Play Somethin' Sweet
Half a life

At 23 I decided to get sober. Today, with considerable support from family and friends, I’ll be damned if I haven’t been sober half my life.

RIP N.H.

The police called yesterday at 6:00am. “Your co-worker passed away last night. It was an overdose.” I hung up and yelled myself horse.

I can’t explain why the people with troubles end up gravitating to me but they do. He called me up when he needed a place to stay. He asked to hang out on the weekends. I did what I could. I have to accept that. I know when someone is that desperate even a specially trained person has little chance of pulling them back. It doesn’t make it any less painful.

The struggle with suicide is trying to sort your own feelings toward the person. The act is so selfish and causes so much more pain for those left behind. I know that’s not going through their mind. They just want their own pain to stop and I can appreciate that. I crave drugs and alcohol for the same reason. The bitch of it is nothing gets resolved. They’re gone, we’re left with the pain and nothing can be fixed.

You screwed up kiddo and I’m gonna miss you. RIP N.H.

Non sequiturs 

As I write this, I’m praying to the literary Gods I’m granted enough talent to accurately convey the true essence of this seemingly harmless conversation regarding non sequiturs.

The lead in: My Wife, The Boy and I are heading home from a family gathering at the beach house. We’re discussing the conversational contributions of one of the guests WHO, I might add, we very much love…

Me: …she jumps in the conversation stream and begins spinning off a tangential …

The Boy: …Yeah! She’s clearly building to a triumphant climax…

Me: …which ultimately turns out to be the most boring non sequiturs you’ve heard, yet!

Wife: What’s a non sequitur?

Me: Well, it’s a…umm actually, quite often, your contribution to a topic is a non sequitur.

The Boy: You sort of come out of the blue. See, conversations are, usually, sort of linear and sequential.

Me: Yep, I’m sort of an extreme with a topic. Like a telephone pole…maybe the older ones that look like a double crossed “T”

The Boy: And since I’m sort of both of you, mine tend to be like a tree. The trunk is the root topic and all the branches spawn from it. Or spawn from branches of it.

The Wife: Yeah, so?

The Boy: You’re like a tree with branches, just sort of, floating in mid-air. They may come from that tree trunk, or maybe not.

Me: It’s hard to tie your comment back to the original subject. Sometimes it’s painful…

Wife: I’M GREY!

The Boy/Me:….???!!! Hysterical laughter!

Wife: What?! Why…I’m Grey, like the tree branch!

The Boy: *Gasp*, did…you really…?!

Me: *Breath*, THAT DIDN’T JUST HAPPEN! I may have to pull over!

Wife: I’m grey, like when you said, you’re black & white

The Boy: ???

Me: ………

Non sequiturs

As I write this, I’m praying to the literary Gods I’m granted enough talent to accurately convey the true essence of this seemingly harmless conversation regarding non sequiturs.

The lead in: My Wife, The Boy and I are heading home from a family gathering at the beach house. We’re discussing the conversational contributions of one of the guests WHO, I might add, we very much love…

Me: …she jumps in the conversation stream and begins spinning off a tangential …

The Boy: …Yeah! She’s clearly building to a triumphant climax…

Me: …which ultimately turns out to be the most boring non sequiturs you’ve heard, yet!

Wife: What’s a non sequitur?

Me: Well, it’s a…umm actually, quite often, your contribution to a topic is a non sequitur.

The Boy: You sort of come out of the blue. See, conversations are, usually, sort of linear and sequential.

Me: Yep, I’m sort of an extreme with a topic. Like a telephone pole…maybe the older ones that look like a double crossed “T”

The Boy: And since I’m sort of both of you, mine tend to be like a tree. The trunk is the root topic and all the branches spawn from it. Or spawn from branches of it.

The Wife: Yeah, so?

The Boy: You’re like a tree with branches, just sort of, floating in mid-air. They may come from that tree trunk, or maybe not.

Me: It’s hard to tie your comment back to the original subject. Sometimes it’s painful…

Wife: I’M GREY!

The Boy/Me:….???!!! Hysterical laughter!

Wife: What?! Why…I’m Grey, like the tree branch!

The Boy: *Gasp*, did…you really…?!

Me: *Breath*, THAT DIDN’T JUST HAPPEN! I may have to pull over!

Wife: I’m grey, like when you said, you’re black & white

The Boy: ???

Me: ………

I may have mentioned this before but I’m the oldest of three brothers and always expected to raise a similar size brood. My wife, being an only child, had her mind on only having one kid but wanted her house to be the place all the kids came to hang out. So, we have one kid and our house is where all the kids come to hang. I like to think it’s just because we’re the really cool parents but I think it has a lot to do with the stability and structure.

My wife and I have always insisted homework is addressed when The Boy gets home and the rest of the evening is his. We don’t drink or smoke and we rarely curse (well, I rarely do). We’re a “traditional” family. The kids know they can be open and honest and they will receive respectful feedback, even if it’s not what they want to hear. Most of all they know we love them all.

This year they’re all graduating from high school. With me not working we’re not in a position to be handing out graduation money to all of them so we decided to do something a little different. Last night 14 kids were invited to our house. I made a real beef chili and guacamole with chips and all the fixings. For dessert I made Oreo cheesecake. Then I announced it was time to go. Confusion set in as we piled into cars and drove downtown. We pulled into Chopstix, a little dueling piano bar. They have an eighteen and up show from 8-10 and with no cover and only having to buy soft drinks, we got off pretty cheap. When you figure in what transpired over the next two hours, we made money.

None of these kids had ever been to the club and had no idea what to expect. Couple that with the fact there was friction, to outright dislike, between a few of the kids, the looks on their faces were pretty clearly saying, “This is gonna suck.” As a matter of fact, some of the kids told me afterwards that was exactly what was going through their minds.

They all had a blast! The girls all ended up on stage doing Tina Turner dance moves to Proud Mary. When the lyrics to Escape were changed to “If you like penis a lot-a”, every kid’s jaw dropped and they laughed like 5 year olds telling a fart joke. Soon the frictions melted away and they were all singing along and genuinely having a great time. After we all came back to our house and most stayed until after 1:00 giggling and teasing each other. For the most part, I just listened and smiled.

We’re going to miss them all terribly but we are so incredibly proud of the tremendous young adults they’ve become. So; Bug, Tasch, Emma, Maegan, Mackenzie, Chugg, Andrew, Jakey, Sophia, Samantha, Kaitlyn J, Alyssa, Elizabeth, Holli and of course our little confused Kaitlyn O please visit, text or call when you can but know we’re still here for you if you ever need us.

You asked and I even left my tie on! This is the house Kurt Cobain died in. It’s pretty well barricaded from public access but there is a small park bench next door and I was able to get a couple of shots for you.

Unselfishly

I record baseball games and watch them as background noise for my day. Yesterday I watched the Cubs/Padres from Memorial Day. Like I said, I usually don’t watch the games, they’re just background noise but I happened to be watching when the most terrific thing I’ve witnessed in a long time transpired.

It was the 8th inning and Yonder Alonso had just  been put out. He was heading back to the dugout and since it was likely his last at bat, he took off his batting gloves and tossed them into the stands. Three boys rush for the gloves. One boy nabbed them both. The boys aren’t from the same group. They don’t know each other so at this point he’s the winner and the other two are out of luck.

The boy, unselfishly, offers one of the gloves to the two boys. At this point I’m shocked. He had no obligation to share. The gloves were his fair and square. The other two boys roshambo for the proffered glove. The older of the two (maybe 12 years old) wins. The loser (10 years old, I’m guessing) is bummed but respectfully heads to his seat. Issue resolved right? NO!

The 12 year old heads to his seat looking at his prize, starts to sit down, stops, looks back at the 10 year old, and walks over to him and GIVES HIM THE GLOVE!

I nearly cried. In a time where we see kids bullying and mocking other kids for no reason, these three boys acted unselfishly and honorably on a level that was nothing short of astonishing. Their parents should be incredibly proud.

Let God sort it out.

I had to send a fax today so I headed to a hole-in-the wall shop down the street where they still have one of those antique phone things. While I was waiting, I noticed a petition on the counter. R-74 in Washington State is a request to ban gay marriage.

There were 8 or so names signed so I asked the guy at the counter,

“Why do these people believe think they should be involved in the business of two consenting adults?”  

His reply,

“They believe God created marriage between a man and a woman.”

“Shouldn’t God judge them then?”

“Oh he will.”

“So you believe you have the right to do God’s work? It’s awful bold of you to presume you’re one of God’s prophets.”

“Well, God spoke this.”

“Then let God sort it out. Thanks for the fax, I won’t be back.”

@thedayhascome was @tehawesome

I’m far too long in writing this but I’ve been under the weather since my return from Chicago and am just now able to stop coughing long enough to type a complete sentence.  As I said I was in Chicago for CHSH. I won’t attempt to how warm and familiar and wonderful it was since my brother (@MrBigFists) said it far more eloquently than I could when he visited a year ago. I am also not going to try and list all the tremendous Twitter/Tumblr family I hugged, danced and laughed with, for fear of leaving someone out. I will, however, tell you how I can make something as casual as this event into something slightly awkward.

Saturday night, the main event, and I’ve been mingling about the group for some time. I’ve been introduced, taken photos and made out with @sucittaM. I realize I haven’t seen @thedayhascome and I wanted to be sure I said hello so I head off to find my brother. Of course, he’s at the royal table holding court with kings and queens and I realize one of them could be @thedayhascome.

Now, it’s important to note here, very few of your avatars do you justice in real life. Repeatedly I was surprised, as I put Twitter names to faces, at how different folks looked in my mind’s eye. So, it’s wasn’t too much of a stretch for this to be @thedayhascome.

Standing behind my brother, facing the royal court, I lean in to ask. At the exact moment, he turns to his left and leans by me to shake someone’s hand.

“Hey Josh!”

“Hey Jonathan!”

Remember, I’m still trying to decide if the guy across the table is @thedayhascome. I glance at the guy Jonathan is half-hugging and I politely grin as I ask, “Is that @thedayhascome?” “Yeah!” he replies. So I step up to the guy I’ve been analyzing and wrap him in a huge bear hug!

“Hey man, I’m @Xytrex.” I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate you and allowing us to be a part of @LucyKate’s life. My son loves to check Facebook and see new photos of her. Etc…”

I’m near giddy and gushing and suddenly I notice he’s got that I-have-no-idea-who-you-are look on his face. Behind me I hear Jonathan asking, “Who do you think this is?”

“@thedayhascome?”

“Nooo, that’s @tehawesome” as the pumps his left thumb over his shoulder…dying laughing. I turn back to @tehawesome, “I thought…you look…I’m SO sorry!” sheepishly says, “I have a dog.”

It was great to meet Josh (@thedayhascome) a moment later but @tehawesome’s hug was the best.

Smiling all the way!

In January I learned I’m a card carrying member of the diverticulitis club during a lovely visit to the local ER. Last Sunday, apparently, my membership was up for renewal. So on Monday, I headed to the walk-in clinic for my antibiotics and promised to follow up with my regular doc on Tuesday. I put it off until today. Doc decides to punish me by scheduling a CT scan and some lab work.

Downstairs I go to get me 2 quarts of, rotten berry flavored, spackle they call contrast die. Then up to the lab where my blood is drawn by a phlebotomist who would’ve made a better pugilist. Then across the street to the radiology department where I’m informed I’ve been given the wrong vintage of nasty to drink. I’m handed a cup of apple snot and told I need to hang out for an hour. I’m also given the standard new patient questionnaire.

Q: How tall are you? A: This tall
Q: What do you weigh? A: Apples, onions, fish, opinions…I may need another sheet of paper.
Q: Is there any chance you’re pregnant? A: I was a bit frisky with myself last night.
Q: Do you have diabetes? A: No, are you giving some away?
Q: Are you allergic to any medication? A: I’m not sure I’ve tried them all.
Q: Do you have multiple myeloma? A: No, I don’t even have one!
Q: Do you have a personal history with cancer? A: No, cancer’s not my type.

Unfortunately it was a short questionnaire so I was soon reading the same paragraph over and over on my phone due to the riveting banter between Mr. and Mrs. iPad Crossword-Puzzle and the attention starved young MommyMommyMommyMommy. As luck would have it, Ms. Netbook Douchetooth received a phone call and started talking over them all. And that’s when I decided to read…aloud.

After all was said and done I have an abscess that might require surgery if these antibiotics don’t kick in soon. In lieu of my 2 hour clinic visit I’ll take the pain or the surgery smiling all the way.

He took the message to heart

When The Boy was in sixth or seventh grade, he came home with a report or note from his math teacher mentioning he was behind in his homework (I may not be 110% clear on that). I asked him what was up and he complained the instructor wasn’t clear about when homework was due or where they were to turn it in. I explained he was to go to class the following day, meet with the teacher and resolve any confusion as well as inquire about making up any missing work.

My statement was simple, “It’s the teacher’s job is to guide you and offer clarity but ultimately, your education is your responsibility.” It was the only time we had to speak to him about school. He took the message to heart.

When he was 1/100th of a point shy of maintaining his 4.0 GPA his junior year, he wrote the Spanish teacher asking if there was any extra work he could do to push it over the top. The instructor was so impressed, he just went ahead and rounded it up.

The Boy even chose not to skate his senior year, even though he has all the necessary courses for graduation and entry to college. Instead he’s taking Calculus and a pile of AP or college credit courses. Oh, and speaking of college, he’s always wanted to go to the University of Washington. Hell, he didn’t even apply anywhere else. Unfortunately, he’s an incoming freshman white male from the home state. The school just makes more money enrolling foreign and out of state students first. Even with his ridiculous SAT scores, he’s low on the pecking order.

So when the letter came to announce acceptance or rejection, he left it on the table all day. Then, just before bed, we noticed it was missing. 30 minutes later, it was laying on the table with the open letter on top letting his effort was recognized.

Congratulations Joshua! You’re the most amazing young man I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet.