Catholic School Kids Fight with Swords? Part II

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This is the outstanding conclusion–hang tight, it is shorter than part I.

After school on Friday, I went home and asked my mom if I could go to Tony’s.  “Sure, but be home by dinner time,” she said.

“I might be home a little later than normal.  Tony’s big gang fight is today,” I added.

As soon as I spoke of Tony’s gang fight, my mother had me on lock down.  There would be no brawl for me.

After I had a nice conversation with Tony’s grandmother, she put Tony on the phone.  Tony completely understood that parents don’t like to see their children in harm’s way.  If he lived through the night, he assured me we would still be friends on Monday.  He ended the phone call abruptly.  His mercenaries had arrived.

Tony walked outside to two dozen classmates lining the street.  It felt like The Battle of Bull Run but without the historic significance.

Deep in suburbia, Mike Lenten led his troops down Morse Avenue towards Tony’s waiting army.

“Hey John Paul!  Where’s your 12 foot sword?” Steve barbed.

“Tony hiding behind the girls?” Mike retorted.

As the groups converged, Tony and Mike met in the middle of the street to discuss the rules of the fight.  No weapons.  Hair pulling is fine, but only from a defensive position.  Only ripping T-shirts; not flannels or designer shirts.  No double teaming a guy if he has glasses.

As the ground rules were getting laid out, Harry Konstanov snaked through the crowd.

Punches to the head can only be open handed.  No nut shots.  Pushing is ok, but biting is not allowed.  Eye gouging and scratching are forbidden.

Crack!  Harry connected a right hook to Mike’s temple.  Mike hit the ground with thud.  He never saw the punch.  The fight was over.

“Let’s go.”  Harry said with a casual wave to Derek.  The Junior Varsity Latin King member had lived up to his image.  Harry was a badass-like Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke type of badass.  With one punch, the public school kids controlled the neighborhood.

The rest of Mike’s gang was frozen.  Their leader was down.  They scraped him off the street and rushed home to their mansions.

Within minutes, you could hear sirens.  Kids jumped on their bikes and fled.  They were trying to make it home for dinner, but at the same time avoiding getting arrested for violating the R.I.C.O. Act.

On Monday at school, over a hundred kids claimed to be at the fight.  By noon, over two hundred kids saw the battle that caused over $50,000 in damage .  By the last bell, seventeen kids had been detained by the national guard and the marital law had been declared in the town of Tessville over the weekend.

Fast forward 20+ years.  Here is what these guys are doing now:

  • Tony is now in the Gang Leader Hall of Fame along with Al Capone, El Chapo, Freeway Rick Ross and ‘Pookie’ from the movie New Jack City.
  • Harry Konstanov was busted ten years ago for using stolen credit cards to fund his pedicure habit.
  • Derek Mendez finally graduated from high school at age 26.  He is currently at M.I.T. teaching algebraic topology at the graduate level.
Recent Photo of Mike Lenten
Recent Photo of Mike Lentin
  • Mike Lenten still lives in his parent’s basement.
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Catholic School Kids Fight with Swords?

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Disclaimer:  The names in this story have been changed.  Parts of it have been been embellished for your pleasure.

“The Queen’s kids jumped me!” Tony yelled as he ran towards Steve and me.  You would expect a limp, maybe a bloody nose, or a broken arm from a guy who just got pummeled like Robin Ventura after bull rushing Nolan Ryan; not a guy charging down the street in a full sprint to tell you how he just got attacked.

“You know John Paul Foster has a 12 foot sword,” Steve commented as Tony caught his breath.  Steve was our quiet friend, who enjoyed death metal and blowing things up.  He later went on to become a member of an elite US Special Op’s team, but as a teenager he liked stealing sand from the park to build bunkers in his backyard.

As Steve and I went back to riding our bikes around the neighborhood, Tony plotted his revenge against the catholic school kids.  For Steve and me, it was just another made up story by our Italian friend, whose grandfather owned a successful company that made the plastic covers for couches in front rooms (pronounced “fröunch”).  Tony had a streak of stories that pushed the limits of believability.  Once he tried to convince me that his uncle’s college roomate’s girlfriend’s son worked out with a guy who owned a dog that was once boarded at the same kennel as Harry Carray’s purebred.  Or the time he tried to tell me that our smokeshow teacher, Ms. Baken, asked to be his date at one of those awkward junior high dances, but he turned her down because she wouldn’t put out.

We walked to Mike Lenten’s house and rang the doorbell.  His mom answered.

“Hi Mrs. Lenten, is Mike home?” Tony politely asked.

“Oh sure Tony, let me get him,” Mike’s mom said. “Mike, your friends are here,” she yelled up the stairs as she went to the kitchen.

When Mike walked to the door, Tony got serious, “Morse and Albion, four o’clock this Friday.  Bring any of your friends who wanted to get beat up.”

“No, you bring any of your friends that want to get beat up,” Mike shot back.  We weren’t really good at taunting, but we tried.

Tony was about to unleash war in the town of Tessville unlike anything seen since the years of prohibition.  Tony needed experienced guys; guys who knew how to fight and were not afraid to take heat from their parents when things went bad.  Steve and I were not those guys, but Tony let us in his gang anyway.  Then he recruited the toughest kids in our school.

Tony--All Grown Up
Tony–All Grown Up

Harry Konstanov, a gypsy, was rumored to be in the ‘Junior’ Latin Kings.  His parents supposedly had a counterfeit machine in their basement.  No one ever saw it, but everyone knew about it.  This kid was so tough that he never fought anyone in school, he just looked at you, causing you to ‘fight club’ yourself like Edward Norton, and then he watched you head to the the nurse’s office.  At lunch one day, he showed me a cut on his hand that looked like a deep gash from landing too hard on the woodchips on the playground.  He claimed he got it from punching a rival gang member in the mouth on a Tuesday night.  I wasn’t about to call the toughest guy in school a liar, but I couldn’t believe his parents let him stay out after dark.

In the movie Heat, we learned you need a getaway driver.  If you needed a ride to junior high, you called Derek Mendez.  He had his driver’s license in 7th grade and a mustache two years prior.  An import from the Philippines, the school system held him back a couple of years so he could catch up.  It is pretty cool when you can bum a smoke off a teacher in the parking lot while all your friends are buying Clearasil by the case.

For the next three days at school, talk of the fight was running through the halls like a case of gonorrhea at a chain of truck stops in Kentucky.  Tony strutted through the hallways with his chest out and his shirtsleeves rolled up.  Kids approached him, kissed his pinky ring, and paid homage to the new king of the school.  The popular girls looked at him as if he were Patrick Swayze in Roadhouse.  Even the older kids acknowledged him with a high-five instead of booking him.

After school on Friday, I went home and asked my mom if I could go to Tony’s.  “Sure, but be home by dinner time,” she said.

“I might be home a little later than normal.  Tony’s big gang fight is today,” I added.

Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion…

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Cell Phone Etiquette

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Remember life before cell phones?  People smiled to strangers in the elevator instead of playing Candy Crush.  You could pretend to be lost, ask a hot girl for directions then invite her to a “Chicks drink free happy hour.”  When you jumped off that two story building thirty million people didn’t watch you break your pelvis on YouTube.  Life was good.

Now there are now more cell phones than people in the world.  Only cab drivers are capable of using two cell phones simultaneously and those guys took years of practice to get good at it.  Let’s dive into the other types of cell phone wrongdoers.

Your Typical Abusers

Miss. Ringtone—I didn’t know phones still had these.

Mr. Xanac—It is ten pm.  The party is happening like the drunken beach house scene in Weekend at Bernie’s.    Everyone is laughing and meeting new people– except one guy.  He sits on a stool in the corner thumbing through his three friends on his MySpace account.  He wonders why his life looks more like Tom Hanks in Castaway than the guy in a Nicholas Sparks novel.

Mrs.  Ansel Adams—When people used to use film to take pictures, it meant something.  You only had twenty-four snapshots per roll; not 8,000 pictures combined with sixteen hours of video on your iPhone9.  You made every picture count.  You didn’t take pictures of fireworks on the Fourth of July, every time your kid spit up, or rapid fire shots of your friends throwing back that tenth shot of Skol vodka.  Here’s a tip:  Live in the moment, you might enjoy it.

Mr. Bluetooth—You, Mrs. Blackberry and your kid Flip Phone should all get a room.

Ms. Tears For Fears: “Shout, shout, let it all out”—Because you bought one of the bottom-shelf Cricket phones don’t make the rest of us listen to you as you attempt to yell from Newark to Kansas City.

gordon-gekko-cell-phone
Michael Douglas still wants to be Ivan Boesky

Mr. Big Deal—It is no longer 1988.  Talking loud on your cell phone as you walk down the street wearing the free suit from the Men’s Warehouse ‘Buy 1, Get 3 Free Special’ makes you obnoxious, not Gordon Gekko.

The Waze App—Drivers of this century know you can’t text and drive.  Apparently, it is still ok to fumble around with your phone as you confirm an accident or police presence while flying down the highway at eighty mph.

Mrs. Mulit-tasker—Conversations with these people are like you watching the Super Bowl in real time while your neighbors are on a fifteen-second delay.  They just can’t catch up.  This is how the conversation goes [the whole time them clicking away on their phone]

You:  “Blah, blah, blah”
Her:  “Yea…”
You:  “As I was saying, blah, blah, blah”
Her:  “Sure, sounds good”
[she finally looks up from phone giving you her full attention]:
Her:  “Wait, wait, no.  I’m not going to have a four way with you, my sister, and an escort to be named later.”

Mr. Britannica—”Wait, I’ll look it up.  It will just take second,” this person needs to verify every friendly, bar argument with Wikipedia.  Everyone stands around listening to seconds of their life waste away until Eager Beaver can verify the five tertiary reasons why the Peloponnesian War lasted as long as it did.

This Must Stop

I’m organizing a protest next Tuesday at the National Mall:  “Cell Phones Have To Go”.  I’m not going to be there, but if you could go on my behalf, that would be super.

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I Want To Be President

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Every four years, every yahoo who has any aspiration of becoming a global leader climbs out from their hole and says, “I’m running for president.”  It really doesn’t matter that most of these candidates are completely incapable of holding down a regular job, so running for office seems like a completely legitimate career move.  Additionally, if they win, the benefits are pretty sweet too (secret service, complimentary stationary, free meals).

Just imagine how much better my  life would be
Just imagine how much better my life would be

If we learned anything from the movie Dave, we know that even a guy in a coma can keep the country running for several months.  Fortunately, I run this slick blog, which has experienced exponential since it launched (and we just picked up another subscriber last week).  Using this platform, I could be the voice of three hundred million people from my couch.

I know there will be naysayers telling me that I can’t run the biggest powerhouse this side of the sun, but to them I say, “There may be a steep learning curve, but I can’t be the worst.  It is almost impossible to be last out of 45.”  Even Nixon didn’t get fired.

Once elected, I would absolutely abuse my power.  I would call up famous people that I always wanted to meet:

 “Hey Gisele, you, Tom and the kids come over and we’ll fire up the grill.  I got what is left of Nirvana playing a concert here tonight.”

“Ricky Schroder, I’m calling you from the White House.  Get your silver spoon ass over here.”

“Bill Cosby.  Guess what’s not coming your way:  A pardon.”

With the ultimate VIP pass, you could expect to see me at the Super Bowl, Jay-Z’s Academy Awards after-party, and several random warehouse raves.  I would also make guest appearances in movies (playing myself, of course), TV shows (like The Bachelorette where I would straighten out some of those dudes—seriously, you and nineteen other guys are chasing the same girl-that’s just dumb, you have a 95% chance of losing).

Hey, Chris Asdids remember when you made me repeatedly pop my collar on the school bus in first grade?  No?  Well I do.  Consider this a heads up when SEAL Team 6 tosses flashbang grenades into your house as a training drill.  They just make a lot of noise and light.  You’ll poop your pants in fear, but you’ll be fine otherwise.

For a hefty fee, I would use the new iPhone to make a call during the State of the Union Address, carry a Pepsi while boarding Air Force One, or do the occasional infomercial for the ThighMaster 2.  I would also start charging for autographs and selfies.  I’m going to be out of a job in eight four years, so I need to start building my brand.  The president only makes $400,000 a year as the CEO of a company with $17 trillion in revenues.  Larry Ellison made $67 million running Oracle last year and his company only did $38 billion in revenues, so you see why I would need to moonlight.

Is this a little self-serving?  Absolutely, but you would do it too.

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Underage Bar Fighting with Special Mention of the Marlboro Man

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Back when men worked for scale and magazines still allowed ads with the Marlboro Man, my father used to regularly take me to “Kathy’s Bar” at Damen and Lawrence.  I was only four, but I realized that this working man’s bar would be my Friday nights of the future if I didn’t graduate from eighth grade.

After a long day at preschool, I was at Kathy’s throwing back a Coke and snacking on peanuts.  A commotion arose from some of the regulars by the pool table.  Two ironworkers came to the forefront of the group and squared off in the center of the bar.  The intensity of their slurred speech and violent finger pointing told me this was not an argument over the Cubs game.

Make it a double
Make it a double

I knew this wasn’t normal bar behavior and I looked to my father for how to respond to this potentially life threatening situation.  My father abruptly turned his chair.  He was now in the perfect position to watch the throw down.  I was so close to the action, the spittle could land on me.  I kept glancing back at my dad for clues to run out of the bar for our safety, but my father was ordering another beer from the waitress as if he was sitting ringside at the Spinks-Holmes fight.

“Dad, dad, what’s going to happen?” I asked as my spine tensed up and adrenaline pumped throughout my body.

“They’re going to fight,” he retorted while tossing some popcorn in his mouth and leaning back in the chair as he perched his shoes on top of the table.  “If you don’t turn around, you might miss it.”

I had seen preschoolers bitch slap each other on the playground, but this was a real, unsupervised fight.  There were no teachers to break it up, no helicopter parent able to airlift Little Billy out trouble, nor a code of honor to stop once one boy starts crying.  These were two full size dudes about to go full tilt drunken bum fight.

Suddenly, a maiden appeared between the men. I wondered if they were going to beat her up too.  I glanced back at my dad.  He stood up and walked away.  What was he doing?  A real life version of Van Damme’s epic movie, Bloodsport, was unfolding in front of me.   My dad abandoned me.  Was this one of those early manhood tests?  Survive a bar fight and become an adult?  If I could survive, I knew what story I would be sharing at ‘Show and Tell’ on Friday.

The standoff, like two wild elks squaring off over a mate, continued.  They circled each other while the woman stood in between begging them to back down and resume the pool game.  The intensity built as one of them grabbed a beer bottle.

“Please there are children here!” she shouted as her missing teeth came into my view.  No longer part of the peanut gallery, I was involved.  With that desperate plea, the men backed down.  They exited with a few vulgar words as the bar returned to its normal state of affairs.

My father returned and sat in his chair.

“Dad, where did you go?  These guys fought each other,” I exclaimed as the intensity in my voice had yet to subside.

“I went to the bathroom.  And these guys didn’t fight,” he calmly stated as he took a pull out of his beer, “as soon as a girl gets in the middle of two guys arguing, it’s never going to happen.”

I took in this vast wisdom.  Other classmates of mine where playing with Legos and watching Sesame Street with that stupid yellow bird.  I was learning how the real world works.

“Besides,” he continued, “there was way too much talking.  Real bar fights happen with a punch, not a bunch of yelling.”

Kathy’s Bar is now a T-mobile, the Marlboro Man has retired to that great cattle ranch in the sky, and the union worker has faded into the history books much like Jack Dempsey.  However, I still have the memories of surviving my first bar fight.

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Spring is Here; Let’s Get Ready To Protest

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After five months of sub-zero weather, half of America breaks out the placards and megaphones to fire up chanting and rioting all in the name of fighting the perceived wrongs in the world.  Welcome to the start of the ‘2015 Protest Season’.  Do the three months around the winter solstice yield a time of peace and tranquility void of all inequalities?  Or was everyone in preparation mode?  As soon as outdoor seating stars showing up at restaurants, everyone thinks they are Che Guevera rallying the masses to force change via their right to assemble.

The Protestors Are So Impassioned, But Why?

“Exercising their freedom of speech” is the common response.  When I ride my Schwin around the block, I don’t get a fancy yellow shirt for winning a stage of the Tour de France like that drug addict Lance Armstrong.  I just sit my butt in the couch and finish watching The Talk while I tell myself I am a winner.  I only exercised my right to work out.  No one else notices the results and no one else cares.  Just like no one says to a protestor, “Great job waving that sign and avoiding the tear gas.”  Congratulations to that protestor who showed everyone that they are a moron for missing a day of work so they could get out and exercise their first amendment right.

What Are They Fighting For?

Armed with poster board, crayons, loudspeakers and the occasional bass drum, these do-gooders take to the streets.  They have their chants, their leaders, and their human chains.  I am sympathetic to many of the protests, but for many I don’t see what they are trying to accomplish:

  • Treatment of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay—If you want one of these lunatics to bunk up in your spare bedroom, go ahead.  Please invite them to your second home in Antarctica—not to my homeland.
  • ”Save the Earth”/Greenpeace hippies:  I don’t think the earth is really listening.  It has been here for five billion years.  400 people singing “We are the World” is not going to prevent global warming.
  • Any group with an acronym instead of a proper name—If your own protestors don’t know what the letters stand for, no one else does either.
  • Most PETA protests—If a new eye cream is going to cause a nasty rash, I would like the monkey get it first.
  • 1% Protests (Occupy Wall Street)—If they succeeded in removing the 1%, wouldn’t the next 1.0101% become the new 1%?

In Conclusion

Pick your cause, post your bail money in advance, and enjoy the season.

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Creating Life and Dropping Names

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Sorry you work at a cubical job. Despite playing the occasional game of laser tag and reminiscing about that one time made out with Kristy Cedarson in fifth grade, your overall life rating is hovering around a D-.  Your failure as a human doesn’t mean you need to send your kid down the same path, but it is up to you to start them on the right track by naming your child correctly.

Here are some helpful tips on proper naming to set your child up for life success instead of living on skid row (NOT “in the band ‘Skid Row’”-which would be awesome):

1)  Jedidiah, Christabel, Cillian:  If you, as an educated adult, need to take a ‘Hooked on Phonics’ course to learn how to spell your newborn’s name, your kid will be repeating kindergarten until they are ten years old trying to pass the ‘spell your name’ test.

2)  Bill, Ronald, John, and Barry:  Stick to naming your boys after US Presidents.  Barry–a US President?  You bet he is.  Before Barack Obama was balls deep in pension for life elected position, he went by “Barry”.  You can read about it here.

3)  Don’t go all ‘Coldplay’ and name your kid after a fruit.  If you created a human life with Gwyneth Paltrow, go ahead and name your kid after a Yugoslavian auto part if you want.  However, you knocked up your neighbor who supplements her disability check by selling prescription pills, so stick to the naming rules.

4)  Take a hint from George Foreman.  Naming kids is hard, and Foreman knew after years of punches to the cranium and burns by his own grill, he was incapable of such a momentous act.  George Foreman named all his boys and one of his girls after President George Washington.

5)  Crystal, Misty, Serenity, Destiny, Lexus, or any other bank teller name.  Bank teller is the career path of the retired stripper, but tellers don’t get free tanning and cash tips.  I’m sure you have some obtuse reasoning for these names, such as ‘Summer is my favorite season’ or ‘I always wanted to go to France, so I’ll name her Asia’, but when you’re old and pumped up with Viagra, you don’t want to avoid “$1 Dance Night” at the local strip shack because your daughter is working.

Just like that awful tramp stamp you got in college, this is a lifelong decision.  Don’t screw up your kid’s life by taking a flyer on their name.  Put down the Allen wrench that you are using to assemble the baby furniture and put some real thought into your child’s future.

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How to Make Your Own Craft Beer

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The stalwarts of alcohol have failed the United States of America.  The nation’s drinkers no longer reach for Bud Heavy, Coors, or our south of the border friend, Corona.  The masses have turned to micro and nano beers such as Fred, Donkey Punch, or Blithering Idiot to raise their BAC and lower their inhibitions.  These new beers, known as craft, or “hey mom, look what I just made in the bathtub,” are spreading across our country like measles in both the pre and post vaccination era.  After careful research consisting of two Google searches and overhearing the endless conversations of guys talking mindlessly about waiting in line for fourteen hours for a two pack of craft beer, Skiinginjeans will show you how you can be a true player in the craft beer scene.

Your Image

Being a brew master is more than just making a sub-average beer.  It is about projecting an image as a brew master to your legion of devoted followers.  These worshipers will not look to a deity with a custom suit, a MBA from Wharton, or a jaw line so square that Office of Weights and Measures will use it as the mold for T-squares.  Hide your country club membership card and put your Tesla in storage.  Your disciples demand a heavily bearded, overweight, flannel-wearing dude complete with one of those gas station mesh trucker hats.  You must guide your people to a place where homemade beer, no matter how awful, doesn’t seem as commercialized you’re trying to make it.

The Product

Beer is beer.  Some of it is dark and some of it is light, When your mom catches you puking in her bushes after a late night at McGillicutty’s, you can be rest assured that the beer did its job.  It really doesn’t matter what you bottle, just shoot for an alcohol by volume level of at least 10%.  Even though you are dealing self-proclaimed beer experts who liken their ability to the best sommeliers, they just want value for their money.  After a long night of drinking your heavily fermented, $8/can concoction, if they find themselves waking up next to a hipster chick who has not shaved her armpits since the Clinton administration, you did your job.

When to Sell Out

There is a very good chance you will go out of business before every netting dollar one.  Your product is like a viral meme; once everyone has seen it, no one cares for a second look.  In the slightest chance, a buyer does approach you and you do sell your brewery, make sure you include your used bathtub and strainer—that is where the real value in your company lies.  When you finally address your finicky customers to tell them that you sold your company, you are never to say, “I sold this company.”  Words like these will only turn off your beatnik zealots because you traded in years of wasted time for a handful of Lincolns and maybe a couple of Hamiltons.  Tell your followers that you have turned over a new leaf in your business and by partnering with a major brewery, you can seek out new adventures by moving to Colorado and opening a legalize drug operation.  They will respect your devotion to a new cause that, unbeknownst to them, is on pace to have a larger market than beer.

The Future

If you want to see what the craft beer industry will look like in twenty years, look at the current value of baseball cards from the 1990’s.  They are worthless.  This craft beer fad is on par with Ty Warner’s Beanie Babies (Warner is currently on probation for tax evasion), Hyper-Color shirts (Generra, the company that produced the shirts, went bankrupt in 1992), and Ralph Macchio (no commentary needed).

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A Short Lesson in Pronouns

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I was in your office last week and I overheard this conversation between two co-workers:

“We smoked them last night”

“They did a great job running, but we just couldn’t punch through their defense”

“You’re right; we lost that game because he can’t coach.  Next year they need to focus on their back office and not on our franchise guy”

“You played a great game, congrats on the ‘W’!”

Confused?  Both of these guys walked away thinking the conversation was transparent.  In reality, one guy was talking about his kid’s debate team and the other was talking about an amateur jai alai match played in 1992.

More heart attacks occur on Monday than any other day of the week (We site sources here at skiingingjeans.com).  I once flipped through the pamphlet “Diabetes and You,” so I am qualified to tell you that listening to conversations like the one above is the primary reason you will end up in the supine position on a gurney headed to the hospital.  Your brain overloads with so many synapses firing to attempt to understand the ill-connected pronouns that your heart implodes.  On the way to the hospital, some nineteen-year-old, pre-med EMT trying to become the next Doogie Howser will break your ribs doing chest compressions while slipping you the tongue as he treats you like a Resusci Anne doll.  This near death experience is much more enjoyable than listening to Chuck tell you how he threw for 350 yards, went 12-15 from the line, scored an empty net goal, and held Derek Jeter to only one hit over the weekend.

At the hospital, you will probably overhear two doctors having a similar, pronoun filled conversation that you just had with your co-worker.  You will fall into another cardiac arrest and the staff will run for the defibrillator.  They will yell “Clear!” and bring you back to life like Mark Ruffalo in Just Like Heaven.  Please note the medical team doesn’t yell, “You get clear,” “We got clearance,” or “They need to get clear so y’all can blast him.”  They just yell “clear.”  No pronouns are used and it is crystal clear, right?

Newsflash:  You are not on the team.

If “your” team wins the championship and you do not receive a trophy, ring or other item that will later be hawked on eBay when you’re headed for bankruptcy, you are not on the team.  Yes, the owner, the players, and the groundskeeper all say, “fans are a part of the team.”  That is marketing 101.

Aside from the fact that you are not on the team’s payroll, the logic of claiming any type of ownership is bewildering.  Next time you’re at the ballet try to catch yourself saying, “We almost stuck the landing in the third act, but that fall probably cost us the rest of the season.”  In both cases, sports and ballet, you are the consumer.  You expect to be entertained for the money you pay for a ticket, but don’t expect any fanfare for you when they do well.

No sane person will venture outside to get the newspaper with wind chill levels reaching sixty below zero.  However, lunatics, using ice picks to break up frozen beers while losing fingers due to frostbite, will gladly fork over $150 a ticket to watch twenty-two meatheads play catch in an arctic blast.

“Being a Packers fan is in your blood, hereditary even.”

In your blood?  Flight or fight is in your blood.   Wisdom teeth are in your blood.  Sickle-cell anemia is in your blood.  Cheering for a sport created a hundred years ago is not an evolutionary feat.  Until hockey players grow gills and live underwater, sports are still a fad in the annals of man.

Save yourself a trip to the hospital for cardiac arrest and keep your fingers intact by avoiding pronoun abuse.

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Hello Baby New Year: Here is Your Resolution

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With 2015 starting up, it is time to pull out that list of 2014 New Year’s resolutions.  You casually cross out “2014” and change it to “2015”.  If you’re like most overweight Americans, you have “Get in shape” or “Lose XX pounds” on this list.  Instead of writing some vague statement like “I’m going to be less of a fat ass than last year” or “On Sundays, I will take the stairs instead of the elevator” on your 2015 resolution sheet, why don’t you write something quantifiable like “I’m going to run a 5K in less than 25 minutes.”

Here are some pointers for running your first 5k:

1)   When you sign up for your race, you will get a T-shirt with the name and date of the race on it.  You wouldn’t wear a “Boy George 2015 Revival Tour” shirt to The Brass Rail bar in Fort Wayne, Indiana to watch the has been singer belt out “Karma Chameleon”.  Don’t turn your first 5K into amateur hour by sporting the crisp, new race day shirt of the race you’re in.

2)   Never run the entire 5K distance in training.  Marathon training rules apply here.  Let’s face it, a 5K is your marathon; this is probably the most physical activity you’ve had since you ran the mile in seventh grade gym class.  Keep it simple; one mile here, two miles there.  There is no need to pull a hammy a couple of weeks prior to your big Chariots of Fire moment.

3)   If the race you’re in is big enough, you will be assigned a starting corral.  Since you have no race history, you will be assigned the last corral.  Everyone has to start somewhere, but when you start the winner of the race will be crossing the finish line at the same time.  Your corral will be behind the people with walkers and dudes almost as lame as you.  Pay no attention to your assignment.  Get to the front of the race, and come out guns blazing.  There is a chance that you will be the race leader for the first fifty feet before some Kenyan blows past you.

4)   Carb loading is not just for marathoners.  The night before the race, go out and eat.  Don’t limit yourself to carbs.  Eat everything you can get your hands on.  No french fry is too small, no beer has too much gluten, just eat and drink.   When you’re running almost four miles (I rounded for your ego boost) the following day you’ll be grateful you have the internal fuel to carry you through.

5)   Water stations.  Seriously?  Do you pause your Growing Pains collector DVDs so you can rehydrate while watching Carol learn about the dangers of drinking and driving?  You’re not doing the Bad Water Ultramarathon, you’re doing a warm up run disguised as a race.

6)   The last thing you need to go with your sore quads and strained calf muscles are bloody nipples.  Marathon guys are always chaffing and bleeding in weird places.  Don’t take chances.  Get some lube and apply it liberally like Burt Reynolds in Striptease.

7)   Babies poop themselves and so do winners.  If you’re struggling at mile 1, the last thing you should do is take a break to relieve yourself.  Face facts:  If you sit down to poop, you may never get up and finish the race.

It is better to be an embarrassed winner than a clean cut loser.
It is better to be an embarrassed winner than a clean cut loser.

8)   Stretching is for people who do yoga.  Don’t confuse your body with poses and saying “namaste”.  Any time you waste stretching, is time you are not running.

9)   This is the point when most running literature says you should consult a doctor before training.  I know a guy who use to be a doctor (that’s a nice way of saying “lost his license without admitting guilt”); he said that running through the pain is the best way to be a winner.  Ignore those shin splints, cramps, heart palpitations, and asthma attacks.

10)  If you get lapped by the 10K leader on your 5K run, just pull off to the side and cheer on the real athletes.

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