Reggie Jackson Can Suck It!!

#14

It has been nearly a year since I sat down and wrote my first blog. For every subject I have written about, there are 3 that I have not. Usually this is due to a lack of time or just a lack of passion to write at that moment. Every once in a while, I will see or hear something that reminds me about a topic I have been dying to write about, and it motivates me to finally do it. Today, is one of those days.

Yesterday, my buddy Dave posted a link on facebook to a story in which Reggie Jackson was commenting on current Hall of Famers that he didn’t necessarily believe deserved to be in. On its surface I was only slightly miffed by his comments because I have always considered him a guy who overvalues himself. This is not to say that I think he doesn’t deserve to be in the Hall, but merely that he benefited from longevity, and playing for good teams. However, as I read the list of names he considered to be questionable, I saw a name that made me want to knock his old, arrogant ass out. That name was Jim Rice.

Before I drop some knowledge on everyone reading this blog, let me clearly state that Jim Rice was my childhood hero. I know by admitting that I am compromising my integrity, but I assure every reader that I will bring nothing but facts to my commentary. If you come away from this blog with the feeling that it was biased, please feel free to stick it to me in the comments section. I can take it. Here we go.

Both players saw their first action at age 21. Although neither of them played much, Jackson had nearly twice as many at bats as Rice, 118-67, yet only 3 more hits. Rice had a better average, on base percentage, and slugging percentage. They both had 1 homerun. Jackson had more double and triples. I only mention these numbers because it establishes the trend that exist when you compare these 2 players.

In their first full seasons in the league, Rices stats destroy Jacksons. They had roughly the same amount of at bats, yet Reggie only beat Rice in 4 catagories. HR: 29-22, 3B: 6-4, BB: 50-36, and SO: 171-122. Rice led in Avg, Hits, RBI, Runs, OBP, & SLG%. Rice had one of the 10 best offensive rookie seasons in the last 40 years and the only reason he finished 2nd for rookie of the year was because his teammate, Fred Lynn, actually had a better rookie year. He also finished 3rd in MVP voting……AS A ROOKIE! To be fair, Jackson finished 27th for MVP his rookie year. We are 2 years into these players careers and Rice had him beat in both. Time for more facts.

Over the next 11 seasons, the prime of their careers, Rice had much better numbers than Reggie. Avg: .307-.275, Hits: 1991-1561, RBI: 1174-1040, 3B: 45-27, while Reggie only lead Rice in HR: 339-328, and 2B: 306-300. Those 2 stats are very close in comparison to the ones that Rice led. Jackson did dominate one stat though. SO: 1389-1084. They both finished in the top 5 in MVP voting 5 times during these 11 years, both winning 1. Jackson was a 9 time All-Star, Rice made it 8 times. We all know that Reggie had some awesome playoff numbers, and I truly recognize those accomplishments, but he played on far better teams than Rice, and was able to showcase himself more often.

The real story here is the fact that after these 11 years, 13 years total in the league, Rice broke down and Reggie didn’t. Reggie racked up HR’s while batting below .255 in all but 2 of his last 8 seasons. He also racked up SO’s. He may have finished his career with 563 taters, but in his 21 years in the league, he finished with less RBI than Rice had in his 11 year prime. He only batted .300 once and in the .290’s two other times. If not for an injury plagued last season in the league, Rice would have finished as a lifetime .300 hitter, instead of .298. Reggies legend is well deserved but in their prime, Rice was the better player. No better example can be given than comparing their MVP seasons. Jackson finished with 32 HR’s, 117 RBI, & a .293 AVG. Rice had 46 HR’s, 139 RBI, & a .315 AVG. You tell me which one of those guys you would want on your team for a decade? Call me a homer all you want, but only a Yankee suck up would choose Reggies 10 best years over Rices. AND THAT’S WHY HE’S IN THE HALL, JACKASS!!!!!

No Better Time Than The Present

As I am due for a sports topic, I figured today was as good a day as any. So, here goes.

It is my opinion that the NFL needs to find a way to completely, and properly, realign the entire league. I know this sounds sacreligious, because people don’t want to break up divisional rivalries that have been going on for years, but how can you rationalize the Dallas Cowboys being in the NFC East, or the Colts being in the AFC South? Furthermore, it is my contention that no 2 teams from the same state should be in the same division, unless there are more than 2 teams from that state. i.e. Florida and California. The only unique decision I had to make on realignment was keeping Kansas City in the West and putting Dallas in the South, with Houston. The reason this is a little unique is because Dallas and Houston are both further West than Kansas City. This has to be done because next to the West, the South is the region with the second least amount of teams to pick from.

I tried as hard as I could to keep current divisions as intact as possible. However, I did not let long standing rivalries dictate anything. If the Cowboys can leave the NFC East, than the Lions can leave the NFC North. With that said, here is a current map of the locations and divisions of the entire NFL.

Now, you get a clear view of how out of place Dallas and Indianapolis are, but you can also see that Miami looks out of place, too. As does Baltimore. You can also make an argument that Buffalo belongs in the AFC North. In the end, both the AFC and NFC West remain untouched. 4 of the remaining 6 divisions have only 1 change. It is the AFC East and North that have the biggest alterations, as I have 2 teams from the AFC North moving to the AFC East. Additionally, to keep with my philosophy that 2 teams from the same state should be in the same division, but in different conferences, I had to have 1 team from Ohio go to the NFC. That meant moving a team from the black and blue division to the AFC. I felt that Detroit was the low man on the totem pole in that division, so they were the one to go. So, this is how I think it should look.

AFC EAST

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

N.Y. JETS

BALTIMORE RAVENS

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

AFC NORTH

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

CINCINATTI BENGALS

DETROIT LIONS

BUFFALO BILLS

AFC SOUTH

MIAMI DOLPHINS

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

TENNESSEE TITANS

HOUSTON TEXANS

AFC WEST

OAKLAND RAIDERS

DENVER BRONCOS

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

L.A.CHARGERS

NFC EAST

CAROLINA PANTHERS

N.Y. GIANTS

WASHINGTON REDSKINS

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

NFC NORTH

MINNESOTA VIKINGS

CLEVELAND BROWNS

CHICAGO BEARS

GREEN BAY PACKERS

NFC SOUTH

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

ATLANTA FALCONS

DALLAS COWBOYS

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

NFC WEST

ARIZONA CARDINALS

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

L.A. RAMS

This format allows a rivalry like the Steelers and the Ravens to remain intact, while simultaneously putting them in the East, just like their natural local rivals in the NFC, Philly and Washington. If you use your minds eye to look at the map above with these changes in mind, you will see no overlapping of colors.

I know that this will never happen, but it should. The NFL could use some new rivalries. Having lived in Dallas for 4 years I can attest to the fact that the Cowboys and Saints would be an awesome rivalry. The AFC East would be the best division in football. Carolina would benefit, financially, playing against the big markets of the Northeast. All in all, I just think it would be a nice shake up for a very successful league that is only in the headlines for safety and lawsuits right now. If it happens, just remember where you heard it first. ūüėČ

If Only It Were Possible

red state blue stateI stole this from a blog called, ironically, Jeff Likes to Rant. Well done, Jeff. Love it.

Dear Red States,

We’re ticked off at the way you’ve treated California, and we’ve decided we’re leaving. We intend to form our own country, and we’re taking the other Blue States with us. In case you aren’t aware, that includes Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and the entire Northeast. We believe this split will be beneficial to the nation, and especially to the people of the new country of New California.

To sum up briefly: You get Texas, Oklahoma and all the slave states. We get stem cell research and the best beaches. We get Elliot Spitzer. You get Ken Lay. We get the Statue of Liberty. You get OpryLand. We get Intel and Microsoft. You get WorldCom. We get Harvard. You get Ole’ Miss. We get 85 percent of America‚Äôs venture capital and entrepreneurs. You get Alabama. We get two-thirds of the tax revenue; you get to make the red states pay their fair share. Since our aggregate divorce rate is 22 percent lower than the Christian Coalition’s, we get a bunch of happy families. You get a bunch of single moms. Please be aware that Nuevo California will be pro-choice and anti-war, and we’re going to want all our citizens back from Iraq at once. If you need people to fight, ask your evangelicals. They have kids they’re apparently willing to send to their deaths for no purpose, and they don’t care if you don’t show pictures of their children’s caskets coming home.

With the Blue States in hand, we will have firm control of 80 percent of the country’s fresh water, more than 90 percent of the pineapple and lettuce, 92 percent of the nation’s fresh fruit, 95 percent of America’s quality wines (you can serve French wines at state dinners) 90 percent of all cheese, 90 percent of the high tech industry, most of the U.S. low-sulfur coal, all living redwoods, sequoias and condors, all the Ivy and Seven Sister schools, plus Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Cal Tech and MIT.

With the Red States, on the other hand, you will have to cope with 88 percent of all obese Americans (and their projected health care costs), 92 percent of all U.S. mosquitoes, nearly 100 percent of the tornadoes, 90 percent of the hurricanes, 99 percent of all Southern Baptists, virtually 100 percent of all televangelists, Rush Limbaugh, Bob Jones University, Clemson and the University of Georgia. We get Hollywood and Yosemite, thank you.

Additionally, 38 percent of those in the Red states believe Jonah was actually swallowed by a whale, 62 percent believe life is sacred unless we’re discussing the death penalty or gun laws, 44 percent say that evolution is only a theory, 53 percent think that Saddam was involved in 9/11 and 61 percent of you crazy bastards believe you are people with higher morals than we lefties. By the way, we have all the good pot, too. You can have that dirt weed they grow in Mexico.

‚ÄĒ Anonymous in California

When???

When will WiFi be free EVERYWHERE?

When will our politicians stop sucking so bad?

When will people, outside of Miami, begin rooting for the Heat? Oh wait….NEVER!!

When will I get to sleep with Monica Bellucci? Oh wait….NEVER!!

When will people stop underestimating the Celtics?

When will my ship finally come in?

When will bigots stop using religion to hide their hatred of gays?

When will Jason Plaud try out for Americas Got Talent?

When is the Queen of England going to die?

When are Americans going to stop caring about the Royal Family?

When is Kim Kardashian going to take a break from famous dick?

When will ANY city be as good a sports city as Boston?

THE HOPPAH? THE HOPPAH!!!!

When will climate change cause an utterly unthinkable catastrophe?

When will my wife find a job in Boston?

When is someone finally going to expose the corruption in the NBA?

When will someone knock out Rush Limbaugh?

When will the next American Civil War happen? It’s inevitable people.

When will Brad and Angelina finally get married?

When, if ever, will they make a sequel to The Italian Job?

When, if ever, will they stop making James Bond movies? Hopefully, never!

When will there ever be another show as good as LOST?

When will the right come back towards the middle?

When is 5G coming?

When do we finally make “contact”?

When will Cowboy fans realize that their team is no longer relevant?

When is the longest day of the year?

When are people going to stop saying two thousand twelve? It’s twenty twelve. I wasn’t born in one thousand nine hundred seventy. Get with it people.

When are we going to stop using the death of a guy, who was no different than me, to determine what year it is?

When is ESPN going to become credible again?

When will we have a great American heavyweight champion again?

When will a police department ever just admit an officers wrong doing, and prosecute him?

When will my dog stop barking for stupid reasons?

When will ALL my Facebook friends “like” my blogs, so I can get more followers? It’s not that hard folks. ūüėČ

When is Jane going to sleep with Lisben?

When is the leaning tower just going to fall over?

When will someone discover the cure for old age?

When will they stop letting Magic Johnson talk at halftime? Dude is awful.

When will they finally find a successful show for Christian Slater to star in?

When is someone finally going to find something alien in the Great Pyramids? Maybe an iPad 22 or Tupac and Elvis playing dice.

When will I write something that gets me discovered?

When did Nelly Furtado get kinda heavy?

When will the Matrix be a reality? That may be an oxymoron.

When will this country get its head out of its ass?

When will EVERYONE have the same rights?

When will my back pain go away?

When can I start getting $35 in my account if my bank screws up?

When will I do a blog like this again?

A Mothers Day Blog To My Big 4.

moms

I couldn’t possible let Mothers Day go by without saying something about the Mothers in my life, and what they mean to me. So here goes.

To Susan Young, my biological Mother:

You gave me life, then you gave me life experiences. When we moved to Oregon in 1975, and then Idaho in ’78, I didn’t like it very much, yet¬†you still found all kinds of things to make things interesting. Camping, fishing, skiing, and great road trips. When I turned 11 and¬†I wanted to move back to live with my Dad, you made it happen. I know that could not have been easy. When I reached high school age, and got great at baseball, I would always pass up playing all-stars in the summer to come see you. When I got to be 16 and decided that I¬†really wanted to stay and play, you understood. Another decision that could not have been easy. The next year you came to Boston, for the first time in years, to see me graduate.¬†It was great having you here.¬†After you left, a visit to the doctor resulted in a you being diagnosed with M.S. That was nearly 30 years ago. In that time, I saw you go through the ups and downs related to¬†the disease.¬†Through it all you had always been a fighter.¬†Refusing to let it beat you or define you. A fact that anyone who really knows you would ever doubt. Unfortunately, during that time period we saw each other a whole lot less. Life can do that sometimes when people live so far apart. It was only with my move to Dallas that we had the chance to see each other every year. I am so grateful for that. I know that we didn’t exactly have a typical Mother/Son relationship, but I always felt your love reaching out to me, no matter where in the world we were. Just know that my love for you was always doing the same thing. Now that you have passed, my love still burns strong for you. I love and miss you every day.

To Madeline Chick, my Step-Mother:

Where do¬†I start? In the beginning¬†I would consider our relationship to be somewhat indifferent. We got along pretty well, and had¬†some real fun together, but there was always a little something missing.¬†Even today, I’m really not sure what it was, but¬†something was absent.¬†Then¬†I reached my teens and everything went to hell. At the time I was convinced it was all you, but now I can say it was likely all me. Somehow, no matter how badly we got along, you still managed to have some semblance¬†of faith that I would turn things around. How you did it is beyond explanation. I was a complete dumbass and I’m surprised you didn’t just choke the shit outta me. Thankfully you didn’t and I actually did start to wise up. Somewhere along the¬†way¬†I began to realize how much I loved and respected you. You were my Mom, not my Step-Mom.¬†In¬†many ways, you did more to mold me as a human being than my real Mom, because¬†I had spent so much more of my life with you. Before long,¬†we began to build a strong relationship and now it is about as good as it gets. I am truly appreciative of all the lessons I have learned from you. The easy ones and the hard ones. I hope you know that¬†I cannot imagine having a Mother any better than¬†you. I love you with all my heart and always will. You’re the best.

To Nedra Griffin, my Mother-in-Law:

Gigi.¬†There are so many things that¬†you have done that I am so thankful for.¬†We met in the 90’s but by no means had any type of relationship. You were just Alicia’s Mom. Then she moved to Boston to be with me and¬†things changed. I remember when you would call to talk to Alicia.¬†I would see your number on the caller ID, and¬†I would always answer the phone instead of just handing it to her. I truly enjoyed that 1-2 minutes of banter we would have before¬†you guys would talk. You always cracked me up. I used to think that you had¬†some Boston DNA in you, because you could drop an F-bomb with the best of ’em, and your sarcasm was spot on. Not typical traits from a Texan. Ever since we moved to Dallas in ’08, you have done more for my family than I can ever thank you for. From letting us stay with you during our transitional periods, to taking care of Quentin and Addison on nearly an everyday basis. I know it has not been easy for you at all, but you’ve done it anyway. Quite honestly, I don’t know where we would have been without you.¬†When other men bitch and moan about their Mother-in-Laws, I rave about you to anyone who asks, and that’s no bullshit. I am honored to have you in my life and I love you dearly.

To Alicia Chick, Mother of my Children:

I don’t think it’s any secret what¬†I think of you. You are my wife, my friend, my world. More importantly, you have given me 2 unbelievable children, while also assuming many¬†motherly duties¬†with Aidan. For someone who¬†had no parental experience when she came to Boston, you¬†definitely hit the ground running, and learned on the¬†fly. Together we learned the¬†do’s and don’t of¬†parenting very quickly. When it came¬†to having our own children, I¬†knew you would do great. I can¬†still remember you waking me up at 6am on Thanksgiving morning, in 2006, to tell¬†me you were pregnant.¬†You were officially a Mother. It’s been over 10 years since that¬†day and you are¬†proving to be¬†excellent at it. I love when I am watching¬†them and one¬†of them does¬†something that reminds me of you. It always puts a smile on my face. You are engaging,¬†smart, and caring, and that is constantly apparent when I see the way our children are maturing. You always remember the little things and are quick to quietly remind me when I am not doing something I should. You are stern, but fair, and your children always come first,¬†as it should be.¬†On the flip side, your kids absolutely adore you with every fiber of their being. Seeing the complete joy in their eyes when you come home from work everyday.¬†Every. Single. Day. Simply awesome. You are everything that a Mom should be.¬†You do a phenomenal job and I am so happy to know that¬†our children have a Mother like you. I love you, Babe. You’re the best.

HAPPY MOTHERS DAY

Now You’re A Man, But You’re Still My Son.

-boys-to-men

Today is April 26th, 2012. 18 years ago today I was privileged to welcome Aidan Carruth-McKay Chick into the world. He was my first child, and quite possibly the individual most responsible for the person I am today. Not necessarily because of anything he did, but simply for just being my son. On this day, his 18th birthday, I would like to take the time to point out some things that have happened in those 18 years. Some are significant and others are very matter of fact, but ultimately they are all memories that I will never lose.

The day you were born¬†I was a 23-year-old¬†dumbass.¬†I¬†didn’t know a damn thing about what it was going to be like to watch your mother give birth. You were already about 3 weeks late and so¬†your mom had to be induced. We had waited all day for her to go into labor,¬†so when it finally happened I¬†was¬†ready to go. I can’t recall how long it took for you to pop out, but when you did it was about the most insane thing I had ever seen in my life. Thanks to the internet, it is no longer in the top 10.¬†When the nurse pulled you out, cut the cord, and cleaned you off, you had¬†the most ridiculous conehead. It was so bad, I thought something was wrong with you. Of course, it was completely normal,¬†and within a couple of days you stopped looking like an alien. It was a long, hard day on your mom, but¬†by days end, you were both resting nicely. So began the journey.

For your 6th birthday we took a trip to Dallas. This would be the first time you would meet Alicia. We drove to San Antonio¬†for the weekend and went to Six Flags and Sea World. I still remember the fact that you were actually tall enough to ride most everything. For cryin’ out loud, you were only 6.¬†We hit your first real roller coaster and had a blast. I still have the pic to prove it. Later we did the lazy river ride and managed to stay dry. Well, when¬†I say we,¬†I mean you and me. Alicia got soaked by the big bucket dump. Too bad for her. 30 minutes later we stood on the bridge at the bottom of the flume and got completely annihilated by the splash. If¬†I had not been holding on to you, I think it would have blown your butt right off the bridge. The whole weekend went great. Our first true father/son event. Awesome.

A year and a half later, we made the first official trip to D.C. to celebrate Thanksgiving with my Moms side of the family. It was the first time¬†I had seen¬†my grandparents in almost 10 years, and¬†probably 15 since¬†I had seen my Uncle, Aunt and cousins.¬†I was so happy to have you with me for that trip. The whole weekend was excellent and your behavior was fantastic. I¬†could not have been a prouder Dad.¬†When we drove back to Boston, we went at night to avoid traffic. You tried so hard to stay awake through the night, but unfortunately, you didn’t pull it off.¬†I¬†look back at that ride home and still remember that hilarious song parody we heard on the radio………”Put it in a frame, and hang it on the wall.” I have never been able to find that song on the internet.¬†Man, we laughed so hard. It was perfect.

Around your 10th birthday, we decided to get a dog. After lots of searching, we had finally¬†chosen one. In the days leading up to getting him, we had¬†all picked a name we each liked. Alicia wanted Toby. I wanted Fenway. You wanted Dallas. We were going to decide when we got home on which name to go with. On the way back from picking him up in N.H., we had to stop at the pet store to get all the things we were going to need. While Alicia was in the back of the store, you spotted a tag maker at the front of the store. You grabbed me and told me we needed to get him a tag. I told you we couldn’t get one until we officially decided on a name. Without missing a beat, you said that you would vote for Fenway then. It made perfect sense to me, so the tag was made. When we got in line to pay and Alicia saw the tag, she wanted to know what happened to the vote. Again, without missing a beat, you said there’s no need to vote because you’re gonna lose 2 to 1 anyway. We now had a 4th member¬†in the Chick clan. We should have named him Stupid.

Then came my wedding day. You were¬†my best man. You looked amazing in your tux. I was so glad that I chose you. I couldn’t think of a better way to show you how¬†much you meant¬†to me, on the most important day of my life. Virtually everyone who attended the wedding said something positive to me about you. How mature you were being. How¬†handsome you looked. How happy I looked to have you there, by my side. It was phenomenal. I don’t think that I had ever loved you more than I did that day. You truly made my day complete in every way, and I¬†could not have been more elated.¬†We were now a family.

In addition to these few specific events, there have been numerous other, but no less important memories. The day you finally figured out how to block a shot in basketball, and then proceeded to swat the crap outta every ball that any kid on the other team attempted to shoot. I thought you were a star in the making, but sports just wasn’t really up your alley.¬†All the days of listening to you get better and faster at playing Smoke on the Water on your guitar. Then listening as you actually started having a play list of songs you knew. It saddens me that you have drifted away from the guitar. I think you were most at peace when you were playing. However, just like the sports,¬†I never forced you to do anything you didn’t want to do. You deserve to make your own decisions, even if I don’t always agree with them.

So, now you’re 18 years old. It’s almost impossible to believe how fast¬†you got here, but¬†you’re here.¬†I just want you to know¬†that even though the road has been a little more than rough along the way, I will never judge you for¬†being who you want to be. I just hope that you will always value my advice and won’t be afraid to ask for it…….ever. The world is¬†what you make of it, and¬†your word is your bond. Don’t be untrustworthy, work hard, and always be there for the people you value most, and sometimes for people you don’t even know. Loyalty is the backbone to a life well lived. I¬†am confident that your future is bright.¬†I am proud of you, and I love you very much. Happy Birthday.

True Peace of Mind

tranquility-peaceful-landscapes-at-yapshow-141

As an atheist, I am always¬†interested in a healthy debate about the existence, or non-existence of god, and all that comes with it. In a conversation that I had this week, with a good friend¬†of mine,¬†she made a comment about her Dad, who passed away last year, looking down and laughing at her. Knowing that I do not¬†believe that to be possible, she said that she felt sad for me. I, of course, explained to her why¬†there was no reason to be sad for me, and why my way of thinking is the ultimate peace of mind. I don’t claim to speak for all atheists, but¬†in a nutshell, this is my explanation.

I believe that when a person dies, they just cease to exist. No after-life, and no heaven or hell. The light just goes out……..for good.¬†Most believers find that kind of thinking just as sad as my friend does. The reason for that sadness¬†is because of years and years of conditioning,¬†combined with¬†a complete inability to consider any alternative possibilities.¬†It’s these alternative ways of thinking that make the life of THIS atheist, far better than any believer could possibly imagine.

For starters, I don’t go through my¬†life worrying about whether or not the things I do are a sin or not, and whether I will have to ask for forgiveness for them later. I have a much better concept, whereas I choose to just be a good person. Not because I want my golden palace and eternal life when I die,¬†but simply because it’s the right thing to do. What a novel idea.¬†Conversely, the fear of burning in hell for eternity doesn’t fuel my good behavior either. I certainly don’t find the idea of using reward or punishment as motivation for being good, a viable tool unless it’s for a child. Insert completely sarcastic comparison here. Ultimately, I believe that people would be far better off if they just wanted to do the right things in life because they were the right things to do. Especially when this is the ONLY life you have. Great segue.

Imagine, for a second, that someone you have known and loved your whole life, was going to¬†be the first person¬†ever to go on a never ending trip through space.¬†You would never be able to¬†see them or talk to them again.¬†Wouldn’t you attempt to do as much with that person as you possibly could before they left? Now, imagine that you were the one going on that trip. Wouldn’t you try to see and do all the things you wanted to, with as many of the people you consider important in your life?¬†I’m sure the answer to both of these questions would be yes. That is exactly the way an atheist goes through their life. Living¬†our lives to the fullest because we accept the fact that our time is limited. We have only this one life, and it is incumbent on each and every one of us to maximize it. In doing this, you remove any excuses from the equation. You do the best you can with what you have. No regrets. I guess that would make Bobby Valentine an atheist. Huh? Oh nevermind.

In the end,¬†I could say that I feel just as sad for believers, as they do for me. Needing a set of guidelines to be a good person, instead of doing it out of common sense.¬†Believing that you will see someone you love in the after life, while simultaneously crying about all the things you wished you had said and done with that person. That makes no sense. That should be something an atheist does, because we know we won’t have another chance. For a believer, that seems hypocritical. In my opinion, a true believer shoud¬†never cry at the passing of someone. If I believed in the heaven that a believer does, and my Dad passed away, I would be completely psyched.¬†I would be¬†calling everyone I know to tell them the great news. “Dude, my Dad went to heaven. How awesome is that? Lucky bastard. If you can see me right now, Dad, how many fingers am I holding up?” All the while laughing my ass off. That would be awesome. That’s not what happens though.¬†Everything about the believers beliefs is a giant contradicion and is completely confusing.¬†When the people I hold most dear to me meet their end, I will hope that I have done all that I can with them, and also that they know what they meant to me. If not, that will truly be a reason to be sad.

Far More Bitter Than Sweet

together

It’s been nearly a year since my wife and I began to entertain the idea of moving from Dallas back to Boston. Although¬†I was completely content with my life in Texas, there was always a part of me¬†that wished I was still living in Massachusetts. It was my REAL home. The greatest place on earth. The place where everyone I knew lived, and where my heart would forever reside.¬†Ultimately, I always felt it was just a feeling that would inevitably pass with¬†time. Then something unexpected changed¬†my view on why a move back to Boston was no longer wishful thinking, but a necessity.¬†My kids.

It had been a couple of months since the first time I had actually touched on the subject of moving back to Boston.¬†In the nearly 3 years that we had been in Texas I had always¬†joked around about it, but it wasn’t until I began showing my wife pics of houses for sale in Massachusetts, that we actually began talking about it. Actually, I think I was the only one talking about it. She was just listening. However, one day, after taking her to lunch,¬†I pulled back up to her office to drop her off, and¬†made another comment about the idea of leaving Dallas. At that moment, she made it clear¬†that she was done listening. We were not moving back to Boston, and I needed to just get over it. Ouch!

In the days that followed, I began to think that maybe I was just being selfish, and was only putting my interests first. It wouldn’t have been the first time. I think everyone¬†can make bad decisions, when driven solely by self-satisfaction. All we can hope is that we have someone in our lives, that we trust, to help point out the error of our ways.¬†This seemed¬†to be the case here. Then one night, everything changed.

We were sitting in the living room, on a Saturday night, having a couple of drinks. The kids¬†were asleep, and we were watching¬†a movie….The Time Travelers Wife. For the record, not bad for a chick flick.¬†It was¬†about 20 minutes from the end when it happened. A scene in which the 2 main characters are in the kitchen with their daughter, making dinner.¬†The daughter turns and looks out the back door and says, “Look, it’s snowing.”¬†As she runs to go outside, you can see that it is dark out, and the flood light is making every single flake glow as it falls to the ground. I look at my wife and make the off-hand comment, “It’s too bad our kids will never be able to experience moments like that.” I didn’t mean it to be anything other than a wise-ass remark. It certainly wasn’t the first time I had expressed my thoughts on¬†how lame the holiday season in Texas was, and how bummed¬†I was that our kids would never have the true winter experiences.¬†However, this night was different. For the first time, I realized how I¬†really felt about things, and that it wasn’t just about me.

Without describing the nature of the conversation that followed, I think my wife finally understood how much better I felt things could be for our family in New England. I’m not sure she completely agreed, but it was apparent that she was at least willing to re-open the discussion.

The weeks and months that followed had many ups and downs as it related to the idea of moving. We discussed many options, but as of this past January we had decided to renew our lease, and couch the topic until 2013.¬†However, through a series of events, we completely changed course and¬†decided that we would try to make it happen this year.¬†The only true difficulty in this decision¬†was the fact that I had a job opportunity that would require me to be back in Boston by April 1st, and therefore¬†I would have to leave my family in Dallas until my wife could find a job. It would likely be about 3 months before that would happen,¬†but we thought it was something we could handle. Now I’m not so sure.

While I was spending all my time trying to get anything and everything in order for my wife, before I left Texas, most importantly¬†Skype, so we could talk¬†every night, to help make the transition easier on the kids,¬†I was¬†convinced that she would inevitably be the one¬†having the most difficult time with this plan.¬† Having to manage an already busy lifestyle without a husband around to¬†share in the duties, seemed like a difficult task. Breakfast, daycare, work, dinner, tubby’s and night-night. As any parent knows, it’s a lot of work.

Meanwhile, I would be 1700 miles away, in my hometown, with all my friends and family around, and no real responsibilities. Just get myself up everyday, get my tail to work, come home, eat dinner, watch tv, Skype with the family for 10-15 minutes and then go to bed. Sleep late on the weekends and hang out with the people I have not seen in years. It really was a little unfair, but a seemingly necessary decision in order to achieve the ultimate goal. At least I thought so.

Today marks the 10th day since I have been able to hug my children. It is a seemingly simple activity that we did 10 times a day, which means I have now lost out on 100 of them. It is one of a dozen mundane things that take place in the course of a typical day in every family.¬†Although it’s not the first time I have gone a few days without these experiences, this time is different. I’m not visiting Boston, I’m living here and I couldn’t be enjoying it less. I no longer think that my wife got the short end of the stick. I would gladly trade places with her tomorrow. I would rather be running myself ragged to keep up with my kids, than to be away from them another day. It is¬†killing me more by the minute, and I am really beginning to question whether or not I really want Boston this badly. I’m not sure I do anymore.

Ultimately, I have no idea what the future holds for my family. One thing we knew going in was the fact that if my wife could not¬†find a job by the summer, that I would just pack up the car and go back to my job in Dallas. The real question is whether or not it’s worth it. Do I just suck it up and stay miserable¬†for the next 3 months because “IF” my wife finds a job, and we make the move, it will all be worth it, or do I just chalk this all up to a failed experiment and get my ass back to my¬†family? Only time will tell. If this pain continues, that time may come sooner than expected. Stay tuned.

Just 1 Of The 17,065 Days Of My Life

I have no idea how the day started. We we’re at a campsite in upstate Idaho. We had been at Yellowstone National Park for a few days and this was a pitstop on our way back home. I do remember that it was a beautiful sunny day, sometime around August 5th, which was my birthday. I think I was turning 11.

At some point during the course of the day we decided that my Mom and I would get the rubber kayaks that we had, and go down the river that was in the campground we were staying at. We got everything together, including our fishing gear, packed up the vehicle, and my stepdad Mark took us to the campground about 5 miles up the road to put the boat into the river that would eventually lead us back to our campsite. I couldn’t wait.

We got to the spot where we were going to get into the water. I was so excited to catch some fish. Little kid tackle box….check. Pole….check. Stringer….check. Bait….check. Snacks and drinks….check. I am all set. The river was very slow moving and calm. Hardly what anyone would call dangerous. At least that’s what we thought.

We pushed off from shore and started our way down the river. My line was in the water within the first 2 minutes. I held my pole between my legs and kept the paddle in my hand to steer my way down the river. BAMM! I got a hit. I grab the rod, set the hook, and procede to reel in my first trout of the trip. I remember yelling to my Mom, who was about 50 feet from me, that “I got my first fish.” We were off to a great start.

As we meandered down the river, things continued to go good. We had been coasting for about 30 minutes and I had 4 trout on my stringer. At one point, I remember pulling in my line because we saw some fisherman up ahead, wading in the river and fly-fishing. We steered buy them carefully and exchanged some kind words. For the record, I had more fish than they did. ūüėČ

Before I had a chance to recast my line, we noticed that the water was starting to get a little more choppy. My Mom and I had never been further than 50 feet away from each other, so she hollered to me that we need to pull off to the shore. I grabbed my paddle and followed her to the right side of the river. We got to shore, pulled our kayaks up on the land, and decided to walk down river to see if things looked okay. The water was definitely moving a little quicker and a little more choppy than it had been, but all in all it was a pretty clear path down the river, so we decided to continue. I wish we could have seen further.

As a precautionary measure, we decided to use the stringer to attach our 2 boats to each other. It seemed like a good idea. A way to stay close together, in case things got too rough. My Mom told me to just paddle with her until we got back to calmer water. Then we could pull off and detach from each other and go back to enjoying a ride down the river. The parameters were set, and we pushed off.

At first, it all seemed kinda fun. A little speed, a few bumps, going left, going right. To an 11 year old, it felt like I was white water rafting. Awesome, right? Not for long. The speed and bumpyness quickly became a little more than I could handle. In addition, it was becoming increasingly hard to paddle as well as my Mom. Then the stringer broke, and we quickly were separated from each other. Even at 11, my mind was saying, “Oh, shit.” I was on my own.

Initially, being detached from my mother’s boat was making it easier for me to control mine. I was keeping my boat straight and was getting down the river pretty well. I just kept waiting for everything to start calming down so that I could relax a little bit. My Mom was about 30 to 40 feet in front of me and I was just following her lead the best that I could, but as we came around another bend, relaxing became the furthest thing from my mind. We were way beyond “oh shit” here.

The dilemma was a huge tree lying directly across the river. Although the water was about 5 feet deep, the top of the tree must have been resting on something because it was only 50% submerged. One whole side of the tree was almost 2 feet above the water line. The only way past was a space about 8 feet wide, on the far left edge of the river. My Mom was already over that side and I saw her paddle through. Being that I was in the middle, and the water was moving fast, I would not be so lucky.

The nose of my kayake went directly into the tree, and shot straight up into the air. Everything in the boat, including me, fell into the water. As my rod, tackle box, and goodies were floating down the river only 2 things remained. The boat, and me. Unfortunately, I had my upper body draped over the tree, with my legs being pulled through the space under it by the current. All the while, being unable to see because my boat was caught in the current in such a way that it was actually over my head, instead of downstream. I was in trouble.

Somehow, I finally managed to release the boat and get it off of me. As I held the tree I watched the boat go down the river. Unbeknownst to me, my mother had already paddled to shore, about 150 feet away. Before she had time to think, she saw my boat and everything that I had in it, coming down the river without me. She grabbed the kayake quickly, and got it on land and then began running upstream, to where I was.

Meanwhile, all I was doing was holding on to this tree for dear life. I apparently had just enough body above water to keep the current from pulling my legs, and me, under. For a few minutes, I was screaming for help at the top of my lungs. Surely, my Mom can hear me. Better yet, maybe those fisherman we saw could hear me. They couldn’t be that far back, could they?

Then I saw my Mom coming and was so relieved. I thought to myself that she would certainly be able to figure out how to get me off this log. I had a really good grasp on it and felt confident that I could hold on as long as I needed to. My Mom began wading into the water near the end of the tree. Her plan was to get on it, and walk out to where I was and pull me out. It made sense to me, and I knew she could do it. After nearly an hour of trying, it would be painfully obvious she could not. Now I’m beginning to realize that holding on is getting very difficult. This time I actually do have time in my head for an “oh shit.”

My mothers next plan was to go get a kayake and try to come get me in that. She would put in upstream, paddle down, and try and pull me out. So, off she went. As she walked out of sight to retrieve the boat, I was telling myself that this idea was also going to fail. What the hell was I gonna do?

Inevitably, I decided I was going to have to take a risk on my own. The whole time I was holding onto this tree, which had been about 90 minutes so far, I had become aware of the fact that there seemed to be a lot of space around my legs. My thought was that if I just let go, and got pulled under the tree, I would likely just pop back up on the other side. I had a life jacket on, and I knew how to swim, so it appeared to be quite simple. Now, I just needed to do it.

It all happened super fast. I took a deep breath and let go. Just as I had predicted, I went right under the tree and popped right up on the other side. I caught another breath of air and just started swimming my ass off. Going downstream sideways and trying like hell to get to the left side of the river. I was definitely having difficulty swimming, as the water was very cold and having been in it for so long, my body was not reacting as it normally would. Somehow, through it all, I made it to shore. I got out of the water and sat on a rock that was right there. “I can’t believe I made it.”

Within a minute, my Mom comes walking up the shore, dragging a kayake. I can’t really remember if there was a tearful embrace, or just a “holy shit, are you ok?” moment, but we were certainly glad to see each other. After resting for a few minutes and calming down, we decided to leave the boats and walk to find help. Who would have thought that this would be equally as difficult.

We must have walked through the woods for five hours. It had been dark most of the time. We had no flashlight, and if not for a clear night and a bright moon, I don’t know how we would have made any progress. Inevitably, we came across a dirt road. We didn’t know where it lead to, but we decided to follow it in hopes of finding something.

We probably did another 45 minutes of walking before we finally came across a campground. It appeared that most campers were already asleep, but one section had a few lights on, and we could hear voices. I’m not sure what story my mother told these people, but in just a couple of minutes we were getting into some mans pickup truck and heading back to our campsight.

As we arrived back at camp, there were lights everywhere. Police, fire and rescue, and dozens of campers. ALL looking for us. They had literally just decided to call off the search for the night. It was unreal. My step Dad, my Mom and I had a huge hug. The EMT’s checked us out, while the police asked my Mom a bunch of questions. Eventually, everything calmed down and all the flashing light were gone. I think I fell asleep in less than 2 minutes.

We had been dropped off less than 5 miles upstream, at around 5pm. It was now 1:30am. We had been gone for 8 1/2 hours. By the time anyone noticed that we were running late, the ordeal on the tree was likely already over, and we were already lost in the woods. They found our boats, but were thinking they washed ashore, so they had only been searching the water.

In the end, we found out that only one year earlier, a father and son both drowned in a spot only a few hundred yards past the tree. No bullshit. We never saw that far downstream, to know how much worse the river would get. It is likely that if it wasn’t for my inability to avoid that obstacle, my Mom or I, or possibly both of us, would not have survived that day. Thankfully, we did, and the memory of that experience will too. What a way to celebrate your 11th birthday. NOT!!