Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Too Soon?

How do you know when an action is too soon?

For instance—a wounded and dumped soul getting back into the dating game—how soon?

Or a joke about a controversial topic? Anna Nicole, anyone?

It goes beyond that. This was the dilemma surrounding Flight 93, the movie about September 11th.

I believe that we don’t know how soon is too soon.

And today I face that challenge.

My mind is wrecked. My spirit disheveled. My stomach is swirling in a pool of acidic angst (or maybe its coffee) as I ponder a decision I made today:

Fraternity Cuff links.

On our first anniversary, my wife gave me a nice set of cuff links that were of the seal of Kappa Sigma, the fraternity I was in at college.

They are really nice. And, frankly, pretty classy.

But I haven’t worn them… once… until today.

I’ve been scared.

I’m afraid its too soon… too soon since I have been involved in Fraternity.

I am at a point in my life where I don’t know what to think about my past involvement in fraternal matters.

I loved it. I lived it—breathed it—I took in as much as I could from my time in a fraternity at college. Yes, that meant things like parties, and wearing silly t-shirts with greek letters, and plenty of dances, and paying dues, and paying for the dances, and paying for the t-shirts.

And, yes, where I come from it almost meant nights of a gym filled with 80 guys practicing choreography, only to slap on costumes and heavy make-up to sing and dance competitively. Not gay. I promise.

But it also meant meeting some of the most incredible people and entertaining some scenarios/events that have shaped who I am. Fraternity, along with many other factors, have formed me.

So don’t read this and think I don’t think fondly of my time with Fraternity… because I do.

This May will mark my 4th anniversary of my emergence from the bowels of Baylor as an undergraduate, at which point I began to distance from Fraternity.

I was even at the ol’ BU for another year—but kept Fraternity at more than an arm’s reach.

I didn’t, and still don’t, want to be one of those guys that ‘can’t let it go.’ Instead, I acted as if I turned the page. Ended the chapter. Moved on.

But I contend that there is a point in which is it appropriate, even classy, to look back at those old chapters. Maybe embrace them. Maybe even support them with apparel/accessories.

Am I at that point? I don’t know.

Part of me thinks that you have to be gray-headed. Part of me thinks it depends on how successful you are at distancing.

I, for example, am probably the best Distancer I know.

Want examples? I cringe at the site of Ninfa’s. I won’t come near Roxy Grove. I only talk to a few people that shared Fraternity with me—and I tend to avoid being in the same public venue as those I don’t talk to (I have, on occasion, walked the long way around a restaurant to avoid people).

But I wore the cufflinks today.

It feels a little unnatural, like I’m in 8th grade on the same couch as a friend who’s making out with some chick. But, like watching a friend make-out, part of me accepts it, and coyly I crack a knowing smile.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Drivers' Ed

Driver’s Education may be one of the most undervalued educational ‘seminars’ that a person ever attends.

After all, its based on the completion of this course, at the ripe old age of 15’ish, that you are given permission to operate a combustible piece of machinery that uses fuel & fire to move from point a to point b.

Driver’s Ed experiences come in all shapes and sizes.

Some, like Corey Haim’s, include a militant Carl Winslow & cup of coffee (greatness of License to Drive).

Others, like my precious wife’s, include a sequel. (Scoreboard me for passing it the first time.)

My own Driver’s Ed experience is, well, unforgettable.

In Sweetwater (the center of the universe), Driver’s Ed is taught in school—as a separate course. I took it when I was 15. My instructor was the GREAT Dennis Mosely.

Mr. Mosely was the Geometry teacher, known for his paper football (equilateral triangle) tournaments, his western wit (“I was born under a mesquite bush at mile marker 501 in Pecos, TX”) and his EXTREMELY sweaty armpits (rhombus-like yellow stains that we presumed were caused by staring at hot high schoolers all day).

The Mosely was definitely a fan favorite. Me being the fan of course.

When I think back over my time with Mosely, three things stand out:

1) The 6:00 AM shift. After taking the written test, we were sent out with Mosely on to the streets. I, being the morning person I am, signed up for the first shift—the 6:00am shift. I suppose this time is normally spent practicing parallel parking, 10 and 2 and the use of the blinker. Not me. Mosely & I grabbed some donuts (from Doris’ Sweet Shop) and then went out to his land so that I could feed his cow, Norman. One cow. Norman. I named it (City Slickers is brilliant). The thing about was… well… I wasn’t driving. Sure, I drove out South of town where Norman resided. And yes, I drove around many cow chips to get to Norman. But then, for a couple of hours, I just hung out with Norman… and Mosely.

2) The fight. Our Driver’s Ed class was a Who’s Who for our high school. You had athletes (the GREAT Robert Reed, aka short Manute Bol), cheerleaders (hey now), brains (Curtis Cecil) and guys like myself, who mostly identified with, well, David Spade (as previously noted). With all of these personalities, some had to clash. And two did. That’s when I witnessed the one of the top three fights of all time. This one is actually number 2 on my list. Curtis Cecil and the effeminately named Courtney (dude).

Curtis Cecil ran in my crew. He was a brain. He was an athlete. He was a choir boy. He was a Renaissance Man, which is why he ran in my crew.

His challenger is this fight was Courtney, the she-named. Courtney was as bland as they come… Kind of hung out with the skaters, only because of a dysfunctional family tie to them.

Three years prior, Curtis Cecil broke it off with a lady he was seeing at the time. Courtney was said lady’s rebound. There had been animosity between the two since (that was 1995). Since we all shared a Driver’s Ed room together, it all came to a head.

They met at the creek—a location between their homes. Curtis Cecil had plenty of support from our crew, and Ven Diagram friends to assist in the event that Courtney’s skater bunch intervened.

Courtney showed up with a D Battery in hand, intended to use it on Curtis Cecil.

That’s not what happened. In fact, what happened was that Curtis Cecil pounded the she-named Courtney so hard with his right hand that he broke a metacarpal. Scoreboard, Curtis Cecil.

3) The Old Man & the trailer. Like I said earlier, I had the 6:00am shift. But I didn’t visit Norman every day. There were times in which other visits had to be made—like the Old Man & the trailer. One morning, Mosely & I were cruising along. He was giving me directions (Left, Right, Right, Right, Left, etc). and I was following suit. I soon noticed that we were in a shady part of the ‘Water. There were houses with no doors… cars with no windshields… and, most importantly, a mysteriously trailer. That’s when Mosely said, “Right about here’s good.” To him that meant “Stop.” So I did. And he got out. I locked the doors as he walked to the front. He pounded on the front door of the trailer. Nothing. I prayed. Nothing. He pounded again. I could see from a car that the small window on the front of the trailer was now cracked. Eyes peered out. Old eyes. Then the window raised a bit more. Very confusingly, an arm stretched out from the window (an old arm) and unlocked a pad lock on THE FRONT of the door. As it opened, I could see the oldest man I had ever laid my eyes on standing in the doorway. He looked like a mummy in an A-shirt and very (VERY) used briefs. Mosely went inside. The door shut. I sat in the car. I don’t know what happened—but it was probably 15 minutes before Mosely emerged. He locked the pad lock (awfully generous) and gave the door a pat. Then he got in the car and we left. He was smiling just as much afterwards as before. I still have no idea what happened in there—or why the mummy chose to lock his door from the outside, seems inefficient-and probably never will.

Like I said—everyone has their own Driver’s Ed story. Yes, mine is a tad bit demented, very curious, and possibly fake. But, then again, that’s how I prefer my soup to be served.

Friday, February 09, 2007

A BIG Decision

Some decisions are more important than others.

When it comes to life decisions, you have to realize and then prioritize those decisions. You must make sure that, when all of the milk has been spilled, you’ve properly made the big ones.

Indeed, life is full of big decisions. College. Marriage. Faith. Those are three of the biggest. But there’s one more—one that may go unnoticed in certain circles.

Like Stevie Wonder getting lasik, I want to shed some light on this subject, because I recently made this BIG decision.


Each of us has dreams—and a number of us believe that we are destined for great things.

Some people think just like my man, the humble one, Eccentric, who said, “I’m going to be blowing up as big as Michael Jackson… maybe bigger.”

Ambition + Drive + Luck + Awesomeness = One day looking back and coyly sneering, “Not Baaaaad.”

Who do you want to represent you in your life story? What celebrity best encompasses your every being?

Let’s allow some room for a disclaimer—there are two
possible answers here. There’s the realistic answer and the lack-of-self-awareness answer.

The lack-of-self-awareness answer belongs to those who really have no idea who they are. They are looking A-list, or demi-god, like a Robert Redford, Paul Newmann or Bono.

Listen, I love me some me, and I’d like to think of myself as a wittier Robert Redford, but come on…

The realistic answer belongs to those who know who they are, where they’re going, and, most important to this subject matter, what celebrity they are most aligned with.

Many factors can lead you to making this decision:

1) Look-Alikes. Everyone looks like someone. Maybe it’s Jon Lovitz. Maybe it’s Ava Gardner. Perhaps it’s Gollum. If you know that you resemble someone, you might take on a bit of their persona.

2) Act-Alikes. It could be that you don’t strongly resemble anyone in-particular, but you might act like someone. I’ve been told that I act like Yoda. Yes, that means that I am full of endless wisdom; Backwards I speak; and I tend to walk with a cane.
3) Want-to-be-Alikes. Some people strongly identify with someone in particular, despite a lack of physical resemblance or resemblance in personality. These people are voted “Most likely to have surgery to look more like their fixation.” Creepy.

Those are just some of the factors that can lead you to your decision.
That leads me to my decision.

When I began this divulge of harmonious harmony, I told you that I had made my own decision as to who would play myself in my own life story.


David Spade.

He’s an undersized (frame, that is) man who makes his money through quick with and understated cynicism.

No, he’s not as versatile as I think myself to be… but he knows what he’s best at and sticks with it.
Oh, and he’s currently seeing Heather Locklear.


So go about your day mulling your decision. Who would it be?

Thursday, February 01, 2007


This guy's my hero.