Thursday, May 22, 2008


I found myself in the middle of Pride and Prejudice, in awe at the character of Mr. Darcy. As with so many of Jane Austen’s male characters, they are at first misunderstood and slightly un-likeable, but upon further study, the reader begins to truly love them. And this made me think of something seemingly unrelated: Allen Iverson.
Yes, I mean the dread-locked, tattoo-laden, practice-skipping point guard for the Denver Nuggets, who has spent most of his career in Philadelphia. I used to hate this guy. I mean, frothing at the mouth, yelling at the t.v., venomously loathing this man. And then, I saw the game in which he returned to Philadelphia for the first time since being traded, and saw the crowd give him a five-minute ovation, and watched him cry, and heard the analysts telling stories of what this guy has done for the community there, and I was intrigued. Maybe I had misjudged him. Beneath the ink, bling, and posse, was he a worthy role model?

PROFESSIONAL ATHLETES: No One Should be Paid to be a Role Model

“I am not a role model. I am not paid to be a role model. I am paid to wreak havoc on the basketball court.”
Charles Barkley, the famous forward for the Phoenix Suns, revolutionized the world of sports debate in the early 1900’s with this simple statement. Sports stars had long been idolized (and still are) by young people for their athletic prowess, but did they bear any kind of a responsibility, subsequently, to be upstanding and noble in their private lives?
Are professional athletes really still our heroes? These men and women have trained most of their lives to become very good at what they do, but have other aspects of their lives, such as strength of character, become just as important in earning “idol” status among today’s people? Absolutely. A professional athlete with high standards is respected far more than one without said standards. As major public figures, athletes are and should act as role models.
Admittedly, athletes have it a little rough. Some come from very humble circumstances and communities. Some come from very little education. Some come from bad families, bad neighborhoods, and bad habits. After coming from these varied environments, however, they suddenly come into fame, masses of wealth, and public attention. It would be hard for anyone to stand up to the media onslaught most modern-day athletes endure, but harder still is coping with the sudden possibilities a life of wealth and fame bring. Those who are not ready and prepared for this life often make massive mistakes.
Athletes are also exposed to the public more often than other celebrities. An actor can really only be seen as often as his movie is seen, but a quarterback is seen every consecutive Sunday for weeks in the fall. Sinead O’Connor (an Irish songwriter) is heard only as often as she is listened to, but Shaquille O’Neal (Phoenix Suns center and basketball star) is seen 82 times in the winter and spring.
Should their lives be held to such intense scrutiny? They are, technically, just athletes. They are really good at making inflatable objects go through steel circles, or throwing things farther than other people, or running faster and jumping farther and winning seemingly pointless events. At no time did they sign a lifetime contract assuring the public they would be a model citizen in everything they do. But is that really something that needs to be written down?
It is important that these men and women in our professional sports keep high standards, and especially important is the influence athletes have on children. Kids look for heroes, and they should be given something to live up to, not down to. Little boys and girls don’t follow the careers of politicians, secretly hoping that someday they can be like John Edwards. All little boys would rather grow up to play under John Chaney (former Temple University basketball coach) than work for Dick Cheney (United States Vice President), and most modern little girls would rather be like Diana Taurasi (WNBA Basketball Star) than like Nancy Pelosi (Speaker of the House).
Unfortunately, there are bad examples out there of athletes-gone-wrong. There are men like Mike Tyson, who was a world champion boxer and a world champion brawler, threatening the lives of opponents’ families, getting in fights outside of bars, and losing all of his money in frivolous spending.
Bobby Knight, the former coach of the oft-successful Indiana Hoosiers men’s basketball team (he is presently in a state of consulting/retirement), coached his teams to titles, but verbally and physically abused his own players and threw explosive temper tantrums, not to mention folding chairs.
There’s Pete Rose, who is inarguably one of the best baseball players ever, but who has also been accused of gambling on his own sport, preventing him from being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, which he otherwise would so richly deserve.
And let’s not forget Kobe Bryant, who is admittedly a philanderer, if not a felon. He is absolutely amazing and virtually peerless on today’s basketball court, with a fade-away jumper that a high school ball player will work hours in imitating in his driveway, but his relationship with his wife is not one that should be emulated by these boys in their youthful pursuits.
In more recent news, Michael Vick, the extremely talented former quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons, who was considered by many to be the “new face of the National Football league”, was caught in a dog-fighting scandal. According to multiple sources, prior to the discovery of these atrocious acts, his popularity exceeded every other player in the NFL. Statistically, more kids wore his numbers than any other active player, but now many fathers don’t want their kids wearing those jerseys. Worse yet, while awaiting trial, it was revealed that Vick had tested positive for marijuana.
Marion Jones, who holds many Olympic records for the Summer Games and lit up the 1996 Atlanta Games, recently came forward and admitted she had knowingly used steroids at the time of competition. While it can and should be admired that she came forth and admitted guilt of her own free will, the admission in no way removes the example Jones gave of steroid use, and all her wins and successes will forever be forgotten under the haze of her error.
Barry Bonds, our most recently-crowned home run king, has been involved in scandal after scandal, including allegations of steroid use and affairs with women. However, Bonds’ least redeeming quality is probably his demeanor. He refuses to share rooms with teammates, speaks to the media in as surly a manner as possible, and gives no one credit for his success but himself. He hasn’t even taken time to be in his team picture the last three years. He just left the San Francisco Giants in the off-season, and shockingly, no other team has picked him up.
O.J. Simpson, formerly of the Buffalo Bills, who is one of the best running backs of all time, was tried for a double murder, but miraculously (and suspiciously) cleared of guilt. He had been living in relative obscurity until a recent, almost comical outburst in which Simpson, armed to the teeth, attacked a man thought to have been stealing the star’s football memorabilia. He now awaits yet another trial.
Then, there are stars like Tonya Harding (the ice-skating hitman-hirer), John Daly (the drunken golfer), and Terrel Owens, Chad Johnson, and Randy Moss (all three Pro Bowl wide receivers with very wide mouths). It seems, with all these examples, that our nation is doomed to hearing story after story of successful athletes leading unsuccessful lives.
But there is hope. Most athletes aren’t nearly that despicable, most are completely normal, and some are downright admirable.
Let’s look on the local stage: the Utah Jazz (Salt Lake City’s professional basketball team) is a haven for athletes of good reputation. John Stockton, the long-time point guard who played near-perfect basketball for ages, never once needed the spotlight on the court. He has a large family and loves his wife. Jeff Hornacek (former shooting guard) is loved and admired in Utah as one of the best 3-point shooters who has ever played, but most guys admire him more because he’s a nice guy and a great father. Jaron Collins (current center) graduated from Stanford, and though he averaged less than a minute of play this post-season, he is always willing to speak with the media, no matter the outcome of a game, with a big smile on his face and an intelligent, elpquent, humble delivery. Jerry Sloan, the career coach of the Jazz, though occasionally afflicted with a severe potty-mouth, took extended time off only once, and that was for his wife’s funeral. He attributes all of his success to her, and even tried to clean up his language at her request. Greg Ostertag, the former Jazz big man, is not as admired as the previous three men for his talent and skill (and that especially includes this writer, the big klutz), but he is admired by his sister. She is currently alive because Greg gave her his kidney.
Outside of Utah, there have been and still will be real heroes in professional sports. David Robinson was a lieutenant in the Navy and has donated much of his time and money to service and charities. Lance Armstrong overcame cancer to win the Tour De France a record seven times, inspiring millions. Wyoming long shot Rulon Gardner won a gold medal in wrestling, then was caught in a violent snowstorm, losing half of his toes, but was back up and training to win again in no time.
Manute Bol and Dikembe Mutumbo are both native Africans who made it big in the NBA, and both nearly went broke giving most of their money back to their home towns in Africa, trying to improve living conditions and education. Hakeem Olajuwon, a former league MVP and also a native African, took nearly a month during the middle of every season to go through a strict religious fast. Shawn Green, a Jewish baseball player for the New York Mets, holds to his religious convictions and refuses to play on the Jewish Sabbath, waiting until after the sun has gone down Saturday night (sometimes during the middle of a game) to start playing.
Lebron James has been a good example to the millions of kids aspiring to be pro basketball players. Young and successful, James hasn’t allowed this fame to go to his head. For the most part, he stays humble, does what his coach asks of him, and is kind to teammates, the press, and the fans.
Hank Aaron has recently been re-crowned America’s “real” home run king. After playing many years without the aid of steroids, Aaron meekly held the home run record for a long time until Bond’s recent success. Aaron, however, was also a superb teammate, attributed no success to himself, quietly broke records, and these days is working to help at-risk children develop the skills needed to leave their hard lives behind.
And let’s not forget the contributions of many noble women athletes. Venus and Serena Williams are two of the world’s best tennis players, but they were raised in a horrible neighborhood in Compton, L.A. Rising to success from that low of a level has been an inspiration to lots of young American kids. Nancy Lopez was a world champion golfer until she randomly decided to quit and raise a family, and is now leading an admirable life she finds even more enjoyable. Mia Hamm, the famous American soccer star, is a great example to lots of girls of the levels of success any woman can achieve. Kristy Yamaguchi and Michelle Kwan are both Olympic figure skaters of Asian descent that took the time to get solid educations.
In conclusion, it seems altogether fitting that this story of a hero named Maurice Cheeks be shared. In 2003, at a Portland Trailblazers’ game (basketball), a local girl got up to sing the Star-Spangled Banner. She was quite nervous to begin with, and singing in front of many thousands of people didn’t really help the situation much. Halfway through the song, she just stopped. Frantically, she tried to start again several times, but came up dead blank. She had forgotten the words to the national anthem, right in front of all those Trailblazers, at least those players who were on parole for the game (2003 was a hard year legally for the Portland franchise).
Unexpectedly, the Blazers’ coach, Maurice Cheeks, walked calmly over, put his arm around the girl, and started in with “and the rockets’ red glare…” The girl, mildly dazed, joined in with Cheeks and finished with him. Granted, Coach Cheeks was no amazing soloist, but to that girl, who tearfully hugged and thanked him afterward, he was a hero.
So, whether it is fair or not, those who are only trained to play sports have a civic duty to have political opinions, stay morally clean, and keep high standards. It becomes their responsibility as prolific citizens to lead lives worthy of emulation.
“I am not paid to be a role model.” Well, neither is anyone else.


I went hiking recently, and found myself reveling in the simple, quiet beauties of nature. I would love to take an hour to just sit on a rock at the top of a hill and watch and think and breathe the cool, blowing air.
I then sat back and realized that there was a time when my gratitude for the surrounding world was poorly displayed, and a combination of my youthful angst and curiosity led me to destroy much of the local plant life. I learned the hard way that, though not easily provoked, Mother Nature can choose to slap someone silly. Or at least mock them.


While growing up, I always felt I was a reasonably intelligent child. I read a lot of good books, watched snippets of the news in between my cartoons, and, if captive in the car with my father, even half-listened to (shudder) talk radio. Yet, for some strange reason, I was occasionally brought back down to my cave-man roots, brought down to a place where the most sublime joy was easily found. I think that most any guy, grown or not, would agree with me in saying that the predominant occupation of the mind of every prepubescent male is not in the wooing of women, nor yet in the acquisition of food, but in wondering what happens to things when you break them.
Countless were the hours I spent with my suburban rabble of friends, finding potentially punishable material, and then dastardly contriving the mixed means of their respective obliterations. Other boys seemed to dabble more in the dry-ice arts, or even in the classic skill of fireworks-tampering. I was not so brave. Upon long observations of my compadres’ singed knuckles and absent eyebrows, I had developed a reluctance to use anything of a volatile nature in my experimentations.
And yet, somehow, my equipment of destruction always seemed infantile and pathetic when compared to the awesome destructive potential I held at my seven-year old finger-tips. This was not my fault. Our house was not exactly brimming with fun power tools and such, like the houses of my friends. Their fathers all had cool jobs, like welders and carpenters and mechanics, and they all had separate garages stuffed with a wondrous variety of devastating paraphernalia. My dad was just a music teacher, whose knowledge of things mechanical sat somewhere in between the levels of “nun” and “poet”.
Most of the time, I was forced to amuse myself by walking around our backyard in a down-trodden sulk, whipping the heads off my mother’s flowers with a long, skinny stick I had picked up. Though not nearly as rewarding as the sickening WHHOMPTH! from the explosion of a pop bottle filled with the innards of emptied fire-crackers, the more subtle WHHHHHHIP! ... THLUP of my rod of power satisfied my needs.
I spent many an hour back there, beating the air and surrounding foliage like a deranged symphonic conductor, my baton of annihilation sparing no daisy. Sometimes, I could even hear the flowers petitioning for leniency, begging empathy for their already short and meaningless lives. But my stick and I radiated frostiness. There was no deliverance for the daffodils, just a geranium genocide. I had no compassion for the cowslip, no sympathy for the sunflower, and no pity for the periwinkle. And the chrysanthemums? Well…they were just doomed.
When my friend Richard turned eight, his mother invited all of the neighborhood kids over for a birthday party. At least, it was in its formation a birthday party, but it inevitably ended up becoming more akin to a death march, as were all birthday parties for small boys. His mother paraded us around to miscellaneous organized activities that were never as entertaining as just running around and hitting each other with things.
Eventually, though, our rebellious uprisings and attempts at escape were too much for her, and she spent the last half of the party shut up inside her room, muttering to herself (“No…gosh-darnit…Don’t touch…Why can’t you just hit the stupid piƱata, instead of every other boy in the room? And no peeking! ...What did I say about touching that!?...Lousy kids…”).
Richard was tall for his age, and skinnier than an Ethiopian pigeon, with almost-white hair and a tan-less complexion that would have made a polar bear look sideways. He had five brothers of indiscriminate age, all of whom looked exactly like him. Sometimes, I would be out wreaking havoc with Richard, and I would look up and realize that it was not Richard, but Mike, or Wade, or one of the others. Ultimately, this made no large difference, since their interests were all so similar (Interests: 1-Bugs, 2-Spaghettios, 3-Combining the aforementioned two interests).
Richard started opening his presents, which most likely would have consisted of eighty-four Ninja Turtles, five home-made bug collections, and dress socks. I was, at best, uninterested, and was considering going home to catch the Power Rangers (HAI-YAH!) when, out of the corner of my eye, a little flash of an impending life-alteration, in the form of a small box, wrapped in the business section, caught my youthful stare. Quickly unwrapping it, Richard ripped out its mysteriously glorious innards, bringing into the light a gorgeous, shining, crimson pocketknife. It was beautiful beyond all my imagination. I could hear Richard’s mother’s tulips screaming in hopelessness. Man, Richard had the best parents ever! And the possibilities were endless! I sat, in my own world, green with envy, plotting as to how I might come upon my own pocketknife.
I immediately began petitioning for a pocketknife of my own, much like the boy and his B.B. gun in the movie The Christmas Story. I reminded them that I would be a boy scout soon, and any boy scout lacking his trusty penknife would invariably be the societal leper. My parents seemed unsure, so I began to bombard them with a fusillade of very sensible reasons as to why I needed this knife. My baffling arguments included such possibilities as being stuck under a fallen boulder with a need to saw my own leg off, or fending off ravenous wolves that had come down from the foothills, and even a roving Biker gang that, “I swore,” Richard’s brother Mike had just seen, and so on. Naturally, they couldn’t compete with my brain-melting logic, and I began to sense their gradual acquiescence to my demands.
Finally, the day of my eight birthday arrived, and, lo and behold, there sat, shining in the sun, in all of its grandeur, a magnificent, sparkling, deep-red, multi-purpose…box.
But in that box was my pocketknife! Oh, Joy! Oh, sweet merciful heavens!
After opening and closing the blessed jack-knife in impatient glee for about the seven hundredth time, and after repeated cautions from my mother and chuckles from my father, I proceeded to run around frantically, searching out victims for my clean, menacing, cutting edge, my outlet of youthful rage. As I stepped over the threshold of my yard, I sensed thousands of daisies shuddering simultaneously.
It was just one blade, unhampered by any saws or fingernail clippers or lame corkscrews, and oh, what a blade it was! Within twenty minutes, I had whittled down every single twig and stick within a five-mile radius, and I had poked giant, glaring, jagged holes in all of our excess zucchini, and chopped through thousands of the stems of the little, inedible apples growing on the tree in our yard. I was flabbergasted at the sheer authority this keen dagger commanded in my backyard realm. A trail of flower heads adorned my wake, their bright colors petering out through their severed stems.
If only I had known then that I was about to be taught a lesson by someone who was tired of seeing her people oppressed. Mother Nature must have been infuriated, and she was about to drop the Red Sea on my pagan, barbarous little hiney.
Exhausted from my rampant destruction of the local vegetation, I dashed gleefully into my room and plopped down on the bed with my new baby. I lay there, holding it above me at a worshipful distance, and I opened it, closed it, opened it, closed it, opened it, closed it. I stopped to simply stare at my beautiful knife, rolling it over and over in my hands above my body, my palms sweaty from my invigorated afternoon.
I think that this is when Mother Nature got on the phone with her uncle, Gravity.
Abruptly, slipping from my excited, moist hands, the pocketknife dropped. It fell, faster and faster, seemingly falling through eternity. It gracefully altered its downward trajectory, rolling over just enough to ensure its killing point was at the bottom of its descent.
Through my mind coursed images of me, flailing, pinned to my bed, like a bug in Richard’s bug collection, thrashing out the last bursts of my life in useless death throes. I swore that I heard thousands of daisies outside, dancing on their little daisy crutches, laughing raucously at this turning of the tables. I closed my eyes, praying to God to stop the accidental slaughter of a foolish boy, remembering every single helpless honeysuckle I had brutally cut the life from, when…..
THUMP…CLATTER CLATTER clatter clatter!
I opened my eyes warily, expecting to be staring at a gushing fountain of blood, but was startled by the realization that…I was entirely okay. What had happened? Had God heard my doomed bleating and sent an angel to knock away the killing thrust? Had Gravity simply missed?
I looked down and realized that, yes, it had scored a direct hit right over my heart, leaving a mildly painful and moderately impressive bruise, though not big enough to my liking. And it had, in fact, hit me point down but, due to good fortune and shoddy American manufacturing, it had bounced right off my quivering self, clattering harmlessly to the floor.
I sat there a moment, staring fearfully at it, gasping for breath. I slowly rolled off the mattress, closed the demonic instrument carefully from feet away with a baseball bat and glove, kicked it under the bed, and never touched the evil thing again.
I learned an important lesson that day about my own adeptness with tools of destruction: I had none. Man’s curious fixation with taking things apart was never meant
to be my area of expertise.
And while there would always be those claiming “People kill people,” I knew in my heart that pocketknives could kill boy scouts, and I was very content to continue running safely around, flicking that dumb stick, though every time I approached my mother's flower beds, I swore I could hear the daisies tittering in protected glee.


While reading a William Blake poem about love, I was reminded of a few conversations I overheard during the build-up and after-shocks of Valentine’s Day. Some comments impressed me, and some horrified me, and some brought back life-altering experiences. A few comments brought me hope of one day having a successful relationship, while others took that hope and dragged it over the Salt Flats behind a truck.


Though lacking in flair and panache,
Sally’s beau spent the bulk of his cash
To procure, for her, flowers.
Sadly, their floral powers
Served only to give her a rash.

“So, like, yesterday, I’m at work, right? And I’m just sitting there at my desk, taking calls, and then this HUGE bouquet of flowers gets delivered, I mean, at least a hundred roses, right? So I look at the card, and it says ‘To [Cindy]: Happy Valentine’s Day.’ And I’m all, ‘Oh, great, thanks, jerk.’ I mean, he didn’t even bother to write anything special on the card at all, and there were so many flowers, I couldn’t even carry them out to my car. I had to get one of my bosses to help me, and ohmygosh, it was so embarrassing, and I was so ticked off at him. Guys are such jerks.”
“I KNOW! Like, my husband comes home with a big box of chocolates and a necklace, and two tickets to see Rascal Flats, and he thinks he’s so amazing and impressive, but I know all he wanted was for me to make out with him. So I was just, like, “Thanks, hon.” And then I went back to doing my homework. Hah! When are guys going to start being original? I mean, what is this, the 1950’s? I swear, sometimes, I’m married to a caveman. How primitive can you be?”
I sat on the exercise bike, mouth like a trout’s, my legs robotically and slowly pumping, as I listened to the two women on the treadmills behind me. This was the point in my life where I realized that, when a man tries to impress a girl, it’s a bit like watching an elephant try to roll pennies into little cardboard bank tubes.
I didn’t even know what to think, how to go on. Was this the mindset of all women? Sweat poured down my brow, the brunt of it no longer stemming from physical exertion.
Was I doomed to blunder aimlessly through the Sahara of indifferent women? Would I be forever bobbing in the Sea of the Tactless, arms and legs paddling frantically, gasping for breath, and only breaking the surface long enough to suck down enough air to prolong my swimming anguish?
And what would happen when I did come to be attached to one of these women? Would I be stuck forever, rolling the Stone of Offerings up the Hill of the Unsatisfied and the Disappointed?
I have since come to the conclusion that men are not as inherently evil as generally perceived. Sure, we start the wars, pillage the villages, and corrupt the governments, but I am reasonably sure that never, not once, in the history of our, or any, modern civilization, has a man asked a woman to drive across town to get him a strawberry-kiwi Slushie from, you know, that one green convenience store, by the church-thing, and then make her take it back and get him a new one because it was too melty and it was from the wrong place anyway. It’s by the church-thing, darnit! And there’s a stoplight by one of the corners. Just go get it!
Once, when trying to impress a prospective feminine companion, I spent days preparing for a certain date. I had my clothes laid out two days before, fully meeting my ironing quota for an entire year. I showered twice every day that week, scouring every possible surface with the sharp, tangy goodness of Irish Spring.
My truck, though practical and loveable, like an old dog, was accented by a full length dent down the right side, a scar spawned from the combination of a late night, a crowded parking lot, and a bumper that (I swear) jumped a full foot out from a hunkering Volvo. I knew that no father would approve of this blemished vehicle, so I had prepared in advance to take my mother’s car, which was nearly as good as the day it was purchased, and had seen about as much action as an NFL kicker.
Options for the construction of the Supreme Date coursed through my head all week long. This diner would be a great place to eat, but the proletarian atmosphere might project a Philistine shadow on my character. This spot would be gorgeous at any time of day, but its isolated nature might lend to suggestive undertones, causing me to be blacklisted. That cologne would certainly mask any traces of immaturity, yet it could give me, as my brother put it, “old-man stink.”
I worried, fretted, fussed, re-ironed, day-dreamed, sweated, stuffed myself silly, went a day and a half without eating, shot free throws, ironed again, and found myself arriving home from school on that blissful, horrid Friday, with only four hours till launch. I showered again, scrubbing so hard I lost calluses. I then changed into my pristine, carefully selected outfit, and lay down, width-wise, across my bed, my head brushing up against the wall and the soles of my feet flat on the ground. I lay there, with my arms folded limply across my stomach, and stared at patterns in the ceiling for the full three hours, glancing at the clock every five minutes.
About an hour before my pubescent ritual was to begin, my daydreams were coming to a roaring climax. I had just single-handedly whipped every comrade of an invading Bolshevik regiment, all while holding her swooning form cradled in my left arm. After carrying her calmly away from their shattered carcasses, and following my gentle revival of her fainted figure, we gazed intently into each other’s eyes, moving heartrendingly closer and closer, until…
The phone rang.
“Hey….Yeah! I’m way excited!...No! I’m great, uh, how are….Yeah…Oh…Your friend just…No! Well, that’s too bad…Oh, uh huh…That’s awesome, you’re a great friend to go be with her after tha…Yeah, tell her I’m sorry about Brent…Hmm, I guess I see why she had to let him go like that…Ok…Have fun at the bowling alley! I’ll, uh, I’ll see you in, uh, yeah, chemistry…Monday…No, it’s okay! Really! I’ll talk to you later…Ok, bye…Bye...”
I sat there on the edge of my bed, hunched over, staring at the left toe of my shoe, the phone held limply in my upturned right hand, draped over the side of the mattress. I spent another hour in reflection, silently going over my good old mental checklist of personal character flaws and odd-looking physical features. I spent extra time checking “lack of abs” and “spontaneous wit deficiency,” just to make the process of recognizing my own gross ineptness more painful.
Two hours later, I was devouring an entire 5-Buck pizza and a quart of Ben and Jerry’s Chubby Hubby at Brent’s house, watching Bruce Willis make human wall paintings out of anybody who didn’t appreciate him, and discussing the finer attributes any quality 2-guard needed to win in the league these days. Brent didn’t look much better off than I did, but we both held it in like troopers, spackling the holes in our emotional sheetrock with plaster of Almond Joy. Neither of us mentioned our grievous wounds, and neither of us planned to.
Later on, after Bruce left us in a trail of broken glass and glory, we were surprised to find that a romantic comedy had accidentally worked its way onto the screen. “Do you want to change it?” “No…whatever…if you want to…” “Uh, it’s cool…I like anything Tom Hanks is in…” “You want some more cream soda and taquitos?”
The funniest part is, after that excruciatingly tortuous night, I kept asking girls on dates. Like a true addict, I felt that the pain never truly stacked up against the infrequent pleasures. And I’m still asking girls on dates! But that’s just how it has to be.
I’m going to keep on being a love-sick puppy.
I’m going to continue accepting “too much homework” as a worthy excuse for date-cancellations.
I’m going to persist in meeting half-smiling mothers and swollen-chested, all-knowing fathers.
I’m going to have many more awkward doorstep scenes where I grossly overestimate how much she really did enjoy the date.
I’m going to have a few where I grossly underestimate her, too.
You know what? I’ll bet even Bruce Willis and Tom Hanks don’t know what’s going on.