Saturday, October 24, 2009
And the next two years of high school were quite the transformation. The not so popular Matt Jacobs morphed into the high fiving crowd surfing "Matty J". Senior year I dated often and many, became the high school mascot and got a partial ride to The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The summer before senior year I met my best friend whom I roomed with all four years of college (now he manages my lack of funds as our investment advisor)
But it all started with that first lung burning run, flopping my 14 year old baby fat up and down the sidewalk, and it progressed to a few runs where I could only just go faster and faster and faster. It progressed to a waxing and waning obsession with pushing one self to the limits for that sense of accomplishment, that meaning, and the clarity one can achieve for being such a narcissist.
Today was a run where I could only go faster, it was extra clarity, an ultra high. I dreaded all 10 miles today. It was rainy, muggy, and I was tired from working the overnight shift the night before. The first two miles seemed like bears but my splits were decent. Five miles later after two horrific passes over the Severn River by way of the Navy Bridge, I felt my legs spinning faster and faster. Holding the pace for my kick the last mile it started to pour. And my body cooled as my lungs took in glorious breath after glorious breath and my legs kicked and kicked their way down the sidewalk to a nice finishing time for my thirty year old body. Nothing hurt, nothing seemed difficult, the precision of the run spoke for itself. I felt clean, my mind felt clear, and I felt high. It's a difficult experience to replicate with words. But to me, it's the sense that I kicked ass, felt great kicking ass, and did it honestly. It's a sense of meaning. It is one of those little moments in life that is selfishly yours, and it keeps your wheels spinning until the next one passes by.
Friday, October 23, 2009
In the ghetto, the storyline for a gunshot wound to the head is something like this, "Well, see, I was mindin' my own business, taking grandmamma to church, and then somebody reached in the car and shot me" (that's if they are able to talk after the assault, you'd be surprised, many are).
In redneck land the story for running out of pain medicine is something like this, "Well see, I'm out of work, and my pain Doctor refused to see me, and I don't want to get addicted to no pain medicines, but this tooth ache has been hurtin an awful lot". The retort depending on my mood is, "Have you gone to a Dentist?" Then they say, "Well, I don't have no money for that". Meanwhile they have a Blackberry phone and pack of cigarettes in their pocket. They usually get testy when you confront them about their money to buy cigarettes. I remember confronting an old man with Asthma and Obstructive Pulmonary Disease how he had enough money for cigarettes and cable TV but no money for his inhalers (he came in asking for a free inhaler). The response was something like, "I didn't come in here to be judged...wheeze...cough...I could just leave and go else...cough...wheeze...where. I gave him a free inhaler, hell, I'm a sucker for schmucks I guess.
And I'm told that God loves everyone. I suppose so, I'm just puzzled that the scum of the earth can survive multiple gunshots to the head while the single hard working mothers of three get diagnosed with terminal brain cancer at age 40. The good dying young has me question my faith in God the most, but it's more like a "I'll ask God when I get to meet Him question" than actually turning into an agnostic.
This morning I was at the Dermatology office for my quarterly skin check. My P.A. scraped a mole and said, "This could be neoplastic, let's just make sure it's not". And I said, "Yeah, Melanoma to the Brain sucks, terrible death, we've had a few of them.". And she said, "That's the part I like about my job, we find things generally when they aren't bad, aren't advanced, we don't have to give the ole "Sorry Johnny, your mom is dead speech".
Interesting, we do. A friend recounted his "Sorry your mom is dead speech" one day in the call room. As a background, this Doctor is a very soft spoken conservative person, and extremely stoic. When he finished telling a family their loved one had no clinical sign of brain function, a concerned and distraught family member said, "You are a Neurosurgeon right? Is your service like that Neurosurgery service on "Gray's Anatomy"? Is everyone sleeping with each other?"
If I never learn anything else, I will never be surprised at the great art form of the human race. God gave us life through Adam and Eve, and He tries to find ways to guide us to become better people...but dang, the disrespect people have for themselves and each other is universal from ghettos to trailor parks.
The universal theme is disrespect and lack of accountability. It's always someone elses fault, job, responsibility, etc. Will it ever get better? Is it worse now, or has it just stayed the same?
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Saturday, October 17, 2009
And since I was small, I have always wondered the same thing. And today, for the first time in years the idea crept up in my head as I was taking an afternoon nap. Mind you I didn't nap well, as the question I have is spooky to me, and quite unsettling.
If we are to live for eternity in the afterlife, do things ever stop. I mean, think about it. It seems a bit like Groundhog Day. Day after day of perfection and happiness. Does life just stay the same? Is there no end point?
As a child I was told that God didn't tell us everything because there were things mere mortals just couldn't comprehend. It's like if we tried to wrap our little pea brains around such grand ideas as eternal life as it pertains to time, our heads would explode. Mine simply hurts at the idea.
To me it's like the scene in "The Matrix" where Neo finds out he has found the architect before and failed many times. He just keeps returning and doing the same things, yet he has no recollection of his previous lives. Or Bill Murray in the film "Groundhog Day", when he keeps waking up day after day and finds it's the same.
Mind you, I love my life now, but there is surely a beginning and end, and I hope there is a continuation in that "Heaven" we all hear about. But something so finite with limitations is comprehensible to me. Having an eternal life with endless perfection boggles my mind tremendously. What the hell do you do with forever...think about it...forever. The idea of monotony scares me, it scares me to get bored and not be able to move on.
So maybe we just have to wait and see, maybe our minds are just too small to comprehend such greatness. And then you question your faith, is there a God? If so why is there so much suffering and pain? I think I will always have those questions but my mind is set that there is a deity out there. For me it's a lot of faith; however, I see no way around how else the earth we live on was created.
Spiritual Musings...I think I'll just move on to farts from now on.
"Your updates have me thinking you take daily hits of the nitrous"
And so I write, "Abigail, you knew me in college, and I'm way more watered down now".
The post she was referring to was the following...
"Rawrrr!!!! It means I love you in Dinosaur"
And then I thought about all of the posts I write about how much fun it is to poop, and then to have gas, and then my rants about the poor, and socialism, and lazy people. And then I post things about Homer Simpson...you get it, it's random, and most posts have me giggling like a schoolgirl, then informing my wife of how clever I am, and she says, "Huh?!...I love you Matty"
So then I write back to Abigail, "I have no idea why my wife married me, it's like a daily Facebook newsfeed of wondrous and completely useless updates".
And the life of MattyJ rolls by, legendary moment after legendary moment in my own mind.
When we have kids, I expect life to still be a fun zoo of Facebook posts, silliness, and overall bathroom humor. There is a saying that kids "learn what they live". My family learned me how to laugh at bodily functions. Every family get together my aunt (generally 10 minutes into each meal) says, "Can we not at least have one meal without discussion about bodily function?"
There is not a closing to such a post like this.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
She was right. I had more green clouds coming from me than the Wicked Witch of the West. More smoke than a magic show. Had you put some floaties on me on the Cuban coast, I coulda tooted over one hundred refugees in an hour (being that Cuba is 90 miles from Florida, mathematically my ass would have been going 90 miles per hour).
Call it a blessing or a curse (depending who you are), the Jacobs butt reigns supreme and it's disgusting. I woke up literally tearing up and gagging from some of the rotten eggs I laid.
And it's not really what I eat or don't eat, I have always been tooteriffic. My poor wife, my poor dog. They will all succumb to some sort of interstitial lung disease some day. So what do I do? Take Beano? Maybe Activia? It's a conundrum of manhood. I mean, think about it, someone else farts, it smells, we're all grossed out. But to paraphrase what George Carlin once said, "When we fart, we're kinda like, Hey, that's not so bad, we grin, and sometimes we giggle". And as much as I was gagging this morning from the putrid stench I emitted, I was physically giggling at the fact that I farted. As I write, I'm grinning from ear to ear anticipating at the next possibility for spontaneous combustion.
Thank God for being a newlywed, because she still puts up with it. I can see however that my future will consist of two separate rooms for those nights I create my own magic show of "Matty the Human Fog Machine".
Monday, September 28, 2009
And while many people think of it as the commencement of growth with the replacement of a slow death of warmth, leaves, and all things that bloom, fall represents much more. In my life, it has always represented change and a renewing of one's spirit.
As a lad, fall was our Christmas each and every year due to our religious beliefs. Biblically, we celebrated the promise of being rescued by God at the Apocalypse, Judgement Day, and finally Eternal Life. As most main stream Christian religions do not celebrate these Old Testament based "Holy Days", we were a little different, or you could just say "cultish". However, each fall, around this time of year, we would take a vacation usually to some sort of beach, give each other gifts, eat at a lot of nice restaurants, go to theme parks, and enjoy meeting new friends whilst becoming closer with our immediate families. Those religious holidays were known as "The Feast of Tabernacles", or quite simply, "The Feast". And the weather was always very crisp and clean. It's the kind of weather you wake up to at 7am and say, "Damn, let's get this day started, Yeehaw".
Our church's religious practices have changed from a "Fire and Brimstone" type religion to a more "Honor God with your Heart" based practice. Unfortunately the days of the "Feast" and other old testament based holidays have disappeared. However, the memories of such good times and spiritual renewal have stayed in place. In fact, my mom and I always call each other around this time and say, "It's Feast Weather".
Anchored with these special memories in my heart, the fall has continued to be special for me, and on my way to work this morning I was thinking that five years ago, was when I met my wife.
Five years ago was a different time for me in my life. I was incredibly immature, really hurt from a previous breakup, and my self confidence was quite shaky. However, after a brief attempt at stand up comedy during a presentation in graduate school, my future wife came up to me and said, "I just had to meet you after such a hilarious presentation".
And as I maintained the courage to man up, ask her out, and keep persevering to win her heart, the weather became "Feast weather".
It was autumn, and I'll never forget riding out to her farm to study and go horseback riding. That day was where we had our first kiss on her porch while we should have been studying. After we went horseback riding she came up to me, kissed me, and as I stood there shocked, she said, "I just wanted to do that". I'll never forget how special I felt. You see, at that time in my life I was so used to giving so much in relationships and never seeing such happy returns. I felt valued, and to the romantics out there, I felt in love.
And every fall, something new and cool usually happened. Fall 2004, the same time I met Meghan, the Red Sox ended their 86 year World Series drought. Fall, 2007, we bought our first house, and the Red Sox won the World Series again. Fall 2008, we raised our Puppy. Fall 2009, we have been married over a year and I keep falling in love with my wife each and every day just like 5 years ago when she introduced herself.
As a hedonist I find ways to celebrate just about everything about life because it's too damn short. And fall, well, it's another celebration. Raking leaves, jumping in them, carving pumpkins, getting drunk while carving pumpkins and then eating the burnt pumpkin seeds you conceptualized on cocktail number two or three (who's counting), Autumn festivals, harvest time for grapes, nice meals of your favorite comfort food because it's nice and cool outside, sleeping with the windows open and burrowing under the covers, the list goes on and on, and yours might differ...
but to me, it's the most wonderful time of the year.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Honestly, what more is Facebook other than a quasi stalker friendly website allowing you to peak at other's lives as a comparison where you say, "Hey Meg, at least we have it better than this person".
I constantly find myself looking up old ex girlfriends and laughing at their bloated bodies, balding significant others, and litter of kids, then turning to my wife and saying, "Ha ha, look at them". And she echos..."You da shit Matty J".
Okay okay, maybe it's not literally like that, but it's damn close. Facebook makes me more and more of a hater of people. Sure it's okay to be curious of what people who you knew 10 years ago are still doing. But curiosity did kill the cat. And for that reason Facebook is not a good thing for vindictive assholes like myself who are still bitter over breakups from first grade. I openly write this with no qualms because I am not the only one.
Seriously, when you "reconnect" with folks on Facebook, do you all of a sudden go out to dinner with them, give them a call, start hanging out? Maybe, maayyyyyyybe 10% of the time.
I'll admit, we have reconnected with some folks and actually met in person. However, I'll stand to and abide by the opine that many of us use it as a voyeuristic way to watch the train wrecks of other's lives. It's like interactive reality television.
And to the subject of my post...I was called a racist one summer night because I suggested Obama was elected in part due to his color. In my opinion, the political climate was appropriate to elect anything more dissimilar to a white collar white silver spoon elitist Texan as possible. Throw in the fact that Obama is one of the greatest orators we have ever seen with a dash of charisma...point made.
Had he been a charismatic oratorically gifted white guy...I'm not sure if the results would be the same. Many young white people were sorry to be young and white. I myself feel guilty to be a young white male as I do tend to have it good. I hate our society for discriminating one due to their color, sex, or sexual preference. We all wanted to differ from the norm of white male. Obama was a way to say, "Change...and sorry my forefathers were racists". Unfortunately electing a black man didn't and will never erase the crimes that will perpetually exist against mankind.
Forget the tunnel vision of racism. Open your eyes more to the total vision that our world is a cruel cruel place where crimes against humanity happen every day. More and more I find myself veering back to my religious roots. In one way it's easy to question the idea of deity because so much wrong exists. In another way it's comforting to believe a deity exists, and a utopia will one day appear where everyone can be their potential and the suffering of horrible crimes against mankind will stop.
And I thought this was just a post about Facebook.
As a general lover of life and all things pleasurable (call me a hedonist), this summer was the best summer I have ever had. Meghan and I got a lot done with our home improvements, worked a ton, yet had a lot of time for cheap vacations with the in-laws. And as the summer draws to another dreadful close (at least the NFL and fantasy football is back), we see ourselves NOWHERE towards parenting a batch of little Mattys.
The end of a summer brings me to a bittersweet impasse of observations. Bittersweet because like much of life, I really don't know what to make of it other than observe and stay hopelessly positive about what we have at the here and now junction.
In no particular order:
1) The Baltimore Marathon is paused until next fall due to over training like an 18 year old at age 30. Lessons learned, yet I still fall into the pitfalls of persevering through the musculoskeletal woes of being thirty. Nonetheless I am still a svelte 169ish, and still proud to go "Skins" at the Redskins game due to the fact that it was "Damn Hot, that's why I took my shirt off"!
I will be registering for the Rock-n-Roll Marathon in Virginia Beach on St. Patty's Day. In my twenties I couldn't think of a better thing to do than get rip shit at some pub on St. Patty's Day. Now I'm planning to run 26.2 miles. My how things change.
2) My Grandpa Joe died unexpectedly in July. And I'm still not really sure how I feel about it. You see, it was a strange relationship as he was my father's step dad. Not to get too much into my fucked up family dynamics, my immediate family and I walked away from a side of the family who caused many years of psychological torment (let's say 3 years ago). We hadn't spoken to my grandfather in that length of time. To add more confusion to the pot of stinking dung, we only heard that Joe had cancer 2 days before he left us (Could they have at least Twittered us sooner?)
The tragedy on a personal level was watching my father go through such a tearing of heart strings. One day, I hope my epitaph reads, "Matty J, he was as good as his father".
Through all of the trial and tribulation my father has seen throughout his life, it killed him not to run back to his family to swoop in and be the rescuer he has always been. He's just that good of a person. Personally, he had just been shat on too many times. He couldn't fathom becoming involved again only to be hurt one more time. Picture a Gary Larson cartoon with a caveman walking into a cave with a sign that read, "Lion's Den" above the door. Yeah, this time the caveman learned to read the sign.
I can see my dad one day in heaven as the guy everyone wants to be around because his positive energy is just that damn contagious. Shoot, I see him as that right now. The pensive nature of death and dying this time around spurs me to emulate my father more and more. If there was a human living in the way Jesus wanted us to live, look no farther than my dad. I said it when I was 22, I'm still saying it now.
On the note of losing my grandpa Joe, it's so bittersweet. On one hand he was a physically and emotionally abusive alcoholic to many a people. I remember in 1997 when he kicked my grandmother out of the house because he was back on the booze. Yet, he mellowed, and when Meghan met him she thought he was the sweetest and cutest old man in the world. To be honest, he cleaned up his act the last 10 years of his life. But the scars of time do not necessarily heal such wounds. I find myself cautiously aloof and happy to be in Maryland as I too am tempted to jump back in the hot cesspool of bad family dynamics. I find myself speechless in a sad and sober manner.
3) I have been inspired to write a book. I haven't written a page. I have thought of a few ideas, but then I start working my two jobs, do some housework, and take a little time to relax with the Mrs and I forget about it. My inspiration is a single mother of two named Joan Lehman. We're too long into this blog to describe how damn cool I think she is. I just find it really neat that she has published her first book, she's an Emergency Medicine Physician, and well, she's left a really valuable impact on my life just in who she is and what she stands for.
It's been too long since I've blogged and though Facebook has gotten way too old with it's ridiculous updates and sissy ass fights over politics, parenting, and well anything you could write a snide comment about...I guess I'll try and blog some more. Until then, goodnight.
Friday, July 31, 2009
This summer my blogging has become pathetic and non-existent.
In an effort to keep it pithy, I'll list our activities thus far.
1) Lost 13 pounds training for the upcoming Baltimore Marathon in October, 1o more weeks to go.
2) Gotten a great tan from places such as, "Assateague Island, Ocean City, Our Pool, The Bay, The Eastern Shore, and sooon to be Chincoteague Island".
3) Added on to our deck and have started to finalize plans to finish correcting our yard-drainage problem/landscaping issues.
4) Reunited with the Mayberry folks at Nick Freitag's wedding
Honestly, it's been a summer of avoiding work at all costs. We still have worked very hard and I still have two jobs, but I just feel every time I finish work, we're off traveling to some new place, even if it is as simple as catching up on a new "Food and Wine" Magazine at our pool. The second year of marriage has been sweet, and I've just not been able to be bothered regarding blogging.
Instead, I have had the epiphany to write a book. I'm toying with the idea, but once I become obsessed enough with the details, it will probably happen. Still haven't thought of a subject/storyline, but I'm just not into any hurry at this point. Summer is too short for us not to take advantage of living 2 minutes from the Chesapeake Bay, and 20 minutes from the Eastern Shore..oh and 2 hours from the ocean. Blogging and work can happen when it gets cold and when we have kids...
Speaking of kids, we both just can't imagine giving up our freedom of spontaneity at this moment. Maybe one day.
I'll blog more when I have the time, maybe some nice observations from all the traveling we did this summer...I think I have some stories...
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Saturday, May 16, 2009
If you meet anyone who knows me, they will let on that I'm a total pushover. My friend Samantha calls me a "Yes" man. And I'll admit, they're right. I HATE confrontation, and will do a lot to get out of it. It's a double edged sword as you can imagine. So, if I can say yes without causing injury to myself, even if the yes consists of me going out of my way to do something...sure, why not, life is short, I'll generally do it.
That's what makes me a genuinely good person. I like to people please, and I hate when people are upset. It's something I have to monitor because in the past I have put myself in harm's way just to make an unhappy person happy. However, through the school of hard knocks, I learned that people are generally happy or unhappy regardless of what you can do for them. But that took a long time and a few bad relationships to realize.
You see, I have that type of personality that is infectious. Think about it, I'm happy, I'm outgoing, and I'm damn handsome. The only problem, is I'm ultra sensitive to what people think about me. So, that can make me a little unsure of myself every now and then. Add that to the fact that I like to make people happy, step back and ask yourself...what type of people gravitate to a handsome, charming, yet sensitive guy?
Needy people...Yeah, that's right. And often times, those needy people are psycho. Put that together with the fact that my friends have said, "Matty would even hump that lamp post", and you have my list of ex-girlfriends. The problem is, needy people bring you down.
My coach in high school once said, "You're the dumbest smart kid I know". I took great offense, but looking back on my life's transgressions, you'd have to agree. You're talking to a guy who took two and a half years to break up with a girl who faked an abortion, threatened her own suicide at least five hundred times, and kicked in the headlight of my truck. That breakup took about twelve interventions from my best friends. All the while I was sustaining a 3.7 GPA. Enough said.
All the exes share similar breeding, or I guess similar articles of clothing...shoes...big shoes....ISSUES. Mommy, daddy, doggy, "No one loves me", shit, the list is endless. The problem is, they never really got better. You could make an argument about the last ex (we'll just call her "Dirty") not having as big of SHOES, but her own "Daddy" issues consumed her as well as her love for spending another man's cash.
Dating these mongoloids was depressing and exhausting. You see, they all saw me as their knight of hope. Shit, I was like Obama to them I guess. So instead of working out their own problems, they looked to me to fix them. And I was happy to help. You see, I guess I thought, "Keep being the nice guy, they can change, they'll get better, what would Jesus do"?.
What would Jesus do? Shit, that man would have tucked tail and run long before he caught a glimpse of them, that's what Jesus would do. But I was young and I thought I could change a person. I thought I was some kind of emotional healer. Honestly, these folks would have had better luck with a tarot card reader, or perhaps Dr. Phil.
In my effort to help the helpless, I never gave myself a shot to get something better. I guess I opened myself up too much to their own unhappy criticism. In order to stave off confrontation, I would always say "YES". Making them happy became my number one priority. Fearing the idea that I could disappoint someone coupled with my unquenchable desire to change someone for the better, I sold myself short and settled for many unhappy dating years. The evil cycle of rescuing with the false hope of change kept me doing what I was doing. In hindsight, I kept myself miserable.
And in my final epic relationship of CRAPTASTICNESS (Yes, it's a word), I finally realized my unhappiness (Shit, it only took 9 years of dating a million different people). So I decided against hiding my feelings, and shared my sentiments with my girlfriend "Dirty"(whom I was hoping to someday marry). My reward, "We should break up, I can't make you happy Matty". Gee, that was nice. A few months later, I found out she was shagging another guy all the while we were dating. That guy coincidentally was the "nice" bloke who offered to take me out drinking the day we broke up. Pour salt into the wound there and add a dash of, "They just got married", and you have irony.
But the veil of night is always followed by a ribbon of light at dawn. And you know by now, her name was Meghan. For whatever reason God put her in front of me, and I landed a date with her. She proceeded to take this wounded little fawn, nurse him back to health, and kick him in the balls by saying things like, "Stop feeling sorry for yourself, be a man, let's go, stop worrying." Sprinkle in the fact that she appreciated me, found me totally hot (dammit all who wouldn't), and didn't have a laundry list of psych problems, I was done.
Finally, I had stopped scraping the bottom of the barrel. I had met my perfect match and I was happy. I had at last found an environment where I could grow as a person and didn't have to reconcile with a hopeless head case.
When I used to work at "America Restaurant", I had become friends with this guy named "Roy". And he said to me one day, "My 30s were my best years, not my 20s. You see, I was stupid then. In my 30s I still had my looks, but I had a clue about how the world worked...less mistakes, more payoff".
My addition to that statement would be the following...
"Back when I was in my teens and twenties, I thought I could change people, and I cared too much about what they saw in me. So that would get me down, I never gave myself enough credit, and always settled for the bottom of the barrel. I was stuck in a perpetual motion of dating shitty people because I thought I could change them. But in my mid twenties I found an angel, and somehow I decided to act right, and she kept me, now I'm 30 and I'm happily married....less mistakes, more payoff".
Shit, even the dumbest smart kid can finally learn to do something right.
Here's to you Roy.
One other thing, "Dirty" married that "nice" bloke for his money, and she spends a ton. Now that's JUSTICE with a capital J
You know how when you say, "Yeah so and so is a doctor, or lawyer, or mechanic", and you get that mental picture of what they look like? Our dentist was born to be a dentist. He just looked the part. A little disheveled, but not sloppy, a little nerdy, but not in a bad way. He could have never been a teacher, or mechanic...it just didn't fit him.
As campy as it sounds, he changed the way I clean my teeth by actually taking time to show me the right way to floss and brush. He did his own cleanings, x-rays, and of course whatever surgical procedure you needed. He was the first dentist who didn't just come in after the hygienist finished ripping out your gums and say, "Hmm, yep, ahem, well, we'll see you in 6 months Mr. Jacobs". His only assistant merely handed him some things and made you rinse that disgusting fluoride wash at the end of your session.
It's strange to write about someone I feel so close to, yet know nothing about. He was just one of those positive people who made differences in other people's lives. He was kind and extremely benevolent. I once heard a story that he married a lady from somewhere in South America, and then paid to have her immediate family sent to America so they could join the "American Dream" and not be separated.
Meghan and I would often joke about how long our dental appointments would last. Honestly, he'd take 90 minutes a piece cleaning your teeth, making you feel really bad you didn't floss correctly, and patiently review how to floss, brush, and do whatever you needed to to promote dental health. When I first started going to him, he started giving me discounts because I was a friend of Meghan (who had been going to him since she was a child). He understood I was a poor student without dental insurance. Later, when I had insurance, he still gave me courtesy discounts.
Funny enough, last summer we even snuck our dog into his office. I don't think he really knew we were going to do that, and I'm sure he wasn't psyched that his practice could get shut down if the health department found out. But his office assistant gave the green light and said, "Where is your wife?" I said, "Well, we brought our puppy and she's in the car keeping watch". "Oh, bring the dog, we'd love to see her, Dr. Orbach wont mind". The look on his face was priceless as our little Boston Terrier puppy came bounding past the waiting room door and started sniffing his crotch(I was at that moment having my gums ripped out). Of course we apologized and placed the dog in the empty waiting room. He just smiled and said, "She's a cute pup".
Meghan and I both work in a field where too many assholes live to see another day, beat another wife, and suck the life out of the taxpayers so they can keep living on welfare. And we see people just like our kind hearted dentist, die an untimely death. My farewell to Dr. Orbach is quite lonely for me, as most farewells often are. His death appropriately has me asking the question of why things happen the way they do to so many good people, and the not so good people get to keep living?
It's a faith shaking question, but the thoughts of everything good that he did, within his short window of life eases the unsteadiness of that question. To me, everyone is here to die but not everyone around us is here to make a positive difference. For whatever those positive differences are worth, what he did was worth quite a bit to me. And I guess I come to the epiphany that he wasn't on earth just to help people have better overall health through dental hygiene. He was here to make us all be better people, his craft was just the vessel he used to accomplish that feat.
Friday, May 8, 2009
I stand at the precipice of a dilemma, again. Manny Ramirez was being "Manny" again, this time, instead of whining about fake hurt knees and loafing on his team, he got caught using performance enhancing drugs. The benefit for me as a baseball fan is that at least he's not still playing for my beloved Red Sox.
If you all know me well, you know I am a ridiculous Red Sox nut. I love the "SAWX". And everyone always asks the same question, "Are you from Boston?" Nope, I am not. However, the Red Sox became my identity at age 20. You see, I had taken to leaving my hometown of Mt. Airy, NC, and exploring the rest of the world. That summer, I had booked a gig as a canoe instructor at a summer camp in New Hampshire. Coincidentally, my girlfriend (at that point in time) lived an hour away. Before she became totally crazy(one day I might tell the tales), she took to touring me around all of New England. And penultimately, the tour consisted of locking me into the lore of the Red Sox. She knew I was a hopeless romantic, and I guess she figured that since I was a sucker for lovable losers, I was a perfect candidate for the "Sawx".
I'll never forget that day, the park, the smells, the enthusiasm, every pore of that place oozed life, newness...a fresh start to a 20 year old with new ideas who just wanted to leave the repressing ideals of small-town America. It was like being reborn. The New Englanders adopted me at Fenway Park..."Oh a southerna who wants to cheer for the SAWX, you like to be miserable? Ok, have a beer and a Fenway Frank."
I was a welcomed stranger in a land I had been taught to fear all my life. "Those "NORTHERNERS"....THOSE "YANKEES" up there, they're so rude, they can't drive, you'll get shot if you look at them cross eyed". All my life, those were the quotes I heard from my "The South Shall Rise Again" compatriots of North Carolina.
On that day, and many days to come in the land of the "Northerners" I was adopted as the favorite son from the south. I was an honorary "New Englander". And I finally felt a place where I belonged. I could swear with ease, not trust anyone until I actually knew them, wear sear sucker suits, bowties, pastel shirts and pants, and say stuff like, "Wicked Good". I was looked at as intelligent for thinking forward, rather than just being a "fancy smart kid". Yeah, the Red Sox and New England became my identity.
And until 2004, the Red Sox kept losing with style. You see, they hadn't won the World Series since 1918. This was big, and I was a small cog in the Red Sox Nation wheel. There were old people hinging every last breath on living to see them win in their lifetime. Folks, this Red Sox thing was serious business. And countless times, the "SAWX" would get to the precipice, only to be knocked back down to base camp. They didn't just lose, they lost with style. Get your heart and soul into it, and they would gut you, stomp on your organs, burn them, and then feed them to birds of prey. Yet, again and again, the whole fan base would come back for another season.
In 2003, they broke my heart. Pedro was left in too long, Posada hit the game tying double, and Aaron "Bleeping" Boone hit the walk off in extra innings. However, I was back for '04. By then, I had adopted the same mentality as any New Englander/Red Sox fan. I was used to being miserable, never expecting anything to come of something that seemed good. "Yeah we're playing well May-July, just wait till the playoffs, they'll find another way to break our hearts again." In fact, it was my mantra for life..."Yeah life seems good, but I'll find some way to fuck it up when it counts."
And in 2004, everything changed. The greatest comeback EVER happened, we finally beat the "Evil Empire", and the curse was reversed when we swept the Cardinals. At the same time, I had met a girl named "Meghan" who later became my wife. Coincidentally, my attitude started to change. Things that were good could stay good, they didn't have to turn bad.
In 2007, when they won again, I was engaged, had bought a house, and was working at a successful job in Neurosurgery. My life had changed from dating fat psycho chicks and thinking I could do no better, to a guy who was a consistent winner. No longer was I waiting to fuck up, I was expecting to win.
When Manny was traded for Jason Bay last year, I asked my wife, "Do we have to change our cat's name to Jason Bay (Of course I named our cat Manny, and of course they won the series in 2007 when we adopted him)?" And now, tragedy has struck again, and I find myself thinking, "Do we need to change his name, or will our cat be associated with steroids and cheating?" On a broader level, do the recent championships count, or do they have the dreaded asterisk beside of their name?
More deeply, does this somehow give my life an asterisk? Did I really ever deserve everything good that happened to me? Quite seriously, you can correlate the Red Sox winning the World Series in 2004, and Meghan and I first meeting and deciding to seriously date. In 2007 when they won again, I got an amazing job that boosted my self confidence to what it is today, oh yeah, and right around that time Meghan and I got married. Have you seen my t-shirt that says "My Wife is Hot"?...yeah, damn hot, I married the prom queen.
On the most personal of levels, I used to really like doubting and hating on myself. I loved to "almost" get to date the hottest girls, but then I would fail with the same style the Red Sox would, losing when the games counted most. I loved feeling sorry for myself, worrying about failing, failing, and then crying about it. Honestly, the early 20s of my life were the most inconsistent and stressful because I couldn't close the deal, and at the most opportune times I put myself in bad situations.
You can say what you want about Manny and whether these championships are now tainted by the dark cloud of steroids. But you can't put an asterisk on the positive changes in my life. Will I rename my cat? No, I can't, because to me, that places an asterisk on my life, that sends a message that says, "And I've changed to become a permanent winner, and now I'll go back to when life was less certain...when we hadn't won since 1918". Manny is Manny and will always be Manny. And Matty will always be Matty, it's just that ever since those Sox won, Matty did too.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
And so I went. We loaded up the dog, got dressed up in our pastel "Prep-tastic" Spring colors and made a day of it. And dagnabbit, it was fun! The whole party was really a lot of fun. Picture a bunch of 75-80ish year old really wealthy women (who have by now mostly outlived their husbands) sitting down for a formal luncheon. The event was fabulously done; elegant China (Grandma has about 300 place settings of priceless hand painted China, I've seen nothing like it), hand cut crystal, silver, and some really nice gourmet courses that my mother-in-law and wife put together. Seeing these old ladies start with Mary Ellen's signature vodka cocktail at noon was more than humorous.
The overall atmosphere was a really happy place for me. Watching the old timers get doted on by their children, grandchildren, and close friends was probably more of a reward to the hosts of this event than the guests. And although the event was all about Grandma and her entourage of "Golden Girls", it felt a lot like a date with my wife and me. Meghan was dressed to the nines, smokin hot, and I felt like were had just started dating again. I kept stealing glances while we prepped our dishes, bussed the tables, and washed the bone china, crystal, and tiffany glass that easilly tripled our salary.
And honestly, I was happy I said "Yes". After the party had ended, Mary Ellen said, "Matt, thanks for coming, I know you'd rather spend your day off in many other ways, but it was nice to have you". And I thought, "Sure, I guess I'd rather be having a nice selfish day doing what I want, but in hindsight, this is what I wanted to do. I may have griped about it, and I may be a terriffic Martyr, but I really enjoyed myself today."
Folks, I am terrific at whining, and I have been schooled well in the annals of Martyrdom. But there are a lot of times (and many more lately), when I have found that shutting up and doing is much more rewarding. Because, when it's said and done it was never as bad as that selfish ego made it seem. In fact, why is it that we bitch and whine so much, why is it that we all have the fault of being selfish?
For me, I find that being selfish and making excuses is better than trying and failing. Not that I was worried I'd fail at cooking for a bunch of old ladies, but more globally, I constantly battle fear of failing with a lot of things I end up investing in. For me, it is much easier to hide from events that, "Might not turn out to be a success" and use excuses of "I'm too busy".
This is no revelation, and I am certainly not the only one who experiences these emotions. However, I'm lucky to know who I know, and have wonderful inspirational people around me who challenge me to rise up and be that figurehead, and not a bumbling idiot too afraid to take a chance. Thus far, I'm 30, married to a really hot wife, becoming more and more successful at life and my job. So, "Thank You", to my wife, my friends, enemies, mentors, and any remote inspiration that makes me say "Yes". "Yes" is much more empowering than worrying about saying "No".
Friday, May 1, 2009
1) If you have had fun without them, you're already minus two when you get home. If you have had fun without them and come home late, you had better been saving some stray kittens, cooking at a homeless shelter, or something else Mother Theresa would do. Have a bad excuse, your score card looks like Tiger's...except you're not in the running to win anything but a night on the couch.
2) When they say yes, generally they mean no, or they have a caveat to the yes. However, they don't really let on to the caveat until you proceed with whatever they gave you permission to do.
Me, I had the civic duty of attending a bachelor party.
Next, when they say "yes", they really mean "no", except they aren't sure if they mean "no", but after you do what they say "yes " to, they wish they would have said "no". Therefore, you put yourself in the wrong.
And when you think you are really good at mind reading, you just get smacked down with the bludgeons of "Marriage Honesty". I'm still licking my wounds from last week.
While training for our honeymoon/wedding day photos/beach shots/six-pack abs we both lost a good amount of weight. Those beach pics were pretty sweet, and I was definitely ripped up and sexy. Even after the honeymoon we did well, trained for a half-marathon and kept those beach bodies for a few more months. However, as the cold weather set in, we started to sit more, exercise less, cook a lot of really rich food, and drink heaps of good wine. Needless to say, I put the 15 pounds I lost back on. Thankfully, I just lost a good 7 pounds in Colorado, but need to lose just a few more in order to get that bad ass body back. And as my own worst critic, I know I need to shed just a little bit more. However, during the weekend I always happen to place myself back up deNILE river, and I engage in cheeseburgers, beer, and fried goodness.
But I guess that will have to stop because the honesty police showed up at our house in the form of my wife as she said, "Yeah, you need to tighten up your abs some more, maybe Pilate's will help". Gunshot wound to the ego...ouch. We all know I'm not a fat guy, more or less I'm completely obsessed with my body, anything less than a 6-pack of abs, and I'm putting myself in the Morbidly Obese section. Suffice it to say, honesty is perhaps the best medicine, but damn it stings like the dickens. And I find it more prevalent the longer I stay married. I could bore you with more examples, but you married boys out there feel my pain.
Tomorrow, we head to Grandma Burton's house. My mother-in-law has decided to cater a lunch for Grandma and her 12 closest friends as an early Mother's Day present. The outsiders can only agree this is a very nice thing. I too think it is wonderful. However, Meghan has been mandated to "Help" at this event. This essentially means she will be preparing most of the food being that she is the gourmet. Since both of us are conveniently off of work, Meghan presented the situation as such, "Mom told me I have to go and help, I have no choice, but you don't have to come if you don't want to".
Stop!!! Hold it right there! To the buffoons who decide to heed that teaser statement, have fun. You will be sorry. Just like the statement, "Don't get anything big for my birthday, we are trying to save money". You might mean it when YOU say it, BUT they do NOT mean it. It is called lip service. You don't get anything nice for their birthday, you're done. You decide to stay at home and not help cook because you can't bear to stand the thought of wasting your day off with Grandma...good riddance, back to minus numbers.
Women are tricky, they cannot be figured out. It's like "Jedi Mind Tricks"...if you have an intuition and it reads, "I don't understand why she would say "yes" or "you don't have to if you don't want to"...do the opposite. If you somehow get in trouble doing the opposite thing, tell her you were just trying to make her happy. That generally suffices for the time being until you can figure out another method to crawl out from the busted up dog house.
Lastly, I find myself listening less and less. This is subconscious as I find myself an intelligent and thoughtful guy. However, I'm started to succumb to the disease I saw my father and grandfather go through. The disease of muttering "yes", and never knowing the words pursed my lips.
The other night we got sushi. Meghan said the following (note, I don't remember any of this), "I got napkins, chopsticks, and soy sauce, you bring the sushi"). And I muttered, "Yep".
As I moved from the kitchen to the living room table I said, "Did you get napkins, chopsticks, and soy sauce?"
My mother and grandmother and everyone else's mother call it selective listening. I just call it "Overload Protection". Face it, men aren't as smart. Their brains work in the process of one at a time thinking. We cannot multi-task. When we try to multi-task we generally screw things up or end up in the fetal positioning with our heads splitting from information overload. Although we are generally physically stronger we are mostly mentally handicapped when it comes to listening and processing what our wives tell us. Admitting your weakness is 99% of the battle. Try hard to listen, and when you fail just get that blank look on your face, shrug your shoulders and say, "You were right, sorry about that".
And those words are sometimes better than those three little words, "I love you". Heck, if you can master combining the two phrases together, you will be married to a happy wife, equaling a happy life for the eternity you promised.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
A recounting of the night is illegal, but there were highlights...
1) Skinny Rob trying to fight the large African American scalper over ticket prices in front of Camden Yard Stadium. This resulted in the rent a cops "Holding Him Back". Rob...145lbs of financial wizardry. Stick to Finance man, not drunken Balmore fights.
2) Taking our 10 dollar scalped tickets and sitting 10 rows behind first base 15 people deep.
3) Seeing the various Blackberry and iPhone snapshots of the lucky fella receiving a "Blumpkin". We aren't' sure who he was, but we were happy to see such a thing is not just an Urban Legend.
4) Being punched at (with closed fist action) by a girl who was mad I stole her dildo hat...
What? You read right. As the night wound to an epic close, I thought it necessary to pal up with the bachelorette party at the club we were all partaking at. Throughout the night our party got along swell with their party. Let alone until I spotted a really angry looking petite blond stuffed sadly in the corner, who was wearing a dildo hat (yes, you heard it right, Dildo Hat).
Stupidly, I decided to take it, smile at her, and do some cute little "Dildo Dance". She being unamused, took to cocking back her fist, putting all of her 110lb frame behind that little arm of hers, and swinging for the fences (The fences being my purty little face). Thankfully both blows glanced off my left cheek. Instinctively, and rather slowly, I swatted her hand away after she went for thirds. Foreseeing violent retaliation would land me in the clink, I grabbed her Buffalo Babe colleague, stood behind her, and said, "Hold her back, protect me, she's gone wild"...thus infuriating "Little Miss Sunshine" beyond angry face recognition.
As her "Posse" held her back, I made my escape into the herd of drunken buffoons and retreated to the hotel, finding the last slice of late night pizza, grabbed a "beer for bed", and drifted off in front of "Baseball Tonight".
Fortunately, my buddy Drew and I left the weekend of bedlam a day early in order to go back home to our wives. I say fortunate because Saturday's activity involved betting on horses. If you know me, I hate to lose, and when I lose, I bet more.
We both had our obligations, Drew had his eighth wedding anniversary, and I had yard work "date weekend". I felt like "Frank the Tank" telling his pals, "I can't drink tonight, me and the wife have a nice little day planned, Home Depot, Bed Bath and Beyond...I'm not sure what we'll get to, I'm not sure if we'll have enough time".
But I must say, it was really nice to see the guys from high school. Hell, I hadn't seen most of them in 8 years, and like life, everything changes, but stays a little bit the same. Some guys were married, some with children, some still single. Most importantly, they were still the same old guys who always had your back, the only difference is that we had gotten just a little bit older.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Nothing like the joys of Spring. Hege and I used to praise the days when the girls started losing that winter weight and started showing up for class (and to the bar of course) tanned, scantily clad, and always ready for a romp!
And as much as that gets a young man's trigger happy, there is no more frivolous fornication with the abundance of loose and often times large women. It's a total blessing that those days full of risky business and liver damage are behind us. Frankly, it's a blessing we all survived disease free. As my good friend Mickey Burks said, "I'd be dead on the side of the road had I not met my wife". Here here Mickey...here here...as I told Grandma Burton last year..."Meghan is the best thing that has ever happened to me, and regardless of whether I know her for 1 year or 100 years, I'd have spent the most important part of my life with the most amazing and wonderful person I know. A lot of people say that Jesus is their personal saviour. Not to get too far into religious mumbo jumbo, I'll just say that Meghan is mine.
I started reflecting on Spring the other day whilst our dog Fenway and I were running through the rain at our local park. As there was no one on the trail and I could only yell, "Good girl Fenway, run run run" so much, I started to think about Spring and what the season has signified at different times in my life. In my early days, I remember a lot of long holy days at church. I'm taking 2 services of 2 hours each. Boring? Of course, just a little, but I always remember the fellowship, the green grass, the new smells, the birds, the picnics as we braked for lunch, and of course, the nice pastel colors of flowers and new church wear accessories.
As things changed and I attended less and less of the marathon church services, the theme of new and exciting stayed the same. Even throughout those crazy college years there was always a new hope that certainly "sprang forth" (that pun is for Hege).
And it brings me back to the other day, finishing our run in pouring down rain, seeing the new plant life covering the forest floor, and watching our newly 1 year old "Fenway" happily running, tongue slightly poking out, and ears erect as to detect any foolish nuisance in the woods. Life has indeed changed, and it's pretty neat. No more boring 4 hour sermons, no more "Oh my God why did I hook up with that?", or "Why did you all make me drink that?", and no more, "I really hope she likes me, do you think she'll go out with me again?", more importantly, no more, "I hope I pass this test, graduate, get a job, buy a house, the list goes on..."
I used to think once you were married life just got boring, and predictable...especially when those kids come around. I'll have to say I was wrong. Married life rocks, coming home to the most beautiful woman in the world who is still happy to have you around kicks ass. Watching the dog run in the rain and play at the park is better than any stupid shenanigans I pulled in college, which brings me to the point. As unsure as life is, you have to make wonderful whatever happens around you. Embrace the little moments, and little things. Life isn't slowing down as we get older, it's trying to pass us by, and eventually it will.
As your spring days get longer and the season heats into the summer, remember we are all lucky to be alive, please make your days the best you can.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
It's daunting how much has happened over the past 3 weeks. Let's see if I can list it. Apparently making a list makes things easier to accomplish...I saw that on "The Office" last week....
1) Snowboarded and hung out with our cousins in Colorado
3) Won a lot of money watching UNC beat the TAR out of Michigan St.
4) Went back to Mayberry (Mt. Airy, NC) for Easter
5) Visited with Will Hege (Hege Ramblings) for a Man Power Lunch
Folks, let me be the first to say, Meghan got me the best birthday present I have ever received when she took me out to Colorado for a week of hanging with family and snowboarding. Honestly, I'm a mountain man at heart. I love the thrill of hiking, snowshoeing, snowboarding, running up mountains, and basically any feats of strength and endurance I can handle in the great outdoors. After recently turning 30 and eating and drinking too much all winter, I was even more excited to push the limits in the thin air of the Rockies. We arrived to a sunny 55 degrees that quickly turned to 20s and snowing. Perfect Spring skiing...and man oh man it dumped about 3.5 feet of powder on us whilst we were out on Copper Mountain.
As a novice snowboarder I'm totally tentative. However my cousin Tommy and his two kids beat the wuss out of me by day two and had me bustin through the out of bounds trees, bombing down double black bowls full of moguls and any other type of ridiculous hazard. But, as a 30 year old with my cousin Tommy and his two kids in tow (10, 12 years respectively) who can board and ski like lunatics...my ego got the best of me. My favorite quotes were, "Matty, are you okay?"...as my 12 year old cousin yelled watching me slam into 5 feet of powder...my board buried into the tree base....and I yelled back..."Oh yeah baby....oh yeah!"....
Rarely do I come back from vacations slimmer...but this time I came back a little leaner, and generally feeling good about my 30 year old self. Nothing like competition from some kids who can kick your ass down the mountain to keep you feeling young. I guess when I have kids...regardless of the type (boy or girl), I'll be that forever kid...trying to follow them where ever they are...bellowing behind them, "Oh yeah baby, I'm having a great time"...while my wife watches on and says, "You're a nut!"
As I continued my blog less jaunt across America I found myself resting with the folks for Easter. A couple of months ago I made it a point to schedule a little Matty with folks time to reminisce on the days when I was a young spoiled only child without a wife. Time well spent indeed as I got to catch up with my mother and father, both whom I love dearly.
And who couldn't forget to mention hanging with his best pal. Yep...old man Will Hege and I caught up for a MAN lunch the day before Easter. No kids, no wives, and surprisingly no alcohol. When I got home my mother asked if we reminisced about the old days. When you have a great friend like Will, there is no reason to talk about the olden days because your relationship adapts to life beyond chasing women and booze in college. It was really nice to catch up with a guy whom I really respect and value as a human being in this world. Honestly, that lunch took me back to when Will and I used to chat endlessly the first summer we met. Call it the rekindling of a BROMANCE, call it whatever you like. Or you can call it special that you have a good friend and that you have kept a good friend through thick and thin.
As eventful it was for me to write the blog, I'm sure you're still searching for a clever punchline, or maybe a creative story. Maybe next time.
I'm less overwhelmed with the updates now and I am looking forward towards charging back into blogdom one snappy comment at a time. Until then...in the famed words of T-rent from M0-town..."Good Night, God Bless, Trash Comes on Tuesday"!
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Thursday, March 26, 2009
I could write about my own parents, both of whom are wonderful and inspiring people. However, I'd like to focus more on the x-factor in the group of parents. The factor that is generally the butt of many "Man" jokes, and the victim of beer induced man-town rants...the mother-in-law.
Say what you will about mine, lay your jokes down, poke your fun, but my mother-in-law has always inspired me. She can be headstrong at times, and sometimes a little too much in my business, but time after time she has always been there for me, and most importantly my wife and new family.
If you look up the word "Adversity" in the dictionary, Mary Ellen's picture is there. She's a single mother, raised a beautiful daughter, and has gone through many a trial and tribulation most would look at and quit. In fact, I see patients daily who have not gone through a tenth as much hardship. Generally, these folks are asking for work slips, handouts, handicapped parking stickers, generally anything that can get them a free pass at the remainder of their ill coped lives.
My mother-in-law Mary Ellen however, is very special, and very dear to my heart. What's most inspiring is that she experiences everything on the positive. You have horrible mold, well, she has found cheese, you see some chicken shit, well, she actually can turn it into chicken salad. In short, she lives, and lives to experience life. She lives with a gusto for "I can" and never has she said, "no, I can't, I don't, it's impossible, well I just don't like it". For a lady in her mid 30s (remember she'll be reading this), she's not into the same middle aged rut most fall into.
Most recently she's phasing her career into retiring, and is spending her winters/springs at her vacation farm in Southern Pines, North Carolina. Instead of lounging on the couch all day, she's riding her two horses 7 days a week, going to the gym 6 days a week, and still finding time for her husband, and family.
Looking to the future I know I am in good stead and I know I married into a great family. I also know that daughers don't fall far from the mother-in-law tree. Knowing that, I'm blessed because my already wonderful and amazing wife is to keep getting better with age. How could I go wrong?
How would I know that you may ask. I'll share one last sentiment before I go. In fact, I have only recently shared this sentiment with my wife, and no one else.
The day we were married, and as the folks processed down the ailse, I saw something really special, and it was in Mary Ellen. I saw her daughter in her eyes, the strength, the beauty, and steadfastness of the Burton family shone through like that strong summer sunlight breaking through a foggy morning in the mountains. That strength, and that beauty made me look twice, well up with tears, and I fought them back. To be honest, I'm a cryer, you name it, I can find some tears. Whilest welling up with these puddles of sadness, I quickly wondered, "How the hell are these tears no flying off my face and into the second row?"
I must be clairvoyant, because after the ceremony I found out everyone bet that I would be the first to cry. To my delight, everyone lost their bet as my wife sprung leaks in her eyes like an old worn out dam.
Maybe this was my final victory as a "MAN", "Mr. Macho Man"..."I dont' cry at no stinking weddings..." Yet here I am, blogging my feelings. Blogging my feelings about my "MOTHER-IN-LAW"...and I'm wearing a nice designer skirt and carrying a matching handbag.
Too all a nice day.