the ball hit the glove of the opponent already on the base… but my groin remained un-pulled:)

“Waddle”… that’s it… that’s what’s slower than mosey, because “waddle” is what I did back to the dugout.  “Waddle” is what I did through the short amount of game I was forced to play through before someone younger and stronger than me who didn’t move about like a STINKING DUCK took my place!

So, as I’m sitting on the bench watching our team painfully lose a game we come relatively close to winning, every stinking muscle in my body is screaming at me.  It’s as if last week, my muscles gave me a break, you know?

“What’s this idiot doing running around and crap, ” my thighs said.  “Does he not realize we’re all too old for this?”

“It’s delusions of grandeur,” replied my bicep.  “Let’s give him his last moment of glory without making him look like a total boob.  After he makes himself look semi-tarded tonight, he’ll never want to do this again.”

Of course, my muscles didn’t realize that I’m not the brightest bulb in the chandelier.  My muscles didn’t realize that by showing me mercy, they were inadvertently increasing my confidence!  When the second game rolled around and there I was trying to push my stupid muscles to the limit… the muscles pushed back!

“Ok, this jerk isn’t getting it,” screamed the muscles in my back.

“Let’s show this idiot what’s what,” my thighs demanded.

“All together now,” hollered every single muscle in my body in unison, “GIVE OUT!”

…and they did.

If I had a tail, it would have definitely been between my legs as I limped home.  Upon entering the house, my wife asked, “How did it go?”

“We lost,” I replied.

“Too bad,” she said.  “How do you feel.”

Now, my wife had warned me that this would happen… I was going to hurt myself.  Although I was more incredibly sore than anything, my pride was hurting like it never has before.  “I feel fine,” I smiled.  And I just stood in the dining room, not moving… not wanting my wife to see me limp.

“Good,” she replied.  When she turned around and started back into the kitchen, I slowly trudged toward the bedroom.  She turned around and faced me again, and I froze.  Her confused expression started to slowly morph to recognition.  I stood like a statue and smiled my idiotic smile.

“Are you sure you’re ok?” she asked, a small grin starting to form at the corners of her lips.

I was not at a point where I could deal with an I-told-you-so, so I continued to hold perfectly still and smile.  “Never felt better.”

“Ok,” she smiled and again turned into the kitchen.

Once she disappeared from sight, I waddled into the bedroom with every intention of taking a nice hot bath.  However, once I made it to the foot of the bed, my muscles were screaming with ear-splitting intensity and I collapsed into a pile on my stomach on the bed, and I knew I would not be getting up anytime soon… and then I heard my wife’s footsteps as she entered the room!

CRAP!

“Just… uh… just taking a little breather,” I said, beating her to the punch and hoping that would be enough to get her to turn around and leave the room while I struggled to obtain an upright position once again.

The footsteps got closer.

CRAP!

As she sat at the foot of the bed by my legs, my body rolled slightly toward her and I think I may have squealed ever so slightly like a little girl from the pain.

CRAP!

Then her hands were on my back, rubbing out many of the small knots that had accumulated throughout not only the night but the past week.  As the muscles in my back began to release me from their painful grip, her hands moved down to my legs and those muscles too soon gave up their punishing intentions.

When her hands stopped, I muttered a “Thanks.”

“You’re welcome,” she said.  No “I told you so”, no “are you ready to quit”, nothing negative at all… just “you’re welcome.”  And then, “What time is your game next week?  I think me and the boys would like to watch another game.”

So, tonight is game # 3.  My body is feeling pretty good, my family is behind me, I’m representing my Church in a league where sportsmanship usually (but not always) takes precedence over winning and I’m having some fun.  I may have to pick up some cleats at one of the local sporting goods stores when they put them on clearance in another week or two.  I figure I’ll be able to run the bases better next year if I’m in cleats.  😉

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Jun 08

Ok, a few weeks back, I signed up for our church’s softball team.  It has been a couple of years since I played due to having a crappy retail job that allowed me no normal free time (just a note: I don’t think there is such a thing as a non-crappy retail job… I’ve had my share of them, and every single one of them pretty much sucked).  The last time I did play, I ended up tearing my calf  during the first game on my first trip around third (no, I didn’t stretch… I never used to HAVE to stretch).  Anyway, I was pretty excited to be getting back into softball.  I love the camaraderie of being on a team, I love the spirit of competition, and I just plain love anything that involves hitting something with a bat!  I signed up during church and was excited when I got home and told my wife.

“I signed up for our church-league softball team,” I said with a big smile on my face.

My wife didn’t smile.  She looked mildly shocked and the air slowly began its escape from my balloon (you could almost hear the squeaky, fart-like sound of the escape).  I expected words of encouragement or maybe a little I’m-proud-of-you hug.  Instead I got, “Aren’t you too old for that?”

“Wha… what do you mean?”  I’ve never actually seen my puppy dog face, but I know it has been extremely effective in the past (well, ok, not “extremely effective”… but it worked once…).  On this day, however, the power of my big hazel eyes and pouty lips pulled off nothing.

“Last time you played, you pulled your calf in the first game and you were out the rest of the season,” my wife pleasantly reminded me.  “You also spent a large portion of a month just laying around complaining about your leg.  You were the one who said, two years ago, that you were ‘too old for this…’ let me see if I can remember the exact word… oh yes, I believe it was ‘…crap’.”

The memory of a woman is a frighteningly complex series of processes that serve a primary purpose of making the male in her life feel as absolutely small as possible at any given moment when it most works to her advantage; this moment is seldom less than at least one year from when the actual event occurred and almost always comes as a complete shock to the male when the memory is revisited.

“So you think I’m too old for softball?” I asked, the puppy dog thing still trying to work its magic.

“No, you think you’re too old, remember?” my wife reasoned.   “I’m simply showing my support by agreeing with you.”

At this point, the puppy dog has run away (I’m sure to be hit by a large car) while I try to figure out why what she is saying should not make sense.  Suddenly, it comes to me.  “But that was two years ago… and I didn’t stretch, but I will from now on… and I really want to play again!”

“Well, if that’s what you want, I’m okay with it…”

Why is it that when a woman agrees to let you do something you really want to do but you feel they really don’t want you to do they can agree to let you do it and make you feel guilty as sin for wanting it in the first place?

“… just don’t come crying to me if you hurt yourself again.”

So it was agreed: I would play softball, not as a young man who could help the team, but as someone really too old to be playing who was reluctantly allowed to play by his wife (with noted reservations).  My initial enthusiasm lay on the floor in the form of limp balloon remnants exhausted of all former glory and now a mere mushy pile of latex and saliva.

This is gonna be a great softball season…

Jun 05

Sometimes at night, just before I drift off to sleep, I sense something moving under the bed.  On my way to work on some mornings, I glance in the rear view mirror and see a movement in the backseat… but nothing is there.  At various points throughout the day, usually in the shadows, I sense foreboding movement while everything is stationary.  The presence I feel more and more as time goes by is the dreaded age of 40 creeping up on me.

Turning 30 sucked.  Turning 30 was kind of like the true end of childhood.  Turning 30 meant I had to start being responsible.  Turning 30 meant that it was time for everyone under 30 to start looking at me as an adult.  Turning 30 sucked.

Turning 40 is going to MAJOR suck.  Over the last 10 years, my body has started to sag; not that I didn’t sag in the first 30 years… I’ve been a sagger for most of my life… it’s just that the sagging has become much more noticeable over the last 10 years.  I used to think man-boobs were funny.  Man-boobs are most definitely NOT funny.  Gray hair has taken up a permanent residence on my head… and on my chin.  I used to think it was kind of cool when I’d spy a new glistening white hair amongst my brunette locks. Yeah, it ain’t cool anymore.  My 30s have been a slow decline in body and spirit.  I really can’t believe that my 40s are going to be better.  Turning 40 is going to MAJOR suck.

No good can possibly come out of turning 40.  There’s a guy I work with who just took the 40 plunge.  The dude used to be really active, you know, riding his bike all the time, going on hikes, not the kind of guy to sit still.  Then he turned 40… and everything changed.  He turned 40 and shortly thereafter he got The Gout.  Seriously, The Gout!  Now he  walks slow and funny.  He isn’t active anymore… because of The Gout.  He spends a large portion of his time sitting around with his gouty foot elevated griping about The Gout.  Something that everyone who has to turn 40 can look forward to: getting to the age where the old-person ailments start kicking in… The Gout, Rheumatism, Shingles, Arthritis, Cirrhosis, High Blood Pressure, Heart Disease, Diabetes, Dropsy, Dementia, Alzheimer’s… oh my, what good times lie ahead!  And that’s just the diseases.  That doesn’t include all of the fun stuff like hair on the back and coming out of the ears, liver spots, wrinkles, weakening strength, hunching over, using a cane or walker, losing hearing, and more and more and more!  Of course, turning 40 gets you just a little closer to that wonderful senior discount at Perkins (yippee).

I’m already beginning to act the part of a 40-something in certain ways.  After a long day at work, sometimes I’m just too lazy to lose the black work socks in exchange for white socks.  So, yes, sometimes you will see me mowing the lawn with shorts, tennis shoes and my stupid black  socks up to my knees.  I swore I would never go there, but there I am.  I always wondered how a man gets to that point that wearing black socks with tennis shoes and shorts doesn’t seem dorky.  I’ve come to realize that, yeah, we know it’s dorky, but we just don’t care.  In my case, I’ve been married for almost 15 years.  It’s not like I give a crap about what the cute young women driving by think of me while I’m mowing the lawn.  They weren’t that interested in me 20 years ago when I was single and less saggy, so why would they glance twice at an almost-40 sagging dude… the color of my socks isn’t going to make a difference.

In college, I used to imagine how my life would turn out.  With my business degree, I was going to take the business world by storm.  By the time I was 40 I was going to be raking in six figures in some high powered position with some major corporation.  Well, 40 is less than 6 months away, I ain’t making close to six figures, and my position is about as high powered as a Nerf dart gun.

I think this is the point where the mid-life crisis kicks in… a major benchmark (40) is approaching and those stupid goals (money and power) haven’t been reached (and most likely never will be reached).  If only I could afford a stupid convertible sports car.  Guys going through a mid-life crisis are supposed to get a stinking sports car, right!  Yeah… I’m screwed on the sports car thing.  At least I get an affair with a hot  woman half my age, am I correct?  Mid-life crisis guys at least get the young hottie, right?  Oh yeah, too many hotties have seen me mowing with those stupid black socks up to my knees…  CRAP!  Did I mention that turning 40 is going to MAJOR suck?

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Jun 02

When dreams and reality collide, we’re often left with one big pile of happy stinking joy.  Seriously, a humongous pile.  So, what exactly do I mean?  Some people actually achieve their dreams; not many, but some.  The rest of us settle, or wait, or settle for the fact that were put on this planet to wait.  What are we waiting for?  We’re waiting for our dreams to come true.  Why are we settling?  Because we are terrified that if we actually try to accomplish our dreams we will fail… and if we fail at our dreams, what do we have left?  So, we settle and we wait and we are envious of those jerks who actually accomplish their dreams.  Half the time we can’t even figure out what our stinking dreams are!

Oh, did I mention that we justify?

  • Man, I really want to start my own business… but I need to wait until I’m financially secure.  (people who haven’t accomplished their dreams are rarely ever going to be financially secure)
  • Wow, I really want to go back to college and major in something that will lead to a career which doesn’t make me want to gouge my eyes out every morning on my way to work;  but I’m too old to go back to school, and I’ve got to worry about how I’m going to put my kids through college, and money is a little tight, so I guess wanting to gouge my eyes out every morning is something I will just have to deal with.  (education does not guarantee happiness or success… it never has and it never will… trust me)
  • I really want to write a novel, I’ve got all kinds of good ideas for a story, and my writing isn’t bad, but I need to reach a point in my life where I have more free time to devote to my writing.  (the only time you will ever have enough perceivable free time to try to break into writing as a career is when you are dead…  you can’t write when you’re dead… this also goes for exercising to get in shape or lose weight, learning a new skill, volunteering in your community, and just about anything that would be an addition to your schedule… although you will definitely lose weight when you are dead but not in an attractive kind of way… just ask Nicole Richie… I believe she has died multiple times)
  • I really want to start my own blog, but I need to wait until I actually become an expert at something.  No one wants to read a blog from some jerk who isn’t an expert at something. (even if you are an expert at something… which I am not… there is a really good chance that there is already someone who is more of an expert at your area of expertise than you are who already has a blog… this should not discourage you… there can never be too many choices from which to gain knowledge or be intelligently entertained)

We settle, or we wait, or we settle to wait.  It’s as if we’re waiting for the lottery of life to suddenly hand us a jackpot.  Look at that, no effort and all of a sudden all of our dreams have come true!  Seriously, can we be any more ignorant than we usually are?  Please don’t answer that question… I’m trying to muster a little faith in humanity:)  The major problem most of us run into with the settle-wait-hope approach is that given time, heat, and pressure, “settle-wait-hope” tends to morph into “stew in disgruntled bitterness”.  No matter how blessed we are or how great the family and friends we surround ourselves with are (this is the “happy” and “joy”), we still have that big pile of STINK surrounding us because we haven’t realized that personal dream.

I turn 40 later this year (which scares the crap out of me) and feel like I may be on the verge of a mid-life crisis.  I have a job I don’t hate, my friends are encouraging, and a wonderful wife and kids who make life worth living are living their lives by my side.  Yet somehow, the mild stink in my life has rapidly turned into a horrendous stench and I often find it difficult to breath.  Thus, a blog?!?

I have had more than my fair share of meaningless, dead-end jobs.  I know a little about a lot but a lot about nothing.  I’m probably not the ideal sort of person to try to start a blog.  However, I am searching for my dream (whatever that may be) and I figure this may be a start… not a good start, but a start.  I am hoping that by posting on this site a couple of times a week I can start to figure out what my dream is.  Of course, there will be a lot of complaining too, because those of us who have not realized our dreams tend to be cynical gripers.  I’m looking for input.  I’m looking for direction.  I know that some Joe or Jane off the street commenting on a blog is not going to open my eyes to some magical world of self-fulfillment (or maybe he or she will), but dialog is always good.  Good dialog is a great way to open one’s eyes to new ideas, and new ideas tend to lend themselves to the beginning of the fulfillment of dreams… or at least this is what I keep telling myself:)

I am by no stretch of the imagination a cheerleader.  “Motivation” is not one of my stronger traits.  By following this blog, you are in no way going to be enlightened or find a new more positive way to look at the world (or maybe you will).  You will not be persuaded to search out your own dream (I pray that you will).  Entertainment is unlikely (but possible).  Crap… you might as well go to one of my links and find a real blog to follow that will teach you something (but you could hang out with me as well and maybe… just maybe, at the very least, you’ll get an occasional chuckle following the mid-life ranting of Adventurer Rich on the adventure of everyday life in small-town America while he attempts to prevent life from just passing him by).

Are you up for the adventure?

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