I often share overly personal information about my family on Mostly Teachable, but neglect to share some of the honest to goodness details of my happy life here in the wilds of Southern Michigan. This year I plan to post my photo collection from each Week That Was. To kick off 2013, I thought I’d go back into my vault and share some of what turned out be a really nice 2012. Here are some of the pictures from the last 12 months:
I’ve never been a drug user. The strongest thing I imbibed regularly was Pepsi. Last year my neurologist (what a weird thing to be able to refer to a neurologist as one’s own. “Oh, yeah. That’s my brain guy. We’re tight”) prescribed a migraine preventative drug that took me on a wicked trip. The medication really didn’t impact the frequency or severity of headaches I experienced, but I was too tripped out to notice. I started to have dreams. The dreams started out in a good place. Walmart, actually. For two months I spent each night in a series of dreams I named “Celebrity Walmart Trip.” Each night, I’d stroll the isles of our local super-store with a famous person. Night one was Walmart with Kenny Rogers (the former Tiger’s pitcher, not The Gambler). I asked about what was on his hand during the ’06 World Series. The next night featured quality shopping with William Shatner. He didn’t appreciate being called “Shat” or the fact that I giggled every time I said the word “Shat.” After a month or so, the dreams became markedly weirder. The former Captain Kirk’s head burst into flames on a subsequent somnambulist Walmart visit and the fire consumed me. Fire became a recurring theme in these medication side effect night terrors. I’d be lulled into a conversation with some woman in a bar that could only exist in my dreams (because I like Pepsi) only to be consumed by her hell fire. At least I wouldn’t have to call those women back. Dragons, murderous chickens and devil women gave way after a few months to a sort of garbled terror montage. I stopped the medication eventually and went back to the safety of just living with headaches until another doctor prescribed me some well-behaved, sleep-flame retardant drugs.
A year later, I am having calm dreams of great beauty. I’ve tried to look up their meaning on popular internet dream databases only to find that every dream somehow means that I have a fear of sexual relationships with clowns. The thing that I like about my calm, reassuring dreams is that everyone I’ve ever known comes by for a visit at some point. A nightly talk show of the mind. Sometimes pianos mysteriously fall on friends, but I’d hate to look up the meaning of that on the internet for fear that it goes back to clowns. My dreams have evolved since I was a teenager when all they ever contained was Phoebe Cates or a Camaro. If those dreams ever return, I’ll invite her to the nightly talk show and keep an eye on the sky for pianos.
The arrival of Fall makes me weepy and emotionally irresponsible. I muddle through the Michigan weather and wait out the Seasonal Affective Disorder, all the while coming up with creative solutions. On days when the clouds are heavy and the world seems to recede into darkness that won’t fade until the January thaw, I go and stare at the gas station hot dog machine. The glowing light seems to afford my soul peace and tranquility. This doesn’t help with the seasonal weight gain, though. Part of the S.A.D. dilemma is that it causes increased appetite, sleepiness and the need to be on a constant sugar bender. We-ird. I eat and tear up like Sissy the Blogger. Every time someone mentions that the World Series starts tonight and that my beloved Tigers (sniff) are sending Justin Verlander to the mound against Barry Zito, the waterworks start (“Ahhh…get me some marshmallows! This is too much pressure!”).*
Lately I’ve started to take notice of advertisements for supplemental testosterone. For the most part, these seem to be just commercials sponsored by the inadequacy industry. I don’t need no stoopid testosterone! Give me some Turtle Wax and I’ll be fine. I’m a man, and that puts me in a fraternity of men. The fraternity of understanding the onside kick, the infield fly rule and Top Gear. The brotherhood of “If it ain’t broke, let’s break it on purpose.” The boost of testosterone might help with the obnoxious, seasonal emotional jags, though. Not that I can afford it. It’s more than likely that my insurance doesn’t cover hormones, even if my doctor’s chart states “necessitated because dumbbell can’t keep his big boy pants up.” What to do? I guess that I’ll turn to other, more homeopathic maleness supplements. Since we haven’t been to the grocery store in a while, the only items in the house that might do the trick are Vitamin D pills and Ramen noodles. Get my mortar and pestle. It’s time to mix up some mojo.
*After writing this, Justin gave me reason to tear up. I’m going to need a bigger bag of marshmallows.
Ichiro Suzuki was traded from the Seattle Mariners to the Yankees this afternoon. To you, this may seem the routine business of modern professional baseball. There has never been anything routine about the very routine-ness that is Ichiro. He’s been a career .322 hitter with the Mariners since 2001, a workhorse of steadfast on base percentage. The very businesslike way he’s fielded his position and gotten on base doesn’t make the Sports Center highlights any more, because we’re used to his excellence. The fact that he finally played a major league season in 2011 not hitting .300 was only worrisome, because he’s Ichiro. I may be a Detroit Tiger homer for life, but Ichiro has been my one baseball infidelity over the years. When the Mariners and Tigers have squared off over the years, I’ve been in the habit of calling my daughter in to watch the TV. “C’mere, because you’re not going to see anyone like this again.”
I bleed Tigers blue and orange. A Summer’s Eve swilling mo-ron told me last season that I must have just jumped on the band wagon. Sure, except the bandwagon arrived around the time I was a toddler and could just pronounce Wockenfuss. My dad used to prop me next to the old Realistic stereo speakers and I’d sit and listen to Ernie. “Swiiing and a miss” is still rattles around my brain pan. All this having been said, I was an Ichiro fan. Even if he’d played for the White Sox, this would have been so. Tonight he’s batting eighth for the Yankees, which tests even my respect for the great, working man’s all-star. He played for some woefully crummy Seattle teams over the years and I don’t blame Ichiro for wanting to finish with a contender. In all the years Ichiro’s played for bad teams, this is the first I remember him publicly complaining. Hopefully, he finishes on a high note. Ichiro inspires what should be the best qualities in all of us: hard work, consistency, and presence at the plate.
A few weeks before the end of the school year I woke my daughter up one morning and told her we were going to see the Detroit Tigers. Who knew that this was such an effective way to get kids up for school? Sitting bolt upright, she asked without a trace of sleepiness
“No,” I answered “At Wrigley.’
“What’s a Wrigley?”
Taking my nine-year old to a ball game was part of my bucket list fatherhood plan. I figured that we’d do fun stuff that every kid should experience before adulthood. Never mind the logistics of taking a little girl into Chicago without the guiding hand of mom. We checked off quite a few bucket items on this trip. The first thing was learning to ride with drunks on the South Shore line for two hours. We had plenty of conversations the rest of the day about why people shouldn’t drink at 9:00 in the morning (let alone 3 beers before the train departs). Riding the Red Line from State Street to Addison was another lesson. Learn to embrace other people. More importantly, embrace being squashed into some stranger’s boobs (not me. I’m too tall and obvious). A lady asked me on the way down to the subway if I had a back up plan. “Yeah. I’m not going to let go of the child. Same as the original plan.” Learn to enjoy exotic restrooms. Wrigley’s best kept secret is the section 126 First Aid station and it’s locking bathroom.
The experience of going to good old Wrigley Field is lost on my daughter. As it should be. She’ll get the particulars later. I know that she’s was as awed as me by the sight of the field beyond home plate when you first walk through the gate. I don’t believe in baseball cathedrals, but Wrigley’s pretty close. Someday, the Cubs will have won numerous championships under the stellar management of Darwin Barney and the billionaire owners (the Olsen twins) will have the place leveled. She’ll look back and tell the kids how dad dragged her up to see Justin Verlander throw a five hit, two earned run game back in the good old days. A bucket list check-off for any kid, even at my age.