LA LEYENDA DE ELVIS DIMINUTO, capìtulo 2. “Close enough!” – Leonardo DiCaprio character (Jack Dawson), Titanic I think of that movie scene whenever I utter or think that something is, well, “close enough”. Quizáz Capìtulo 3. ¿He mencionado Tiny Elvis mas que … Continue reading
Category Archives: hockey diaries
Some notes from years ago
well … like 8!
yes, where i live is somewhat ‘in tune’ and aligned with what this season should be like for the latitude. cold and snowy. easy to see it as bleak.
Running: i’ve been joking that the every-other-daily jorg is when i feel the best i’ll feel all day. i have a direct hand on the throttle administering the pain, instead of being the passive (and unwitting?) recipient of it.
Hockey: Ricardo Cabeza said that his soon-to-be five year old granddaughter has started to ask religious and ‘god’ questions. i joked that my ‘church’ has not had a meeting for a month, and there is a delay of another week. my team’s next game is not for another week-and-a-half. yes, the church of the stick & puck.
my wife (!) would like to play. perhaps i’ll surprize her and get eqpt / proper skates (she really likes her LLBean quasi-figure skates, which would not be allowed in the hockey league! as they have toe picks. after a while, there might be women-only leagues… as the women who do play are mostly in “my” league — the novice league. and… my son should play! he would be really good. in a different lifetime, if we had lived in minnesota or north dakota, or … he probably would have played. little opportunity living “in the desert” as we do. until recently.
The roons: with the kids long-time gone, the cats / dogs / horses / turtles / fish / and tortoise are the kids. some days (usually NOT when it’s icy and cold) i feel like a sort of gardener, the custodian of the adjoining piece of paradise. yeah, right. oh well, this part of the creation, the continuity, the infinitum, the … nexus of the time/space/ continuum in which i inhabit.
Betty is visiting her mom in W. Palm Beach for about a week yet. I had planned to do what is perhaps my most therapeutic art work — work on the scrapbook. haven’t yet. maybe tonight. i did, however, transform a couple of my more-or-less completed short stories into ‘small book’ form, print some out, and mail them to perhaps a dozen unlucky recipients.
Food and beer: ricardo and i visited the Nepalese last night. we are fairly regular customers there — much more so than any other place.
Mr. Cabeza says he is a bit depressed, his most recent candidate for significant other just up and dumped him. He stays busy, what with a jazz band, being bingo caller, comrades-in-arms (or whatever type of comrades) to do stuff with, and the never-ending drama of his families lives. Interestingly, he is on good terms with his ex-son-in-law. The very same ex-nephew-in-law Betty and I go golfing with.
I suggested to him that I show up at bingo, and win all or most the jackpots. “What?! Again!? This guy wins again!” — and we split the proceeds afterwards. Yeah, in a dark alley with dirty used envelopes.
He wouldn’t go along. So, I still have to either buy the winning lottery ticket and/or start being real nice to rich senior (more ‘senior’ than I) citizens…
Hanukkah, Islam, and: i think X-ukkah (think X-mas) has passed this year. betty still wants a new more modern teevee (will it be toooo technical for us? it’s been YEARS since we knew how to program the VCR. we’ve gotten used to the flashing “12:00” all the time. THAT used to bother us, a few years back.) and a couch. my son gave me a GOOD bottle of scotch and some fine cigars. that’s fine –> stuff i can ‘use’ NOW and soon. no more stuff to eventually end up in the attic or garage or bequeath to the landfill eventually.
wha gwan in muzik: at least Señor Cabeza plays, is current. As is my bro-in-law. But me? definitely on the down slope of my not-quite mediocre career. maybe i’ll have my annual two daze “in the sun” horrifying the crowd at an athletic event i have been announcer for in early may.
The always impending end of time: seems like it. it’s never far away. but of course, any ‘end’ is a beginning.
Orgasms, flatulence, drooling — no shortage of the flatsch and drools. i include ‘orgasmz’ due to the infamous line from the movie “adventures of baron von munchausen.”
Lookin’ forward to stuff –> it’s always good to look forward, to eagerly anticipate, to aspire. i should be IN the moment more, rather than suffer through the “monday” (mundaneness) of any schedule. schedules? suck! but perhaps the open secret is to accept the yoke of a schedule, the necessary stuff, with the same open-ended/open-minded attitude one might have if the day were long with no appointments. heh.
i decided to start another of my insipid failed uninspiring essays. but this one is intended to have more than just a minute touch of therapy. heh.
it’s all part of the big adventure — but most the time for me it’s hidden behind the curtains. ah, to know it all as i did when i was 20 or 21 or so. what i KNEW then was not “facts” but the certainty that it was all connected. had a positive ‘out’. we’d prevail. the dude abides.
the peak of the sun’s eventual disappearance possibility (wint-solstice) has passed, the sine wave of the annual solar exposure curve definitely is waxing. sometimes i’m axually off to werk before the sun comes up, though.
darn work. that too, has waxened and waned, but the waning continues. a couple years ago the semi-retired was ongoing, but the leash has shortened.
i used to feel i had some “ownership” over my work-realm, but THAT has evaporated. i go through the motions. every once in a while i consider just up and giving the notice. like back in 1998. up and quit. i segued into the present employment three months later. doubt if THAT would again …
Running: part of the ritual. with more time, or volition, and/or wise time-management (possibly my character never will again allow that. ingrained habituals moan and groan and die with diffyoccultly.
Hockey: it’s started again. the one night per week of the mixture of terror, self-loathing ’cause it’s MY FAULT we’re already at the league cellar (if i stopped ALL shots, we’d win, right? — it would help if the rest of the team scored more, AND didn’t allow the other team so many one-on-one’s with the goalie. game before last there were a handful of two-on-one’s, and one three-on-one!)
The roons: we are in a shedding mode, rather than acquisition.
Islam, and: jewishness. Xtianity. a repeat of last bloRg: that it’s all part of the big adventure, the biggest part of the adventure. the mis-adventure. ah, to KNOW IT ALL as i did when i was 20 or 21 or so. what i KNEW then was not “facts” but the certainty that it was all connected. had a positive ‘out’. we’d prevail. the dude abides.
material boy and gurl: we did acquire the “new more modern teevee (will it be toooo technical for us? the couch is on hold for now. the new thingy in the house seems to have taken care of the 3 holidaze i got betty nada: anniversary, x-ukkah, and her recent birthday.
had a dream two or three nites ago which was “back” in / at Sierra Moreno. i mulled over how to write it down, perhaps write a novelette of the mis-adventure captured therein. there i was, except (as usual) i wasn’t “i” — running a sort of minerals-exploration crew. maybe we were looking for treasure. i think it was something else. el dorado …
we were in a familiar town — i’ve dreamt of it before. similar terrain to near here — semi-arid, low hills gradually giving rise to higher ones, with perhaps the high peaks in the distance. scrubby pines, arroyos. the town was not remarkable — nothing really note-worthy, mostly wood-frame older buildings. there was a congested ‘downtown’ — or central area with people milling about.
i drove off with a few others in a SUV / 4-wheel-drive. it seemed more ‘work-related’ than a recreational trip. i was trying to follow a route, or path, but it wasn’t long before the terrain was impassable to the vehicle. i was addressing the other workers, suggesting we deviate off into three groups to try to achieve the objective. even in the dream, the ‘objective’ was somewhat vague.
when i awoke, i briefly considered the story line. WHAT were we looking for? in keeping with the theme of Sierra Moreno, it might HAVE to be something fantastic, something not of the present, the real world. a nexus of force and energy coincident with the periodic emergence of some extra-dimensional serpent-force line?
i read one of the (zelasny?) ‘chronicles of amber’ series — wherein the “real world” — called Amber, is at the core of many ‘shadow’ worlds, one of which is the “earth” we know and love. or whatever it is we’re doing in and with it.
the big dog discorporated from the physical manifestation late last week. i buried him out north in the desert, up near a big mesa at the edge of the bookcliffs. we’d also ‘lost’ a fish earlier in the week. i thought back to the veritable pantheon of departed family-mates. two horses, a donkey, perhaps a dozen or two cats, the two german shepherds, two turtles (and two ran away), more fish. part of the swarm, the sheath of consciousness enveloping the planet. see comment on Amber, Chronicles of, previous paragraph.
there would be other layers. of what, we can only conjecture. oh, speak up now: YOU know some of those layers, what they’re “made of.” a maelstrom of crushed dreams and frustrations? a cloud of turbulent swirling terrorist death threats? and there’s gotta be not-so-scary stuff — the big puffy cumulous happy thought sphere?
anyhow, there is, contiguous with the planet, the accompanying life force. i don’t know, but sometimes i think it is all ONE, just seemingly separated into the illusion of separateness. but it may be billions and billions of discrete units — when viewed “from a distance” appears to be one big mass.
that is what i thought of when considering the recently departed. all the departed. the lives to come. hopefully there’ll be a lot to come.
do the life forces migrate / transbulbulate to other planets?
in the hot tub last night i was thinkin’ of … oh, never mind. but i was pondering the inevitable. oh, what to do, what to do … (when (and not “if”) it comes).
moovin’ along on the depression train: i can’t retire yet, well, i can retire, but i/we can’t afford to, yet.
i wanna ‘close’ on a seeming positive note, but heck, maybe this IS positive …
The Thrills, Chills, Runs, Rides and the Fairy-Dwarf Dream Choir
Hey kids (a few years back I’d periodically toss out the daily roughage to a couple goats: “Hay, kids”). No, really — when and if you attain senior citizen status, and read the obits to see who you’ve out-lasted, and eventually … Continue reading
Big Man In the Locker Room
“Big Man in The Locker Room” — kinda like BMOC. Actually, this is more like a mid-sized man in the locker room. MsMITLR, then.
If one lives, or, if not exactly “lives”, just abides or tolerates the ravages of aging and gravity and the slings of all the misfortune that time and the environment hurls at you long enough, unexpected stuff can happen.
I never, yes, never, thought (in the proverbial thousand years) that in a sports locker room I would start telling a story, and everyone (yes, everyone) would pay attention and listen.
It only took 50+ years to get to this point.
It helps if you have the stories, and you get up and gesticulate and pace back and forth to physically illustrate your point, and know when to keep it short enough to not lose your audience.
And believe you me, there are stories aplenty, and undoubtedly there is no end in sight. As long as I continue to show up to play.
I was in what we now call “middle school” when I started spending appreciable time in sports or gym-class locker rooms. This experience continued into high school, and for short intervals of time thereafter. I was almost always part of the Mouseketeer Club, or Sheriff Scotty’s posse, you know, the audience, that the Last Comics Standing, or the Big Men In The Locker Room, were pontificating to. And, like almost everyone immersed in the boy’s locker-room sub-culture, I got really proficient at snapping towells.
Again, I’m more like the medium, and not big, man. You know, the sort of person that the real BMITLRs can sometimes sit back and allow to hold court, briefly.
After a three-and-a-half year closure, our local ice arena opened back up a couple months ago. This MMITLR thing will probably be a short-lived phenomenon, and may be at or near its end already. The corps (core?) ((corpse? hopefully, not!)) of my last team is back together, but with less than half of our previous assemblage, fleshed out with new-comers, there usually isn’t enough of an established group familiarity, yet, for a good continual locker-room banter. So, I’ll just step right in and …
A good story (if YOU haven’t heard it more than once, or twice) which I can still tell with enthusiasm is how my son met his girlfriend. I tell it twice.
Sonny boy (Tom) was married, sort of happily or so he imagined and after just one year the wife tells him she doesn’t love him and never had. Of course he was crushed! And after that, he was not exactly trying to find someone else. But he did …
“How did your son meet his new girl-friend?” someone may ask.
“Oh — they were at a social gathering, got into a disagreement, started fighting, he gave her a bloody nose, they’ve been together ever since.” Yes, it might sound like we’ve raised a woman-beating monster. That is very, quite, really far from the truth.
Same story, a bit more descriptive: he was behind the opponent’s net battling for the puck with another player. Someone comes up behind him, starts pushing, jabbing, poking … Tom decides to give whoever behind him he can’t see a message. He punches backward with his right elbow, catching the guy in the chest, who falls back. Two periods later, he is again behind the other goal and trying to get the puck from an opponent. Again, he feels someone come up from behind and poke and jab and then he sees a stick coming around his skate. He thinks: “I thought I taught you a lesson last time.” (He assumes it’s the same person). He lets his elbow fly as hard as he can, and … catches HER in the nose. Tom turns around and sees this tall beautiful blond lying on the ice in a pool of blood. He feels like, you know, really really crummy and not-so-macho. He bends over to grab her hand and help her up.
“Take you out to dinner?”
“All right” she says. They’ve been together ever since. And — she is the better player and has probably more than evened the un-intended beating score. The new girlfriend: it’s like a happy co-worker of mine says — Tom (and, separately, co-worker) is (are) doing so much better this time around!
My awesome hockey ability
In describing my awesome ability I’ll re-hash how a former team summarized it. Towards the end of our Arena’s previous incarnation, we were in the locker room. The team captain pointed out a player in the corner and stated what he was good at, and a couple things he wasn’t quite so good at. He looked at the next player and noted that he was the fastest skater, and quick enough to scoot from the other goal back to ours to help defend. The next player had the most accurate shot. He paused when he got to me.
“Uh, he’s enthusiastic. Tries hard. ” “Team player,” added another. “Goes all out.”
“But … slow reaction time.” “Hardly any hand-eye coordination,” noted the captain. “Just plain slow,” chimed in someone else. A player who’d been sitting quietly concluded: “hardly any real athletic ability whatsoever.”
Aspirations to improve to mediocrity
That was then. Now, I maintain that I aspire to mediocrity — a couple levels of ability UP from where I normally operate. Every once in a while I pull off a somewhat productive shift, and even more rarely, have a 15-minute span of time in the goal where less than a couple of pucks go in.
And … a couple games ago I stopped three (or four? I can’t remember) pucks with my head! A team-mate joked that that was by design. Yeah … right. And the game after, the play seemed to be entrenched at the other end, so I took off the gloves and put the stick on top of the goal so I could get a drink of water. A quick break ensued and I quickly tried to pull the gloves on — and didn’t have time to get the stick before the first shot came my way. Who’d a thunkkit? I stopped two, three shots with my feet and hands. “You do better without that stick” another team-mate quipped.
Marv Daley and the Team Dynamic
After the first year of the initial incarnation of our local ice venue, I was assigned to a team named the Kegerators. A mostly-established team, I was one of “the new kids.” After about a year, and three or so seasons, whatever passes for the team dynamic was pretty well ingrained. I could count on certain people to be invariably friendly. You can banter and talk with these guys and immerse yourself into the team herd mentality. And then there was one of two lawyers on the team, Marvin Daley.
(Yes, I adulterated the jersey when they let me go to ‘free agency’)
Marv was by far the team #1 anal-orifice. Rude to almost all opponents, cheap talk, egging them on, and being a better player than most didn’t help. (He could have played in the league up from the Novice and held his own. Well, if he could keep his mouth shut.) Sometimes he might ask me a question, or I’d start to talk to him and usually by the second sentence he’d walk away. I could COUNT on this behavior. Part of the team dynamic. If “dynamic” ain’t applicable, well, team … vibe.
In later 2008 I was scheduled to undergo prostate cancer surgery. I would be out for several weeks, and I thought the team captain should know. I figured I should tell someone, in the event anyone counted on me or perhaps there was a game coming up where half the team couldn’t make it. “Brian,” I concluded, “don’t tell anyone.”
After the next game I left the locker room to go home. In the corridor, Marv appreared, stopped me, hand on my chest. I stepped back to the wall. “Are you okay?” he asked, intently peering into my eyes. I had to look down for eye contact, as Marv is a prime example of the Napoleon syndrome. Well, he’s just a few inches shorter than I.
“Shit” I thought. “He knows.”
We talked a bit and as I continued out to the car I felt like my perception of the team-dynamic was altered. Things were a bit … uncertain. Marv thereafter was, if not “nice,” treated me slightly better than he did most the team. He’d listen to me when I answered his questions, and we had actual conversations sometimes. The shift and new uncertainty as to what was what and who was who and how people would act was no longer the same. I could no longer COUNT on him to be the team asshole, as far as I was concerned. Five-plus years later, though on different teams, we are still on friendly terms. I told “my Marv Daley story” to my present team, while they were unanimously complaining about him a few games ago.
Different leagues, different assignments (“7, 57”)
Now, later 2013 and early 2014, the arena has been (re) opened three months now and leagues are underway. I play “out” in the regular league, as the level of play is consistently NOT “novice.” However, there is an unofficial league where I do play goalie.
A new fellow showed up to be the other goalie a couple weeks back. He hadn’t played in five years and I was impressed by how well he did. He may have had a handfull (or less) goals scored on him, whereas I let that number into the net every ten minutes or so.
We talked during a break in the game. “I’ve been playing since age seven,” Tanner said. “When did you start?”
“Fifty-seven,” I answered. He gave me look which conveyed the look one gives when they think they are being, uh, bull-shitted to. I don’t think he believed anything I said the rest of the night. Oh well …
When I started to play “out” (not goalie) I had accumulated a lot of equipment from charitable? and/or generous other players. I already had (1) a helmet!, and (2) shin guards and (3) shoulder pads from Bombers team-mates. A college player gave me his old (4) breezers (better than the ones I had!). So, I had to purchase GLOVES, among a few other things.
I bought (I’m not entirely sure!) a pair of CCMs. It was, I think, the second game later that when I got home and emptied the equipment bag I noticed the unique pair, above. It has been six or so years, and I thought I would have encountered the player with a similar pair of gloves, but so far haven’t.
During my second (of two) seasons as playing goalie for a league team, I had had just two wins during the regular season (hey! I had a couple “ties”!) and each time had taken a Vicodin before the game. We were in the double-elimination playoffs against another back-against-the-wall team. One team would go home and the other would live to fight another day.
Entering the locker room, Todd asks if I had taken a Vicodin.
“Todd”, I confess. “I was leaving the house to drive away, and realized I had not had a Vicodin. I was too lazy to go back downstairs, so instead took an aspirin and ibuprofin, chased by a shot of whiskey.”
“ALLLL RIGHT!” Todd enthused, smacking me a high five.
We won that game in an over-time penalty shoot-out.
and Other Records
I am not exactly proud of the fact that in my short and mediocre career, there were two times I played goalie against my “real” team. And I was the winning goalie each time.
And, as recently as LAST NIGHT, even though most the players were of decidedly above “novice” caliber, heck, we all had a bunch of fun. As usual. Though I allowed more goals than saves for the first half of the game, towards the end there was more than one mass frenzied whackaroonie where I ‘saved’ many goals by simply being a target. The shots reflected off of me, but of course I had to act like I intended to be in the puck’s way. It seemed most the players out on the ice were borderline-obsequiously nice to the senior citizen goalie and would exult “great save!” “You’re on fire!”
On fire? I don’t think anyone has ever said THAT to me, complimentarily, that is. (There were some campfire mishaps many years ago … oh, never mind.)
Even though it was a “no beer” night for me, I had a great, nay, better than great, time.
IN THE BELLY OF THE BEAST (ver 2.0)
IN THE BELLY OF THE BEAST
A true story of adventure, betrayal, perspiration, psycho-sociological interaction, and, of course, schizophrenia
John?!, the frantic young man bellowed to another telephone’s answering machine.
Where the phughk are you? You better get down here quick! Cursing, he hung up. His anxiety increased. He hit redial on the phone, and got the answering machine again.
John, you better get your ass down here! Where the heck are you?! There’s this old guy reeking of whiskey who’ll be our goalie if you don’t get here soon!
I don’t really hate the Frozen Reservoir Dogs. I’m supposed to, I think. They are the Detroit Red Wings of the Glacier Arena novice hockey league. Things are not antagonistic between my team, the Bombers, and the other teams we play. However, it seems that there is more than just a hint of that when we play the Dogs. And, to be among them, hang out with them, to be one of them, I imagine would definitely qualify as consorting with the enemy.
Last season their previous incarnation, named the Rovers, “lit us up” two of the three regular-season times we played them. But the Bombers prevailed in the championship game.
That was last year. The new Bombers lost our first two games, which were played fairly close. The Froze Rez Dawgs had played three games already (we had a ‘bye’) and were on a roll. They beat a team which we lost to, 11-2. So, I was a little apprehensive when we played, but
things in our hockey world often were so weird that I thought we might have a chance.
No way, 11 – 1.
After that loss, and one more the following week to another winless team, I started to think the Bombers would be better off without me. I left a message with the arena hockey director, inquiring if there might be a potential goalie on the substitute list. If so, I was going to suggest that whoever he/she might be play half the remaining games. This way, I’d get an idea of how much of what appeared to be a ‘long lonely season’ was my fault.
Actually, I wasn’t feeling too guilty. Our defense was pretty porous. Quite often I faced attackers (yes, sometimes plural) alone with no teammates nearby. (This changed after game four.) The Bombers team captain called me at the same time I was trying to reach the hockey director regarding a half-replacement.
“I hope you don’t take this the wrong way,” Joe began. “I know another guy who would like to also play goalie for our team.”
Before he could continue gauging my feelings, I headed him off at the pass. “I had the same idea, Joe. I called the rink to see if there were substitute goalies not with any team.”
And — the team had, of all things, a practice (!) before the next game. I met the new goalie, Brandon. Not only did he have his own pads, he had goalie skates. I had no idea that they made skates specifically for goalies! Brandon was to play the four remaining early Tuesday games, and I would be goalie for the four games scheduled at 10 p.m. on Mondays.
Our next game was the following Monday. In our previous encounter with that opponent, the game was close, a 4 – 3 loss for us. This time our defense was much quicker, and, apparently, so was our offense. We cruised to a 13 – 3 victory. After the game, I felt the closest to ‘swell-headedness’ (and walking, if not on air, then with 1 or 2% less gravitational attraction) that my short goalie career would allow. I had never felt sorry for the other team before. I also learned that, after 14 games, I’d been wearing the leg pads on the wrong leg all the while. (That isn’t really surprising. It took me several games to get somewhat familiar with putting all the stuff on. The first two times I tried to put the leg-pads on upside down!)
The following week our game was Tuesday, so I watched Brandon and the Bombers post another lopsided win.
The week after that we were to play the Frozen Reservoir Dogs again. (We play each of the other teams in our 5-team league three times each.) Based on our recent performances — plus the fact that the team we had just beat took the Dogs to overtime recently, and the Dogs lost their only game so far this season the week before — I felt that we might show them a thing or two, especially as Brandon would be our goalie.
Did I already say that “things in our hockey world often were … weird”? In my brief season-and-a-half career, strange occurrences still could, and would, emerge.
The week before, I sort of missed feeling like I was on the team. I was the dutiful mascot — taking post-game team photos and then passing out beer in the locker room. This week I considered suiting up anyway, skating around during the pre-game warm-up, then sitting on the bench with the team. And, there was the chance that one goalie (or the other) might get injured or something and I’d be there to step right in. Yes, the thought occurred that the other team might need a goalie.
Suiting up would look silly, and probably be confusing to my teammates. (Even though I know “real teams” have a spare goalie, just in case. But in our recreational leagues, I’m fairly sure nobody has a ‘spare’ goalie suit up.) I sat briefly in our locker room, noting that Brandon showed up earlier than his previous game.
I went out and talked to some members of the Dogs. Another Dog player appeared and talked to two teammates nearby. Their goalie, John, had apparently called him a few minutes ago with the news that he wouldn’t make it to the game. His grandfather had fallen seriously ill and John was on his way to Rangely, about 90 miles away, to be with him. “Sorry for the short notice.”
Apparently, none of the nearby Dogs, now about six in number, wanted to play goalie. A couple turned to me, and I volunteered just before it seemed they would have extended the offer.
“You realize I’m with the other team. Is this all right with everybody?” Everyone nearby was unanimous — and nobody wanted to be goalie. I went into their locker room and queried the few players still suiting up. No-one was opposed to the idea.
At the time I didn’t know it, but there was one player who had a problem with my being their goalie. I didn’t know this until AFTER the game.
I hurried to my car to get my stuff (helmet, breezers, skates) and continued hurrying to get a set of pads and stick from the Glacier’s storeroom. As I was hurrying to get the equipment I passed a couple of my … teammates. Yes, I’m going to sound like I’m confused. Which teammates? In this case, my usual, former, Bombers teammates … Mike (who gets my vote for Bombers “monster”) chuckled as he saw me leaving the Dog’s locker room. “Are you lost?”
“Good news. I think I’m going to be their goalie.” I figured this would cheer up the Bombers because they had our ‘good goalie,’ and the other team would have the worst goalie in the league. Not that I wouldn’t try, though.
Individually, I thought that all the Dogs were nice guys. The usual good-natured bantering in the locker room. Nothing derogatory about the team they were to play. I asked if anyone had a dark jersey, and Tim said that he had a spare. Later I asked Tim to assist me with tightening straps on the leg-pads which I couldn’t easily reach. He stayed a few more minutes to be ready to help with anything else. Finally, when it was just my helmet remaining, I thanked him and said that he could leave.
I didn’t know until a few days later that he played mandolin in the same jazz group my brother plays in. This may be just a somewhat interesting (?) bit of trivia, but I suspect he knew I was his band-mate’s brother. If so, it was just as well he didn’t say anything. He was a much-appreciated goalie-equipment assistant — a position I usually find a ‘volunteer’ from among the Bombers before each game.
I started to begin feeling … conflicted. Prior to then I had been hurrying too fast to feel much of anything. ‘Conflicted’ gave way to mild schizophrenia. However, pretty soon after this weird and strange turn of events got underway I thought that “Either way, I win.” If the Bombers win, that should be what I really want — where my allegiance lay. However, if the Dogs won, well, I would be part of the winning effort, and get another “W” in my very thin W-L column. And, I think it is just ‘human nature’ that whatever team one was on, a normal person would prefer winning to not.
- Dave, our team’s young hot-shot, and the team’s senior citizen goalie …
Betty recently started working at the Glacier. This night she was sitting at the entry/ticket counter. She knew I had shown up to watch, but got a clue that I was possibly going to play when a dark-blue-clad player rushed up to the counter. He asked, no — he probably demanded to use the phone because he had “an emergency.”
Betty told me of this incident after I got home. She said that if she wasn’t a Glacier employee, she would have told him off AND been real tempted to shove her fist down his throat.
We’ve had a few days to put things in perspective. At first she was outraged that some stranger would say disparaging things about her husband. I pointed out to her that it was probably true. She is married to an old man who smells like whiskey (“and cigars,” she was quick to add). Except the frantic Dogs player was wrong about the whiskey part. It was wine. I had had a couple glasses of wine before the game. Whiskey is for after the game.
However — if the player was so upset about the substandard replacement goalie — why didn’t he (or get someone else to) volunteer for the position? As I said, I personally heard no murmurs to the contrary.
During my previous game against the Dogs, something happened to me which hadn’t happened in a hockey game. And it was something which hadn’t happened to me in all other aspects of my life for quite some time. There was a point where I was going after a player with the intention of getting into a fight.
In the game a few weeks back, after scoring the first half-dozen points from out and away from the goal, they started bringing the puck in. The player (sometimes plural) would smash into me, we’d fall down, ending up in a heap IN the goal. A couple of them would ask if I was all right, and then they’d skate away. However, there was one guy in particular who, upon realizing he’d scored as he and I and sometimes another were lying in a heap in the goal, would start whooping it up. He would NOT ask how I was.
The last time he did this, I guess I just snapped. My immediate reaction was to go after him as he started to skate away, exulting loudly. Fortunately, I was slow in getting started. I tried to reach out after him, and also tried to trip him with my stick. Just as I had gotten on my feet and was closing in on him, I felt a hand on my shoulder.
The referee was standing behind me, wagging a “no no” with his index finger. Darn. Maybe next game, I thought.
I told Tim, and various others, about this. It was part of my schtick, the more-or-less constant commentary — to talk about something, anything, just talk. I think I also told them, as a team, that I hated them (on “general principle”). No-one seemed to pay any more attention than the Bombers would before our games together.
Like I said, each individual seemed like a nice guy.
Out of the locker room, feeling stranger than usual. Probably due to the dark blue (think ‘Darth Vader’), rather than cheery yellow (Bombers) jersey.
Before I joined “my team,” — the Dogs, I did my usual stumbly skate around the arena. Stumbly because when I first get on the ice, it’s like my skate bottoms are banana peels. I attempted a half-assed shot at the Bomber’s goalie, Brandon, and we bumped into each other, acting tough for a few seconds. The frivolity continued as I skated through the Bomber’s half of the ice, doing faux checks hits and bumps into a few until-this-game teammates. Chris came at me with his stick across his chest, gave me a light whack, and skated away.
The Dogs had a shot-on-goalie ritual which in itself was much more organized than anything the Bombers do. The Bombers have no pre-, during, or post-game rituals.
They stood in a semi-circle, each with a puck, about 15 yards out. They were waiting for my acknowledgment. I pointed at the player on the left, and he dutifully skated a few glides towards me and shot the puck. Then I pointed at the next player, and he either shot from where he stood or came in a few yards before shooting. I stopped most the shots.
An interlude of skating around our half of the ice, then back to practicing stopping shots in the goal, and the ‘game on’ buzzer sounded.
I feel the same at the start of any game. Surreal. Apprehensive. A slight bit scared. Of course. This game, so far, was no different in those regards. But, of course this was different. I was more, for lack of a better word, schizophrenic than usual.
A couple of the defensemen assured me early on that they’d do their darnedest to deflect all the shots and threats they could. They adhered to this promise pretty well. Tenacious. The Dogs scored the first goal, and the Bombers seemingly tied the game a short while later. That goal, scored by Bomber ‘monster’ Mike, was discounted. Another player in the crease, I think. Of course Mike complained.
The Dogs kept it up, and at the end of period one the score was 4 – 1. I may have had five or so saves, and the Dogs defense continued their assurance that they would keep me out of trouble.
Things got a bit more interesting in the second period. A few minutes into the next round of play, a player from each team got whistled for a mid-rink altercation. The Bomber player dutifully went to the box, while the Dogs player skated away as if it didn’t concern him.
Within seconds of the brief fight, I went to the Dogs guy to just chat — but my intention was to defuse him from whatever aggravation he might still have to vent. I congratulated him on a spectacular save he had made a few minutes earlier. I was completely out of the goal and the Bombers made an on-ice slap shot which Mr. Fighter stopped by sliding on his side with his stick extended at arm’s full-length — the very tip of the stick stopping the puck.
My calming-influence chat did not accomplish the desired effect. When the Dogs player realized he also had to go to the box, he skated by the Bomber’s bench. Bomber Rich “pulled one of the oldest tricks in the book” and said something derogatory to Mr. Dog as he skated by. Incensed, Mr. Dog tried to dive into the Bomber bench to attack Rich, and the refs intervened. This time was expulsion from the game AND a 5-minute major penalty.*
“Oh great,” I thought. What a thing to do to the team. We’re a player down for three minutes (remember, the Bombers had a guy in the box for the next two minutes). The Bombers put one in during the penalty time. There was another Bomber goal later on and the scoreboard read 5 – 3 at the start of period three.
Well, now, as usual, I’m sweating. In more ways than the usual. Actually, I start perspiring as the pads and jersey come on in the locker room. I sweat all through the game. Thanks to the contacts, I don’t have glasses to wipe nor slip off, and maybe ’cause of the contacts the sweat doesn’t sting my eyes.
And, my sense of self-identity has been subsumed into the universal void. I’m integrated into the Dogs. I’m one of them, now. In the Belly of the Beast.
The Bombers continued to close the gap. The Dogs defense, which was stingy earlier in the game, started to fray. Bomber Mike in particular capitalized on some one-on-ones with the goalie. After every goal, a couple Dogs defenders would skate over to me and apologize. The Bombers rarely, if ever, did that! “My bad.” “I should-a stopped that.” “Sorry.” Even if I felt that a goal was, indeed, my fault, they still apologized.
With two minutes to go, the score became 5 – 5. The intensity of play increased. After an icing call there was a face-off just to my left. Bomber Chris, waiting for the puck drop, looked right into my eyes. I remember the captain of the other team in my previous win this season, doing the same thing. It was as if each guy was gauging me. Telegraphing. Part of picturing the puck in the goal?
I avoided being scored on in that instance, and a couple more. And, I thought: “I don’t want to do overtime. Somebody score.”
The Dogs put one in, and the 6 – 5 stood at the end of the game. I felt somewhat elated but also a little guilty. Post-game hand-shake. Most the Dogs congratulated me. Then and later, some of the Bombers claimed that they had never seen me play so well.
The Dogs were mildly jubilant in the locker room. Some of them turned to me and asked how I now felt about them. I thought a short while, then stated: “I still hate you guys.” I think everybody laughed.
I went in the Bombers locker room. I guess it was force of habit, but they really were (and are) MY TEAM. It seemed everyone booed and threw trash and wads of tape at me. I held my middle fingers up, jeered back at them, and left.
Things were back to normal the following week. The Bombers (and I) were “run over” by the next team we played.
* “Mr. Fighter” is/was one and the same as the fellow who was apprehensive about the substandard goalie. Of course I didn’t know this until after the game.
(It took a couple years AFTER the Bombers-Goalie era, but I finally acquired ALL my own stuff. Although, rarely is there a cat out in the game … )
Last Wednesday night I went out and had some fun with a dozen-and-a-half of my friends. That’s right, the local ‘adult’ ice-hockey league. Our area had, now lacks, a viable indoor facility, so we make do in the winter with an outdoor rink. For as long as the cold weather holds.
I drove home grinning. It was just like back in elementary school, with the whole class out at recess chasing the soccer ball. Or whatever. Everyone just having fun. One side or the other was probably “winning” but NOBODY seriously cared about that.
We ranged in age from just over 20 to whatever my age is. Didn’t matter. Three women among the men, more than holding their own. In fact, I was out on a line with our two “girls” and we’d spend most the shift at the other end. Yea.
Played again last night. Almost the same feeling, “kids at play” except one guy who wasn’t there the previous time would talk to us, the rest of his team, about strategy. What we had to do, what we shouldn’t do. I don’t think any of us really listened to him.
It was still a kicken-the-butt good time. And, after a two-and-a-half year hiatus, I scored a goal. Even though practically everybody else had scored by then (the game’s best player, a lady named Jessie had three) the ref made a point of awarding me that particular puck.
I’ll return it to the puck-pool next game. And! Later, I was sent off the ice for a PENALTY. THAT hadn’t happened for a really long time either. (Alleged hooking, whatever THAT is). What a night.
(kitten in bag, having fun)
Yeah, some of the cats, the kit in particular, can’t resist exploring the possible gate to Narnia which apparently exists inside my smelly cavernous hockey-equipment bagg.
Fortunately, no pixures of ‘the kids’ (human) having fun … but OTHER kids have varying degrees of, maybe, fun in our house and nearby.
I hiked with the dawgz also last Wednesday, a couple hour sojourn through not-so-deep snow up the east slope of “The Mesa.” Rox is, as is obvious, such a schnow-dawg.
As is Sleven. Rompin’ in da white stuff.
Milli “holds court” with some of his subjects milling (uh, pun intindid?) around …
Betty has, like it or not, a lapp warmer.
“The Kitt” is always having fun.
Hard to tell if Bruce has fun, or what, but it’s hibernation season, in a Risky corner of the basement.
¿ macho, o el otro macho ?
¿ A MACHO, O MàS MACHO ? Felizmente, este cuento no esta en español. About a week ago, Jan. 14, I was faced with yet another major life decision. There was what many would call a “macho” activity I had … Continue reading
snowier, coldier. NeckstYear almost, already
Greetings, sports fans. Your humble editor/observer of whatever-it-is in what passes for his small corner of the yooniverse reflects and ruminates on various things. Fortunately, few, or no pixures of the aggravating stuff. The banged-up beat-up stuff. (Yes, our local … Continue reading
Tweaking a Weakly into a Substantial Weekly — a week in May, 2007
NOTICE & FAIR WARNING: see the comment as to what the category “memory lane” is about. Weeks like this. mid-September 2012 I either have done NOTHING interesting enough to try to describe — or, more importantly, I lack the whatever-it-is to write interestingly enough to make even spending the whole day on the couch sound like fun. Or, if not ‘fun’, challenging? adventurous? intradimensional? i astrally projected to the planet Twiraun? Not hardly. And so,
while ruminating through the moldering swampy muck of “blorgs (I don’t “blog” — I “blorg”) of a by-(woe-be) gone era, I came across a barely-legible mini-diary of just one week. A week in May, 2007. I apologize for the length.
W E E K Y W E A K Y T W E A K Y mid-may (2007)
wiki-wiki: “quick” in Hawaiian. a quick week? seemingly timeless, at times, during.
(not the) SON OF THE DIVIDE CREEK SEEP
The phone rings just after noon and one of “my citizen informants in the field” (eyes and ears) tells me that there are “bubbles” coming up from the ground in a field which has just begun to be irrigated.
As the state’s regulatory commission’s representative, it was not only good, but incumbent, and necessary for me (for someone, anyone) to go check. Only 75- or so miles from the house, so not a long trip — compared to some trips (see Tuesday and Wednesday). Long (boring to most, but to those in the affected area, not boring) story summarized: it was only air.
Brief? background: a few years back, methane gas bubbles were observed in a nearby creek. This was determined to be gas escaping from the compromised wellbore of a gas well a mile or so away. So, local residents are rightfully wary.
GAME 7 OF THE STANLEY CUP FINALS
Not really. But for the two surviving teams in the local ice arena’s novice hockey league, this was it. For me, from a personally-biased perspective, the epitome of the tournament was game #2.
After playing a 12-game regular season, meeting each of the league’s other four teams three times each, the Bombers had levitated from last place to next-to-last during game 11. So, in the post-season tournament, we played the 3rd-place team first. The winning team got a first-round bye.
We lost that first game, and played the other ‘losers’ in our next game. The other team was the Firefighters (comprised mainly of fire department personnel). During our three regular-season meetings, we had gone exactly even — one win, one loss, and a tie. I felt my usual lack of confidence. No expectations.
I don’t remember much of the game, I played my normal lackluster uninspired usual — no embarrassing moments (that I remember), just mediocrity. In all the sporting activities I participate in, mediocrity is a step or more above the level I normally operate at.
We were tied 4 – 4 at the end of regulation. There was a 5-minute ‘golden goal’ (whoever scores first, wins) overtime period. Reinforcing my pessimism was that we started the period with TWO GUYS in the penalty box. (Actually, that turned out to be just one. The other team had a player with a penalty, so we started with four, and they had five).
I think I did all right. After the over-time, we were still, obviously, 4 – 4. However, proceed to the …
PENALTY SHOOT OUT. I’m just absolutely brimming with confidence here. Yeah, right. To streamline matters, there are three shooters for each team. Should keep it simple. Astonishingly, each goalie stops 2 out of 3. (‘Astonishingly’ when you consider who one of the goalies is). NOW, we proceed to just one-at-a-time. “Golden” goal — whoever scores and the other doesn’t in a given rotation, wins. I can’t remember when I’ve felt so much pressure. I stop opponent #4. So does the other goalie. Same for #5. And #6. I stop #7 … our #7 skater SCORES! Pandemonium erupts from our box — I’ve NEVER been a “sports hero” before! (If that had happened previously, I certainly don’t remember it.)
The fact that three of us brought beers into the locker room to share for the post-game sedation and hydration seemed, to me, a symbol of a pre-meditated resignation. Anticipation of the end of the season? Never-the-less, we were quite festive. “Still alive.” I don’t expect this to last long.
Game 3 of the double-elimination tournament: we play the team we lost to in Game 1. However, our elusive and rarely-available “ace in the hole” goalie shows up. He plays periods #1 and 3, and I play the middle. Amazingly, our team “gains ground” during my period (Bombers 3, Pioneers 2) and we live to play another day.
I continue to be un-optimistic about our chances — especially as the ‘ace’ goalie says he’s out of town for a few days. However, the goalie for the team we just beat hitches his wagon to our star, and shows up ready to help for game #4. Before the game I tell him he should play the first period, and I the second, and then decide who concludes. He does okay period #1, and I’m very nervous — I felt I had personally lost to the “Kegs” three times before — but I have a stellar period: (Bombers 3, Kegs 0) and am so relieved that I insist Bob finish the game. We prevail, 6 – 4.
Game #5 against the top-seeded Frozen Reservoir Dogs is the next day. I hadn’t been looking beyond the game at hand. This is too much, too soon. I had “signed up” to play hockey once a week, and the thought that five games in ten days is overwhelming. Besides, I had a prior engagement. (I could have postponed or re-arranged that, but I am “hockeyed” out — and besides, we have Bob (the walk-on goalie from the already eliminated team)). I tell Bob we’re lucky we have him as he’s “it” for the next game.
After our dinner with Andre — oops, my brother Chris and his date and daughter and friend, Betty and I hurry to catch the end of the game. The stands are more full than they usually are for “C” league games — maybe 30 or so people! We watch the third period and though it’s somewhat close, the Bombers are the better team. The final game is the following Monday.
Immediately I begin to get very nervous. I don’t think that, at the start of the tournament, any of the Bombers expected to “be here.” Of course I have to play, some. And, of course I’m worried that I won’t help the team. The possibility of the ‘ace in the hole’ goalie, Bob, and myself all showing up is somewhat amusing — we’d play one period each?
Unbeknownst to me, some of the Dogs complain to the Hockey Director about us using a player not on our roster. (It is highly possible, okay — probable, that the Dogs are hoping I’ll be the opposing goalie.) The Director decides to abide by their request, and I think he also decides to do something to make them wish they hadn’t complained.
We have a player on the roster who is not supposed to play goalie in the novice league. Rich’s goalie abilities are pretty good (he can do a “full butterfly” seemingly effortlessly. I think when I try to do that, it resembles an inflexible cocoon). He plays goalie in a more advanced league and is “supposed to play out on the ice” in our league. Rich is approached about being the Bombers goalie for Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
When I told some people that “my team really wanted to win” that game — all of them knew what that meant. Minimize MY playing time. Of course I understood, but NO WAY I’m NOT going to play some.
Betty decides to go watch. As I show up, Rich has a ‘quirky’ look on his face. He talks to me in the locker room. Due to the other team’s complaint about the previous game, the hockey Director made the decision that we could use Rich as a goalie. I joke that perhaps I should play just the first and last minutes. We’ll see…
Things are, predictably, as ‘charged’ as you’d expect. More people in the stands, maybe 35, or more. I’m sitting glumly in our box. Glum because if the game is close, I might not get the chance to play. The score will have to be padded somewhat, in our favor (or a blow-out the other way) before I get out there. After two periods, we’re ahead 2 – 0. I’ve made up my mind to get out on the ice at the start of the 3rd period. It might be my only opportunity to get out there, even if only for a brief while. I tell Rich to quickly come out and replace me after the next (first) Dogs goal, or 5 minutes, whichever comes first.
Rich really is optimistic or faking it pretty well. “Try to last the whole period. Preserve the shut-out.” That hadn’t even occurred to me.
I make a few unspectacular saves, and 5 minutes have gone by before I know it. At 7 minutes the Dogs put in a sloppy goal I should have been able to stop. I hurry off before the mid-rink puck drop and Rich is back on.
With 4 minutes to go, we’re up 3 – 1 and Rich shouts at me to get back out there. Boy, is he really optimistic. I’m not ready — I can’t get my helmet on quickly, but the next time he shouts, I’m out there.
I last 10 seconds before the Dogs whip one in. Rich comments that that puck would have got past him — but I’m skating off quickly and he’s back on. Although the Dogs apparently scored once or twice (called back due to infractions) and they’ve replaced their goalie with a 6th skater — the 3 – 2 holds up as the buzzer sounds. We are ‘C’ league champions, again.
START OF THE ANNUAL RANGELY INJECTION WELL INSPECTION
Or — the annual flirtation with the seemingly inevitable packer fluid shower.
I’ve managed a project for my employer for a few years now — that of the annual EPA-mandated inspections and tests of all oil and gas wells intended to inject ‘stuff’ BACK into the ground — not those which are designed to extract stuff FROM beneath the surface. For the first day of field tests, I was asked to take the new trainee engineer along.
This is as good a time as any to bring out the lamp of “The old Litany of Why I (& People ‘Like Me’) Can’t Get Promoted and/or Get A Better Job” and rub it three times so the Gnome of Doom can pop out and piss (or poop) all over me, and anyone else who is in the vicinity.
Years ago, circling around in the seemingly never-ending downward spiral of languid fetid backwater at the Department of Energy office, I was discussing job inertia with two of my ‘mates.’ Each of us was approximately the same age, had similar experience and knowledge, and was consistently denied promotions and career advancement opportunities. The Litany practically wrote itself. We decided that often we would apply for a job, and be considered qualified enough to be interviewed. The other candidates for whatever position were just as qualified as each of us, but there were a few minor differences. They were BETTER-LOOKING, SMARTER, YOUNGER, LESS OF AN ATTITUDE PROBLEM, HEALTHIER (less of a drain on the health plan), FIT SOME RACIAL/SEX/E E O DEMOGRAPHIC (the D.O.E. got “more points” when it hired minorities, women, disabled — nothing wrong with that . Consider, when you’re equally qualified as someone else who will make the DOE EEO program “look good” — well, you’re S O L.) AND WILLING TO WORK HARDER FOR LESS MONEY — each of us had just as much chance of getting the job as did these others. And so here we were. Three of us, feet up on the desk, smoking (yes, we were all smokers — and I’ll bet if the DOE was aware of that, we would score even lower), the light bulb of illumination and enlightenment turning on as we jointly arrived at this discovery. It’s been one of my mantras ever since.
Anyhow, the “new guy” got the promotion I had been encouraged by my boss to apply for. I was interviewed. Not made to feel too much like I was looking for a job as a village idiot in a series of villages all of which already had one. But limbo, none-the-less. Apparently the muck-heads at the Denver office didn’t like the candidates they had ended up with, and continued the job search until this 22-year-old crossed their radar. Bingo. I could be his grandfather. I have been becoming increasingly disgruntled about this job for a couple years now. What is “beyond” disgruntled? Well, I’m there — ‘beyond’ — and might try to describe THAT, later.
New trainee engineer meets me early in the morning (he’s a few minutes late) and we drive in my vehicle the almost two-hour trip to Rangely. I’m civil. Try to be pleasant. Informative. I’m fairly sure he has no idea that he took “my promotion.” Better that way.
We arrive at the Chevron office and the next hour is spent talking and getting the paperwork in order and renewing all my acquaintances. In a few years they might be HIS acquaintances, as well.
We test about twenty wells (I’ll spare you the exciting details) and I end up, as usual, trying to help with the manual labor. And I get slightly sprayed from the pressurized wellbore “packer fluid.” Happens every year. I don’t know what the stuff is, but it is a preservative oily lubricating fluid which inhibits corrosion in the piping, thousands of feet below the ground. It has a penetrating odor as well.
New trainee has nice new clothes on — and I suspect he will wear older ones in the future. But he does try to help with the cleaner aspects of the job — there is a bit of repetitive paperwork. We finish earlier than I expected, stop at Subway and drive home, chatting amiably.
He knows what I mean when I say “last night my team REALLY wanted to win.” I have no sense, no feel, for how he’ll take to this job. He’ll come back up with the other inspectors to do more well inspections the day after tomorrow. I would have come back up, but the job I had scheduled tomorrow might go two days.
WATCHING CEMENT BEING POURED DOWN AN ABANDONED WELL, during which (not at all related?) — BETTY’S MOM DEMISES
I’ve been trying to manage another project — to clean up a leaky abandoned oil well in an otherwise quiet clean (clean? because it’s windswept) subdivision a mile or so outside of Craig. I wake up about an hour earlier than the previous day as I’m to meet the subcontractors at about 8, and have 155 miles to drive. I figure if I live through this day, I’ll coast for a while.
This phase of the reclamation involves the actual well itself. We are to plug (“and abandon”) it. Yeah, we rarely, if ever, just “plug” a well — we plug AND abandon it.
The crew comes up in three vehicles — the wireline truck, a somewhat large truck pulling a trailer with materials and equipment, and a regular pick-up truck. There are four of them, and when one of them jokes that their company is “Cowboy Wireline” I recognize him as the former produce manager at the grocery I go to. We talked one day about what to do with vegetables and fruit the store has to toss. Alas, he couldn’t just give it away…
The work is not without “the usual” deviations and slight mishaps. If the cement truck they hired had delivered the expected five cubic yards — that should have been more than enough, and we would have finished a couple hours earlier. As it was, the local cement truck drove away, and we (gu)estimated that we had 60 or so feet of 9-inch pipe to fill. So, we hand-mixed and dumped, and mixed and poured some more, perhaps a couple cubic feet at a time. I was starting to get a little pessimistic. They had run out of gas for the mixer, and would need more water soon. Two guys were sent to town in the pick-up. The two guys remaining and I kept at it — and finally we dumped enough cement (and the occasional miscellaneous piece of metal and piping. I left to go look for more metal pieces and noticed that a 4 x 4 piece of wood lying nearby had disappeared when I returned. Hmmm…) to reach the surface. I hope we’re done with phase two.
In many, most, all? things I do, I rarely am certain a job is done. I hope it is done — as something seemingly always happens to render things I thought ‘complete’ … not. I did visually verify that the well was full to the surface with cement. When we get around to the ‘dirt-work’ and contouring and removing rusted metal oilfield junk and verifying that all the oil-contaminated soils are remediated, THEN we’ll be totally done. Well, not completely. We still have to re-vegetate the site, and waiting for the plants to establish might take more than one growing season.
Betty calls at about 4:30, leaving the message that her mom had just died. I was leaving just then, all the more reason to buy beer for the trip home.
THINGS BECOME MUCH SIMPLER
I wrote a letter to my daughter, accompanying a copy of a short story I’d written (entitled “In The Belly of The Beast” — about a one-game “hockey adventure”).
ROOTSCH (‘n Ben. Rachel: can Ben read? Is this reading? I mean, philosophically, can this be “read”? Do we ever REALLY “know” anybody? Do we know ourselves? Is “knowing” like the struxure of the atom — you know — 99.999…% empty space? Is …)
You said you couldn’t download. So here is …
I’m mulling (W-T-F is “mulling” anyhow?) about writing a few things. Our weird whacky/WACKY? but ultimately TRIUMPHANT hockey season. how I contributed GREATLY to the world’s religions by the insight that there is a BIG BULBOUS IN THE SKY which is
i n f i n i t e l y bulbous.
& other stuff.
I’m staying away from werk — &, Dennis T called to ask me to show up at “a venue” to play the annual nashunull anthem. how can any mediocre wanna-be musician pass THAT up? –> you have a captive audience of many hundreds who HAVE TO BE QUIET & then applaud afterwards, no matter how bad you played?!
So I’ll do that, and derive Dee to the hairport Satyrday and, having lived that long, coalesce, as it were (like an amoeba?) & slither into the rest of my life. as it appears. at that time.
Up until yesterday it seemed things were a bit complicated. With yesterday’s news it’s like everything was pushed over the edge. Beyond complicated. Things are much more simple now. I’m tottering on, an hour at a time.
I hadn’t dwelt nor planned nor considered Betty’s mom ever dying. We joked that as a nasty old feces, she’d stay alive mainly out of spite, for years. Betty would remind me occasionally that we’d (well, she) stand to inherit enough proceeds to possibly retire, or at least ‘throttle back’ a bit. On the drive home I’m considering giving my notice to my employer. Letting one person in particular know that I feel insulted by the recent new hire. Might have been the beer fumigating/ruminating.
THE MEDIOCRE MUSICIAN HAS A CAPTIVE AUDIENCE
But i was grumpy anyway. I am somewhat particular in how i play the national anthem (the U.S.’, of course). Today that order and preparation and etc. was altered and not by me.
I informed my supervisor as to Betty’s recent news, and to his and the “company”s credit, it seems I am off-limits re: work calls and such — for a few days. Actually, they pretty much leave me alone for another week.
A few days ago I requested some time off today. This was, of course, prior to Wednesday’s news. I was asked to help at a high school sporting event — including playing the national anthem.
(Above: two of my implements of evil, or auditory destruxion — and my son’s 6th-Place-at-State-Discus-Medal, and a Plaque awarded my daughter for yet another school record (800-meters) )
THE MEDIOCRE MUSICIAN DOES HIS SHOW THE WAY HE LIKES IT, after which BETTY FLIES OFF to help settle the estate?
How do I like to do the show? Without anyone announcing in advance what is to come (the Announcer did THAT yesterday), — I just grab the mike and play a few bars of the bluesiest stuff I can do. THAT usually gets “their” attention — especially as one never expects the Spanish Inquisition! Then I say “Ladies and gentlemen, now that I have your attention, will you please stand for the national anthem.” I then play it ‘straight’ — the song is difficult for this mediocre harmonica player without embellishments. And, as I conclude, the audience applauds. (Relieved that it’s over?). The event is a high school track (and field) meet — the biggest each year in this half of the state. Perhaps 4 or 5 dozen schools, with several hundred in attendance. How can any mediocre musician pass that up?
I then helped set up and take down hurdles, and monitored one corner of a relay. Then home to drive Betty to the airport.
We won’t begin to know until at least TOMORROW (after this particular week) as to how this is going to shape up. But Betty’s focus on the matter at hand seems to have shifted to curbing her greedy sister’s evil plans.
Betty was as close to her mother as anyone. It is imperative that she go out — as soon as she could. She called whatever airline right after the news on Wednesday — expecting whoever to conscientiously abide by the “medical emergency” request. How soon could she get out? Saturday at noon was the soonest they could arrange.
She and siblings will arrange funeral/memorial services (her mom will be cremated); start to wade through the spaghetti-bowl of stocks/bonds/funds/ etc.; and just do what close family members should do.
The movie ends in a fade out. Cut to turbulent seas crashing onto a rocky shore. Brooding dark overcast sky overhead …
He Walked to the Edge of Cold Shivers, and Took Another Step
Tim Sewell walked to the edge of a 1000-foot or so precipice on July 3rd and kept on walking. This is not a happy nor upbeat, insightful ‘there’s still hope for the universe’ post. And, thankfully, no photos.
It’s possible I could find a photo with Tim in it, back when we were on the same hockey team.
I read the local newspaper a few times a week, and on or just after July 4th noted in the police reports that deputies were called out to help retrieve a body of someone who had either fallen or deliberately jumped from the Cold Shivers Overlook in the Colorado National Monument.
“Heck,” I thought. “That’d do it. No gray area there.” If someone wanted to check out of this life with a guaranteed 100% chance of success, Cold Shivers would be highly recommended.
It’s about a 1,000 feet from the fenced-off abrupt cliff face to the valley floor. I’ve thought how someone could race a bicycle down Glade Park Road and aim between the rock-&-mortar columns along the road just above this overlook. Too bad for the bike.
Then … in the following Sunday edition of our local paper a sports columnist writes about Tim Sewell, battling who-knows-what personal demons, and putting a face and name on the anonymous jumper of July 3rd.
Definitely not whom you’d think would do such a thing.
Mr. Sewell was a young 47 — leaving his wife and two (teen-aged, I think) daughters. And a seemingly successful career as a financial counselor. Handsome dude, too.
I met him three or four years back while playing in our local ice-hockey league. He was definitely NOT of ‘novice’ caliber. Somehow, he ended up on the same team as I, and after that season was strongly encouraged to play in the upper leagues. Guys would talk about the former fighter pilot, and those who raced bikes held him in awe. He was a Colorado state road-racing champion for his age group.
One day I was driving through downtown and I saw a guy who looked like him standing on a corner. He wore a nice suit, briefcase in hand, waiting to cross the street. Later, in the locker room I joked that I saw a guy who looked a lot like him dressed in a suit downtown.
He briefly fixed me with a gaze and said “Sometimes when I see that guy, I don’t recognize him either.” I think he meant seeing himself in the mirror. In retrospect, this utterance could seem significant. But, it was what it was, locker-room banter.
Still … we will probably never know what prompted his abrupt departure. Whatever certainties I gain in this life are, too frequently, eroded by the mysteries. If there is a lesson to be learned, I should slow down (even further) and try to keep all options open. Nothing profound — perhaps something will come — of it’s own accord.
That’s it for now. Tim, I hardly knew you.