Author Archive: rebuilding rob

Woke-ness, cancel culture, and zero-tolerance-for-intolerance in the digital age

Alexi McCammond. Michael S. Schwartz/Getty Images

A disclaimer: before I start, I should let you know that I am with many Americans referred to as a bleeding heart liberal. Some describe me as “woke”. Others Mays call me politically correct. Others may see me something of a social justice warrior. I believe in equal rights for all, and some conservative, white Americans tend to look at me and wonder why.

Having said all that, last months parting of ways between Teen Vogue and its newly-hired editor Alexi McCammond still rings fresh on my mind.

For those of you who don’t know, or didn’t bother to click on the link , the twenty-seven-year-old McCammond resigned from Teen Vogue for a handful of tweets she made 10 years ago. The tweets in question have been deemed offensive to Asians. I will not repost them here, but a quick Google search will lead to screen captures of them.

Just to be clear: McCammond was 17 when she made these tweets.

Personally, I’m glad that I am not a kid in the age of social media. The truth is, I said a lot of stupid things when I was a kid. Things that the 47-year-old me of today would not agree with. Things that would probably be considered inappropriate, offensive or even racist altogether. Just to be clear: I never uttered any of these things to other persons, but I would be lying if I said that such words didn’t pass my lips. The thing with me is that I’ve grown and changed a lot over the last 30 years. I’m willing to bet that Alexis McCammond has changed a lot in the last 10 years.

As humans, we are creatures capable of evolving and changing. With time and experience often comes wisdom. The problem with The Internet is not that it’s written in ink; it is written in concrete. McCammond‘s tweets were deleted from Twitter about two years ago, but people who were savvy enough to create screen captures have them forever preserved. Make no mistake about it: Alexi McCammond was fired from Teen Vogue for things she said as a child.

While I think being culturally sensitive is important, I think we also need to give people the benefit of the doubt and assume that they are capable of growth and change. In today’s ultra politically and socially sensitive climate, we tend to hold people in contempt for the dumb things they said or did a lifetime ago.

I’m not making excuses for McCammond‘s tweets. They were inappropriate then and they are inappropriate today. but I’m also willing to assume that she’s not the same person she was as a highschooler. I’m sure today, McCammond would not utter, let alone tweet, the things she did as a 17-year-old girl.

Has cancel culture gone too far? Are we to appoint that in preaching compassion and tolerance, we have become completely intolerant? Do we no longer allow people the opportunity to learn, evolve and grow? Are we to be forever condemned for things that we say in ignorance or with a lack of understanding; never to be allowed the opportunity to change?

Given the choice, I would much rather allow a person and opportunity to grow and change their ways, rather than condemn them forever for some thoughts or words they uttered as an ignorant child.

My final thought on this matter for anyone even considering a life in the public eye: for the love of God, scrub, scour, and sanitize your social media accounts! Or better yet, and delete them altogether, before you become famous.

Rob Reviews… Zack Snyder’s Justice League

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a comic book junkie! As a young kid, I loved comic books because of the costumes and the larger than life superheroics. As an adult, I’ve come to realize that superhero stories are are modern day myths. That, and superhero stores always bring me back to my youth.

Batman is, was, always has been and always will be my all-time favorite superhero. In fact he may very well be my very favorite fictional character in all of American popular culture. While I don’t currently have any tattoos, the one thing I have always assumed I would eventually get tattooed on my body – if it’s not my father or my son’s – would be a picture of Batman. That character is one of the few that has remained sacred to me for my entire life.

For the better part of the last 20 years, we have been living in the golden age of comic book movies. Special effects have advanced to a point that it is now possible to present for colored superheroics in a semi-realistic, live action fashion. It has been a fan boys wet dream. No longer do we have to be content with whatever garbage we get in a feature length movie format. There have been a wide range of comic book-based movies, ranging from the exceptional to the waste of time.

I wanted so badly to love Zack Snyder‘s take on the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). While I like a Marvel Comics, I’ve always been more of a DC guy myself. And I wanted so badly for DC‘s shared universe of movies to be just as good, if not better than the incredible run that marvel studios has created in just the last 10 years with their Marvel Cinematic Universe. With all of this, I sat down to watch Zack Snyder’s Justice League (ZSJL).

Zack Snyder definitely had a vision for the DCEU. Visually it is impressive. It reminds me a lot of his work on the film version of 300. That movie happens to look like it took each of the individual panels that make up the graphic novel, turn them into storyboards, and then turn those in to live action sequences. And while there are some very good moments and sequences in ZSJL that I really like, the finished product is somehow less than the sum of its parts.

It has been said, by Snyder, and others, that his take on the DCEU is the idea of living gods walking on earth. The fight scenes in his DCEU projects: man of steel, Batman versus superman: Dawn of justice, and justice league, look almost biblical in their presentation. I feel like I’m watching a live action reenactment of a painting or an ancient tapestry, or a Bible story. The flipside of this, of course, is that the regular mortals of the DCEU likewise seem like humans out of the old testament. They are insignificant beings, devoid of personality and only serve as background filler for the gods battling on Earth; the obvious exception to this being Martha Kent, Commissioner Gordon, Lois Lane, Silas Stone and Alfred.

Zack Snyder’s vision of the DCEU is a dark place, literally. Blue skies and green grass are non-existent. The only reds you see come from blood and explosions. We expect grit from Batman. Volcanic, apocalyptic landscapes are a given with the movies main villain, Darkseid. In fact, it’s the best know trait in the comic book version of his base of operations, the planet Apololips. The problem is, in this movie it’s difficult to tell the difference between Earth and Apokolips.

Make no mistake about it: ZSJL is a much better better film than Joss Whedon’s 2017 theatrical version of Justice League (JL) Clocking in a just over four hours, it is a much more fleshed-out, complete story. For that run time, it better be! Cyborg’s story arc is fully fleshed out. Ezra Miller‘s portrayal of The Flash in this extended cut seems like an altogether brand new performance, completely independent from the Joss Whedon version of the film. No longer is this character bumbling, annoying and downright creepy. Now, Barry Allen is a confident and competent hero.

In spite of Zack Snyder‘s overwhelmingly dark view of the DC universe, I found myself wanting to see more movies set in the “Snyderverse“ by the time ZSJL faded to black. Even though both Snyder and DC/WB have said this would be the last movie in the “Snyderverse“ the director decided to keep the various cliffhangers he had originally written in tact. We see Bruce Wayne and Alfred make plans to renovate Wayne Manor and turn it into a new hall of justice. Bruce is also visited by Martian Manhunter who offers his assistance to the fledging League. And we also get one more look at the so-called “Knightmare“, the dark apocalyptic future of which Batman has nightmares/ visions of going back to Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice. Even the fateful meeting between Lex Luthor and Slade Wilson, originally used as a post credits tease in the theatrical version of the movie, is left intact. Part of me hates to admit this, but I wouldn’t mind seeing how Snyder’s original vision for his proposed five-movie arc would play out. Both DC/WB and Snyder have said that ZSJL is the end of the road for their working relationship. Of course, the idea of releasing ZSJL was once a pipe dream too; so you can never tell…

.

“It was twenty years ago today”

This is not how I envisioned my return to the world of blogging to be. But when the time came, it made perfect sense. Today would have been the twentieth wedding anniversary of Jabba and I.

I can remember the day itself as if it was yesterday; either though neither Jabba nor myself are anywhere near the same people we were twenty years ago.

It was unseasonably warm that day. If I recall correctly, the temperature got as high as 65 (18 C) that day. It may have even flirted with 70. In fact, at times it almost felt too hot for late October in Michigan. There’s an old superstition that rain on your day is good luck. In hindsight, maybe it should have been an omen that there was zero chance of rain in the forecast that day.

I got ready for what-was-then the biggest day of my life in the very same basement from which I am now blogging. The Apostle, my oldest friend in this life and my best man was with me. As zero hour approached, I began pacing and the weight of everything that was about to transpire hit me. I’ve never had it verified to me, but I’m sure that the Apostle said something to the Old Man; because The Old Man gave me some of his vintage advice – a piece that will stay with me until the day I die.

“Rob,” he said, “what you today really isn’t going to change your everyday life at all. You guys have been living together for years”. Practical as always, The Old Man was absolutely correct. Jabba and I had met when we both went to our college’s registration day nearly five years prior. We had gone on our first date about a week later and were basically inseparable ever since.

The Old Man’s pep talk did a lot to calm my nerves, but I was still overcome with emotion that day. I was choked up all through my vows. I haven’t watched our wedding video in a very long time, but I also remember us having trouble with keeping the unity candles standing up.

During the downtime between the ceremony/photos and the reception, the wedding party went to Dave & Busters, and drank on the bus of course. I distinctly remember consuming a lot of alcohol. Dionysus himself must have had my back that day.

As for the reception, that was just about perfect. One of my groomsmen, who I’ll call Tobasco, told me a few years after that it was still the best wedding he’d ever been to. He’s married now, so I assume that his own wedding has eclipsed mine in his memories, but it was still a great party nonetheless.

In spite of the failure of our marriage, and the bad blood that simmered between Jabba and I for years afterward, I can look back on my wedding day and enjoy the good memories. Sure, I wish that some of the principal players were different but I wouldn’t be the person I am today otherwise. Neither of my sons would be the people they are if anything were to have played out differently. My relationships with Jabba and The Kid are the best they have been in years. In the case of Jabba, its the best its been since before our divorce.

This is the best I have felt on this date in years.

It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged. Maybe I’ll try to catch up on the last 2 years; but I think it’s best if I move forward.

What are they fighting for?

A few things you should know about me:

I am a white man living in America.

Whether I know it or not, whether I fully comprehend it or not, I am a recipient of white privilege. I was raised in a very middle-class suburban largely Caucasian neighborhood. And while my family was far from wealthy, we didn’t struggle either.

               And as a white man living in America, I’ve probably received the “benefit of the doubt” far more often than I realize. I’ve never been pulled over by a police officer because I fit a suspect’s description. I’ve never been pulled over by a police officer because I was in the wrong part of town at the wrong time of day. And other than wealthy people, I’ve never had anyone look at me and tell me simply because of who I was or how I was born, that I was less than them.

By all expectations, I should be politically conservative. I should be proud to be an American. I should place my hand over my heart and sing the “Star Spangled Banner” with due diligence and reverence. I should like country music. And anyone who doesn’t put their hand over their heart and sing the “Star Spangled Banner”, I should deem unpatriotic and disloyal to this country.

My problem is, I’ve never really been good at fitting into certain molds.

As a white male school teacher in inner city Detroit, I am the minority in my professional community. I have never voted for any other political candidate than a Democrat. And I do love my country.  The only thing I believe to be greater than this country and the constitution upon which it was built, are the individual rights of our citizens that are protected under that same constitution.

Our Pledge of Allegiance uses the phrase “with Liberty and justice for all”. I am one of those people who sided with Colin Kaepernick when he chose to take a knee during the Star-Spangled Banner performances at NFL football games. Family members and friends thought I was disloyal, disrespectful, and didn’t appreciate the sacrifices made by the brave men and women who have served this country.

What people tell me, And I do know that this much is true, that the men and women serving in our armed forces and our law enforcement officers, are out there every day defending our freedoms and protecting us. For that I am eternally, truly grateful. An attempt to suggest otherwise is simply untrue.

My father was one of those people. He served as a police officer for 25 years. I know that every single day he worked as a police officer, every routine traffic stop he made – anytime he interacted with the public – he was potentially putting his life on the line for the people of his city, his community, and for my family. I didn’t always understand that as a young boy, but as I got older I came to truly appreciate it.  Before my father was a police officer, he served in the United States army. If one doesn’t understand that being a serviceman potentially means putting your life on the line for this country, then they simply don’t understand the profession.

My father and I never agreed on politics as I became a young adult. In fact, there were times where we would disagree and even argue in some instances about certain presidents, certain international policies, and certain armed conflicts. But I also happen to know then my father believed in his work. The ideas of law and order and justice. As I think that most police officers actually do. But, like any profession, any walk of life, there are dirty cops; just as there are dirty teachers, dirty doctors, dirty lawyers and dirty accountants.

America is not a perfect country. Even the founding fathers knew that. Otherwise, they would not include the phrase “in order to form a more perfect union” in the Preamble of The Constitution. To suggest that America does not have a race problem is naïve at best and not in tune with reality at worst. America has had a race problem going back to the earliest settlement of this land

We, as Americans, like to think that we talk about race. We like to say things like “we need to have an open forum discussion about racial matters in this country”.  On the contrary, we like to talk a lot about talking about race; We just don’t really like to actually say a whole lot about racial matters in this country. And we almost never do anything to address racial issues.

Right now, it is simply impossible to ignore the inequalities that Americans of color have endured for decades, even for centuries. There are certain imperfections in this country that can no longer be ignored. Certain inequalities that people have been fighting to change that must be addressed.

George Floyd was neither the first nor the last black person to be killed in this country under highly suspect circumstances by a police officer. He is neither the most innocent, nor the guiltiest criminal threat. Sadly, there will be others after him. To be honest, I don’t even consider his death to be the most egregious act of police brutality or systemic racism ever perpetrated in this country. However it is appearing camera with every passing day, that Floyd’s may be a flashpoint moment in our society.

As a teacher of young black men and women, I am preparing them to enter the “real world”.   I encourage them seize on the opportunities that are available to them. But I also realize the streets of our country simply aren’t as safe for them as they are for me. They grow up in a community that presents far more dangers to them than my hometown presented to me as a young man. And I know the stark reality that – no matter how hard they try – some of my students are socio-economically predisposed to a life of crime, drugs, and death – either ad a victim or as a perpetrator. For some of my students, the challenges they face will be too difficult to overcome.  Many of my students are two or three years academically behind other students at their grade level. That is the uphill battle that I face every single day as a teacher in an urban school district.

But I have to believe in America. I have to believe and the notions of liberty, justice and opportunity. I believe that we have the potential within us as a society to be the greatest civilization in the history of the human race. But we’re not there yet. We have issues we must address here at home; skeletons in our own closet.   America must look in the mirror and recognize its faults, it’s warts, and address them.

I have to think that if my father and countless others before him  – and those who will come after – him are fighting to protect my rights, that they must have also been fighting to protect the rights of my students, my coworkers, people I’ve never met, all Americans. If we have such glaring problems here in America, if we as a nation cannot guarantee the rights and freedoms of all of our citizens, then what are they fighting for?   What are they dying for?

“…and the children shall lead.”

Student Gun Protests

Pennsylvania Ave, Washington D.C. during Saturday’s March For Our Lives.

I would be disingenuous to myself if I didn’t say something about the recent school shootings, the #neveragain,  #enough movements and yesterday’s March For Our Lives events held around the world.

As an adult, a parent, a member of the so-called adult demographic, I feel like we’ve let our kids down.  I think every generation of adults feels its their collective obligation to leave the world a better place for their children. In regards to school safety, we have failed to do that.  Although it was far from the first mass shooting in this country, Columbine happened nineteen years ago.  Nothing has changed since then.  Dozens of other mass shootings with scores of casualties have taken place since then.

Enter Parkland, Florida.  Something is different this time around.  Kids are leading the fight and they are not taking no for an answer.  They have utilized social media and made sure the events of Valentine’s Day 2018 have not left the collective mindset of this country.  Be honest, was ANYONE able to go on even one of their social media accounts and not see a single story, pic or status update about guns in America.  It was all over my feed, that’s for sure.

When you stop and think about it, maybe this should not come as much of a surprise. History is littered with stories of children heeding the proverbial call to action.  Children have fought wars.  Children have built nations.

And yet, this still feels different.  I was reading earlier today, and a writer far more talented than I made some excellent point about the millenials and the so-called Generation Z in particular. To paraphrase, Generation Z has lived their entire lives in the shadow of Columbine, 9/11, ongoing and seemingly unending wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Some call these kids “snowflakes” when in reality, they are war-hardened.  Some blast them for being attached to their smartphones and yet they are hard-wired to a media that may very well be even more powerful than the Almighty Television itself. In some respects, I believe young people are as addicted to the electronic devices as they are in order to escape the harsher realities of today’s world.

We, the grown-ups – Generation X, the Baby Boomers before us and earlier generations before them – have failed the youth of today.  And they are taking it upon themselves to bring about change in this country.

And yesterday was the rally in Washington D.C, known simply as “March For Our Lives”.  My big question is:  What happens next?  Will anything come out of all of this? The next few days and weeks will be critical for this movement.

Their music still sucks though.

On Harvey Weinstein and the rise of #MeToo.

Harvey_Weinstein

With a face like this…

The only experience I have that is even remotely comparable to sexual harassment happened to me when I worked in a fast-food restaurant as I was finishing up high school – almost 30 years ago – a time when we were just a few years removed from Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill.  There was a co-worker of mine – I’ll call him Larry –  who was gay and he apparently had a crush on me.  This came to my attention through another co-worker.  Apparently Larry was all too willing to share this nugget of information with several of my co-workers at a party – a party to which I obviously was not invited.

Larry wasn’t horribly pushy with me.  He would flirtatiously laugh or chuckle when I would do things like bending over to pick things up (I worked as the morning janitor at said establishment). Larry wasn’t a manager or supervisor or anything. He never had any professional authority or power over me; likewise, he never threatened me or blackmailed me or anything like that. The whole situation just made me a little uncomfortable – in that way that you feel when everyone is in on a joke except for you.

This experience last one weekend.  I out the kibosh on the whole thing pretty quickly.  That Monday afternoon, I made a trip into work to talk to my store manager.  She had always had my back – I was one of her favorite employees in the restaurant.  Upon the advice of The Old Man, I explained the situation to her and demanded that I not be scheduled to work with him anymore.  I also went on to say that if I felt uncomfortable in the work environment or found myself having to quit because of the situation or because of Larry himself, then the company would hear about. As I expected, Larry and I never worked a shift together again.

I didn’t share that story to say “woe is me” or #MeToo.  I share it to say that this kind of thing can happen to anyone – even a white, middle-class suburban slob like me.  I can only imagine that my experience can only give me the vaguest sensation of what a victim of full-blown sexual harassment experiences.  Going up against a person with the clout of the monster I have pictured above can only feel utterly hopeless.

For years, I’ve heard rumblings about Harvey Weinstein’s treatment of women in the entertainment industry, but I don’t think anybody was ready for the outpouring of stories similar to (or in many cases much, much worse) the one Courtney Love alluded to back in 2005.  This story hit home with me a many levels.

As far as the trauma Rose McGowan suffered at the hands, of this lunatic…that goes way beyond sexual harassment or anything even remotely sexual.  I think she turned the guy down, and became absolutely obsessed with destroying her life.  The stories I’ve heard have convinced me that Harvey Weinstein once had as much power and influence as a Washington politician.  The guy, literally had former Feds working for him.

Having grown up in a racially and culturally homogeneous suburb of Detroit, Michigan, I didn’t personally know anyone who had been a victim of sexual harassment, sexual assault or sexual abuse until I went to college.  The stories I heard there were absolutely heart-breaking. I had obviously heard of such crimes but never had any idea just how pervasive they really were.  As I’ve gotten older – specifically as I see the #MeToo hashtag appear on my Facebook timeline, I feel my stomach churning all over again.

And women are not the only victims of these crimes:  men, boys and girls – no one is immune it seems, as CUCH points out here.

Naturally when I hear a story about the film industry, my thoughts got to The Auteur.  As I’ve learned vicariously through her experiences, film is an industry that is overwhelmingly dominated by men. I’d see some of the guys she went to school with, I’d written a lot, if not most, of them off as undersexed dorks who lived in their parents’ basements and dreamed of being the second coming of Kevin Smith or Quentin Tarantino. Some of them are a bit anti-social and don’t seem to know how to act around women.  Some are narrow-minded sexists who simply assume, in that throwback mindset, that women simply cannot tell a story, act, run a camera or do anything remotely creative – at least not without a man telling them when to jump and how high.

Harvey Weinstein is apparently on a whole other level of monster entirely.  Let’s face it, EVERY industry has sexists and sexual harassers.  Like racism, that will simply never change.  No matter how tolerant our society becomes, we will always have some outliers. I think what’s so shocking about Weinstein is not the one man or even his transgressions, it’s the fact that Harvey Weinstein is just ONE example of the kind of behavior that has become almost institutionalized in the entertainment industry.

I worry sometimes about The Auteur going into this industry.  The predatory, Weinstein types will be and are in every walk of life.  That’s just inevitable.  But I know how frustrating it gets for her when her male peers look at her and assume she’s brainless or talent-less solely she is a woman  – even though they are either less qualified or less talented (in many cases both) than she is. She’s not naive to any of this and I know she has a thick enough skin to handle it, but swimming against the proverbial ocean gets tiring for anyone – even the Michael Phelpses of the world.

I truly hope that the news of the last few weeks results in some top-to-bottom widespread changes in the entertainment industry, as well as how we all treat each other – in and out of the workplace.

Having said that, I don’t want us to become a society where the merest implication of an indiscretion is enough to destroy a person life.

Rob Reviews: 11/22/63

11.22.63

The cover from the original hardcover of 11/22/63

I’d really like to get back into this blogging business, but I’m not going to make any promises. So I’ll start with some light fare.

A few weeks back, I finished reading 11/22/63 by Stephen King.  Incidentally, this is the FIRST Stephen King novel I’ve ever read.  Over the years, I’ve had several friends tell me that Misery is a great jumping-on point for the worldof Stephen King; but no, I chose to take on this nearly eleven-hundred page behemoth for a starter.

Time travel stories have always been a big favorite of mine.  As an adult, I have become fascinated by the assassination of John F. Kennedy and all the theories surrounding it.  A novel that marries these two favorite topics of mine seemed almost too good to be true.

11/22/63‘s  main character is Jake Epping, a school teacher and divorcee – that’s where the similarities between Jake and Your Favorite Blogger end.  Jake is almost moved to tears by an essay written by one of his GED students,  Around the same time, Al Templeton, the owner of a local diner, tells Jake of a time portal located beneath his establishment. After Al introduces Jake to the wonders of time travel, the two address a question that has become the stuff of time-travel cliche – What if you could change history?  Al defines the assassination of John F. Kennedy as a watershed moment in world history and charges Jake with the task of preventing it.

There are of course, a few catches.  This is not a “time machine”.  Jake can only travel back to a certain point in time, in this case 1958. Should he decide to stop Lee Harvey Oswald, he’ll have to wait for events to unfold in the past.  Much of the novel’s action includes Jake living in the past, waiting and preparing for the fateful titular day in Dallas.  The novel explores the idea of a man living in and having a working knowledge of the past, but addresses the conflict of unfamiliarity with everyday life there.

I was absolutely hooked on this book.  I typically don’t read  books of this size, but I was amazed at how quickly I moved through it. At times, I found it easy to get lost in the daily minutiae of Jake’s life in the early 1960s  – making a living, working, personal relationships – and actually lose sight of his over-riding mission to save the President. To that end, I was absolutely amazed at the level of research that King, and his researcer put into the creation of this story.

If you were history, how would the world be different?  What would be the inherit dangers of something as exciting as time traveling?  These are all questions the novel explores.   Inevitably, King does have to address the conspriacy theories regarding Kennedy’s death.  He makes a nearly-definitive statement on this matter – stating both in the novel and in interviews that he’s pretty sure Oswald acted alone – though in the story Jake does take steps to determine once and for all if Oswald was infact, the sole assassin.

Does Jake succeed in saving JFK?  Does he even bother, or let history unfold as we know it to be?  How would the world be different if Jake did save JFK that day in Dallas?  And what becomes of the people he meets while living in the past?  Of course, many other conflicts and complications arise through the story.   I’ll let you, the reader, find these answers for yourself; but I will say this: at 1100 pages, there is a little something for everyone in this novel.

RE: The biggest threat facing middle-age men isn’t smoking or obesity. It’s loneliness.

via The biggest threat facing middle-age men isn’t smoking or obesity. It’s loneliness. – The Boston Globe

This is a topic that seems to hit home as much as any I write about here.  In fact, it may well become my next great topic on this blog. I too suffer from this sense of loneliness – as it would seem many men of my age do.  I’m not exactly sure how it happened, or when it began, but over the last few years, I’ve realized just how lonely I am.

In my alter ego, I have 297 Facebook friends. This includes family, friends and acquaintances.  For the life of me, I could count one one hand the number of those friends I could call up and say “hey, I could really use a friend right now.  Wanna hang out?” I don’t say this to whine or spew sour grapes.  This is where my life is right now; and apparently, I’m not alone.

How does this happen to us? Life gets in the way. Work, Significant others, families, kids.  Social media, as the article suggests, give us the false impression that we are more socially connected than we truly are. I agree wholeheartedly with the article when it says that men almost need an event or activity to bring them together.  I even like the “Wednesday Night”  idea that the author shares.

The trick is to get other people on board…

picking up the reins

detroit-panorama

Downtown Detroit.  Photo courtesy of The Auteur

Yesterday, as part of a belated Valentine’s Day celebration, The Auteur and I went to an Extreme Midget Wrestling show and stayed the night in the city.  We had a great time and it was a much-needed, albeit brief, break from the day-to-day grind. We probably didn’t really have the money to do something like this, but this was one of those time in life where we had to be a little selfish and splurge on ourselves just a little. It was the kind of thing that we don’t do enough of and need to make sure we do more often.

Our hotel room had a spectacular view of downtown Detroit.  That alone was probably worth what we paid for the room.  From our window, I could see Comerica Park – the home of the Detroit Tigers and a place where I spent many an afternoon – and a few evenings – with my Dad watching our favorite baseball team.

The morning after the wrestling show, as we were getting ready to check out, I got a little emotional standing on the 26th floor of the casino hotel overlooking the city.  Seeing Comerica Park made me think of the Old Man and I started to cry a little.

It’s weird because I didn’t attend a single Tiger game in 2016. I would have to check back on this, but  last season is probably the first time in 20 years I didn’t attend a single game all season – including my time down South. Last season was also the first season in which my family did not have season tickets to the Tigers since at least 1997 (or 1996?). And while I went to a few games after The Old Man passed in 2015, I think I was a little apprehensive to go back to the stadium last year. Had we still not had his partial season-ticket package, I doubt I would have gone back there at all in 2015.

Some people feel weird to go back into a parent’s bedroom – seeing where they lived and their most personal belongings –  after they’ve passed.  The reality is that during my college and early adult years, I probably spent more time with my father at Comerica Park than I did in his house.  In a lot of ways, going back to Comerica Park is not unlike seeing his bedroom again; going through his belongings; or his man cave.

But here’s the thing that I do know:  It’s my turn now.  It’s my turn to be the dad, to take my kids to the Tiger games,  to teach them the game, and bask in those lazy summer days, weeks, months and years and pass that great family tradition on to my kids.

It’s time to become the man that I was born to be (and yes, that made the list…)

 

my landslide

8dc8ac53de3477066bc9ff689a0e1c09--getting-older-fleetwood-macForgive me if this sounds familiar. But some things have happened lately and some familiar thoughts are racing through my mind.  That, and I really used to make some pretty good posts and I’m hoping to get back into it.

I found out the other day that a guy with whom I graduated from high school died of cancer.  Notice I don’t call him a “friend”.  We were school friends, I guess.  That is to say that we spoke to one another.  We never really hung out or anything.  Then, graduation happened and I haven’t seen him since.  And of course, high school ended 25 years ago.  This guy isn’t the first person I graduated with who has died, but it still hit me surprisingly hard; at least, it got me thinking about my own mortality once again. I think a lot of these feelings are coming to light since plans are in the works for my 25 year high school reunion.  (For info on my 20 year reunion, click here).

At times like this, whenever I’m forced to think about my own mortality, I think of Captain Picard’s line from Star Trek:  Generations:  “I’ve become aware that there are fewer days ahead than there are behind…”

The Old Man died at 67.  I’m about 60 days shy of 43.  If I am to die at the same age as he did, that means I’ve got about 24 years left on this rock.  And unless I live to be 85, there really are fewer days ahead of me than there are behind me.

I’m doing what I can to make myself a better person.  The List of Rob was a huge step in that direction.  I’m actually crossing some things off of that list as accomplish them.

“But time makes you bolder // Even children get older //  And I’m getting older too”

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: