Posts Tagged ‘humor’

For one brief shining season in the late seventies I got to live out my underdeveloped hoop dreams…

I played basketball…in Oklahoma, a state known for its football.

Yes sports fans, I was a card carrying member of the FOR ( the Future Owasso Rams).

Sadly, despite the name, my athletic career never really had much of a future. It wasn’t because of a lack of passion, I was passionate!! I wanted, desperately, to be an athlete! But, I was destined to become an athletic supporter.

I wasn’t passionate about competition or the game. I was passionate about trying to get a girl…any girl…to notice me. I had learned that girls liked jocks and so, I wanted to be a jock. So I begged my mom to let me join our city league, the mighty FOR. We practiced on Tuesday nights and played on Saturday mornings in the city recreation center. It was a loud metal building that smelled like a combination of feet and Funyuns.
This was back in the golden age of kid’s sports when not everybody got to play. You only got to play if you had actual skills (or if your dad was the coach). I didn’t get to play…at all…not once…not a play.

I would strut out with the team in my immaculately clean uniform (my mom didn’t have to wash my uniform all season long…I didn’t sweat once)
I would take my place on the bench and I stayed there for eight weeks.
The only dribbling I did was when I fell asleep with my mouth open.
I was completely aware of my lack of hoop skills. I mean, come on! I was slow, I had no depth perception and I was two feet shorter than everyone else, not really a lethal combination for basketball.

So I devised a plan. I had good friends who were also really good athletes. This was the beginning of middle school. So, we were still a few years away from not being able to talk to each other because of the whole social classification thing. My very kind friends picked me for their team. I was glad because they were really good.

We went undefeated and I had absolutely nothing to do with it.

I would strut out at the beginning of every game, walking proud because I was part of the first place team. My super cool blue and white uniform was clean. I sucked in my gut, pulled up my tube socks and tried to look cool. Without her knowing, I used my mom’s mascara to draw manly pit hair on my hairless armpits (that only worked because I didn’t sweat).

My only athletic injury was a butt cramp was sitting on the bench too much.

At the end of the season, I got a shiny plastic trophy.
I had a uniform, I thought I was a part of the team, I got a trophy.
But, the truth was that I really wasn’t fooling anybody but myself!
I hadn’t contributed anything.
Sometimes we treat life like I treated basketball.
If we just associate with the right people. If we look the part…that’s enough, right?
But, Life was never meant to be a spectator sport.
We were never meant to sit on the bench and be content with getting a trophy at the end of the season.
Don’t let your fear, insecurities or lack of skills keep you from living!
Leave your mark on the court.
Play…play hard.
Even if at first you stink.
Even if on some days all you have to show for your effort is a sweaty jersey.
Play…get off the bench…leave your mark.
Eventually you will find what you are good at.
Don’t think that you can just hang out with the right team, you have a role to play.

A while back I went to an event with a lot of amazingly interesting people.
They were hipsters, individuals who like indie techno music, free trade coffee and cynical banter.
You can tell that they are totally unique by the way that they all dress alike.
Hipsters are all about making a fashion statement.
They were dressed in scarves and flannel shirts (lumber jack chic?), tight sweaters with multiple zippers (zipper chic?). They wear stocking hats even when it’s really hot outside (sweaty chic?).
and of course skinny jeans.
Hipster love skinny jeans.
I’m sure they are lovely people, but I don’t think I will ever fit in their tribe, because I will never fit in their jeans!
I tried skinny jeans once and almost broke a hip.
Nonconformity can be really uncomfortable!
I ALSO tried once to be cynical and I just couldn’t pull it off. Sorry, I’m way too happy.
I’ve come to realize that I’m HUSKY in a skinny jean world.
Let me explain…
Growing up I had a problem (that I never actually outgrew).
When it came to jeans …
I needed pants that were twice as wide as tall.
There was only one place for that…
The husky department at Sears, a magical place where the pudgy and portly could buy their toughskins jeans.
I grew up getting all of my jeans in the husky department.
Then I would have to get every pair hemmed up.
I’ve never EVER been able to fit into long pants right off the rack.
THAT is why I hate long pants and skinny jeans and any other reminders of my obvious imperfections.
I’ve come to realize that I’m HUSKY in a skinny jean world.
I’m okay with that.
I’ve seen the people desperately trying to be different by dressing exactly alike.
They don’t look super happy, they look kind of constipated.
Maybe it’s the unnaturally tight pants.
Fashion is a club where the rules are constantly changing.
Just when you think you are past the velvet rope, things change and you are out again.
It’s tough to keep up.
Wouldn’t it be better to just say…
“You’re imperfect? That’s perfect cause…I!”
Let’s create a husky horde that values comfort over constriction.
It’s husky so there is room for everybody!
Let’s celebrate our perfect imperfections.
You be you, I will be me.
Skinny, husky or somewhere in between, hipster or husky, It doesn’t really matter.
What matters is finding the true you.
Make your style more about expression than expectation.
Who are you?
What is authentic?
What makes your heart happy?
Try that on for size!

Childhood can be a dangerous endeavor.

It’s a jungle out there!

I think That’s especially true if you grew up in the seventies or eighties.

It was a reckless time.

Playgrounds were scary places.

there were the steel monkey bars that were always a challenge to us short kids, but at least if we fell, the concrete would break our fall (and possibly our collarbone).

There were wobbly, brightly colored merry go rounds that could shoot an average sized kid 75 yards.

Don’t forget the tall rusty metal slides that would give you tetanus AND drop you off in a mosquito laden mud puddle.

Good times.

We stayed outside all day long…usually barefoot…WITHOUT cell phones…GASP!

We ate dirt and bugs and pop rocks.

We could do amazing feats of play with just a stick.

We never wore seat belts or car seats, the only restraining safety device we had was mom’s arm .

We rode our bikes over homemade ramps without ever even thinking about wearing a helmet. We did wheelies and rode around any patch of mud we could find.

because we lived out in the country, my  brother and I would burn the trash in our backyard. We would throw in cans of aqua net. It was a loud, beautiful explosion.

We ate paste and occasionally ran with scissors.

We chased each other with Roman candles and pop bottle rockets.

We rode everywhere in the back of a truck. We once rode all the way from Longview, Texas to Tulsa, Oklahoma in the back of an old Chevy truck. It was 285 miles. It was in the fall and it was freezing!

We…never…once…used hand sanitizers…yup, it was crazy man!

Childhood can be a dangerous endeavor.

It’s a wonder we survived.

It’s a true testament to the resilience of the human person.

I start feeling like I really accomplished something…

Until I talk to someone a little older than me.

Every previous generation had it worse.

we are the generation that survived…so are they!

The previous generation thought we were a bunch of babies.

We accuse the next generation of being entitled.

Every future generation has it a little better.

I think that’s supposed to happen.

We ARE getting softer.

BUT, that doesn’t mean we have to get safer!

As kids the reason that we almost died is because we really lived!

To live is to risk.

You can try to live without danger or discomfort.

Wrap yourself in bubble wrap, avoid spicy food and stay inside your bedroom.

But that’s not really living. It’s merely surviving…BIG difference!

Stay or play?

as a kid I chose play, I still do.

Every generation needs to find new ways to really live.


Talk to strangers.

Love, even when you know it’s gonna hurt you.

Pop some wheelies.

Have the kind of adventures that take your breath away and bring life to your soul.

The gift of life, when properly handled, can be a dangerous endeavor.

Live it!!


road rave!

Posted: February 24, 2015 in brain belches
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instead of road rage, I often get road rave.

Yup, I drive and dance.

I crank up the music and start moving every available body part.

It’s not necessarily pretty.

There’s a lot of head bobbing and fist pumping.

It’s really more of a spastic jerking than actual rhythmic movement.

I hoist my chunky little girth around my front seat.

It’s pretty fun.

And that is what it is all about…fun…joy.

Honestly, I don’t really enjoy driving. I’m not super good at it either.

It is boring.

So to entertain myself, I really don’t care what anybody else thinks.

I create a dashboard disco.

I sing at the top of my lungs and still manage to use my turn signals.

I get interesting reactions from other drivers.

Some point and laugh.

Some look pretty concerned.

Some look a little disgusted.

Some judge. One lady once held up a sign that just said “4”.

Some join in and start dancing too.

It’s always easier to judge than join.

But, those that do join in realize that the dance makes the drive much more fun!

Life can get ordinary.

We take the same route every day.

We need to find a way to turn the mundane into magic.

Drive and dance!

It’s all about the road rave.

It’s a lot less stressful than road rage.

Crank it up.

poetry SLAMMED.

Posted: February 10, 2015 in brain belches
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I hate beige!

It’s the color of cubicles designed to confine.

It’s conformity, giving up, and standing in line.

 Man, I hate beige!

It’s the color of the flavorless horde

Who live their lives perpetually bored.

 Boy, do I hate beige!

It’s the color of Monday, sad songs, and tasteless food.

Also the shade of blah, apathy, and a foul mood.

 I really, really hate beige.

It’s bland, inoffensive, and politically correct.

It’s the pale hue of mediocrity, I suspect.

 I hate beige!

A few years ago, when we lived in Dallas, I almost became an NBA dancer.

I know that, if you know me,  you are probably thinking NO WAY!

some of you might have thrown up in your mouth a little.

BUT…oh, it’s true!

I was a HUGE Mavericks fan, and I saw in the newspaper that the Mavs were having tryouts for Maniaacs.
The Mavs Maniaacs are a hip hop dance troupe of beefy, uninhibited men.
They were the original NBA big man dance team.
They dance at halftime and during breaks.
The tryouts were being held at a local dance studio. There were about 100 big, sweaty, over enthusiastic dancing men. It was a sight to behold and a fragrance to be smelled. The judges were Mavs dancers and local dignitaries. I was dressed for battle: a bright orange Mavericks shirt, blue basketball shorts and Chuck Taylor all stars.
I’m a condensed beefy boy, I was about a foot shorter that the other guys. In fact, I Heard one of the judges say “look, is that mini-me?” This didn’t discourage me.
This was my shot, I was gonna take it.
They taught us a choreographed combo that we did in groups and then we got to freestyle some serious dancing.
They would eliminate several people after each round. You would wait for your number to be called (or not) and you would proceed (or not).
Again and again I danced my guts out and made it through.
This was my shot, I was gonna take it.
We ended up doing the routine about 8 times. I hadn’t danced like this since…never. My muscles were rebelling against me.
I’m allergic to choreography. I’m not coordinated enough to keep up, but I can creatively shake my booty.
This was my chance…my ONLY chance to be a part of an NBA team.
Sometimes life gives you a free throw and you got to take a shot.
Whether you make it or not, you take pride in the fact that you tried.
I made it to the final ten!!! Then they told us that they were looking for five dancers.
One more round…
Ignore the pain…
Take your shot.
During the last round , one of the judges shouted words that I thought I would never hear: “Okay, we want to see some flesh…if you want to be a Maniaac, we need to see your stomach!”
This caused most of the guys next to me to start ripping off their damp shirts and flinging them around slinging warm sweat everywhere. I learned the true meaning of GUTS and glory.
Some things should never be seen…
Some things can never be unseen.
I. Just. Could. Not.
As much as I wanted to be a Maniaac, I wanted to hold onto some shred of dignity.
I couldn’t bring myself to unfurl my man boobs.
I didn’t make the top five.
I was ALMOST an NBA dancer.
I left with my dignity, a really sore back and a great story.
I had Stepped out and lived a great story.
Life is about stepping out even when you don’t make the cut.
It’s taking risks, it’s overcoming the paralyzing fear of public opinion.

What if success were all about risking instead of reaping.
What if we realized that it’s better to be an “almost was” than a “never tried”.
What if success were found in the act of stepping out.

Sometimes you got to do something unexpected…unlikely…unbelievable.
We should live in constant pursuit of a better story.
Sometimes life gives you a free throw and you have to take a shot.
Sometimes it goes in the basket…nothing but air.
Sometimes it bounces off the backboard.
Sometimes you don’t even get close.
The point is that you took a shot…you played…you tried…you danced.
You got off your butt, you took a risk, you overcame fear.
And you gained something more valuable than any trophy…
A Life lived in pursuit of a better story.
Step up…
Take a shot…
But please, for the love of God, leave your shirt on.


Posted: January 26, 2015 in brain belches
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Growing up I had many interchangeable dreams that came and went.

One dream came and stayed.
It was a simple dream.
I wanted a beard.
As a kid, I would literally sit around and visualize myself with a big nasty beard.
See the beard…be the beard.
I drew pictures of what I thought the bearded me would look like. It was a little creepy.
I wanted a beard.
To me, the beard was the epitome of free spirited manliness.
It was an exclamation point for your face!
My Uncle Bill, who was one of my heroes, had a beard.
Barry Gibb, Gandalf, Mr. T and Grizzly Adams…ALL had beards.
I was a late bloomer, I was almost 20 before I sprouted facial fuzz.
I tried everything to set off the stubble. I shaved my naked cheeks twice a day ( somebody told me that would work). I rubbed miracle-gro on my face. I prayed. I watched Chuck Norris movies.
FINALLY, my wildest, wooliest dreams came true.
In the last 30 years, I’ve only been without facial hair once for one misguided week in the late eighties.
I realized that my beard is the only thing that keeps me from looking like a chubby 9 year old boy. Many people have skittishly asked me, “is your Wife okay with you having that thing?” The answer is yes. For starters, she doesn’t want people to think she is married to a chubby 9 year old. She also recognizes that I’m a man who makes manly decisions about my manly face. Before you grow stubble, you probably ought to grow a spine. There are a lot of beard bashers who can’t wait to tell you what they think about your face. Chalk it up to beard envy. Haters gonna hate, don’t shave it off.
I think we are living during a magical time for beards.
It is a big hairy renaissance.
there have been epic beards in the past. Abraham Lincoln, I’m looking at you.
But I truly believe, with all my face, that we are living in the golden age of facial hair.
I’ve experimented with every possible expression of whisker. I’ve had a full beard, a goatee, a mustache, even the modified Australian Fu-Manchu.
I finally decided to just let it grow wild and define itself. It has, I believe by divine design, evolved into a “Chullet”. It is a “chin mullet”. The message is clear: It’s a party for my face.
It is a “yeard” (a beard that has grown for more than a year).
It’s a very handy thing, to be able to grow your own scarf or to go container.
How could it be a negative thing to get occasionally mistaken for Santa Claus?
A beard turns an ordinary face into art. In life, beauty is brought forth in the strangest ways. Look out for it.
A beard should be grown all year, manliness is not seasonal.
Sometimes the greatest things in life just grow on you. You do need to groom the growth to get the maximum awesomeness. That’s true with beards, it’s also true with relationships.
Sometimes your beard gets itchy. This is when many well intentioned guys give up. Don’t do it, be a man! don’t surrender the stubble. Work through the itch. It won’t last forever. Real life is the same way. life is itchy. Work through the itch. It will be worth it.
Just because something is untamed, doesn’t mean that it’s not clean. That’s true of beards, it’s also true of people. Don’t judge people.
Remember, with great beard comes great responsibility.
Unfurl your fuzz.
Celebrate your chin fruit.
Let little bits of awesome escape out of your face.

I was about 12 years old and I was going to my first night club.

I was excited! Once a month the 20th century club (a very cutting edge establishment) had a Catholic youth disco night. It was on a school night and I was going! Why stay home…when you should be dancing!
I didn’t want to show up alone, I didn’t want people to think I was a loser.
So I invited my cousin…
My incredibly incredible cousin Carmen agreed to go, because she was (and is) a really kind person.
One of our Moms had a great idea…for us to wear matching outfits. We wore denim vests and purple shirts. I think there might have been sequins involved. We looked like part of the Osmond family.
I tried my hardest to look like Barry Gibb, I had a gold chain and shiny, plastic shoes. I put some of my Mom’s Aqua net on my hair and my Dad’s old spice on my face.
We got dropped off and I couldn’t wait to boogie.
I had been watching American Bandstand for a while so I was schooled in the fine art of disco.
I danced like crazy.
I danced with all my might.
I danced like someone was watching.
That was a problem.
I’ve since learned that It’s a whole lot more fun when we dance like nobody’s watching.
Just because we love the dance.
But, it turns out, THERE was somebody watching. An actual FEMALE somebody, who wasn’t related to me. I was doing some alluring moves to KC and the Sunshine Band, when I looked across the dance floor and there was a girl smiling at me! And…then…she…waved…me…over!
i was fairly certain that she wanted to dance or maybe elope.
This girl was about my age and she was cute. Feathered hair, a shiny dress and braces to match.
So, without breaking eye contact, I danced over to her. that’s right, I was that cool.
She smiled the whole time. The disco ball reflected off her retainer.
She was standing with some friends drinking a 7up.
I boogied up, ready to hustle her heart away.
She giggled and said “you are such a cute little boy!”
And then dream girl patted me on the top of my head like I was a puppy…SERIOUSLY.

that wasn’t the reaction I wanted. there would be no eloping that night.

Then she walked off with her friends.
I was crushed…humiliated…embarrassed.
I remember it like it was yesterday, because that kind of painful rejection parks itself on the dance floor of your psyche.
This girl saw me in a sweaty horde of preteen wanna be dancers and in comparison I looked like a little kid. I was smack dab in the middle of a crowd that was taller than me. If only the lighting had been better, she could have seen my mustache. Then it would have been undeniable that I was a MAN. instead she saw a puppy in a pen of big dogs. It was all about the surroundings.
It’s still true 40 years later.
I’m 5″1′ tall.
Honestly, I never really notice my height until I’m standing right next to people who aren’t 5″1′.
It’s really only in a crowd that I feel small.
I look around, and all I see are armpits. I lose myself in the crowd. It’s when I break away from the crowd that my differences don’t matter.
Let me share something unbelievably profound with you…

Ifyou want to STAND OUT you got to STAND OUT.

I know…that just blew your mind, right?
If you want people to get to know the real you STAND OUT, don’t blend in.
Why would you get lost in the crowd when you should be dancing?

When I was 16 years old I entered the wonderful world of minimum wage.
My first job was at a grocery store called “Super-H” that was about 4 miles from my house. I was never sure what the “H” stood for, it depended on who you asked. My official job description was “sacker” (which sounds a little more dignified than “bag-boy”). It wasn’t a tough job, I put groceries into sacks and carried the sacks to cars. It wasn’t complicated. I was a hormone crazed, microwave burrito fueled goof ball ready to take the world by storm. This was back in the dark ages when your bagging choices were limited to “do you want paper or…well, paper?” I have to confess, during my sacker days I killed a lot of innocent produce. I also broke my share of not so innocent eggs. It was dangerous work.
I wore a faded blue apron, a spiffy name tag and a garage sale necktie. I managed to make enough money to pay for my first car (a ’74 ford pinto, yep, it was a car named after a bean). But, despite the tens of dollars that I made bagging other people’s food, I took away other things that were immeasurably valuable.

I learned many valuable life lessons from my first run in with organized work.
I learned to show up 15 minutes early.
I learned that shortcuts rarely pay off. Don’t trade RIGHT for EASY.
I learned that if you at least look busy, you get yelled at less.
I learned not to get distracted. My friend was slicing a ham once and got distracted by a pretty girl (what else) and ended up slicing off a chunk of his finger tip. The positive thing was that it blended right in with the ham.
I learned valuable skills like mopping and how to properly use a time clock. Both of these took me years to master.
I learned that, even when you THINK you have found a good spot to hide out, somebody is probably watching you.
I learned that there is always that ONE person who is ALWAYS in the break room.
I learned that sometimes people are mean. They treat you like dirt. That doesn’t make you dirt.
I learned that joy is a powerful weapon.
I learned that joy makes some people nervous.
I learned the value of a buck or 3, I made $3.35 an hour the entire 4 years that I worked there.
I learned that sometimes there is no chance of advancement. That shouldn’t keep you from advancing. Be better.
I learned the difference between BE and DO. I had to DO a lot of stuff that I didn’t like, that didn’t change who I was. You DO what you have to do while you find ways to BE who you are.
I learned that everybody has a story and most of those stories are pretty interesting.
I learned that sometimes you will have to deal with a lot of crap. Once, we were out of toilet paper in the very public restroom, so an older guy wrote a hostile message on the wall…with his own…um…crap. Guess who got to clean it up? Yup, it was me. Sometimes you have to do that!
I learned how to tie a necktie, which is a skill that I still use, every Christmas Eve.
I learned that I really hate neckties.
I learned that I’m also not a fan of name tags.
I learned that you don’t want to put canned green beans on top of bread.
I learned the value of just showing up. You earn a reputation by showing up as a person who shows up instead of shrugs off.
I learned that if you drop a jar of spaghetti sauce just right, it will break and go all over your customer’s white pants.
I learned that attitude is more important than ability.
I learned that some thieves aren’t very smart. I watched an older lady hike up her muumuu dress and put a gallon of ice cream down her panty hose. We stopped her and she denied it until it started to melt.
I learned that your social circle is going to grow out of the people that you are around the most. Hang around with people who make you better.
I learned that sometimes the customer is wrong.
I learned that you might not always want to tell the customer that they are wrong.
I learned that some people will do anything to advance themselves, don’t be THAT guy. don’t throw other people under the shopping cart.
I learned that we all have a daily choice: am I going to be a jerk? Just …don’t…for the love of God…don’t be a jerk.
I learned who I was and who I wasn’t. I was more than a hormone crazed, microwave burrito fueled goof ball.
I learned that you can learn something from everything.
I learned that cruddy jobs don’t last forever, but the lessons we take away from cruddy jobs DO last forever.

Growing up I wanted to be a cowboy.

Most of my heroes have always been Cowboys, with the hats and the stories to prove it.
Grandpa was a cowboy and horse trainer. He taught us how to ride and how to wear a Stetson hat. He taught us how to cuss and how to wrestle. Wrestling lessons consisted of him putting us in a headlock and not letting us loose until we shouted “CALF-ROPE!

There is something so cool about the cowboy life. You get to hang out with your buds and eat beef jerky and beans. You ride Mavericks, Sing songs and tell stories. You ride the range, rope and wrestle. You occasionally sit around a fire and celebrate bodily functions….AHHHH! The life of a cowboy.

The problem was there are certain things that might have killed my cowboy dreams.
I look kinda goofy in a big hat.
My one attempt at chewing tobacco ended very badly. I turned the shade of spinach and I threw up all over a storm shelter (to be fair, I was 7 years old).
I tried to ride a quarter horse once and I actually needed a step ladder to get on board. It seriously slows you down and kills your cowboy cred if you have to use a ladder to get on your horse. Fortunately, my grandpa had a Shetland pony named George. Shetland ponies are the compact cars of the horse kingdom. I spent many happy minutes riding the trails with George.
Big belt buckles scare me, I always think that if I bend over fast I might rupture my spleen.

I think the cowboy life is more than wearing boots and bandanas.
There are certain ideas that embody the spirit of the cowboy.
Ideas that anyone can rope…see what I did there?
The cowboy life is about uncontainable wildness. It is big, bold, untamed.
It is living unbound.
It’s a Life that is more about invention than convention. More about campfires than committees
It’s a daily search for new adventure.
It’s grabbing life by the throat and wrestling it to the ground until it shouts “CALF-ROPE”!
It’s all about Freedom and friendship.
I can still live the cowboy life even if I never wear a pair of wranglers.
It happens when I refuse to conform, compromise or compare.
I am myself no matter who is watching.
I ride wildly through the fields of grace and wonder.
I search out new adventures and tell better stories.
I live authentic…rustic…raw.
You with me?
Whoever you are…whatever you do…
Live free.
Sing songs, tell stories.
Be the wildest, undiluted version of yourself!
Let’s Saddle up the Shetland ponies and ride like a strong breeze!