gabble snarf pfft heehee

When I woke this morning, I found myself in a very strange position, and upon further reconnaissance, I determined that something impossible, amazing, and, some would say, completely freaky had happened.

Instead of being on my normal side of the bed, within easy reach of my alarm clock, I was on the opposite side, and not quite in the bed at all.  I was in the little prince’s co-sleeper.  I should have immediately realized the absurdity of the situation then, as I’m slightly too large to fit in his co-sleeper, but it was early, and I was tired, and I hadn’t had my coffee yet.  As it turned out, I wasn’t going to be getting coffee at all today.

As I tried to roll over and silence the annoying bleat of the alarm, I became frustrated when I learned that I did not have full control of my limbs.  Again, in hind sight this should have been a major clue as to what had happened, but, again, in my defense, I was tired, it was early, and there had been no coffee.  I know we have already covered that, but I thought it bore repeating.

I opened my mouth to ask the queen to please turn the alarm off since I seemed to lack the basic coordination and control to do so, and all that came out was, “gabble snarf.”  I found this odd, but not entirely unprecedented.  So, with much effort, I turned my head and struggled to force my body to contort so I could look across the bed.  That’s when I noticed that my body was exactly where it should have been.  Understanding slowly began to creep into my brain.

I gazed down and confirmed the truth of it.  I had switched bodies with the little prince.  I again opened my mouth, not sure what I was going to say, but figuring that the first curse words out of the prince’s mouth might as well come from me.  However, before I could utter a single four letter word, and I had some choice ones lined up, I was distracted by my cute little toes.  I grasped them with my tiny hands and shoved them into my mouth.

The noises I uttered then were involuntary, “pfft.  heehee.”

I have to say, though, it was bliss.

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come on lads!

Am I sports fan?  What does fandom mean to me?

You obviously haven’t been paying attention…

So, we’re going to sit here and sing “Glory, Glory, Man United” until it sinks in.  Wait, hold that thought, I need to go get my jersey, scarf and beanie for the full affect.  And, yes, I do wear those when I watch games on TV.  Because how else will the team now I’m supporting them?

Paraphernalia is meaningless though… Any casual fan can pick up a jersey and throw it on to watch the games.  Any casual fan can pick up the songs and chants and incorporate those into their daily lives.  But, I am not a casual fan.  I will wake up at 4AM on the weekend to watch games live.  I could record them and watch them at a more reasonable hour… but live is so much better.  That’s where the magic is.  No mere casual fan would do that.

However, you are right, I’ve never been to Manchester.  I’ve never been to Old Trafford.  I’ve never gotten to see my beloved Red Devils storm the pitch in the flesh.  One day I will.  That’s the best I can do for now.

In the meantime, while I’m saving my pennies and waiting for the prince to get a little older, I’m going to say scream sing call out “LA” and if you could please provide the appropriate response of “Galaxy” that would be fantastic.  Ready?  Here we go:

LA!

…..

Hmm… I couldn’t hear you… but I’m going to assume that’s just because I’m too far away and not because you didn’t loudly and proudly shout it out, and definitely not because you didn’t even open your mouth and say it at all.  You wouldn’t do that to me.

My hometown team, the LA Galaxy, formerly of David Beckham fame, are my go-to source for local soccer, football, footy, what have you.  I wear the jersey and the scarf and the beanie.  I know the chants and the call and response routines.  I go to the games and get lost in the frenzied madness and excitement of that atmosphere – there is nothing like being the twelfth man.  Even the queen has a jersey and comes out to the games, my enthusiasm, my fandom, has rubbed off on her.

And the little prince?  Let us not forget about him!  He already has a jersey style onesie, and he will wear it well…. as soon as he is big enough for it.

Come on lads!  This isn’t just a kick-about.  Get it up the wings, get those passes snapping in faster, get it in the box!  Shoot the ball!  I want to see that net bulge!  I need those goals.  I need those three points.

I’m a three points junkie!

skills for trade

I have often wondered how different the world would be if we had never invented “money” and everything had continued to operate under the Barter system.  There are certainly romantic aspects of that – everybody would have to do their part, earn their place in the world.  Neighbors and families would be closer and would have to help each other out.  Etc…

However, invariably, whenever I think about this I must also question what skills I have to trade, what I would be able to offer that would ensure my survival and the survival of my family…

My first thought is to say, “Well, I’m good with numbers, I could help people manage their finances.”  Except, there would no longer be finances that need managing.

My second thought is, “I could barter out my survival skills, teaching people how to backpack, camp, find (and make) clean water, navigation by the sun and stars, etc…”  Only, those would either be skills everyone would have already, would no longer need (because who has time for such frivolities as traipsing around the Sierra anymore), or would be in such low demand that it could never be something I could trade.

Third, fourth and fifth thoughts, “No one would need me to teach/coach them soccer or volleyball.  There probably wouldn’t be enough demand for my dj’ing skills.  And ditto my writing.”

Then it occurs to me to return to my roots, and the little garden I’m growing in my postage stamp backyard.  I know how to make basil and cucumbers thrive.  I may finally be getting the knack of tomatoes too.  Perhaps if I had more land I could grow enough to trade my surplus for other things.

I’m no Mr. Fixit, but I am half decent plumber… I could do work for my neighbors in that regard too.

And the queen can make wonders with her sewing machine, serger, and crochet hooks.

I think we’d be okay.

I think we’d thrive.

And my neighbors out there in the kingdom.  Let me know if you need any tomatoes, cucumbers, dried or fresh basil.  Or some help with plumbing issues.  Or some new clothes or blankets.

a letter to myself (in a way)

Dear Tentativeness,

I know you served me well when I was navigating the tough years of childhood.  You kept me safe.  You kept me in line.  You made sure I was around to grow into the person I have become now.  But, you have served your purpose and it is time for you to “ship out.”

I have a family now, a wife and a son, and having you around makes me unable to fulfill my role, rise to my new obligations and responsibilities, as I would be able to without you.

When those “kids” are in the jacuzzi until midnight and we are all trying to get some sleep you keep me from going outside and telling them that the hot tub closed at 10.  That’s okay for now, because the little prince can sleep through anything still, but that won’t always be the case.  You even keep me from picking up the phone and calling the police when I see people trespassing, jumping the fence to get into the hot tub enclosure during the day.  What purpose are you serving in that situation?  None.  It’s time for you to leave.

When phone calls need to be made, people need to be talked to, because I either can’t understand some paperwork that was mailed to me, or because I have a complaint about a service I pay for, or pretty much any other situation, and you keep me from picking up the phone because “it probably won’t do any good,” or, “it hasn’t worked before,” or “the bill isn’t all that much I might as well pay it,” what purpose are you serving then?  None.  I need to be able to fight for my family no matter what is at stake: saving five dollars on the cable bill or telling a doctor that he isn’t the end-all-be-all and doesn’t always know what is right for my child.  Tentativeness, it is time for you to leave.

When I’m assigned new projects at work, or when I need to reach out for help on an existing project, and you keep me from owning the task, from “thinking outside the box,” from doing as good a job as I know I can do, what purpose are you serving?  None.  You are holding me back, keeping me from advancing through the ranks of the corporate world as quickly and as smoothly as I should be.  You are holding me back, tentativeness, and it is time for you to leave.

I appreciate all you have done for me over the years.  You helped me steer clear of peer pressure situations (mostly).  You helped me avoid doing anything too dangerous in my youth when I thought I was immortal and invincible.  You helped keep me on a path that led me to my wife and my child and the family we have built together.  And, I will never forget any of that.

So, thank you, but please… the door is right there, I need you to use it.  I need you to let me go.  I need you to let me be the father and husband I am supposed to be.

Thank you,

Matticus

……

P.S. Don’t go too far…

 

the river

In a few weeks time, I will pack my little family up, throw them in the car, and drive them away from civilization, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and into the wild.

Okay, okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, we won’t actually be going that far off the grid.  There will be other people there.  There are showers, and a store, and a hotel (of sorts) if they are needed.  There are other amenities too that will make our week of roughing it a whole lot less “rough” and a whole lot more “relax.”

It is supposed to be a vacation after all…

We will be tent camping it, though, which will be a very interesting experience, I think, with a 3 month old.  We’ll see how that little adventure goes.  We know it’s doable because I was camping there at 3 months old too.  It’s almost like the start of a little tradition, just as camping is for our family.

My maternal grandfather, and some of his friends, started camping there in the 40’s… and we’ve been going ever since.  The campgrounds have changed.  The staff have changed.  And, still, we keep going back.  The rules have gotten stricter.  The costs have gone up.  And, still, we keep going back.  Some years we go as a large group and some years we go in smaller family units as we can find time.  Some years we go for weeks at a time and some years we run up for a very short weekend.  Some years the weather is perfect, some years we get rained out, some years it is so scorching hot we can’t keep ice in the ice chests.  And, still, we keep going back.

It’s the river that calls to us… the sound of it thundering down the canyon, the sight of it cutting through the rocks, the fish hidden within it’s cold and swift depths, the beauty of it, the power of it.  When I’m rock hopping out to the middle, when I cast my line just right, and snare a fish in a hidden pool, I feel connected with the rest of my family in a way I don’t get at any other time or place.  I wonder if my grandfather, my great uncle, my father, my uncle, my brother, my cousins, have been on the rock before me.  I bet they have, and that makes me smile.

And now, this year, my son will be going for the first time.  He’s a few years too young to be on the river, but he will fish it with me one day, and that too makes me smile.