Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Here's somethingthat might cheer you up a little more than the last few pieces. This one has some hope. I didn't really feel like turning this entire blog into whiny emo world-is-ending pieces anyway.


I felt drunk. I was happy. I was loud. I was obnoxious. I was a million other things that would suggest I had quite a bit to drink. I hadn’t downed half a handle myself or pounded a handful of beers. I didn’t have a single drop to drink.

I don’t know why it was that I felt that way. I was hanging out with my friends, watching Superbad. It might have had something to do with that. I could familiarize with a couple characters, but none all too closely. That reason isn’t as legitimate as I first thought. Maybe it was the lack of “progress” I had made recently with the girls I was aiming to date. That wouldn’t make any sense, but seemingly, neither did my state of mind at the time. Either way, that was not it. After all, one had totally blown me off. That was why I sent her a text message a night before that I knew wouldn’t end well.

Speaking of that night, I’m not much of a drunk dialer, or a drunk texter for that matter. I couldn’t help it though. Wednesday, I was fuming. I went to another stupid frat party. I should have known better. Yeah, I’m a college kid, but it doesn’t mean I have to enjoy a dark, musty smelly basement in the dark, musty smelly town of Allston. It’s fun to dance sometimes, and if there are a bunch of your friends there, it can be a good night. Wednesday was not one of those.

Classes were over for the semester, so it was another reason to celebrate, not that people here need one anyway. I swear when I went to the Red Sox Riots and Parade in October that there were more out-of-towners than Sox fans. The party I was at “should” have been better for me. The girls were hot, and the smoothies were delicious, with or without alcohol. Something that night just didn’t taste right, and I know it wasn’t the mangos.

I guess my overall frustration that night made Friday that much sweeter. There was no big reason for it, as far as my conscious self was concerned. Who knows what happened deep down in the untapped resource that is my brain. This may seen like a bunch of bullshit, but something changed. In case you couldn’t tell, I don’t what, and I don’t know why. But to tell the truth, I don’t really care. I’m still drunk on something, and it’s a lot cheaper than Grey Goose or even Keystone Light. It’s something more valuable too. Maybe the whole not thinking thing is what I need after all.

Back to Business

Well I hope everyone enjoyed that story. If not, here's some more memoir stuff. It's not quite as depressing.

"Eyes on the Pru"

“Chest up, eyes on the Pru[Prudential Building],” I thought to myself as I walked down the small hill on Commonwealth Ave. I have to say, it’s a great way to fake some confidence, or at least I thought it was. It forced me to put a bit of a strut in my step, and slow things down a little. I couldn’t awkwardly rush to where I was going as usual. No matter how I walked on the way to class or the T for my internship, I always looked tense. Luckily this time I was going out to lunch with a friend, so I was in no hurry.

I had the same kind of posture when I walked past the dining hall. Last year, I took the long way home from the other side of campus to “make myself feel better”. I’d walk through West Campus instead of going down Comm. Ave. As if walking past the dining hall and saying an arbitrary number under ten, and saying that many girls looked at me favorably was actually productive. It certainly didn’t help me when I did it, but it didn’t stop me from doing the same every once in a while this year. It was something to keep my hopes up, because I apparently couldn’t find any other way. I needed something to pump me up, even if it was a total lie. It was better than lying about who I was to people, or bragging about what I had done. Thanks to the success I’ve had in landing internships, it’s given me a better look into the business world. That really was double-edged sword, though.

My mood turned sour on my walk to Marsh Chapel, and I couldn’t understand why. The semester was almost over, the only work I had left was studying, I had earned myself two internships for the coming semester, and I had spent the night before hanging with some friends I hadn’t seen in a long time. For some reason, as “Clocks” by Coldplay calmly seeped out of my headphones, I felt eerily somber. After being happy, waking up late and clamoring over to the center of campus in a good mood, I was down. Luckily the feeling didn’t last for long, as I soon met up with Brian and made our way to O’Leary’s for lunch.

Understanding emotion is something I may never be able to do, especially my own. I go from sad to happy back to sad in a matter of hours. Maybe it’s all the self-examining I’ve been doing lately. It certainly seems as if I have reflected more now than ever, and it has shown in my writing. I’ve been a lot more willing to write, and I think that’s a good thing. It’s been getting my feelings out and my practice in. Perhaps all this writing will lead to a solution. I can try different things to see how they work (or in the case of my new strut, do not). Until I find a better solution, it’s, “Chest up, eyes on the Pru.”

Story Time

Okay, so this isn't exactly a Disney movie, but I figured I'd break the memoir stuff up a little bit. For the record, this is a fictional piece.

"Memoirs of a Guido"

“I can’t fuckin stand bitches,” Tony yelled as he ran his fingers through his hair, spiking it with the gel he had been buying since he had dropped out of high school. “They’re so fuckin stupid.”

He put on his chain, flexed in front of the mirror, and headed for the bus stop. His car had been destroyed the night before when one of the many notches in his belt expressed her anger towards him. After refusing to call her back and calling her a whore to her face, Tony found out the hard way that girls could fight back. Jenna was no different than any other girl he had slept with, except that she was willing to stand up to him and call him out on his bullshit, even if it was a month later. He had led her on too much, and she made him pay for it.

Anthony finally got to the bus stop after what seemed like hours. He unzipped his jumpsuit a bit to show the thin patches of hair he had on his chest. He was in a hurry today. Despite his best efforts to remain calm, cool, and collected, Tony was affected by the actions of a girl for the first time he could remember.

His savior had come: the bus pulled up to the stop after ten minutes of Tony fidgeting with himself, something he hadn’t done in years. Now it was time to go to his favorite place in the world, where he could show everyone else how macho he really was.

As he stepped onto the bus, a smirk snuck onto his face. “I’ll just pick up one or two of ‘em when I do bench,” he thought out loud. The driver looked at him angrily and motioned for him to move along. “I can’t fuckin stand guidos,” the man thought to himself. Tony said “fuck you” with his eyes and headed for the back of the bus.

Tony sat at a pair of empty seats, and the rest of the bus filled up behind him. A few people standing were scattered throughout the bus, but none of them moved an inch when they noticed the vacancy next to Tony. “People fuckin suck,” he mumbled under his breath.

The bus passed by 43rd street, went past the zoo, and arrived at the next stop. “Forty-second and Main,” the bus driver exclaimed. The front door opened, and Tony jumped up. He briskly walked to the front of the bus, but no one else was getting on or off. The doors closed, and the bus started moving again. The driver smirked at Tony and mumbled something like, “take that you asshole.” There was a green light at the intersection, so there was no stopping now.

“Are you fuckin serious? That was my stop you worthless son of a bitch!” Tony’s forehead was wrinkled more than an old man’s. Sweat ran down his face, and his hair began to lose its form. The gel was melting. As he stomped toward the front of the bus, a leg swung out in front of him. That was the final straw. Tony fell to the floor face first and stayed there for a moment. He looked around the bus, and everyone was staring directly at him with a look of disgust. Was the world really against him? That’s the way he thought. He pushed himself up off the floor and speed walked to the front of the bus.

“You realize you’re a piece of shit and your life doesn’t matter, right?” He asked the driver. “All you do is drive a bus around in circles all day. What good does that do anyone?”

“Last time I checked, you’re on this bus too, so it can’t be that useless,” the driver replied.

“Well you know what? Fuck you! Fuck all of you! You’re not getting anywhere in life! I drive a fuckin mustang! I got ladies all over me all the time! I’m jacked, and I’m gorgeous. Look at me! You’re all fuckin jealous. That’s what you are. Now let me off the fuckin bus…” His voiced tailed off weakly as he finished the last sentence.

With every word he had spoken, he felt weaker and weaker. He realized that everything he said was a doubt he had about himself. He may have been a ladies’ man, and he had a nice car, but that didn’t get him anywhere. That was okay most of the time though, because he had the gym as an escape. It helped beef him up literally and figuratively. Not today, or at least not now. The bus driver was depriving him of the only happiness he had in life. Girls may have temporarily satisfied his instincts, and they were an item he could brag about to all the people he thought were his friends, but that was where their utility ran out. He was as fake as a two hundred dollar bill, and he knew it.

Tony was lost. Every person who met him immediately assumed the worst of him. The bus stopped, and Tony fell off, or at least that’s what it felt like. He made his way back towards the last stop, where the gym was just half a block away. It would be a long walk, but at this point, he had no choice.

With every passing car, Tony jerked his head to take a look. He was worried one might hit him, even if he was eight feet from the road. Were the people looking at him funny? He walked slowly, his legs swinging like pendulums. His arms followed in the same pattern. Tony had never realized all the cracks in the pavement before. He always looked at the billboards around town, the bodies of attractive girls he saw, and the tops of skyscrapers along the street. He was not used to the area or his posture at the time; it was all unfamiliar to him.

As he meandered down the sidewalk, he could not help but think about what had happened on the bus. A man who was usually indestructible was now quite the opposite. He realized the problems of his life before this incident, and knew he had to change. Knowledge was not his issue; it was finding help that he could not figure out. As he continued his self-reflection, he discovered that there was no one to help him. He had to find a way to do it himself. He had been an independent man for his entire adult life, so it appeared that this would be an easy task. He reached the gym, and began his workout.

He increased the weight of the curl bars by an extra ten pounds. He usually only went up five, but he wanted to somehow connect his workout to his solution. He needed some sort of inspiration. He did the first half of the set easily, as he was running on adrenaline. Then a woman walked by and giggled. Tony noticed he was grunting as he lifted the free weights. The left bar got very heavy, and soon the right one felt the same. He tried to pull them back up. He needed four more lifts to finish the set. He took a deep breath and yelled as loud as he could, but it didn’t work. His right arm froze in place, and his left fell beside his thigh, and dropped the weight. Tony couldn’t continue with the workout. “Not today,” he said as he shook his head. “Not today.”

He headed back towards the bus stop, then changed his mind. There was a good chance that the same bus would come, and he would have to deal with the driver again. It wasn’t worth it. He looked for a cab, but they were all taken. “The one time I need one…” he stopped speaking mid-sentence and started walking again.

Oddly enough, the walk seemed like nothing at all. Tony sulked as he walked along the main drag, walking slower than he ever had before. He was in a daze, and he didn’t care much to come out of it. He dreamt of the day his mother took him to see his father for the first time. Mom had talked Dad up for months. It was finally Tony Junior’s chance to meet Tony Senior.

Little Tony got out of the car and waited for his mother on the sidewalk. Where is he? He said. “He’s coming soon honey,” Mom replied. Minutes passed and he didn’t come. Hours passed and he didn’t come. Tony was still waiting. Days and months and years had passed, and he didn’t come. After that day, the truth leaked out about his father. Tony sought out to impress his father rather than change the family reputation for the better. Tony did exactly what his father had done: build and maintain a great body, get rich, and sleep with lots of women. His attitude after that fateful day was “fuck you, world”, and it was finally coming back to bite him.

Tony Junior got back to his apartment and sat on the couch. It felt like bedrock. Not even his ten thousand dollar couch could comfort him anymore. He got up and went into the kitchen. He grabbed the ammonia from the cabinet under the sink and finished the bottle as if it were water. He took a rope and headed for the roof. He tied the rope securely around his neck, and tightened it even further. He took a deep breath and yelled as loud as he could, and this time, he was successful. The weight was dropping, but that was his goal. He couldn’t breathe, but he kept walking up the stairs. He stepped out onto the roof and continued toward the edge. He stepped up onto it, and fell.

Monday, December 10, 2007

On that note...

Okay, so maybe that poem wasn't so serious. It still was a lesson in the format of tanka though. If you want some more personal reading, then this next one's definitely for you.

Chill Son

Chill son.”

Those were the words I told myself as I placed the can of kidney beans in the plastic grocery bag. It had been a rough day for me at Shaw’s. After I finished the order, another man came up to the counter. “I’ll do a pickup, please,” he said.

“Why the fuck does he need to do a pickup?” I thought. “He has three bags!” I didn’t show my anger as I grabbed the bin to start the order. “Chill son.”

I finished the order after what seemed like hours. “Have a nice day,” I told the man.

Another customer came to the counter. It was another pickup. It was another three bags. I could comfortably carry five bags in each hand, and I’m no superhero. “Have a nice day,” I said again.

The next customer was a bit less lazy. Being a Sunday, there were plenty of pickup orders to do, but there were a few customers who carried their own groceries out of the store. This was one of them. He picked his six bags up, and headed out. “Have a nice day,” I said. Did I really mean that? Did I honestly care what happened to these people? Every time those words left my mouth, there was less of me to go around. I was running on empty. I wasn’t having a nice day myself. How could I possibly wish it for others? “Chill son,” I thought.

You would think that I would be used to what felt like a sledgehammer to the nuts. I had dealt with infinitely more than my fair share of rejection, so this shouldn’t have been much different. For some reason, this one hurt more than ever. To tell the truth, I don’t know what “this one” means. There was no particular instance that caused the feeling, which made it even worse. I couldn’t put a finger on why I was so sad. It couldn’t be depression, could it? None of the other symptoms made sense. I was still enjoying many different aspects of my life. I still enjoyed watching, talking, and playing sports, and I loved hanging with my friends. The girl situation never got any better, though, and that was killing me.

It had always been (and to this day still is) a vicious cycle. You need confidence to get girls, and you need girls to get confidence. Or at least I did. I could pump myself up as much as I wanted, but it was all a lie. Yeah, I made it into a good university in the country with the best reputation for post-secondary education. I was a good person and had plenty of friends. I was moving ahead of my competition with all the internships I had, but getting girls was always my Achilles’ Heel. It was a mystery I could not solve, a puzzle that I seemed to be a piece short every time. Whether it was my fault or not, it happened that way. Failing was all I knew how to do. Many people I knew suggested that I not think and not try. If I knew how to do either, I would have been fine. Because it never came to me, I overanalyzed and overrationalized and overcared and overeverything-I-possibly-could-have. I couldn’t not try. I couldn’t not think. I was too rational. In being rational, I was totally irrational. All I did was reason to myself that it would work eventually and that girls were stupid for not liking me. They couldn’t realize the great guy I was. Everyone told me that they would come flocking to me when I turned twenty-five, but that was a load of crap. Even if it was true, was it really worth waiting four more years? I had already waited eight or nine as it was. I was restless. Everything else in my life was going so well. I had no reason not to be happy with what was going right for me, but I whined and complained and bitched and moaned and ranted and rationalized my way into a big mess.

Chill son.”

I don’t know what it was about those two words that was so powerful. Until my twenty-first birthday, I had never even used them together. I passed going to the bathroom that night, and all I uttered when my suitemates told me to get out were those two words, over and over.

“Nick, get out of the bathroom. You’ve been in there for an hour.”

Chill son.”

“Seriously man, you’ve been in there way too long.”

Chill son.”

“We’ll help you out if you can’t get out yourself.”

Chill son.”

My subconscious had been telling it to me all along. That was what I needed to do myself, not how others should deal with me and a night of drinking too much. Chill son. Whether or not I could do that has yet to be seen. I don’t know if that’s the correct solution, or simply an instinctual mistake. I can’t really say that I had ever followed my instincts, which could be my problem. That advice wasn’t just a phrase I had heard playing Star Fox 64 from Peppy the wingman. It is legitimate advice, and it seems the two different pieces of advice I got have a strong correlation to each other.

Maybe not caring and not thinking and using my instincts are one in the same. I have not found that out just yet, despite my best efforts. It certainly doesn’t appear that the solution to my problem will smack me in the face with its obviousness. Although I probably shouldn’t actively pursue girls as much as I do, I should actively pursue a solution (as if I haven’t already). Joe Dirt says to “keep on keepin’ on,” so maybe I should follow his motto, even if he has a glued-on mullet.

I’ve received so much advice from so many people, and often one person’s wise words will directly conflict with another’s. Nobody has the perfect solution, though. All I can do at this point is hope that someone figures it out. Until then, chill son.

Friday, December 7, 2007

A Good Call

Well, I can't exactly prove this one all along, but I at least hinted at the Sox achieving greatness much earlier this year. When I first learned about a form of poetry called the tanka, I gave it a shot with my favorite sports team. Tanka are basically three haikus put together, but with no exact syllable requirement per line.

The season is here.

The life is back in Boston.

Fenway’s lights shine bright.

Could you ask for any more

On a beautiful spring day?

Beckett takes the mound

He prepares for his first pitch

Gets the sign from 'Tek

He cruised through the game

And dominated hitters

The Sox lineup was

Relentless in its scoring

The victory was sweet.

Their first home win this year

Is a sign of things to come.

Summer Flashback

After a great presentation in my Media Law and Ethics class on Blogging and its effects on the journalism world, I was inspired to add to my own. I found a few pieces of paper in my old Whitecaps notebook, with a memoir scratched in pen from a day at Fenway Park. Here it is, a little easier to read than my doctoresque font.

The blazing sun beat down on the tiny field, with no apparent breeze. It was 10 AM, time for batting practice. Not early BP. Not even professional BP. It was a boring event to anyone who did not understand its implications. It was a tryout for a few ballplayers, but not just any ballplayers. Not just any team, either. To millions of people far and wide, Fenway Park is the greatest place on earth. To thirty-five Cape Cod Leaguers, it was a dream come true. These players, just ninety miles away from their home fields for the summer, were trying out for the Boston Red Sox.

The Red Sox are a team with a quirky history. The Boston Beaneaters (as they were formerly called) were a team of hypocrisy for decades. Their former owner, a Hall-of-Famer held a tryout of his own once. A man named Jackie Robinson was never given a chance that day, along with two of his Negro League comrades. This day was much different.

Sixty years have passed since that fateful day. There are new owners and a completely different attitude. This was baseball in its purest form: just the crack of the bat, shagging fly balls, and the laid back feel of fielding in the sun. There were some nice plays in the field, with the Falmouth Commodores leading the way, but most of the attention was on the hitting.

The odds were against them making it to the big leagues, but they were also small that they would make it this far. Maybe one of them will make it, maybe more, maybe none at all. Maybe it’s Gordon Beckham, maybe Dennis Raben or Yonder Alonso. James Darnell impressed for sure, with his six homeruns. Buster Posey showed the most consistent hitting. Shane Peterson hit more line drives than anyone, and Brandon Crawford hit to all fields. Balls were hit onto and over the Green Monster. Homeruns straddled Pesky’s Pole. Even the triangle was full of batted balls, 420 feet from home. These were not the bats of David Ortiz or Manny Ramirez. Kevin Youkilis was nowhere to be found. These were hits form college players, ready for the opportunity to hit a Major League Homerun. They were not all successful.

Some of them got homeruns. Others fell inches short. Some did what they do best: go to the opposite field. All of them had a smile on their face, just happy to be at the park. That’s how baseball should be. A bunch of young men playing a child’s game, getting paid to have a good time. For some of the players on the field that day (we don’t know who), this day is only the beginning. For others, it is the beginning of the end, one last shot at a baseball career. For some, this day is nothing but a dream. But that’s how some of the best things in life end up being. This was one dream that was all it was cracked up to be.