I wish I was at the Beach

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Public Restrooms

I managed to make it the first 18 years of my life without taking a dump in a public restroom. I would not say I had a phobia about it. Instead, I would say that I'm not a blithering fool. Why would I subject myself to such a horror if I didn't have to? For my first 18 years, my digestive system was as reliable as an Eagle Scout. There was never a pressing need no matter what I ate. I could rip through massive amounts of Taco Bell food and polish it off with a milkshake and then play basketball for two hours and it was no big deal.

Alas, I got older. Now I watch a Taco Bell commercial and start feeling a little uneasy about whether or not I remembered to buy toilet paper. But I digress.

The week that I graduated high school, most of my graduating class took a cruise to the Bahamas. But we took a bus from north Mississippi to Miami to board the ship. Around Hattiesburg, MS, I realized that there was no possible way to make it all the way to Miami with my public restroom virginity. So I did a quick calculation and realized that it would be far better to drop anchor in the restroom of a restaurant than it would be to do it on a bus full of hormonal teenagers.

Now, keep in mind that I had never done this before. I didn't know any of the tricks. As a seasoned professional dump-taker of 31, I look back at the stupid kid that I was then and just shake my head. You know the age-old maneuver of tearing off layers of toilet paper and putting them on the seat before you sit down? That never even occurred to me. I sat straight on the toilet seat. That's right...I went in unprotected when I lost my public-dumping-virginity. Also, though the memory isn't too clear, I might have set my backpack down on the floor of the stall. Another rookie mistake. I got through the episode and learned a few lessons, but I still don't enjoy public restrooms. Here are a few reasons why.

The Trough:

The trough is a feature in many men's restrooms at sporting events. It is a literally a trough, like pigs would eat from, bolted to a wall. So during halftime, or between innings, men will be packed in there shoulder to shoulder, many of them drunk, and relieving themselves while grunting. This is about as uncomfortable a situation as exists in civilized society. The main dangers consist of A) having some dude stare down at your junk and B) inadvertantly looking at some guy's junk and having him see you. There are also guys who have different styles at the trough. Some of them place both palms on the wall like they are being arrested. Some of them shake forever and hold up the line. Some of them want to talk to you. None of this is acceptible.

The Self-Flushing Toilet:

Most people disagree with me on this. They say, "but it's awesome! You don't have to touch anything!" I counter with this: sometimes when you lean forward or shift your weight, the sensor thinks you've gotten up and flushes. This causes dreaded Toilet Water Butt Splash. It is not a good thing. If you don't want to touch the handle, then use your foot.

Costa Rican Toilets:

When I was in Costa Rica, it didn't take me long to notice that there was a garbage can full of used toilet paper beside each toilet. Read that again. Yeah, that's right. Their pipes are so bad that they throw used toilet paper in the garbage can. Imagine being the employee who has to clean that up. You just know that when they are emptying the trash into another container that the used toilet paper will inevitably fall out onto the floor and they will have to pick it up. This happens to us with used kleenex every time we empty the trash so you know it happens to them. I don't want to hear American janitors and maids ever complain again.

Enough hating. Now let me elaborate on the greatest invention of all time: Those toilet guards things that have a hole in them that is shaped like a human head. My heart leaps with joy whenever I walk into a bathroom and see one of these dispensers. They are wonderful beyond description. I'm thinking of getting a box for my home bathroom. I might start giving out boxes as gifts. People really should keep them in their car for the times they have to make a stop at a gas station bathroom.

May all your dumps take place in the comfort of your own home.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

The Basketball Diaries

The kid was trying to desperately to dunk a basketball. He had the springs for it. He just didn't possess any sort of savvy when it came to controlling the ball. He is sixteen years old and he's filling out and he has a ton of nervous energy and every other sentence that comes out of his mouth is a lie. This afternoon he told me he read Stephen King's The Stand. In my English class he has proven that he would have trouble reading the directions on a shampoo bottle, but he thinks I'll believe he absorbed a 1200 page novel. The kid lacks self confidence. In my job, I don't even think about inquiring about a kid's background until he has been here a few weeks. I have to build up that trust. Undoubtedly, there is some nightmare in Jorico's past that has shattered his self-seteem and now he just lies about everything. So watching him try over and over again to dunk a basketball and come up short pained me. He would hang his head after every failed attempt.

I was pretending to nonchalantly talk to another kid while sitting in the bleachers, but actually I was intently focused on Rico's efforts. After he bricked an attempt for the umpteenth time, I jumped up and snapped, "Gimme the ball." He did.

I walked over to him, looked him in the eye, and said "I'm a natural born point guard and all you need to put that ball through the hoop is a good pass. I'll put it right in front of the rim and you'll dunk it. No problem."

He looked skeptical. "An alley?", he replied.

"Dang right," I barked. "And you'll make it because I'll put it in the perfect spot for you. Trust me."

Rico took a few steps back and sprinted toward the basket. I placed the ball directly in front of the rim with a pinpoint pass. He slammed it. Actually, did more than slam it. He threw it down with force. And then he looked at me and beamed.

I grabbed the ball and half shouted, "Now do it again...on your own."

This time he didn't hesitate. He took three dribbles, rose off of both feet, and threw it down again. No problem.

I said, "Rico, all you needed was a little confidence. From now on, you've got it." And then I ripped off a cheesy line from a basketball movie called "The Pistol" and said, "You thought you could do it. I knew you could. That's the difference." And it was one of the cheesiest moments of my life.

And then my mind wandered to last year, when I was coaching a middle school basketball team at one of the poorest schools in Mississippi. Like all middle-schoolers, the kids at my school were selfish. The basketball team was no exception. My favorite aspect of sports is the teamwork and the sacrifice that is learned from helping the team.

I was pulling my hair out in an effort to get my boys to understand tat concept. The season was almost over, and selfishness was still rearing its ugly head far too often. We were not a team. We were a collection of individuals. And then Demetrius changed all that.

There was a back-up point guard on the team named "Lil' Danny." Lil' Danny was about 4'10" with a 90 pound heart. He hustled on every play and had tons of confidence despite his limited ability. He was the kind of player that coaches love. One day, I was running practice for the pee-wee team while the junior high team loafed around in the bleachers or the lobby waiting for me to begin their practice. I was engrossed in what I was doing so I didn't notice Demetrius standing behind me. After a moment he cleared his throat and said, "Um, Coach?"

I turned. "What's up, Demetrius?"

"Coach, K is over there picking on Lil' Danny. I think I need to do something but I don't want to get suspended."

I looked him dead in the eye and said firmly, "It is your obligation to stick up for your teammates."

First a little background: K was a high school student who hung out in our gym after school a lot. He was a whole lot bigger than the players on our team. He was roughly 15 inches taller than Lil' Danny. Also you should know that our zero-tolerance policy required the staff to report any fight that occurred on school grounds. A student who fought would be cuffed, put in the back of a squad car, and transported to the county jail.

I went back to teaching the offense to my team and forgot about our conversation. About ten minutes later I heard an eruption from the other side of the gym. I turned and ran down the court to where Demetrius was pummelling K. And I mean pummelling. Blows were reigning downs on his head and shoulders. My first reaction was to step in and break it up. The rest of the team was looking at me and waiting for me to give the signal for them to pull Demetrius off of K. Instead I looked over them and slightly held my hand up to indicate "wait." And they stared at me in amazement. After 5 seconds or so, I pulled Demetrius off of the larger boy.

"K, leave the gym. Don't come back. Not that I think you'd want to anyway."

The team stood silently in a circle around me. Demetrius stared at the ground. He knew that in 20 minutes he would be in the back of a police car. But he was wrong.

I yelled at the top of my lungs, "EVERYBODY BUT DEMETRIUS ON THE LINE! NOW!!!"

Fourteen boys tore toward the endline so quickly that they didn't have time to process what was going on. In three seconds they stood in a perfectly spaced line awaiting the shrill explosion from my whistle. But it didn't come. Not yet.

I roared. "Demetrius doesn't have to run today. DO YOU KNOW WHY DEMETRIUS DOESN'T HAVE TO RUN TODAY? I'll tell you why. Demetrius doesn't have to run because HE'S THE ONLY ONE OF YOU THAT STUCK UP FOR HIS TEAMMATE! The rest of you make me sick. There would have never been a fight if K would have looked up and seen 15 guys UNITED! Fifteen guys ready to bleed for each other! Fifteen guys ready to go to WAR for each other. You have all failed Danny and you've all failed me. Except for Demetrius, who will be standing beside me while the rest of you run suicides."

And run they did.

The next night, every player on the team scored. That had never happened before. Danny had his career high. We won by 35 points. It was the largest margin of victory of the year.

And that is why, despite a torn miniscus in both knees and 19 sprained ankles, I still walk out on the court and play a game designed for people much younger than me.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Road House: Blow by Blow

I am no Hemingway. Therefore, I am not capable of writing a proper introduction to the liveblog I am about to undertake. Two syllables: Road House.
.05 – The MGM lion roars. This marks the first time in cinematic history that the logo of the film company actually foreshadows the movie itself. You can’t honestly tell me that Patrick Swayze doesn’t remind you of a lion in this movie. He fights like a beast on the African plains. Also, he has a mane.

.50 – A long legged woman in a ridiculous yellow dress emerges from a Sonny Crockett Ferrari in front of a nightclub. This is how you could tell a nightclub was cool in the 80’s. There HAD to be a Ferrari out front. If there was no Ferrari, then the place might as well have been a bingo parlor. The woman’s dress was so short that I actually lay down on the floor directly under the TV and looked up…and then realized that it wouldn’t work. But the dress was short. You gotta believe me.

1.30 – White People Dancing!

2.30 – The first appearance of Dalton! We don’t know his name is Dalton yet, though. All we know so far is that there is a guy at the bar who A) Has a chiseled face, B) Is rocking the sweetest mullet ever. It’s the Selleck’s mustache of Mullets, and C) Can’t even bob his head remotely in tune with the music being played by the band at the bar. (Sidenote: Is that the band from “From Dusk ‘til Dawn?”)

3:20 – Some random guy stabs Dalton in the shoulder. Dalton literally just turns and looks at the guy. His expression never changes. Is Dalton a pacifist? Is he impervious to pain? I’m intrigued. I MUST KNOW!

3:40 – The random stabbing guy challenges Dalton to a fight, to which Dalton calmly replies, “Outside.” When they get outside, Dalton simply turns and walks back through the door, leaving an impenetrable wall of bouncers between the random stabbing guy and himself. Woah. Dalton is smart. He must be a pacifist.

4:20 – Dalton is stitching up his arm in the back room. He is shirtless and his body is as hairless and sleek as a sea lion. Some dude with a bolo tie opens the door and starts looking hairless Dalton up and down. I fear we might be headed for a Brokeback moment until Bolo Tie asks Dalton to help him clean up his bar. He calls Dalton, “The Best.” How does he know that Dalton is “the best” at bouncing? Have I been missing U.S. News and World Reports Annual Bouncer Rating issue the last few years? Dalton tells the guy that Wade Garrett is “the best.” This must be a Magic vs. Bird type argument among the bouncing community. Garrett vs. Dalton. This is also the scene where Dalton demands 5 G’s up front, $500 a night, plus medical. Geez, he’s the Roger Clemens of bouncing.

6.15 – “You know, I thought you’d be bigger.”

7.15 – Dalton drives a Mercedes…with a tape deck! They made a special point to show the tape deck to further emphasize just how awesome this car is!

7. 28 – Dalton rolls into Jasper. We don’t know what state Jasper is in, but judging from the clientele at the Double Deuce, I have to assume it’s in Grenada County. The Double Deuce reminds me of an old bar in Oxford called The Gin. Except that pro wrestler Terry Funk never threw anyone past Dalton’s feet at The Gin.

8.25 – Jeff Healey is playing behind chicken wire at the Double Deuce. You probably remember Jeff Healey’s song “Angel Eyes” from every Junior High dance where you were far too nervous to approach girls who were a foot taller than you and ask them to slow dance. Also, Jeff Healey is the least famous blind musician of all time. He’s definitely behind Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder, and probably even trails Ronnie Milsap. Go back and listen to “Angel Eyes” and check out how many references he makes to how the girl in the song looks and all the other visual references. It would be like if I wrote a song about what it’s like to be a Croation woman.

10.25 – Ummm, the Double Deuce is a violent place.

12.50 – “I thought you’d be bigger.” The blind guy said it this time.

13.50 – Dalton and I both sort of stand at the bar, listening to music and not drinking when we go out. This is where the similarities end.

14.00 – Ummm, the women at the Double Deuce have questionable moral fiber.

15.00 - A complete brawl breaks out over the aforementioned questionable moral fiber of the ladies. Much chair smashing ensues. Dalton doesn’t participate. He is definitely a pacifist.

16.50 – Dalton says, “Opinions vary.” He’s sort of a pacifist philosopher. He keeps his dialogue short and sweet.

20.00 – Dalton buys a crappy car and rents a crappy room above a barn. He doesn’t care about material things. He lives only to clean up bars so decent people can have a good time. The man is a saint. He’s the Mother Theresa of bouncing.

20.40 – Brad Wesley flies over the barn/house in a helicopter. He does it “just to piss off” an old guy’s cattle. This is the least sinister introduction to a bad guy EVER.

22.00 – Bolo Tie and Dalton present their plan for cleaning up the Double Deuce. He begins by firing half of the bouncers and bartenders and waitresses. He then lays out the 3 simple rules of bouncing. The man has really turned bouncing into an art.

27.00 – He’s not a pacifist after all. Dalton just broke a dude’s nose by shoving his face through a table, prompting Bolo Tie to eye Dalton like a juicy steak and mutter, “He’s good…he’s real good.” I think Bolo Tie is really starting to have some feelings that are strange and confusing toward Dalton.

27.45 – Gratuitous Sex Scene!

28.15 – Dalton fires a bartender for stealing from the register. Dalton is all-knowing. Within the Double Deuce, Dalton is God. It is completely his domain. The chicken-wire stage is his throne, and the bar is his footstool. What kind of house can you build for him? (That was a biblical reference and probably so obscure that only three people I know will laugh at it.)

29.00 – “It’ll get worse before it gets better.” More philosophy.

29.45 – Dalton’s junker car is trashed. He just smiles.

30.00 – Brad Wesley is throwing one of the greatest parties of all time across the pond from Dalton’s barn/house, complete with white guys dancing, girls in bikinis, and a pool. Again, I’m not exactly sure that the filmmakers did the best job of setting up Brad Wesley as a hate-able guy. He just looks like a small town Hugh Hefner.

31.20 – Swayze’s bare butt just made an appearance. Shame on anyone who just made a mental note of the exact time in the movie when this occurs for future reference.

32.40 – Brad Wesley is swerving from lane to lane in his convertible Mustang, not worrying about other drivers. He’s also singing “Life Would Be a Dream,” which is a song I like. Again, this is annoying…but it’s not exactly evil. So far I’m supposed to hate this guy because he throws killer parties, annoys cattle, and drives like a teenager. Darth Vader, he is not.

34.00 – Red West, Elvis’ best friend, debuts. He plays “Red.” Normally, this lack of creativity would drive me crazy, but it is pretty obvious that the only acceptable name for this man is “Red.” If they had named him David, or Kevin, or Phillip, I would have turned the movie off.

34.45 – Dalton’s nemesis, Brad Wesley’s right hand man, appears. His mullet is almost as glorious as Dalton’s. Almost.

35.30 – Dalton is doing some shirtless Tai-Chi in the front yard. This scene is excruciatingly uncomfortable. I’m sure Bolo Tie is hiding behind a tree and watching. Brad Wesley is watching from a Three-Wheeler! This delights me to no end. It’s even better than the tape deck!

37.45 – Big fight between Wesley’s goons and Dalton. Dalton busts out some kung-fu for the first time. Dalton gets stabbed by a fat guy. I think we are just beginning to see the full range of Dalton’s powers. The other bouncers jump in and help. It’s a lot like the “Left Side! Strong Side!” scene from “Remember the Titans,” only instead of racially diverse football players, there are bouncers. But still, you can feel the solidarity.

39.00 – Enter the big-haired, blonde doctor. She fixes Dalton’s stab wound. He refuses anesthesia because “Pain don’t hurt.” He also drops this one on her: “Nobody ever wins a fight.” Fantastic!

42.00 – “I thought you’d be bigger” says the Doc.

42.04 – One of Brad Wesley’s henchmen is driving a monster truck. Like Bigfoot. It’s his regular vehicle. He just casually drives around this monster truck. I’m not making this up.

43.45 – Wesley punches one of his men in the face. It’s not really all that evil but then some evil music plays. I think they realized in post production that they needed to make him more ominous so they threw in that evil music. Didn’t really work.

45.00 – To further illustrate how evil Wesley’s gang is, we see how they cruelly pour motor oil on the floor of Red’s auto parts store. Ummm…that’s not a nice thing to do and all…but it’s not the holocaust either.

46.00 – Sam. Freaking. Elliot.

46.50 – …playing Wade. Freaking. Garrett.

47.50 – The chicken wire is not in front of the stage anymore. I think Dalton is making progress. However, Brad Wesley’s skanky girlfriend has taken a shine to Dalton.

48.00 – The guy is in the monster truck again. Unbelievable! He really just drives it around.

49.10 - “Right boot.” There goes Dalton being omniscient again. What a guy.

49.15 – More Kung Fu! Dalton smashes a knee and a guy drops like a stone! And the hot doctor witnesses the whole fight. I think something might be brewing between them. Just a hunch.

52.20 – Dalton gives a bum some money. This man is a prince!

53.00 – I am completely mesmerized by the doctor’s hair. Swayze and her together is just too much for me to process.

56.00 – Dalton visits Wesley’s house. His skanky girlfriend has a black eye. Normally I would feel bad for her, but some girls are so skanky that they wear black eyes like an accessory. She looks more normal with the black eye than without. Dalton turns down Wesley’s job offer. The man has integrity.

58.00 – White People Dancing!

1.00.00 – Dalton has just walked the doctor into his barn/house. I feel the melding of the hair might be coming.

1.00.25 – That pimp just turned on “These Arms of Mine” by Otis Redding. That’s just not fair. She doesn’t have a chance.

1.03.30 – Brick Wall.

1.06.00 – Wesley was watching the whole time. Perv.

1.07.45 – HUGE TWIST! The hot doctor used to be involved with Brad Wesley! I never saw that coming! Outta Nowhere, I tell ya!

1.08.00 – Wade Garrett just rode up…ON A MOTORCYCLE!!!! He really is tough!

1.10.00 – Wade Garrett and Dalton just beat up the same bunch of guys that have been getting beat up for the last hour. Apparently they never, ever get tired of getting kicked in the knee. After the fight, Wade and Dalton embrace in a way that only two manly men can. Bolo Tie tried to catch a glimpse from behind the dumpster again.

1.17.07 – Red’s store blew up. I bet Wesley was responsible.

1.18.15 – Skanky Girlfriend is putting on an impromptu strip show. If this was filmed in 2007, she would definitely have a lower back tattoo. Dalton is not impressed. Dalton is a rock amidst a raging sea.

1.20.50 – The Mulleted Nemesis is putting on a little Kung-Fu show with a pool stick. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen someone shoot pool with a pool stick in a movie. However, this marks the 9,000th time I’ve seen a Kung-Fu fight involving a pool stick in a movie. It’s sort of like how rooftops only exist so cops can jump from one to the other in pursuit of a suspect.

1.26.00 – The monster truck just crushed a bunch of cars. I’m glad to see it came in handy.

1.27.05 – Swayze is shirtless, sweaty, and punching a wooden board for exercise…He just took a swing at Wade Garrett and Garrett caught his fist and held it there. Then he told Dalton he loved him. Because he’s Wade Garrett. And he can.

1.30.25 – Another explosion. This time it’s Dalton’s landlord’s house. I suspect Wesley again.

1.31.50 – Looks like the final showdown between Mulleted Nemesis and Dalton. Lots and lots and lots of roundhouse kicks. Swayze just pulled off some sort of flying ballet maneuver that ended in a knee to the chest. That was poetry in motion. Homoerotic isn’t even the word for this fight. Is Uberhomoerotic a word? The Nemesis just yelled something so heinous that my neighbor’s cat blushed. And Swayze JUST TORE HIS THROAT OUT! Fantastic! Wesley looks unhappy with this turn of events.

1.39.57 – Brace yourself. Wade Garrett is dead. I suspect Wesley.

1.40.40 – Swayze is an avalanche of anger. Swayze is hurricane of rage. Swayze is malice with a mullet. And…it…is…on.

1.42.11 – One henchman down.

1.43.00 - Another one down.

1.43.05 – That’s number three.

1.44.12 – Just took out the fat guy with a stuffed polar bear. Don’t ask.

1.44.40 – “I see you found my trophy room, Dalton. The only thing missing is your ass.” – Brad Wesley. And that officially puts this one into the Homoerotic Hall of Fame. I hope they put the plaque up right next to Rocky III.

1.47.00 – Dalton has a chance to go in for the kill, a la Mr. Miyagi, but he takes the high road. Doesn’t really matter because all of the town people just showed up with shotguns and blew Brad Wesley away.

1.49.44 – Dalton and the Doctor are skinny dipping and making out while the blind guy sits on the shore. This strikes me as incredibly strange.

1.50.00 – Roll Credits.

1.50.01 – Start to sob uncontrollably at the masterpiece I have just witnessed.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

24 Haikus (Wait, that's misleading...I mean Haikus about 24)

Hey! That’s that Hobbitt!
The dude who played Rudy, right?
Goonies was the bomb.

Please don’t shoot me, man!
Oh crap! Not in the knee, man!
Aggghhh, you freaking did!

Bauer’s sunshades rock.
When he puts those babies on,
I have a man-crush.

Chloe frightens me.
She is one unpleasant chick.
She needs a hug bad.

My taxes are high
No wonder. CTU has
A million Tahoes.

Hillary? McCain?
Barack Obama? Screw That!
I’m voting Palmer.

China built a wall.
They are gonna need it too.
Shouldn’t mess with Jack.

Edgar is so fat.
He has no chance with Chloe.
Try gastric bypass.

Jack’s wife is heinous.
There is no possible way
she is Kim’s real mom.

Remember that time
Jack shot Chappelle in the head?
I yelled, “Holy Crap!”

How can atheism
Exist in this world when Kim
Wears that ripped red shirt?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

So there I was walking into Wendy's for a little double cheeseburger with bacon action and what did I see when I got through the door? A friggin' long line. So I blew past all those suckers, bumping each one as I made my way to the front of the line. Hard. None of them said a word. And I owe it all to this mohawk and goatee combo. You see, this combo says "Look out! He doesn't play by the rules!" That's right, elderly lady with your 3 grandkids! Better step aside because here comes a dude with a 'hawk and 'tee combo. I didn't even have to say a word. I let my sweet combo do the talking. When I got to the front of the line, an awestruck teenage girl took my order. I could see by the look in her eye that she was thinking "Wow! I bet this guy drives an awesome camaro." But she was wrong. I don't need any ragged camaro when I have this mohawk and goatee. Why waste a few G's on a Chevy when I can grow this intimidating facial hair for free?

Later on I was in a bookstore perusing some Mark Twain books and a couple of sorority hotties were totally checkin' me out. It was pretty obvious they were diggin' the combo...and can you blame them? They couldn't believe that someone with such a daring hairstyle could be so well-read. They could tell that a sensitive heart beat beneath my tough-as-nails exterior. Truly, this was the first time either of these young women had encountered such a Renaissance Man. I tilted my head slightly forward so they could get a better glimpse at the 'hawk. One of them actually moaned with delight. I could tell that she wanted to take me home and caress my 'hawk and give it a pet name, like "The Conquistador" or "El Capitan." She was buying a Spanish dictionary. But in case you haven't noticed, I don't play by the rules of normal society...so I just walked right past them and didn't say a word. This sweet combo plays it cool...real cool.

That night I was sitting at the sports bar and watching a little basketball. My friend Marty The Dwarf came in and a couple of frat guys started giving him a hard time. Calling him Shorty McShorterson and trying to toss him. I saw this from across the room. So I yelled, "Hey! You-buncha-guys-who-wear-those-string-thingies-attached-to-your-sunglasses-and-judge-which-other-guys-are-good-enough-to-hang-out-with-you-through-a-process-known-as-rush!" They slowly turned around and came face to face with the last thing they wanted to see. A dude with a mohawk and a goatee. Needless to say, they backed down. One of them openly wept. My friend Marty The Dwarf came over to thank me but before he could get the words out, I kicked him sqare in the nuts as hard as I could. I don't play by the rules.

Yes, this sweet mohawk and goatee combo has changed my life for the better.

Which way to the tattoo shop?

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

All You Need is Love, Love. Love is All You Need.

After my last post, I feel there needs to be some clarification. Lots of people have asked me about it and most of them tried to talk me into taking some sort of meds. A lot of them asked about the girl as well. I thought it was pretty clear that the whole thing was about a lot of different girls that I just sort of combined into one all-purpose heart-stomping girl. Apparently that was not as clear as I thought. At any rate, there is a girl who resides in the shadow of a large stadium named for a whiskey drinking man in a funny hat and she is one of the greatest people I have ever known. That has not changed. Just wanted to say that.

Also, it was generally made known by people who read this that I am, in fact, a Hater. This isn’t true. Well, it’s sort of true. But it’s not the whole truth.

I love mountain lakes and fast breaks, Australian shores and campfire s’mores, Movie snacks and QB sacks, sunsets and poker bets, first kisses and disc golf misses, acoustic guitars and shooting stars, southern breezes and talking to Jesus, tennis shoes and Delta Blues, bream fishing and jumpshot swishing, Kit Kat bites and airplane flights, English teaching and Pat’s preaching, slip n’ slides and bike rides, warm rain and hikes toward Maine, pointless lies and Witt’s eyes, southern writing and fireplace lighting, chicken-on-a-sticks and politics, Graceland Too and Archie Who, Florida Keys and palm trees, foreign nations and constellations, chlorine smells and Isaac’s yells, rappelling ropes and preseason hopes, hippie fashion and Russ compassion, full moons and Buffett tunes, sailboats and famous quotes, road trips and Jolie lips, shaved heads and inflatable beds, dog piles and Skye smiles, crude jokes and vanilla cokes, sushi rolls and football polls, spring days and donut glaze, sports pages and Helen Keller rages, Frisbee flinging and Carly singing, sports bars and dancing in cars, telling stories in Fiori’s, behind-the-back-passes and Lambert’s molasses, long haired skater dudes and Tuscaloosa Indian foods, road trips and cruise ships, fish fries and pop flies, snakebite tales and hay bales, beach sand and the Rossetti clan, Margaret’s heart and comic book art, trick-or-treats and grilled meats, Frost prose and summer clothes, Capture the Flag and my sleeping bag, church league teams and ice creams, Rebel wins and dolphin fins.

Right about now, you are probably thinking, “Holy Crap. You love a lot of things that rhyme.” But that’s not all.

I also love the first day in the springtime when you can walk outside and smell the honeysuckle. I love the way hunters gather at a local gas station/convenience store to eat sausage and biscuits and drink coffee at five in the morning. I love the way that once someone coaches you in any sport, no matter how young you are, you call him “Coach” for the rest of your life. I love to slow dance to Norah Jones. And I love French vanilla cappuccino from the Chevron station. And I love the lingering smell of a campfire in my clothes. And I love sitting in a sports bar and hearing everyone whoop when there’s a big play. And I love being awake at 2 AM with Russ and Anna and laughing so hard that our sides hurt. And I love the way my head feels immediately after shaving it. And I love getting text messages while I’m at work. And I love shooting baskets by myself at night during the summertime. And I love finding a book that’s so good that I finish it in one day. And I love working in the garden with my dad. And I love sweating. And I love the moment when I’m dribbling full speed toward the basket and the defender leaves his man to stop me and I throw a perfect no-look pass for an easy lay-up. And I love walking down University Avenue and catching the first glimpse of a tent in the Grove. And I love the way my heart pounds before I finally work up the nerve to kiss a girl for the first time. And I love the scene from “Braveheart” where William Wallace gives his pre-battle speech. And I love when I am so comfortable around someone that I can take a ride with them in silence. And I love the fact that I don’t even care that I suck at disc golf. And I love sitting around with my friends from Grenada and talking about stuff we did when we were ten. And I love picking up Isaac and throwing him just a little bit higher than is safe and watching him thow his head back and spread his arms like Superman. And I love absorbing a whole season of Lost in 72 hours. And I love writing letters to people. And I love honesty. And I love brokenness. And I love that God is all about second chances. And I love waking up late at my parent’s house and smelling my mom’s breakfast cooking. And I love the way Sarah can say something completely hilarious without cracking a smile. And I love that Todd tries so hard to be cool…and it works. He is. And I love the way wool socks feel on a cold day. And I love opening up the sports page on Sunday mornings. I love the way my whole body tingles when I sing “You are Amazing, God” at church. And I love the way the front of my calves burn when I ride my bike up a hill. And I love the way black families have tee shirts made up for their family reunions. And I love the way the air feels five minutes before a thunderstorm blows through in July. And I love the way my sheets feel right after I washed them and made up my bed. And I love crouching down on all fours behind someone so they can be pushed over. And I love the way the trees explode with color in the fall. And I love watching a North Mississippi Allstars concert and marveling at all the white people dancing…like white people. And I love necklaces and bracelets from foreign countries. And I love falling asleep watching a movie at Witt’s house and crashing there. And I love teaching kids to throw a football and shoot a jumpshot and enjoy poetry and who Daniel Boone was. And I love shaving my beard down to a mustache and playing a character. I love Mississippi. I love Jesus. I love kids.

And none of this takes into account things I have loved at different points in my life. I loved counselor devotion at Camp Lake Stephens. I loved watching The Real World with Kathryn. I loved walking to McDonald’s with Hood, Mario, and Tony. And I loved sitting on Margaret’s swing. And I loved basketball practice. And I loved getting up early to deer hunt with my dad. And I loved Lauren’s slow drawl. And I loved sleeping in Witt and Kathryn’s loft. And I loved every second of every day in the Stud Hut. And I loved the kids in my youth group in Southaven. And I loved seeing wallabies in my front yard in Australia. And I loved falling asleep beside Katie on her parent’s couch. And I loved canoeing with Rossetti. And I loved “bringing it in” at Camp. And I loved listening to stories in Mr. Joe’s living room. And I loved sitting around on the deck and firing up the grill with the boys in college. And I loved drinking water from streams on the Appalachian Trail. And I loved sharing a cabin with my quiet counterpart, Drew. And I loved spending countless hours at Biddy’s cabin in high school.

And people think I’m a Hater.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

One Room at the Heartbreak Hotel, Please.

If you usually read my blog to get some sort of laugh, then this might not be the post you want to read. Unless of course, you are one of those sickos that gets your jollies from the misfortune of others. One of those twisted pieces of crap who laughs when other people hurt. Actually, I am one of those people...but I still hate people like that. So I am also a hypocrite. Whatever.

Have you ever reached a point in your life where you are just completely and utterly heartbroken over every miserable stinking little thing that is occurring in your miserable, stinking little life? Have you ever had your still-beating heart ripped from your chest and shown to you right before you die? By a girl? Or by a missed job opportunity? Or by shooting about 30% in a church-league basketball game against a bunch of freakin' pot-bellied old geezers who you would have been dropping 45 points on a few years ago? No? You haven't? Well, screw you and your charmed life.

Let me tell you about the best ways to really maximize the suffering of a truly shattered heart.


I've only had my heart completely ripped out and stomped flat by about 47 girls, so maybe I'm no expert. But here are a few good tips on how to really make the most of your soul-killing numbness.

1. Listen to songs that remind you of her all the time. In the car, you can weep and sob like a little girl at traffic lights and slowly look to your left and see a car full of young African-American men in skullcaps and grills blasting Ludacris and pointing and calling you a "Bee-yotch." Add this humiliation to your already meloncholy psyche and it's a good start.

2. As you lie in your bed at night, staring at the ceiling, try to imagine her and who she might be with...at...this...exact...moment. This will probably lead to you balling up the sheets with your fists and pounding the mattress. If you have a particularly lively imagination, it might even lead to you kicking your legs violently, thus untucking the sheet. Crying yourself to sleep while sucking your thumb really makes you feel manly as well. In the fetal position of course.

3. Stare longingly at old photos of you and said girl. Maybe at the prom, or on vacation, or at some frat party. Really any setting will do. So long as you always remember to have a blank stare on your face, like you are staring through the photo, and mutter under your breath, "God, I love her..." And make sure your voice cracks and trails off at the end.

4. Bring up the girl CONSTANTLY to your friends. And I mean constantly. If you are talking about football, say something like "Man, you know who liked Tom Brady?" And then insert the girl's name (I know, I know...this isn't profound. I know 8 DUDES who would make out with Tomy Brady. That guy has it too good).

5. The Big Whammy: This is combining ALL of the above techniques into one massive spirit-crushing maneuver. While crashing at friend's house, put on a song while staring at her picture right before going to bed. This will work a few times for some real sympathy if you have extremely close friends. After the second time, this will result in your friend muttering "God, you're pathetic" and shuffling off to bed.

6. Annoy the everlovin' crap out of her friends. Act like you are really close with these girls even though they've been driving you nuts for years. And then hit them with a barrage of questions about the girl and act all sweet in a pitiful attempt to manipulate the friends into speaking well of you in front of the girl. This is about the lamest thing you could do and it never works. I've tried it exactly 47 times.

Now on, to the rest of the heartache of life. Do you hate your job? And I mean really hate it? I mean hate it like Kramer hates black folks? Hate it like girls hate Paris Hilton? Hate it like Republicans hate "them queers settlin' down?" I have been in a job like this for years. Why hasn't a reasonably intelligent college graduate like myself gotten a better job yet? Hey, shut up. This is about you, not me. Here are some tips on how to maximaize your anguish while working a dead-end job.

1. Talk tough all the time. Tell everyone that you're "about ready to quit." One more slight and you'll walk out. You swear. This time you are not playin'. You simply WON'T put up with this crap anymore. And you might just give your boss a piece of your mind. No, screw that. You might give him a beatdown in the parking lot. Just wait and see. You'll freakin' do it, man.

2. Talk about how you are the ONLY one that does anything around this place. What would this place be without you anyway? It would probably shut down, right? Damn right.

3. Continually kiss the rear end of your boss immediately after you have unleashed a profanity-laced tirade behind his back. Nothing is quite so emasculating as having to do this to get your measly paycheck.

There are a lot of other ways to get your heart broken, but I am getting freaking depressed talking about them all. Maybe I'll make this a weekly feature or something. "Ways Lyle Had His Heart Broken This Week." Of course, Ole Miss football is over and the Saints are miraculously winning (Who Dat???!!!) so even in a life as drab as my own, I may have to be creative. Man, what a boner-killer.