Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Drunk Gambling at Club Mallard

A fictional guest post, fictionally written by Redacted

On Saturday afternoon, as soon as Mike the Blogger picked me up to go to the Giants game, I knew I was in trouble. I've got a wife and child to support, so I can't be getting behind the wheel with degenerate scuzzbuckets anymore. The guy was rocking out to Christian rock because, "I haven't had a drink in 16 hours and this soothes my emotions." Fuck. This is how it ends.

"What's wrong with your eye," I asked Mike.

"I popped a blood vessel vomiting at Club Mallard last night."

"Are you insane?"

"Definitely."

I couldn't help but laugh. "You don't pop molly, you pop blood vessels."

What a fucking mess. His attorney--the Judge, Juror and Executioner Jacquelin--was right, this guy was beyond repair at this point.

When we arrived at my sister's house, I immediately poured my self a stiff drink and began gambling on every single college football game. My sister was a college professor, and this was the company she kept, which is why I was forced to drink vodka on the rocks and gamble on the unpaid employees of the NC Double Assholes.

I let it ride with the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors because my security team had informed me head coach Norm Chow badly needed the job. Allegedly, and on advice of counsel we want to highlight the word allegedly there, the guy has a secret, second family to support. The Rainbow Warriors pulled out the three-point win to give me the cover on the minus-two line. Thank God. I was going to need to buy several rounds of drinks to deal with this situation, and I was convinced my wife was going to divorce me when I showed up at 3 a.m. with the stench of Mike the Blogger's lifetime of failures and Club Mallard on my person.

We ran into heavy traffic on the Bay Bridge, and I had forgotten to bring a roadie. Mike the Blogger was in the backseat pounding a Lime-O-Rita. I can't even say if this guy is a real person at this point. Likely, he isn't.

When we arrived at the ballpark, my cousin Kevin was running late, which was fucking terrific, because he had the tickets. You're not gonna believe this, but you can't get into a baseball game without proof that you've compensated the ballclub for your entry into said game. I literally will never trust Kevin to do anything ever again. We headed to a local watering hole where I crunched some numbers with my analytics team and saw that Rutgers was the obvious play as a home dog against Penn State.

We drank several rounds of something called watermelon beer. By this point, I was safely intoxicated, so I could get on Mike's insane level of thought, at least somewhat. I started generating some buzz around the bar that the famous blogger Mike the Blogger was present with typewriter in tow. No one gave a shit.

When I returned from getting another round of drinks, Mike the Blogger was deep in conversation with the middle-aged couple at the table next to us. Apparently, they were from somewhere close to Tinton Falls, New Jersey.

"I can never escape my past," Mike says to us through teary, bloody eyes.

"Yeah, Tinton Falls, I used to pretty much live there," Mike tells the poor couple. "Quite a town. You aren't in the technology game are you? That's a shame. I know a local legend in those parts..."

Here we went again. Every time I saw this cat it was Dr. Park this, Dr. Park that, oh me, oh my, what am I ever gonna dooooooo? I was up about $250 at this point and decided to hammer the unders in the Giants/Dodgers game. When Tim Hudson gave up 85 runs in the first inning and Tim Lincecum gave up about 100 more with his 86 mph heat in the second inning, I realized that maybe the unders wasn't the right play there. Kevin finally arrived in the third inning with the tickets, and that's when things took a dark turn.

Walking into the park like true Dodgers fans with our Giants already down by 1,000 runs, Mike the Blogger started running at some poor guy, yelling, "Champ! Champ! Champ! It's Babe! It's Babe!" We were going to get hauled into jail before we even made it into the stadium.

Mike practically tackled poor Champ, right in front of the guy's parents, who looked on in abject horror. All these years you protect your family, and then one day, a crazy blogger takes your son out right in front your eyes. All they could do was freeze in terror. Mike tried to explain who the hell he was to be molesting their son in public. They looked on with puzzled disdain, happy that their son got away when Mike finally released Champ from the deathly bear hug.

"What the fuck just happened?" I asked.

"That was my buddy Champ! Joc's little brother. The Dodgers top prospect."

"So why the fuck did you practically rape his brother?"

"I love Champ."

"He don't love you. He don't even know who the fuck you are!"

It was a sad state of affairs that Mike's greatest claim to fame in life was having hung out at Joc Pederson's house as a 15-year-old high school student.

"Yeah, man, I remember that day like it was yesterday. My little league coach was Joc's uncle, so we went over there for a summer party or something. Jesse Foppert threw for the Giants that day, I remember. They had the game on tv. There was a hair-dresser there who my little league coach said hugged other people too much. Not sure what that meant back then, or even now, nor am I sure if you should publish that line, Redacted the Blogger. Hehe. And so but yeah, I remember swimming in their pool. Joc's dad seemed to like me. He got a kick out of my shtick. I remember I had just started lifting weights for football, so my throwing arm went to shit around that time. Joc's dad asked me how my crappy baseball career was going, and I told him about my problems throwing, and he said, 'Then stop lifting weights.' Smart! It's amazing the things I remember! It's no wonder I can never get over Stephanie! I guess there are different kinds of memory abilities, and while I can't remember anything I read no matter how many times I read The Brothers Karamazov, I can never forget most of my human interactions. That's why I'm so crazy--those past experiences continually wash over me all day. I can't control it! Always stuck in the past!"

It went on like this for the four innings we sat out in the bleachers. And yet, when the other fans started to fight in the bleachers, Mike wouldn't get up and look. He'd just sit there and stare straight ahead as though he were a Buddhist monk about to light himself on fire in protest of all this human violence. As terrible as Mike was, he'd surprise you like that every now and then.

Kevin and my sister came back from the concession stand with horrific looking hot dog monstrosities. It was good that Kevin was getting that worm in his stomach fed finally. Shortly thereafter, they both looked ill, so we snuck out in the seventh like true Dodgers fans to drink some Fernet to settle our stomachs. I knew the Giants would never win another game after this shellacking and horrific display of fandom on our parts. I'd never be able to look my son--who admires Joey Panik and Buster Posey as though they were gods--in the eye again.

Somehow Kevin got us set up at a table instead of at the bar, even though we weren't eating. How many times was he going to let me down? When was this generation going to grow up? None of this would've happened if Kevin's sister hadn't moved to England to join some horrible socialist thing or whatever young people do in Europe besides drugs and free love. The whole thing made me sick, and I was only 35. Mike took a massive shot of Fernet, then immediately turned white as a ghost as his mouth began to foam, and he ran to the bathroom to pop some more vessels.

When he returned, Kevin explained that he had nearly shit his pants earlier in the night.

"Nice man. That hot dog do it to you?" I asked.

"No, this was right before I ate the hot dog," he replied.

"Wait, so you didn't feel well, almost shit your pants, and then still ate that fucking thing?"

"The worm has got to eat."

Mike looked on disgust at the double-date next to us. The two guys next to me and across from Mike were both wearing backwards visors. They were in their early-40's, sipping expensive vino drip, obviously successful, handsome, married to their wives across the table, fucking their mistresses under the table--everything Mike aspired to and thus would never attain. He couldn't take his blood-shot eyes off of this scene. Two handsome men buying their wives an elaborate dinner in San Francisco on a Saturday night after a long day of playing tennis or golf or some stupid sport. These weren't ballplayers, in Mike's insane mind.

Their entrees came. The blonde-haired man closest to me cut his hamburger in half and gave it to his wife, who ordered something fancy that was unrecognizable and small. She was watching her figure and ordering small portions because of her husband's propensity to fuck other women. The husband gave her half of his hamburger because of the husband's propensity to fuck other women. A third couple, not as attractive as the original two couples, briefly joined the table after leaving the Giants game. The three men gawked over hot InstaFaceBook pics while the women gossiped about other women. The large-breasted waitress came over, sticking her chest in between the men and asking if everything was alright. The brown-haired man with the backwards visor replied, "We could use some salt, but other than that, EVERYTHING IS EPIC!" It must have been epic indeed: large tits in your face, an angry wife across the table who might sleep with you in protest, and you can afford to tip them both because of your job as a....what did these people who didn't seem very smart but who seemed to have a lot of money actually do? Did they sell shit? Who had money to buy the shit they sold anymore? Mike looked out at the world, and it was all so confusing and unfathomable because he could never get beyond his own limited, self-imprisoning thoughts. But, how was he ever going to walk a day in another man's shoes?

Mike's head folds into his hands immediately upon hearing that awful word epic. The bastardization of our language down to a series of How I Met Your Mother catch-phrases has appeared to finally break the poor blogger, whose horrible TMZ-style blog is basically a series of How I Met Your Mother catch-phrases, but no one has the heart to hell him he isn't exactly Ken Kesey with the pen in hand.

Kevin leaves to go home and eat all the fish he spent the day murdering, and we follow shortly behind. We've got to get Mike out of this god-forsaken city before it's too late. The only thing that can save him now is a trip to Club Mallard.

When we arrived back in the East Bay at the club, Mike acted as though it was some sort of member's only club and we were his guests. White people are the worst. Full disclosure: I'm not white. Mike is the whitest. His attorney isn't white. My sister isn't white. Mike's nieces aren't white. And yet, somehow, Mike insists on being white, though I think he tried to convert to being Asian once. Silverstein is white, but the Jewish kind of white. Even though he lives down the street, he's refusing to come to Club Mallard. I think I've just shifted tenses again. Galindo is white but nowhere to be found, and he's white in way that makes sense, if that makes sense. He owns guns and votes Republican while Mike pretends to be a Buddhist and keeps voting for Obama even though he hates the government. I'd never seen a man so conflicted and broken up before. He could've gone for middle management, but he went for himself instead--now it's 7:57 p.m. on Tuesday night and he's deliriously writing a blog pretending to be Redacted while fighting a horrible cold from spending the weekend on another bender--then he broke from himself, and kept watching Apocalypse Now each night before bed.

Mike has reservations on Galindo's couch tomorrow--tomorrow being Sunday as we're back to Saturday--morning, however. Apparently Galindo is going to let Mike watch the Patriots game free of charge on his cable just to see if Mike will feed himself to the mountain lions behind Galindo's house when Tom Brady loses another football game. My three-year-old son is more mature than this.

After all these months of hearing Mike complain about Club Mallard, I'm shocked to see how awesome this place is. It's a two-story bar with good prices, cigarettes for sale, a bachelorette party going on, pool tables upstairs, and a balcony where you can sit and smoke smags outside.

At the table upstairs, the three of us some smoke smags and record the first episode of our new podcast, Drunk Gambling. I read Mike each of the NFL lines, and he makes an absurd pick, pulled from his nether regions. "Give me the Minnesota Vikings to pull off the upset of the New England Patriots to go to 2-0 and shock the world!" "Give me the New Jersey Football Jets under coach Sexy Rexy Ryan over the Green Bay Packers in my upset special!" "The San Francisco 49eers will beat the Chicago Bears by 90 points in an easy cover!" Sadly, all of his picks were wrong, which is pretty much the story of his life.

Before making his picks, Mike must have gawked this Vietnamese woman at the table next to us for an hour. I figured after nearly assaulting a Dodgers player's brother, vomiting in the bathroom at a fancy restaurant/bar, and then staring at the couple next to us for an hour, he'd finally call it quits. Instead, he's trying to make eyes with this Vietnamese girl who is chain-smoking at the table next to us. I'd have had no issue with his creepiness except for the fact that her boyfriend and another couple were clearly getting a little sick of Mike the Blogger giving lustful nods to this stranger, their friend and lover. I wouldn't sacrifice anything for Mike, so I certainly wouldn't get my ass kicked by the Vietnamese again in some ill-fated attempt of his to fall in love. In a past life, that son-of-a-bitch probably got me killed over there for the same damn shit. What did I do to get stuck with this guy through each successive life? Was I supposed to help him?

To be continued....as my eyes are literally bleeding from all of the puking* this weekend and TPS Reports this week.  

*I was actually vomit free this weekend. It was last Friday night that I blew a gasket at Club Mallard.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Last Days of My Childhood

On advice of counsel, this and all previous and future posts, are entirely fictional.

June 2000: "Mrs. Reynolds, we think it'd be a good idea if you just kept Mike home for the last few days of the school year. If he shows up again, he'll probably do something to get expelled from the 8th grade."

What a crock of shit. If you had a girlfriend as pretty as I did in the 8th grade, you'd have tried to make moves on the playground, too. If making out after school is wrong, then I can't begin to fathom what is right. Legally, you can't suspend Mike from school for public displays of affection, as the act of making out was a private act between two consenting teenagers, and the only public aspect of the incident was a bunch of creepy adults watching me make a play. If you don't like what you see, look the other way. 

September 2014: "Mrs. Reynolds, we think it'd be a good idea if Mike took a few days off from TPS Reports and was kept under your observation. He e-mailed HR yesterday saying that he felt as though he was losing his 'motherfucking' mind. While we'd like to help Mike, we just can't abide this type of nonsense and language in the workplace. Also, we don't even have HR, so I don't know who he was trying to e-mail. Just please do something and have him back ready to process as soon as possible. He's the best damn processor we've ever had, but the price of employing a five-tool paper pusher like that has become too much. Between the temper tantrums, putting illicit drugs in the coffee, blogs, curse words, and cries for help, it's become too much."

I think ole Mike will stick around for a long time. I like these TPS Reports.

Yesterday, before work, the broken shoulder and bum back were really acting up, so I took a legally proscribed muscle relaxer to be able to TPS Report through the pain. The drugs allowed ole Mike to be good Mike instead of bad Mike. I was training the Newbie hard when the woman in the cubicle next to him knocked over her water bottle. Water was racing towards her TPS Reports, people were panicking, all seemed lost. Instinctively, I ripped my sweatshirt off over my head and jumped on the grenade of running water to save the TPS Reports. Once more, Mike had saved the day! It was a far, far better thing that I did, than I had ever done before.

I looked across the office and saw that Silverstein was in with one of the executives, likely disparaging poor Mike. They hadn't even seen my act of heroism. I brought my TPS Reports into the execs' office so it looked like I was actually working, and told the story of my valor. They were impressed.

"I think ole Mike is going to keep this job a long time," I say.

"I think you burned that bridge pretty thoroughly," Silverstein replies.

"Sometimes a job has to be destroyed in order to be saved," I retort.

Indeed. I think if Mike deletes his blog, trains the Newbie, jumps on more grenades of spilled substances to save our TPS Reports, doesn't have any further temper tantrums, and generally becomes a pleasure to work with instead of a subversive psychopath, we could be looking at a contract extension instead of a contract termination. I'm over there running TPS Reports seminars for all comers at all hours of the day these days. I've got a new-found passion for this shit. Also, I need the money now because I just signed a lease with New Stephanie.

Of course, I know that I can't stop the genocidal act of writing blogs, throwing temper tantrums, whining, complaining, getting angry, and generally sabotaging my fledgling career in the capitalist economy. God knows I've tried. My attempt to convert to Good Mike, Buddhism, and the Ice Bucket Challenged all failed. Each new resolution failed more miserably than the last.

Luckily, I'll be able to keep my job on a technicality. My agreement with the capitalist system was that I would continue to work for another six months on the condition that I process one-third less capitalism per day. As the latter part of that agreement wasn't upheld, the agreement is null and void, and Mike has decided on a new agreement in which I keep my place in the capitalist system at least until next August, when I go back to socialist school. If you don't respond to this blog by the close of business on Monday with a counter-proposal or a rejection, then the new agreement is binding. I assume the powers that be still read this crap. Then again, I'm pretty shocked that I still write this crap.

What other bullshit can I pull from my nether regions and vomit onto this blog against humanity? With 15 to play, the Giants of San Francisco have pulled to within one game of that horrific monstrosity of a baseball team that ruined my childhood in September of 1993. Everything was going so well until Solomon Torres decided he wanted me to go through life jaded, miserable, anxious, and depressed.

Now I'm 29 years old and still a child, hoping against hope that in 2014, the Giants will save the end of my childhood by overtaking the Dodgers and winning the NL West crown. The World Series titles of 2010 and 2012 almost did the trick of making me a man, but I need one more even-year title to finally grow up.

Alas, nothing will do the trick, not even New Stephanie or Old Stephanie from the 8th grade. No one can fix what is so irreparably broken. Well, maybe Dr. Park could fix me. If I hadn't lost him in that tragic custody battle, I think I might've been saved. I can picture the two of us together in the peaceful suburban woods of Tinton Falls working from home, drinking beer, smoking cigarettes, eating ice cream, potato chips, watching movies, and farting. Maybe his exceptional IQ, work ethic, and desire to be a good Christian would rub off on me. The fact that my simple American dream to live in the armpit of America with the man I love has been taken away from shows just how far off track this country has gotten.

--------

The Giants do three things, right now, that get me all hot and bothered in a good way: catch the ball, put the ball in play, and avoid the free pass.

The Good Guys are fourth in the game in converting balls in play into outs.

Angel Pagan (12.6 percent strikeout rate), Joey Panik (11.4), Buster Posey (11.1), Hunter Pence (17.6), and Gregor Blanco (18.2) all strikeout less than the league average (20 percent, I believe).

The San Francisco pitching staff is second in the league in walk rate. The starting five of Madison Bumgarner, Tim Hudson, Jake Fucking Peavy, Ryan Vogelsong, and Yusmeiro Petit all have above-average walk rates. Also, Jake Fucking Peavy is my favorite player and singer-song writer of all time.

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"They think that they're smart, and that the rest of us are dumb. And, you know, Danby, the thought occurs to me right now, for the first time, that maybe they're right." - Joseph Heller, Catch-22

And so we blog on, hoping to one day become, at the least, no longer quite so dumb.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Mike the Blogger Wants To Be a Big Kid

On advice of counsel, this blog post, and all prior blog posts, are fictional.

Driving home last night, Mike Yossarian, a long-time blogger for Internet Dot Com, made a new resolution: to attempt to become a big kid.

Like most of Mike's resolutions, the odds of failure are high. If you bet $100 on the Moneyline in favor of Mike, Vegas will pay you $500. Don't bet on Mike.

The woman from the debt processing agency above my office at my real job in the real world where I make real money somehow asked me to move in with her. I do not want to move in with her. I want to keep taking cigarette breaks and watching Apocalypse Now with her. She doesn't want to watch Apocalypse Now with me anymore because she's Vietnamese and apparently none too pleased that my fellow countrymen killed millions of her fellow countrymen. I tried to tell her I'm not happy about it, either. She told me I needed to "get it together and grow up."

On the drive home, I remembered when Stephanie told me to get it together and grow up and move in with her. I told Stephanie, "Okay." Then, when we were about to sign the lease, I told Stephanie, "Not okay." And then Stephanie told me, "I want to date an adult instead of a child." And I told her, "Okay." Then when she actually pulled the trigger, I told her, "Not okay."

So I thought about that. And then I decided 29 seemed like a good age to at least try to grow up. Maybe if I took on adult responsibilities, I'd start acting like an adult. Probably not.

I stopped off at my brother Ringo's house on the way home. I drank one of his beers. I did not compensate him because it isn't time to grow up just yet. His daughters drew on his legs as we watched the football players play football on the television screen. I did not compensate him for his cable because the woman from the debt processing agency doesn't have cable. His daughters asked me what I thought about their art work on their father's legs.

"I'm worried about it because he might get ink poisoning."

Jada, 5, and Nyah, 3, came running over to me screaming.

Jada: He will not get ink poisoning, Mike! You don't tell little kids what to do, Mike!

Nyah: Kids get to play!

Ringo: Be nice to Mike!

Mike: I didn't know I wasn't supposed to tell little kids what to do!

I was a big kid now so I didn't have to take shit from little kids anymore. Jada put on a straw hat, which made her look like a member of the Vietnamese resistance. I asked her how school was going. She didn't respond. She was busy planning to further undermine her uncle's authority. 

I asked Nyah about my friend in her pre-school class. She thought it was weird that one of my best buddies was her age. I told her to stop being so judgmental like my attorney, Judge, Juror, and Executioner Jennie. She said my friend wore a light blue shirt to school but that she wasn't friends with him, she was friends with someone else whose name I can never remember. Speak English, Nyah.

Ugh. Kids these days. Such free-loading punks.

"I gotta get out of here. I need to get some sleep," I tell Ringo.

"It's bed time," Nyah decides.

"Peace, Jingles," I call to Ringo.

"See ya, Peace Jingles," Nyah yells to me as I leave.

I text the woman from the debt processing agency that I will indeed move in with her on the condition I can continue to wear my flannel pajamas even though they make the room 1,000 degrees. She agrees to my conditions. I fire my attorney because I know I can't afford her retainer that I've never paid anymore. I try to write a blog but have nothing to say.

I'm sacred. I'm always afraid. I can't sleep. What have I done? What hath I wrought? Now I need to find a job. Jesus. There's no way I can find a job. I read a New Yorker article about fast-food workers making $8 an hour. Jesus. What has this world come to? I won't find a job, I'll run out of money, and I'll die. It seems pretty clear that's what's gonna go down. Shit. On the other hand, I'll lose weight because I won't be able to eat anymore, so that's good. You've always got to look on the bright side in life, especially when you live in a dystopian nightmare. The sun will eventually die and the universe will probably collapse, too. How am I going to live forever if the sun explodes or the universe implodes? Fuck. I need a new plan. And a job. Oh boy. I can't sleep. What goes through other peoples' minds? Probably the same thoughts. I'm definitely not crazy. I'm crazy. Is this that anxiety disorder Stephanie was always diagnosing me with? What the fuck, she wasn't even a real therapist. I think there's a free clinic by the woman from the debt processing agency, so I can probably get free therapy now. That's good.

Mike doesn't want to be a big kid anymore. This shit is no fun! See ya, Peace Jingles. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Nine Innings

Here we were approaching mid-September, and the San Francisco Giants were only 2.5 games out of first place. The first-place Dodgers had out-scored their opponents by 68 runs. The Giants had outscored theirs by 66.

At the outset, it didn't look like it'd be much of a race. The Giants stormed out to a 43-21 start, creating a 10-game cushion on the Dodgers. The Washington Nationals came to town and took three straight from the Giants, beginning a free fall from which it appeared they'd never recover. When the Giants lost in heartbreaking fashion to the lowly White Sox at home on August 12, they dropped their fifth straight game and fell 5.5 games back of the Dodgers. Over two months, they'd fallen 15.5 games in the standings by going 20-36. Yet all was not lost: a 16-8 stretch starting the next day against the White Sox has gotten the club back in the race for the NL West crown. 

It had been a surprisingly decent year for Ryan Vogelsong. Like the Giants, he was awful in 2013, failing to follow-up on a championship year in 2012. When the Giants re-signed him over the winter after initially declining his 2014 option, it looked like the move of a general manager who just wanted to keep the good ole boy network intact.

Vogelsong had been serviceable to this point in 2014, posting a 4.06 ERA and a 3.86 FIP over 28 starts after putting up a 5.73 ERA last year.

Why wasn't I as excited for this pennant race? Had the success of 2010 and 2012 spoiled me? Had flaming out as a baseball blogger jaded me? Did I just no longer have the time for a hobby with the absurd time demands of baseball? Had I lost interest in things I previously enjoyed? Was I depressed?

When I got to work on this day--Wednesday, September 10, 2014--I wondered if I'd make it through the day still gainfully employed. The night before, I had written a blog that, if published, likely would have spelled the end, I'd imagine. I got to work and started re-writing it, but when the Newbie showed up, I decided to bury my grievances for at least a little while and coach the kid up. Once I started going, I couldn't stop. I loved training him because others noted how good I was at it, which was ironic because I had been passed over continually for promotions despite my obvious plus-plus leadership skills.

"You'd be a great manager," Marco Stein says, "which is why you'll never be a manager. That's the catch. If no one liked you and you got in line and did what you were told, you could be a manager, though you wouldn't be good at it because then we'd all hate you. If you stayed the way you were, you'd be a great manager because you're staff would put out for you. But you'd never get to be a manager if you stayed the way you were."

The reality is my 10-month baseball blogging paternity leave didn't help my cause, nor did my inability to navigate the office's political waters. Writing blogs against humanity and throwing temper tantrums and saying bad words like "fuck" didn't help, either. And so we came to the end there, only I've still got five more months on my sentence for those terrible crimes. I didn't want to train the Newbie because why should I? I'm not a manager, I'm a degenerate fuckoff on his way to the unemployment rolls. But then, if I don't train the Newbie, who will? And if I get hit by a bus tomorrow, the poor kid will really be up shit creek. I might as well coach him up so I can start to plan my escape sooner.

Still, it felt good to share six years of institutional knowledge with a Newbie who I liked. Like me, he was a degenerate sports fan born on November 18 who was recently injured in a car accident. In between processing processes, we could talk about our ballclubs--the Giants for me, the A's for he--and I could show him all the mistakes I'd made that he'd need to avoid. Don't start a blog and speak your mind on it, don't kick your trash can, don't send lewd e-mails over the company server, don't gossip in the office, and never make anyone have to so much as think about you. Also, your value is in what you bill, so you'd better fucking learn how to bill. How do you think I'm still here after all the sins I've committed?

I looked in the mirror today and I saw someone who was incredibly tired. I look like I haven't had a good night sleep in a decade. I'm also falling out of my TPS Reports Uniform, but the new curves are working for me in my humble opinion. I've got an ass that just don't quit right now.

After work, I walked for about an hour to sit out the traffic and tighten things up a bit. It was a warm, late-summer day underneath Mt. Tam and the ominous Richmond Bridge. How many times had I headed East over that monstrosity during the last year in search of an alcohol-induced nirvana that could never be found? In the distance, I could see the newly constructed Bay Bridge. Two lone kayakers floated in the calm waters of the Bay outside our suburban office park. When I returned to my car, I saw that my co-worker Silverstein was still processing. I went back in the office to see what was going on with him and to start my blog.

We headed outside for a smoke instead. I like smoking cigarettes. It seemed to calm me down for a few minutes at least. On the drive home, I evaded traffic until smacking into a stalled buzz-saw. Traffic at 7:00 p.m.? I'll never get back in time for the game. Then I remembered the Buddhist teaching that if you have no aim, then there is no problem, whereas if you have an aim--like to get home--then anything that gets in the way becomes a horrific thing. Maybe the cigarette had calmed me down enough to have that thought, or maybe it was the walk.

I told the Newbie about Dr. Park today. He was throwing some creamer in his coffee, and I says, I says, "No fifty-fifty?"
"The fuck is fifty-fifty?"
"Half-half."
"Half and half?"
"Yeah, Dr. Park calls half and half fifty-fifty or half-half."

If you're reading this blog for the first time and have continued to this point, what the fuck is wrong with you? That written, Dr. Park is my ex-father-in-law. He's a 5'1" 110-pound Korean man who doesn't remember me and isn't allowed to respond to my e-mails anymore.

Angel Pagan is caught stealing as Joey Panik swings through a 3-1 fastball well out of the zone. Instead of two on and one out with Posey up, there's two out and nobody on. Panik draws a walk on the next pitch. This is not championship baseball. Posey lines a hanging changeup to left for the final out of the inning. Collmenter's changeup,which he throws from an extreme over-the-top arm-slot as though he's swinging an ax, appears to just stop in mid-air. After three at AT&T Park, there's no score between the Good Guys and the Arizona Diamondbacks. Down at Chavez Ravine in Los Angeles, the Dodgers lead the San Diego Padres 1-0.

The warm, late-summer day we had north of The City clearly doesn't exist at AT&T. The wind and mist are a nasty reminder of the Candlestick days of yesteryear. Vogelsong issues his fourth walk with one out in the fourth inning. After getting knocked around in Colorado during his last start, it's as though he's decided to nibble rather than challenge with his mediocre arsenal. He's got a subtle little cutter, a two-seamer, a four-seamer that tops out at 91, a changeup, and a dookie. None of the pitches are plus, but the command, control, grind, pitchability, and want have combined to pull him through the despair of two arm surgeries, flunking out of the bigs, going to Japan, coming back and having success only to fall down again, and now to pick up the pieces one more time. Vogey battles around the one-out walk, and we march to the bottom of the fourth with the game still scoreless.

It's been an offense that has looked brilliant at times and helpless at others. After a hot start to the season, second base became a black hole, left fielder Michael Morse stopped hitting which doesn't work because he's a DH with the glove, center fielder Angel Pagan injured his back, Brandon Belt suffered a concussion, and Buster Posey continued to have a mediocre season by his standards. Panik came up from the minors and stabilized second base around an unforgettably depressing stint from Dan Uggla, Morse started hitting again, Pagan returned, Posey has gone on a tear, and top prospect Andrew Susac has been a massive upgrade on the injured Hector Sanchez. Even Travis Ishikawa has returned from the departed to improve a bench that had been a disaster. Joaquin Arias has started to swing it better after a disastrous start. Gregor Blanco has been excellent of late as well. With Blanco, Susac, and Ishikawa, the bench finally has some depth. 

In the bottom of the fourth, Hunter Pence absolutely crushes one, but it goes nowhere through the San Francisco fog. AT&T Park has made a lot of pitchers look better than they are over the years, and that F-8 is exactly why journeyman Yusmeiro Petit can throw an 84-pitch complete game here, as he did last night. Blanco singles and steals second with two down, but Ishikawa can't knock him in. Through four, there's still nothing doing on the Bay.

This is the most alive I've felt in a long time. I know that I'm in the middle of writing something that is, if nothing else, my best effort. Just do your best. Keep it simple. Don't make it complicated.

Sometimes people will come by and confuse the Newbie, which I think is an attempt to make these TPS Reports seem more daunting and difficult than they are. If I could do something for six years with my severe intellectual limitations, anyone can do this.

I guess it makes sense that I became disgruntled. During the first few years there, I was a pretty outstanding employee. But I decided I wanted to do something different, and I thought once I dedicated myself to baseball writing full-time, I'd create enough demand for my talent that I'd make my bread that way. I didn't foresee how hard that would be. So I came back to the office job hoping that I could buy myself more time to figure things out. Somehow, the time keeps passing too quickly for me to get a hold on things. Reality moves too swiftly for me. I can't keep or catch up, not in this brave new world of a permanent recession for all but the most well-to-do Americans. And yet, from the perspective of the well-to-do, why do I care about stagnating wages or growing inequality? I'm getting hammered on income tax, property tax, sales tax--the welfare state is up my ass and yet our welfare dollars don't seem to go as far as, like, Western Europe's.

I can buy the argument that government is the problem. Gandhi said as much. It's the government that starts these wars, incites protestors in Ferguson, gives tax cuts to the wealthy whiner quoted above, subsidizes the sugar and high-fructose corn syrup that is making me fat, promotes the suburbanization that is getting me trapped in traffic, and takes 30 percent of my paycheck every two weeks without even asking!

Nothing doing in the 5th for either side.

But I don't even know where you'd begin, to be honest. As long as there is capitalism and government, there is the opportunity for the rich not only to co-opt the regulators with their capital, but to become the regulators themselves via elected office and the revolving door between lucrative government employment and even more lucrative private sector employment.

The Dodgers lead 2-0 now. The Giants will likely need to win just to keep pace. I think they lead that play-in to the playoffs wild card crap, but I don't really care. It's beat the Dodgers or bust down the stretch.

Panik makes a terrific back-handed play with one down in the sixth. I thought Vogelsong was finished last season, and here he is throwing 5.2 shutout innings in the middle of pennant race. I thought Panik was a utility man at best when I first saw him, and here he is hitting .320 and playing solid defense. I'm still not sold on the guy: how's he going to keep hitting .320 when he can't run or hit the ball more than 350 feet? Then again, Marco Scutaro made a career out of the same skill-set, and Panik is up here showing off the plus-plus bat-to-ball at age 23. I don't know where Yonkers is, but I know Panik is from there and I thoroughly enjoyed my sojourn through upstate New York with Dr. Park's daughter three years ago. Upstate New York, now there's a fine town.

After striking out the side in the fifth, Vogey rolls through a perfect sixth.

Panik has no power, yet to shut me up, he crushes one down in the line in right...gone if it's fair, but it pulls foul. Collmenter gets Panik swinging on a changeup in the dirt, a rare whiff for the contact-oriented Panik. Collmenter breaks Posey down with a filthy 1-0 changeup. That thing isn't fair. Posey recovers by grounding a single through the middle. One on, one out, Sandoval at the bat. They need more from the Panda, who will test the free-agent waters this winter. He slams a hard grounder to short, ending the inning with a double-play. Sandoval never maintained the level of performance he began his career with, and I wouldn't be too eager to sign a bad-bodied player who swings at everything, doesn't hit for the power he once showed, and isn't likely to stay in shape after payday. He's solidly above-average for now, but free-agent contracts need to be out tomorrow rather than yesterday.

A one-out double in the top of the 7th gets the Giants bullpen stirring. There's no margin for error here. The next batter lines to left, but Blanco runs it down. Vogelsong might be out of gas, yet Boch sticks with his man. A two-out walk to the 8th place hitter Didi Grigorious ends the night for Collmenter, and it ought to end the night for Vogelsong, but Boch jogs out as though to keep his guy in line for a potential pitcher win. Instead, Boch takes the ball and goes to his bullpen. With the season on the line and so much already invested, there's no time for sentimentality, sabermetric stats like pitcher wins, or anything beyond winning tonight and the 17 nights thereafter. The Machi Man, solid all year like the majority of the pen, hasn't inspired much confidence of late. I feel like we've come to the end, but my fears are assuaged when he gets the pinch-hitter to ground weakly to short. The dream of a win tonight lives.

Hunter Pence walks to start the 7th. Boch decides to sacrifice with Blanco, but when a 1-1 fastball that was about a foot off the plate gets called a strike, the bunt is off. Blanco battles, and grounds a double down the right-field line. With Pence's exceptional speed, it's an easy score; 1-0 Good Guys. After Ishikawa whiffs, Brandon Crawford hits a Baltimore chop between the first baseman and pitcher, out-running left-handed reliever Oliver Perez to the bag.

Whither Brian Bockock?

Where are all the left-handed pinch-hitters of yesteryear? Boch sends up the Dufster, Matt Duffy--another rookie who, along with Susac and Panik has shown flashes--to pinch-hit for Machi, but when the Diamondbacks counter with a right-handed reliever, the skipper has no cards to play.

Who needs 'em? Duffy smacks an RBI-double down the right-field line. If you can hit .330 in the Eastern League, maybe you can hit. A wild pitch scores Crawford and moves the Dufster to third, and a Pagan sac fly after fighting off some hairy pitches gets the situational-hitting guru's fired up; it's 4-0 Giants. Boch's boys are starting to roll once more.

I've written too many words without saying anything once more, I fear. This happened, then that, but what does it matter? Who cares? I give it a hard 90 down the road in my car in search of internet access to publish this damn thing. The Giants tack on a fifth run in the 8th as Sandoval barely misses a dinger to prove the reverse-jinx works after I've questioned his power.

The Dodgers won 4-0. The Giants win 5-0. The day ended where it began: the Dodgers still had outscored their opponents by one more run than the Giants, and more importantly, their lead was 2.5 games with one fewer to play. If San Francisco sweeps Arizona tomorrow, the Dodgers will come in for three games this weekend up by just two games.

I'd head to sleep soon and wake up wondering how much longer I could remain employed. What would be the final straw? Could I get it together? What would I do on February 1, 2015 if I made it that far? Could I find a way to care about the Giants again? I felt relieved that they hadn't lost tonight, but I didn't think they could catch the Dodgers. You couldn't play that badly for two months and come back to win the division, could you?

But that stretch was in the past now, and all of my prior errors were over and done with, too. Each new resolution of mine always failed more quickly and embarrassingly than the last. Even so, I'd wake up tomorrow and show up to a job I'd already quit through a slog of never-ending traffic, hoping to keep it together for another day, hoping the Giants would win again, wondering whether I'd care, thinking thoughts of Dr. Park and long drives from New Jersey towards the Canadian border, thinking thoughts of persecution, praying for Bill Belichick to be restored to sanity, and taking state mandated cigarette breaks with Silverstein. I just couldn't see how tomorrow would be any different, and I wasn't so sure if that was such a terrible notion.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Deschler Boycotts Being a Guard

Deschler won't be a guard anymore.

On Sunday, the New England Patriots picked up right where they left off in the AFC Championship Game last year: no pass rush, can't stop the run, can't run the ball, can't protect the quarterback, no one can make a play on offense, and even if they could, the quarterback can't throw the ball further than 10 yards.

Instead of spending the offseason beefing up the pass rush, the receiving corps, and the offensive line, Bill Belichick signed Brandon Fucking LaFell and traded Logan Mankins.

I'm done with football. It's fitting that Darelle Revis is here to watch this ship sink, as our inability to draft and develop players even half as good as Revis has been sort of problematic.

So Deschler and I are going to throw in the towel on this violent sport. I mean, boycotting the NFL is a weird place to take a stand. I'm certainly not going to boycott Coors, Cialis, and all of the NFL's other corporate sponsors. I'm going to continue to pay taxes to a government that uses those funds to incarcerate more people than any other country on the planet and drones civilians with increasing regularity. I'm not going to stop going to the movies because Hollywood promotes sex, violence, drugs, and rock & roll. No, it's the NFL where I'm going to take my stand, not because I find the sport insanely violent (I do), the compensation structure unjust (I do), or the television contracts and stadium deals by which the league profits to be extra-legal and anti-consumer (I do).

No, Deschler and I are boycotting football because we weren't very good at it and we can't stand to watch Bill Belichick go senile and Tom Brady go insane. Wes Welkah! and Tommy are off poppin' Molly at the Kentucky Derby remembering the glory days of that 18-1 season when Belichick still thought it was legal to touch the opposing quarterback. Where are the Richard Seymour's of yesteryear? I cannot live like this.

Maybe this is an over-reaction to two bad games. Maybe Brady isn't washed-up and Belichick isn't senile. That isn't the point.

The point is that Deschler and I have other things we could and should be doing with our lives. We can't sit on the couch for 11 hours straight plugging CL's, 'za, and hummus when we ought to be applying to graduate school, jobs, or at least catching rays. There are so many books I should read before I die and plenty of others I should re-read. Instead, I sit there neurotically praying that the Patriots will win so that....so that what? I have no control over this team, so I sit there as a willing victim of their fate. I check Twatter and BookFace and InstaBook instead of reading, and I promote my brand with drunken tweets and BookFace posts and hot pics because I'm an egotistical moron who thinks people actually care about my hot takes.

At least with baseball I can understand what I'm seeing. I could hardly see anything on the illegal stream I used to watch the Patriots game on the wifi that Stu pays $65 a month for to the Big Internet, Phone, and Cable Conglomerate. No, not that one, the other one. This is America; we do have some semblance of competition! When the screen wasn't freezing, things weren't going well anyway. Late in the third quarter, I shut the computer off and slipped out of my Tom Brady jersey.

I'm 29 years old now. I have no more time to waste and I can't wear sports jerseys anymore. I need to, like, do something with my life and living vicariously through Belichick and Brady won't do any longer.

My attorney--Judge, Juror and Executioner Jennie--didn't show up for the football barbeque at my doctor's house on Sunday. She allegedly had a legal meeting that took longer than the Bush Administration spent planning the Iraq War. The teacher was there attempting to boycott, but when my doctor put the hummus in front of the television, her moral fiber eroded and she concluded that maybe the NFL wasn't so bad if Mike Yossarian and his doctor were still doing it. When she started snorting the hummus, I understood why we were friends but deeply felt that we both needed help.

The NFL isn't so bad compared to the other industries in the capitalist system. Plenty of professions promote violence and are bad for your long-term health. Most of what our own government does promotes violence and is bad for our long-term health. Hell, I nearly killed myself in a car accident coming to work last year, and I'd imagine that collision was a lot like a hit in the NFL. My sedentary office job isn't real good for the blood flow and the ole back, either. I should probably start boycotting work, too.

One has to start somewhere, however. For Mike, it starts with quitting the Patriots once and for all, something I've been trying to do for a half-decade now. If they aren't going to win the Super Bowl, why bother? And, if they are going to win the Super Bowl, what good would that really do me?

Ah, fuck it. Who are we playing on Sunday? Matt Cassel? I'm sure I'll be watching somehow, hoping that we develop a pass rush, a wide receiver, an offensive line, and the old Tom Brady. I can't quit the NFL because I'm an addict, and I won't be creating the first 12-step program for recovering sports fans. Although, if that can somehow be lucrative for me and not require me to do file TPS Reports anymore, I'll look into it.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Deschler is a Guard

It was always something. On my tombstone they'll write: Here lies Mike Yossarian. He was afraid, and now he's dead.

"Linebackers, let's go prepare. Deschler, be a guard," our defensive coordinator, Chili Dog, says to poor 90-pound Deschler 10 years ago. "The guard pulls. Deschler, come [motions at Deschler to pull]. You club the pulling guard [clubs Deschler in the head, knocking him down], and then you set the edge and player power football."

Our defensive end, Nacho, subversively tells Chili Dog, "The opposing guard is going to be a little harder to knock down than Deschler."

"Nacho, do you want to win a championship?"

"Yes."

"Then shut the fuck up and listen to me! Quit acting like Yossarian [looks angrily at me]. Goddamn Yossarian. I know you were the one who stole the equipment from the shed, Yossarian. How many time are you going to short change the fucking team? Alright, let's focus. If we play St. Vincent football, we'll win this game. No one comes into our house and pushes us around."

They came into our house and pushed us around despite Chili Dog's high hopes and expectations. We played well, but we were over-matched and could not player power football against a team that was bigger, faster, stronger, and more powerful. I wonder if poor Deschler has that post-concussion brain damage from all the times Chili Dog clubbed him in the head. Probably.

Chili Dog wasn't the first authority figure I had problems with, nor was he the last. The conservative, right-wing, angry Chili Dog was a cop when he wasn't trying to get us to play power football. "Collision, wrap, drive the legs!," will be stuck in my head until the end, and yet I could never make a fucking tackle because I couldn't collide, wrap, and drive my fears away.

Most coaches, like most authority figures in this world, are terrible leaders. But at least Chili Dog put in the time and effort, even if he couldn't overcome having been an asshole. So it goes.

One thing I cannot stand as I get older is when people who don't work as hard as I do have the audacity to question the way Mike gets his hard work done. If my blog gets filed, then you can just shut the fuck up as far as I'm concerned. Oh, you might be my editor and whatnot, but I'm an Anarchist so I don't see inherently unjust power structures, nor am I going to sit there and take it anymore. Mike read Camus, and Camus said to push the boulder up the hill with scorn, and no gainfully employed drone in the capitalist system processes with as much scorn as the blogger Mike Yossarian.

Last night, Silverstein refused to come out with Stu and Mike because he wants to advance up the capitalist chain by becoming an attorney. Thals Phelps, the noted Olympian swimmer and long-time friend of the blog, was probably night-swimming with the sharks in the Bay, that lunatic. She couldn't be reached for comment at press time. My attorney refused to show for reasons that remain unclear. When I vomited late in the evening at Club Mallard in Albany, CA, it started to become more clear why she didn't want to partake in these festivities. How Stu processes so much alcohol is beyond my poor powers of comprehension, that bastard. Nacho was somewhere setting the edge and playing power football with his wife and children presumably. Redacted is missing in action, but likely writing Joey Pancake's Hall of Fame induction speech. The New Guy was allegedly busy moving even though Silverstein and Mike told him that we had promoted ourselves to management and our first order of business was getting him drunk. There's a good chance we'll be demoted soon, sadly.

Morale was deteriorating and it was all Yossarian's fault. The country was in peril; he was jeopardizing his traditional rights of freedom and independence by daring to exercise them...."The men are unhappy and morale is beginning to deteriorate. And it's all your fault."*

Yesterday, when I was processing TPS Reports at my other career, I suddenly was overcome with regret. Why had I quit? I should've taken Bobby's advice and just stopped showing up and processing so many processes. He runs a hedge fund, so he would know how capitalism works. Instead, I decided to set a date certain for my withdrawal from the capitalist system, thinking that would lead to Mike turning over a new leaf. Instead, I've gotten worse because I don't really work in the capitalist system anymore, so why am I still working in the capitalist system, ya know? During the middle of the day, I thought, "Boy, I could do this forever. I think I'll tell them I'm not quitting." Then someone pissed me off somehow and I wanted to quit on the spot. And so but later in the night I logged onto my capitalist e-mail and started processing processes from home before I went Club Mallard and The Albatross because I knew I was going to miss all of this terrible pain and suffering soon.

When I forgot to go to work on Thursday, my co-worker Marco Stein said I was sorely missed. "This place is terrible without you. You're like Jesus: Jewish, and constantly being persecuted for no reason."

The night was filled with horrors, and he thought he knew how Christ must have felt as he walked through the world....*

You want to be a writer? Mike, you're a fucking no-good dipshit loser, just like Stephanie's brother always said. I miss that guy and his willingness to confront me on all of my bullshit. He could've helped me and prevented me from becoming a Dangerous Anarchist, but I refused. We might've been the two best friends that anyone could have because we're both so incredibly selfish and egotistical. But he likes capitalism, and here's how I feel about capitalism:
Your coach: Bill Belichick. FUN FACT: Whenever Bill Belichick trades a player for refusing a pay cut, Jim Nantz has to go wipe the ejaculate off the inside of his khakis. Belichick controls his players like a 19th century railroad magnate, and nothing pleases the hot take providers of America more. Every Tom, Dick, and Sully thinks a player who would dare play for another team besides the Patriots, or even consider getting more money in free agency, is unworthy of being a Belichick Man.
Oh, Jesus Christ, it's back. When Logan Mankins decided he only wanted to be a guard like Deschler at the previously agreed to contractual terms, Bill told Logan to go fuck himself. You can only play for Bill if you'll play Bill's way at Bill's price with the selfless attitude Bill requires because the only things that matter in New England are Bill's ego and winning. The second Tom Brady doesn't want to produce at the price of Bill's choosing, it will be Janeane Garoppolo time.

The last time the New England Patriots attempted to play New England Patriot Power Football, one of those idiotic looking Manning Brothers annihilated us so bad I almost quit football once again. But tomorrow, with Revis Island and Gronk in the fold, I'll be back in front of the stupid television acting like a Patriots win will cure all of my ailments. Then, when they lose, a crippling depression will seize my soul. Why bother? What does it all mean? Why did that shark have to eat Thals Phelps? Why won't my attorney prosecute the shark pro bono? Where is Stephanie? Why do bad things happen to terrible people like me, Mike Yossarian, an uncle who vapes and writes blogs? These are the existential questions produced when Bill Belichick falls short.

I can't believe some of these assholes like Mankins get uppity and ask Bill to honor previously negotiated contracts as if that shit is set in stone or something. This isn't Draft Day, Logan, and Kevin Costner isn't walking through that door to honor your contract because he doesn't understand the cap anyway and his cap manager is his stay-at-home wife now, you idealistic Socialist who never did anything but play at the highest level imaginable, even on a torn ACL.What a pansy.

After Ringo and Mike finished watching Draft Day Thursday night, Ringo says, he says, "That was like a play a bunch of 5th graders would make. If you don't take this movie back right away, the NSA will put you on some sort of list for dangerous psychos."

Heeding my brother's wise counsel, I took the movie back to Redbox. The robots at Redbox had other ideas about me returning the film, as the screen said, "Nope, we don't want this shitty movie back. You keep it."

I told Ringo, who replied, "Haha, you will have this movie for life, like Tropic of Cancer in Seinfeld." So it goes.

It was easy to read the message in his entrails. Man was matter, that was Snowden's secret. Drop him out a window and he'll fall. Set fire to him and he'll burn. Bury him and he'll rot, like other kinds of garbage. The spirit gone, man is garbage. That was Snowden's secret. Ripeness was all.*

My father sits behind me reading Infinite Jest--surely understanding it better than I did. Now I'll have to spend another two months re-reading it and pretending to understand. I log onto BookFace Dot Com and stalk Stephanie's profile. The Infinite Jest understanding man behind me can't understand that we shouldn't be liking Stephanie's pictures on BookFace, particularly when New Mike is taking the goddamn photos!

Where were all the Deschler's of yesteryear? I wondered.

"Then there is no hope for us, is there?"
"No hope."
"No hope at all, is there?"
"No, no hope at all,"....* 

But wait, while there may be no hope, and while Stu may have beaten me for the 80th time tonight at darts, and Stephanie appears to be over there celebrating her birthday with New Mike, I decide that the universe's absurd aggression towards destroying me is no longer tolerable. I don't want to die when I should live forever, so I approach the poor waitress and ask for her phone number.

"No."
"At least let me e-mail you my blog."
"Has this ever worked?"
"Not once."
"Okay, you can e-mail it to my work e-mail."

I woke up this morning and recalled what I had done. God, I make myself sick. I have the worst pick-up line in the world and I no longer even use it as a pick-up line, as I've decided to become abstinent until marriage while also deciding not to get married. These adult film actresses I've been dating are wonderful people who aren't calling me short, unambitious, emotionally promiscuous, a scuzzbucket, a deadbeat, or a dipshit loser. Like the robots at Redbox, they may not be real, per se, but like Redbox, even though I know it's terrible for me, I can't stop loving them.

I think instead of sending people my blog, I should start lying. "Yeah, I'm the CEO of this new start-up Hedge Fund, and I make a billion dollars a year. I was in the shit back in 'Nam, and it got pretty hairy. Don't know if you saw me on 60 Minutes winning the war and shit, but no biggie."

That sounds like an improvement.

Meanwhile, Deschler is somewhere watching college football today, thinking of the pain Chili Dog caused him a decade ago. Where are the Deschler's of yesteryear? They're in the backyard pretending to be a pulling guard, only this time, Deschler pulls and knocks Nacho over with a pancake block.

"That's some pancake block," Redacted says.
"It's the best there is," Deschler replies.

I do think this Deschler will live a long time, at least. 

*Joseph Heller, Catch-22

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Get It Together

Draft Day is the worst movie of all time, but before we get to the end, we've got to start at the beginning.

Back in college, I fell in love with a woman called Stephanie. As these things often go, outside of the the protected, pre-recession cocoon of college, the relationship no longer worked. We were both prone to Anxieties and Depressions, and in the post-recession, post-college world, we sometimes would come back to the conclusion that Mike or Stephanie was the solution. Then that would increase the Anxieties of the other person, who would be like, No, and then the other person would have increased Depressions. Finally, after many years of this insanity, I was like, let's stop doing this to each other. I never did see her or hear from her again, but I hope things turned out better for her than for me. I told her I wanted to find myself, and I figured once I did, that would be a good thing. Well, I found myself, and what a fucking nightmare that's been and continues to be. I've never met a more scared, self-centered piece of shit in my life.

And so but this morning, September 4, 2014, I woke up at 6 a.m. and thought, "Already? Just a few more minutes." When I woke back up at 7 a.m. I thought, "No, too late." Art Vandelay decided to build five stop signs before the freeway entrance near my house, so if I'm not on the road by like 6:15, forget about it. I called my attorney instead of going to work.

Attorney: Now what?
Mike: So, I'm going to stop going to work.
Attorney: Why?
Mike: I don't like it.
Attorney: What are you going to do?
Mike: Not go.
Attorney: Why?
Mike: The Bob's told me I'd get to do 33 percent less work but now I'm doing 33 percent more work instead. It doesn't seem fair.
Attorney: Did you tell them this?
Mike: Of course not. The Bob's are never there, and when they are, they don't want to talk to me anymore.
Attorney: So, what will you do? I thought you were converting to Buddhism and turning over new leaves?
Mike: No, that failed. Do you not read my blog, counselor? I'm going to ask for a $15,000 consultant bonus tomorrow.
Attorney: They will say no.
Mike: Then I will no longer process my processes.
Attorney: But you will continue to go to work?
Mike: Yes, I need to see Silverstein for my mental health. I'll just do a sit-in at work.
Attorney: Get it together.

From there, after my bi-weekly shave, I decided I needed to end my 35-minute hunger strike and eat. In line at the cafe, I was gawking a woman in front of me who was wearing those tight yoga pants and a work-out top that revealed revealing cleavage. Then I thought, "Looking at this woman and having sex thoughts is very bad, Mike." So I looked at the guy next to her in line, who was reading his phone. I peeked over to see what he was looking at and saw that he was reading Mike's Blog. I thought, "This is very weird. Why is a stranger reading Mike's blog?" He turned back and made eye contact with me.

"Mike?"
"Yes? Oh, hey, I know you."
"I'm reading your latest blog."
"Oh. Yeah, I didn't go to work today."
"That was probably a good idea. I love your stuff. You're a good writer."
"Thanks, I really appreciate that."

Wait, this isn't good, I realize. If people are actually reading this, then people will find out I am mentally ill and totally insane. I quickly walk away in shame and embarrassment. My poor parents must get hate mail because of my blog!

I write my insane thoughts in a journal at the cafe and drink 30 cups of coffee because I read somewhere that caffeine is a good anti-depressant. Now I'm sweating profusely and still writing insane thoughts and still gawking at the pretty guy's pretty girlfriend and wondering what they're saying and wondering whatever became of Stephanie anyway? Now they're walking right towards me and he tells me I can come visit him sometime and little does he know that I'll be there sooner than he thinks because I feel like I've made a new friend.

Silverstein is calling. I order a coffee for the road to fight my Depressions and the womens working at the cafe are also all quite attractive and I'm having sex thoughts and Depressions and Anxieties and the coffee is scolding hot and I miss the call. I get the coffee under control and call Silverstein back.

Silverstein: Mike, you aren't here.
Mike: Silverstein, I'm not there.
Silverstein: Did you quit?
Mike: No, I need to go back to work for the structure. I can't do grad school apps and blogs from home. There are too many distractions here.
Silverstein: What about your work here at work?
Mike: My attorney says Mike doesn't have to process anymore.
Silverstein: That's a good call. If you can't get to it, you can't get to it. You can only process what you can process in the allotted processing time.

I take a long walk and think long thoughts. When I haven't had a drink in this long (5 days), the thoughts really start to flood the psyche.

I arrive at my seven-year-old niece's soccer game at around 5:30 p.m., the worst part of the day. Mid-day is no good. What is with all of these beautiful moms at this game? And what is with all of these effeminate, almond-milk, mocha-latte sipping fathers who work 33 percent less than me for three times as much money? I mean, for God's sake, that guy over there is sipping on a grass-fed grass juice latte right now while wearing green shorts, a hat, and a scraggly little beard, and I just cannot imagine him being gainfully employed in the Permanent Recession Economy. But his wife is gorgeous and they probably own a car and a nice house and their children, so I bet he does have a good job. How do I get one of those do-little, pay-a-lot jobs and the wife to go with it?

Looking the way he does, I surmise he's got to be a tech junkie. I think of ways to get the moms of the other players to fall in love with me, but then I feel guilty again until I remember Joseph Heller's nonchalant, casual treatment of sex in Catch-22. Yossarian starts Xing Nurse Duckett, but then Nurse Duckett stops Xing Yossarian because she wants to marry a rich doctor instead, and Yossarian doesn't even give it a second thought.

But on the other hand, Jesus, Buddha, and Gandhi didn't do any Xing, and so Xing is bad, particularly if you're at your niece's soccer game trying to X the other adults there. Or is that so bad? I mean, these are attractive people I'm seeing who are not only of age, but often older than me, and so wouldn't it be natural to want to make love instead of war with them?

With these insane thoughts running through my head, my niece is now walking over to me and I don't even notice. 

"Babe?"
"Babe?"
"Oh! Hey there. Yeah?"
"Why are you off standing alone on the other side of the field?"
"Um, I get nervous during these games and don't want to embarrass you. Plus, your Nanny is in charge and I don't want to undermine her authority. She kind of intimidates me."
"But you're older than her. How old are you?"
"Um...I think 28. Yeah, 28. I'll be 29 soon. But more like 15 in terms of maturity though."
"You're younger than my mommy."
"Yes. But less mature."
"I have to go back to my team."

A little later in the game, she waves to me and yells, "Hey Babe!" Her teammate bellows, "Babe?" Now my poor niece has to explain her insane uncle to her teammate. I feel terrible.

I keep waiting for my brother to show up so I don't have to watch this game alone anymore. We've got big plans to watch the film Draft Day tonight, but first we've got my niece's back to school night. He never shows, and after the game, I get ready to take my niece to the back to school night alone. This isn't going to go well. The coach reminds us parents and degenerate uncles not to bring anything with peanuts for pre-game snacks because the best player on the team has a peanut allergy. What if one of the crappy players had a peanut allergy?

I'm too shy to tell my niece that her grandma told me about the back to school night plan, so I don't say anything when the Nanny takes her away. My brother is gone, the Nanny has just kidnapped my niece right in front of me, and I figure she's probably kidnapped my brother too. What have I done? Why am I so stupid? They'll never let me write a novel after this latest bout of incompetence.

I call my brother and he doesn't answer. I call my doctor and explain the situation to her. She replies, "Get it together." Do my attorney and my doctor coordinate their responses to me every morning? I appreciate their unified stance on these issues, but I'm a little concerned about our education system when it's turning out PhD's and JD's who are telling junkies like me to get it together when all the evidence suggests I cannot possibly Get It Together.

My brother finally calls me back and explains that back to school night is for the parents, not for the kids, and that he's just leaving to come pick me up so we can watch Draft Day. Thank God! I didn't lose my niece or my brother.

Two minutes into the film, Kevin Costner, the GM of the Cleveland Browns, has traded three first-round draft picks to move up six spots in order to draft a player he admits he knows nothing about and isn't even sure the team can afford. When he starts digging into the player, a quarterback from Wisconsin, I assumed the deal wasn't actually finalized. Shortly thereafter, Costner calls the pancake-eating coach of the Seahawks who he made the deal with--why the coach made the deal for Seattle instead of the GM is unclear, but presumably it's because the coach eats fucking pancakes every morning--to ask him what he knows about this QB. Thus, the deal was in fact final.

Unreal.

Not only has Costner given up a ton of value for a player he knows nothing about and isn't sure the team can afford, he's now calling the club who just traded him the pick to ask why they traded him the pick. Because you're a fucking dupe, Kevin.

Unreal.

Costner does some digging and finds out that none of the Wisconsin players showed up to the QB's birthday party because we're now back in the fifth fucking grade. Additionally, the QB lied about having read a playbook that he clearly didn't read in its entirety because the team in question put a $100 bill at the end of the playbook that the QB never noticed, proving he didn't get to the end. When they point out that they've caught him in a lie, he apparently doubles down on his deceit. Meanwhile, the incumbent Cleveland QB--who I presume is based on actual Browns QB Brian Hoyer--is having a steroidal temper tantrum in Costner's office after putting on 35 pounds of muscle since blowing out his knee. So, at least the film gets the performance enhancing drug aspect of the NFL correct.

Also, we learn that not only did Hoyer read the playbook, he sent the $100 back with a note telling the club they can reimburse him the money when he wins them a championship.

Costner realizes he's traded three first-round picks for a player he doesn't want, though his pregnant girlfriend--Jennifer Garner, who manages the cap for Costner because Costner is the only GM in sports who doesn't understand the cap--has informed him they can move some money around to afford the pick. Next, we're informed that Costner wanted to take the linebacker from Ohio State no matter what, and no matter what means unnecessarily trading three first-round picks to move up to get the Ohio State linebacker for more money than he would've had to pay him if he had just stayed at No. 7.

The Wisconsin QB keeps falling in the draft, and it looks like the Seahawks will get their man, plus the three first-round picks from the increasingly senile Costner. When Costner realizes what he hath wrought, he jokingly says, "And I thought I was good at this."

Unreal.

The Browns are now in a panic because on top of their prior incompetence, they'll now look even more incompetent somehow, as if it even matters what the Seawahks do at this point. Costner calls the mentally ill GM of the Jaguars while Denver is on the clock at No. 5. Denver makes the pick. Costner announces to the mentally ill GM of the Jaguars that Denver has made the pick as if it was a classified state secret.

"Denver made the pick."

Unreal.

Who would've ever thought a team on the clock would actually make the pick? 

Costner trades three second-round picks to the mentally ill GM of the Jaguars to move back up to No. 6 so that he can prevent Seattle from getting the QB from Wisconsin in addition to all of the Cleveland picks. He calls the Pancake Coach to get his first-round picks back so that Seattle can move up one spot to get the QB they know Costner doesn't want. Miraculously, Pancake Coach agrees to the deal. But wait! Costner now wants Seattle's punt returner, too! No deal without the punt returner! Even more miraculously, the Pancake Coach of Seattle and the mentally ill GM of Jacksonville never correspond about the sixth pick, as though they were only contractually allowed to speak to Costner about draft day trades.

Unreal.

Draft Day was the worst sports movie of all time.

But I loved every second of it.