Jan 17

The garden was especially peaceful on this day.  The air was warm and calm as the sun shed it’s midday light amongst the dense,  prismatic vegetation.  Adam, leaning against a large rock in the shade of a dragon’s blood tree, watched a distant tyrannosaurus rex just outside the garden feed on a wooly mammoth.

‘Glad those things aren’t allowed in the garden,’ thought Adam.

A rustle of brush behind Adam announced the arrival of Eve with the midday meal.  Adam loved Eve, and he loved the fruit she harvested for the midday meal each day.

“What’d you bring today, Hon?” Adam asked.  “Mango… I hope you brought some mango today.”

“Something even better,” replied Eve, blushing.  “I brought something new.”

Adam had never seen Eve blush before.  “Why are your cheeks turning red?”

“Uh, ’cause you’re naked,” Eve said.  She handed the golden fruit in her hand to Adam and immediately went to the nearest fig tree.  Grabbing a couple of fig leaves, she covered her “womanly” parts.

“What are you doing?”  Adam asked.

“Try the fruit and you’ll see.”

“Why are you covering the parts of yourself that make you different from me?” Adam asked.

“Try the fruit and you’ll see.”

Adam looked at the golden fruit in his hand.  Other than the single bite taken from it, the fruit was unblemished.

“Where did you get this?” Adam asked.

Eve pointed to the south and, realizing that her woman-parts were exposed, quickly put the fig leaf back in its protective position.

“Over there,” Eve said, nodding to the south with her head.

“I’ve been south and I have never seen a fruit like this.”

“Oh, it’s there alright,” Eve said.  “The serpent showed it to me.”

“The serpent?” asked Adam.  “The freaky long thing with no arms or legs that slithers along the ground with the fangs and stuff?”

“That’s the one.”

“Oh, okay, cool,” said Adam as he started to take a bite.  As the fruit approached his lips, his brow began to furrow.  The fruit froze inches from his mouth.  “Hey, this isn’t from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, is it?”

“Well of course not,” said Eve.  “We were expressly forbidden from eating that fruit.”

Adam furrowed his brow further and, hand on hip, glared at Eve.

“Okay, maybe it’s from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”

“Maybe?” asked Adam.  “What, you have a death wish or something?  We were expressly forbidden from eating this fruit or we will die.”

“Or touching it,” said Eve.

“What’s that?” Adam asked, his eyes growing wide.

“Or touching it,” repeated Eve.  “We were forbidden from eating it or even touching it.”

Adam looked from Eve to the fruit in his hand.  “Crap.”

“You might as well try it,” Eve said.  “You already touched it, so if God is gonna kill me he’s gonna kill you too.  You might as well get a taste of it.”

“You lied to me,” Adam said.  “You… you…” and because Adam had yet to actually take a bite of the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he could think of none of the really good words to scorn her with, “you… stinker!”

Adam looked at the fruit in his hand and, although he had lost his appetite, he took a bite.  As the sweet flesh of the fruit burst to juice in his mouth, Adam realized that he was naked.  He ran to the fig tree and grabbed a leaf.

A-HEM!” came from the sky… and the ground… and everywhere.

“Crap,” whispered Adam, “it’s God!”  Adam grabbed Eve by the wrist and forced her down in the bushes as he climbed in beside her.

Why are you hiding?” asked God.

“I heard you coming and didn’t want you to see me naked,” said Adam.

Who told you you were naked,” asked God.  “Have you eaten from the tree I warned you about?”

This is all your fault,” Adam whispered to Eve, elbowing her in the side. “Yes, but it was the woman you gave me who who brought me some, and I ate it.”

How could you do such a thing?” Eve felt the voice of God against her flesh as goosebumps rose on her body against the vibrations of His words.

“The serpent tricked me,” she replied.

God rolled His eyes.  Then God started doling out punishment for the serpent.

Meanwhile, Adam stared at Eve.  Adam was sure that God would take his side on this matter.  After all, Adam had been tricked by that stupid Eve to touch the fruit.  Eve, succumbing to the long, seductive form of the serpent, had sold them both up the river.  ‘Plus, she lied to me,’ thought Adam.  Of course, he still took a bite of the forbidden fruit… all on his own with no physical coercion.  Like most of the men to follow him, however, Adam  decided at this point in time that he was going to do everything within his power to blame every ill in his life on the sex bore of his rib… and all men to follow fell to Adam’s fate.

Adam started to listen to the punishment appropriated for the serpent, and he realized that Eve and all of womankind was being punished just as much as the serpent.  God then directed punishment to Eve and all of womankind.

You shall bear children in intense pain and suffering; yet even so, you shall welcome your husband’s affections, and he shall be your master.”

Adam snickered.  Eve was getting her due.  Adam felt pardoned; he felt that God had forgiven the sins that Eve had led him to.  Adam felt that silly little women was getting her just desserts, and Eve and all of her ilk would, throughout eternity, pay for the dishonest lies of the first woman taken from the rib of the man!  Adam smiled.

…and then Adam felt The ShiftThe Shift was the formation of two oval-shaped appendages springing suddenly from the groinish-area of Adam’s loin.

“What the…” Adam exclaimed as his hand fell to the new addition of his outward appearance.

These, dear Adam, in addition to the life of sin and the need for repentance that lie ahead in your and your descendant’s miserable little lives, are a reminder of the affront to My name that you have allowed here today,” said God.

“But Eve…” said Adam.

Yes, Eve has done much wrong,” said God.  “But Eve is also in a vulnerable position when compared to you, my dear Adam.  She is not as physically strong as you, and she is more emotionally unstable than you.  So, in order to offset the differences between you and her, I am allowing the ‘dropping of the balls’.

“The dropping of the what?” asked Adam.

The balls… those things swinging about your fig-leaf-covered groin,” said God.

Adam touched the balls and asked, “Where did they come from?”

They were attached to the appendix and were a significant force in the ability of humankind to remain immortal,” said God.  “They will still play a significant role in the future of humankind, but having organs that were meant to be protected deep inside of the male body suddenly exposed for all of the natural world to rape… oh, woe it is to be ‘man’.

Eve and all of womankind are relegated to a position of inferiority and complacency when compared to man.  Of course, the feminists will come along and try to disparage these facts,” said God.  “The balls will act as an equalizing force in the battle between the sexes.  The feminists will see the balls as a sign of repression and weakness and will strike against them.  The insecure woman will see the balls as a sign of power through which they will struggle to find their own identity.  The average woman will see the balls as a comical extrusion from the male body and America’s Funniest Home Videos will be born!

America’s Funniest Home Videos,” whimpered Adam.

Oh, my son,” laughed God.  “The balls will be both your best friend and your worst enemy.  And you will provide to all of humankind more laughs through your balls than you could ever, throughout a thousand lifetimes, imagine.”

Adam looked at the protrusion from his groin and whimpered.  Surely this all had to be some sort of horrific joke.  Suddenly, Eve grabed Adam’s balls with her clenched fist.  She tugged once, softly, and said, “You ready to go start our new life of sin together?”

“Screw you!” exclaimed Adam.  He was going to have no part of this new life of sin and regret.

Eve squeezed and pulled at the new appendage between her fingers.  Nausea fell upon Adam’s being; from the tip of his toes to the top of his head, he felt pain as Eve pulled at his balls and led him in the direction she desired.

And so it has been ever since…

Yeah, probably not entirely Biblically correct, but his is how I see it going down.  Much more believable than evolution, isn’t it?  :)

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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 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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