Sounds From the Baseball Field – Volume 2

funny-baseball-pictures

 

 

One of the true benefits of coaching sports, especially with the same group of young men and women over a nine-year span is you get to know them as both a teacher and a friend.

You learn their likes and dislikes. How they interact with others. Their hobbies. Their interests. Their dreams. Their goals.

You watch them grow.

You see them through birthdays and graduations. Through bad days and funerals.

You hear them sings songs of victory. You lift their chins in defeat.

What you don’t really expect to hear is –

“Dude, I know she’s your girlfriend but if she really loved you, she wouldn’t have given you chlamydia.”

The Power of Sports

kid-faceplant-baseball

 

I have coached baseball for a lot of years at this point and yet it still never fails to amaze me at what can happen.

I have seen countless foul balls hit parked cars and seated testicles.

I have seen face plants and ass cheeks studded with gravel from a poorly executed slide into third base.

I have seen an entire team giving each other a Gatorade shower during the second to last inning of a game and then rolling in the red clay sand creating the world’s biggest “sugar cookies”.

I have seen parents losing their minds over a single dropped ball and rejoicing when a child gets hit by a pitch to load the bases.

I didn’t think much could surprise me.

Yet, I was completely unprepared to have a six-year-old girl who wore a skirt instead of her uniform stepping up to the plate, taking a practice swing then promptly dropping the bat and bolting as fast as she could across the field towards the Portapotty yelling –

“Play without me, I gotta poop!!!”

Proving yet again, that when you think you have seen it all, a kid shits their pants.

 

Treading Water

swimmingpool1

With my new-found commitment to exercising pretty much daily, I spend a lot of time running outside.

It really is a thousand times better than the severe boredom of running on the treadmill even if the new fashion trend at the gym is yoga pants so tight that a vagina looks like a McDonald’s cheeseburger on its side.

So when the weather is bad and the monotony of the cheeseburger watching starts to get to me, I take up the old past time. Swimming.

Remember as a kid how you could swim for what felt like hours, get out, suck down a sand coated piece of watermelon and keep going? Turns out that sort of energy fades as an adult.

So the answer to that is organized swimming lanes clearly marked like traffic lanes on the highway and God forbid you are swimming in the wrong lane.

There’s the Fast Lane.  This is for your serious swimmers. Competitive. Ruthless. They know how to do those somersault flip turns and wear Speedos that highlight how hairy their inner thighs are.

The ‘Medium speed swimming’ Lane. This lane is mostly full of ‘Fast lane’ rejects because everyone thinks they’re fast. They usually are for about the first lap and a half then tire out.

But these disqualified fakers got embarrassed out of the Fast lane by the really fast swimmers continually passing them.

The fast swimmers love this. They don’t actually say it but you know their thinking it…

“Lapped you again, fatty”

Now if a Medium swimmer doesn’t get the message and change lanes , they’re in for that special visit from the Lifeguard – the ultimate pool embarrassment.

Having been identified as too slow for the lane the authorities have now arrived because of the noisy environment the Lifeguard has to shout and everyone can hear….

“Sir, this is for advanced swimmers only! Please join the other Orcas in the Slow Lane”

“What?” they say, pretending not to hear.

“The Fast lane! You need to move over with these swimmers!”, the Lifeguard bellows, pointing at the slower swimmers of the Medium speed lane. Michael Phelps’ clones continue to rush by, doing those flip turns.

Humiliated the demoted swimmer slips under the lane rope, back to their own people,…..the medium… the mediocre…..the un-Speedoed.

Finally, there is the slow lane.

Usually renamed with something like “Leisure Lane” because it wouldn’t be nice to call someone slow.

These swimmers don’t put their heads in the water. They paddle their merry way along, usually in the standing position, some have that neon pool noodle wrapped around them or a floatation belt that lets them appear to be doing it on their own but much like a push up bra you know those things aren’t floating up that high on their own.

Every ounce of energy used to keep that head above water and after 5 minutes and no forward movement, they’ll reach over and start pulling themselves along with that lane rope. Back on sturdy ground, they go back to what they know….the Therapy pool.

Easily the most popular destination in any gym, it’s a haven of warmer than normal water designed to ease strained muscles and relax the mind and yet it constantly is full of elderly women with their asses pressed directly over the jets of the heated water pretending we have no idea they are doing it and diapered children trying valiantly to hold in the poop they told their parents they had to take a half an hour ago before their Soccer Mom parked her ass down beside the other iphone wielding debutants all looking to “Lol” at the text they just got from the boyfriend their husbands don’t know about.

Peeing in the Therapy pool is popular as well. Statistics say 70% of swimmers admit to peeing in the pool.

With these kinds of numbers supporting peeing in the pool, why continue ignoring the issue, instead we should embrace it.

Now a days, with all these water park features… Surf riders, slides, lazy rivers and wave pools, maybe we could invent toilet pools.

Toilet Pools, a new exciting experience for swimmers, while they relieve themselves. With that new pee sensing agent changing the color of the pool, It would have a realistic ‘Toilet Blue’ color.

Every few minutes the Lifeguard could reach up and pull this giant chain, starting the whole pool swirling round like a whirlpool to simulate the adventure of being flushed down a toilet. Forcing the young and old a like to swim as fast as they can against the on rushing swirls and suction out a tube in the bottom of the pool, through a drying tunnel and depositing them into the gym.

Directly onto a treadmill.

 

Madness

Stanford v Texas

My heart was beating so hard I could feel it in my throat. Blood pounding in rushes so strong my ears flared red from the pulse. The clock was ticking down and the ball was moving through out stretched hands faster than the eye could follow. Bodies weaving in a dance set in motion by muscle memory and endless hours of practice.

I glanced at the scoreboard. It was going to be close. Up by five with under two minutes to play.

My team defending well but the ball is just moving too fast. Passed back to the outside. A shot goes up. Damn. Three pointer from the corner baseline. Only up by two.

March has always been the beginning of a season of renewal. The shackles of winter cast off by the warmth of a forgotten sun. Renewal of the trees as the leaves burst forth, renewal of the flowers as their buds scent the air, renewal of the taste of lawnmower emissions on steaks left beside the grill for a half a second too long and an over zealous neighbour.

Renewal of old rivalries.

It had started almost as a joke. My son, the Captain has always had a love for basketball. From his very first Fisher-Price plastic basketball net to the Reebok all black street hoop currently buried under a mountain of snow beside the driveway. He loves it in a way that baffles me.

I could have easily been one of those parents that drilled the things they loved into my kids. Instead, I let them find the things they love and just let them run with it. It might explain why my eleven year old daughter’s hair is turquoise after it was almost black with blonde highlights.

Back up the court and a turnover just past half. My team scrambling back to defend but a step too slow and inches behind as the easy lay up drops. Tie game.

The Captain and I were in the driveway shooting baskets for what felt like hours as he laid out the entire March Madness bracket system. I was really only half paying attention. I was much more focused on the fact I think I had dropped two of the three thousand shots it felt like I had taken through the mesh hoop.

“Who do you think will win?” The Captain asked as he rebounded yet another shot I had missed.

“Who is projected to go first overall in the NBA draft?” I asked as I watched him lay the ball up easily and catch his own rebound.

“Kemba Walker from the university of Connecticut.” The Captain answered in the same matter of fact tone he usually reserves for sports statistics. His knowledge of them baffles me at times. He can tell me the name of the kicker that kicked the winning field goal in the 1996 Grey Cup but can’t remember to put deodorant on after gym class.

“That’s my pick to win the whole thing.” I said with a half a smile. My knowledge of college basketball was limited to the sports highlights I watched over the top of a coffee mug walking out the door on the way to work in the morning.

“Wanna bet?” The Captain asked.

Inbound ball slips through the point guards hands and is shuttled to a streaking power forward who rockets into the air and slams the ball through the hoop. My team looks at each other in search of support and finds it lacking. Thirty-five seconds to play and down by a basket.

“Absolutely,” I answered “What are the stakes?”

“You picked a team so I will do the same. Whoever’s team makes it the farthest wins.” The Captain replied as he drained another long shot. The ball skipped out of my reach and rolled into the street. I stepped toward the ball but the Captain had already picked it up and was launching it toward the rim. It slipped through the hoop and whispered through the mesh.

“What are we playing for?” I asked.

“If I win, you have to clean my room,” The Captain replied with a sardonic smile “If you win, I will clean any room you want.”

“Deal,” I laughed as I plucked the ball from him and lofted it toward the net. It missed by a mile.

The clock ticks can be heard over the hushed crowd. Bodies fly up the court. Open hands are outstretched. Less than twenty seconds now. The defence seems impenetrable. The point guard dribbles hard to his left around a pick and sees the open lane. He drives his foot forward but glances at the time. He pulls back outside the three-point line. Pulls up. Shoots.

It was a tense few days of watching box scores and the non stop barrage of basketball on the television. I could have cared less who won.

The truth is, it was nice to bond with my son over something. As parents , we spend so much time working or doing laundry or getting groceries or worrying over bills that we forget that our kids see us doing everything but paying attention to them. The time they are kids is so fleeting that it slips by in a half a heartbeat. For those couple of weeks in March it was a constant conversation about who and what was happening in the tournament. A barrage of insults and jibes at each other that parents often forget bond you to your kids in ways we long for when they move on in their lives.

The Captain’s team, Duke University lost in the Final Four negating the chance of our teams playing each other in the final game but by that point neither of us cared. We watched the final game together as Kemba Walker led UConn to a national title on his path to being picked first overall in the draft.

Nothing but net.

I can’t say I am proud of it but I sat outside on the step laughing the entire time my son cleaned my truck. It’s always referred to as my office so I figured it was as good a room as any. I wasn’t laughing because he was cleaning out rancid coffee cups or sweaty clothes.

I was laughing because I had already cleaned his room.

Precision Timing

puke in pool

 

Why is there always that one kid?

Why is there always that one kid at a birthday party?

Why is there always that one kid at a birthday party at the gym that needs to eat his hot dog and everyone else’s?

Why is there always that one kid at a birthday party at the gym that needs to eat his hot dog and everyone else’s along with an entire family sized bag of chips and the remainder of the five and a half-foot sheet cake that’s more icing than cake?

Why is there always that one kid at a birthday party at the gym that needs to eat his hot dog and everyone else’s along with an entire family sized bag of chips and the remainder of the five and a half-foot sheet cake that’s more icing than cake before running screaming around the pool area?

Why is there always that one kid at a birthday party at the gym that needs to eat his hot dog and everyone else’s along with an entire family sized bag of chips and the remainder of the five and a half-foot sheet cake that’s more icing than cake before running screaming around the pool area getting himself so worked up that he pukes not only in the lap pool but the therapy pool as well?

Why is there always that one kid at a birthday party at the gym that needs to eat his hot dog and everyone else’s along with an entire family sized bag of chips and the remainder of the five and a half-foot sheet cake that’s more icing than cake before running screaming around the pool area getting himself so worked up that he pukes not only in the lap pool but the therapy pool as well while his step mom that is only ten years older than he is and has a typical white trash name like Becky-Lynn is not paying attention to him while texting her friends about how much she hearts things as the older divorced moms make snide comments about her yoga pant and UGG boots combination that draw the attention away from her obvious new boobs?

Why is there always that one kid at a birthday party at the gym that needs to eat his hot dog and everyone else’s along with an entire family sized bag of chips and the remainder of the five and a half-foot sheet cake that’s more icing than cake before running screaming around the pool area getting himself so worked up that he pukes not only in the lap pool but the therapy pool as well while his step mom that is only ten years older than he is and has a typical white trash name like Becky-Lynn is not paying attention to him while texting her friends about how much she hearts things as the older divorced moms make snide comments about her yoga pant and UGG boots combination that draw the attention away from her obvious new boobs at the exact same time that a lifeguard pulls the kid from the pool permitting him to projectile vomit all over the pool deck?

Why is there always that one kid at a birthday party at the gym that needs to eat his hot dog and everyone else’s along with an entire family sized bag of chips and the remainder of the five and a half-foot sheet cake that’s more icing than cake before running screaming around the pool area getting himself so worked up that he pukes not only in the lap pool but the therapy pool as well while his step mom that is only ten years older than he is and has a typical white trash name like Becky-Lynn is not paying attention to him while texting her friends about how much she hearts things as the older divorced moms make snide comments about her yoga pant and UGG boots combination that draw the attention away from her obvious new boobs at the exact same time that a lifeguard pulls the kid from the pool permitting him to projectile vomit all over the pool deck at the precise moment I have decided that I need to work on my cardio by swimming because my body hurts from head to toe from shoveling snow off roof tops for more than six hours a day for the past week and I get splashed with frosting blow back all over my feet and legs making it look like I had stuck my lower half into a unicorn’s vagina?

More importantly, why is that kid always a Ginger?

Hating Ginger

ginger1

I remember the first kid that ever beat me up.

First grade is rough enough to begin with what with the no more afternoon naps and a full day of school. It’s also the stepping stone for the pecking order that will exist for most kids for the rest of their lives. So when I decided that I wanted to play in the sandbox with the metal Tonka trucks that have left more skulls dented than Mike Tyson’s fists at the same time as Billy Leurman I knew it would end badly.

Billy was doomed from the start to be picked on. His daily attired consisted of a yellow button down shirt and a bow tie that must have been purchased at the nearest Big and Clowny. Coupled with the fact he had no discernible difference between the width of his neck and the width of his head, it left him looking exactly like a number two pencil. Right down to the eraser. His fire engine red hair was the source of much consternation as he was the only Ginger in the entire school. It took one simple remark about his nose that was perpetually running into his mouth and the tongue that seemed to be constantly licking it to have him swing a right at me that left my nose bleeding and my cheeks burning with embarrassment. It was hard enough being a chubby little six-year-old but to be embarrassed in that fashion was something that I couldn’t leave unresolved.

I walked the long hallway to the fitness studio dreading another cardio funk dance session to “Groove Is In The Heart” by Dee-Lite. I couldn’t make more wrong steps than I did the previous week. It simply wasn’t possible. It was bad enough to see myself do it in the mirror but it was another thing to do it in front of the Butt Cleavage Brigade.

My foot steps faltered as I rounded the corner and saw something I was totally unprepared for. There, standing in the fitness studio, was another guy. I had a momentarily gay squeal escape me before I covered my mouth. There was no way I could possibly embarrass myself now. Not with another guy to at least divert at least some of the disaster. His attire was fairly similar to mine with a compression shirt and long shorts right down to garrishly colored shoes with the exception of a ball cap he had on.

” I am ever glad there’s another guy here tonight,” I laughed as I walked over with my hand extended.

” Dave,” He replied clasping my hand. It took a second for me to notice the smattering of freckles up his arm as I was transfixed by the fact he was a Ginger. The tell-tale Wendy’s red hair was poking out from the sides of his ball cap.

“Jack,” I said trying not let my voice betray the momentary lapse six-year-old me had into mild trepidation. I wasn’t that kid. Hadn’t been in a very long time so what did I have to worry about. I brushed it off and was just happy that I wouldn’t be the only one floundering around.

” Last weeks class was……” I managed to get out before Dave shot around me and grabbed the bucket of skipping ropes that had just walked into the room.

“Here Kim,” Dave blurted like a wind up yappy dog in a cable knit cardigan ” Let me take those from you.”

In a half a heart beat, the dynamic in the room shifted from one of two guys standing against the tyranny of the Vagina World Order to grade one all over again. A huge smile was plastered all over Dave’s face as he trailed behind Kim handing out skipping ropes and agreeing with every squeak her shoes made. I could hear my teeth grinding in my ears as I looked at the predicament I was now in. Not only was Dave a Ginger but a teacher’s pet as well.

My heart sank as I looked at the limp dangling noodle of rope in my hand as they passed by and flopped it in my hand. I felt like a white girl having sex with Kobe Bryant. All that length and no idea what to do with it. My inability to skip went hand in hand with my inability to dance. I could do all the moves but I couldn’t put them together into anything that didn’t look like a full body dry heave.

The warm up started with some stretching and then progressed into different levels and speeds of skipping rope. I looked like a cross-eyed cowboy trying to rope a three-legged goat wearing an afro wig. Dave was skipping like the Brooklyn public school system double dutch team. I got so frustrated at the four-minute mark that I fired the rope across the room like a used condom and just jumped in place.

” Everybody ready to take it to the next level ,” Kim yelled into her Britney Spears head mic. The girls all responded with their usual “WOO” and Dave answered right along with them garnering a beaming smile from Kim. I could feel my six-year-old inner child cringing a little as the Ginger teachers pet lead the pack in a series of moves that made Flashdance look like hopscotch. Dave looked over and gave me that knowing look that said I couldn’t keep up. I felt that same feeling I did when Billy walked over and punched me in the face. That embarrassing indignation.

“Okay,” Kim called out ” It’s time for some old school sports fitness. Everybody on the line for suicides.”

I worked my way between Dave and two yoga short divas and gave him a half-smile. Kim switched on some dance beat song and yelled “Go”. I bolted of the line in step with Dave and we raced out and back stride for stride. I could feel the lactic acid building up in my muscles and I smiled. The girls were passing between us as we raced back and passed between

“Almost” I thought barely containing my grin.

Basic body science dictates that as your muscles burn they create chemical reactions. Those reactions often create gases. Mainly carbon dioxide but sometimes methane. Methane usually only has one way out of the body.

I drove my legs at the floor and bolted ahead of Dave. I looked at the clock. It was going to be close. It was going to be exceptionally close. I was separating from the girls and dropping to Dave’s other side with every pass. I saw Kim look at the clock and I could almost hear her intake of breath as she readied herself to stop us. I paused on the far side of the room briefly and looked up to see Dave and the girls running towards me. I bolted for the other side of the room as Kim called the exercise to a halt.

I stood looking at everyone’s reflection in the mirror as the girls began gulping down air. They quickly stopped and looked at each other before taking dainty sniffs and looking at Dave. Dave grinned at them and they looked at him with disgust. I smiled as they sniffed again and walked away as quickly as possible. My brief pause on that side of the room allowed me to drop a monster fart that they had all run into and stopped. I heard them whispering about how gross it had been to eat that redheaded guys fart and I busted out laughing.

I walked out the glass doors and looked down to see six-year-old me walking beside me. I reached down and took his hand. I couldn’t let the ghost of Ginger bother him anymore. All it took was timing ,chemistry and a broccoli smoothie.

The Bump in the Night Story

monsterturtle1

” Dad, there’s a monster in the garage !”

Every parent at some point in time has dealt with the monster in the closet, hiding in the shadows or under the bed scenario more than once. Personally, I wanted to scream ” DON’T TELL HIM I AM IN MY ROOM!!!” but eventually you man up and deal with it. I think I slept in a chair outside my daughter’s room for a couple of months straight at one point just to be ready for whatever scared her in the night but I had thought those days were long behind me.

We had just gotten home from a late evening gym visit and as usual the front yard was littered with bicycles, sidewalk chalk and busted water balloons. Garage door wide open and the contents of the recycle bins looking like Godzilla had just anal raped a Chef Boyardee factory.

” For God’s sake, you guys,” I groaned ” Have I not ran over enough crap in the yard already?”

” I just had my bike,” my nine-year old daughter, Fred, replied with the rising pitch in her voice that immediately indicated she was being less than honest. It was the same tone she had in her voice when I drove over the bicycle she left laying down in front of my truck that was pulling about three tons of waste from a previous job.

” She had my bike out too,” my teenage son, The Captain, continued with a finger-pointing at his sister as we exited the truck. Never mind the fact I had run over a dozen golf balls he had chipped in the front yard with the lawn mower the previous week, all that mattered was blaming his sister for anything that got him out of four seconds of work.

” Please just put the bikes away,” I said with a sigh as I opened the front door and dumped my gym bag on the floor just as I heard Fred scream. I bolted back out the door to see her and The Captain standing near the edge of what little light was cast from the flickering orange street light on the corner.

” Dad, there’s a monster in the garage !” I heard Fred cry as I heard the first hissing shuffle of something from behind a couple of sheets of plywood leaning up against the inside wall of the garage. I actually jumped back as whatever it was scuttled quickly from one end of the short span and back towards me.

” Go grab me a flashlight, Fred,” I said in a voice I hoped conveyed parental strength rather than the actual truth that I think I actually pooped a little when the scuttling stopped and the hissing started all over again.

Fred bolted across the driveway and into the house leaving The Captain and I to face whatever beast had taken up residence in the sports equipment strewn bowels of my garage. The scuttling increased in speed as the monster shot from one end of the garage to the other in a few hissing seconds that left me fearful of what we were up against but also a bit confused as to what exactly it might be. I heard the front door slam and saw Fred emerge from the house.

Click.

BADOOPADOOPBADOOOOOO!!!!

I turned to see her holding a small cow flashlight she had been given a few years ago the made a ridiculous sing-song noise every time you turned it on. It also shut off after about three seconds. The pale yellow glow only illuminated a small circle of the ground but it was going to have to do. I grabbed a baseball bat from just inside the door and handed it to The Captain. He clutched it like Arthur wielding Excalibur and nodded that he was, if nothing else, ready to defend himself.

” Just smash whatever the hell it is when I flush it out,” I said as I grabbed the cowlight from Fred. The scuttling grew louder and the hissing had increased in intensity as I stepped into the garage. The strange cacophony of sounds was like the background music of the dumbest slasher movie ever conceived.

HISS, HISS, HISS. Click. BADOOPADOOPBADOOOOOO!!!!

I reached for the sheet of plywood that seemed to be the only place that a beast this monstrous could hide behind. I smashed my foot against the end of it and the hissing and scuttling only increased but nothing emerged. I jammed the end of the sheet against the wall as the light clicked off leaving me in the dark with a plastic cowlight in one hand and some form of monster inched from me. I clicked the light back on and heard that cheerful tune that only further irritated me. The Captain had crept in close to the open end of the tunnel I had created for the creature and stood poised to rain aluminum death down.

The hissing ceased and with a rush of frantically pumping feet, the beast emerged from the dark. The three of us stood in disbelief as the biggest painted turtle I had ever seen scurried forward and peered at us. Fred laughed and clapped her hands to her chest and The Captain looked mildly dismayed that his wrath had been subverted. I reached down and picked the “monster” up and took him out in the light for a better look. I really had no idea how he had gotten into the garage but it was better than finding the Chupacabra I thought he actually was.

” We should keep him,” Fred said gleefully.

” Why exactly would we do that?” I asked as I turned the turtle over in my hands.

” Well, for protection I think,” Fred replied in a very serious tone.

” A guard turtle?” I asked with a raised eyebrow.

” It would certainly keep people away,” Fred countered ” You’re a big guy Dad and he scared the shit out of you.”

The Top of the Food Chain Story

piranha

” I had the weirdest dream last night”

The voice over my shoulder had that sad refrain of the sleepless.  The morning fog had just begun to lift off the roads and as we rolled out of the mist towards the job site , everyone paused in their own quiet way to wait for the inevitable follow-up to statement now hanging in the air.

When you hire young guys, fresh out of high school, you generally expect some level of naiveté but sometimes it surpasses even my expectations.  I had hired Moose on the recommendation of another employee and the kid showed up just as advertised. Big. Strong. Young. Quite literally Moose right out of Riverdale in an “Archie’s” comic book. A huge grin never seemed to leave his face no matter how rough the job or what I asked him to do.  His only real issue was how gullible he is.

I could throw my stern boss voice on at any point in time and convince him that they actually sold orange and black striped paint or that I had jumped off a three-story building and survived when really I had simply climbed down a television tower when he wasn’t looking.  Needless to say, I was having fun proving that youth was not wasted on the young. The young simply exist for the amusement of those of us seasoned enough to recognize their stupidity.

” Must have been pretty bad if you are still shaken up,” I said in that I’m not really listening but you are literally over my shoulder speaking so close to my ear it entered my brain before I actually understood it way I have when I just want to get my coffee into me as quickly as I possibly can without scalding my throat.

” It was terrible,” Moose said, a haunted tone in his voice actually causing the skin on my neck to prickle a little but it may also have been the fact he was practically breathing down my neck.

” You might think this is weird but I dreamed that a massive tidal wave was rising out off the coast and was going to cover the entire country in water,” Moose continued ” And all I wanted was to get my sisters from school so they didn’t drown.”

A normal human being would have seen this as a shaken kid who had a nightmare and take pity on him.

” How tall was that wave then?,” I asked ” If it was off the coast of Canada it would have had to been over a thousand miles tall to reach us.”

” Can waves get that high?,” Moose responded tremulously, his voice actually wavering.

” Absolutely,” I replied ” Did you see that movie ” The Perfect Storm”? That wave was like ten miles high and all it did was sink a boat. Imagine if it had been higher.”

” I want to be able to sleep tonite ,” Moose said with a chuckle that he was using to brush off what seemed like genuine concern ” The worst part of the dream was the fact that the closer I got to the school, the deeper the puddles got until the streets were full of water and I couldn’t get there.”

I am no dream analyst but clearly the fact his family lived over two hours away and he was basically just a child was effecting him in ways his brain wasn’t coping with. I should have just let it drop but if you know anything about me you know that wasnt going to happen.

” If the wave hadn’t hit yet, why were the puddles so deep?” I asked just to see the puzzlement wash over his face. It was like an artist looking at a blank canvas.

” I don’t really know ,” Moose replied as he ran a hand over his sleep deprived face,” I was just worried about the fish.”

I actually think I hit the brakes on the truck as my feet involuntarily kicked out while I nearly doubled over in laughter.

” There were fish in the puddles?,” I asked between coughing fits of laughter.

” Oh God yeah, but imagine what it would be like if the whole world was just covered in water….,” Moose continued.

” For one thing, we certainly wouldn’t be the top of the food chain,” I replied back trying to get myself under control.

” Imagine how many people would get eaten by sharks then,” Moose said trying to now make light of the whole scenario as grave look set even deeper into his eyes.

” Oh, it wouldn’t just be sharks at that point,” I countered,” Pretty much any fish in the water would become predatory if the whole world was covered in water.”

” Really?,” Moose asked , his voice nearly a whisper. I wasn’t about to try to explain ecology or natural selection or the balance of species to a kid who had spent a generous portion of the previous day trying to figure out why the three pulled pork sandwiches he had powered down for breakfast resulted in explosive diarrhea but I couldn’t let this go.

” We would be the bottom of the food chain, I mean based on the size of you I bet you swim like a sumo wrestler in water wings. Every fish in the sea would take a bite out of you,” I said in as grave a tone I could manage without actually peeing my pants laughing.

” Have you ever eaten at the Mandarin restaurant?,” Moose asked. The sudden shift caught me off guard and I tried to figure out where he was headed with this quick left turn.

” No,” I answered” Is it any good?”

” They have these giant aquariums full of fish in there and I mostly only eat sushi when I go,” Moose replied ” I don’t think I will ever be able to eat there again in case the fish saw me and decided that they wanted revenge when my dream comes true.”

The Man of Steel Story

As a child, we all idolize our parents in some form or another. Be it mannerisms, speech patterns or behaviors, for good or for bad we learn most of what we will ever learn from the environment we grow up in.

My dad was and always will be my hero and mentor. The fact he has been gone for over eight years doesn’t diminish the impact he had in my formative years. In fact, if I had to blame anyone, I would say the steady diet of Rambo movies we watched together and the fact he shared my love of comic books but secretly would never tell anyone despite the fact I knew he read them especially when he would put them back in the wrong order or subtly try to influence what I would pick up on new comic day were the largest contributing factor into my not so minimal hero complex. He too was a run to the rescue kind of guy.

As much as I often dreaded the Saturday mornings he would ask me to go to work with him when I was growing up, as I got older I began to understand it was just as much as excuse to spend time with me as it was anything else. A reason I myself would use later on as my kids got older. Once they realized they actually got paid to spend time with me they asked much more frequently to come to work with me.

I relented the one weekend and let them both come with me. My son, who by now was as big as any of my guys yet ten years younger, went with my brother and the rest of the team to finish up a small job and clean up a job site and I took my daughter with me to set up a very small cottage job. On the way there, the material delivery driver called to say he would be late showing up. I figured that gave me plenty of time to get the job started before the rest of the team showed up. I got my ladder set up and started removing the shingles before I saw my daughters head poke up over the edge of the roof.

Now, I know what you’re thinking and yes I am a terrible parent. I let her up on the roof with me. You have to understand she wasn’t going to be denied in that arms crossed over her chest, head tilted down, looking just over the top of her glasses, scowling kind of way and I really can’t say no to her. She was even more mad that I wouldn’t let her use a nail gun and actually put shingles on but I had to draw the line somewhere. I would have rather let her try to juggle flaming chain saws than have her shoot herself with one of those.

The rest of the team had shown up by this point and we were still waiting for the delivery driver. The sun had come out and turned what was once a hard packed driveway into a soupy mess and I was worried about getting my trailer stuck on the way out with it loaded down. A couple of phone calls later and we heard the crane truck rumbling down the small road. With a shake of my head at the lateness of the delivery, I watched as the five ton truck pulled into the driveway, swerved around my truck and promptly slid off the edge of the driveway and sunk up to the top of the tires into the swampy ground.

” You have got to be fucking kidding me!,” I exclaimed as I flew down the ladder to survey the damage. The truck was way overloaded with weight as not only did it have my material  but over three tons of concrete for another delivery.  My daughter was on the ground and I   walked over sure she wasn’t anywhere near the truck when they tried to move it. As I walked her away from the driveway, she looked back over her shoulder and summed the situation up quite nicely.

” Yep, they’re fucked,” She said as she reached out and took my hand. I stopped dead in my tracks and did the only thing I could. I laughed my ass off and high-fived her. Hey, its my job site not Sunday School.

I backed my large truck up and attached a couple of tow ropes to the nose of the slowly sinking truck. Using some boards I had from another job and slid them as far as we could under the tires to help with traction. With a deep sigh, I slid behind the wheel of my truck as my daughter climbed into the passenger’s seat. Her eyes were expectant and I wasnt sure I could pull this one off. We had unloaded as much of the material as we could but the truck was still massive and very stuck. With a rumble of the engine behind me and I howl of my own engine, I snapped my truck into four-wheel drive and buried the pedal.

With a squeal of smoking tires and a groan of the tow rope, the truck shifted slightly. It wasn’t working. I turned and looked at my daughter and told her to roll down her window.

” If they would give it some fucking gas it might come out,” I sighed as I rubbed my palm on my face. Without missing a beat my daughter stuck her head out the window.

” My dad says give it some fucking gas!” she yelled.

The delivery driver busted out laughing and waved at her. I just shook my head and floored the gas again. The truck shifted and with a shuddering heave and clods of flying muck we pulled it free and out to the main road.  My daughter laughed and we high-fived again.  She called my wife at that point to come pick her up. She had enough for one day and the real excitement was over. She was bursting to tell the story and over a few tellings like all stories it became bigger. By the time she made it to school on Monday I actually think she was telling people I pulled the truck out with my bare hands. I didn’t do anything to discourage her because it’s not like many kids have dads that pull trucks out of the mud bare handed or dressed like this –

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