Sunday, November 25, 2007

I Was All Pumped Up About Grid-Iron

Fall wouldn't be fall without football. When you get bogged down in responsibilities and have to fight tooth and nail for every spare moment of free time it can be easy to see football as just a bunch of millioniares running around. When I was younger I spent many a Sunday with my butt parked on the couch, doing homework and watching football. The Kansas City Chiefs became my favorite team to watch. My favorite player was Derrick Thomas who serves as evidence to my claim that everything I love turns to dust.

The main thing about liking the Chiefs is that they suck. You have to be prepared for that and have the ability to be happy anyway. There is a guy on one of the crews at my new job who went to the trouble of buying his very own "Chiefs" hardhat. When I see him, I feel sorry for him that he likes the same unwinning team as me. Over the years I have learned to take comfort in being one of the brave souls who dares to like the Chiefs. When the Chiefs had Joe Montana and Marcus Allen and came within one game of the SuperBowl there were suddenly Chiefs fans all over. And I resented those people because they weren't the brave ones who suffer through the losing times. They were just there to get on the bandwagon. I'm glad those people have gone back to liking lame-wad teams like the Dallas Cowboys.

At my new job, I work with an old guy. I asked him what kind of money I could expect to make as time goes by. He just said, "Well, I made over $90K last year and I don't take any foreman positions or anything." That sounded like plenty to me so I changed the subject to how he used to play football for the University of Utah. I asked him if he ever played against Merlin Olsen. He said Merlin was older but that he had played against Merlin's little brother. Some other guys heard us talking and one of them said, "You went to college? Man... you should have finished your degree so you didn't end up doing this work."

I wanted to say, "Yeah. $90,000/yr is okay but think of all the money you COULD have made if you had just finished that four year COMMUNICATIONS degree you were going for." I would have said it sarcastically, of course.

One thing about me: I would always prefer to play or participate in a sport rather than watch or talk about that sport. Especially golf, which I will barely acknowledge as a sport in the first place.

If you are wondering what I did for Thanksgiving, I will tell you that I played football with the mofos from the furniture store and spent the rest of the day eating food. It was a very good Thanksgiving Day.

Playing football was awesome. These guys aren't wimps. In fact, we have two black guys, both named Morgan on our crew. Both of them played college football. For simplicity let's call one of them Primetime and one of them The Bus. Primetime just played a year at a University in southern Utah but quit because of injuries. The Bus, on the other hand, is the third-highest leading rusher in the history of one of Utah's moderately known Universities and he played professional football in Canada (because that's where he's originally from).

In the first game we just split the mofos into two teams. We played "tackle" but we all agreed not to dismember, disembowl or permanently damage eachother as we are all dependent on eachother to finish our work and get out early every night at the furniture store.

So for all the good things in my life to be thankful for, Thanksgiving started out as one of those annoying days where you learn and come to terms with your personal limitations as a human being. I have already scratched "Cleaning a Meth House" off my list of things to do in my life and now I can also add "Tackle a professionally trained Running Back" to my list of accomplishments.

However, it may be just as bad to be tackled by a professionally trained running back. The Bus tackled me a couple of times. One time he grabbed me and whipped me down to the ground so hard that the winter beanie that was on my head ended up about ten feet away. Primetime yelled at The Bus after that play, "Easy, Man! He's half your size!" I told The Bus it was okay and that he should do what it takes to tackle me, because I was pretty productive. I threw a 30 yard TD pass, caught two TD passes and had an interception. I even feel like I tackled more than my fair share of people.

I had three opportunities to tackle The Bus and I only got him down once. That was because another guy had got him in a bearhug and The Bus had picked him up and was carrying him down the field. I ran and jumped on top of the mess and knocked them over. It was frustrating to be the only thing between The Bus and the endzone because how do you stop a charging bull besides hiding a sword behind a red cape?

This 200+ pound ball of muscle is running at you. The only reason he doesn't bowl you over is because he promised before the game started not to knock your head off. So you just stand there thinking of swear words because it's like trying to tackle a running, jumping telephone pole. I waited for him to go by and then tried to grab onto his shirt like I was grabbing the reins of a runaway horse. When he scored on me I yelled at my team, "YOU GUYS NEED TO KEEP CHASING HIM BECAUSE I CAN'T STOP HIM! ALL I CAN DO IS MAKE HIM TURN A LITTLE BIT!"

I noticed the The Bus mostly went down either because he slipped while dodging people or because he got bumped out of bounds. Anyway, the first game was a lot of fun and my team won by two touchdowns.

After that, a group of guys challenged us to play against them and we took them on. 12 on 12. We had offensive and defensive lines and everything. That game was crazy. We might be a big group of mofos but these guys were a bunch of assholes from assholeville. We were trying to kill eachother. There was a lot of limping afterward and three guys on my team ended the game with blood all in their teeth and the 18 yr old I hang out with had a cracked tooth. The other team managed to stop The Bus most of the time but at a heavy toll. The Bus returned a kickoff for a touchdown and bodies were flying everywhere on that play.

There was one guy on that opposing team who didn't score or make any significant tackles but who talked non-stop trash. He wouldn't shut up. The first time he got the ball, it looked like something out of a video game. Primetime came running in with superhuman speed, hit the guy in the waist, grabbed a leg under each arm, raised him about four feet in the air, turned him upside down and piledrived him:

It didn't shut the guy up but the stuff he said got stupider and stupider after that. "See you tackled me and I didn't even get hurt!" It was the most impressive tackle I've ever seen in real life.

Truth-be-told, I eased off in the second game because I need to stay healthy enough to work. But football was a lot of fun. The mofos liked it so much that they want to keep playing twice a month. I think that we must be the crazy guys from work, though, because we all played 3 hours of really hard tackle football and then it turned out that we were also the guys who volunteered to work 30 hours in a 36 hour period right after the holiday was over. Needless to say, I have pain everywhere right now.

But we finished Thanksgiving at my wife's aunt's house. Her uncle had his mother there and she told us a lot of crazy stories about growing up in Germany. She told us how her husband had been taken to fight for the Nazis. She told us about how she was unlucky enough to be outside one night after the 8 o'clock curfew and she was forced to run for her life while pushing a baby stroller. The man who carved our Thanksgiving turkey had been in that stroller as bullets wizzed past.

That may not sound good to you, but if we would just change our constitution to allow GW Bush to become Dictator-for-life we could pass his "Peaceful Streets/Quiet Nights" bill and have that right here in America. It would be inconvenient and possibly fatal but you would have a lot of neat stories to tell your grandkids. Just think about it. That's all I ask.

That old lady told us a bunch of funny stories. She told us how she has a blind friend who hangs pictures of werewolves all over her house, because hey, she doesn't have to see them. She's blind. Then the friend makes subtle wolf howls when people come over just to mess with her visitors.

Overall, a good holiday.

Monday, November 19, 2007

I Don't Know Where The Sunbeams End And The Starlight Begins

How can the girl who says:

"Whoa, that bathroom smells horrible. Open a window next time no matter how cold it is outside."

Be the same girl that repeatedly says:

"Mmmmm. I actually like the smell of skunk."

When the occassion presents itself?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Besides Two Chicks at the Same Time?

Ever since my first son was born I've kept thoughts running in the back of my mind regarding his future employment. Basically, I don't want him to have to work fastfood. They are correct in the movie "Office Space" when they say it's crap to pick a job based on your answer to the question "What would you do if you had a million dollars?"

Throughout your entire life it is hard to choose a career. I've met people who are nearing the end who still can't figure it out. If you are looking for the right career for you then maybe you should go take one of those standardized tests that pick the ideal vocation for your personality. During my third year of college I was thinking of changing my major so I went and took one of those tests. The test recommended that I should be an architect (but my university did not have an architecture program). Nearly ten years later, I was working at that brain-racking desk job. All of the people there are desperate to find ways of maintaining their sanity and a girl that I worked with sent me an online version of that career test so I took it. Funny thing, the test recommended that I should be an architect, AGAIN. At least they are consistent.

But in my interpretation, architects come in many forms. When I was a kid I was crazy about Legos. I am still awesome at building with Legos, except Legos kind of suck nowadays. Too many useless pieces. All they need to make is blocks. My new job is like architecture of sorts. We build all kinds of crazy stuff. Some may even say that painting a picture or writing a blog post is architecture of sorts.

And if somebody told boys that "Drawing Naked Ladies" has been a valid response to "What do you want to do for the rest of your life?" for hundreds, if not thousands of years then I think a lot more boys would pick that particular vocation:

You can draw naked ladies as revenge for a venereal disease:

Ain't you never seen a naked chick ridin' a clam before?

You can even be shy and still draw naked ladies:

It's hard to choose when you're not entirely sure what is even out there.

But for my son, I've been thinking of a starter job. My close friends probably won't be surprised. The answer is Fly Fishing. Mainly because Ethan has already been bothering me to teach him to Fly Fish. I had friends in high school who had jobs tying flies in a fly shop. One of them actually drown while flyfishing but that didn't stop anyone he knew from continuing to rip those trout lips. The other friend owned a dory before he could drive a car. He towed it behind his bicycle. And the moment he turned 18 he was immediately hired as a river/fishing guide. And those guys make good money compared to what most 18 yr olds bring in.

Another bonus to this idea of mine is that I can take trip after trip to Flaming Gorge, go fishing and tell my wife it's for the sake of our son's future. I'm totally going to do it.

When I was in college, my dear friend Dr. Slimy was an avid fly-fisherman. One day I saw a strange thing on his desk in his dorm room. It was the messed-up face of a rabbit. I asked him where he acquired such a thing and he told me that while he was driving home from his grandmother's house he spotted a dead rabbit on the side of the road and thought the animal's hide would be useful in tying flies.

So you sliced the rabbit's face off with big holes where the eyes go and the ears still attached? It was creepy, but cool. Silence of the Hares.

Coincidentally, one of my wife's rabbits died last week. She left the dead carcass in the cage in wait for me to get time off from work and go into the backyard and bury it. So I've had this burning in me to get fly fishing with my boy, learn him to tie and I happened to have a dead rabbit.

There was no way to approach the situation except to come right out and say it: "Honey, would you mind if I sliced the face off the bunny?"

Of course she said No. She said I can't cut the face off of anything we've named. She said I would have to go find a nameless bunny on the side of the road.

Anyway, that's my plan for my boy until he gets through college. I hope this has been useful in choosing your own career.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Whoa! He Says What We're All Thinking

There's a guy at work who is a typical Utah Republican. I think I got him bothered the other day when we were talking about voting. Utah was voting on whether or not to have state-funded vouchers for kids that attend private school. For some reason, he was all excited about these vouchers even though he has no school aged kids. I told him that those vouchers only help upper-middle class families as poor families are still too poor to afford private school, as are most people with even moderate incomes. I don't think that he appreciated me playing the devil's advocate.

The other day we were sitting on break and there was a loud noise like thunder and the ground shook. He stared into the construction zone and said, "What the hell was that?"

And in a voice somewhere between John Wayne and Forrest Gump, I said, "It sounded like a Tyrannosaurus Rex to me."

The guy stared at me with penetrating eyes. Then he said, "Dude. Someone seriously needs to kick your ass."

I said, "Yeah. That's what people have been saying my whole life... but no one ever does it so I don't feel bad. I blame all of you for letting me act this way."

But that surprised the crew, "YOU have never had your ass kicked? Ever?"

And I don't know how they meant it. Like you of all people should have had his ass kicked by now? Or How is it possible for you to get drunk so many times and hit on other people's girlfriends and win every barroom brawl... that's not possible is it?

Anyway. I just think that it's funny. Yes. We know what the problem is. Now what are we going to do about it?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Land of the Free? Whoever Told You That is Your Enemy

Sometimes I think it's better that all I do is work. Otherwise I could be these kids:

I sit around wondering how long before the day comes when police taser me. My sister-in-law was telling me how her little brother got tasered by police about a month ago. Seven Times. Including a deliberate shot to his testicles. Because he's a criminal? She said he was at a party and the cops broke it up. He wasn't happy about it and was scowling at the police so they wanted to teach him a lesson. He's an adult but not old enough to drink. The cops threatened to give him a breath-a-lizer test. He told them that he had had one beer and that it would be a waste of time. Next thing you know, Taser-time!

Some of my wife's brother's friends were also there and they said that doesn't sound too bad considering what happened to our friend Jonny. He was driving along with his 20 yr old wife and their infant strapped in the backseat when the police pulled him over. He was annoyed because he felt he had been following all of the traffic laws but he didn't get a chance to say anything. Before they knew what was happening, the car was surrounded by cops and machine gun barrels were in their faces. Including the baby. Despite the attack dog, Jonny cooperated until he and his wife were lying facedown on the pavement with their hands cuffed behind their backs, then he got upset because the cops were still pointing machine guns at the baby in the backseat. I guess it probably looked like one of those suicide-bomber terrorist babies or something.

In the end it turned out to be a misunderstanding. You see, a Honda Prelude had been reported stolen and the thief had apparently switched plates with Jonny's Prelude. And even though the stolen car was several years newer... and a different color, Jonny understood how it is far more important for all of our Honda Preludes to be accounted for than it is not to have machine guns pointed in your babies face. Jonny sent the police flowers and asked them if they would like to rough him up a little more, just for kicks.

I know it makes me feel safer to see undercover cops waving machine guns in the faces of teenagers when I try to drop my kids off at the school where my wife works. That's how you know America rules. Cause we don't really wait for crimes to be committed. We just have our police harass normal people until they try to defend themselves, WHICH IS AGAINST THE LAW. And then we move in with some mostly non-lethal (only 69 accidental killings by police with tasers in 2005!) remedies.

In school they teach you that you don't get punished until AFTER you have been CONVICTED of a crime. You know... with a trial and everything. And if our new Attorney General doesn't think that waterboarding to be torture then why would anyone think that having your genitals electrocuted was actually a punishment. Think of it more as being dragged to the princiPAL's office by your ear. Even as someone who is only SUSPECTED of committing a crime.

You probably have it coming. Because we are probably ALL criminals just like we are ALL sinners. I saw on CNN a little bit ago, how "APPLE" and "AT&T" had concerns about "Hackers" and iPhones. Apparently, some people who went out and bought iPhones adjusted the software on those phones THAT THEY BOUGHT to allow them to use a different phone service, rather than AT&T. And that is all it takes to make you a "Hacker." A monster. A free-thinking anarchist. And to strike back at all those big-butt butt-faces who dared to adjust their software, Apple has planned to make knew software upgrades that won't work if you have modified your iPhone away from what Apple intended. Take that, loyal-customers who don't want to use AT&T!

Because freedom isn't all that it's cracked up to be. Sometimes we don't even need the IDEA of having a choice:

(This is where I meant to insert a picture I took at the gas station the other day where the 85 octane was "out of service" and the 87 octane was "out of service" but the 91 was ready to go! It was going to be a very forceful image but I can't get the stupid picture off my stupid cellphone. It's all Benjamin Franklin's fault.)

If you haven't had your own run in with the cops lately, please see what your missing. Bad boys, bad boys, watcha gonna do...

15 isn't so innocent an age as it used to be: