Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A Confrontation with One of Nature's Most Beautiful and Deadly Creations


I had the house to myself the other night. Since houses are big scary places to be when you’re by yourself, I decided the best thing to do would be to take a walk around the neighborhood. Then, when the time was right, I could return home and find my fiancĂ©e back from her night class. In the meantime, I’d be out in the world, visible, safe amongst my fellow man.
Boy was I wrong.
                I’d made it maybe five minutes away from my house when it happened. There I was, walking along, minding my own business, finishing up a podcast on dinosaurs when all of a sudden I heard what sounded like honking. That’s odd, I thought to myself. After all, I was on the sidewalk, well out of the way of any traffic. Perhaps it was a bike horn or something. I pulled one earphone from my ear and looked around in an attempt to locate the source of the noise.
                And then I saw them. In the backyard of the house immediately to the right of me: two monstrous swans. They were each about the size of one of those toy, battery-powered Jeeps kids used to cruise around the neighborhood back in my youth. Each one probably weighed as much as three morbidly obese cats. Maybe more. Probably more.
                Worst of all: one of them was making a beeline directly to me.
                Its neck was stretched out perfectly straight in front of it like a lance. It was honking viciously and moving fast. Not like cheetah fast but fast for a large ungainly bird.
                Best I can figure, even though they were in the middle of the yard, nowhere near me, the one had felt threatened by my presence. Likely, the ample masculinity I exude had unsettled it.  Instead of cowering in fear, it had decided to charge me, setting the stage for a man vs. beast battle for that lonely stretch of sidewalk.
                The way I saw it, I had two options. Option A: Run away screaming, crying and wetting myself. Option B: Wheel back and kick that son of a bitch directly in the head. Kick it like a man had never kicked a majestic water fowl before. I didn’t really want to do it, but the swan totally started it.
                There was also an Option C. That involved doing nothing and seeing what happened.

Monday, April 20, 2015

They Tried to Make Me Go to Rehab & I Said Yes Please, Thank You

"Abe Lincoln Needs Rehab!" Youtube.com
My physical therapy session will be tomorrow around the hour of noon. Instead of my usual lunch routine of  eating at my desk, listening to podcasts and writing gibberish, I’ll be retraining my wounded left wrist/hand to do all the things that used to be second nature to it. Fire off blazing wrist shots. Crush aluminum cans full of rocks. Play the harp like an angel.
                I’m excited to start physical therapy because it means I’m getting closer to putting this whole mess behind me once and for all. That will be awesome. No more mild wrist pain. No more medical devices attached to my dominant side. No more having to walk around with my cell phone in my right pocket because I can’t get it out of my left hip pocket in less than twenty minutes. God, it just feels so wrong. Phones aren’t meant to go there!
                Perhaps a certain level of trepidation would be acceptable in a situation like this. After all, this is a new experience for me and new experiences tend to be horrifying. But no, no trepidation. Not even a queasiness.
                This sharp deviation from my generally established demeanor may have you scratching your head. But there’s a reason for it. It’s the same reason Drew Barrymore doesn’t get nervous when someone needs her to put a movie on her shoulders and act it across the finish line.
                Cuz it’s in her blood. When stuffs in your blood, you don’t get nervous. Unless that stuff is like a really ghastly virus or some sort of burrowing insect. I’ll clarify, when stuffs in your blood and someone asks you to do said stuffs, THEN you don’t get nervous. Drew Barrymore comes from a long line of actors. Her grandfather was John Barrymore, whose status as a Hollywood legend has been impressed upon me by the older generations of my family. So acting flows through her veins. Her cells are all shaped like those comedy and drama masks.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Chainsaw hands and awkward showers: Wrist surgery fallout

Exactly how I'll look going in to work on Friday, 401ak47.com

I sit here a one-handed man. Well, I have both hands, but one is encased in a puffy cast. If you read last week’s blog, you know I don’t have a cool story behind my temporary cast-edness. If you didn’t read last week’s blog, I assure you the reasons involve a hungry crocodile, a boatful of honor student orphans and their service animal companions. It’s not cool and I’m no hero. I’m just a guy who did what needed to be done.
                Anyway, so on Thursday morning I underwent a procedure to correct the damage that had been done, whatever the cause was. Shockingly, I have a couple of thoughts on this whole process of undergoing outpatient surgery and I will present those to you now in bullet form:

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Softball and Ancient Greece: The Rarely Discussed Downsides of Dreaming

Actual image of me playing softball, courtesy of www.actwin.com

The ancient Greeks told stories of a young man named Icarus, whose father made them wings of wax and feathers so they could escape a vengeful king. Icarus’ pop warned his son not to fly too high or too low because doing so would end badly. It was sort of a high-concept version of Goldilocks. Anyway, Icarus didn’t listen. While they were flying to safety, Icarus got caught up in the wonder of flight and ended up too high, too close to the sun. His wax wings melted and he plummeted thousands and thousands of back to Earth. He landed hard on his left wrist and lived out his days in mild discomfort.
                The story of Icarus was meant to illustrate the dangers of hubris – flying too high – and complacency – the flying too low – or at least that’s Wikipedia’s scholarly take. However, I’ve begun to see some parallels between old Icky’s life and my own and as I have, another lesson has emerged: the dangers of dreams.
Perhaps you’ll remember my Cinderella-esque run through adult league softball last fall. In case you forgot, here are the highlights:

  • six games played
  • 7-19 at the plate, good for a .368 batting average
  • six runs scored
  • one walk, and
  • two catches on defense.

Of course, there were low lights:

  • at least two errors from my time at third, maybe a few more from my time elsewhere.
  • no RBIs
  • three strikeouts, and
  • 0-2 with the bases loaded.

Considering my confirmed status as the worst baseball/softball player of all time and my place on the list of the 100 worst athletes of all time, I thought that was pretty good. Unfortunately statistics don’t always tell the full story. After all, even old Icky put together some pretty impressive flight statistics before he took his little tumble.