Archive for February 2006

February 28th, 2006

Sweep Stakes

So how about those Olympics? For some reason, this year I paid more attention to them than I usually do. I heard ratings for the Olympics were really low this year, but I did my part. Ask anyone who knows me. In fact, now that they’re over, I’m going through a little withdrawl.

Unfortunately I am going to have to wait a good long while for another international sports competition accompanied by an absurd amount of hype from a network TV station. There’s only an Olympics every two years. But, hey, wait a minute, there are two seasons left, as well — spring and fall. Why not cram two more Olympic Games into the schedule? Spring and fall are easily the best seasons. They each need their own Olympics.

Last weekend Megan, Kaiser, and Steph helped me brainstorm some potential events (you know, so I can get my pitch together for the Olympic committee). In the fall you could have pumpkin-carving, apple-bobbing, touch football, leaf-raking, leaf-blowing, leaf-pile-jumping, etc.

The spring is a little tougher. Of course there’s cleaning. And training. If North Carolina hosted a Spring Olympics, there’s enough pollen here to make sneezing and nose-blowing events. Also, car-washing.

And if any of these items seem too silly for Olympic competition, I have two words for you: curl-ling. (Ok, really it’s just one word, “curling,” but I wanted to start that sentence with the more dramatic “I have two words for you….” ) Yes, curling, the Norwegian game of stones and brooms…. Man, I am going to miss curling. The Olympics are over and now curling is going to vanish completely. Where does it go? I have no idea, but you won’t see it again ’til 2010, not even on one of the 12 ESPNs.

During a “match” in the “sport” of curling I have no idea what is trying to be “accomplished” by the “quote”-athetes-“unquote.” (The people that play this game seem to be the same average joes you see playing darts in a bar. And I don’t just mean they have a similar mentality or skill-set. I mean I swear I saw these exact guys, hanging out in a bar, getting piss-drunk and playing darts, three weeks ago. They are the only Olympic competitors with paunches who wear normal eyeglasses while in heated pursuit of a medal, that’s all I’m saying.) Still I am mesmerized by curling.

Nearest I can tell, one team-member slides a strange, puck-like object down an icy strip, then the others glide along side of it, sweeping frantically around it with special brooms to change its direction, never touching it, but desperately yelling instructions at each other (“HARD!!! HAAAAAAAAAARD!!!”…. Man, Kate, you better be keeping up with my blog. Most of this is just here for your personal enjoyment). They’re hoping the puck will come to a stop somewhere in a target-shaped area at the end of the strip. I’m not sure where or why. It’s ok, though. Knowing what was going on would almost ruin it.

The Fall Olympics (or “Fallympics”) will have curling, too, by the way. In Fallympic Curling, the competitors will run around a heavily-wooded area, trying to catch leaves as they fall off the trees. Each falling leaf you catch brings a year of good luck! This should give those athletes some actual motivation. You can’t tell me winning a medal in curling is doing it for them.

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February 22nd, 2006

“Is That a Mastadon Out There or Just a Really Big Rock?”

Today I bring you part two in my series about getting old. Last time I posted, you may remember me complaining about lower back pain. Today you’re going to hear about my deteriorating vision.

I can’t find my glasses. How I ended up in this distinctly Velma-ian predicament is beyond me. They’ve been missing for days now. The last time I lost them like this, I just ended up having to go buy another pair.

The fact that I’m always losing them is my least favorite thing about having glasses. Followed closely by the fact that when people meet me and I’m wearing my glasses, and later they see me for a second time and I’m wearing them, and then a third time and I’m wearing them, the glasses become, in their mind, part of my face. After this, if I happen to take off my glasses, it alters my entire appearance. I’ll look like I have these comically-small, squinty eyes. You know what I’m talking about.

And I know what you’re thinking right now, by the way. Your solution is so obvious you want to reach into your screen and administer a dope-slap that will somehow travel through your internet connection and reach me on the other end. You are, of course, thinking “why don’t you just get contacts?” Hold on there, my predictable friend.

The real problem here is not glasses, per se. Rather, it is the admitting that I need help, especially with seeing into the distance. My perfect, 20/20 vision only started to fade a few years ago and my male ego is still having trouble adjusting. I don’t want to have to depend on a pair of glasses. What happens if, say — being purely theoretical here — I lose them for an extended period of time…? How do I keep up now? Am I too old and weak to provide? I can still hunt and/or gather, right? Hmm…is that a mastadon out there or just a really big rock? Shit, I can’t tell. I should probably shoot some arrows at it, to be on the safe-side. Were those even close? Yeah, I have no idea…. Well I’ve had a good run. I’ll just wonder around ’til I fall into a tar pit and get eaten by a sabertooth tiger….

Back in college, after about a year of struggling to read the board in the front of the classroom, I finally went to the optometrist. He told me that, though I did need glasses, my eyes weren’t that bad and I should only use them when I really needed them. I was only too happy to follow these instructions, but it has resulted in a lot of putting on and taking off throughout the day, and I tend to just lay them down where ever I am at the moment (or, worse, leave them in shirt or pants pockets as I toss them into the dirty laundry).

This time, I just cannot figure out what I did with them, and, being old, I have no short-term memory left to help me out. Regardless, things will work out. I’ll find them, or I’ll buy yet another new pair. Don’t worry about me. Either way, I’m looking forward to looking forward and seeing things in focus. Just think, I could read the signs for the streets I’m turning down, and see the names and scores on the Olympics, and participate in the mastadon hunt….

Laugh if you want to, but hunting mastadon was a big deal, back in the stone age…when I was a young man.

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February 10th, 2006

Back Story

I now know what it is like to be old. Every time I have to bend down to pick something up or put my shoes on or get in the car, I have to do it very, very slowly, wincing and groaning through the entire ordeal (that’s right, “ordeal”). I used to make a lot of fun of people like me.

Mom, in particular, is having a really good time with my condition. She’s been teasing me and laughing at me. She’s got some nerve. Whatever. She’ll be old someday too.

According to both my fiance (who had my exact same symptoms not six months ago) and the internet (who, let’s face it, knows everything) I am having back spasms. Apparently, somewhere in the past 25.75 years, I mistreated my lower back in a very serious way. I took if for granted. Perhaps I didn’t call as often as I should have. And my lower back was hurt. It felt violated. Wronged in a deep and severe way. Yet instead of doing the mature, healthy thing and telling me so we could work it out, my back bottled everything up, letting it gradually build, ’til last weekend, when I went for the first run I’ve taken in over a year and it all became too much for my back to handle. It decided to get even with me that night, by constantly shooting pain through its muscles.

(My ailment is so bad it’s all I can think about, and therefore all I can talk about. This is how you can really tell I’m getting old.)

Yes, I should probably go to the doctor, but I’m one of the growing number of people who don’t fully trust modern medicine. The last few times I’ve been to the doctor I’ve sat there and explained my symptoms while the doctor looked at me like he or she didn’t understand why I was there. Then he or she told me what they thought was wrong and threw $50 worth of prescription drugs at me that didn’t do anything for my problem. I think I’ll save myself the embarrassment — and the $200 — this time around.

I’m committed to my alternative, new-age healing regime, which consists of taking it easy, using Icy Hot’s medicated heat patches, cursing a lot, and hoping the pain goes away. If I’m still hurting this bad in another week or two, I’ll go see a doctor.

’Til then perhaps I’ll move to this “Brokeback Mountain” place I’ve been hearing so much about. Based on the way I feel right now, I’m thinking I’d fit in perfectly.

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