Category Archives: Relationships

Up Chunk

Living with roommates has it’s advantages and disadvantages, and these pros and cons must be considered carefully before you enter into such a living situation.  Luckily for you, the reader, I have had many different roomies over the years.  Using this experience, I’ve come up with a little list of some positives and negatives for you to weigh to help you make the right decision:

  • Cost of living is greatly reduced by splitting rent/bills…
  • But your level of stress is greatly increased because your roommate never has his portion on time and regularly needs you to cover his ass,  and he knows you will because the lease is only in your name, not his, and he knows you actually care about your credit rating and whether or not you get evicted.
  • You always have someone to hang out with…
  • Like when you bring your date home after dinner to watch a movie and there is your out-of-shape roommate sitting on the couch watching television in nothing but his boxer briefs.  You give him a hint by asking if you can use the TV/DVD player, hoping he’ll retreat to his room, and he responds with “sure, what are we watching?”  No second date.
  • Roommate has a hot sister and/or friends…
  • Not only does he not have a hot sister, his girlfriend is an ugly, loud-mouthed pothead who just walks in whenever she comes over and likes to talk about making pot brownies no matter who is around.
    Or, in another nightmarish scenario, you had previously dated your roommate’s current girlfriend, as he saw no problem in aggressively pursuing her once you had stopped dating.  Hearing them do it is just gross.
  • You have someone to help with chores…
  • Or so you thought.  Not only are you cleaning up after your dogs, but your roommate likes to throw cigarette butts all over the yard – butts you discover while cutting the grass, a chore that he agreed would be his.
  • Roommate has nicer furniture than you…
  • Or, your roommate comes into the arrangement with nothing but an end table full of flea market trinkets.  Out of pity you purchase him a used futon to sleep on, which he quickly ruins by falling asleep on it while watching TV with a huge plate of cherry cheesecake in his lap.  Who knew dessert could make such a sweet pillow!
  • Roommate likes to cook dinner for the house…
  • Maybe he will, or maybe your roommate will  sit around and eat the food you bought, and then play dumb whenever you ask him where your last can of Chef Boyardee is.  And maybe you’ll actually find the can, if you look hard enough – empty, in the trash can in his room.
  • Roommate lets you borrow his cool car…
  • If only he had one (a car, that is).  After totaling his car, he constantly calls you for a ride to or from work.  He knows you’ll do it because you need him to be earning so he can give you $100 of that $350 he owes you for rent on time.
  • Social life enhanced by your roommate’s partying…
  • Your sleep time is depleted when you are suddenly awakened at 5 AM on a Saturday by loud scary music coming from the living room.  Upon investigation, you discover that one of the “Nightmare on Elm Street” movies is playing on the big screen TV with the surround sound cranked to eleven.  Better yet, your still-partying roommate and his loser friends aren’t even watching it; they’re in the hallway participating in a drunken wrestling match which is beginning to border on total gayness.
  • You get a discount at your roommate’s place of employment…
  • Nothing is more satisfying than a half-priced, cold cheeseburger from a fast food place fifteen miles away.
  • Your roommate can let your dogs out when you’re not home…
  • Especially since he just got fired and he’s home all the time, but hey, that would require consideration and a little bit of common sense. After all, they’re your dogs, not his. Besides, he’s probably still be upset because you have dogs (which you had before he moved in), but you won’t let him get a pet snake (you told him no pets before he moved in, and even so, you allowed a pet turtle at one point, which one of your dogs killed because he had left the turtle crawling around the backyard.  Out of guilt, you got him another one, which died a week later because he left it in an aquarium in the back yard and it rained – the turtle drowned).  But wait – then he surprises you.  Any time your dogs make a mess, he lays a paper towel on it.  What a guy!
  • Roommate’s girlfriend has hot friends…
  • Not unless you think 16 and 17-year-olds are hot.  Do you tell your thirty-year-old roommate that he shouldn’t be dating someone ten years younger than he is?  After all, you’re his roommate, not his dad.
    Or you could find yourself in this gem of a situation:  your roommate’s girlfriend DOES have hot friends, and after a night of partying at your house, your roommate is banging one of them in the garage while his girlfriend (the girl you previously dated) is passed out drunk in their bedroom.  Now you’re forced into keeping the secrets of one friend from another, which is always a guaranteed good time.

Now, there is no reason to freak out.  If you are careful during your screening process and don’t jump into a situation too quickly, you should be fine.  I do have just one piece of advice:  don’t room with anyone who goes by the name “Chunk” or with anyone who has a friend who goes by the name “Chunk.”  Over time I’ve discovered that if a majority of a person’s friends go by nicknames, they’re probably not the type of crowd you want to be involved in.

My roommate had such a friend (I still don’t know his real name to this day).  Chunk was a big guy.  We’re talking 6’2″ or 6’3″ and easily pushing 300 pounds.  He was a little too friendly and a little too talkative, and I don’t think his elevator went to the top floor.  He always carried around a huge 52 oz. thermos-type mug filled with water, and he usually showed up with a Taco Bell bag containing enough food to feed {an army/an entire family of Mexicans/my uncle}.  Chunk would come over and disappear into my roommate’s room for long periods of time.  I know my roommate smoked weed and I’m pretty sure Chunk was his supplier.  Knowing that I wasn’t cool with it, roommate kept that part of his life away from me for the most part.  The thing about Chunk was, once he came over, you had to practically kick him out or else he would never leave.  Sometimes he would finish his food and pass out on the couch, and we would have to wake him up and kick him out.  Sometimes I would suddenly find myself alone with him in the living room, suffering through a pointless conversation that he would continually push.  My roommate would be hiding in his room laughing at the situation, and I’d have to go get him to make up an excuse so that Chunk would leave (i.e. we have to go to sleep now or whatever).  I’m just too polite, and he wasn’t my company – I didn’t feel comfortable telling him to leave.  These were all only small annoyances, however – small compared to what happened next.

One night Chunk came over and picked up my roommate.  They were about to go downtown to drink and hit on girls. I had to work at six the next morning (not that I would have ever have hung out with Chunk in public anyway), so I wished them a good time and retired to the couch.  I eventually fell asleep there, which was not unusual.  Around four in the morning, I was half-awakened by the sound of giggling and the rattling of keys.  This went on for several minutes.  It sounded as if they were too intoxicated and uncoodinated to get the key in the door to unlock it, and I remember thinking wow, they’re completely wasted. I drifted back into dreamland.

All of a sudden, I was violently awakened by the full force of someone flopping themselves on top of me.  I couldn’t move, and I could barely breathe.  It was pitch black.  I was laying on my back, and the person on top of me was also laying on his back with his head coming right up to my neck.  It was my roommate, trying to be funny because he was drunk.  Still in a daze from the previous slumber I had just been pulled out of, I began squirming and pushing on his head.  I quickly realized that the person on top of me was not my roommate because one, roommate has a shaved head and I was pushing on a moptop, and two, I was pinned by something very large, something my roommate was not.  That something was Chunk.

I started screaming “W.T.F?” and “get him the f*ck off of me!”  Before I even got that last sentence out I simultaneously noticed two more things:  Chunk was dead weight, making no effort whatsoever to remove himself from my body, and I thought I had just heard some sort of gurgling sound.  This was immediately followed by the feeling of warm, gooey liquid flowing over my neck and shoulders and soaking into the couch cushions below me.  I began screaming, gagging, and pushing all at once… still no sign of Roommate.  Another gurgle, more warm liquid.  Roommate finally noticed my cries I guess because the lights came on and Roommate asked Chunk what he was doing.  I impatiently explained in a pissed off manner as Roommate helped him off of me so that I could get up.  Now alone on the couch and on his stomach so he didn’t choke to death, the appropriately-named Chunk threw up some more.

Unable to raise Chunk on the phone the next day in order to get him to come over and clean his vomit, I spent the entire afternoon trying to salvage my couch, hosing off the cushions in the driveway and letting them air dry.  I went out and bought a couch cover which ended up not really fitting right, either.  Roommate apologized profusely, but I told him Chunk wasn’t allowed over again until he apologized and gave me $100 for the cleaning I had to do and the couch cover I had to buy.  Roommate came home a couple of weeks later with $40 from Chunk.  I got the remaining $60 six months later when he unexpectedly showed up at the house.  Luckily for him, enough time had passed that my anger had subsided, thanks in part to my brand new couch.

In summary, when searching for a roommate it is important to be thorough when screening potential candidates.  Interview them, ask tough questions, and make sure you have a little something in common.  You can even do a background check if you deem it necessary.  Just make sure they don’t have a friend named Chunk.

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That’s Gonna Leave a Mark

I was skimming through the inter-tubes awhile back, which is a frequent routine – catching up on current events, checking out stories related to my favorite sports teams, looking for funny stuff, etc – when I came across one particular news story that made me laugh and grab my crotch at the same time…

Angry wife jailed after biting husband’s you-know-what
from the Orlando Sentinel – December 23, 2008


A 27-year-old Deltona woman told authorities she bit her husband’s penis because she didn’t want to have sex with him.

Charris Bowers was arrested Saturday by a Volusia County sheriff’s deputy, accused of misdemeanor battery. A judge set her free Sunday without requiring her to post bail.

Her husband, Delou Bowers, today would not comment.

According to a sheriff’s office report, the Bowerses had been to a bar Friday night. Delou Bowers told authorities that when they got home, his wife began to perform oral sex on him but then began to bite his penis.

He tried to stop her, he told a deputy, but she kept at it. He then began to punch her in the head and pushed her to the floor, and she let go, according to the arrest report.

Charris Bowers gave the officer two versions of what happened. She first said she was sitting on the couch when her husband walked over and put his penis in her mouth, according to the report.

“She then bit it to get him away from her,” the report said.

She later said her husband walked over with his penis exposed, and she bit it.

Either way, the deputy saw the injury, photographed it then arrested Mrs. Bowers.

—–

I feel sorry for both the victim, Mr. Bowers, and the cop.  No man should ever have his junk bitten, nor should any man have to see and/or photograph a chewed-up schlong.  As for Mrs. Bowers, I’d like to give her a piece of valuable knowledge that I obtained from McGruff, the Crime Dog:  take a bite out of crime, not the other way around.

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100 Reasons I Love to Hate the Cubs

I am a huge baseball fan. Wait, scratch that – I guess I’m only average-sized, but I love me some baseball, especially if we’re talking about my beloved St. Louis Cardinals. I’ve been “bleeding red” ever since my Uncle Matt took me to my first Cardinals game back in 1987. I don’t remember much of anything about my first game, except that it was overwhelming – the sights, the sounds, the smells, the crowd. My baseball knowledge came shortly thereafter, thanks to my uncle for answering my constant barrage of questions, and to Hall-of-Fame broadcaster Jack Buck, whose verbal imagery, knowledge, and story-telling I absorbed like a sponge. Those were the days of Ozzie Smith, Willie McGee, Vince Coleman, and Tommy Herr; the days of Whitey-ball. The Cards fell just short that year, losing in the World Series to the Minnesota Twins in seven games.

I didn’t know it at the time, but the Redbirds wouldn’t return to the World Series for seventeen years (2004, the year of the Boston Red Sox), and it would be two years beyond that before I’d be able to say “World Champion St. Louis Cardinals” (2006). Still, it has been, and continues to be, a great love affair. I’ve introduced my Cardinals to all of my friends – my best high school friend, Scott, caught a ball thrown into the stands by St. Louis outfielder Brian Jordan when I took him to his first game (I’m still a little bitter about that one – I’ve never caught a ball). I’ve planned many weekends around trips to St. Louis. I’ve taken multiple girlfriends to ballgames – some willingly, some not. I can’t say I’ve never fought with a girlfriend when the Cardinals were on TV at the same time as “Friends.” I won the arguments, and I’ve had many failed relationships. When I moved away from the Midwest, vacations were planned around trips to St. Louis and Cardinals baseball.

As a fan, I’ve been witness to such historic moments as Mark McGwire breaking Roger Maris’ long-standing single-season home run record in 1998 (only to be broken by baseball’s jerk, Barry Bonds, just three years later). I’ve witnessed great “water cooler” moments, like the 19-inning game in 1988 against the Atlanta Braves in which current Cardinals’ third base coach Jose Oquendo, then a utility infielder, was called on to pitch and threw three scoreless innings. His fourth inning resulted in two runs and a St. Louis loss, but it was cool anyway. I’ve witnessed the birth of a future Hall-of-Famer, “Prince” Albert Pujols, I’ve watched hundreds of patented Ozzie Smith flips, I’ve seen some of the greatest catches ever in centerfield by Jim Edmonds, I am anxiously awaiting the next chapter in the amazing pitcher-turned-outfielder Rick Ankiel story, and I’m watching Cardinal baseball in my second Busch Stadium.

As much as I love the Cardinals, I HATE THE CHICAGO CUBS. I love hating the Cubs. I love hating the Scrubs almost as much as I love rooting for the Redbirds. Why? Well, in case you don’t follow baseball, the Cards and Cubs are big-time rivals. It’s a passionate, heated rivalry – one that ranks up there with the highly-publicized Red Sox/Yankees rivalry. There is only one thing better than a Cubs loss, and that’s a St. Louis victory. If it’s the Cardinals that hand Chicago the loss, well… it doesn’t get any sweeter than that.

There are plenty of not-so-proud moments Americans have been forced to endure during the last 100 years: the Black Sox scandal of 1919; disco music; Billy Ray Cyrus getting to be famous; George Bush. But all pale in comparison to the Chicago Cubs franchise, who in 2008 celebrated their 100th year without a World Series Championship after getting swept by the Dodgers. An entire century. Pathetic. The last time the Cubs had a victorious post-season, the Star-Spangled Banner hadn’t become our national anthem yet. Since then, two world wars have taken place. Bell-bottoms have been in and fallen back out of style, twice. Radio and TV were invented. Most importantly, the St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series ten times while the Cubs and their fans sat at home and watched.

To commemorate Chicago’s 100 year run of futility, I’ve compiled a list of 100 reasons I love to hate the Cubs. Some are facts, some are opinions, and some are merely quotes or observations. But one thing remains true: The Cubs suck. On to the list…

1. In 1874, Chicago played its first game against a St. Louis team, the Brown Stockings, whose name will later be changed to the Cardinals. A standing-room-only crowd at Grand Avenue Park (later to be known as Sportsman’s Park, and then Busch Stadium) watched St. Louis win 4-3. That’s a winner!

2. In 1876, Chicago lost the first professional baseball championship ever to be played, as the team was defeated by St. Louis four games to one. St. Louis was crowned the Champion of the West.

3. St. Louis defeated Chicago in the World’s Championship Series in both 1885 and 1886. In 3 post-season meetings, Chicago has never beaten St. Louis.

4. In 1906, the Chicago White Sox defeated the Cubs in the World Series.

5. In 1932, after suffering through constant abuse from Cubs fans (and the Cubs dugout too) during Game 3 of the World Series, Babe Ruth had finally had enough and points to centerfield. The Cubs fans begin to boo, and continue to boo, until the Babe hit the next pitch over the fence for a home run. Take notes, Cubs – actions speak louder than words.

6. “Wrigley Field is a bad ballpark!” – “Fergie” Jenkins, Cubs Hall of Fame pitcher

7. William “Billy Goat” Sianis brought his pet goat Murphy to Wrigley Field for the Game 4 of the 1945 World Series between the Cubs and the Detroit Tigers. Sianis and the goat made it onto the field before ushers finally intervened and led them to the grandstand aisle. Sianis maintained that there was no rule preventing his goat from using a ticket. After a short argument, Sianis and the goat were allowed to stay, as long as they returned to their seats. Nevertheless, due to the Murphy’s disgusting odor, they were eventually ordered to leave by Cubs owner P.K. Wrigley. Sianis was furious over the ejection and placed a curse on the Cubs. The Cubs lost that game, and eventually the World Series. Sianis sent Mr. Wrigley a telegram that read, “Who smells now?”

8. Harry Caray was a famous Cubs broadcaster who probably didn’t even know where he was for the last ten years of his life. Whether he was singing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” out of sync with the music, or saying that a fly ball out was “outta here!” five seconds after the fact, you almost felt sorry for him. Almost.

9. The other Caray’s – Skip and Chip may be two of the most boring, annoying, monotone broadcasters in baseball. They rode their father’s coattails into careers of their own, and we all suffered for it.

10. Didn’t anyone ever tell Cubs announcer Ron Santo that there’s no crying in baseball? Geez.

11. Oh, you Cubs fans – so oblivious to reality. You’re like an abused girlfriend – you chose to love the Cubs, and every time your hearts get broken, you collectively say “thank you, sir… may I have another?”

12. Is it just me, or is the Cubs uniform the least intimidating piece of fashion that you’ve ever seen? They had a word for guys that wore fruity looking stuff like that in high school, and the word wasn’t “manly.”

13. You ruined a lot of great players chances of ever getting a World Series ring, most notably Ernie Banks and Ryan Sandberg. Way to go.

14. In September 1950, facing the possibility of another last-place finish, Cubs owner P.K. Wrigley sent a letter of apology to “Billy Goat” Sianis, asking that the curse be reversed. Sianis refused.

15. Dusty Baker should have spent less time chewing on toothpicks and more time making sound managerial decisions, but that’s why he was a Cub and not a Cardinal. I hope you enjoyed getting schooled again (he played for current Cardinals manager Tony La Russa in Oakland).

16. “This is the kind of thing, quite honestly, right now, that makes you want to see the Chicago Cubs team lose. Among all baseball fans . . . far and away the most obnoxious fans in baseball, in this league, are those who follow this team right here. Throwing 15 or 18 balls onto the field, there’s absolutely no excuse for that, and that is so typical of Chicago Cubs fans.” – Marty Brennaman, Cincinnati Reds broadcaster

17. As a pitcher with St. Louis, Jason Marquis was average at best and had the reputation of being a big baby.  He was so average, in fact, that the Cardinals left him off of their post-season roster in 2006.  In 2008, as a member of the Cubs, Marquis was brought in to relieve in Game 1 of the NLDS – he promptly gave up a home run to the very first batter.

18. “Wait ’til next year!” You gotta love their sticktoitiveness.

19. Cubs fans are like really awful American Idol contestants – no self-awareness whatsoever, and unable to accept any type of criticism concerning their team, no matter where the Cubs are in the standings. Wait ’til next year, Simon!

20. Thank you Chicago, for trading Lou Brock to the Cardinals for pitcher Ernie Broglio in 1964. Brock hit .348, stole 33 bases, and helped St. Louis beat the Yankees in the World Series that year. Brock went on to lead the NL in steals eight times and bat over .300 eight times. He was inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame in 1985. Broglio went 7-19 in two years with the Cubs. Jerome Holtzman, MLB’s official historian, said, “It was one of the worst trades in the history of the Cubs.”

21. “There’s nothing wrong with this team that more pitching, more fielding and more hitting couldn’t help.” – Bill Buckner, former Cubs first baseman

22. On September 13th, 1964, Cubs fans were treated to a rare feat in which one team scored at least one run in every inning of a nine-inning game. That team was the Cardinals, as they defeated the Cubs by a score of 15-2 that day at Wrigley.

23. I love that they fly an “L” flag over Wrigley Field after every loss. That’s just awesome.

24. In 1969, Sianis agreed to lift the curse, and the Cubs spent most of the season in first place. However, during the second game of a pivotal two-game series in New York against the Mets, a black cat ran onto the playing field and stared at Ron Santo while he was in the batter’s box. The cat scurried into the stands, and the Cubs lost the game. They also lost the next day’s game, along with the division lead.

25. How can you back a bunch of bears who routinely get their collective asses kicked by a bunch of birds?

26. And they’re not even full grown bears! It’s not the scary Chicago Grizzly Bears, it’s the little, cute Chicago Cubs – the little baby bears that are so cute and you feel sorry for them because they’re all helpless babies.

27. “This team makes your ulcers have a baby.” – Mark Grace, former Cubs first baseman

28. Cubs fans idolize an announcer who couldn’t see the ball, couldn’t pronounce most of the names on the team, and slobbered all over the microphone. Holy cow.

29. World Series Championships: STL 10, CHC 2

30. They let THIS happen.

31. They sign players with profanity-laden names. Admit it, you don’t know how to pronounce Fukudome either.

32. Sammy So-sux was Mark McGwire Lite, for a season anyway. Did anybody really want to see Sosa beat out McGwire in the home run race? He wasn’t as cute as he thought he was, especially in that uniform.

33. In the unlikely event that God does care about baseball, it’s pretty obvious He doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the Cubs.

34. Sam Sianis, William Sianis’ nephew, attempted to bring another goat into Wrigley Field in 1973, but was stopped from entering. The Cubs went on to win the game; however, starting the next day, the Cubs 8 1/2 game division lead vanished when they managed to win only four of their next twenty games.

35. You would think Chicago would have accidentally won a Championship in the last 100 years, somehow. Nope.

36. “I don’t know why we bought the Cubs. We already had a perfectly good company softball team.” – Robert Verdi, former Cubs owner

37. In a game in 1976, with the Cubs leading the Philadelphia Phillies 13-2 after four innings, they proceed to give up 16 runs to the Phillies and lost the game 18-16.

38. I think that at some point in Lou Pinella’s career, the fiery veteran’s wisdom became the bitter ravings of a crazy old man. That point was when he took over as Cubs manager.

39. In 1980, the Cubs traded Bruce Sutter, the best relief pitcher in the National League, to St. Louis for Ken Reitz and Leon Durham. Sutter helped lead St. Louis to a World Championship in 1982 and a National League Pennant in 1985. Another incredibly sound baseball decision by the Cubs front office.

40. Don’t they realize that everyone outside of Chicago Chicago’s north side is laughing at them?

41. They let “the rainbow warrior” Jeff Gordon do THIS.

42. You have to pee in a trough at Wrigley. Outdated plumbing plus drunk Cubs fans who have as much aim as their pitchers do equals 100 years of urine soaked into Wrigley. The only way a corporate name change of Wrigley Field will be a positive thing will be if the name becomes “Urine B. Gone Stadium.”

43. Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano once left a game because of cramping in his right forearm – it was related to too much computer use. Who knew he could type left-handed?

44. For the first time since 1945, the Cubs allowed a goat into Wrigley Field on Friday the 13th of April, 1984 – the Cubs’ home opener. The Cubs won the game and went on to win their first Eastern Division title.

45. A ginormous “thank you” to you, Steve Bartman. Your natural reaction to go for a foul ball ruined the concentration of a bunch of “professionals” and kept the Cubs losing streak intact. I love you in a totally non-gay way.

46. “One thing you learned as a Cubs fan: when you bought your ticket, you could bank on seeing the bottom of the ninth.” – Joe Garagiola, longtime sportscaster

47. Wind sucks.

48. The Cubs are known as the “lovable losers,” but while only some Cubs fans are lovable, ALL Cubs fans are losers.

49. The Cubs have a rich, consistent tradition – they’ve always sucked, and they always will.

50. The band Chicago is slightly less lame than the Cubs.

51. Quitters never win, and winners never quit. But those who never win AND never quit are idiots.

52. During the post-season in 1984, the Cubs won the first two games against the San Diego Padres in the NLCS, but lost the next three and the Series, thanks in large part to an absolutely beautiful ground ball that slipped through Leon Durham’s legs.

53. Oprah.

54. I speak for all Cardinals fans when I say thank you, Steve Garvey. Thank you for your 9th-inning walk-off home run against the Cubs in Game 4 of the 1984 National League Championship Series. We haven’t forgotten you, and neither have the Cubs and their fans (we won’t let them).

55. Typical Cubs fans.

56. “If they blew up Wrigley tomorrow, it wouldn’t bother me at all. That ivy is nasty, the infield grass is waist high, and they definitely have the most vulgar fans.” – Lance Berkman, Houston Astros first baseman

57. Mark Prior, arriving on the scene as the supposed savior of the Cubs a few years ago, has turned out to be as useful as Stevie Wonder’s sunglasses.

58. While doing research for this blog, I found this – it’s a great song, written and performed by Steve Goodman. Steve was a big Cubs fan but never got to see them win a post-season game, dying of leukemia on September 20th, 1984. The Cubs made the playoffs that year and lost to the Padres. R.I.P. (You too, Steve)

59. Bubble Yum is such a superior gum.

60. Cubs of the baby bear variety are born toothless, blind, and bald. Most Cub fans never advance beyond this stage.

61. The Cubs failed to sign Cy Young Award Winner Greg Maddux in 1992. He spent the next eleven years with the Atlanta Braves, who won the division each of those years along with the World Series in 1995.

62. “F**k the Cubs.” – Ozzie Guillen, Chicago White Sox manager

63. In early 1994, the Cubs lost nine straight at home. On April 30th, Cubs Manager Tom Trebelhorn told a Chicago Tribune reporter that the goat curse was to blame for the team’s home losing streak. They proceeded to lose three more, extending their record-setting home field losing streak to twelve games.

64. Every team has a bad century…right? Wrong.

65. According to Wikepedia, the north side of Chicago has a large gay and lesbian community, and I think that’s fabulous. Chicago-style hot dog, anyone?

66. It should be hard to come up with 100 reasons for anything.

67. The following is a PSA: the people you are about to view in this 1992 WGN Cubs promo have all passed away. They wasted their entire lives waiting for the Cubs to give them one, just one, championship. Now that you’ve been warned, go get a life.

68. Sam Sianis and a goat arrived at Wrigley Field on May 4th, 1994 to end the Cubbies twelve-game home losing streak. The Cubs went on to beat the Reds 5-2.

69. Da Bears. Da Cubs. Da accent. Duh.

70. Forbes recently listed Chicago as one of the Top 10 Most Miserable Cities in the U.S., and I’m willing to bet that the Cubs have everything to do with that.

71. “If I managed the Cubs, I’d be an alcoholic.” – Whitey Herzog, former Cardinals skipper

72. Cubs fans have yet to learn that not all pain is gain.

73. In March 1997, the Cubs held a curse-removing press conference at the Billy Goat Tavern, attended by Cubs marketing chief John McDonald and former Cub Ron Santo. The Cubs then opened the season with a record-setting thirteen straight losses.

74. Happy 25th anniversary, Lee Elia tirade! (former Cubs manager in ’83, ripping the Cubs fans and media – not for kids)

75. They say hate is a form of love, but I don’t love the Cubs. I only hate them.

76. What does a mama bear on the pill have in common with the World Series? No cubs.

77. I can’t decide which I liked better about Sammy Sosa – his sprinting around the outfield before every Cub loss, or his cheating by using a corked bat. Oh wait, neither – it was his losing to McGwire in the great home run race of 1998.

78. In 1998, The Cubs traded pitching prospect Jon Garland across town to the White Sox for Matt Karchner (who?). Garland would lead the White Sox to the 2005 World Series Championship.

79. On May 16th, 2000, Cubs fans assaulted Dodgers’ catcher Chad Kreuter, striking him in the back and stealing his baseball cap. Krueter and his teammates chased the fans into the stands and recovered the hat. Several Cubs fans ended up bruised and in jail – a typical Saturday night for Cubs fans.

80. The Cubs got rid of hitting prospect Luis Gonzalez after only one and a half seasons. He would go on to become a repeat All-Star with the Arizona Diamondbacks, leading them to a World Series Championship in 2001 (he won the Series with a single in the bottom of the 9th of Game 7 against the Yankees).

81. Another classic seventh-inning-stretch moment at Wrigley, courtesy of Mike Ditka.

82. “Booze, broads, and bullshit. If you got all that, what else do you need?” – Harry Caray

83. In October 2003, five outs from winning their first National League pennant since 1945, the Cubs blew a 3-0 lead in the eighth inning when the Florida Marlins scored eight runs. The collapse began after a Cubs fan hit a foul ball with his hand as Moises Alou was attempting to catch it. After losing the game, the Cubs lost the series the following night. To this day, Cubs fans want to blame their losing the pennant on one guy in the stands. Ridiculous.

84. 100 years of losing – that’s consistency. Everyone loves a good underdog, but people hate a Lou-zer.

85. “Chicago” is the French rendering of the name shikaakwa, which literally means ‘striped skunk.’ It’s not just the team that stinks after all!

86. With the Cubs five outs away from a victory that would have sent them to the 2003 World Series, Alex Gonzalez dropped a potential inning-ending routine double play ball against the Florida Marlins. This led to eight Marlin’s runs, a Cubs loss. They would lose again the following night, and their World Series hopes were A-Gone.

87. On February 26, 2004, a live “Pre-Destruction Show” hosted by Keith Olbermann featured the destruction of the infamous “Bartman ball” to rid Cubs of whatever curse was attached to it.

88. Daring to mock the hex gods, Sport Illustrated placed a picture of Kerry Wood on the April 5th, 2004 cover and declared the Cubs will win the World Series. Later that year, the Boston Red Sox won their first World Series in 86 years, breaking the “Curse of the Bambino.”

89. In 2004, Cubs outfielder Sammy Sosa ended up on the disabled list after injuring himself by sneezing. “Pujols bless you.”

90. How many homosexuals does it take to overturn a car? I don’t know, but we’ll find out if the Cubs ever win a World Series.

91. The Cubs’ un-official mascot is a formerly-homeless man named Ronnie Wickers, who goes by the nickname Ronnie Woo Woo. On April 19th, 2005, he was hit by a car outside of Wrigley Field. I was in Florida at the time, and I have people who who can back me up on this.

92. On September 28th, 2005, Cubs pitcher Randy Myers was attacked on the mound by a 27-year old Cubs fan, who had ran onto the playing field because he was disturbed by Myers’ performance.

93. Wrigley’s “bleacher bums” are famous for throwing the opposing team’s home run balls back onto the field. However, did you know that at Wrigley, bleacher fans bring cheap baseballs from home into the park? When someone from an opposing team hits a home run, the fan who catches it throws a phony back onto the field, keeping the real ball for themselves.

94. “Chicago Cubs fans are ninety percent scar tissue.” – George F. Will, Washington Post Columnist

95. In 2007, the Cubs captured first place in the Central Division with a whopping 85 wins. Chicago fans went wild and killed a goat, hanging it from the Harry Caray statue at Wrigley Field before Game 1 against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Cubs lost the game, and eventually the series, and a goat needlessly lost it’s life to some dumb ass drunks.

96. In 2008, Cubs fans welcome the team’s first Japanese player, Kosuke Fukudome, by making a “racist” t-shirt the best-selling souvenir at Wrigley field.

97. In May of 2008, Sports Illustrated featured the Cubs’ Fukudome on the cover.  The All-Star’s numbers fizzled, as did the Cubs in the playoffs.

98. That any human being can believe that a goat has anything to do with a team sucking for 100 years is simply amazing to me. Let’s just hope that if there are any UFO abductions any time soon, they don’t take anyone from the north side of Chicago. It just wouldn’t be a fair representation of the human race.

99. It’s been an especially delicious decade to be a Cubs hater. The 2003 Cubs collapse against the Marlins; 2004, the Red Sox break their curse, winning the World Series; 2005, good baseball finally returns to Chicago as the White Sox win the World Series; 2006, all is right in the world – the St. Louis Cardinals are World Series champs; In 2007, the Red Sox prove without a doubt that their curse is a distant memory, winning their second World Series in four years; 2008, the Cubs run their post season losing streak to nine games after getting swept by the Dodgers.

100.  Speaking of 2008, the heavily-favored Cubs lost game 1 of the NLDS 7-2 to the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Ryan Dempster, a Cubs pitcher who publicly predicted that the Cubs would win the World Series during spring training, was the losing pitcher.

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Hump Day

Wednesday is known as “hump day,” but it’s not to be taken for its literal meaning. Tell that to my dogs, Gizmo (Papillon) and Baby Bear (Border Collie-mix).

The best thing about animals is that they don’t talk much.

Music soothes the savage beast, doggy-style.

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Topic Tunder

I was laying on the couch last week watching the news (I won’t say the channel, but it was a certain Cable News Network), and a story came on about the “controversy” surrounding the then-impending release of Ben Stiller’s new movie, a rated-R comedy entitled “Tropic Thunder.” Dozens of people were protesting the film’s “liberal use of the ‘R’ word” (‘R’ word = retard) during one particular scene of the movie. Here are a few snippets of things seen and overheard at the protest:

“Tropic Blunder” – t-shirts worn by protesters featuring one of the few words that rhyme with ‘thunder’

“When I heard about it, I felt really hurt inside.” “We have feelings. We don’t like the word retard. We are people. We’re just like any other people out there. We want to be ourselves and not be discriminated against.” – Dustin Plunkett, Special Olympics global messenger

“I just think Ben Stiller and the people involved in this movie just didn’t think it was going to be offensive.” – Andrew J. Imparato, president of the American Association of People with Disabilities

“If you want to pick on people, as the old playground saying goes, pick on people your own size. This population struggles too much with the basics to have to struggle against Hollywood. We’re sending a message that this hate speech is no longer acceptable.” – Timothy Shriver, chairman of the Special Olympics

“Using the ‘R’ word brings our people down,” – an anonymous protester interviewed by the news reporter

Call me insensitive, but this all seems a little ridiculous to me. It’s a comedy – rated R, no less. My first comment is, if you don’t enjoy this type of off-color humor or are offended by the ‘R’ word, don’t go see it. If you’ve seen or read anything about the movie, you would know that the movie is making fun of actors and how seriously they take themselves. Yes, it’s edgy. Yes, they make fun of stereotypes. But did Ben Stiller and friends intend to hurt the community of the mentally disabled? No way. The use of the ‘R’ word was taken out of context, and that can’t be construed as discrimination against an entire community. I suggest that most of the people protesting have not seen the movie (and probably shouldn’t), and that this is merely political correctness gone too far.

I think I’m more surprised that people aren’t up in arms over Robert Downey Jr. playing a black man, but that’s another story entirely.

I’d like to think that I’m a good person, with good morals. There’s always room for improvement, but overall I think I’m a pretty good guy. I would never call a mentally disabled person retarded. My brother David is a retard though, and I’ve told him that countless times. I think Grey’s Anatomy is retarded, and I won’t watch it no matter how many times Girlfriend asks me to. John Edwards is retarded for continuing to lie – you got busted John, you might as well come completely clean.

My point is (and I could be naive in my thinking) that the use of the word “retard” is generic, and I don’t think I’m alone in that attitude. I would call my brother a retard much like I would call him a dork or a dweeb. What I’m essentially doing is calling him dumb, not mentally disabled, and in doing so I am not referring TO the mentally disabled. On the other hand, I can respect someone who comes from a different place and isn’t comfortable with the word (someone like my uncle who works with children). Ben Stiller has every right to make a movie like this, the protesters have every right to protest it, and I have every right to write this retarded blog.

I’m not here because the movie upset me or because I liked it (I haven’t even seen it yet actually, but I plan to). I’m not trying to get you to agree with my opinion one way or the other. I’m here today because I need to apologize.

There was one guy in particular who was protesting during that news piece and told the reporter, “Using the ‘R’ word brings our people down.” He opened my eyes – I had no idea that every time I’ve called my brother a retard that I was actually hurting this guy on TV, and others like him, whom I have never met. Using that logic, I decided to take this opportunity to apologize to a few others that I may have unknowingly hurt:

Albert Einstein – Einstein was a physicist best known for his Theory of Relativity. He won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921, and Time Magazine named him “Person of the Century” in 1999. So I’m not really sure why, if my aforementioned brother made a bad decision or did something stupid, I would say “way to go, Einstein.” I can assure you, Mr. Einstein, that I never called him by your name in a complimentary manner, and for this I apologize.

Girlfriend – This is a fairly new one, but I might as well sneak it in here. Girlfriend and I play tennis with some of my relatives every week, and we’re not very good (but we are less bad every week). Girlfriend likes to swing and miss at easy ones. It’s happened enough that I have noticed it, and when anyone else with whom we’re playing does the same thing, I proclaim that they “Girlfriend’d it.” Sorry, Girlfriend. (On a side note, I hit the ball into the net, a lot. Long story short, I’m also owed an apology.)

Prostitutes – I’ve had many different relationships over the years. Some have ended badly, others not so badly. I have to admit that a few ex-girlfriends became known to my guy friends in conversation as “stupid whores” rather than their actual names. Most were deserved. What isn’t deserved is my careless use of the word “whore.” Just because a couple of ex-girlfriends put me through hell doesn’t mean I should do the same to prostitutes. I know you’re only trying to put yourself through college, you fell on bad times, or your boyfriend is a pimp and you have no choice. You don’t deserve the negative connotation attached to the slang I threw around like a frisbee. I’m really sorry, prostitutes.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – Today, if someone said something to me that was a painfully obvious fact, such as “it’s hot outside” or “you’re awesome,” I may respond with “thanks, Captain Obvious.” When I was younger though, the response would have been “no shit, Sherlock.” Why? Who knows? Sherlock Holmes was a fictional detective known for using his intellectual prowess and deductive reasoning to solve difficult cases. Like Einstein, using Sherlock’s name as an insult in this manner didn’t make a whole lot of sense. That didn’t stop me from doing it over and over and over, though. For that, I offer my apologies to the creator of the great Sherlock Holmes. It’s quite obvious (no shit) that I was a jerk.

Homosexuals – I have nothing against homosexuals, nor am I afraid of them. So, why I would call my brother a fag when he would squat over my head and fart while I was laying on the floor trying to watch TV, I don’t know. I don’t think this is typical homosexual behavior, but you never know what goes on behind closed doors. Regardless, I owe you all an apology. So, from the bottom of my fabulously gay-friendly heart, I’m sorry.

Lead singers of bands – I was in a rock band for six years. It was definitely fun, but mostly it was hard work. It’s very difficult to find four people who get along, have things in common, agree artistically, and are willing to put in the work required. In my band, the lead singer was a lazy retard jerk who’s antics ultimately led to our band’s demise. Any time he missed a practice, canceled a show, or was late showing up so he didn’t have to help load equipment, we told everyone that he had “Lead Singer Syndrome.” Axl Rose had it – it does exist. However, it should be called something else, like “Scott Stapp Syndrome.” The hard working lead singers of the world far outweigh the lazy ones. So, to all of the musicians out there busting their asses, I sincerely apologize. To the rest of you, you should get your S.S.S. checked out.

My brother David – I’m really sorry. You’ve obviously taken a beating.

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Haiku Friday, Vol. II

It’s time for the second installment of Haiku Friday:

Swollen uncle is
Suffering from side effects
Swollen brother, not

All comments must be posted in Haiku form (if you don’t remember the rules, click here).

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Dream Home

I’m not the type of person who has vivid, memorable dreams very often. If I suddenly wake up kind of scared (and relieved), I know that I probably had a bad dream – I just don’t remember what it was, and thankfully so. Other times I’ll wake up disappointed, realizing that whatever had just been happening was only a dream – I’ll usually spend my first ten waking minutes racking my brain, trying to remember what the hell it was I had been dreaming about, to no avail. I can count on one hand the times I’ve cried over the last ten years, and on two hands the times I’ve had memorable dreams. The vivid dreams tend to happen for me when something is weighing heavily upon my mind or when I’m going through a big change. However, I’d like to believe that, on two different occasions, a message was being sent to me through my dreams from a much greater place.

My siblings and I had a turbulent upbringing; our mother left our family at a very young age, we moved around frequently, and we were collateral damage of several divorces. Through it all, my father always tried to do the best by us while playing the cards he had been dealt (or sometimes, the cards he dealt himself). I commend him for the job he did, raising four children on his own while struggling at times to simply make ends meet. In my extended family, my grandparents were my rock, as they were for all of my cousins, aunts, gpasand uncles. They loved all of their grandchildren (seventeen in all) as if each were their own offspring (they had seven of their own). They would do anything for any of us, within reason of course. I was always welcome in their home, and was made to feel as if I were home when I was there. Through the years, their house would become the one place that truly felt like home to me; as a child, visiting Grandma and Grandpa was an escape from real life; as a teenager, their house literally became home to me when they took me in while I finished high school. My father had decided to move back to Florida before my senior year – I didn’t want to change schools again, and I didn’t have to, thanks to my grandparents. I moved out of their house after high school, but I visited often, even if it was just to watch a ballgame on TV or to have some of Grandma’s leftovers. Late in 1998, I moved to Florida and was reunited with my immediate family.

My grandma was the housewife, the homemaker, the caretaker – an amazing woman in every sense of the word. She was always there if you needed a hug or a talking-to, and both were invaluable. She filled my mother’s shoes beyond capacity, probably without even realizing it and most definitely without trying to do so. I love, respect, and miss her immensely. I saw her a few times after moving to Florida, but not nearly as often as I would have liked. Towards the end of her life, she was on quite a few medications for her various ailments. I remember receiving a phone call from my older sister Cheryl, informing me that Grandma had become gravely ill. I had a tough decision to make: I could leave work immediately to visit her in the hospital (which would have meant, if something happened, I’d have to miss the funeral because I wouldn’t be able to take two weeks off of work), or wait it out, hope for the best, and be able to attend the funeral should she take another turn for the worse. My aunt Melanie convinced me to stay home – I wouldn’t want to see Grandma in that condition, she said. I took Melanie’s advice, and Grandma passed away shortly thereafter. That was January of 2004, and was my first experience with death. It was very difficult for me. I hadn’t been up to visit for a couple of years prior to her death, and consequently, didn’t get a chance to say goodbye. I cried – boy, did I cry – basically from the moment I arrived in town for the funeral until I was on the road back to Florida. And she deserved every single one of my tears.

I tossed and turned for the next several weeks, simply unable to get a full-night’s sleep. I was riddled with guilt for not making time to visit my grandmother those last couple of years. One night, I had a rare and realistic dream. I was in my car, and I pulled into Grandma and Grandpa’s long driveway. Upon reaching the garage, I shut the car off and got out. I made my way to the back door, as I had done a hundred times before. As I knocked on the door, I peeked through the window, which was partially blocked by curtains. As I looked past the kitchen, I could see Grandpa sitting in his chair, but beginning to stir upon hearing the disturbance. Before he could get up, my view was cut off by my grandma’s face, who had already been in the kitchen doing housework. She opened the door and greeted me with a hug and the familiar “Hi Luke!” that I had been accustomed to, and then ushered me in and offered me a chair. That was followed by a “Hey Jumbo!” from Grandpa in the living room – “Jumbo” is a nickname we (the grandchildren) and Grandpa had called each other through the years. The comfortable smell of their house filled my nostrils. “Would you like something to eat?” she asked. I said yes, of course, and she apologized as she pulled out the rectangular, yellow, ceramic container with a glass lid from the refrigerator – “All I have is this leftover meatloaf.” She had no reason to be sorry, though, as her leftovers were better than anything I could get anywhere else. She popped it in the microwave, came over to me and put her arm around me, and said “It’s OK.” I woke up, and felt a wave of relief pour over me. I slept twelve hours the following night.

One thing that stood out from my visit for Grandma’s funeral was my grandfather; he was what he had always been to everyone in our family – an impenetrable support beam. I remember standing near my grandma’s coffin during the wake, uncontrollably quivering, and Grandpa came over and put his arm around me. With a smile, he reminded me of how proud they both were of me, and how much she loved me. His lifelong companion was gone and yet, there he was, providing his family with exactly what they needed at that moment – strength, compassion, support, and love. It’s his incredible strength that made him the man he was, that allowed him to survive being a P.O.W. in WWII, and that enabled him to create the amazing family that I am proudly a part of.

A couple of years later, I had the opportunity to visit Grandpa while on my way to a week-long vacation in St. Louis. I stayed a weekend at his house, sleeping in what had been Grandma’s room. We talked quite a bit,me and grandpa catching up on each other’s lives while also reminiscing a little bit about Grandma. Sunday morning, the day of my departure, my grandpa and I went to church together. Even though his church was just a hop, skip, and a jump away, he didn’t always attend mass due to his deteriorating physical condition. He was still as sharp as a tack, but arthritis and a couple of knee-replacement surgeries (among other things) had slowed him considerably. So, this was a special occasion for both of us. After mass, we drove to the cemetery to pay Grandma a visit. Grandpa stayed by the road, because the hill leading to her grave was too steep a trip for him to make. I stood at the foot of her resting place and read a little something that I had prepared for her the night before. Once finished, I lit the paper from which I had been reading on fire, and I held it above her until it was gone. Later that day at the house, it was time to say goodbye. Grandpa and I shared a long, emotional hug, and he once again reminded me how proud he was of me. Without speaking of it, we both knew that this was probably the last time we would ever see each other, and treated it as such.

Grandpa had a stroke towards the end of August last year, the last in a long line of health-related issues and ailments. He had just previously agreed to finally leave his home and move into a nursing home after trying to remain independent to some degree. All of my aunts and uncles who weren’t still living in Indiana made their way there to be by his side, including my dad. This time, my grandfather was terminal and he was unconscious for the most part, but there had been signs that maybe he could hear what was going on around him. Knowing I wouldn’t be able to get there until the funeral, I sent my dad the following email:

“I’m trying to figure out when I can come up… not easy, you know how busy I’ve been lately. I talked to Annie (my sister) though, and I’ve also talked to Matt and to Cheryl. I got your message about the checks…thanks. It’s hard to care about something like that right now, but you know we all appreciate it.

So… I know that you can’t really tell if Grandpa is awake or not, or if he can hear what you’re saying. Regardless of that, if you didn’t mind, I was hoping you could somehow read this to him? Thanks dad.

———-

Dear Grandpa,

Hey Jumbo! I’m going to come up there, but I’m not sure when that will be, so I thought I would write. I miss you!! But of course, you know that, just like I know you miss me, too. It’s that unspoken bond you’ve always shared with me, the same bond you share with everyone in our incredible family. That’s one of the things that was always so great about you, and about Grandma, too… you made every one of your kids and grandkids feel like they were your favorite. Well, you know what? You’re my favorite, too!!

I have so many great memories with you and Grandma both. Remember when you wanted to buy a new car, but you just had surgery on your neck? I had to load you and Grandma into my tiny Camaro, and I even had to remove the t-tops because the halo-thing attached to your head was too tall. I remember Grandma saying, “It feels like I’m sitting on the ground!” But she swore she was comfortable, she just didn’t like the wind messing up her hair. Then I test drove the cars for you while you sat in the backseats, and I told you what I thought…it was hilarious. When we finally decided on the Mercury, I remember you writing a check for the full amount, and with a smirk and a gleam in your eye, you said, “Well Luke, there goes your inheritance!” I had such a good time that day.

I’d like you to know that I’m doing well, and that I think you’d be proud of the man I’ve become. I have no problem telling you in the presence of my dad…I owe a lot of who I am to you. Just like Grandma was like a mother to me, you were always like a father to me. How could I have possibly have gone wrong with TWO dad’s as great as the two I have? You instilled a great sense of responsibility in me, and I’m eternally thankful for that. You are truly a grand father.

Well, I hope that when you are ready to leave us, that your transition is peaceful and painless. I’m sure Grandma is excited about seeing you again! I love her and miss her, let her know that for me when you do decide to make your way up there. I love you too, Grandpa…very, very much!!

Love always,
Luke”

My dad did read it to him, and he thinks that Grandpa heard it. My grandfather passed away two days later, on August 31st, 2007. I made it back to town for the wake and funeral, and I held myself together rather well, for the most part; all I could think about was how strong and supportive Grandpa was to everyone when Grandma passed away. I tried to emulate him, and be that during his passing to anyone in the family who might need it. I think he would have wanted it that way, and it made me feel good to draw that kind of courage from his memory.

In addition to a nice inheritance that he worked his entire life to attain, my grandfather left his house to my aunts and uncles. Grandpa had bought the house in 1954 and lived there until last year. This house was the site of countless holiday and family gatherings. It also played host to many backyard whiffle ball games and driveway basketball games, and many of us in the family had become adults while living in this house. To me, it was a symbol of the foundation and strength that my grandparents were to my family. The time had come to decide what to do with the house; there wasn’t anyone living there, and the upkeep had become a strain on everyone involved, especially my aunt Melanie.

During this time, I had been unhappily continuing to live in Florida. There had been talk between Girlfriend and I about moving away somewhere – at least for me, the cliché had proven true: Florida was a nice place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there. At the same time that our “moving” talks had become more serious in nature, the decision had been made by my family to put “Grandpa’s house” on the market. My mind wrestled with the possibility of moving back home, and whether or not I was prepared to make such a decision. Suddenly, another dream.

I was in the neighbor’s back yard; the house next door that was still referred to as “Jason’s house,” a childhood neighbor/friend, even though he and his family no longer lived there. I was facing Grandpa’s house and driveway. I was obviously participating in a game of whiffle ball, as I was facing the area in the driveway that had always been designated “home plate;” I looked down and saw the ball in my hand… I was pitching. Folding lawn chairs were at each of the bases, which were used as substitutes for actual human beings; you could throw at a chair and get a force out if you were lucky enough to hit it. Home plate was a seat cushion, with a tri-folding beach chair standing up on its side just behind the cushion, serving as a catcher. There was a bit of a drop-off from the edge of the driveway to the grass of Jason’s yard, so you had to be careful not to trip when running down to first base. Standing at home plate, waiting for me to throw a pitch, was Grandpa. He had on plaid golf shorts, socks, and penny loafers, along with a collared shirt and golf hat. He was older, but not as old as he was when I had last seen him alive. I asked him what he thought he was doing out here. He grinned and said, “Just throw me a pitch.” I obediently did as I was told, and he hit a line drive to the part of the yard that was left field. He began to slowly jog toward first. I ran towards him and yelled for him to watch out, as he was nearing the drop-off at the edge of the driveway. I knew that his knees probably wouldn’t be able to take it, and he definitely wouldn’t be able to withstand a fall. His step from the driveway to the grass became slow motion, and as his foot touched down and he continued on unscathed, he looked at me, still smiling, and said, “I never felt better in my entire life than I do right now.” He stopped at the lawn chair that was first base. There was a pause, then he suddenly asked me, “What are you waiting for, Jumbo?” and somehow, I knew this question had nothing to do with whiffle ball. I woke up immediately afterward.

Are dreams conjured up only from our own subconscious thoughts? Or, is it possible that outside forces, higher forces that we don’t have the awareness to even begin to understand, have the ability to influence what we see and hear while we are sleeping? Who knows? The human mind is an amazing thing, but I suppose anything is possible. I know what I want to believe, and I can tell you this much: today, Girlfriend and I closed on the loan for “Grandpa’s house,” a day that would have been Grandpa’s 84th birthday.

Happy birthday, Grandpa.

grandpa

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