March 15, 2009

The Natural

Old Man Strength (n) - a mystical source of immense power generated by a patriarch when competing with or in front of his offspring in any physical or leisure activity.

Here's the thing about old man strength. Nobody knows how it's created. Does it come from a father's unwillingness to yield to his son or is it caused by a son buckling under the pressure created from an intense desire to surpass his dad?

I could make sound arguments for either source. When I have a son, there's no fucking way I'm going to let him beat me at anything. He's going to be wearing diapers and I'm going to lower the goal to 8 feet, dunk on him and pound my chest. Just so he knows where he came from. If we're tossing a baseball in the backyard, every 5th throw he's getting the stinky cheese. Even if his hat is so big on him that' it's blocking his vision. I'm going to throw his shit on the hardwood (or more likely driveway). I'm going to block his shot so fucking hard the garage door dents when his ill-fated shot bounces off of it. He will know who's the Master.

As a son, I've come so close to pocketing the 8-ball to beat my dad in pool or bowling the spare on the last frame only to fold under the pressure. Over Thanksgiving a few years back, I was kicking my dad's ass so bad in racquetball he starting hitting the ball so that it hit me square in the back. He did this at least 3 times. Have you ever been hit by a racquetball? Hurts like a paintball. He says it wasn't intentional, but I have my doubts. The message was clear. Time after time, sport after sport, I buckle under the pressure, grasping defeat from the jaws of victory.

But there has to be a ceiling right? I mean, Old Man Strength can't last forever. Right? At some point, senility has to set in. But it hasn't yet for my dad. And I was reminded of that on a fateful night a few years back. But before I get to the story, here's some info about my old man...

My dad's in his early 50's. He looks like he's in his early 40's. Taking after me, he's a good-looking guy . He's not in bad shape, nor is he a terrible athlete, but Father Time is starting to catch up to him.

At full sprint, his stride measures approximately 18 inches in length. He scoots more than he runs. His legs, though reasonably defined, have the girth of pixie sticks. Back in his prime, he was a decent athlete. In fact, he was such a specimen in high school that when he tried out for running back, the coaches conferred, and sure enough, they'd found their center. Yep, not even having his older brother (my uncle) as one of his coaches could keep him off the offensive line. That's my Pops.

To my dad's credit, he's still the only person I've ever known who can do a Chinese pushup. If you have to ask what it is, you can't do it.

He could do one right now. Crazy shit.

Thankfully, he passed the family speed down to me. I showed up to practice at middle school having never played organized football.

What position do you play Jay?

Not sure.

What position do you want to play?

Probably running back. Or receiver. Maybe quarterback.

The coaches were so impressed as I sliced and diced through cone drill after cone drill that they agreed unanimously. They'd found their center too. Thanks, Pops.

So here's the story. About 3 years ago a group of friends and our girlfriends and their friends and whoever wanted to join got together for a few weekends in the summer for some pickup games of coed softball. The competition was far from intense, but we weren't just fucking around either. One of the guys was the athletic director for a private Jewish school in town named after a dude named after a strictly male appendage (hint: think hot dog). It was awesome. We'd turn the lights on just for us, load up a cooler full of Smirnoff Ice and pound them down while pounding underhanded softballs all over the field.

We'd been playing for a couple of consecutive weekends when we were short players. Not wanting to end the streak, we searched frantically through our Zach Morris phones trying to round up a few more troops. I exhausted my cell phone directory before thinking...hey...didn't my dad play for his company softball team a few years ago? Wait. That was like 8 years ago. Shit. I wonder if he's any good. Don't want him to embarass himself. I wonder if he'd want to play. I don't know. Hmmm...yeah...ask him. Yeah...I'm going to ask him. I think I'll ask him. I'm going to ask him. Yeah.

Hey Pops...we need another player for softball. You want to play?

Shit. I don't know. I haven't played in years. Besides, I don't want to show anybody up out there.

Ha. Good one, Pops. Seriously. We're short guys. C'mon. It'll be fun.*

*This takes me to a quick tangent. Kids are mean as hell. Every guy reading this, take a quick moment to reflect on your childhood and your pickup sports games. How fucked up was it that there was always one kid in the neighborhood who didn't even know about the game unless you needed another player? And if you needed one more, you recruited him like he was the fucking MVP.

Yeah Timmy. C'mon Timmy. We need your hands out there. We gotta add more speed.

If you can't think of the kid I'm talking about, I hate to be the one to break it to you...but you were that kid.

I'm not saying my dad was Timmy, but you get the point.

After a little coercion, my dad agreed to play and we hit the diamond. I'm watching him closely as we kind of fart around and he doesn't look too impressive. Not embarassing, but not some 20 year old Domican pretending to be 16 either.

We pick teams, and my dad is of course the last person picked. And as such hits lowest in the order. We end up on opposite teams. My squad hits first. We slap a couple of hits around, plate a couple of runs in the first. A standard start to a coed softball game.

My dad's team manages to retire the side. When his team hits we can't get anyone out. Everyone is slapping the ball for singles. We're misplaying grounders. Overthrowing first base. Just bungling easy defensive plays. I realized shortly thereafter that all these miscues were merely setting the stage...

Bases juiced. My dad's turn to bat finally comes. He looks a little awkward stepping into the batter's box. Drama can't escape my dad on this night. Thoughts are flowing through my head...

C'mon pops. Just slap a single or something. Just don't strike out.

The first pitch flutters to home plate and my dad watches it thud on the ground for ball 1.

Oh fuck. C'mon pops. Don't take pitches like a little bitch. That's bush league shit. Swing dammit.

The second pitch flutters to the plate...


My dad makes contact on the second pitch and absolutely fucking drills the ball. It's a no-doubt moonshot...





My jaw dropped as the old man scooted round the bases, 18 inches at a time.

It was a helluva a swing. But not quite mighty enough to shake off the skeptics. You could feel the sense of lucky ol' bastard in the air.

We finally retire the side and score a few in the next inning to make it a game again.

Then we get a couple of outs in the next inning with minimal damage before another barrage of singles. Up comes my dad again. Bases juiced...

First pitch.


I use whack instead of smack to describe this one because the sound was definitely different. The first one was a moonshot. This one was a majestic blast that soared like a bald fucking eagle over the Alaskan wilderness...with the Northern Lights as a backdrop.






Before the night was over, my dad would crack two more homers. And I have to say. I was pretty impressed. And damn proud. He definitely didn't embarass himself.

The following week we didn't need players because we've found one. From that point forward he was the first player picked. How's that for vindication?

Maybe your old man has Old Man Strength over you until you become the old man. Maybe it's passed on from generation to generation.

Here's to hoping it doesn't skip mine.

If you have 5 minutes to spare and you want a watch a slightly...and only slightly...dramatized version of what happened that night, click here.

March 11, 2009

Maybe I should keep the top up

I had to have a convertible. So I did my research. I scoured every auto manufacturer's website getting the specs and starting prices for every model that offered a convertible option. After carefully considering all factors involved, I went with the car that satisfied my need for speed and my penchant for patriotism. I went with the Ford Mustang. Made right here in the U-S-of-motherfucking-A. A real American classic.

You turn the key and it rumbles like you fucked its sister.

I've had the car for about two years now, and needless to say I'm happy with it. Always have been, always will be. But about six months ago, one of my co-workers (who is a good friend) suggested that convertibles are gay (and let's just say he's an expert in the field). And if they're not gay, they're "fag magnets."

To this blasphemous venom of unAmericanism, I respond with a barrage of "that's bullshit's" and "fuck you dude's".

It wasn't but a week or two later that I would be the fool once again...

Saturday afternoon I was on my way home from somewhere, I think it was from the Save the Seals Foundation Luncheon. I had to accept an award for bravery or something for some habitat prevention project I headed back in '03. Something like that.

Anyways, I'm sitting at a red light with the top down about a block or two from my apartment when a guy in a silver Mercedes rolls down the window and asks me for directions. He's a weird looking dude, but his looks pale in comparison to his voice. His accent and vernacular tone is equal parts Ebonics, effeminate and Southern. He was speaking Ebofaggern.

Exthcuthse me. Say man, can you tail me how I get to Montrothse*?

Yeah, it's a cross street of Richmond. It's a little ways down though. Just stay on this for about another 15 lights or so.


*For my non-Houstonian readers, Montrose is the street that is home to several bars where members of the hairier gender prefer other members of the hairier gender.

While I'm a huge fan of stereotypes, I'm not a presumptuous guy so I don't think anything of it when the guy asks me how to get to Homoville. I'm just reveling in the post good Samaritan rush.

Well, we pull up to the next light and the guy still has his window down. And he was determined to eliminate all doubt. With a disturbing grin on his face...

Say man, thainks man. I'm just tryin to find me a dick that I can suck tonight.

Uh...heh...ha...I hear that. Well, you're going to the right place.

I circled the block a couple of times so Buffalo Bill couldn't see my complex and called it a day.

Anybody in the market for a Mustang convertible?

March 5, 2009

Chipotle User's Guide

For those of you who haven't yet experienced the unmatched glory that is the burrito bol from Chipotle, you are cordially invited to join the Bolist Movement.

Becoming a bolist requires intense preparation. If you're not armed with the proper knowledge before entering your local Chipotle, the powerful post-bol emotions could be overwhelming. It's even possible you may never be satisfied by another meal again. Other than a bol, that is. But don't worry. I've done the extensive research for you. I'm a veteran more than 500 bols in. You can always come here for ammunition for the fight.

Before I get to the perfectly seasoned meat and cilantro rice of this post, let me first tell you a story that happened a couple of weeks ago. This story depicts merely one example of the interesting life stories you can create on any magical visit to the Chipotle in your neck of the woods.

My girlfriend, her sister and brother-in-law and me all went to our local Chipotle after an intense game of tennis (it's admissions like this that make me want to remain as anonymous as possible). Being the patriot that I am, I ordered the usual...a bol with double meat. A couple of my eating companions foolishly ordered burritos (unecessarily adding 400 tasteless calories to their dinners).

Midway through the meal, an entity sitting at the table next to ours looked up and started speaking to us. I say entity because it was an effeminate being clad in all black wearing a black hat that covered three-quarters of her face. A roller-suitcase sat perched in the chair next to her, she was counting money on the table and didn't appear to be eating.

At first, I thought maybe she had come from a funeral. Then it hit me. She was an angel of death. The Ghost of Chipotle Present.

Excuse you have any change to support a charity?

No, sorry we can't help you.

She became clearly distraught by our lack of interest and immediatly revealed her insanity.

That's okay. That's fine. We don't need yo' money. Obama's gonna see to that. He's gonna make sure we don't need yo' money.

She continued to ramble under her breath incessantly for the next two uninterrupted minutes. As her eyes began glowing a blood red, I turned the group and recommended we jet before she gets a good enough look at our faces to complete our voodoo dolls.

Never a dull moment at Chipotle.

Without further delay, here's the essential Chipotle User's Guide. It contains all the most up-to-date Chipotle terms so you can eat with confidence:

Let's first memorize the PreamBol:

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect diet, establish culinary justice, insure nutritional tranquility, provide with the common ingredients, promote the general welfare via the bol, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Chipotle User's Guide.

Glossary of terms:

Pre-bol (adj): vernacular term that describes the period of time and state of mind just prior to bol consumption.

Post-bol (adj): vernacular term that describes the period of time and state of mind immediately after bol consumption.

Boler (syn. bolist) (n): a person who enjoys Chipotle bols.

Communist (n): a person who doesn't enjoy Chipotle bols.

Bolism (n): an addiction to bols. Sufferers, and I use the word loosely, typically consume 3-5 bols per week.

Bolphoria (n): the heightened sense of self-awareness and unequivocal culinary satisfaction felt just after consumption of a bol.

Bolphoric State (n): a brief 15-60 minute period of time (post-bol) where complete satisfaction sets in before you begin thinking about your next bol.

Blue bols (n): state of being that results from consuming a bol without double meat; like its unpunned counterpart, it's better than nothing at all but isn't fully satisfying

Bolgasm (n): an explosive state of pre-bol bolphoria that results from a free or comped bol.

Multiple Bolgasm (n): an exceptionally rare and uncontrollable state of bolphoria that results when both your bol and the bol of your dining companion are comped. Only the most elite bolists will ever experience a multiple bolgasm. Some say its existence is an urban legend.

Key phrases:

Let's go boling: A formal invitation to spice up your day via a bol.

Bol it off: a colloquial expression exchanged between two bolists to avoid a potential conflict.

Example #1:

Friend 1 to stranger at bar who just knocked his beer onto the floor:

Dude what the fuck is the matter with you?

Friend 2 to Friend 1:

Dude, forget about it. Just bol it off.

Example #2:

Friend 1 to stranger who just cut him off in a righthand turn lane but is going straight:

Dude, what the fuck is the matter with you?

Friend 2 to Friend 1:

Dude, relax. Let's bol it off.

Example #3:

Friend 1 to stranger walking out of his apartment carrying his plasma TV and PS3 and wearing a ski mask:

Dude, what the fuck is the matter with you?

Friend 2 to Friend 1:

Dude, they don't have TVs at Chipotle. And they don't need them. Let's bol it off.

If you think of any terms that need to be included to complete the glossary or key phrases section, please let me know. Healthy appetites depend on it.

Special thanks to Joe for helping me coin several of the glossary terms.