May 10

Hello, my name is Adventurer Rich, and I’m fat.

There needs to be a twelve-step program for fat-o-holics.  Food is most definitely a drug, and I’m addicted.

Ever since the holidays, I have had a bit of added stress in my life.  And by “bit” I mean I’m genuinely surprised my heart hasn’t exploded.  I don’t deal with the regular old stress of daily life very well, so when stress is added that makes me wonder what in the hell I’m going to do with my entire future, I don’t hold up too well.

And I eat.

I wish I were one of these people whose appetite just disappears when they get stressed or depressed.  You know the type, people who fall into a funk and they lose like twenty pounds because they are too depressed to even eat.  If I was one of these people, given my predisposition to look at the darker side of all situations,  I’d be super-model thin.  I am, however, the complete opposite of these lucky sons-a-guns who can’t eat when they are down.  When I’m in the dumps, I eat like a pig.

  • Can’t figure out how I’m ever going to be able to retire?  Eat some left-over pizza and it doesn’t matter as much.
  • Realize that most of my life has been wasted giving up on dreams?  A roll of summer sausage and a tin of Pringles make the pain go away.
  • Wondering how we’re going to cover the mortgage and other regular monthly bills plus the plethora of medical bills that recently reared their ugly heads while adding a teen driver to our insurance?  PB&J with triple PB sounds about right.
  • Job situation a little shaky and not sure what is going to happen if that falls apart?  One-pound block of sharp cheddar, take me away…

So, needless to say, I’ve packed on a few pounds over the last few months.  The problem is, I not only eat when I’m stressed or depressed, I eat when I’m happy too.  Proud of the older boy for his performance at a soccer game; celebrate with a fast food treat!  Proud of the younger boy for earning his next belt in karate; stop by the bakery and get some donuts!

So, whether I’m winning or losing, I’m gaining weight.  The more I weigh, the higher the old blood pressure gets, the more I feel like crap, the more my self-esteem slips, the more I eat, the more I weigh…

See the problem?

I love food. Food is a great way to celebrate when you are happy and it makes you feel better when you are down.  And any food that doesn’t taste like butt makes you fat.

So I am fat.

I exercise, but exercise just makes me hungry.  The more I exercise, the more I eat after exercising.

So I am fat.

I was trying to lose weight last June, and I wrote about it.  I actually weigh more now than I did then, and that sucks.  I am officially “obese”.

Actually being obese frees me in so many ways…

  • I can wear my pajamas to Walmart… I can probably even use Walmart’s little scooter/shopping cart and park it in the middle of an aisle while I take my sweet time deciding which flavor of Doritos I want.
  • I can let my feeling of guilt slip away while filling that seventh plate at the all-you-can-eat buffet.
  • I can drop ten bucks at McDonald’s ordering only from the dollar menu… all for me… for a snack between lunch and supper…
  • Celery no longer needs to take up any space in my fridge.
  • Screw the diet pop; I’m going full-on high fructose corn syrup!  I don’t even need the carbonated water to thin it down.  Just point me directly to the high fructose corn syrup and some Red Bull: the breakfast of champions…
  • Elevators and escalators will no longer be the “fun” way to get where I am going; they will be a necessity to prevent stroke or cardiac arrest.
  • Trips to the YMCA, long having been a pain in the butt, are no longer necessary.  The sooner I let my obesity consume me, the sooner disability and a life of leisure can kick in.
  • I may be shortening my life, but I’d rather live a short, happy, fat life than a miserable, long life eating things that make my taste buds cringe and my poop green.

I used to think I could get in shape.  I used to think I could be healthy.  I used to think a lot of things…  I try not to think anymore.  Thinking hurts.  Smart people can think and it doesn’t hurt, but it hurts me when I think. I must not be very smart.  Being not very smart is kind of depressing… pass the pork rinds…

 

 

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Feb 01

Okay, so a couple of weeks ago, I made my kids sit down with the wife and me and watch City Slickers.  I had DVRd it a few weeks prior and thought it would make for a good, relatively clean night of family entertainment.

Now, I had originally seen City Slickers pretty much when it had first come out back in the early 90s.  In the early 90s, I was in my early 20s and I remembered thinking the movie was pretty funny.  I didn’t remember the entire plot, but I remembered that it was a bunch of city guys going on a cattle drive to find themselves or something.  I remember Jack Palance being funny, and I remember that he won like an Academy Award for best supporting actor for his role (which must have meant that there weren’t many actors up for that award that year…).

So, the wife and I and the kids all settle in and we’re gonna have us a good couple of hours of family comedy.  And then the movie starts and Billy Crystal’s character is all mid-life-crisis-ish because he is approaching 40 and he hasn’t really accomplished anything of importance with his career and he wants to figure out something that gives his life meaning…

***screeching breaking sound of tires on pavement***

Whoa there, family fun night!  As a 44-year-old guy, I’m not finding the premise nearly as funny as I did over 20 years ago.

So Billy Crystal’s character is completely, cynically miserable and his wife has had enough.  She is tired of dealing with his misery and she tells him to go with his friends on this cattle drive and find his “smile” again.  He wants to know what they are going to do if he can’t find his smile, and she foreshadows that his ass is going to be on the street if he can’t find his smile.

There is absolutely nothing funny about this movie.

So the mid-life crisis crew go on the cattle drive and the hired hands are jerks and crusty old Jack Palance’s character starts out creepy but ends up being a good guy and then he dies and the jerky hired hands take off and the mid-lifers are left to bring in the cattle on their own.  And they do.  The city slickers drive the cattle through a storm to the destination and they find their manliness and whatnot and they are all happy.  And Billy Crystal’s character sees his wife and he smiles and points at his smile.

“I found it,” he says.

And the wife says, “So, are you going to quit your job?”

And Billy Crystal’s character says, “Nope. I’m just going to do my job better!”

WHAT!!!  There is nothing funny or touching or ANYTHING about this movie.  How did I ever think this movie was funny?  What in the name of anything made me think I would enjoy watching this stupid movie in my 40s?  Billy Crystal goes on a cattle drive and discovers that driving cows has given his mid-life ass meaning and he doesn’t need a job to give his life meaning because he drove the cows and he just needs to quit looking for something better and do his current, meaningless job selling radio advertising better to be a better person or something.  This may be the stupidest movie EVER!

And then it hit me… it’s only a movie.  City Slickers is not real life.  Billy Crystal didn’t really drive those cattle.  Billy Crystal was a wildly popular comedian before he landed major roles in movies suck as When Harry Met Sally, Throw Mama from the Train, City Slickers and City Slickers II.  Billy Crystal found even more success later in life as the voice of Mike Wazowski in Monster’s, Inc and Monster’s University.  Billy Crystal is a beloved, famous millionaire.  Billy Crystal does not and probably never has worked as a crappy ad salesperson.

And I have come to the conclusion that old comedies are not meant for current family movie nights…

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Nov 13

Is anyone going to argue with that?  How can they?  Getting old sucks and, the really crappy thing is, there isn’t a thing you can do to stop it.  As long as you are alive, you will get older.  And no matter how well you take care of yourself, time will not be kind to you.  Your once supple young body will become a fragile hindrance to a joyful life.  No one can really avoid aging, and aging means you will get old (at least older than you were).

 

I went on a camping trip recently with a bunch of scouts.  One of the other adults on the campout took some pictures and posted them on Facebook.  In one of the pictures, there was some old piece of crap holding my coffee mug and wearing my jacket?  When did this SOB sneak into my tent and steal my stuff?  Then I realized, the old SOB was me… I wanted to cry.  Is that really what I look like to others?  I’m even more hideous than I originally suspected!  Was I always like this?

So I went looking at some pictures of me when I was younger.  I found the following:

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Yes, I was a goober.  Yes, I was a dork.  This picture was taken when I was most likely a sophomore in high school.  I was around 15-years-old.  I was the age my oldest son is now.  Even though I was a tool, look at how young I appeared!  My smile was sincere, my freckles were fresh, my eyes sparkled.  I looked like the kind of guy who would be fun to hang out with.  I could see me being friends with this guy.  He seems to have a certain amount of, oh, I don’t know, joy?

… and then I go back to the recent picture of me on the camp out…

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This is what 44 looks like, boys and girls. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

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There doesn’t appear to be any joy in this face.  The smile seems forced, only there because someone is shoving a camera in his face.  The freckles have long since faded into the abyss of age.  The eyes are sunken, dead, no sign of spark.  It almost appears that someone, at some point, may have smacked him in the face with a shovel a few times.  Wrinkles everywhere.  His eyes are strangely off, again going back to the smacked with a shovel theory.  This does not look like someone I would want to hang out with.  This looks like someone who is going to start every conversation with, “Back in my day…”  Good gravy, how did this happen to me?  When did I become this !?!

Life.

Life did this to me.

You can sugar coat it any way you want, but life tends to… well… suck the life right out of you.  Those wrinkles aren’t from smiling too much.  The eyes aren’t dead because of some deeper gained understanding of some critical knowledge.  The beard isn’t gray because of some sort of wisdom nonsense.  I look the way I do because life takes a toll.  Dreams aren’t realized and goals aren’t met and hairs go gray and wrinkles appear.  You start to be more realistic about what you are actually going to accomplish with your life and your eyes lose most of their sparkle.  You swear that you are never going to look as old as the people that you thought of as old when you were young, and some jerk hits you in the face repeatedly with a shovel…

Life’s tough, kiddos.  Enjoy your youth while you have it.  Do the right things with it…

Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth,
Before the difficult days come,
And the years draw near when you say,
“I have no pleasure in them”

Ecclesiastes 12:1 (NKJV)

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Mar 07

Everyone has his or her own version of the “American Dream” tucked away somewhere in the nether-regions of her or his subconscious.  Our personal versions of the “American Dream” are part of what motivates us to get out of bed every morning and live life.

Little Johnny wants to grow up and get married and have a family and own a home and be a fireman so he can spend his life saving the lives of others.  Then Little Johnny wants to retire and travel and enjoy his final years.

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Little Suzie wants to grow up and get married and have a family and own a home and be a doctor so she can spend her life saving the lives of others.  Then Little Suzie wants to retire and travel and enjoy her final years.

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Little Barack and Little George wanted to grow up to be politicians so they could meddle in people’s lives and screw over a country.

Everyone has a dream.  Some people realize that dream, and the rest of us learn to settle.

Settling sucks.

Little Adventurer Rich wanted to grow up and get married and have a family and own a home and be a something-that-makes-a-lot-of-money-and-helps-a-lot-of-people-but-isn’t-dangerous-or-doesn’t-involve-sticking-his-hands-in-other-people’s-guts.  Then Little Adventurer Rich wanted to retire and travel and enjoy his final years.

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Little Adventurer Rich got a cold slap across the face as a wake-up call.  When you decide to grow roots in rural Nebraska, there is no such thing as a job where you can make a lot of money.  If you don’t get the job that pays a lot of money, the retirement and travel associated with the retirement become pipe dreams.

I’m thankful for the marriage and the family and the house.  The rest of my “American Dream” is things I will need to learn to live without.  Well, I guess those things are already lacking, so I won’t need to learn to live without them… I need to learn that I will never have them.  It’s called “settling”.

As I cruise through this ever-increasingly difficult mid-life crisis, things start to fall into perspective.  I’m not the kind of guy who wants a fancy sports car or a token 20-something-year-old mistress to help realize unfulfilled dreams.  I’m happy driving crappy used cars (even considering getting a minivan).  My wife is my only link to sanity.  If I lost her, I would lose all bearing on life.  So, I’ll keep my 40-something-year-old model.  Besides, the only 20-something-year-olds interested in old farts like me are after gold, and my veins are full of nothing but pyrite and cholesterol.

So, since I’m not looking for the typical remedies for my ills, I’ve been trying to figure out how to become less miserable.  I look in the mirror and this old guy looks back at me, with his gray hairs and his frown lines, and I start to get pissed off at him.  He looks so much older than I feel.  Why didn’t he do something with his life?  Why couldn’t he have been better looking or more self-confident?  Why didn’t he take advantage of opportunities that I’m sure were available to him (yet, strangely enough, neither he nor I can think of any)?  Why has he let me down?  Ooh, sometimes I just want to throttle that loser in the mirror.  He doesn’t look like the kind of guy who would ever be successful.  He looks like a stupid goat farmer…

… goat farmer…

…GOAT FARMER!

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OH…EM…GEE!  I look like a goat farmer!  A stupid goat farmer!  Being a goat farmer would be AWESOME!  No stupid customer problems! No stupid technology! Just lots and lots of goats!  You feed them, you breed them, you take care of them, maybe you milk them, then you kill them and you eat them. Maybe you sell them.  Maybe you sell the milk or sell the meat.  Maybe you hire them out to breed with someone else’s goats.

OH… EM… GEE! I could be a GOAT PIMP!

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If not goats, maybe ostrich, or rabbit, or some other semi-exotic meat that people are willing to buy.  I wouldn’t make my riches being an exotic meat farmer, but being out on a farm, working with my hands, being responsible for only my own actions and relying only on my own efforts… I may not be able to retire, but I wouldn’t want to gouge my brains out through my ear holes before going to a “job” every day, so it is something I could see myself doing until I finally snap and they end up throwing me in a loony bin!

Maybe my family wouldn’t be able to have some of the things we have now, like satellite television or cell phones or Internet or new clothes or gas for the used cars or, you know, food to eat other than goat… but it would all be worth it!  If you can’t make it to the top of the food chain doing something you hate, crawl to the bottom of the food chain raising goats!

Now, I just need some land and a shack to live in.  I’m sure I can pick up some land on the cheap in Nebraska, right?  And I’ll need some starter goats.  Do they sell starter goat kits?  Never mind, I’ll Google it later… while I still have Internet :)  And I just need to convince my family that we would be better off without all of the stupid “conveniences” or modern life. I’ll never be able to provide for my family in the ways I dreamed as a kid, so it’s time to change the dream!

Little Adventurer Rich wants to grow up and get married and have a family and own a home and sell that home and buy a goat farm and raise goats!   Then Little Adventurer Rich wants to lose his mind and get locked up in a “facility” with lots of padded rooms where he will enjoy his final years dreaming of his goats…

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Finally, a dream I may be able to accomplish…

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Jun 02

A friend of mine recently lost his father-in-law.  Well… he didn’t actually lose his father-in-law.  He knew exactly where his father-in-law was, which happened to be at home dying of cancer.  It’s funny how cancer ravages an individual and leaves tattered survivors behind.  No… not really funny, but, you know, devastating.  Kind of strange how some of our ways of stating things make absolutely no sense, isn’t it?  Why yes — yes it is.  Stinking English language.

So anyway, my friend’s father-in-law retired not that long ago.  Shortly after retiring, he was diagnosed with cancer.  Shortly after being diagnosed, it looked like treatment was working.  Shortly after the prognosis looked positive, the cancer got worse.  Shortly after the cancer got worse, my friend’s father-in-law was given two weeks to live.  A couple of days after being given two weeks to live, the father-in-law died.

The end.

… but this entire scenario has been playing with my head for the weeks that have passed since the father-in-law passed.  And then this week, a nice lady who was not that much older than me had a relatively routine surgery and, due to complications from that surgery, she passed away.  She left behind a loving husband and grown children who now need to find a way to their futures without her.  Of course, she was warned about the dangers of the procedure before she underwent it, but there didn’t seem to be a lot of available options.  Can anyone say, “Life bites”?  She was actually someone outside of my immediate family who had read this blog and thanked me for doing what I do.  She enjoyed it and got a chuckle or two from the experience… and now she is gone.  Well, looks like my dad and my brother are, once again, my sole readers…

I’ve been thinking to myself about what I would do if I knew I had a determined amount of time left.  Would I continue working if I knew I only had a month left to live?  I’d dare say I would not continue working.  I would want to enjoy as much of the last of life as possible.  I’d quit my job and sell as much of my stuff as possible to make my final days an enjoyable memory for the family I’d be leaving behind.  But then… people who are in the end-stages of life-ending disease rarely want to do little more than be as comfortable as possible and die in a timely manner, right?  These people aren’t usually in any shape to tackle that European adventure that they kept saying “some day” to.  So fantasizing about what one would or would not do during the final stages of life is a sick little game that will lead to nothing more than severe disappointment, I’m sure.  And this really got me to thinking.  Aren’t we all, in one form or another, in the final stages of life?  For some of us, the prognosis is decades, for others, weeks, days, hours?  And something can always come along and screw everything up, right?  I wonder how many people who are given weeks to live due to disease die in automobile accidents every day…

We are all dying.

Period.

Dying is the only thing we are assured of in this life.  Death is the only goal that will be reached by every individual on the planet, regardless of race, gender, creed, social status… or whatever.  From the moment we are born, our bodies begin the various functions that will end up using us up and spitting us out.

We are all dying.

So why don’t we act like we are dying?  We have precious little time on this planet, yet most of us still are avoiding the things that we really want to do; the things that, on our deathbeds, will end up being missed opportunities and fill us with regret.  We keep telling ourselves, “Someday, when I have more time,” or, “Someday, when I have more money.”  Wake up, folks.  More time and money are things we may never have.  If you have stuff you want to get done, you better get to getting after it.  You could be dead tomorrow, so don’t delay.  Think of all of the wonderful things we as a species could accomplish if we started living like our time here is limited.  Think of how few people would be in a job or a relationship that wasn’t fulfilling to them if they started living like they didn’t have eternity to do something with this life… because no one does.  What we accomplish in our short time here is the only shot we get.

Of course, realism always sets in when I start thinking like this.  Gotta put food on the table, right?  Gotta pay them bills.  Gotta put gas in the car.  You can’t just try to do whatever you want with your life without being destroyed by the consequences.  My mind always quickly changes back to: maybe someday when I have more time and money… maybe then I can try to accomplish something enjoyable with my life.  I can make the boredom of everyday life disappear once I have a little more time and money…  Well, I’m coming to the realization that I need to say…

Screw that noise!

This is my life.  Your life is your life.  I have a deep desire to do something I am passionate about with my life… to figure out my purpose and pursue it.

When I was a kid, I used to think that when I grew up and started making money and got a family, that would be when life really began.  Well, having a family is great and gets me through from day to day, but I soon realized that not everyone can make good money.  So, I started thinking that once I can get to retirement, that’s when life really begins.  Of course, to get to retirement at a decent age, you have to make good money (or sacrifice much of the comfort from current life to stick it all away for retirement)… and “good money” isn’t easy to find.  So retirement (if I live to see it…we are all dying, after all), is close to half a lifetime away, and half a lifetime (when you are 42) is way too long to wait for life to begin.

I know that I need to appreciate the little things, or I will prove to the world that I can’t comprehend a platitude.  But focusing on the little things, as fulfilling as that can be, does not seem like a very redeeming purpose.  I know that our purpose is supposed to be God’s purpose for us, but I highly doubt that God’s sole purpose for me on this planet is to appreciate the little things… that just sounds too boring; I would hope that God has given me more talent than that.

The only non-family activity that I do that feels rewarding is volunteering.  Boy Scouts, church, whatever.  Time spent volunteering (as much as I usually dread actually going to do the work) always leaves me feeling fulfilled.  You know, like a job has been well done (whether it actually has or not).  It feels good.  I do not, nor have I ever, felt the same kind of satisfaction working a job.  It’s this whole big Catch-22.  If I could actually make enough money to meet my needs by volunteering, I would probably be semi-satisfied with life.  But if I made money, it wouldn’t be volunteering… it would be a job… and like most jobs, it would probably suck.  So maybe I just need to volunteer more of my free time to find more satisfaction and purpose, but I am usually so drained after 8+ hours of working a job that the last thing I want to do is take more time away from my family than my current level of volunteering already takes.

See… damn it… this is why I should win the stinking lottery:

  • I enjoy volunteering; it leaves me feeling fulfilled.
  • I have financial needs.
  • If I win the lottery, my financial needs would go away.
  • If my financial needs went away, I could spend 8+ hours a day volunteering.
  • By spending 8+ hours of my day volunteering, I would be helping causes that need help and I would feel fulfilled at the end of the day (instead of just too tired to fulfill my current obligations to family and the organizations I volunteer time to).
  • This is a win/win situation.  Nobody loses… so why can’t I win the freaking lottery?!?

I can’t win the lottery because God’s purpose for me isn’t to volunteer all of my free time.  I can dig that.  But if my purpose involves a future of life-draining 8-5s, I most definitely cannot dig that.

“Well, nobody said it was going to be fair!”

Yeah, and nobody asked my opinion before putting me here, so that doesn’t fly.  Thus, the search for purpose continues.

I actually recently read “The On-purpose Person” by Kevin W. McCarthy… and I got excited.  It’s a narrative about a guy (who sounds a lot like me… but who makes a crapload more money than me) who feels purposeless.  Through a series of referrals, the man in the story visits various on-purpose people who volunteers their time to help the man find his purpose and start living his life on-purpose.  Whoa… that sounds pretty cool.  So, I check out an introduction to Kevin McCarthy’s web-based program that helps people find their purposes.  The first lesson was free and didn’t really provide too much useful info.  In order to get the good stuff, you need to pay for the seminar series… and it’s like 200 bucks.  And it sounds like you have to stop having a lot of fun and grow up and stuff, so I’m not exactly sure this program is for me.

“But… in the story, all of those on-purpose people gave their time and advice for free to the man,” I point out.

“But that was a story,” says the voice of reason.

“So, in real life, people aren’t willing to give their time to help others find their purpose?” I ask.

“Of course not,” says the voice of reason.  “In real life, people, including Kevin W. McCarthy have mortgages and life insurance policies and the need to eat.”

“Well,” I say, “real life kinds of sucks when compared to the story.”

“Nobody ever said it was going to be fair,” says the voice of reason.

Sometimes, I hate the voice of reason.  So the search continues.

I’m kind of thinking a more self-sustaining lifestyle may have some rewards…

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Oct 09

When I was a kid, I was pretty involved in sports. In elementary school, I played basketball, Little League, flag football, and participated in track. I was very young and relatively skinny then, so I (like most young, skinny kids) did pretty well at sports.

Then I entered high school, and everything changed.

In high school, I started to put on weight. I stopped growing vertically, but I didn’t limit my eating, so I began to grow horizontally.

In other words, I got fat.

Even though I was fat, I tried my hand at various sports. Okay, not really “various”… more like a few. And two is really more like “a couple” than it is “a few”, so I really participated in “a couple” of sports in high school: football and track. Needless to say, I really pretty much sucked at both of them.

I went out for football because my dad really wanted me to. I went out for track so that I wouldn’t put on a tremendous amount of gut-fat before the next football season.

I totally sucked at track. I attempted the javelin, discus and shot put. I was too fat to run or jump, and I wasn’t strong enough to excel at any of the “strong guy” events. I remember one of the coaches didn’t like me very much. In fact, I would dare say that man hated me. I wasn’t good enough to really even be on track, but I went out all four years. This may be hard to believe, but I was kind of a smart-ass in high school. I was never disrespectful to my teachers or coaches, but I liked to make people laugh… and apparently this coach didn’t share my sense of humor. Also, one of his pet runners was one of my best friends. This coach felt that I was a bad influence on his pet. Little did this coach know that his pet was far more of a bad influence on me that I could have ever been on him. However, I liked my friend and was happy when he had success with his running. So, I put up with all of the crap that jackass coach dished out solely to me. I can’t remember a single thing that I did to that man that would have made him hate me so much… but he never once had a kind word for me… not even a smile. Whatever. It’s not like I hold a grudge or anything… that miserable son of a …

Anywho, football was a little more up my alley. I understood the game, and I even came to enjoy playing it. I actually came to believe that I wasn’t half bad at it. My junior year, our varsity team went undefeated and won the Montana Class A State Football Championship. That championship was in 1986… and was the last year to date that a Glasgow, MT football team has won state. I should be proud, right? Well, seeing as how I really didn’t have anything to do with it, nah. In fact, that championship year actually kind of ruined sportsmanship for me. I am probably the poorest loser ever… and I have had plenty of practice.

The summer before our big championship year, my buddy and I started hitting the weight room. At first, we were the only football players there. We really wanted to get a shot to start on a team that we both knew was going to kick butt. Slowly, more and more of the kids from the team started showing up in the weight room. By the end of summer, most every starter on that championship team was in that weight room lifting weights, every starter… and me. I could press a mean bench, and I could squat the crap out of those weights, but I weighed all of a buck-75, and I still wasn’t extraordinarily fast… so I got to sit the bench. Those who tell you that if you want something bad enough and work for something hard enough you’ll get it… are full of crap. I learned this when I was 16-years old. It’s a lesson that I have never forgotten.

Because I showed such dedication in the weight room, the coach must have felt like he needed to throw me a bone. I was put on special teams. I was the center for PAT (point after touchdown). I believe I was on the kick-off team as well. Bones for those who have the determination and put forth the effort… but really aren’t good enough. Some people just aren’t meant for athletics. I hate bones.

So anyway, the team went undefeated in an impressive way and slaughtered most of the competition. Of course, the summer in the weight room was the last time I really ever felt like part of the team, but I was happy for them. And I was ready for the next year.

Another summer was spent in the weight room, a bunch of talented seniors graduated, and I knew that I should have a starting spot. I really like playing middle linebacker (which is where I played in junior varsity), and I didn’t mind center (which I also played in JV). The season starts, and I get both a starting linebacker spot and the starting center spot. Finally, I get to play real high school football and contribute to the team.

The first game comes and goes, and we lose. I felt like I did pretty good. A got a couple of tackles during the game and had several assists. The next week, during practice, the coach pulls me aside and says, “Rich, we don’t have anyone to back you up at center. If you get hurt, we’re in trouble. I’m pulling you from linebacker and we’re going to have you focus on your duties as center.”

I wasn’t stupid. Apparently the coach thought I was. Almost every other player on that team played both ways, and there were many of them who were a hell of a lot more important to the team than I was at center. Like our quarterback, and our running backs, and our receivers… all of whom played both ways. Also, there were two guys who could easily replace me at center… one of whom was a year younger than me but was awesome. He went on to be the center for the Wyoming Cowboys on a scholarship after high school. The coach was feeding me a line of crap, and I knew it. He probably wanted to stick someone else at center as well, but my commitment to the weight room and the fact that I was a senior probably led him to feel obligated to keep me in a starting position… for at least half of the game. I came really close to quitting the team, but I figured I’d stick it out for my final year.

“Sure, Coach, whatever you need me to do,” I said.

We went four-for-four that year. Not nearly as impressive as our predecessors the previous year, but not too shabby considering that a large volume of talent graduated the previous year… and considering that all focus from the coaching staff had gone into those (mostly) seniors and that team.

Still, old people in Glasgow, MT at that time lived and died by Scottie football. It reminds me a lot about how stupid people in Nebraska get about Husker football. I remember one evening, a lot of us football players waiting outside the high school before a basketball game or something. We had a boom box out there and were listening to some tune-age before going in to root for whatever Scottie team was playing in the gym that night. I remember this crusty old piece of crap coming right up to me (why me… I don’t exactly know… probably because I was only 5’7” and he didn’t feel as threatened by me as he did the larger players) and he says something like, “If you boys concentrated more on the game and spent time listening to your loud music, maybe you could actually win a game!”

We were all stunned. The old man hobbled past us and into the building. We turned the music off, staring at our shoes. No one knew who that old man was. No one had ever seen him before, and I don’t remember ever seeing him after. All that I know is that old fart brought down a bunch of teenaged boys very quickly… a bunch of teenaged boys who were doing nothing more than having some innocent fun being what we were: teenagers. Some of the guys went in to watch the game inside. Most of us just went home. Even though I don’t know who that guy was, I hate him. I’m pretty sure he must be dead by now… and that warms my heart just a little bit. It boggles my mind how people get so wrapped-up in sports… or, as I like to think of them, little kid games played by people way too old to be playing little kid games. Old farts past their glory days living vicariously through the efforts of those much younger… playing a little kids’ game. That old fart probably never even played football, yet he took our having a little fun outside of the grueling practices and intense games as a personal assault on what he expected us to be doing. Like I stated earlier… knowing he’s probably dead warms my heart just a little.

So many people talk of the importance of sports… how it teaches teamwork and good sportsmanship, and blah blah blah. For those people, I’m gonna have to call a BS-time-out. In all of my years of school athletics, I didn’t learn how to be part of a team… and I surely didn’t learn good sportsmanship. When we won, it was great. It’s easy to be a good sport when you win. When we lost, I hated life. I was depressed for days after a loss, replaying in my head every mistake that I personally made that in any way could have contributed to the loss. I beat myself up, and I hated the victors for making me feel that way. And when I’d find a way to not focus on what a loser I was and would start to enjoy life again, some crusty old fart would come along and make me feel like garbage. Such is life. Losing is part of the game. In athletics, however, you may learn from your mistakes… but if you don’t have the natural athletic ability, or are not of the right physical composition to acquire that ability, you learn that losing is going to become commonplace. You learn that you, not the team, are a loser at certain things and there is nothing you can do to change that. My belief is that a young person can learn just as much about teamwork (perhaps even more) through clubs and other non-athletic activities that will benefit the young person more later in life than athletics ever will for the average student. America, however, focuses (too much, in my opinion) on athletics. After all, most people aren’t gong to rake in a multi-million dollar contract with a signing bonus by being good at debate. Most won’t even get a small scholarship to a small college to continue with sports after high school. Those same people who focused most of their attention on sports in high school would benefit from being able to enter into a lively debate… but that doesn’t matter. In our society, chase the money and fame even if they realistically don’t have Frosty’s chance in hell of obtaining it. Besides, the starting quarterback has a better chance with the ladies than the president of the chemistry club (at least in high school)… even though the head of the chemistry club will probably make more money in real life. Instead of focusing on developing skills that could actually benefit me in the real world, I played sports… poorly.

I don’t regret my years wasted playing sports. I had some good times and made some good friends. However, if I could do it over again, I probably would chose a different path for my high school years. But hell, if we could do anything over again, I’m sure most of us would change a thing or two (or a thousand). Life doesn’t work that way, at least not until I find that stupid genie’s lamp, or catch that elusive leprechaun.  Until then, maybe I should start going to the local high school’s athletic events.  I can look around for a bunch of student athletes and tell them how their behavior off the field is causing their lack of success on the field… whether that’s true or not.  Maybe, just maybe, I can make myself feel better by making them feel like crap.

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Mar 24

Ahhh… remember back to the days of your youth.  These were magical years where your future seemed so bright.  Remember?  From the end of August to mid-May, you learned and played sports and hung out with your friends all day.  But summer was when the true magic happened.  Summers were a seemingly endless period of long, hot days and cool, enchanted nights.  You could ride your bike with your friends day after day and it never got old.  As young boys, my friends and I would ride bikes and play catch and start a pick-up game of kickball of football and hike paths and climb trees and hang-out at our favorite stores (… uh… it was Fort Peck, Montana, so there was only one) and swim at the pool or at the lake and, as we got older, appreciate the way our rapidly-maturing female friends were filling out their bathing suits in spectacular new ways… and the summers seemed to last an eternity.

As we got older, some of us started getting summer jobs, and some of us got jobs year-round.  School got harder, and we had to start really thinking about our futures.  Then, college called to some of us, and some of us went straight to full-time, real-world work; but we still held tight to our dreams.  Those of us who went to college soon joined our working friends.  During these years, many of us fell in love, got married, started families; the dreams were still there.

Our kids started to grow up.  Soon, we could see our kids enjoying many of the same things we enjoyed in our youth, and we were starting to feel a little old.  The dreams were still hanging on, but we began to wonder how we were going to accomplish them with a full family life.  Oh well, maybe after the kids are grown and on their own.

Soon, we start living vicariously through our kids. Maybe we want our kid to be that great sports star we never were.  Or maybe we want our kid to be the genius we were never smart enough to be.  Or perhaps we want our kid to be the singer or actor or musician we never had the confidence to attempt to find within ourselves.  Our dreams migrate to the purgatory of our consciousness, awaiting the day when they will either realize the joyous fruition of heavenly accomplishment or be cast to the inescapable torment of hellish failure.  We start trying to help our children with their dreams, which are merely extensions of the dreams we had in our youth.  We start to realize that our age is actually catching up with us.

We become obnoxiously proud parents, praising the accomplishments of our children as if they were our own… often to the major annoyance of most other adults around us.  Soon, we find that other adults begin to avoid us because they really don’t care how good little Jimmy’s baseball team did… or how excellent little Susie’s dance recital went.  We become monsters who seem intent at driving everyone away from us… everyone except our families.  We scream at the umpires or referees at a game because their calls made our kid’s team lose.  We badmouth the teacher who doesn’t truly see our child’s intelligence.  We harbor ill-will toward the second-chair trumpet player who screwed up during the concert and made our first-chair child look bad.  We become bearers of vehement hate toward every single person or thing that interferes with our child’s success.  Our age is no longer catching up with us; it has caught us and is a driving force in our lives.

Our children, meanwhile, are oblivious.  They are focusing on having fun and creating their own dreams.

Soon, the kids are off to college or work, and we have the houses to ourselves again.  We are still focusing on the dreams of our kids.  We give career advice.  We warn them of the mistakes we made along the way.  We tell them what they should do to be happy, which is really what we should have done to be happy.  Our hindsight is, for the most part, ignored by our children.

Our kids are now adults, they are working full-time, many of them are happily married… and before you know it, we’re grandparents.  Our kids seem to have put their dreams on hold in an attempt to help their kids create new dreams.  Finally, there is time for us to focus on our dreams once again, so we search.  We search our consciousness for those dreams of our youth.  We search for the motivation to once again bring them to the front of our minds.  Funny thing is, when we search for our dreams, the smell of brimstone becomes overpowering, and just the thought of trying to accomplish those dreams makes us very tired.  We have moved beyond old and are now ancient.

Ahhh… it was nice to have dreams.  Too bad we never found the time or will to accomplish them.  What to do now?  Ooooh… looks like the grand kids could use some help with their dreams…

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Feb 14

My snore has been likened to the thunderous growl of a Tyrannosaurus rex. Now, I know that no living person is exactly sure what a T. Rex growl really sounds like, but I have been told that my snore has to be in the ballpark.

T-Rex

Of course, I have never heard my snore. My snoring has woke me up in the middle of the night on thousands of occasions, but by the time I’m actually awake, I’m done snoring. Funny how that works.

Anyway, my wife and I have been married for over 16 years.  My wife has complained about my snoring for, well, a little over 16 years.  I finally decided that maybe it was time to do something about it.  See what a great guy I am?

Why would I avoid going to the doctor to have something done about my snoring?  Well, the reasons are multiple:

1st:  I hate doctors.  I don’t hate them on a personal level, I just don’t like the fact that I have to rely on someone who makes a buttload of money for my physical well being.  I also don’t like the fact that I have to pay said person a buttload of money for services rendered.  Yeah… it’s all about the Benjamins.

Benjamins

I couldn’t be a doctor because I’m really not smart enough, and the thought of messing with someone’s other than my own bodily fluids makes me slightly light-headed.  Just another of the “life isn’t fair” deals that pisses me off.  Okay, so maybe I do hate them on a personal level…

2nd:  When you go to the doctor, he or she always ends up finding a bunch of crap wrong that has nothing to do with the reason for your visit.  It’s kind of like when you take your car in for an oil change, you know.  All of a sudden, you’re needing new brake pads and a front-end alignment and your head-gasket is leaking… you, at the doctor… your car, at the mechanic… it’s all the same.  Now that I am “in my forties”, I know that crap is going to start breaking down at an alarming rate.  I’d really rather just not know about it.  After all, maybe I can get another 2000 miles out of the car without fixing the problem, right?  Besides, it seems like when they start trying to fix one problem, everything else starts to go to hell.  You know, like the 35-year-old lady who goes in because she sprains her ankle, and they discover she has pancreatic cancer, so they cut her open to get to the cancer, and they find out that it is EVERYWHERE, and she is dead within a couple of weeks… because of a stinking sprained ankle.  If she hadn’t gone in for the stupid sprained ankle, she would probably be alive today!

3rd:  Uh… I don’t take exactly the best care of myself.  I know this.  I don’t need some yahoo driving a BMW to point this out and talk down to me while doing so, because when he or she does, my level of class-envy goes through the stinking roof!

Okay, so I don’t like going to the doctor.  In fact, I don’t even have a doctor.  I go to a local urgent care clinic (Quick Care) for all of my medical needs… which are few and far between.  You’d think that, seeing as how I’m getting to the point where annual visits are looming on the horizon, I should probably find a doctor.  I don’t like shopping for shoes… and I like shoes… so why would I spend time shopping for a doctor?

So, back to the snoring.  I call one of them “sleep centers” (Western Sleep Medicine, I believe it is called) to see how I go about getting fitted with one of those Darth Vader masks to make me stop snoring.

Darth Vader snores?

They say I have to be referred by a doctor.  I say I don’t have a doctor.  They say I can use Quick Care to refer me.   I call Quick Care and make sure that they can refer me, which they reassure me that they can.  I ask, “So, uh, I’m wanting a referral for a sleep study… and that’s it.  You aren’t going to test me for a bunch of other crap, are you?”  And I am reassured that I will only be tested for the condition that I am visiting about.  Great!  So I drive on over to Quick Care.  Never believe medical people.

I get to Quick Care and they make me fill out the stinking form that all medical places make you fill out when you first arrive.  I get done filling the stupid form out and I realize that right beside the line where I fill-out my date of birth, there is a line for me to fill-out my age.  I ask the receptionist, “So, why is there a line right beside my date of birth for my age.  Wouldn’t just my date of birth be sufficient?  Can’t you figure out my age?”  Of course, I’m being a little smart-assy, but in a good-natured way.  The receptionists at Quick Care are not exactly “good natured”.

“It’s there so we don’t have to figure it out,” the receptionist says, and I can tell by the look on her face that I’m pissing her off by breathing her air, so I let it drop.

So now I’m thinking to myself that I may be making a mistake by not actually having an actual doctor.  I’m thinking that using Quick Care for a referral may not have been the swiftest of my most recent decisions.  Did I have to list my age beside my date of birth so they didn’t have to figure it out… or because they couldn’t figure it out?  I know, I should assume that the receptionist (or anyone else who touches my chart) would be able to figure out my age from my date of birth.  However, before I entered Quick Care, I assumed that a receptionist in a place where people are going to have medical issues addressed and are looking for a little comfort would be able to smile… or at least be partially pleasant.  I have learned to never trust my assumptions.

After a short wait, I am led into an examination room.  The nurse tells me that the first thing she needs to do is check my blood pressure.  Crap!  This is exactly what I don’t want.  This is why I called before I came… to make sure unnecessary crap wasn’t going to be tested.  What does my blood pressure have to do with my snoring?  But I’m already thinking I need to keep my mouth shut because of the whole receptionist encounter, so I sit down and let her test it.

170 over 130.

She looks at me like I should already be dead.

“Uh, is your blood pressure always this high?” she asked.

“No, these places freak me out,” I said.  “It’s usually more like 150 over 100.” Of course my blood pressure is high.  Everyone and their dog stresses me out.  I hate any sort of confrontation and life is full of it… confrontation that is.  The older I get, the less I am able to deal with the basic BS that every person on the planet seems intent on dishing out.  If I could hole-up in a dark room and not have to ever deal with anyone or their problems, I bet my blood pressure would be just fine.  I pray to God to let me not get stressed out, but stress is still there around every single stinking corner in this road of life… and God just looks down from heaven and laughs.  I think jacking around with me is how God deals with His own stress.

Again… she looks at me like I should already be dead.

“I’m going to get the P.A.,” she said and disappeared out the door.

P.A. stands for “physician’s assistant”.  A P.A. is like a doctor, except they didn’t have to go to school as long as a doctor, and instead of BMWs, they usually drive Audis.  I don’t hate P.A.s quite as much as I hate doctors.

The P.A. comes in and he talks about getting me a referral for the sleep test, he fills out the necessary paperwork, and then he starts talking about what we are going to do about my blood pressure.  He has the nurse run a ECG, and then she sticks me with a needle and red crap comes out my arm into a little vial.  I’m ready to pass out as he tells me about the blood pressure medication that I’m going to be put on.

Crap!

So, I leave, I go and get my blood pressure medication, and I go home.

The next day, I take the first of the pills.  It’s Lisinopril.  It’s supposed to have very few side-effects.  I notice nothing and think I’m golden.

I take my second pill the following morning.  All is well… until I get out of the shower, reach for the hair gel (it’s Sunday, and I gel my hair up on Sunday to keep from looking like such a hippie freak), and I fall to the floor with chest pain.  I can’t even stand up.  The wife and kids are already gone, because the wife takes the kids to Sunday school.

Crap!

Okay, so I figure I’m having a heart attack.  Figures, right?  I mean, if I hadn’t gone in for the stupid snoring issue, I would have been fine.  Anyway, I’m downstairs, and I need to find a way to get upstairs.  I figure out that if I bend over and do not stand straight up, I can walk without a ton of pain.   So I hunch it upstairs and sit down at the dining room table.  I start weighing my options.

I can call the wife and freak the crap out of her.  Yeah… not going to happen.

I can call 911 and get an ambulance coming.  That would, however, be expensive.  I’m all about the Benjamins.

Benjamins

Then, I start thinking that I really don’t feel like I’m going to die.  You know how people who have heart attacks claim that they get all freaked out because they can tell that they are dying?  Well, I’m not freaking out.  I’m just pissed because my chest hurts.  There is no pain shooting through my shoulder or up my arm, just a sharp pain under my left man-boob.  Feels more like something is pulled than I’m dying.  I think to myself, “If this cramp in my chest gets worse, do I feel like my heart is going to stop?”  I answer myself, “No.”  So, I sit there and wait for the pain to go away.

Western Sleep Medicine is supposed to call me to schedule a sleep study.  I haven’t heard from them yet.  I may not have to worry about it.  After all, I went to medical people for one problem and they discovered another.  I give myself two weeks, tops.  Damn it…  I swear, I could have got another 2000 miles out of this s.o.b.

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Dec 05

It had to happen.  It’s approach led to this started-with-good-intentions-but seldom-written-in blog.  It has been the Moby Dick to my Ahab.  It has been a black cloud on the horizon of my life for the past 10 years.  “It” is 40, and it finally overtook me last Saturday.

Turning 30 sucked.  Turning 30 meant the end of innocence.  No longer a naive 20-something, I felt like my 30s were meant to be my true entry into adulthood.  It was during my 30s that I felt I was meant to create my career-life.  30s are meant to be a career building decade and if you play your cards right, you will be well on your way to building wealth and flowing into your “prime income earning years” (40s and 50s) with ease.

Of course, turning 30 sucked.  Did I mention that already?  As I approached 30, I panicked.  “What are you doing with your life?” I asked myself.  I was in my late 20s and realized that I was not in a good position to enter anything that involved a long-term career plan.  I panicked.  I talked my wife into researching franchises so we could open our own business and start down the road to financial independence.  We chose a business, we moved to Craphole… er… Scottsbluff, NE, and we tried to make a go of it.  All of this panic was caused by the turn to 30.

A few things went wrong.

1st:  The franchise we opened did not do bad… we made a small profit in our first year.  The franchise did not, however, make enough profit to support my wife and I and our young son.  The franchise did not live up to our calculated expectations.  We ended up selling it.

2nd:  We personally financed the person we sold the business to… and within a couple of months she declared bankruptcy.  Guess there was a reason the banks weren’t lending to her…

3rd: After getting shafted by the person that we sold the business to, we could have probably declared bankruptcy as well.  But NO… we decided to take the high, moral road and pay back all of our debt.  So, instead of taking a lump to the old credit almost 7 years ago (which would have resulted in much less scrimping over the last 7 years and a better quality of life for my family over the last 7 years… and the lump would be healed by now), we have reached a point where we are only a few months away from finally getting rid of all that debt.  I know I’m supposed to feel good about this, you know, for having repaid my debts… but I’d really much rather avioded the past 7 years worth of stress and that money, invested, would mean that I would have had a chance to retire some day.  Oh well, retirement is overrated, right?  Who doesn’t want to work until they die.  At least I owned-up to my responsibilities… again, that just isn’t doing anything for me.  Retirement would have meant more than making sure the stupid credit card companies got their money.  Who’d a thunk that doing the right thing would suck so much?

4th: The wonderful panhandle of Nebraska is not a good place to attempt to open a specialty retail business.  Not only is there little disposable income here, if you can’t make a living with the new business, your job opportunities in the Craphole are, well, quite limited.  Let’s just say that bright futures aren’t created here.  The Craphole is a retirement community… the Craphole is an agricultural community… people either come here to grow corn or people come here to die.  People shouldn’t move here to open a little business (in an effort to avoid the stress of turning 30)… because the odds are that you will fail.

Turning 30 may not be a walk in the park, but turning 40 after getting yourself stuck in stinking Nebraska… I don’t know much about growing corn, so I guess I’m part of the retirement community in the Craphole just waiting to die.  At 40, it’s really kind of too late to start all over again.  Guess I’ve kind of just given up on having the kind of career making the kind of money I went to college to make.  At least I have a loving wife and two great kids… if only I could provide for them the way I always imagined I’d be able to.  And it’s not that we’re doing bad… it’s just that I always thought I would be financially successful… not fighting to remain middle-class.

I usually try to make these gripe-sessions at least a little funny.  You know, cynically tongue -in-cheek.  I just really can’t find anything too amusing about the entire situation… not this time.

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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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