The Prodigal Blog

Been a while since a blog. Lots of mindless refusal to ponder the universe, punctuated by some moderate-to-decent-to-maybe-a-bit-too-decent(-if-you-know-what-I-mean) times, plus the occasional crying jags over money, my waistline and the still-lingering Worst Feeling of All.

But this week so far? I dunno. I mean, Sunday night involved that latter option for activities. (When coworkers McD and TinyRed gracefully responded to my complaining by calling me a trooper, I dissented with, “Not in the least: I cry, I scream, I whine, I rend my garments…and at the end of it…well, I’m just still here.”)

Then Monday started with a flat tire three miles from home (soon-to-be NotHome)—and a spare tire buried under Clothes ‘N Crap for the upcoming move. Plus, no cheater for the lug nuts, so I had to wander over to a nearby construction zone to borrow a rebar bender. Thus was my outfit ruined with grease, pavement, brake dust, and about four gallons of sweat. (Careful, random condominium driveway users—it’s slippery over there.)

Except that, for all that inconvenience (and the eventual expense of new tires), I kinda felt like a badass, so…we’ll call that breaking even.

But then the rest of Monday kind of continued as a general Foray into Fuckery: late work assignments returned for poor quality; random medical emergencies; blah-de-blah blah.

And then came today: Tuesday. And with Monday sucking up all the suckitude, Tuesday was bound to have promise. And I gotta say, it kinda delivered.

After a 10:30 Monday bedtime, I woke unaided at 7 a.m. and so…jogged? Where did THAT come from?

Took my car to the shop for two new tires, an oil change and AC charge.

Walked to the office (bonus cardio!)

Wrote a 1,200-word feature (among the late assignments I failed to complete on Monday) in four hours.

Worked through lunch.

Wrote copy for a heartwarming photo-based charticle about a local charity that organizes baseball leagues for disabled kids.

Called FPL, the propane people and the county utilities office to get light/gas/water squared away for my new apartment.

Started three more departments that will actually be done tomorrow. (Late, as it happens, but not TOO late.)

Received word from the Head Word-Lady In Charge that my 1,200-word feature was not, in fact, the irredeemable pile of poo I’d suspected. No rewrites!

Retrieved car and drove home.

With cool AC!

While listening to The Immaculate Collection!

And have thus far this evening mopped, loaded some of the very last bits and tiddles into the car, watched baseball, and ventured forth with transferring my Comcast account.

I mean, I’m just saying: This week has so far had a good deal of everything. Am I headed for a rest? Or something new entirely?

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Another Post About the Weather

Both inspired and intimidated by Beau’s dispatches from the Appalachian Trail, I’m trying to get back into blogging by remembering to find some small significance in my own journeys. Not that I’m really getting anywhere, but every once in a while I guess I ought to pretend.

Same Old Horizon

To every thing, there is a season, and a time to every purpose under OH MY GOD TURN ON THE AC.

Yep: summer. It’s not exactly a sudden transition, but a series of changes that become more and more drastic, more and more frequently: The relief of coming inside to the AC, even before you realized you were uncomfortable; the sudden afternoon storm; the reappearance of massive car-movers parked in the center lane along the key, taking people’s Jags and Beamers back to their homes up North.

What feel like the BLAM: SUMMER’S DEFINITELY HERE moments—the smack-you-in-the-face morning-time heat; the “I’ll just have lunch delivered, thank you” afternoons huddled indoors and painful, grump-inducing, oven-stuffed commutes home that end with you in a crumpled, naked heap on the couch the moment you can get in the door and strip (…what? Just me?)—have thus far been offset by still-pleasant moments, including this past week’s surprise 70-degree weather and less-than-washcloth humidity.

But we all know those temperate moments are numbered.

Still, there are things to be said for summer—though “relentless, oppressive sunshine” remains one of my favorite self-coined phrases, and a lot of summer’s benefits involve…well…avoiding summer.

This is the time of year for maximum Gulf-diving anticipation, when there’s zero cold-water hesitancy, because you know the waves will only be about 15 degrees cooler than the air—ie perfect.

And this is the time of year when, even if your car’s AC keeps acting up (thus the grump-inducing commutes), you still have four hours of post-work daylight to take advantage of the Gulf’s bathtub waters.

And this is the time of year when barbecues and baseball games invite you to suffer–but happily so–through the weather, stuffing your face and sweating and laughing, only to discover beautiful clouds, a cool breeze and a wonderful evening on the other side.

And this is the time of year when things turn inward. Indoors, of course, but also the metaphorical equivalent—switching from an obligation for appreciating the whole, big, beautiful world to an awareness of beautiful, closed-in quietude.

I like a nice dark bar with just enough windows to show how blindingly bright it is outside. I like the feeling of sanctuary. Relieved survival. And I like emerging with a buzz into the still-warm humid night: There’s a smell that occurs only when the day has been tempered in the heat and wetness and then plunged into darkness, and it’s most noticeable when you spend a few hours talking about other things, dulling your neuroses and breathing sweet, chemically cooled air through your nostrils.

If you do it right, summer brings things back to scale.

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The Day After (A Hockey Tourney by the Beach)

Shaky-hand locker-room selfie!

Shaky-hand locker-room selfie!

Sunburned and hockey-sore,

Whiplash, backache,

Slew-footed tailbone ass-pain

And butthurt: losing sucks.

Puck-bruised (self-inflicted warm-up shots

And others from more legitimate sources),

Leftover pretzels, beer cans, wet gear—

Dear god, the laundry—

Crumpled coozies, sandy coolers,

Reliving recent minor glories and glorious minors,

Oh-so-many missed passes and

Ridiculous, hysterical slips and stumbles,

Collisions, whiffs, fluttered wristers,

A sorority of blue-paint scrums and handshakes,

Of locker room beer and gear-bag ottomans:

Alpha Chica Ow.

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Quote of the Moment

“In our day-to-day circumstances, our self-regard is hungry for three things: an opportunity to be generous to the disadvantaged; an opportunity to be reverent to the noble; an opportunity to be superior to the ignorant. And we are more than eager to imagine these creatures before us, should we not encounter them naturally.”

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Long Time, No Blog

Top 10 reasons and excuses for not having posted in a while.

  • Beau is living a much more exciting blog right now, with prettier pictures and better writing.
  • I can’t stop listening to the new Eminem album.
  • I’ve gotten sucked into The Goldfinch, but I’m not far enough into it to give a full assessment. (It’s good, though; definitely literary.)
  • Mario Kart!
  • Bolts’ playoff push.
  • I just rediscovered Chain Rxn on Facebook.
  • Surprise Sunday-Night Tequila Delivery Service.
  • Getting pictures from my phone to WordPress is hard.
  • Let’s face it: My fat ass needs more exercise.
  • Work conversations like this:

    Me: Also because [special issue] is less fun than a hysterectomy. We should put that on the cover. “219 local [redacted]! Less fun than a hysterectomy!”

    McD: Yeah, there’s a catchy coverline! People would pick THAT issue up just to see what the hell was inside.

                                                      Not a uterus, that’s for sure.

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A Meditation on Being One with the Weather

Walking barefoot

to get the mail.

Wanna hurry

to get out of the rain?

To get over

the puddles?

That walkway is slippery,

yo.

That’s bust-your-ass

Tile.

Take

Your time.

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Oh the Places You’ll Beau!

When the publisher says we need a poem for a colleague’s going-away-to-hike-the-Appalachian-Trail party, you better believe I’m all over that shit. (With thanks/apologies to Dr. Seuss, of course.)

places

 

Congratulations!

Today is your day.
They’re your Appalachians!

(Though we begged you to stay.)

 

You have beard on your head

And feet in your boots;

You can hike yourself

Wherever it suits.

You’re on your own. And you like what you like.

And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to hike.

 

You’ll look up and down trees, look them over with care.

About some you will say, “Oh my goodness! A bear!”

With your head full of beard and your pack full of pants,

You’re too smart to look at the wildlife askance.

 

And you may find some ticks.

And you may find some snakes.

And you may trip on sticks—

Do whatever it takes.

 

It’s Beau-ier there

In the brisk mountain air.

 

Up there stuff can happen

And frequently does

To people as beardy

As you and your fuzz.

 

And when it starts raining

Don’t worry, don’t fret.

Just keep on refraining:

“It’s fun being wet.”

 

Oh! The places you’ll Beau!

 

You’ll hike your way up!

You’ll hike your way down!

You’ll hike through the mountains

And sometimes a town.

 

You won’t lag behind, because you’ve got the beard.

You’ll make lots of new friends; you shall be revered.

Wherever you hike, you’ll love it, we swear.

Wherever you go, you’re supposed to be there.

 

Except when you’re not.

Please don’t get shot.

 

I’m sorry to tell you

But it might be scary

Even for someone

So Beau-like and hairy.

 

You might hurt your back.

You might see a yeti.

You might burn your pack

Of freeze-dried spaghetti.

 

And when you feel low

And your feet start to hurt,

You might be quite slow

Getting up off the dirt.

 

You will come to a place where the path gets so steep

That your happy-feet pace will be harder to keep.

The path may be slippery, pointy and mean.

Can you make it around? Can you go in between?

Do you know where to go? Do you know where you’ve been?

 

And if you should stumble, or fall on your butt,

Or slide down a mountain, or get in a rut,

Or step your boots into some icky poo piles,

You’ll know you’re prepared for these challenging trials—

‘Cause that’s just the nature of two thousand miles.

 

You can get so confused

That you’ll start to wonder

If you really should carry this stuff that you’re under

Your pack and your spirit may both fall asunder

And you shall be tempted to make a great blunder.

The Standing-Still Blunder.

 

For people standing still.

Standing to keep their place in line.

Or to worry about bills, or to remember and pine,

Or to cry a good cry, or to whine a good whine,

Or to watch someone go, or to tell them they’re fine,

Or to wait for a change, or to avoid a bad sign,

Or just standing still till the clock strikes nine.

Everyone is just standing still.

 

Standing still for the time to come

Or standing still to rest their bum

Or standing still right there where they’re from

Or standing, perhaps, because that’s what they’re told

Or standing still as they wait to grow old

Or standing still so that they’ll feel tall

Or standing still for no reason at all.

Everyone is just standing still.

 

No! That’s not for Beau!

 

Somehow you’ve escaped

All that standing and staying

Your life will be shaped

By hiking and playing.

 

With the sun in your beard,

Once more you’ll walk tall,

All the gear you can haul

And the bears you can maul.

 

Oh the places you’ll Beau! There is fun to be hiked!

There are mountains to climb, there are peaks to be piked,

And the magical things you can do with this trail

Will make you a teller of a helluva tale.

Blog! Your stories will generate one million hits!

You’ll crash all our websites! Mark will have fits!

 

Or maybe they won’t.

(Mark says, “Please don’t.)

 

I’m afraid that sometimes

You’ll play lonely games, too.

At those times, try bathing—

You might smell like poo.

 

All alone!

Whether you showered or no,

Sometimes on the trail

It’ll just be a Beau.

 

And when you’re a Beau, there might come a time

When into your head there will pop this here rhyme

To remind you of life when you’d write and you’d edit—

Just be sure that you’re giving me all of the credit.

 

But on you will Beau

While we’re all back here

On you will Beau

You’ll be less and less near

On you will Beau

Though you’re craving a beer

Onward up many

A beautiful peak

Though your beard will get long

And your clothes will get reek.

 

On and on you will hike

And I know you’ll hike far—

Are you sure that you don’t

Want to try it by car?

 

And we’ll miss you, of course,

As you already know.

We’ll miss you but also

We’re proud that you go.

So be sure when you step

To remember us here

Doing 10 times the sitting

With none of the gear.

Just never forget that you’re part of the mag;

We’ll talk of you often—in fact, we will brag.

 

And will you get through?

Yes, be sure that you do.

(But really what matters is what works for you.)

 

Kid, you’ll climb mountains.

 

So…

Be you editor, techie, hippie or no,

Be somebody awesome—somebody named Beau,

You’re leaving for Georgia, to Maine you will go.

Your mountains are waiting, so on with the show!

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