Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Cubs Are Life

I am the Chicago Cubs.

I grew up a Cubs fan.  Those lovable losers who couldn't win a Championship to save their lives. Doormat of the National League.

When I was a child, my dad and I would listen to their games on WGN in the summer because we didn't have cable.  Cable was expensive and hadn't even been run to some of the areas we lived in so shitty AM radio was all we had.

Often, we'd be fishing someplace like Lake Carlton at Rockwood State Park in Morrison, Illinois. We would drown worms and listen to the Cubs kick everybody's ass until the All-Star Game.  Once that game was played, it was over.  The implosion would begin and the Chicago Cubs would tail-spin into the ground.

In 1983, I was a chubby kid with a paper route.  I wore a massive set of headphones that only got a couple of AM radio stations and would go through 9V batteries every few days.  They were tight, pinched my head, and were huge.  But I wore them and listened to WLS radio and the day then Cubs Manager Lee Elia, had his famous meltdown,  Larry Lujack was the first DJ to play the edited version of it, with all the bleeps, and Les Grobstein was the Sports Reporter who did the introduction.

I think what I remember most about that rant was how Lee Elia went after the unemployed people who went to the game.  My dad was unemployed at the time.  He was laid off from the railroad.  Listening to the Cubs lose was pretty much all he did that summer aside from sitting at the kitchen table and drinking beer.  Oh, and chain-smoking.  He was smoking about four packs a day back then.

My life was shit and so were the Cubs.  We were a pair.  I understood them and felt like they reflected me.  When Dave Kingman dropped a ball and let an inside-the-park homerun happen, I got it--expect bad things to happen because they always will.

But then in 1984 I was in 3rd grade.  Miss Taylor was a huge Cubs fan and I won an Official Cubs calendar that year because I knew the most Cubs facts out of everybody in the class.  That was Our Year.

In 1984, the Cubs were the best team in the National League.  They won more games than anybody else and it looked like they were unstoppable.  My dad was called back to work.  Sure, he got drunk and left my mom for a week, but that didn't matter.  We weren't supposed to remember that.  Mom took us out for pizza and to watch Lady and the Tramp at the theater while Dad packed his shit and left so we didn't have to see it.  It was a Thursday.

But the Cubs were winning and we were all riding high.  Harry Carey used to sing, "Jody, Jody Davis!" every time he came up to bat.  This kid, Ryne Sandberg, was awesome.  He didn't let anybody hit a ball past him.

So then we lost to the San Diego Padres.  The fans in San Diego did the wave non-stop for all four games.  All we had to do was win one more--just one more!  We'd won the first three at home and only had to win once in San Diego.

But this is life.  This is the Chicago Cubs.  And happiness just wasn't in the cards.  Not for them, not for me.  It went downhill after that.  For my family, for me, for a bunch of us.  The Chicago Cubs were tied to my family like E.T. was tied to Eliot.  Our fates were shared.

I didn't think much of the 1989 season.  I was in high school and that whole summer was a blur.  The depression I was in fogged up much of my brain.  I was miserable.  When the Cubs lost, I expected it and just nodded my head as it happened.  Yup, I said to myself.  This is what life is all about.

In January, WGN played a repeat of the 1984 game against the Cardinals known as The Sandberg Game.  All we had were memories of games in seasons that failed.  And that was pretty much the story of my life.

In 2003, the Cubs did it again.  Same story, really.  Great team, great momentum, only to fail when it counted.  That year was horrible for me.  Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong.  I lost my family, I lost any hope of getting them back, and the only thing I could do was work 70+ hours a week at a dead-end pizza place so I wouldn't have to think about how awful my life had become.

I was a workaholic.  I worked so I didn't have to think about all the shit in my life I couldn't fix.

When the cubs lost, I partially expected it, but some part of me deep down hoped for a miracle.  But there wasn't any.  There is no God.  There is no Devil.  There is nothing.  And all we have are a few moments between ass-kickings where we may have smiled or remembered a great day in the distant past.

My cousin totally lost his shit.  He got drunk and called friends as if the Cubs were a girlfriend who kept cheating on him but he couldn't break up with her because he just loved her too much.  His heart was shattered because the fool didn't understand how pointless hope can be and how cruel it all becomes.  There is no hope with the Chicago Cubs, just as in life, so we have to be happy with those little moments we get.

As I write this, the Cubs have just lost their second game to the New York Mets.  It has already begun to happen again.  Fate has spoken.

I will cheer for the Cubs.  I will clap my hands and do whatever a fan must--but I will not hope.  They don't get that from me.  Whatever hope I had for anything has been ripped out of me, burned, and the ashes scattered into the winds.

Instead, I will watch and I will wait.  I know how this story ends.  I've always known.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Icky Romantic Stuff

Disclaimer:  This isn't really your good buddy Uncle Ted posting this week.  Nope!  You dear readers get to enjoy the musings and far more intellectual humor of his good-ish twin, Gilbert.  Yes, I realize many of you never knew he had a good-ish twin, but it's true.  I'm the good-ish one.  Uncle Ted was off with one of his latest prizes and based on how much laughing he was doing, I don't think he's going to be paying any attention to me for a while, so I decided I was going to write this week's post. What that man did to piss Uncle Ted off is unknown at this time but I'm assuming it was big--there is a fridge full of blood bags for transfusions.  That poor man is going to be down in that basement for a long, long time.   

The other day, a dear friend of mine, Heather Hart, ask me to write a blog post about what moves my heart.  Yes, she really did ask me that.

I assumed it was sarcasm.  But the proper response to sarcasm is to follow through anyways as if it weren't.  That'll show 'em!

But no, Heather is a romance writer.  She's got a number of books and stories out.  If you click on the link above it'll take you to her latest on Amazon.  She writes about love in all the various settings and themes.  And she wants me to write about what moves my heart.

And no, she wasn't talking about the jar I keep next to my bed.

Those of us who are less-than and too much like to avoid these questions because they seem like a minefield--one wrong word and that's it.  Game over.

But no, she asked me what moves my heart and now I have to figure that out.  I hadn't thought about it much.

I guess primary and above anything else is Emotional Trust.  What's that?  Emotional trust is when you know the other person isn't going to shit on you, deliberately hurt you, and is going to take into account your feelings when they do something.  I need to know I can trust you.

That doesn't mean we tip-toe and sugar-coat bullshit.  It certainly doesn't mean walking on eggshells. It means, I don't yell and scream.  It means I respect you intellectually so if I need to tell you something I can do it rationally and not play on your emotions.  Emotional Respect means I don't try to slip something past you using emotional triggers.  It means you don't turn on the waterworks when you need something from me.

It's rare to find somebody who understands this.  Emotional Respect is really hard to find.  It's even harder to find a woman who accepts it and realizes that just because you're not screaming or ranting that doesn't mean you don't care.  The emotions are there, you're just not weaponizing them.

Another thing that moves my heart (and oh how I wish she'd phrased this differently.  Damned romance writers!) is fearlessness.  And maybe that's not the right word for it.  I'll try to explain.

When you're a creepy van guy and you write fucked up shit online, plus really insane fiction, people treat you differently.  I look like an ax murderer.  The purple hair only does so much.  When women meet me they automatically assume I'm dangerous in that uncool sort of way.  Not in that motorcycle-riding, break-the-rules, cliche.  More like dangerous in that fight-or-flight response way.

It is tiresome to see a woman slowly back-pedaling while you're talking to her about some TV show she likes or asking what band she saw last weekend.

No, sweetie, I'm not going to duct tape your mouth shut and string you up by your heels in my cabin in the woods.  You're just not that deserving.  Don't flatter yourself.

Women who don't treat me like a monster with ulterior motives without knowing me always get my attention.

The final thing I can think of is this:  let me get to know you before you bring sex into it.  I realize that's a contradiction and for most men, it is.  But for me it's just how it works.  I cannot control this.

Most women thing they need sexual allure to get a man's attention.  I promise you, if I'm talking to you and getting to know you better, then I am sexually attracted to you.  Or at least I will be when those emotional chevrons stop turning and click into place like some stargate.

In my head, that's exactly what's happening, too.  A big dial with weird symbols known only to me is spinning and once the right combination has been found, a big gate opens, and you get everything.

I know that sounds weird, but it's just how my brain works.  I have a list of things even my conscious mind isn't aware of and once those aspects to a person have been found, the emotions begin.

Yes, it takes time.  We're not talking about idle physical attraction here.  Emotions aren't something that just float in the wind.  I'm a Scorpio.  I'm a water sign and we tend to reserve attachment until there is really something there and then the flood begins.

The last person I was attracted to rightly shot me down because there was something missing from the equation.  I'm not sure what but there was certainly something lacking.  It royally sucked, too.  But it wasn't right.  All the chevrons hadn't clicked.  That didn't mean they wouldn't click.  It takes time for me to get to that point.  But they hadn't all clicked then.

Love is so special!  Love is....

Disclaimer:  I came upstairs to get a beer and to take a break while the asshole in the basement dwells upon his misdeeds.  When he regains consciousness we'll get back to my motivational speech about how not to be an asshole on the phone.  I've told him that once I release him back into the world I will fully expect him to be a better person and to not piss me off further with his bullshit.  But when have I ever released somebody, huh?  I'm sure he's thinking about what he'll do when I let him go and if that gives him hope, then so be it.  The hope of a desperate man is the eggshell under my boot.  

But about this emo crap my good-ish twin Gilbert decided to write.  Seriously, man?  Go write some poetry or something.  

What moves my heart?  

1.  Be worthy of my respect.  Don't live in the gutter.  

2.  A woman who wants to go on a killing spree with me will become my queen.  I will watch you slash and stab your way through your enemies and gladly hide the bodies and clean up the DNA evidence behind you.  Your demons and my demons will get along just fine.  

3.  Show me shadows I haven't seen before and don't run screaming from the ones I show you.  

4.  A woman whose comfort zone is in the darkness and will pull me in close so we can be together in that darkness will always find herself deep inside of me.  

5.  Morticia wasn't the awe of every man because of her curves, it was because she stood in the path of Gomez's love for her and never flinched.  She never demeaned or tried to tame it.  She knew her name was written on the tsunami and she claimed what was rightfully hers.  Don't run from the icky feels.  If you don't feel them, too, then so be it.  If you don't want them, then say so.  But never insult them because love is just hatred with a fistful of roses.  

And now I can hear the asshole downstairs trying to escape.  Good.  Now I'm going to begin Chapter Two in my motivation speech.  I will motivate him to not be such a sack of shit on the phone when he talks to somebody he hasn't met.  Maybe later I'll play my favorite game--Pinata.  That's when I hang him from his ankles and beat him until the candy falls out.  

Have a good night, folks.