Monday, December 28, 2009

Seh seh seh SEVENTEEN???

17 years ago yesterday, Kim and I, having just finished a 36 hour stint of breathing, pushing and swearing, welcomed Christopher into our lives. In fairness, Kim did all the pushing and swearing while I did my best at breathing (with some serious bad breath judging by the demand from Kim for me to chomp on a Tic Tac before I get back in her face for the breathing). And now, 17 years later, we look at our car driving, sushi eating, football playing, joke cracking, sleep loving son and can only begin to wonder just where those 17 years have gone. Chris is the second grader who amused the staff at St. Michael School when he reported that he had learned about John the Bastard in religion class. It was at that moment when we knew it was time to get his ass into the public school system. And it only got better in public school… We still have his journal where he proudly wrote in his 8 year old scratch that his goal for third grade was to be “average” and where, just days later, he wrote that he wanted to change his name to Ben because it was short and easy to spell. (No, I am not making this shit up.) Really??? He’s 17 now??? Is that him, looking me directly in the eye and NOT standing on a chair? Can’t be possible….

Can it be possible that it was 10 years ago when I wrote this letter to Chris? I guess it really was that long ago. I thought about this letter yesterday when we were celebrating Chris’ birthday by giving him a CD player for his car. I thought it might be a good time to drag it out of the cobwebs because it still has relevance today.

Your life to this point has been very busy, hasn’t it? For a few years now, your Saturdays have been filled with karate, soccer, baseball and skiing. Pretty soon, you will be suiting up for your first year of Pop Warner football. You tell me now that you want to play basketball next winter. Mom and I are very happy that you have so many interests. But there are times when we wonder if we are doing right by you. You will not understand this letter today, but I am writing it so that I will stay attuned to what is most important – that is, allowing you a chance to be a kid and making sure you have fun while playing your games.

It gives me great pride to watch you play your games with all the spirit and zest of a child. Nothing will ever shake the image of you running with all your heart and might to your new position at second base. I want to be sure to remember that this is supposed to be primarily about your smiles and secondarily about my pride.

I know that I bug you about doing things the “right” way, and for that I am sorry. I am sorry for yelling “two hands” every time you catch the ball with one hand. I am sorry for making you play one inning on a day when you did not want to play at all. I am sorry for bragging to everyone I know about how well you throw the ball when I should be telling everyone I know how happy you are to be throwing that ball. Most of all, I am sorry for wanting you to do well for the benefit of my ego.

As your father, I owe it to you to give you every chance to be a kid. And I owe it to you to let you make mistakes without worrying about how I will react. I will try my best to sit quietly on the sidelines and watch you try your best to have fun. But I also promise to stand and cheer when you are in the game and giving it your all. I promise to drive you to games for as long as you want to play. And I promise to stay home and hang out on days when you do not want to play. And if at any point you have just had enough of all this stuff, I promise to accept it, move on and go out for pizza to celebrate your free time.

All I ask from you is one favor: If I start to have difficulty keeping these promises, sit me down and remind me, “Dad, I’m a kid and I just like to play.”

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

It's My Holiday Dammit!

Having just finished another hour of demolition derby along the sawdust covered aisles of Market Basket, wreaking havoc against bluehairs and hot moms alike, I push my cart loaded with two weeks worth of bounty toward my car. Like a cheetah stalking its prey, a salty mini-van with a fukkin Honor Student bumper sticker creeps behind me, keeping enough distance between my slowly strolling feet and its front bumper so as not to arouse suspicion, looking to pounce on my parking space. But the joke is on this soccer mom – my F-150 is one aisle over and I make a hard right between the parked cars, laughing to myself about pissing off yet another pain in the ass. I can almost hear the swearing… heee-fukkin-heee. People… quit yer stalking behavior and find yourself a spot at the far end of the lot… you need the exercise anyway.

Christmastime is nigh (always wanted to use that term and sound all fancy and shit) and be you Christian or Jew or Agnostic or a Yankee fan, we wish you a MERRY CHRISTMAS! To those of you who are offended by my holiday, I plan to use this space to educate you on some of our more glorious Christmas traditions. When you are finished reading, you are most assuredly going to be heading out to your local Christian place of worship and fill out a “I Wanna Celebrate Christmas Too” application.

You must first get it through your thick offendable skull that Christmas is not only a religious holiday. I know it has its origins in the birth of a baby boy in Bethlehem to a woman who, by all accounts never once did the horizontal hay ride. A miracle for sure and I am not one to deny that the birth of Jesus is the reason for the season. (By the way, I would appreciate it that if you do go to your local Christian place of worship, you don't tell them about my "horizontal hay ride" comment).

Oh the perks: Celebrate Christmas and you will receive full Santa privileges, including the waiver that allows you to lie to your children for an entire month and a half about the existence of a guy who cares if they are naughty or nice. This guy flies around the world in an oversized sled being pulled by 8 (9 on those foggy Christmas eves) flying reindeer. He comes down chimneys with a bag of toys and leaves all kinds of good shit for just two cookies and a glass of milk. Don’t worry if you don’t have a chimney or even a rooftop (ya can’t land a sleigh on a teepee for crying out loud), this fat old guy finds a way in.

Celebrate Christmas and you also are free to participate in Yankee Swaps on what seems like a daily basis. The Yankee Swap is a traditional, non-religious game that encourages you to take presents out of the hands of family, friends and co-workers only to give them a gift you think sucks ass. How's that for spirit?

As a part of this holiday, you will also be free to study and memorize the entire scripts of A Christmas Story and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation with pride. Ralphie and Randy, Cousin Eddie and Bumpus’dogs will become honorary members of your family. And of course, there is the cast of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer: Bumble, Yukon Kornelius, the misfit dentist wannabe and that freaky lion king with wings. But nothing warms the heart more than the voice of the Colonel Sanders look-a-like of a snowman singing Holly Jolly Christmas!!

Well, I am running out of space – plus, it is December 23rd and I need to get my ass to the mall. No, I am not going to be shopping. I am going to spend all afternoon carrying department store bags around the parking lot, trying to see just how far a desperate parker will follow me. Hoping to set a record. Wish me luck! And Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Raise a Parting Glass To Snickers

11 years ago this February, I met my best friend. That’s how the saying goes, right? He was 8 weeks old and weighed in at 12 pounds. Chris had just turned 6 years old and he had a new playmate who would just keep running back to him with the tennis ball. Jessica was 4 and spent many months using the couch and kitchen chairs for her refuge from the overly hyperactive puppy who showed up one day and invaded her life. By the way, I mean terrorized in a harmless, puppy kinda way with a quick and sloppy tongue as the primary weapon of destruction. We called him Snickers back then because of his chocolate color and (yes, I’m this warped) because he had nuts. We thought for a few brief seconds about changing his name to Milky Way when we had him neutered (no more nuts, get it?), but that never came to pass. He was a Snickers through and through. Over the years, the frightened Jessica and the amused Christopher took Snickers in as their brother.

An undeniable presence in our home and in our family for the past eleven years, the memories will live with us forever. For those of you who have crossed the threshold into our home, you understand what this obnoxious, crotch sniffing, biscuit begging oaf meant to us. I am sitting here today and thinking back on our boy - the same good boy who would stand at the edge of the yard, held back by a monstrous 1 foot garden fence bordering newly planted flowers. We could almost read his mind as he would stepdance at the fence, itching to find a way over it… “I sure wish I could jump over this big giant fence that barely comes up to my chest.”

We have had many visitors and our share of big parties. And one thing is for sure - Snickers had his favorite people…. Butch, Donna, Ray and Diane… the “cookie people.” Snickers loved all company. But these four people held a special place in his heart… never would these dog spoilers darken our doorway without a cookie in their pocket or in their hand. His excitement level would be so high, spontaneous combustion would not have been a surprise. I would be remiss if I were not to mention Eileen down the street and her years of capturing Snickers after he would escape the yard and go on patrol along Hill Street. Eileen's trick and Snickers' weakness? One gently rolled slice of deli baloney. A quick wave of the tasty treat out her screen door and Snickers would be distracted just long enough for the prison guards to catch up to him.

Thinking back, it seems we have more than our share of funny memories. From the moment he was neutered, Snickers developed a twisted fetish for any blanket or pillow that would find its way to the floor, often humping the hell out of it until he could barely walk away. I would often joke that after a love session with his doggie bed, he walked around with the legs of a newborn giraffe.

Last night, we laid down with Snickers with the knowledge that it would be his last night with us. Despite a killer disease running through his body, he will only know love and happiness. And that is how it will be forever.
After today, the gate to our yard will be open, no longer with a reason to keep it closed. It is open to let him run free. Our boy will be gone from our house but never from our home! Godspeed Snickers… say hello to Nipper and Freida for me.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

This Far From Being In Playing Shape!

The passage of time and the inevitable “getting older” has finally caught up to me and delivered one hell of a dick punch! That pain in the ass little voice in my head started yapping at me last week… get off the couch! Put down the beer! Fahcrissake, Tivo Big Bang Theory and do something healthy. Word to the wise (and to the dumbasses as well) – you can’t just show up at a basketball court after three years of ball scratching and deck sitting and expect to walk out an hour later feeling like a million bucks. I don’t care what they say – there is no way that me running up and down an 84 foot court for 20 minutes is healthy. But off I went last night to the local Rec center to play ball with the best players on the north side of 35 that Hudson has to offer; a crop of guys still holding onto their 1988 Air Jordans and donning the latest in neoprene wraps and protective braces. After 5 minutes of action, there was more wheezing than a nursing home musical chairs tournament. And that doesn’t include the other guys. And one of these nitwits thought it would be a good idea to invite his 18 year old, faster than lightning son to play. Good news was that he was my teammate. The bad news is that he is obviously used to playing with other 18 year olds - fuck, by the time I could grab a rebound and look up, this shit was already down court looking for an outlet pass from me… hardy fahkin har… the joke was on Junior. It took all my energy to leap the 3 inches to get the rebound – to throw a full court pass immediately after was akin to asking Tiger to take a week off from sex… wasn’t gonna happen. And there was the play where I hauled ass down the floor to keep up with him… I got ahead and he fed me a perfect bounce pass for the lefty layup. Of course, had I still owned an 18 year old pair of hands, I would have caught the fahkin pass.

So thanks to that little voice telling me to do something healthy, I nearly killed myself. But I guess it will keep me busy on Tuesday nights until Sons of Anarchy starts up again next season.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

It's Not Trespassing - They Let Me In!!

Through the misty fog on a cool Autumn night, I strolled through the gates and approached the two unsuspecting agents who stood stoicly with the security of the most powerful man in the free world resting squarely on their shoulders. Dressed sharply in my Life is Good tshirt, khaki shorts and mandals, I informed the security detail that I was at the White House on official business. "We need to see your credentials, sir," the beer-bellied agent said. I showed them my Blockbuster Video membership card and a letter from Mrs. Croak, my third grade teacher. "Go right ahead in, Mr. Blockbuster. The President is upstairs, just past the two drunk agents passed out in the hall. He keeps the key under the planter. Have a great night."

Okay... so that did not really happen, at least to me. But what the hell did happen last week? How the fahk did two attention seeking nitwits weasel their way into a White House State Dinner? Seriously, I cannot even get into the freakin' Hudson Fish & Game club for crying out loud. We can spend hours debating whether or not Blondie and her Middle Eastern boyfriend should be prosecuted, but why waste our time? Bottom line is that they pulled a fast one (or probably more like a slow one) on the alleged tightest security detail in the world. I have three words for that.... Heee Fahkin Hee!

But I am also here to tell you that this is not the first time someone has crashed the Presidential presence. It may not be as well publicized, but I have been known to hang with President Obie and his peeps from time to time. It's really not that hard, as you have all learned last week. I remember the time I told the guy at the door of the United Nations that I was from some small country that had just been liberated and that my seat was being held at the main table, next to BHO and Hillary - Note to TMZ: I'll take 5 mill for the picture.

And I'll never forget the time Obie and I were hanging out on the stage of that fundraiser, checking out some smoking ass in a red dress. Oh mama Obama!!!!

Perhaps one of my most bestest moments was hanging around in the Rose Garden with a big giant head, chugging beeahs and swapping stripper stories with the Pres and the Vice Pres during the infamous beer summit. This day was just a bunch of good ol' boys being boys... lots of belching, ball scratching and arguing about golf. Good times for all.

Last spring, the G20 Summit was held in dahntahn Pittsburgh. Since I have family in the 'burgh, I made a beeline to the front door, flashed my Steeler fan club card and was quickly whisked into the room like royalty. After dinner, all the big wigs got together for a group photo. That's me giving the thumbs up standing next to Obie. We tried to look serious, but the guy with the table cloth on his head was passing gas like a full service attendant.....whooooo
So to the hot blonde and her party crashing partner who think they did it first - nuh uh you didn't!

Who Dat?? Jezzus Kryst Who Da Fuk Waz Dat?

It was about 10:50 last night when I turned away from ESPN and that gawd awful, kick in the nuts of a football game. I couldn't take anymore of the Saints receivers and Drew Aint No Bledsoe making the Pats d-backs look like Pop Warner minimum play kids. [For the uninformed, a minimum play kid is that kid who gets on the field for his 8 plays every game and then spends the rest of the game on the sidelines, eating cookies and knocking on his cup to show everyone it does not hurt]

Before I get to the game, did I see that correctly last night? Has our President now taken to making commercials? Gimme a freakin' break please. Catching a pass from Drew Brees on the White House lawn, mixed in with other NFL players and a bunch of rugrat kids. I get it... the United Way is a wonderful charity, but how freakin' whorish of our President to find more television exposure! Apparently, he does not like Peyton Manning hogging all the NFL commercial time, huh?

So back to last night's Bourbon Street Beatdown! What happened to the statement game from the Pats? Oh, they made a fahkin statement alright - it went like this: "To Whom It May Concern: We would like to state that our defensive backs couldn't cover a fahkin text book in September."

The first sign of trouble was that piss-poor INT from TB12 right into the hands of a guy who just two weeks ago was raking leaves on Sundays. Wasted that balls to the wall punt return by Wes and gave the ball back to Breezy and the whole night went south! Brandon Merri-go-round forgot page one of the defensive playbook and gifted 7 points - looking at Devry Henderson's face afterward, he was saying the same thing everyone in New England was saying - "I have no idea where the defense was, man..." Tip to Merriweather - on a corner blitz, the safety gets the man left alone!!! PAGE FUKKIN ONE!!!!!! Arrghhh... 38-17 and with cleat marks all over their nutsacks, that plane ride home last night must have been a piss fest!

I guess we all understand now why Billy Boy decided to go for it on 4th and 2 against the Dolts... I don't want to hear Bruschi or any other all done defensive player bitching about the coach not trusting the defense... last night was enough proof for me. Hell, I am in full support of onsides kicks after every score from here on out.

Well, thank the football gawds for making the AFC East a shitful division! We still have a 2 game lead and are in the drivers seat for the AFC East title - but any playoff games will most likely be on the road - Tiger Woods has a better chance of beating his wife than the Pats beating a home team.

Hey, it's not all bad you know and I would hate to leave you filled with negativity... Welcome to Bright Side Station! Bony Maroney is running like a man possessed these days - bowled over another defensive back last night. Still a few too many dance steps for my liking, but much better than early in the year. Brady is still a top quarterback and will be fine. No worries there my friends. And let's not forget... we still get the Raiders' top pick in June...>WOOOO FUKKIN HOOOO!!!! Out for now - on my way to the Oval Office to sit in on a meeting with the Secretary of Defense and pose for pictures in front of the Afghan war map! Wish me luck!