An American oxymoron…

 

My 13 year old asked me the other day while watching Top Gear, a television show that originated in the UK and has grown to a spin off in the United States.

Dad; what is the difference between a GMC truck and a Chevrolet truck?

Sitting back in my chair, realizing this was a moment where I could lay waste to any positive view he may hold towards these vehicles with a short idiotic tirade, I gathered my thoughts leaned down, put my arm around him and using my best Ward Cleaver laid this little number upon his unsuspecting bewildered eyes.

Ahhhh-hemmmm!

(Clearing my throat, using my best grandpa jones old man inflection)

The difference between them son is symbolic of the widening indifference in our countries mental acuity.  You see when our country was young, led by intelligent, strong willed, dedicated individuals we as a country knew the difference between right or wrong. A child could play in the street without fear, a woman was revered by men, a mom was considered the, be all end all of every child, and your house was your home, not a temporary storage area until you moved again hoping to make an extra buck.  Community meant that everyone cared about their town and participated in its growth.  You didn’t just live there to commute somewhere else without a care in the world about your neighbors or their well being.

The difference clearly rested in a country becoming accepting of all races and religions without prejudice.  Remembering we are all products of family members who immigrated here and just because we are third or fourth generation doesn’t mean we hold some inalienable right over others trying to achieve the same dreams. Yet that is exactly what we continue to do and every race and ethnicity is as guilty as the next when it comes to this process. Our country started with the ability to parent each other’s children without fear of retribution, living under the guise of “it takes a village”.  Education was a number one priority and teachers were revered for success afforded them through flexibility not unattainable federal guidance. Teachers are taught to “have the power” and “Show students the way” yet due to spineless administrators and frivolous lawsuits our children have all the power backed by parents wanting an education for their children but refusing to back any teachers play when it comes to their precious heathens.

Oh yes son the difference is clear as daylight! For you see in this country we have allowed so many to abuse the legal system for so long that a citizen of the United States is now considered guilty until proven innocent. Prisoners have all the rights and citizens have little to no protection from the criminals.  Our police forces have been told to uphold the law using the iron fist of justice, yet the iron fist has been reduced to cheap tin and is now tied behind every officers back leaving them unable to complete any given task or have the appropriate authority to do so.

In god we trust is upon every dollar yet church and state has been cited as a conflict of moral/ethical principal. The difference is right in front of your face son. Hold the door for a woman today and you are oppressing her right to equality, don’t hold the door and you are rude self centered man. Rape and abuse are the center of every television drama, glorified for all to see which seems to be an oxymoron in a civilized society.  The real housewives of any city USA are a ratings boom feeding these women millions of dollars. As American women we should be ashamed of these poor excuses for humans yet we glorify their shallow self centered struggles. Meet any woman who behaves as they do in real life (not reality TV) and she is instantly a trash talked bitch cut from the pack and left to obscurity.

What is the difference? ah yes, everyone gets a trophy when playing sports and no one loses; because if we have all winners that means someone will feel bad about losing, possibly stunting their ability to feel good about themselves in the future.  It also means that no one person will know what it feels like to truly succeed at something through failure, there bye over time eliminating the need to perform and win from our genetic make-up.

Our society is told to go outside and live life daily, these directions come from the confines of a television we paid way too much money for because its quality is so good you actually feel as though you are there, thusly preventing you from actually being outside. The difference is complaining about the rain while sniveling about the sun, whining about the heat while crying about how cold it has become!

The differences are right in front of you, you are bombarded with them every day.   WE (Americans) choose what we believe in as individuals, then we stick to it come hell or high water! Its what makes us great as a society, but its also what may in fact lead to our downfall.

In reality there are no real differences, a tweak here a few horsepower there, but essentially the very same truck. Over the last 100 years “we the people” have become so blinded by the Hollywood glow of some that lead, so ethically corrupted by misled faith, disenchanted with reality, bought off by envy and the American advertising machine that handles everything from a bar of soap to the Presidency, that “we the people” actually believe  there is a tangible difference between a GMC and a Chevy truck.

If you don’t think other countries aren’t laughing at our pig headed stupidity then drive down to your local Honda/Acura-Nissan/Infinity- Toyota/Lexus dealers and see who is having the last laugh at your expense..

Oh yeah, by the way son the GMC truck is waayyyy better than a piece of junk Chevy truck any day! Duh!  Stupid Chevy owners…

 

 

Advertisements

License to drive…

 

Mirrors adjusted? Check! Seat is in the proper position? Check! Steering wheel is placed at the optimal level for a 10 and 2 hand hold? Check! Are you mentally ready to drive today son? To which a death glare is leveled upon my kindly old man face.

And so goes the dilemma a father faces while teaching his 16-year-old to drive. His son frigidly sits behind the wheel; grip tighter than a vise, knuckles Casper white as the truck moves slowly out of the driveway onto our mile long dirt road.  Plenty of room here to screw things up before he merges with the masses of Dario Franchitti’s/ Dale Earnhardt’s vying for position on Americas roadways! 

Now all of this is supposed to be a monumental moment; a point in family history where a father enjoys sharing his knowledge of the road and joy of driving with his son/daughter. Yet all I feel is fear! Now over my storied employment history there have been numerous adults who learned to drive the behemoth 18 wheelers that dot our highway landscape from your truly! Never once did I trickle even the smallest droplet of sweat! I could firmly place my cup of coffee on the dashboard and nary a drop would spill from the styrofoam chalice. Yet with the family prodigy I am as nervous as a death row inmate waiting for a pardoning phone call. 

Maybe my nerves would wear a little softer if my son showed some “drive” (nice play on words huh?) when it comes to this enormous responsibility. But he is so lackadaisical about the whole process it leaves me screaming ugly profanities inside my head! Why? Why is so indifferent? Why does he not seem to care about the outcome? He doesn’t come across as self entitled. He says he truly wants to learn the finer art of motoring. Yet getting him into gear (another fine motoring reference) has been sticky to say the least!

When I was a kid (flashback moment-didiloo,didiloo,didilooooo) life was like this;

Hi everyone my name is little Betty! I am only 13 years old and I love cars! I have models of cars that I built scattered all over my room, wanna see? The Chevelle and 1957 Bel-Air are my favorite cars but I would drive a Chevy truck with a 454, nice wheels, tires, painted blue with ghost flames! Yes sir by golly that is the truck for me! I clean horse stalls and do all sorts of chores saving money up so that one day I can get my license, purchase my truck and drive where ever and whenever I want! Only 23 months, 2 weeks, 4 days, 16 hours and 12 minutes until I get my license! I like to sit in my dads old GMC and pretend I am driving all over town! Every day after school and on the weekends if you want to find me, that’s right where I’ll be! Ahhhh Shucks, I can’t wait to drive!!!

Flash forward-(didiloo, didiloo, didiloooooo)

It’s taking so long to turn 16! Being 15 is a giant pain in the butt! Do you know when I turn 16 I will own the coolest truck in town and be dating girls left and right! Summer is gonna blow if I don’t get my license! Man, cruising around in moms station wagon with my permit is a giant drag! But I’ll let you in on a little secret.  Shhhh come in a little closer so no one else can hear; when my parents are gone I steal the old man’s GMC and cruise all over town! I know cool huh! Yeah its ugly but seriously who cares and who needs to be 16, when you have an all access pass to party time with no license needed! Turn up the tunes, pick up the friends and whoop, whoop, just cruise! As long as I am home before 8, because you know that’s when my parents get back from their Monday night association meeting and my dad would kill me if he found out! Oh yeah, I am soooo cool!

Flash forward a little more (didiloo, didiloo di-oh you get the point)

Yes! I have my license! I have a truck! I have freedom! Life is great! So long suckers, I’m hitting the road, places I need to see, things I need to do and they don’t involve this place! Van Hagar playing loud, windows rolled down so all you “walkers” can partake in some choice music as I roll on by! Owning a car is fantastic! If you have the means I highly recommend it!!

Present day:

I get nothing from the lad! No enthusiasm for driving, cars or trucks, nothing, nothing at all.  Where have I gone wrong? Is this even my child? Spinning donuts in the parking lot, drag racing out on Fry road, cruising downtown Petaluma on a Saturday night with hundreds of other cool cars and trucks! Loud music, screaming, laughing and having a general good time! Isn’t that enough to entice a young lad to give it a go; to want his license more than anything on this God forsaken planet?

What is that you say? Cruising has been deemed against the law? Hanging out with your friends is considered loitering? A custom car with loud pipes and a cool stereo is now disturbing the peace? To even think of working on your own car you need to aquire a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanics. On top of that insurance and gasoline are five times the price they were when I was a kid?

Well hell, it all makes perfect sense now! What incentive does the lad have? Why would he want to drive at all?  Why would he even care? Apparently there is a reason they are called the “good old days”.  Because it was good and now we are old which leaves the youth of today nothing but boring days ahead!

So out of the driveway we go, his hands in the perfect 10 and 2 position, the stereo is on, air conditioner set and he is piloting this barge very well down the road.  I resist the urge to browse Facebook as we roll through the countryside. I am trying to build his self-confidence by acting like I fully trust him while I am slyly paying attention to every little detail of his driving manners.  It still ends up being a moment I will cherish forever.  We drive many miles over several days with small corrections here and there, then finally giving him the freedom to drive comfortably without repercussion he relaxes and settles back into the seat.  Another driver on the road, another human reaching the pinnacle of freedom for their age; He may be ready to take the final test securing his permanent license. It might be time for the sensei to release his student out into the world. We pull the truck over and with a sincere smile along with the adoring eyes of his father I lean in and tell him what a good job he is doing, he slowly looks over with a half cocked smile and says thanks. Still no real excitement on his part…

Maybe we should just scrap the whole idea and find him some public transit?

Every 15 Minutes

Steam rises from the hood as a faint wail can be heard off in the distance.  Sound is muffled, vision distorted he doesn’t understand the images placed before his eyes.  A kaleidoscope of colors passing through a spiderweb prism is all he can associate.  Looking to his right he finds a pair of shoes.  Not just any shoes but the Sketchers he bought his girlfriend for her 16th birthday.  Why? He wonders.  Why are they there on the seat of my car and how are they standing on their toes.  The improbability of shoes standing on their toes is more than his mind can process.  He shakes his head trying to clear the cobwebs but the alcohol in his system wont let it happen.  So he stares at the pink Sketchers in disbelief.  

The pink Sketchers he bought his girlfriend on her 16th birthday are in fact not standing on their toes.  They are still connected to her feet, feet that lead to her legs, legs that stretch through the windshield of his 2004 Nissan where she lay motionless on the hood. Dying.  The girl he loves is dying on the very hood that steam now rises from while a faint wail can be heard in the distance.

She cant seem to make it stop.  She doesn’t remember taking a nap, but now that she has found peaceful slumber she only wishes for what ever is dripping on her face to quit!  She dreams of water or syrup sliding across her eyes.  Swatting at the sticky substance she is not sure whether its real or part of her warm comfortable dream.  Then she feels it, starting out as a low uncomfortable burning, her dream translates it into fire.  Surrounding her, leaving her trapped yet somehow she knows better, fighting resisting the dream. Her eyes finally opened by the rush of adrenaline surging through her system, brought forward by the searing pain across her face. The sticky substance now identified is blood! She screams then screams again, taking in all the air her lungs will allow.  Her seat is covered in blood, the dashboard is covered in blood, her clothes are covered in blood.  Wait a minute; she thinks to herself.  Calm down and relax; is all she can say.  Her dads voice ringing in her ears for all the times she felt panicked and he calmed her down with those four little words.  Honey just “calm down and relax”.  She remembers getting in the car with her friend, they were headed to a friend’s house for a study group..  Wait her friend! He was driving them! She slowly turns to the left and its then her world is changed forever!

She now knows where the blood is from, oh sure some is from the head wound that burns across her scalp.  But the majority is from him.  He lies motionless against the door pillar, color gone from his face, lips barren and dry, a sandy glaze across the whites of his eyes he breathes no more. Still, lifeless, anything but the laughing energetic young man he was a mere 5 minutes ago.  She screams for him to wake, he doesn’t budge.  She slaps his face praying for a reaction! Anything! Anger and fear rip through her as she comes to realize he will never wake up, never move again, the charming, smart, dorky boy she had known since 5th grade was gone forever. She lays against him crying. Not knowing what to do or where to go, she cries.

The faint wail off in the distance is not a wounded animal, it doesn’t come from a piece of machinery or a child who has just been punished it comes from a shadow, a silhouette, an anomaly spread out on the pavement 25 yards away.  It twitches and writhes this anomaly of disproportion.  The top half in a serious battle with the bottom half. A losing battle from what can be gathered at first sight.  This shadow seems to be swimming on pavement, for it surrounded by liquid.  A red lake that ripples with the breeze it appears to be flowing to the lowest level it can reach.  Moving closer we see the shadow, the anomaly is wearing softball gear.  A bat off to the right a cleat off to the left stuck in the center of what appears to be a childs water-color.  Smeared across hot black asphalt lay various shades of red.  She doesn’t know why she is face down and can’t move her lower half.  She doesn’t understand why she is vomiting non stop. She feels a “fight or flight” reaction that she can’t control.  Like a trapped animal she howls, claws and fights against the chains that bind her to this place.  An abdomen that wont flex, a pair of legs grotesquely deformed, rotated and broken, she fights.  She has fought her whole life against those who said she couldn’t.  She has fought her whole life to achieve her small successes in school , at home and on the field of play, now she fights purely for her life.  She cannot move anymore yet she still fights.. 

He has shaken the cobwebs and moved beyond the pink Sketchers.  Trembling with fear he opens the car door and stands up to survey the origin of steam rising off the front of his car.  He cannot believe what lays before his still blurry eyes.  Two vehicles are heavily damaged, the front end on his car is folded up like a piece of paper, his girlfriend lay on the hood. Bleeding. Unconscious. It appears he has struck another car in the driver’s door.  A portion of the drivers head lays split open on the center post of the car.  It appears another occupant, most likely a female is crying and shaking the driver looking for a response.  As he walks around the front of his car, pulling out his cell phone he see’s a bloody pile of clothing fighting against itself on the street off in the distance.  It also appears to be a female and she has a bat, glove and is missing her shoes??

What has he done?  How did this happen?  It was only minutes ago he was at a party, laughing, drinking and having a good time with his girlfriend.  What is he going to tell his parents?  What is he going to tell her parents?  This can’t be happening he is going to college in 6 weeks!  What does this mean for his future?  It was only a couple of drinks right? He tells himself he is fine and there is no way the cops will ever know..

He makes the call to 911…

Every 15 minutes a person is involved in an alcohol related accident.  This is the premise of the Every 15 Minutes program held at high schools across the country prior to Senior Prom and Graduation.  Every 15 Minutes is a two-day program focusing on high school juniors and seniors.  The program challenges them to think about drinking, driving, personal safety and the responsibility of making the right decisions.  The program also focuses on the impact these choices make on family, friends and the community. 

The story I wrote above was about our scenario today April 26th 2012.  It is an re-enactment or compilation of many accidents I have responded to over the years.  For as the Every 15 Minutes program has an impact on the children and their families. Drinking and driving has an impact on all first responders.  The firefighters, the police officers, the ambulance crews and the hospital personnel who fight for your child or family members life.  People who are advocates for their survival.  These are images I carry with me always.  Images I can’t erase or just forget! People whose lives were changed forever from one poorly made decision. I remember them all and share them with you so you will remember to never get behind the wheel of a car after you have been drinking. 

Dont drink and drive. 

 All pictures are of high school actors who volunteered to help raise awareness to teenage drinking and driving. I am very proud to be a part of the Every 15 Minutes program and the lasting effect it has on our participants, their family members and the audience that witnesses the event.

Who taught you to drive??

RANT ALERT, RANT ALERT, RANT ALERT, RANT ALERT, RANT ALERT

Oh yeah ladies and gentlemen its time for Betty to bust out the pain! Lay down the smack! Bring up the blazingly obvious that all of you notice, bitch and complain about to yourselves but never to anyone else!

Drivers Licence Mayhem

As far as I know if you own a driver’s licence in the great United States of America then it means you passed a test allowing you to hold said licence.  Correct?????  It means that when you decided it was time to obtain these valued credentials you studied, went to drivers education classes, partook in valuable drive time on both freeways and surface streets with a certified instructor? Right????  Last but not least, like the rest of us valid card holding members of the united front of commuters you sweated buckets while a DMV representative sat alongside you, with a clip board in hand, guiding you through a designated course, determining if you had the ability/talent allowing you behind the wheel of your current 3400 pound bucket of rust! Didnt you??

Yet with all that being clearly stated why on earth do you lack the ability to safely merge onto the freeway?  At what point and time in all those hours of behind the wheel training did anyone ever show you how to pull all the way down the on ramp at elementary school zone speeds to then stop, look over your shoulder and pray for an opening you can squeeze into from 0-75 mph? With your Prius! It’s not going to happen! Unless you own a Lamborghini Gallardo and are a very talented driver you are not going to make this move without serious consequences!

Of course it must run in the family because this morning I met your cousin Captain Oblivious!  You know Captain Oblivious don’t you?  Yeah, he’s the one that comes down the on ramp at freeway speed and never looks over his shoulder!  Stereo up loud, hands at the ten and two position, head faced straight forward!  Tractor Trailer? He don’t care! Giant 4×4? Better get out-of-the-way! He coming down that ramp like a skateboard to hell and there’s nothing you can do about it! He figures you will move out of fear!  Apparently he missed the chapter about safely “merging”!  Under the definition of “merge” it must read Merge: to ram large object into small or non-existent space without repercussion. The rest of us missed that chapter of the book but not you Captain Oblivious! Not you!

Of course my rant wouldn’t be complete without a visit from out other traffic family member!  Flat floored Fred!  You see Fred enjoys driving really fast! Fred runs the stops signs with the skill and grace of even the best California stop artist! Fred can’t help himself as he moves between lanes like a skilled race car driver.  Drafting off a Lincoln, cutting the front of a Ford and pushing his way into position at the next stop light all so he gets the jump on you the moment it turns green! But Flat floored Fred has a serious flaw. Dont put him in the fast lane on the freeway!  We have all seen him at his best! He darts down the on ramp at full throttle, smoke billowing from his 1993 Cutlass Supreme! He is coming fast, faster, faster than BAM! Across three lanes like Steve freaking McQueen! That car settles into the fast lane looking strong and stealthy until suddenly the anchor falls out of the trunk! Now Flat floored Fred shows his true side, its 55mph.  Yep he’ll break every intown speed limit all damn day long but get him on the freeway and suddenly we are driving Ms. Daisy!  Heres a hint for Flat floored Fred.  If everyone (and I do mean EVERYONE) is passing you from all three of the right hand lanes.  Get out of the fast lane!!! You are just frustrating everyone! They all want to kill you!  That is defintley not the “your number one” sign they’re flashing you!!!!

And what the heck is up with roundabouts?  These little freaks of roadway nature are nothing more than an excuse for most people to see how fast thier cars can go while drifting!  No kidding! They may work in Europe to ease traffic congestion but here in the states they are just an invitation for the Red Bull Drifting series to have try outs! They are perfect! How many times can I go around this thing sideways, smoking the tires and blocking all others from entering into the circle of trust?  You know whats an even better idea? Place the round abouts right next to high schools!  Yep thats the ticket! Then the teenagers can all pretend to be Tanner Foust! Its pure genious!

Man I feel better! Its true purging is good for the soul!

Now piss off all of you before large 4×4 guy with dents in his truck loses his temper and shows you the bumper of the Betty mobile!

A Country Boy Can Survive

 

 

My life is filled with a plethora of interesting topics, filling my wordy coffers and yet tonight as I stare endlessly at my computer screens flickering abyss I find only one thing to expend my energy upon.

A Country Boy Can Survive.

Thats right the 1982 smash hit from legendary singer/songwriter Hank Williams jr. A Country Boy Can Survive was our friday night, lets party and do it right anthem.  Not only did it hold some form of misguided meaning for each and every one of us, but it was one of the few songs ever played that guaranteed all of us would instantaneously drop what ever we were doing and break into chorus.  Country’s version of Grease! We sang at the top of our lungs, the louder the better!  If a bottle of Jack Daniels didnt emerge before the second chorus, one of us had to go into town, obtain said bottle and reemerge with shot glasses for all as we crooned over the melodious ballad all over again. We were out of tune, some would even say tone-deaf, we were drunk and life was good!

I believe that song is as relevent today as it was 30 years ago. Take a moment to peruse this little gem of a story put to music.

The preacher man says it’s the end of time
And the Mississippi River she’s a goin’ dry
The interest is up and the Stock Markets down
And you only get mugged
If you go down town

Seriously, all preacher men have been saying we are near the end of days and as far as the Mississippi River goes, the environmentalists have been crying about that ever since Mark Twain wrote about her in 1883! Dont even get me started on the foolish travesty that continues to make up our money hungry stock market. Occupy Wall Street no way! You gonna get mugged!

I live back in the woods, you see
A woman and the kids, and the dogs and me
I got a shotgun rifle and a 4-wheel drive
And a country boy can survive
Country folks can survive

I think about how wonderful it would be to “live back in the woods you see”, especially with the “woman and the kids and the dogs and me”. I do own “a shotgun, a rifle and a four-wheel drive”.  Just not sure if that is all the pre-requisite needed for a country boy to survive.

I can plow a field all day long
I can catch catfish from dusk till dawn
We make our own whiskey and our own smoke too
Ain’t too many things these ole boys can’t do
We grow good ole tomatoes and homemade wine
And a country boy can survive
Country folks can survive

Crap I need to know how to plow a field all day long? Thank goodness I can catch catfish from dusk till dawn.  Now I am not sure but the last time I checked growing your own smoke could get you 4-months to 6 years! And well we wont even begin to discuss the legal ramification of moonshining! Can you say TAXMAN?

Because you can’t starve us out
And you can’t make us run
Cuz we’re them old boys raised on shotgun
And we say grace and we say Ma’am
And if you ain’t into that we don’t give a damn

I have never seen a starving hillbilly, and the big ones don’t need to run, they would just as soon shoot your city slickin butt than chase you down! My boys know how to say grace and Ma’am is really just a nicer way of saying Bitch isn’t it?  Well rumor has it anyways…

We came from the West Virginia coal mines
And the Rocky Mountains and the and the western skies
And we can skin a buck; we can run a trot-line
And a country boy can survive
Country folks can survive

Now for some unknown reason the verse below always had us on our toes hollering like a bunch of starving alley cats!

I had a good friend in New York City
He never called me by my name, just hillbilly
My grandpa taught me how to live off the land
And his taught him to be a businessman
He used to send me pictures of the Broadway nights
And I’d send him some homemade wine

But he was killed by a man with a switch blade knife
For 43 dollars my friend lost his life
Id love to spit some Beechnut in that dudes eyes
And shoot him with my old 45
Cause a country boy can survive
Country folks can survive

Yeah! Thats what I am talking about! No damn cops needed there, just shoot the man right after he starts squealing about all the Beechnut spit you just splattered into his eyes! WHOOOOOOO! Thats country boy, that’s what it’s all about right? After those two verses the song just kind of wanders on, anyways we were always to busy high fiving each other to even notice that ole Hank threw in a little shout out to California!

Cause you can’t starve us out and you can’t make us run
Cuz we’re them old boys raised on shotgun
And we say grace and we say Ma’am
And if you ain’t into that we don’t give a damn

So true, once you been raised on shotgun it really is hard to give a damn about anything!

We’re from North California and south Alabam
And little towns all around this land
And we can skin a buck; we can run a trot-line
And a country boy can survive
Country folks can survive

So there it is, A Country Boy Can Survive, undoubtedly one the most recognizable country, get drunk, kick the crap out of someone, American redneck songs! So why tonight of all nights am I so infatuated with reliving my youths past digressions?  What can I possibly see in a 30-year-old song that I never considered before tonight?  How could I have possibly allowed myself to lower the learning curve of all my readers with this hillbilly drivel?

Well its like this.

Tonight as I stared endlessly into my computer screens flickering abyss, I heard a noise coming from across the hall.  It was loud, grainy, crackling and off-key, yet I recognized this noise right away.  You see inside this noise, confined in its purity was the vocal etchings of an eleven year old boy.  This eleven year old boy had finished his homework, cleaned up his dishes and traveled upstairs with only one thing upon his mind.  To shower.  Apparently when one steps into the shower, one believes they are in fact Hank Williams Jr.  With all the passion a country kid can muster while buck naked in the shower, my eleven year old son busted out A Country Boy Can Survive.  It was off-key, he sounded like a wounded rabbit, and judging from the rapid footstep I heard from behind the door he was dancing to it as well. Yet he sung it from the heart and he knew every single word.  For a brief moment, by himself he was a star.  And for his dad, eavesdropping in on the impromptu concert.  He was my hero.  Another generation will be swinging from the Grand Ole Opry chandelier! Lord have patience..

Versatile Blogger Award

I haven’t had an orthodox career, and I’ve wanted more than anything to have your respect. The first time I didn’t feel it, but this time I feel it, and I can’t deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me!”

You really like me………

I have been nominated for the Personal Blogger Award by Vanessa Chapman http://vanessa-chapman.com 

This is an award bloggers award to each other as a way of showing appreciation for the blogs they enjoy. I am humbled and honored.

(I plagiarized the rules from Vanessa as I feel there is no reason to re-invent the wheel.)

The rules for accepting this award are as follows:

1. Thank the award-givers and link back to them in your post. Easy-Done

2. Share 7 things about yourself. Ok hope I don’t scare anyone, but easy-done.

3. Pass this award along to 15 other bloggers. Fail! Only could nominate 13! 😦

4. Contact your chosen bloggers to let them know about the award. Will let them know as soon as I’ve posted this

Seven things about myself;

  1. I am 45 years old and I can’t wait for retirement. When I refer to retirement it is not in the sense of me walking away from a career, gold watch in hand to sit on some god forsaken island, smoking pot until I die.  On the contrary, I cant wait to start the second half of my life.  To re-invent myself and live life twice.  I have had a stellar first half, the second half can only get better.
  2. I can walk into a burning building, rescue people from a crushed or damaged vehicle, repel off a 5 story building with confidence and walk under a ladder without fear of superstitious reprisal.  But I cannot, and I mean no way, no how can I stand being in the proximity of a spider.  Those eight legged little freaks get me every time.  You want to hear a full-grown 200 pound man jump and scream like a 6th grade school girl then toss a black widow my direction.
  3. My ability to tell the dimensions of something from sight are frustratingly astounding.  Spatial relations are my thing and I am borderline “rainman” about it.  Have a picture to hang, I can tell you one side is off 1/2 inch any direction just by looking at it.  Just had your new bookshelves installed, I am the guy who within 20 seconds of being in the room knows exactly where the carpenter “cheated” or “shorted” you on material.  It makes me crazy and it makes my friends crazy as well.
  4. Scary movies are stupid and a waste of time.  I laugh through them which annoys everyone.  I can tell exactly what is going to happen when it is going to happen. 
  5. 1950’s pin-up girls are awesome.  You can have your skinny, anorexic, vegan, boney butt tooth picks.  I like my women with natural curves, and clothing that leaves something to the imagination. 
  6. When I was 10/11 while walking up my long driveway (we lived in the country) a car pulled up with a creepy guy in it who asked me if I wanted a ride.  Then told me to get in the damn car. He had one hand on the wheel and one in his trousers.  Thank god I had enough sense to run.  I still have nightmares about that guy even at 45. 
  7. I am terrified I will fail as a father.  I put up a good front, but deep down inside I always feel as though failure is right around the corner.  It’s why I write this blog.  It allows me to laugh, vent, and share my experiences.  I can look back on it when I am feeling low and remind myself of all the good I have done with my children.  I know they will laugh looking back on all this as adults.

15 bloggers to pass this award along too.

Soshi-Tech- http://soshitech.com

More valuable information in one blog than should legally be allowed in the states of California and Utah.  Everyone else is OK!

A Detailed House- http://adetailedhouse.com

I love houses and the fine art of decorating them in some of the finest trim.  If you are a closet design geek such as myself who also thinks you can take on any project, than this is the blog for you. The photography is very well done also.

Raising a Realist- http://raisingarealist.com

Scott is a mild-mannered high school English teacher. This blog is his attempt to capture all of his daughters moments.  As a parent of four, I can relate with his tag line. “126 kids but only one will wipe my but when I am old”

Mayahood- http://mayahoodblog.com

Adventure seeker, world traveler turned mother.  She has a mixture of her views on motherhood along with guest posts.  It is an entertaining blog.

Bucket List Publications- http://lesleycarter.wordpress.com

This one is near and dear to me as it is a blog that completely follows the premiss of getting out there and doing all those things you keep putting off.  They even pick some of your bucket list suggestions and through donations make it happen for you.  It’s quite the premise and I enjoy reading it immensely

A Confederacy of Spinsters- http://confederacyofspinsters.com

This is one of my favorites!  Three women from Texas, each one taking a turn writing about life trials and tribulations all under pseudo names.  Grace, Mae and Kate.  Its is always witty, relevant and fun!  I look forward to new postings they way one waits at the window for a long-awaited package from UPS. 

Musings of a stay at home Jewish Father- http://stayathometatte.wordpress.com

Another blog dedicated to a male role model at home raising his child.  Its funny and real with great pictures as he chronicles the day-to-day life of a stay at home dad.

In My Opinion- http://diane-ownes.com

Diane is on a quest to ask a different, relevant question everyday for a year. Interesting concept and I find the answers entertaining.

Debut Dad- http://debutdad.wordpress.com

Brenden is a first time dad who lives in Australia.  He blogs about juggling the changes in his life with the birth of their first-born child. Good luck Brenden and keep em coming. 

Vanessa Chapman- http://vanessa-chapman.com

Vanessa nominated my blog,  and although she is already nominated I enjoy her blog and look forward to every new edition she puts forth.  From superstition to the purchase of a new pair of boots.  She is funny and I find her blog to be a good way to blow a little time at work! Ha!

365 trinkets- http://365trinkets.wordpress.com

This blog is a reminder of how much crap we accumulate as adults.  His mission? To get rid of 365 trinkets he has stored as treasured keepsakes over a 25 year period.  The blog revolves around taking pictures of each one (for memories sake) then getting rid of said item. 

maggiemaeijustsaythis- http://maggiemaeijustsaythis.wordpress.com

A blog dedicated to writing poetry and personal trials and tribulations.  I enjoy the freedom with which she expresses herself.

Take a shower- http://takeashower.wordpress.com

A blog about Eloise and the raising of her five children.  She writes about the past and present, reflecting on the moments in time with the raising of her five children.

I am sorry to say I only have 13 to nominate for this award.  I fail!  But the thirteen I have chosen I follow with great intent.  I enjoy many other blogs but they are new to my collection and I havent gotten the chance to know them well enough yet for a nomination. 

Vanessa you were right, I also anguished over my choices.

Road Rage Attitude

Cruising down the freeway at 70+ I see you coming off in the distance.  You are a blip, a faint blob, an anomaly made of carbon fiber, plastic and steel.  You move between cars with ease, accelerating, decelerating. Jig to the left cut to the right. Every lane is the fast lane for you, there are no obstacles to overcome while driving a $140,000.00 piece of German engineering. 

I envision you, enveloped in fine leather upholstery, cooled to meet the demands of this warm spring day.  You move closer and as you cross from the number one lane to the number three, I take mental notice of the special “Aero” package that adorns the lower half of your car. A $25,000.00 dollar extra with suspension upgrades and race inspired braking.  The dream of every red-blooded, automobile loving, testosterone filled male! 

I feel as though you are a well-rounded man, one of travel and education.  Most likely the product of a family with means.  Nothing was too good for you growing up and the expectations associated with it must have held a heavy burden.  But you survived and prospered.  Pledged to the best fraternity and graduated with honors.  Voted most likely to succeed adored by all who have known you.   

Your closing fast, having cut off two lessor commuter cars along the way.  Why are you driving like a jerk? That car should be effortlessly moving between vehicles without any need for “cutting” someone off.  Maybe they were just beneath your piece of freeway art, they deserved to see nothing more than a flash of your rear bumper in passing.  Judging by the move you just placed on that semi-truck to my rear right, patience must be wearing thin? Or could it be the horses under the hood, all 640 of them screaming to be let out of the stable.  They don’t let just anyone drive this type of car you know! Only someone with skill, stamina and good looks!  It won the 24 hours at Daytona and with that type of pedigree this is nothing more than a short sprint! She is hardly even breathing hard moving from side to side annihilating anyone or anything in its path. 

Oh my it seems you have picked my lane and are closing rapidly on this old 4×4 truck.  You are still driving angry which isn’t cool in my book, I hate guys who drive like idiots!  I have scraped to many of you off the freeway in my career.  You are closer and I can see the silver paint glistens, like fresh rain laid across its landscape. Although as I understand it carbon fiber has a tendency to look that way.  You are close enough now for my envy to take full hold of my emotions.  You are driving the kind of vehicle I have always envisioned myself using for transportation.  Fast, artfully designed, the finest materials, handling of an F-1 racer, just sinful. 

We are coming up on a group of cars and I am trying to get into your head. I am traveling at 70, you are closing the gap with a fervor reminiscent of the fast and furious!  You must be well into 100+! I find myself depressing the fuel pedal as if I have a chance to run with the likes of you.  Further I push, the faster we go, you want the easy pass but my exuberance for parody wont let you have it. You need to slow down and there is no way I am going to let you keep driving that gorgeous metallic sculpture like a tool!  You are on my bumper now, I have left you no options, we are trapped in traffic. Jigging to the inside you’re taking a look at the right lane only to find it blocked, a slip to the outside, you take the lane and punch it, I press harder closing the gap, leaving you alongside so I may admire and yes even drool a little over you four-wheeled masterpiece. We are running window to window when I look over, hoping all my premonitions will be true.  Hoping to get a glimpse of what I wish I was, refined, educated, well-preserved, dressed as a man of my stature should.  And there you are, we make eye contact and, and, and….

You are a teenager! A freaking teenager! A freaking teenager driving a $165,000.00 dollar dream machine! Not only driving it, but driving it like an a-hole!  Who the heck do you think you are?  Son of a biscuit eater!! This is horse shit!  As the blood drains from my face you turn your 115 pound frame my direction and look up from under your sideways, bandana wrapped, flat brimmed Raiders hat and throw me the bird! Suspicions confirmed! Road rage driver! But are you bloody serious!! Throwing me the bird? Minutes ago you were revered as a pillar to social perfection and now I am faced with this baggy pants, pimple popping moron who either has a daddy Warbucks or is a kingpin in the local drug trafficking operation.

Well son, I don’t know if you have taken a good, long hard look at Ole red here but she is big, with big tires, a big engine and one thing is for certain she has hit before and she will hit again!  I hope you have you big girl panties on! I peddle her up and keep the little punk blocked in, he lets out and falls behind to move back up the right side hoping for a clear shot to cut in front of me.  I give him no such chance. Using an R.V. to block his advancement he is trapped like a cabbie in New York rush hour traffic.  I have ole red almost floored but every time junior picks up speed so do I.  When he lets off the gas, I coast her down just enough to keep him trapped.  No longer will he abuse the roadways and use our vehicles for his own personal day at Daytona! You earn that right with age buddy! This back and forth goes on for minutes, he is highly agitated judging from the flying fingers and hands each time he passes behind me moving onto the opposite sides.  Finally after 5-7 miles of messing with Mario jr by creating the equivelent of an automobile “blood clot”.  The boy gets the best of me, an opening, a small one, but an opening just the same; he takes it, runs in front of me and starts to take off!  Then without explanation he slows down, not just a little bit, but slows all the way down meeting the flow of traffic. Then stays that way.  Why? Is there a cop ahead? Was he angry with me for slowing his butt down ?  Did he feel the need for some form of revenge? Or maybe, just maybe, he had taken “the hint” from a disgruntled sorry old man who can only dream of owning a car of that caliber? “The hint”? To slow down, and calm down before you kill someone!

Or maybe just maybe he realized that; sometimes it’s not about the car or the speeds its capable of reaching.  Sometimes its about realizing you are out of control. Recognizing that you will get there when you get there and just because you have 640hp doesnt mean you need to use all of it just to go to 7-11 down the street! Sometimes its about maturing and keeping your road rage in check.  Sometimes those things can only be shown to you by a crazy old man in a big red 4×4 with three times the driving experience. 

And…..

Sometimes crazy old men should just quit dreaming about little silver sports cars and be happy with their beat up old 148,000 mile red 4×4.  (heavy sigh)

Sometimes its fun to be “that guy”…….