The Big Kid In Gym Class – He’s Turned 32

I’m not going to spend alot of time explaining why I’ve made the decision to join a crossfit class with my wife.  That’s a whole other blog.  I needed something to do physically, and the gym wasn’t cutting it.  So there.

Waking up at 5:30 am, going out into the frigid cold to work out with 25 strangers in a crossfit class isn’t exactly a blast. But it’s what I’m doing. My wife did it as a pre-wedding weight purge plan, and it worked.  And it worked well. Meanwhile, my pre-wedding workouts at the gym were less a workout and more a couple of routines I probably comparable to bringing in big bags of groceries.  I wasn’t exactly pushing it.

I’ve never exactly pursued physical fitness.  It was always one of those things i figured I would get around to at some point.  I’ve never gotten around to it.  I was the fat kid in gym class.  And to understand what that’s like, well, it’s a little difficult to put into words, but try this on for size: When you’re at your must fragile in the self conscience department, when kids are really at their nothing-is-off-limits meanest, gym teachers would do the annual weigh-ins for physical fitness testing.  They’d start telling the class about it a week ahead of time, and it was the most horrific day of the school year for me. When you’re the biggest kid in class, getting up on a scale in front of 35 of your classmates was like going to school naked.  Looking back, it was probably the worst possible way to do it, but i don’t think the fragile psyche of an overweight 12 year old was at the forefront of gym teachers’ minds.

So here I am, at 32 years old, 20 years removed from that trauma, and I’ve consciously decided to join a group of strangers for exercise 4 days a week first thing in the morning.  There are what they call burpees, an unholy little exercise that on the surface, looks harmless.  It involves dropping to the floor, doing a pushup, and lifting yourself back up and ending the whole thing by clapping your hands above your head.  Despite it’s non-threatening look, it is absolutely as painful as it sounds, and as looks just as ridiculous.

Burpees. The root of all evil.

There is of course, running. Which, even those who run marathons will say isn’t exactly an “enjoyable” exercise.  I’ve never understood the appeal, and my wife has tried relentlessly to explain it to me. And here we are……..running. Great.  I’m 15 yards behind everyone.  I’d done what i had always done, which was scan the group beforehand and try desperately to find someone I thought I’d finish ahead of.  I’d found him, and we’ll call him Marcus.  And now Marcus was 15 yards ahead of me.  I was last.  It was 1992, and I was in 6th grade all over again.  It’s ok though.  There’s a difference this time, it seems.

In years past, I may have bailed out. I’d have done a few laps, found a reason i needed to quit-you know, because it’s getting cold-but here there’s some sort of push from the trainers that kept me  moving.  This isn’t boot camp, and there’s no screaming. It’s a positive, methodical approach that I realized is why so many of these people have come back. It’s why my wife has been raving about it for months, and telling me that going to the gym after crossfit just wasn’t the same.  These trainers are as encouraging to me as they are to the first person to finish the warm up run.   So this, this might be the environment I’ve needed for so long. It’s an even playing field for everyone, at every level. I think I speak for most of the big kids in gym class-that’s really all we’ve ever wanted.

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Halloween Is Dumb. Yeah, I Said It.

I hate Halloween. There, I said it.  And I won’t apologize for it.  I’ve accepted it, I’m prepared for the ridicule, and you won’t change my mind.  I have heard all of the “but it’s so fun” and “you can be anything you want” and “dogs dressed as cats are cute” excuses I can take.  Because frankly, it’s not fun for everyone, I can be anything I want anytime I want, and my dog has no desire to be dressed as a cat.  It’s why he is a dog.  And after years of asking myself why it is I’ve become a Halloween hater, I think it’s time for me to admit to myself why.  When I was 12 years old, in a fit of Hallow’s Eve desperation, I dressed as a girl for a Halloween party.

I’ve always been a bit of a procrastinator. And this particular year, I had put exactly zero thought into what I’d be for the neighborhood Halloween party.  The day arrived, time was becoming a factor, and I was trying to scrounge something up for the candy fueled sugar-rager. My parents were helping me out, but nothing we had in the house was able to cross that costume threshold, the one you need to strike a balance between comfort and looking like you made an effort.

As I scrambled throughout the house, somewhere in the other room my older brother said in a snarky tone-the only language 14-year-old boys speak-that I should dress up as a girl.  Truthfully, I can’t confirm if it was my brother or not, but looking back it he’s the most likely culprit.

What happened next was a bit of a blur, but having a sister two years older meant that the pieces needed for the costume were more readily available.  And with that, before I even had time to object, there was an eyeliner pencil in my face, and somehow mascara and lipstick became part of the equation.  Being the youngest of three also lends itself to being told what to do without the ability to object, and this was no exception.  In my head I was wallowing in anxiety but I was powerless. I was being transformed from Andrew to Andrea and it was too late.

Being 12 years old is the pinnacle of the awkward pre-teen years.  Being a 12-year-old boy dressed as a girl for Halloween brings with it a whole new level of awkwardness.  Walking into the party, I was brimming with anxiety, but as I looked around the room, it became clear to me that no one really recognized me.  Whether that was a compliment or not, I wasn’t sure.  But as the night went on, I was just some kid dressed as a girl. There was still a lingering fear as I saw kids I knew from school that I’d be called out.  The jig would be up.  But as the party wrapped up, I was in the clear. My parents were on the way to pick me up, and I’d managed to navigate the absurd bobbing for apples, the ridiculous cake walk, and all the other games and activities in complete anonymity.  Until I saw Kenny.  Kenny lived down the street from me and as we walked out to wait for our rides, he looked at me, completely confused.

“Andrew?”

I froze.  I wasn’t sure if I should own up to it or not.  And in a split second, I panicked, and blew the top off the whole thing.

“Hey Kenny,” I said.  He looked at me perplexed again, and the confusion shifted to hysterical laughter.  Here. It. Comes.  They are all gonna laugh at me.  But it never came. I was saved by my mother, who for the first time ever, was right on time to pick me up. (That’s a whole different blog, trust me.) I’d made it through a night as a 12-year-old drag queen intact. (That’s a sentence I never imagined I would write.)  And the next day at school, not a word was spoken.  Kenny was in a different class, so I managed to side step his inevitable cruelty.  And all the other kids had been to hyped up on sugar to even notice.

Halloween hasn’t been the same since.  That was pretty much the last year I ever dressed in a costume, save for the occasional college Halloween party where I had costumes that were 90 percent convenience and 10 percent creativity.  And it isn’t just the year i dressed as a girl that forever poisoned Halloween for me.  It’s the ungrateful kids who ask for more candy, or when the kid who has a mask and a grocery bag and is clearly too old to be trick or treating.  Or my absolute favorite, the parent who says his kid is in the car and she’s getting his candy for him. So you can take Halloween,  I’ll eat myself stupid on Thanksgiving.  Comfortably. In my own clothes.

Trips To Lowe’s, Riding Shotgun And The Days Of Duke

Duke wasn’t my dog.  He wasn’t my mom’s dog.  Duke was my dad’s dog.  And everyone in the house, despite the fact I and my siblings had long since moved away, knew it. When we walked through the door to visit our parents he’d be the first one to greet us.  And he was large.   So large, in fact, he was the real life version of the cowardly lion.   And the only thing larger than his golden mane and aging body was the love he had for my dad.

He was part of a two-fer deal my parents fell into when they went to a Golden Retriever Rescue a few years back.  Maxx and Duke were a pair.  No two ways about it. My parents have always loved dogs, especially those just entering their golden years.  They always had a soft spot for the older guys.  And Maxx and Duke, two golden retrievers who were joined at the hip, were no exception.

Maxx had a number of his own issues-my brother swore the dog had hallucinogenic episodes-passed away a few years back, leaving Duke as the lone four legged member of the household.  And once he got over losing his brother, Duke promptly grew even more attached to my dad. They were the men of the house.

They had their routine in the morning, which, because of his age, often took longer than it probably should have.  He’d walk the grounds of the property. He’d hold court on the back deck when the family was together, and he’d sit and watch Redskins games with dad in the fall.  Having long since moved away, Duke was taking my place as my dad’s game day buddy.

Whenever I came home to visit, my parents loved to catch us up on everything that was going on, and tops on the list was always Duke, and his funny habits.  He’d sit in the middle of the kitchen, oblivious to the flurry of activity and around him, content to be in everyone’s way. We cleared many a tables and stepped over Duke taking dishes into the kitchen.  He’d get excited, and unleash a half attempt at barking that wasn’t the result of anything internal, but more so because he just didn’t feel the need to fully commit to barking.  He’d made his feeling known, and that was all.

As Duke continued getting older, I’ll never forget the image of standing with my dad outside Pet Smart, and Duke seated comfortably in the backseat of the truck, refusing to get out.  Despite the ramp my dad had bought to get his best pal out of the truck, Duke just couldn’t really be bothered.  He’d rather sit in the truck.  15 minutes later, in the freezing cold, he finally got out.

I call my parents often, and more often than not, the conversation involves the latest Duke tale.  There was his fear of thunderstorms, his wallowing in the grass, or confusion at everyone suddenly being on his floor with the new grandbaby.  He loved attention and would walk the aisles of the local Lowe’s with my dad on weekend mornings.  Whether Lowe’s allowed dogs in their stores I’m still not sure.  The rules were a little different for Duke.

A few days ago, I talked to my dad on the phone on my way home from work, as I always do.  He said that things were getting worse for Duke, whose aging body was moving slower and slower every time I saw him.  Duke wasn’t eating, which was the real indicator that something wasn’t right.

Duke passed away yesterday, and for the first time in my life, when I called my dad to speak to him, I had nothing to say.  Not because I couldn’t talk to him, but because he’d lost his best buddy.  And often times, when that happens, there is nothing you can say.  This was one of those times.

He had lost his morning routine partner, his co-pilot on trips into town, and his shopping buddy, that would help him look for home improvement supplies.  Sundays this fall he’ll watch the Redskins, and it probably won’t be the same.  After Duke was buried my dad was gathering Duke’s things and would be taking them to the local shelter for another set of dogs, maybe older guys, who are looking for exciting times in the golden years just like Duke and his brother Maxx.  Fitting that my dad would be making the trip.  Duke wasn’t my mom’s dog.  Duke was my dad’s dog.

A Man And His Dog

I’ve hesitated since I started this blog to write about my dog.  Everyone’s got dog stories, and why muddy the waters with more, i thought.  Besides, it’s a topic that writes itself, and doesn’t take a whole bunch of thought at the end of the day.  But then I realized that writing about ones dog might in fact be terribly difficult.  To be able to convey the love of your dog onto a blank page, THAT is tough.  At the end of the day, we’ll never do it justice.  Ever.  All we can do is write, and hope that the way we feel about our dogs comes out in the words.  So with that said, this is my shot.  This is my world with Dexter.

Like millions of Americans, I have a dog.  And like everyone one of those millions of dog owners, I’m absolutely convinced that my dog is special.  And like every one of those owners, I’m also convinced that no, really, I’m not just saying that-my dog is truly one of a kind.  Let me also just go ahead and say this now, that this entry doesn’t have a sad ending.  It seems all people want to do is write about how wonderful their dog is AFTER the fact.  No, no, I want to go on record now, while Dexter is still here and explain that he is really the best dog there ever was.  And not the best in a he-listens-to-my-every-command kind of way.  Just….the best.

Dexter is complicated.  He always has been.  Since the day I laid eyes on him at the Atlanta Lab Rescue day back in 2008, I knew he was the one I wanted.  I had always wanted a black lab and Dexter looked at me and nearly opened his mouth and said “please, take me. I won’t be the easiest dog to deal with in the world, but you’ll love me anyway.” Dammit Dexter, you couldn’t have been more right.

Black labs aren’t exactly mellow dogs, and The Dex is no exception.  Every knock at the door is a 4 alarm fire, every ring of the doorbell is a trip down panic lane, and sitting on the couch and watching tv, well, that was impossible for the first two years, as Dexter wasn’t taking a backseat to the evening news when it came to attention. He never sat, he never relaxed, and he never seemed to be able to just chill.

He’s got a small circle of doggie friends, not because he is anti-social, but because he’s convinced every other dog is out to get him.  Call it paranoia, call it fear, he’s always got a conspiracy on the mind about how the Yorkie down the street is plotting his demise.  And as a result, the Yorkie down the street hears from him every time they cross paths. Barking, lunging, whatever it takes.  We explored dog obedience class, which, aside from being able to hang with his great dane buddy Mikey, was pretty much a miserable experience for Dexter.  Much like the kid in the back of the class who refuses to shut up or sit still, Dexter had no interest in the lecture on learning to heel.  Or sitting.  Or staying.  Or focusing on one’s owner.  Somehow, his teacher, David, managed to give him a passing grade.  It was equal parts congrats-on-your-hard-work and oh-my-god-get-him-out-of-here.

Before getting a dog, I had visions of being a man about town with my dog, going to the park, going to street festivals, just me and Dexter, a dynamic duo of sorts.  Pilot and wingman, we’d be guys about town. The truth is though,  he has no interest in street festivals, as the crowds and noise are a bit overwhelming.  He really doesn’t have any real interest in the park, since the other dogs are all out to get him.  And while we’ve tried doggie daycare, well, he’d just rather be at home.  At least that’s what he apparently told the other dogs who so desperately wanted to play with him.


The first three years of our lives together has certainly had its share of bumps in the road.  I’ve stood at the top of the stairs, with my eyes shut, trying to channel some element of patience when I found my brand new shoes mangled and chewed.  It’s been hard to swallow when the alarm clock is set to go off at 6:30, but Dexter decides to start the day even earlier, which in turn, means we ALL start the day earlier.

As I write this, I’ve determined it’s not the last this blog will hear of Dexter.  He’s a great dog, and has made the last 3 years awesome…….and interesting.  I could write 15 more paragraphs about his exploits.  But I’ll hold off for now. I’ve got to pace myself.  And find a new pair of shoes.

My ITunes Playlists Are Starting To Bore Me………

Throughout the last two years my musical tastes have undergone a bit of a shift.  It used to be a relentless pursuit anything that had a blazing guitar solo, any opus that would wander for 15+ minutes into territory that was usually only captured on stage, rather than in a studio.  I was, for all intents and purposes, feasting on a steady diet of  “jambands.”  I’ve never really understood that label, but at the end of the day, it is what it is.  They jam.  I just think it discounts all the other genres those bands pull from to weave together their sound.  I digress.

I still enjoy the 17 minute versions of Love Tractor by touring machine Widespread Panic, and I still love it when ITunes randomly throws me a block of Grateful Dead songs.  But in an attempt to branch out, what I really look for and enjoy is simpler.  Strings.  Lots of them.  Fiddles, banjos, mandolins or guitars, I’ve got a thirst for simplicity when it comes to the music.  No need for the big amplifiers or cabinets on stage.  No, no, I want minimal amplification, and I want the songwriting craft to sit front and center.  Trying to satisfy my search for what I really wanted, about a year and a half ago I came across Dave Rawlings and Gillian Welch.  And as quick as my pursuit had begun, it was over.

I’d heard of Gillian Welch, sure.  She’s was the one who sings all that yodeling heartache stuff, right?  Seriously, who had time for that when there was another Grateful Dead cover to hear for the 5,000th time? Nah.  No time.  I’m sure it’s good, but no thanks.  I’d never heard of David Rawlings either, and once I stumbled across he and Welch’s efforts, the change was on.  Standing in a field in Western Maryland, listening to the two of them play their set to close out DelFest, the annual bluegrass festival named in honor of Del McCoury, I realized.  Corner, turned.

I wasn’t discounting the endless times I’d listened to all those other bands, I was, I felt, growing up a bit.  There was substance here to this sound I’d ignored for years.  There was substance to these two that I hadn’t ever really experienced before, especially in a live music setting. The nimble picking of Rawlings on guitar and haunting lyrics of Welch’s voice were almost as perfect a musical combination I’d ever heard.  It wasn’t an eye-opening performance, it was a personal musical enlightenment, the realization that when I pulled back the curtain a little bit-there was after all-more to be heard.

In 2010, Welch and Rawlings, her musical partner of over a decade, joined up with portions of the folk/bluegrass titans Old Crow Medicine Show to form Dave Rawlings Machine, the first musical effort of Rawlings’ to bear his name.  They were my musical revelation of the year, but still, I felt I had been late to the party.  After all, Welch and Rawlings had been recording together for years, and I almost felt foolish for being such a late arrival.  Some musical genres lend themselves to a constant one-upping, repeated stories of how many Phish shows you’ve seen, or the time you saw Widespread Panic at Jones Beach and they killed that version of Space Wrangler.  Around these parts, it seems a little different. It’s not about when you got there. It’s fine-as long as you make it.

Watch This Kid, He’ll Teach You Something

Since the age of the internet arrived, and more specifically, the YouTube generation, it seems as if every day there is another star that’s been seen by millions of people after he was recorded by an unassuming cellphone.  The boom-goes-the-dynamite guy, the sneezing panda, star wars kid, and a host of others have, for better or worse, become etched in our web-saturated minds because of their hilarity or awkwardness.  And inevitably, we’ve all fired off a link to someone or tweeted the latest clip we found that left us rolling in the aisles laughing.  I’m guilty of it myself.  And truth be told, this entire entry is essentially just that.  And with that, I present to you, bike riding boy.  If you haven’t seen it yet (where have you been?) then take a look, and enjoy all the greatness of this kid.

I’m 30 years old, and I don’t recall, in all my time on this earth, ever being that excited or proud of myself for anything.  I didn’t even get that amped up when I received my college diploma, or learned I’d gotten my first job out of college.  This kid, at the age of-and I’m guessing here-6, has officially felt a level of euphoria most adults have never come close to.  For that I say, rock on brother.

With his dad getting it all on his cellphone, it’s given us all a little shot of what it really was like to be a kid.  Sure, one day he will have to worry about paying the rent, and whether he has enough in his 401K, but for just a moment, we’re able to see happiness in it’s truest form.  I’ve probably watched this clip 10 times, and it’s still just as awesome now as it was the first time I saw it.

There’s something to be learned from this boy, considering we all lose focus on things once Monday morning rolls around, the alarm goes off, and real life begins all over again. So do yourself a favor and watch this video just once today as the week fires up.  Thumbs up, everybody……..For rock and roll!

The Video I Should Have Tweeted A Week Ago

I’ve known Ben Townsend for a few years.  A classmate of mine in college, we knew each other from various classes and the college radio station, where I was the host of the local blues/rock/southern rock show (it was pretty much all things Allman Brothers and Widespread Panic peppered with a little Blues Traveler) and Ben was one of the hosts of the station’s bluegrass show.  Over the years, my musical tastes moved more into the string band variety, trading endless guitar solos for frantic banjo picking and anything that sounds like it comes from the hills of West Virginia.  Ben, unbeknownst to me since our departure from college, had forged ahead as a musician himself, as the fiddle player in a string band outfit known as The Fox Hunt.  In a never ending attempt to one day see life on the road with a band, I reached out to Ben and his band, and asked: Can I come join you guys for a week on the road?  He said yes, the band agreed, so I packed up my camera gear, and with an assist from another friend from Alaska who also brought his gear, we hit the road with The Fox Hunt.  The finished film is still TBD, as it’s in the edit stages.  I wrote a feature piece for CNN, and below is a little taste of their music, and a larger taste of exactly how cramped things were stuffed into a van with 6 people. Fortunately, there is no ability to convey smell through a video camera.

Clapton Is God And The Politeness Of His Disciples

Over the years, I’ve been to more concerts than I can count.  Venturing a guess, I’d say it is somewhere in the 300 mark.  And what often is a great topic after a concert is to systematically deconstruct the audience behavior/interaction, the respect shown for the performer, or the complete lack of respect and rudeness, depending on who is playing and where they are.  Concert going etiquette, especially in the YouTube age, has gone completely the way of the dinosaur.  That is, until I saw Eric Clapton in London a few nights ago. It was, by all accounts, one of the most interesting experiences I’ve had as a concert-goer.

To understand the setting, Royal Albert Hall is for all intents and purposes, one of the greatest concert venues on earth.  Built in 1871, it’s named for Prince Albert of the UK who despite leading the charge to have an arts building built for community enlightenment, never saw it completed.  Ten years after his death, it was finished, and it’s been one of the most distinct buildings in London ever since.

Clapton, who has made it his virtual home arena in London, has played the hall just about every year since 1968, when Cream played their farewell show. It’s probably the venue he is most synonymous with, and seeing him here is a real privilege.

Taking my seat, I first had to overcome the height of where we were sitting, as the crowd was funneling in before the show began.  As the lights went dark, the normal cheers and screams erupted for Clapton, as he took the stage with his band. His set began, and the normal concert behavior I was used to went out the window. Clapton started the show with the classic tune Key To The Highway, and I was struck at the lack of, well-anything- from the crowd.  No bobbing of the heads.  No standing.  No cheering.  There was nary a foot to be tapped here.  I was confused to the point of feeling guilty if I made any motions at all.  And once the song was over, there was thunderous applause.  There was a bit of a yell from the upper tier, but it was pedestrian applause for one of the world’s greatest musicians.

As the show went on, I began to take notice of some other things that were, for lack of a term, not what I was used to. No constant up and down, no incessant in and out from the arena, and no drunken revelers walking back to their seats with beers for the entire row.  No, this was a show that explained clearly that once you are seated, you are seated.  End of story.

One of the most glaring differences rested in the fact that we weren’t subjected to the faint blue glow of 3,000 cell phones being held up, capturing the concert in 5 minute increments for all the world to see on YouTube. (And I’ll confess, I’ve been guilty of it myself…..30 seconds if fine.  But the aspiring Scorcese who films the entire show goes a bit far.)

I had a bit of a mixed reaction to this new way of etiquette, as it was great to not be constantly subjected to conversation from neighbors, who save life-changing conversations for the middle of a rock show.  However, the seats at Royal Albert Hall, while they are witness to some of the great musical performances London has, aren’t comfortable.  At all.  In fact, I’d say they might be the worst seats I’ve ever subjected my backside to for the better parts of two and a half hours. It’s a good thing it was Clapton, otherwise I would have thrown concert etiquette out the window and stepped over 10 people to give my body some relief.

Towards the end of the show, it seemed the rules were suddenly thrown out the window, as a large portion of the crowd on the floor ran towards the front, standing right in front of the stage for Clapton’s encore.  Almost on cue, as if waiting the entire show for the signal to unleash their inner dance machine, the crowd was front and center while Clapton played a searing version of the Robert Johnson classic Crossroads.  Save it for the end, I suppose.

Crazy Eyes And The Fight That Never Was

I’m not hot tempered.  Never have been.  In fact, looking back over my years, I think I can say with absolute certainty that I have never once been in a fight.  My fists have never been used, and truth be told, I loathe confrontation.  I’ll go miles out of my way, taking the long way around to avoid confrontation.  That is, until I see something like I saw this past weekend.

I stood in line for a beer at a local festival here in town, and understanding the normal human trait of courtesy, I got to the back of the line, and waited my turn.  As I approached the table, and my number was up, a large, shirtless guy-who probably shouldn’t have been shirtless but that’s a whole other entry-walked right up to me at full speed, stepped in front of me, and ordered his beer.  Or beers.  I got the feeling he was doubling up, based on his walk.

Before I get too far-the picture of this guy needs to be painted accurately.  Sweating profusely, and clearly walking a little wobbly, this wasn’t his first trip to the beer line. And while there is no real way to describe how he actually looked, he was carrying a handful of crazy.  His eyes were wide, and it was obvious he wasn’t all there. The guy had a look of being just a shade unhinged.  And I probably should have taken that into consideration before I opened my mouth.

Failure to understand common courtesy and blatant disregard for others in social and public settings irks me.  It REALLY irks me.  Not wanting to cause a scene, but also wanting this guy to know he had irked me and probably the 30 or so people behind me, I merely opened my mouth and uttered two words: “Really guy?”  Apparently, when dealing with the unhinged and incredibly intoxicated, it was the spark needed to light the fuse.

He turned around, and looked me up and down with his crazy eyes, and unleashed a torrent of profanity that truth be told, I lost track of somewhere along the lines of “try to regulate” and “what you gonna do.” I turned to my fiancée, who stood next to me, in an attempt to ignore him, and she, as well as the guy behind me both looked a bit dumbstruck at what had just happened.  I kept an eye on the guy out of the corner of my eye. I was ready for a random uppercut to the eye, as I assumed his stellar upbringing probably told him such actions were acceptable in this scenario.

He stood there for what seemed like hours, waiting for his beers to be served, because naturally, that’s what he needed.  More beer.  And surely he was in a hurry to get back-you know, to the Cro-Magnon men he was with who were likely high-fiving over chugging beers and yelling at the women who may or may not have been standing around them.  Just as I thought the whole charade was over, he turned to me again.  And again, he unleashed another tirade on me as he walked away, calling me any number of names, questioning my manhood, and generally mocking the fact I did nothing to stop him from jumping in front of me.  I turned to the guy behind me, who was half smiling at the absurdity of the whole situation now, and he simply uttered, “stupid inbred.”  Indeed.

I’ve never been in a fight, and for my streak of 31 years of non-violence to end over something that trivial, well, it would have disappointed me to say the least. And sure, maybe I should have kept my mouth shut, and let the idiot go about his idiotic ways.  But no, I had to say something.  As he walked away, a small part of me felt victorious, as I’d called the guy out on his behavior and his reaction was nothing more than his deep seeded feeling of embarrassment over his actions.  At least that’s what I like to think.  I’m sure he wandered off into the sunset, leaving a long trail of idiocy in his wake.

I wasn’t out to pick a fight, I swear. I certainly wasn’t trying to get into a fight with someone larger and probably a little more experienced in the fisticuffs department than I.  Yet, sometimes, when you see something that’s wrong, you have to say something. And judging by the reaction of the people behind me on this day, there would have been a host of folks willing to jump into the fray.  So maybe it’s a good thing crazy eyes walked away, because I’ve never fought in my life.  But HE doesn’t know that, right?

No, I Don’t Have Kids. And Yes, Yours Are Being Brats.

I’ve said since the start that this blog has no theme, and has no central focus, and I’ll write whatever strikes me.  Well earlier this week, I was struck. Awestruck in fact, by the complete disrespect and lack of attention a woman was giving her two sons who had made a local coffee shop their own playground.  I know it’s a hot button issue being told how to parent. No, I don’t have kids.  Maybe I don’t understand. And yes, I will tell you when your kids are being a pain in the ass.  I’ll just do it via an open letter in a blog post you are likely to never see. Showed you.

 Excuse me, mam?

I hope that contract you are trying to get processed by next week makes it through, I really do, but I’d like to remind you that this coffee shop, while yes, it is a public place, probably isn’t the best spot for your two sons to engage in a light sabre fight.  Yeah, I mean, most of the people around here have work they are clearly doing, not unlike yourself of course, but I am going to venture a guess that they would probably be able to focus just a bit if little Tommy hadn’t just smacked that guys’ briefcase with his light sabre.  Just a thought.

Also, I really appreciate you are trying to get the boys out of the house, I really do, but wouldn’t they be a bit better served if they did this outside, you know, in the park that sits right outside the coffee shop? Besides, I mean, it’s a beautiful day, and they could probably use some time in the sunshine.  Ohhh….that was a stroller Tommy just hit.

Ok, mam, we’ve tried.  And I know that contract you are on the phone about is really important, but this is a place of business, and clearly everyone in this room has been giving you and your two hellion sons the evil eyes since you walked in, and they began to reek havoc all over this place, you know, a COFFEE shop, where there are hot liquids being carried in and out of the doorway.  I’m sure when your son is severely scolded with coffee, you’ll be the first to jump up and proclaim that the establishment fork over thousands of dollars in medical bills.  But you were so oblivious to your little Luke Skywalker that you never saw it coming.  Great. 

No, mam, I don’t have kids.  And yes, you are right, I don’t understand what it’s like to be a mother.  Whether or not I have kids certainly doesn’t limit my ability to judge what is incredibly rude and disrespectful.  THAT is what you don’t understand. But what I do know, is that growing up, my mother never once would have allowed me to act this way.  And truth be told, I turned out A-ok. So if you would please put down the telephone, pay attention to your children, have some respect for the other folks who are here also working, I, as well as all the other people here on a Wednesday morning would probably appreciate it.

 –Angry because now my coffee is cold

Just as an aside, let me be the first to say, that of course parenting is difficult.  And I get that taking your children out in public is certainly something that is permissible-But regardless, your duty as a parent is that if your children begin to become a menace to the environment and the people around them, they need to be eliminated from the establishment. So get off the phone and pay attention to your kids. Because they just knocked over another cup of hot coffee.