Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Off Season Post 20: A Ride on Lady Bird

Hello, Readers. Welcome back to yet another day-late posting on my wonderful blog. You’ll be happy to know that I used the extra time to contemplate life’s most pressing issues in order to wow you with my rhetoric and thrill you with my seemingly endless knowledge this week. Actually, I was swamped (yet again) at my “real” job as an Austin litigation lawyer. Sigh. The good news is that I get paid for that gig. The bad news is that my boss knows how much I get paid for that gig. Ergo, the extra work. Please direct every bit of your dissatisfaction at him.

It goes without saying that I never want to disappoint those of you who take the time to shirk your responsibilities by shutting your office doors, crouching unassumingly in your cubicles, or handing your children some candy and instructing them to explore the closest drainage pipe behind the house for a bit while you read. In light of that, I’ve got some random thoughts piled up that I’d like to share this week.

Before I begin I’d like to give this week’s shout out to a person who has read and commented on this blog almost as long as I’ve written it. Her name is Mary Pruitt and she writes a blog entitled It has tons of chick stuff on it. Mary is actually the person who sent me both the idea and the “recipe” for the now infamous Diaper Cake.

After a few years of intermittent yet oddly consistent correspondence, Mary and I finally got to meet face-to-face after she was summoned to Austin by the previously aforementioned and much maligned “real” job. She was nice enough to trade in her Christian Louboutin Miss Chacha Sandal Pumps for a pair of boots and accompany me to one of my favorite local honky tonks for a few drinks and some live music. She opted for a fancy drink rather than a Lone Star, but hey, she’s from Dallas. I won’t hold that against her.

It was a pleasure finally meeting you, Mary. Perhaps I’ll go to Barney’s or Nordstrom and get a pair of whatever the male version of Christian Louboutin is the next time I make it up to the Big D. After all, I’d hate to stick out. Does that guy make boots?

Incidentally, if you haven’t read my Stuff Chicks Like series of posts, feel free to waste some more of your boss’s time today. I had fun doing those and the diaper cake is still to this day one of my favorite posts. Throw this into your browser-- I’m strongly considering a new run at the Stuff Chicks Like. I’ll get back to you on that.

Diaper cake in place, let’s get to it.

As was the case last week, I struggled for subject matter this week. In light of my recent athletic underwear purchase (I went with Champion if you’re interested), I had little to go on after bearing it all. Incidentally, I smiled to myself repeatedly this week at the thought of some pre-pubescent, fire weary boy taking comfort in his new set of tiny underwear. Charity warms the heart, doesn’t it? Annnnyyyhoooo . . .

As was also the case last week, I decided to climb on my mountain bike in order to clear my cluttered cranium and search amidst the serenity of the cedar tree silhouettes for inspiration. Because my schedule was tight, I threw the bike onto the rack and headed to work with the intent of riding around Town Lake (or Lady Bird Lake as it’s now known) after I put in my daily time for The Man.

After a day of some fancy lawyerin’ I donned my bike shorts (lesson learned) and headed to my parking garage to symbolically unlock my bike from captivity so that it could feel the warm Austin evening air coursing around its frame. It occurred to me that, like my bike, I would soon be thankful to be unlocked from my sedentary post in order to feel that air on my face. Symbolism kicks ass, doesn’t it?

As I began my ride many thoughts filled my head. Work, life, obligations, Oprah Winfrey…you know, the standard stuff. However, as the steady crunch of the pink granite gravel beneath my tires began to lull me into serenity, my mind cleared and I resolved to keep track of my surroundings and the thoughts that they provoked. I decided to forego my ever-present iPod in favor of the sounds and sights of Austin, Texas at five thirty on a Monday afternoon. Below are some of the things I noticed and what I thought about them when I did.


Because I chose to head East away from town and toward Longhorn Dam riding on the south side of the lake, I ended up biking for a short distance on Riverside Drive. To answer the question undoubtedly posed by the perceptive ones in the bunch; yes, I was riding around Town LAKE. However, the three “lakes” within the Austin city limits are actually dammed portions of the Colorado River. Thus, “Riverside” Drive.

As I pedaled quickly up the gradual hill in search of re-entry on to the trail I noticed many of the businesses along the street. There were restaurants, a dry cleaner, various jewelry stores, a pawn shop, and some other dilapidated buildings that once housed businesses in search of the hustle and bustle of anxious customers in need of whatever the sign on the door said was for sale.

As I rode further I noticed a newer set of buildings. It was the 21st Century version of the strip mall, which is to say that it was an upscale apartment complex (now referred to as an “urban living center”) complete with first floor retail shops and restaurants accented by heat-loving succulents and other perennial plants and xeroscapes.

Frankly, I don’t know why places like these garner higher rents. The day someone convinces me that I should pay more to live above a sports bar is the day stop participating in my own life. The last thing I need is a bunch of fat guys in NFL jersey’s swilling pitchers of flat beer and screaming at Tony Romo mere feet below my bedroom. Props to whoever invented the marketing plan for those places. They appear to be catching on.

“Progress,” I thought to myself sarcastically as I pictured that entire complex one day retreating into dilapidation like so many of the formerly shiny buildings around it. It occurred to me that behind every one of the doors in those strip malls lived the dream of a human being. Granted, it’s not MY dream to open a pawn shop in a sketchy neighborhood and fence (allegedly) stolen property prior to reselling it, but it was someone’s dream and that person made it happen.

To be fair, I doubt the guy who had that dream wants a house in a suburb on a cul-de-sac where he can mow the lawn and pour Dixie cups of random chemicals into his pool every weekend before picking up the Honey Do List from the kitchen counter and heading to Home Depot to get that ceiling fan his wife has been nagging him about installing in the sun room where she watches the kids swim in the pool because its simply too hot to sit on the patio furniture she made him buy via the Honey Do List a few weeks ago so she could watch the kids swim in the pool so she didn’t have to sit in the uncomfortable lawn chair that she made him buy via the Honey Do List a couple months ago so she could watch the kids swim in the backyard so she didn’t have to stand out by the pool and watch the kids swim in the backyard.

You get the picture.

Regardless of our use for them, each place, each business holds within in it the fruition of an idea that began inside a person’s head with the desire to make his life a little better. Each business is the manifestation of someone’s desire to control his own destiny in this world and evidence that the person who opened the doors there had the courage to strike out and challenge the odds of failure. I admire and respect that and it makes me a bit sad to see that a small business has failed. Hell, I even wondered what the former owners of Mr. Dong’s Vietnamese Palace were doing these days. With a name like Mr. Dong, I’m certain that he has options. I don’t even want to know what Mrs. Dong is doing. I wonder if they have a daughter?


As I made my way back onto the trail and settled into a comfortable cadence I noticed a man a few hundred yards in front of me bent over on the side of the trail with a trash bag in his hand. As I got closer, it became clear that he was an older man—probably in his 60’s—walking his informally adopted section of the trail in search of the Styrofoam cups and aluminum beer cans that inevitably snuck their way onto this section of the trail in spite of his diligence.

I smiled as I watched him untangle a plastic bag from the thorny branch of one of the indigenous plants that I see almost on a daily basis yet have no idea what it is called. I smiled for several reasons. First of all, the white senior citizen demographic is literally non-existent on the East side of Austin. That means that this man made a conscious choice to venture out of whatever retirement community he now calls home in order to drive over to the East side and do his share by cleaning up a small portion of the hike and bike trail.

Second, Austin is filled with people of all ages who feel like he does about his city—me included. It’s a wonderful—albeit often subconscious—thing to live in a place where the residents feel a tangible, almost paternal attachment to the land upon which their homes stand and the trees that offer the shade they desperately seek in the summertime.

People here actually care about their city and they pay more than lip service to their desire to keep it clean. Not everyone falls into that category, but in Austin the ones that do outnumber the ones that don’t. As I rode past, I nodded my head, smiled, and offered a modest and inadequate “thank you” and I meant it. It’s nice to be in a place where the land isn’t treated like dirt.


I made my way to Lakeshore (I suppose that’s appropriate but the irony is that it intersects Riverside) Drive and headed North across Longhorn Dam in anticipation of the turn back West toward Downtown. As I crossed the dam I noticed a bus stop on the opposite side of the road. Next to the stop was an incredibly haggard looking homeless man who stood there having a heated debate with several people. The problem with that was that he was standing there alone. “It’s unfortunate that he’s crazy,” I thought, “but at least he’s not lonely.” Life has a way of balancing itself out sometimes, doesn’t it?


As I headed back toward town I began to see the familiar sight of office buildings and I counted the buildings poking upward as if seeking attention among their peers in the Austin skyline. More than half of the buildings I counted had literally not existed a mere five years ago. “Progress,” I said again, but this time with more melancholy than sarcasm. From a distance, the city looked serene—asleep almost—but as I approached its boundary the unmistakable movement of its inhabitants became evident.

I approached a water station—another Austin luxury provided by the business owners close to the trail—and I stopped momentarily to fill my water bottle and splash the salty sweat from my eyes and face in preparation for the remainder of the ride. I filled my water bottle and placed it back in the cage on the cross bar of my bike where it lived the majority of its existence.

I pulled one of those triangular paper cups from the sleeve by the water cooler and marveled at its efficiency and the creativeness of its design as I sipped the cool water from its insides. The cone is the perfect shape in order to maximize the strength of the thin paper used to make it, the volume of liquid it can hold, and the number of cups that will fit into the box. It’s brilliant really, and I was glad I was given the opportunity to marvel at the simplicity of the design while enjoying the benefits of the complexities it addressed. Nice job, Triangle Cup Designer Guy. Nice job, indeed.


Refreshed, I again headed west and as I passed the Four Seasons Hotel on the north shore of the lake I noticed the Texas flag prominently displayed out front. As you know, the Texas flag signals home for me and wherever I happen to be it reminds me of Austin.

Upon seeing the flag wave lazily in the dull evening air (calling it a breeze would be too extreme an exaggeration, even for me), I remembered a time when I was in the fifth grade. I was a member of the Safety Patrol and was given the duty of heading to the front office ten minutes prior to the morning bell so I could retrieve both the Texas and American flags, hang them with the assistance of a classmate on the flagpole in front of the school, and then return to the office where I recited the Pledge of Allegiance over the loud speaker prior to the principal (Ms. Lazarine) making her morning announcements.

That doesn’t sound like much today, but trust me, I took those responsibilities seriously back then and I often lost sleep in the wee hours of the morning just prior to sunrise questioning my ability to perform them satisfactorily.

I remember the first time I was tasked with doing that. Ms. Jackson (Tracy’s mom) was the front office secretary and the holder of the key to the flag cabinet. She handed me the flags and my co-flag hanger and I hung them and said the pledge without incident. With the first time jitters out of the way, I confidently returned to my classroom only to hear my name over the loud speaker minutes later requesting that I immediately return to the office. What had I done?

Nervously, I walked from my classroom---which might as well have been three miles away—to the office where I saw Ms. Lazarine and my homeroom teacher, Mrs. Cummings, waiting for me—thankfully—with smiles on their faces. As she was inclined to do, Mrs. Cummings put her arm around me and walked me outside to the front of the school beneath the flagpole.

“Now DP, I know this was your first time, but do you notice anything wrong with the flags up there,” she asked.

Dumbfounded, I looked up to see the American flag in all its glory waiving serenely above the Texas flag in all of its glory. Aware there was a problem, but unable to quantify what it was, I simply responded, “I don’t know. The Texas flag is on the bottom?”

Aside from the obvious pride at my intent to put the Texas flag above our nation’s symbol of freedom, Mrs. Cummings smiled, knelt down to my level and said the following words, which I have not forgotten.

“The Texas flag is upside down and a parent called Ms. Lazarine to tell her. This is how you remember which way it goes. The blue stands for loyalty, the white for purity, and red for bravery. A lot of men died for that flag and their blood was red. We hang the flag with the red on the bottom so the blood of the men that died for Texas doesn’t drip on to the white, which is the pure part of Texas. Got it?”

I got it. To this day, I still got it.


At this point, I was beginning to feel the sting of the lactic acid building in my legs. My thought process became less contemplative and served more to distract me from the pain of the remaining miles of my ride.

The Four Seasons is a fancy hotel. Still, you can put a silk at on a pig and it’s still a pig. I don’t know why people get so uptight about the bedspreads in hotel rooms. Of course they’re disgusting. Anything that doesn’t get washed for five years is probably disgusting. However, what people should really be worried about are the pillows—not the pillow cases, but the pillows. Pillow cases are made of thin, breathable cotton. They can’t protect a person from the stuff that must be in and on those pillows. I should write about that.

And, I just did write about it.


Fighting to catch my breath after grinding the largest gear I could grind for the last couple of miles, I limped into my parking garage ready to dismount after what had been a cathartic and satisfying after work stress reliever. I put my bike back onto the rack, locked it, and headed up the elevator to retrieve my laptop and the clothes I’d worn that day before changing in my office.

As I sat there in my office chair drinking a bottle of ice water I looked out the window at the lake and the trail I’d just ridden. I thought about the fact that I spend literally 800% more time sitting in my office chair each day pecking away at the keyboard in an effort to be a lawyer than I do on my bike riding around the trail.

I spend 800% more time with my nose buried in a statute or an appellate opinion searching for snippets of language supporting whatever argument I’m paid to make for my client than I do enjoying the city I live in.

I spend 800% more time each day not doing what I truly love to do in the name of escaping early so that I can do what I truly love to do. That makes no sense, does it? Surely, that 800% must mean something. Then again, I can think of no good reason it must.

Well, there it is. Congratulations on being privy to the seven random thoughts on my mind this week. I’ll post as early as I can next week and, as always, I appreciate you taking the time to read. Skip something you don’t like this week in favor of something you love to do. In the meantime, if you need me, I’ll be talking to myself at the bus stop. DP

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Off Season Post 19: Thoughts on My Underwear

Well hello there, Readers. As always, welcome back to another week and another off season post showcasing my meaningless banter. I’ve got a housekeeping issue to handle with respect to a reader comment about last week’s blog and then I’ll get into the meat of this week’s post.

As is usually the case when I’ve got a lot going on in my work and social life, I tend to get distracted during the week and before I know it, it’s Monday and I haven’t written a darn thing and, what’s worse, I haven’t even pondered a good subject about which to pontificate. Shame on me, I know. However, Some Guy leads a busy life and as much as I’d like to trade it all in for a cabin in Montana sans electricity and running water in order to tap out my anti-government manifesto and live on kidney beans and rice, I’m not in a position to make that move quite yet. In short, I’m sorry I didn’t post on Tuesday. Sh*t happens sometimes. Now to that housekeeping thing I mentioned.

Before I get to the comment, let me apologize for the difficulty in leaving comments on the blog sometimes. That little problem has been under the “Known Issues” tab on my Blogspot management page forever now. I’m helpless to fix it, but I appreciate everyone’s efforts to get their comments on the site. God willing, the husky guy in the short sleeve shirt and tie responsible for addressing these types of issues will put his donut down long enough to fix it soon.

The following comment was left yesterday by an anonymous reader:

Anonymous said...
'That drink screamed high maintenance—as if the outfit didn’t—and I quickly prepared myself mentally to drop a ton of cash on dinner. “This broad had better put out,” I thought as I pictured waking up next to her with make up all over my pillow cases.'

I think you were at least semi-serious with this comment. I'd love for you to explain this male mentality which is very foreign for me as a female. I am not the type to go on a date in order to get an expensive dinner, [sic] I'd rather pay for my own dinner. I'm not trying to antagonize you, I appreciate you sharing with us what you really think.

Fair enough, Anon. Here’s your answer.

First of all, you didn’t “antagonize” me. I’m always open to Reader questions and comments. I’ve only ever deleted one comment after much thought and that had to do with some ridiculous Jewish vs. Catholic holy war a well-meaning yet misguided reader posted in a flurry of emotion. Your question is fair.

Second, I’ll let you know that just about everything I put into writing on this site should be taken with a big, fat grain of salt. I often use hyperbole in order to drive home my point, and the text above is a good example of me taking an extreme position in order to illustrate something that single men who date around regularly find frustrating. So what’s my point?

Being a man and going on a blind date with someone you realize within the first 15 minutes is not going to work for you is like going into a fancy spa for a massage and realizing within the first 5 minutes that the massage is going to be substandard: you have no choice but to lie there and make the most of it and you regret dropping $100 on it the second you leave.

I realized within the first 15 minutes of my date—prior to the conversation about “Daddy’s” money and the spontaneous defecation—that this girl was not for me. However, I’d already committed to a fancy dinner that was going to run me north of $100. That’s like you being forced to buy a dress at Neiman’s even though it’s the wrong size. The “put out” comment was the hyperbole.

Finally, as for your “I’d rather pay for my own dinner” comment, I’m not sure I see the relevance. If I ask a woman—or in this case, make the plans—on a date then I fully expect to pay, regardless if that woman is capable of paying or not. I have no problem if a woman pays for me provided she asks me out and even then I’d expect to pay for a couple rounds of drinks, parking, or whatever. I’m traditional that way.

It’s nice to go out with a woman who allows her door to be opened, takes my arm when I offer it, and let’s me take care of her, if not for just the evening. That’s not sexist or degrading in my mind. I don’t view women as inferior and I think most women appreciate those courtesies—if for no other reason than they are traditional things that show respect and consideration. Any woman who views those as some sort of sexist repression—in my humble opinion—has been reading too much Betty Friedan or simply wishes she had a penis.

The final point I’ll make about this subject is a regional one. Before I crafted this answer I asked several female friends what they thought about a guy opening doors, paying for dinner, and what they thought he expected in return. Surprisingly, three out of four of them—and these are all decent, considerate women—admitted to going out with guys they didn’t really like simply because they wanted the free dinner at a fancy place. One even admitted sleeping with a guy afterward because it was easier than telling him to go kick rocks. All of them admitted that this occurred in their early 20’s and made me promise to make the point that this was not the case any more. I was in my 20’s when the story occurred, so I think my assumptions were fair.

My lady friend from Minnesota did point out that every time she walks into a place to meet my friends and me, all of us jump up and offer our chairs, bar stools, etc. That’s just the way it works here in Austin. I can’t imagine sitting there pulling on a Lone Star while a woman stands there, purse in hand, with no place to sit. That’s rude. She pointed out that it works a bit differently in the Midwest and on the East Coast where she used to live. Fair enough. Perhaps I’m a victim of geography. I hope that answers your question. I do appreciate the feedback. With that out of the way, let’s get to it.

As I mentioned earlier, the busy nature of my existence has put a bit of a damper on my creativity as of late. In order to find time to really clear my head, I often jump on my mountain bike and ride for an hour or so or I go on a run through my favorite wooded trail down the road from my Stabbin’ Cabin—that’s what I call my place; however, I will more than likely have to rethink that in light of the acquisition of my Special Lady Friend. Anyyyyyhooooo . . .

On Saturday I threw on a pair of workout shorts and my “Cowgirl Butts Drive Me Nuts” t-shirt, loaded my bike on the rack, and headed to the trail for a “Brick” workout, which is a bike ride followed by a run. My plan was to ride the 15 mile trail and run 3 miles all while thinking about a topic for this week’s blog. Putting myself in that Zen place while mashing away on the pedals or dragging my tired bones the final half mile down the trail usually produces a few ideas. The pain sucks, but it’s cathartic and I have a very delicate love/hate relationship with it these days.

Normally, while riding this particular lakeside trail I wear an iPod which is invariably tuned into Pandora radio’s Chris Knight or Robert Earl Keen station. There’s something about riding around the lake listening to what’s known as Red Dirt music that puts me at peace. It’s like rubbing that one spot on a Labrador’s belly that puts him in a trance. However, about 3 miles into my ride I began to notice what would become a significant impediment to both my ability to complete my workout and my much needed entry into my special Zen trance. Like Pirsig before me, I was trying to enter the world of Zen and the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance but I was being prevented from doing so.

Incidentally, if you’ve never heard of Pirsig or his book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, check it out. It’s an interesting contrast between the Romantic vs. the Practical views of the world and how those views affect a person’s ability to function. Like Pirsig, I often find myself understanding both but torn between the two. He apparently wrote that book by waking up at 2 a.m. and writing for four hours a day for four years while working at his day job and catching sleep when he could. Remind you of anyone? Back to the story.

Because there is no delicate way to characterize my problem, I’ll just come out and say it. Because I failed to wear my normal Pearl Izumi biking shorts on my ride (I literally placed the two pairs I own into the washing machine before heading out the door) I developed a chaffing issue. My cotton boxer briefs—which, as you know, offer the comfort of a boxer with the support of a brief--were simply not getting the job done.

After several well-timed adjustments and the realization that a Desitin purchase was in my future I toughed it out and made it through the ride. The run was a lot easier to deal with, although because of the aforementioned adjustment, there was an uncomfortable yet manageable bouncing issue that occurred.

The long and short of it (no pun intended) is that instead of basking calmly in the deep corners of my complicated character in order to ferret out a profound topic or a humorous anecdote to write about, I spent the vast majority of the trip around the lake thinking about purchasing newer, more form fitting underwear. By default, that’s what you get to read about this week. Now let me try to make this interesting.

Now normally, I’m tougher than a two dollar steak. It’s common knowledge (in Austin anyway) that Some Guy has the strength of ten men (give or take 9 men) and I’d usually look past a seemingly small problem like some localized chaffing. However, the chaffing occurred in an area close enough to my wedding tackle that it couldn’t be ignored. I got home, showered, carefully applied ointment to the affected area, and headed immediately to Target in search of some undergarments suitable for my work outs.

In addition to seeking the aforementioned athletic undergarments, I was also in the market for a fancy new iPad2. After several unsuccessful attempts at dealing with the “Genius Bar” at the local Apple Store, I resolved to purchase it elsewhere. I simply got tired of milling around a crowded, counterless retail store filled with customers and 100 people in blue Apple shirts with an iPad in one hand and a headset on who couldn’t help me.

“Let’s set an appointment so you can wander aimlessly around our store for an hour in hopes that you’ll talk yourself into paying $35 for an iPhone cover even though you’re here for an entirely different reason, Sir.” Appointment? Dude, this is the Apple Store, not the dermatologist. F*cking help me. Whatever. I set off to kill two birds with one stone apathetic at the possibility of being the subject of the Target Break Room fodder as the guy who bought underwear and an iPad2 in the Express Lane. Again, whatever.

I got to Target, parked, and began my quest for the best athletic underwear that mid-level retail distribution could offer. I entered the store and immediately identified the “Men’s” sign displayed prominently from the ceiling toward the back of the store. As I was walking back there I grabbed a shopping cart and simultaneously answered my cell phone which started to ring. It was my close friend Chris who was in Colorado for the CU v. CSU football game. His old lady was primping and he had some time to kill before they headed out to the stadium.

Without realizing it, I again found myself in the exact state of distraction that I’d been trying to avoid the entire week. I was in mid-conversation with Chris when I arrived at the underwear section. In addition, I received multiple text messages from a friend I was supposed to pick up at the airport later in the day. He and his Special Lady Friend took a hop to the Midwest to meet the family and were about to head home. Multitasking, I talked to Chris as I read the text and simultaneously selected a couple packages of “Evolve 2pk No Show Athletic Trunk” underwear. In spite of my multitasking I did take the time to confirm that they were indeed a spandex and cotton blend which would provide the support had heretofore eluded me.

The next decision I made was an important one and—as I would later discover—one in which the margin for error was extremely narrow. Without providing the details, I’ll represent to the Readers that Some Guy’s waist is trim 31 inches; however, depending on the brand of jeans and the style I buy, I can purchase anywhere from a 31 to a 36 waist. I have long legs and it’s often tough for me to get stuff that fits the right way.

The general rule with jeans is that I try and buy them a bit loose in the waist to allow for shrinking, etc. By “shrinking” I’m of course referring to the jeans themselves and not certain parts of my anatomy. Conversely, the general rule with athletic underwear is that you get them a tad snug.

If you can’t understand why, I’m sorry, you wouldn’t understand even if I attempted to explain. In light of this rule of thumb (no pun intended), I selected the Medium size, which was for a 28-34 inch waist thinking that they would be sufficient to adequately secure the precious cargo they’d be tasked with protecting without risking sterilization. I smiled and went to purchase my iPad2 still on the phone with Chris.

I hung up with Chris because I’m an idiot when it comes to technology and I wanted to focus on my purchase. I ended up getting the 32G iPad2 and, so far, I love it. I’m still messing with the Apps and all but I’m glad that I blew the cash. After some iffy looks from the cashier and what I was certain was her making a mental note to relay my purchase to the other cashiers in the Break Room, I paid and left with my iPad2 and my new athletic underwear. Excited about the iPad2 I simply took the package of underwear out of the bag and put them into the backpack that I take to the gym each day.

Sunday was an off day when it came to working out. I did laundry, loaded some Apps on the Ipad2, and watched a little football before running some errands. That evening, I packed the same shorts I’d worn during my chaffing incident in order to preserve all of the experimental variables with the exception of my new underwear. I wanted to do a test run at the gym during lunch hour in order to see how they compared to my woefully inadequate cotton boxer briefs and it was important to me to test them under similar conditions.

I worked Monday morning and headed to the gym for a lunchtime run on the treadmill anxious to test my new trunks. When I arrived at the gym the stereotypical hot gym chick behind the counter greeted me and handed me a towel before pretending that she wanted me to “have a great workout today.” Look, I know that’s bulls*it but I appreciated the effort. I smiled and fought back the urge to tell her that I was about to test drive some new underwear.

I got to the locker room and began to undress while simultaneously avoiding eye contact with any of the other men doing the same thing. After all, I wasn’t in Ancient Greece or San Francisco and I had no desire to make any new “friends” in the locker room. I unbuttoned my shirt, took off my boots, and opened my backpack to get out my workout stuff.

I threw on the t-shirt I brought, removed my jeans, and prepared to replace my cotton boxer briefs—which were perfect for the office, by the way—with my new athletic underwear. I picked up the package, opened it, pulled out a pair and stopped in my tracks. Uh oh. At that moment, it hit me that I had purchased these things while talking to a friend on the phone and texting another friend via the phone and thinking about my Ipad. I had only looked at the material, the size, and noted the word “athletic” on the package. It never occurred to me to get a good look at the actual product I’d be putting on my body—in front of a bunch of dudes in the locker room nonetheless.

How shall I describe these things? For those of you resourceful enough, you’ve undoubtedly already Googled them and are probably laughing hysterically at the thought of me prancing around the Men’s Locker Room in them. For those of you who haven’t Googled them, let me describe them in detail.

They were white, tiny, and sheer with a pouch up front accented by a light blue and silver (yes, silver) elastic waistband and identical blue and silver trim around the legs. They were, in a word, as gay as the day is long. They looked like something Freddie Mercury would have worn on stage. Check that. Freddie Mercury would have found these things too gay to wear. Hell, Derek and the Boys in South Beach might be too masculine to don these things. I mean they were gay. And small. I actually checked the package again in order to see if the 28-34 was in centimeters rather than inches.

Not wanting to draw attention to my half-naked self, I quickly put the panties back into to backpack and realized that I had three choices:

A.) I could get redressed and walk out;

B.) I could work out in the cotton underwear and then freeball it back to work; or

C.) I could throw on my shorts and work out with no underwear.

For reasons still unclear to me, I chose C. For the next hour, I bent over, pressed, pulled, stationary biked, and stretched with no underwear on under an extremely baggy pair of shorts. I even took the time to help a woman who was confused as to the proper operation of one of the machines. Not wanting to alarm her, I chose not to tell her my little secret. I made it back to the locker room, showered, and returned to work with my underwear in place.

I can’t believe I’m typing this.

When I got home, I immediately began to undress in order to feed my curiosity as to my errant undergarment purchase. I pulled them out of the backpack and proceeded to put them on. Well, I proceeded to ATTEMPT to put them on.

As an aside, even with the obvious opportunity here it occurred to me that it’s this late in the post and I have yet to make my first anatomy joke. Allow me to correct that problem before I continue.

Now putting on what amounted to Men’s Boy Shorts was tantamount to stuffing an elephant in a shoe box. I might as well have been trying to cram my testicles into a key hole for crying out loud. In addition, my junk is huge. I’m mean it’s really huge. I went to Minnesota once and got excited and Paul Bunyon tried to chop it down. Huge, I’m telling you. I once went to a nude beach in the South of France and PETA showed up and tried to coax it back into the water. It’s giant. In fact, I have to yell “Timber!” when my erection subsides. It’s big. I once earned extra money when I got a summer job snaking the Alaska Pipeline. It’s gigantic. My junk is so big that IT has a nickname for ME.

Alright, that’s enough.

I finally managed to wiggle myself into these things and as I entered my bathroom and stared at myself in the mirror I actually started laughing out loud at myself. I looked like a five year old ready to play “Fort” with his brother in his parents’ bed. It was like my junk was wearing a straight jacket. It looked like Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. I half expected an Indian to come out of nowhere and smother it with a pillow before jumping out the window and running for freedom.

After assuring myself that I could never be seen at the Target Customer Service counter attempting to explain why I was returning these things, I resolved to simply donate them along with a bunch of other stuff I’d put in a box from my closet to the fire victims in Bastrop. My office building is taking donations and I plan to drop them off tomorrow morning on my way up the elevator. I’m certain some six year old will appreciate my generosity. For the record, I’ll be returning to Target in the next day or so and this time I’ll be carefully scrutinizing my purchases.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my underwear. Until next time, if you need me, I’ll be packing them for my trip to meet Derek and the Boys in South Beach. DP

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Hello, Readers. 

Unfortunately, I'm traveling for work today and a post is just not going to happen.  However, I'll be posting tomorrow for your reading pleasure.  My "real" job tends to get in the way sometimes.  If any of you have the funds to finance me, please let me know and I'll quit and do this full time. 

In the meantime, I'll leave you with a joke I heard recently. 

How do you know when it's raining cats and dogs? 

Easy.  You go outside and step in a poodle. 

Thanks for being patient.  Feel free to leave suggestions for tomorrow's post as I will not be writing until later tonight.  Take care.  I'll talk to you soon. 


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Off Season Post 18: A Squishy Situation

Hello, Readers. Congratulations on making it back for another time killer this week. I have to confess that I’ve been a little short on creative ideas lately and today’s topic was difficult for me to come about. I tried meditation, drinking, and drinking while I meditated in order to find motivation. Fortunately, during one of my drinking sessions, a friend reminded me of something that happened to me in my early 20’s and after some real debate, I’ve decided to share it with all of you.

Before I begin my tale this week, I’d like to thank all of you who emailed or commented displaying support for my post last week. It’s not always easy to hit the “Publish Post” button on my screen when I’ve been that honest on the page in front of me. Your support and comments let me know that I made the right decision. I also wanted to acknowledge those of you who sent emails or comments about how something in the post spoke to you or really hit home.

It’s flattering to know that an idea or experience that I reduce to what feel like feeble words gets communicated in such a way that it makes deeper sense to someone reading in a far off somewhere. It’s a humbling thing to know that this blog is sometimes helpful to at least some of you out there and your feedback is a timely and welcome reminder perhaps from somewhere above about using the gift I was given. The feedback I get from all of you is as valuable to me as any small piece of accidental insight contained in my ramblings. Thank you again. Let’s get to it.

I have to admit that aside from a few folks in my tiny little trust circle, I haven’t shared the following story with very many people at all because for well over a decade now I’ve been sworn to (almost) absolute secrecy by the person who is responsible for the entire thing occurring in the first place. In fact, I put it so far down on the “Stories in My Back Pocket for Special Occasions” list I’d all but forgotten it until one of my best friends reminded me about it last week. I’m a lot of things, but one thing I’m not is a blabber mouth. I have a talent for keeping secrets.

However, after much thought and the realization that I haven’t talked to either of the key people in this story save for the occasional bump into at some random place for years now, I believe the statute of limitations has expired on my prohibition from repeating this story. Besides, it’s really funny.

Now as most of you have probably guessed by now, I’m a barrel of fun when I’m in my element. I’m an extremely social person who loves to have plenty of people around to talk to. I’m often the person in the kitchen at various wedding showers or engagement parties telling stories and usually end up being the center of attention for at least part of the evening. That spotlight used to be one that I craved; however, these days it’s often one that finds me in spite of my attempts to avoid it. Half the time I’m convinced that the people listening to me are just grateful they don’t have to watch the happy couple open up their junk from Crate & Barrel or Pottery Barn.

When I was much younger (circa the now infamous underwear photo posted repeatedly by my “friend” Lincee Ray at, I was often the recipient of many requests from my female friends to accompany one of their friends who was “just perfect” for me on a blind date. Notwithstanding my severe aversion to blind dates, I did end up getting suckered into going on a few. The following is a true story about the last blind date I ever went on. You’ll soon see why.

The setting of this particular story is in Houston, Texas. I was between undergrad and law school, single, and about as available as fleas on a yard dog. I went out quite a bit (read 7 days a week), made great money at my job, and lived in a swanky place just West of Downtown. Sure, I was full of myself, but at that age I’d been fortunate enough to stumble into success and by Houston standards, I was somewhat of a catch.

Before you accuse me of being vain, let me just clarify what I mean. As far as first dates are concerned, let’s be honest, appearance matters. I had a nice car, a good job, was young and in shape, and had plenty of expendable income, and a plan for the future. As for what was behind that façade; well I’m not sure it’s any different than it is today, but the outside of the building was appealing. Most guys my age were still sitting around in their apartments with their roommates playing video games and waiting for the local wing place to open up so they could throw on a jersey and waste the day swilling pitchers of beer and screaming at the big screen TV. I, on the other hand, was dateable and set up-able. That’s all I meant.

Now because of my overwhelming appeal—or perhaps it was because my knuckles didn’t drag on the ground when I walked—a work friend of mine who I shall refer to as “Jill” decided that I needed to meet a friend of hers who I will call “Kathy” who had recently moved to town from Nashville, Tennessee. Kathy was described in glowing terms and after grilling Jill and determining that Kathy was actually cute from head to toe rather than having “a pretty smile” or “a huge heart” I consented to the set up. Incidentally, when a woman describes another woman in the aforementioned terms it has been my experience that the only thing that’s “pretty” and “huge” about her is her rear end. Annnnnyyyyhoooo . . .

Jill and I were friends but only in a very pedestrian sense. We talked at work, had lunch together on occasion, and were about the same age. When she offered to set me up we actually had to exchange phone numbers because we rarely, if ever, saw each other after hours with the exception of work happy hours or parties. She agreed to pass on my information to Kathy and I agreed to shower, shave, and refrain from what is normally a prodigious use of a certain four letter word rhyming with “truck” as Kathy apparently possessed a modicum of Southern charm and etiquette that precluded her virginal ears from comprehending such filth. I should have known right there it wouldn’t work.

After confirming with Jill that it was only Kathy’s ears that were virginal and getting a clarification that derivatives of the word rhyming with “truck” were also off limits, I agreed to the terms. What can I say? I love a f*cking challenge.

At this particular time of my life I spent a large portion of my available social time at two particular bars in Houston: Blanco’s, which is the closest thing to a real honky tonk that Houston has, and Kay’s Lounge, which is a dive bar with a Texas theme and cold Lone Star beer---in the bottle, of course. In fact, to this day they are the only two bars that I will actually hang out in when I go back to Houston.

I’m not much on pretentious places with velvet ropes and a 6’5” Neanderthal in a $1,500.00 suit and that elastic wire protruding from his jacket and tucked in his ear guarding the entrance while attempting to subtract 21 from the current year as the Mmmmch, mmmmch, mmmmch beat of that pseudo techno music permeates the neon lit walls.

Dude, you’re a bouncer. Get over yourself. I also don’t like to pay eight bucks for a beer and if I can’t get into a place with boots, jeans, and a pearl snap shirt on then that’s not a place I want to be anyway. If I want to hear a bunch of self-important jerks in sport coats talk about themselves I’ll go to the Travis County Courthouse.

The week of the big date actually went by without incident. I worked, worked out, and even went to the Galleria to buy a new shirt for the big date. On Wednesday evening—as if on cue—Kathy called my cell phone and I answered. She was very formal—a condition that I attributed to the awkwardness of calling a strange person in a strange city based upon nothing more than a friend’s vague descriptions of me as a ‘nice guy’. However, after a few minutes she loosened up a bit and I noticed a wonderfully charming, bona fide Southern accent. Formality aside, I’m a sucker for Southern accents.

After some general banter, I asked her if she had any thoughts about our date or if I should take the initiative and plan it on my own. We agreed that I would pick a local place with some Texas charm to meet for a cocktail and that she would pick the restaurant where we would dine. Since she had just moved to town, she was staying with her parents in a suburb and agreed to drive into town to meet me. I, of course, chose Kay’s Lounge.

Before I get into particulars, I’ll tell you that I chose Kay’s for a couple of reasons. First, it’s my type of place and my type of environment. My philosophy—even at that stage of my dating life—was that if a person couldn’t accept me in my natural environment then dating her wouldn’t work. I was more than willing to go to a fancy dinner or hang out in a swanky place with her, but she had to know what I was about first.

Second, Kay’s was close to my place and close to Blanco’s which were both on my pre-planned escape route if the date went south. I’d already gotten a hint that this girl was a little too Scarlett O’Hara for me and I wanted a way out just in case I found myself frankly not giving a damn. Fiddle-dee-dee (Google it.).

Incidentally, it also occurred to me that her “I’ll drive into town to meet you” ruse was actually her planned escape if I turned out to be a putz, which was, of course, impossible. We were like Fisher and Spassky eyeing the chess board before the big match. As transparent as it was, I admired her plan.

On the Friday of the big date I called Kathy to confirm our plans. Well, that’s not entirely true. I called her to throw a wrench in her strategy. I offered to pick her up at her parents’ house but she stood her ground and shut me down. Point Kathy.

I told her that I’d be done with work around 5 and that I’d see her at Kay’s promptly at 6. I let her know that I’d be the good looking one at the end of the bar in skin tight jeans. Oddly enough, she didn’t find that amusing. “We’re in for a long evening if that’s the case,” I thought. I actually debated a trip to the mall to buy the tightest jeans I could find, but I nixed that plan just in case she turned out to be hot.

I wrapped up work around 4 that day and headed to the gym where I worked aggressively on my beach muscles. After all, it’s foreseeable that a lady of her pedigree would expect me to offer my arm, pull out her chair, and help her exit my truck. I wanted to be adequately pumped so as not to disappoint her. Hell, that’s not true. I just enjoy working out.

At any rate, I showered, shaved, and threw on my best cologne. I can’t remember the name of it but it was probably something like “One Man Show” or “One Night at My Place” or simply “Stud.” Whatever it was, I’m certain that it had the musky smell of irresistible pheromones guaranteed to tempt even the most reserved Southern woman. Throw in my beguiling demeanor and the light blue shirt I’d specifically selected because an old girlfriend once told me that color “made my eyes pop”—whatever that means--and I was sure to win the chess match. I didn’t even stuff my pants. I smiled knowingly at myself in the mirror before grabbing my keys and heading out the door. Game on.

Like a lion strolling through the Serengeti, I arrived at Kay’s about 10 minutes early and made my way to the end of the bar which was in direct eyeshot of the door. The place was empty save for a few local drunks and I wanted the advantage of scoping out the scene before she arrived. I waited 25 minutes before breaking etiquette and ordering my first drink. If she didn’t have the courtesy to be on time, then I’d start drinking without her. After all, that delicious, cold Lone Star wasn’t going to drink itself and Some Guy didn’t like to be kept waiting.

Being on time is a pet peeve of mine, particularly when a week’s worth of notice and a confirmation phone call have been given. I was already mildly annoyed. Granted, Houston traffic is a pain and I wasn’t Germanicly adamant about the exact time, but she could have called to let me know she was running late. I could have caught the last 10 minutes of Cops instead of rushing over to Kay’s.

After finishing my first Lone Star I got up and went to the restroom. Upon returning, I sat down and the door opened. As if expecting a round of applause Kathy stepped in to grace us with her presence. Let’s see if I can describe her.

Kathy was dressed from head to toe in white. I couldn’t decide if she was there to date me or to put a coat of paint on the exterior of the building. Throw in a black bowtie and she looked like a slutty Good Humor Ice Cream man. She had on white heels, white dress pants, a white blouse, a white sweater, and she carried a white purse—all of which looked expensive. Her entire ensemble was perfectly accented with gold accessories except for her earrings which were diamonds—trust me, they weren’t CZ.

Her blonde hair was long, silky, and contained enough hairspray to hold a wheat field in place on a windy day. She was extremely pretty but her features were obscured by a preponderance of foundation, rouge, and thick eye make up. I’ve seen stucco applied more sparingly. I pictured Michelangelo lying on his back painting the Sistine Chapel using her make up kit. If I wanted to, I could have carved my name in her cheek.

“Well hiiiiii. You must be Deeennnisss. Niiiice to meeeeet youuuuuuu,” she said in an angelic Southern accent that distracted me momentarily from her make up. “That’s me,” I responded well aware that my previously open mind was slowly closing. I resolved to give her a chance and suggested that we sit in the booth farthest away from the entrance so that we could have a little privacy. She agreed and sauntered over to sit down.

Kay’s doesn’t have a wait staff, but the bartender was bored and he stepped around the bar and walked over to take our drink order. You all know what I ordered. After some thought, Kathy actually asked for a mint julep. Granted, she’s from Tennessee and all, but it wasn’t Kentucky Derby time and we were at a dive bar. That drink screamed high maintenance—as if the outfit didn’t—and I quickly prepared myself mentally to drop a ton of cash on dinner.

“This broad had better put out,” I thought as I pictured waking up next to her with make up all over my pillow cases. I wondered if Borax got make up stains out of cotton and it actually occurred to me that there was no way that the mountain of junk on her face was water soluble. She probably used a quart of motor oil to remove it every night.

We got our drinks and as I sipped my Lone Star I casually glanced at my watch and realized that she was 42 minutes late. I abandoned any hope of even a casual apology and as she sipped her fancy drink she began to talk about herself. She went to Ole Miss—a bastion for spoiled Southern girls on Daddy’s dime seeking their MRS. Degree—and majored in Business.

I’m sure she had a host of sorority sisters named Muffy, Peyton, Blake, and Lane and they all dated guys named Hunter Something the Fourth or whatever. I pictured her in a yellow dress and white gloves strolling across campus to Home Economics class. Oddly enough, I was in the Italian Fraternity in college: Kappa Kappa Chino. I actually dropped that joke on Kathy—she failed to see the humor in it but politely smiled. I’ll be here all week, folks.

Her father, to whom she referred to as “Daddy,” also went to Ole Miss and was “in construction.” I was temped to ask where the building on campus that was named after him was located. It quickly became apparent that rather than being “in” construction “Daddy” made people “do” construction for him. The guy wasn’t operating a jack hammer or lugging two by fours around all day. He owned the place. “What about your Daddy?” she asked. “What does he do?” “Well, my daddy didn’t go to college and he climbs telephone poles for a living,” was my answer. I believe it was at that point that Kathy realized we weren’t meant for each other and I could see it in her face. “At least now I can say that word that rhymes with ‘truck,’” I thought.

Let me say that Kathy wasn’t all bad. Granted, she was self-involved, clearly spoiled from birth, and could not have cared less about me, but I’m not a judgmental person and although she and I were as different as it gets, there was a certain charm about her that I found attractive. I was sure that Hunter Whatever the Fourth would see that one day. Of course, I believe that Kathy translated “different” to mean “better than me” and I frankly saw no need to try and change what had clearly been drilled into her pretty little head since her first cotillion. Besides, I take comfort in being a dirtbag and there was no changing me either.

Here’s where it gets weird—and funny.

After hearing about “Daddy” and his money for another 15 minutes, something odd happened. Kathy abruptly excused herself from the table and made her way to the bathroom, purse in hand. I assumed she was over me and was heading there to make a call to Jill in order to put her escape plan in action. Either that or I assumed she missed a birth control pill and, conscious of wearing all white, was responding to a cramping issue or something like that. Far be it from me to understand how that works, but it did occur to me that “starting” in that outfit would be more of an exclamation point than a period.

Far from being insulted, I was actually relieved. “I’ll finish my beer, be polite, and then just level with her,” I thought. “Then I’ll head to Blanco’s and find a woman more my speed with a ton less make up to twirl around the dance floor all night.” Perfect.

Kathy returned to the table and I politely asked if she had selected a place for dinner. My intent was to let her open the escape door on what was quickly becoming a debacle of a date and then suggest we call it a night. Oddly enough, she said she had selected a place called Pesce—which she pointed out “means feeeeesh in Eye-tal-eee-an.” Surprised, I agreed to go to dinner and we agreed to have one more drink before heading out for our 8:30 reservation.

As I sipped my next beer I couldn’t help but notice that Kathy looked noticeably uncomfortable. She squirmed in her seat, was short with me, and seemed unusually preoccupied. Struggling, I tried everything from jokes to rescued puppy stories but I just couldn’t get her to engage. When I finished my drink I decided to head to the restroom in order to give her some privacy. Of the million permutations running through my head, a few of them revolved around perhaps an ex-boyfriend she called while in the bathroom. Perhaps I’d offended her or perhaps she too was just being polite in hopes that I would end the date. I would head to the bathroom and let her make a phone call. Perhaps it would be sorted out when I returned.

After taking my own sweet time in the bathroom, I returned to the table literally reaching for my wallet in order to pay the tab. You can imagine my surprise upon seeing Kathy sitting there with another mint julep in front of her and an entire pitcher of Lone Star beer in front of me with a nice frosty mug beside it.

Confused, I poured a beer and said something like, “thirsty or are you not hungry yet?” She offered a polite smile but nothing more. After a beer and a half from the pitcher I realized that I had not eaten anything since a sandwich at around 11:30 a.m. It was quickly approaching 8:15 and I was starving as well as beginning to feel the five beers I’d already had. Kathy probably weighed a whopping 105 pounds and had to be feeling her mint juleps by now.

“Look, I’m starting to get hungry. Why don’t we finish these and get out of here,” I said trying to get things going. “Uh, oookaaay,” she said. Still, something was not adding up. It actually occurred to me that Kathy may have been running from some sort of criminal activity she participated in back home in Nashville and was nervous about getting pinched. Hell, that explanation was as reasonable as any other in light of what was going on.

I nodded, stood up, walked over to the bar and paid the tab. When I sat down again, I sipped the remaining quarter of my beer quickly and reached for my keys. “Do you just want to ride with me to the restaurant and I’ll take you back here when we’re done?” I asked. As an unmistakable panic came over Kathy’s face, I struggled to comprehend the next few sentences. I hadn’t noticed it before but I could clearly see that Kathy was actually sweating through her make up.

“I cayeeent go to deeeener with youuu, Deeennnisss,” she said.

FINALLY! She was giving me the out I needed. See, I knew she wasn’t into me and I should have just said something a couple of beers ago.

“Look,” I offered, “I know that there’s really no attraction here. We’re both really different people and I respect that you have the guts to tell me that. You’re very attractive and seem really nice. What do you say we just call this a friendly dinner and I’ll be your new friend in a new town?”

“Nooo, that’s not eeet, Deeeenniss,” she said still sweating.

“What is it, then?” I said more confused than I’d ever been on a date.

And then it came. The explanation I’d been waiting for. Now, before I tell you what it is let me just say that the following information never—and I mean never—crossed, nor would it have crossed, my mind as an explanation for Kathy’s odd behavior; however, upon explanation it all made perfect sense.

“Well, what is it then?” I said quickly becoming annoyed at the vagueness.

“I sheeeeet in myyy paynts.”


“I’m sorry? You what?” I said.

“I sheeeeeet eeeen myyyy paynts. I went to the bathrooooom eeen my paynts. I have dye-ah-reeeee-ahhh.”

Oh boy. At this point I have to admit that I was, in a word, dumbfounded. I doubt Emily Post has written extensively, if at all, on the proper way to handle the “what if my blind date craps herself in a public place” problem. It was never more apparent to me that she and I were also sitting in the booth furthest from the door and would have to walk across what was now a fairly crowded bar in order to get out of there not to mention the fact that I was a regular in the place. I couldn’t stand to have my image soiled like Kathy’s expensive white pants. I’m certain Kathy had already been trying to get her pretty little head around that problem. It goes without saying that this conundrum was not addressed in Home Economics class at Ole Miss. Then again, perhaps that’s what the white gloves were for.

After seriously considering simply hightailing it out of the bar, I looked sympathetically (the one time in my life when I was glad that empathy was not an option) into Kathy’s horrified face and said—for lack of nothing better to fill the silence—“what do you want to do?”

“Eye don’t knooooowwww,” she said with tears beginning to appear.

I told her to sit tight—as if there was another option—and I walked calmly out of the bar toward my truck. I remembered that I had a dark colored towel in there I’d used on my seat after a run in Memorial Park the day before. Lucky for ole Kathy, I’d forgotten to take it out of the car. I rolled it up and as discreetly as I could I tucked it under my arm and re-entered the bar. I actually felt sorry for Kathy at this point but I was still not about to escort a crying, fecal stained debutante through the crowd.

I sat down and handed her the towel under the table. “Look, if you wrap that around your waist and. . .”

“Just go, please,” she said.

“But I. . . “ I said.

“Just go. I’ll feeeegyer eeet ooouut,” she begged.

Not one to miss an opportunity, I stood up, thanked her, and then hightailed it the hell out of Kay’s. I respectfully waited until I was at least 100 yards down the street before beginning to laugh hysterically. I stopped off at a local taco place for a quick dinner and then made it to Blanco’s on time to meet up with some friends who asked me how my date went.

“It didn’t go so well. We were just too different,” I said not wanting to explain.

“That stinks,” said a friend.

“You have no idea,” was my response.

Well, there it is. To this day, I haven’t seen or heard from Kathy and my guess is that she prefers it that way. Jill eventually forced the story out of me but didn’t believe me until Kathy apparently confirmed it months later. Another point of interest is that the booth where this entire fiasco occurred is the identical booth that Lincee Ray and I sat in many years later and after filling me with several Lone Stars she won a bet that forced me to cough up that now infamous shirtless picture that exists in cyberspace in perpetuity. If I ever return to Kay’s, I’m going to avoid that booth like a bad case of the runs.

Thanks, as always, for sticking with me in the off season. Take care of yourselves and stay in touch. In the meantime, if you need me, I’ll be cleaning my white pants. DP

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Off Season Post 17: Thanksgiving Come Early

Hello, Readers. Conventional wisdom says never start off anything with an apology. Since I fancy myself as far from conventional I want to start off by apologizing for posting a day late this week. However, I have a lawyer’s explanation for my (alleged) tardiness.

Yes, it’s technically Wednesday; however, this blog is traditionally posted two days after the end of the weekend. Granted, in most cases that day falls on a Tuesday. However, because of the long weekend it happens to fall on a Wednesday this week. Ergo, my post is timely. And I thought law school would never do me any good. At any rate, it’s fabulous to have all of you back and I hope that you all had wonderful weekends of your own.

Before I begin this week, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the goings on in and around my beloved Austin. Unless you’ve been in a hole this week you should be aware that Austin is battling several wildfires around Austin in Steiner Ranch, Leander, Cedar Park, and Bastrop. My brother and his family are in Steiner, my sister and her husband are in Leander, and my parents are in Cedar Park. The fire in Bastrop is in Bastrop State Park and at last count had taken some 30,000 acres of pristine land. I used to camp and hike there quite a bit and was there just a few weeks ago.

My story is not unique. Austin still operates like a small town and virtually everyone knows someone who has been touched by these fires. In addition to family in those areas I have many friends who have been affected and I’m certain that I have many readers that I’m not aware of who have also been affected.

The Central Texas area is far from the flat, tumbleweed infested, windblown desert that most non-Texans picture when they think of my state. Austin and the surrounding Hill Country are beautiful, lush, vibrant, and serene. They are just as much a part of me as the fingers I use to type this blog and it’s heartbreaking to me to see any part of them destroyed. I doubt I have much pull with The Man Above anymore, but my prayers go out to all of you reading this that have been displaced or affected by the fires. Thanks to the brave people who choose to go out there and fight them for us. With that said, let’s get to it.

Some Guy had an interesting weekend. I traveled to Snyder, Texas to visit some close friends and meet up with other friends from all around the country for a dove hunt and the John Wayne Film Festival which benefitted the John Wayne Cancer Foundation. As many of you know, through sheer accident, I have some fancy friends. It’s always wonderful to see my fancy friends in a laid back environment and it was even nicer to know that we were all there for a good cause.

I’d like to thank all of the folks who showed up. Thanks to Barry and Leslie for putting the entire event together and allowing me to help when I could. Thanks to the Wayne family for trusting me with a small portion of The Duke’s legacy. It was good to see all of you again. Thanks to Larry McMurtry and his lovely wife for making the long drive from Archer City to help out the cause and thanks to James McMurtry for his fireside acoustic version of “DP’s Lament,” which was inspired by the only regrettable events of the weekend. Let’s hope that little tune doesn’t make the next album. We worked on putting that event together for a year and to see it all go off without a hitch was very gratifying. It was wonderful seeing all of you and it was a big, fat ball of fun knowing the money all went to charity. Finally, I’d like to apologize to all of the dove I shot this weekend. If it’s any consolation, you were delicious.

Incidentally, I hope you all appreciate the irony of me going bird hunting with the Pulitzer Prize winning author of a book entitled “Lonesome Dove.” Watching a 75 year old with a 12 gauge take aim at an actual lonesome dove frantically searching for the cover of trees while being peppered with buckshot in spite of its status as the symbol of peace was almost too much to digest. It was certainly too much for me to invent.

So, I know you’re all asking yourselves, “What’s up with the self indulgent, name dropping lead in, DP?” Well, let me respond by saying that I’ve only dropped names where necessary. There were other big shots there that will go unmentioned, but my interaction and experience this weekend in addition to the fires here in Austin put me in a contemplative mood, which brings me to the point of all of this name dropping and self congratulating.

Some Guy had a lot of time to think this weekend. Maybe it was sparked by my interaction with the fancy folks in my life. Maybe it was the 5 hour drive from Austin to Snyder. Maybe it was the drive back. Perhaps Some Guy spent 12 hours in the Scurry County Jail alone in a cell. Perhaps the time sitting alone in a field taking in the scenery around me as I waited for birds gave me time to collect my thoughts in a way that my usually hectic life here in Austin doesn’t afford. Perhaps it was the substance I drank from the innocuous clay jug with the three “X’s” on the front of it.

Regardless of the vehicle that took me there, I realized in a profound way what I am indeed thankful for in my life this weekend and despite the fact that I won’t leave you laughing in your seats this week, I’d like to share just a few of those things with you. Besides, I have two killer stories lined up for the next couple of posts which should have you spitting your beverages on your computer screens. I the meantime, I would appreciate your indulgence.


We throw around this word on a daily basis like pills at a Charlie Sheen pool party; however, we hardly ever stop and think about its true meaning. As I’ve alluded to in many past posts, I’ve been through some rather dark times in my life—the most recent of which were brought on by my own arrogance and stupidity. It’s during these times when I’ve learned which people in my life are there unconditionally.

It’s often tougher to appreciate a true friend under everyday circumstances; however, there are times like this weekend when I have been lucky enough to realize in real time the value of true friends.

While contemplating these moments I recalled a time in my life when I made choices that ultimately let down a large number of people I considered to be my friends. To be fair to those people, I’ll own the fact that during the time I’m about to recount, my life took a very sharp turn off what appeared to be a very solid road. I was selfish beyond measure. I lied. I cheated. My life literally collapsed around me.

Granted, under the circumstances all of these people had a right to their first reaction. All of them had a right to feel disappointed, angry, frustrated, deflated, shocked, or whatever other emotion bubbled to the surface immediately after discovering what was, in fact, a harsh truth to discover. However, what was heartbreaking about the entire situation for me is what happened after the dust began to settle.

Ominous, vague allusions aside, what happened is something that taught me one of life’s most valuable lessons. Shortly after the big explosion I began to receive emails from several “friends” essentially telling me that our friendship was over. They all ended with very Edward R. Murrow-esque themed “Good Night and Good Luck” salutations.

After contacting a friend who didn’t send me an email I later found out that a family member of mine held a conference call about me and directed everyone to abandon me in the name of setting me straight. To this day, that is one of the most painful things that ever occurred in my life and it has a profound effect on how I treat both the people who abandoned me and new people I bring into my life.

Before you reach for an aloe-infused Kleenex and weep for my misfortune let me share some perspective. I think most people fall into the realm of the former friends who chose to abandon me. Most people carry with them their own group of issues and limitations and setting those aside for the sake of anyone but themselves is a Herculean task, especially when a betrayal of an extremely personal nature has occurred. When a person who is respected for a certain quality acts in stark contrast to that exact quality, the person who held him in high esteem is bound to have a strong reaction.

It’s difficult to swallow a tennis ball sized helping of pride and most people choose to pick up that tennis ball and hurl it toward the guilty party. That’s a hell of a lot easier than dealing with whatever issues we carry around with us on a daily basis. It’s much easier to blame someone else for everything even when only part of what that person has done is responsible for whatever emotions erupt. In that regard, the reaction of these folks didn’t surprise me.

As I’ve said, I deserved the first reaction. It’s what happened afterward that stuck with me. The friends that stuck around were the ones who were able to overcome their initial reactions and look at me as an entire person rather than viewing me through the narrow telescope of the worst time of my life. I’ve since forgiven in the truest sense all of the people who walked out on me. However, I have no desire to have a relationship with any of them anymore.

The good news is that after sting of being hit by those tennis balls began to wear off, there were people left in my life that chose to remain there rather than walk out. It is this group of people who I was with this weekend. These are the people who I laugh heartily and unapologetically with even though the joke is aimed squarely at me. These are the people who have keys to my car, my house, and I trust with my deepest secrets. These are the people for whom I will stop anything at any time of day and at any place on earth just to pick up the phone when I see their name on my screen. These are the people who make me feel loved and I am thankful for all of them. There is good in everything and everyone. When that good is directed openly and honestly at us, we should learn to embrace it unconditionally. Doing that often helps us find the good in ourselves even when it is obscured by terrible things.


I was in Vegas recently and was talking poolside with a guy named Bill I met because we shared the same cocktail waitress. Ménage a tois imagery aside, Bill and I struck up a conversation about my beloved home state. Bill is a New Yorker through and through and made his living deep in the heart of the action on Wall Street. He enjoys fine foods, expensive wines, exotic cuisine, foreign cars, and recently refurnished his swanky Manhattan loft. After talking with Bill for a few minutes, it was clear the guy was loaded. What happened next, however, was quite telling.

After some discussion about New York, Bill turned his attention to Texas. After testing the waters with “you all ride horses to work and wear cowboy hats” comments Bill could tell I wasn’t amused. I’ll give him credit for recognizing my lack of receptiveness because he asked me, “What is it about Texas? Everyone I meet from Texas has a thing about that state.”

I’m not sure about “everyone” but here’s what it is to me. Every child in a Texas public school is required to say the Pledge of Allegiance and the Texas Pledge of Allegiance before school every morning. Every child in a Texas public school is required to take a Texas History course early in his education. We know the state nickname, the state bird, the state tree, the state flower, and we learn about the men who fought and died to give Texas its independence from Mexico. We celebrate Texas Independence Day on March 2 with the same zeal we celebrate the Fourth of July. We learn that Texas was its own country before joining the United States and we learn every river that defines our borders and every battle that made it that way. We are taught from a very young age why Texas is Texas and we’re taught to love and respect it.

Granted, that sounds like indoctrination, but there is a distinction to be made. Texas is a fiercely independent state and it’s big too. Texas is bigger than France and unlike living on the East Coast like my friend Bill, it’s entirely possible to drive for hours upon hours and never leave the state. Texas feels like its own country and it’s comforting to know that by living here I’m a part of something bigger than myself. Texas is not just some place to put up a house and find a job. Texas is home and that mentality is ever present in its residents, especially in Austin.

With rare exception, every person who lives in Austin feels lucky to live here. That’s a special thing to encounter and as someone who has traveled all over the country for extended periods of time, I have yet to find a place like it where that mentality permeates everyday life. The people are wonderful, the hills and lakes are comforting and peaceful, the food is great, and, of course, Lone Star Beer is made in Texas.

I suppose if I had to explain it to the ones of you who are reading this and rolling your eyes, I’d say that the Texas Pride thing is tantamount being a Red Sox fan in Boston or a die hard Cubs fan in Chicago. It’s something you carry with you wherever you are and I, for one, smile each time I return home from a trip and raise the airplane window shade on descent to reveal the Austin skyline. I love it here and I’m thankful to be a Texan. I’m also thankful that guys like Bill can appreciate that.


I’ve never directly addressed this particular subject in my blog. In fact, it’s a subject—among others—that I’m extremely reluctant to discuss on the pages of the Internet. Contrary to the emotions and musings I share on this blog, I’m an intensely private person and I don’t share a great deal about myself beyond my aforementioned circle of close friends. I’m not distant or unapproachable; however, I’m careful about sharing everything with everybody. In short, there are plenty of tickets available to the DP Theater but very few people get a back stage pass.

While contemplating the people in my life during my downtime this weekend, many things occurred to me; some of which were frankly difficult to admit to myself. The truth is that I’m an extremely flawed person. I’m moody, sometimes selfish, obstinate at times, and often in a dark place. I’m hypercritical of myself and tend to store a lot of that burden deep within myself rather than asking for help carrying it. I suppose all of this is tempered (even hidden) by my giant personality and sense of humor; however, that also makes me tougher to handle when that sense of humor goes into hiding for a while.

To set the stage, let’s just say that the horrible events to which I’ve been referring above are a major sign post in my life. For the past five years or so, it’s been difficult, if not impossible for me to completely and totally open up to anyone in any sort of long term, meaningful way. I’ve had flings, dalliances, short romances, and even walked away from what could have been constructive relationships all in the name of getting my head on straight.

I’ve struggled with my station in life and grappled with my personal demons. I’ve been in denial, denied nothing, drank myself into oblivion, stayed sober for months at a time, talked to no one, talked to everyone, wandered around, stayed in seclusion . . . you get the picture. I’ve struggled. It might surprise you to know that many of what I would consider my funniest and most creative blog posts have been written through tears in the middle of the night. I’m not sure how that works. It just does.

Throughout those times, it’s been rare for me to find a person interested in shouldering the consequences of my actions and accepting me for exactly who I am today. During the recent past I’ve—as they say here in Texas—gotten my sh*t together—and am today a much happier—albeit still flawed—person. I’m focused, back in great shape, positive, and open. I’ve gained perspective and realize what I want out of the rest of my life and I have accepted myself for who I am. I understand and realize my limitations and own the talents I’ve been given. I’ve realized only recently that coming to grips with every word in those last two sentences is the only way for me to truly appreciate another person in my life.

Now, it’s not important how, why, or even where we met. We met and, like other people in my life at the time, I chose to know her without the commitment or responsibility of letting her get to know me emotionally. In short, like the majority of the people in my life since the big explosion, she got a ticket to the theater and not backstage.

Thinking back to when we met, I remember several things about her that struck me. She had a natural, almost understated beauty about her that didn’t require any accoutrements. She was dressed simply yet what she wore seemed suited exclusively for her. Her eyes were sincere and positive to look at and her smile lit up her entire face. Her laugh was contagious and occurred often. She was quiet, yet confident and had a knack for listening intently. She was warm and open and emanated a certain intangible femininity through small mannerisms that intrigued me and captured my attention. She smelled nice too.

Now let me say that these are all qualities I both look for and have found in other people. In fact, when asked I’ve told other people I’ve seen the same or similar things. After all, these are the things that I find attractive in a woman. However, I’ve rarely, if ever, found all of them in one person and, despite my conscious efforts to deny it, these were all voluminously present in her. In short, she was an attractive broad and I dug her.

Our relationship was long distance, which under many circumstances spells imminent doom. However, keeping in mind where I was emotionally and what had happened in my life, the distance was actually a positive in that it gave me small doses of time to both get to know her and slowly open myself to her. In short, there’s no way it would have worked if she lived in Austin. I simply wasn’t ready. We saw each other on occasion and began to talk regularly; however, we both avoided “The Talk” as we both had issues and other people to deal with. We both knew—I think—that we were interested in knowing more, but we were both oddly comfortable with the distance and perhaps afraid of a committment.

Fast forward to present day. The truth is that I’ve made many mistakes in the relationship—regardless how that’s been defined over the time we’ve been seeing each other and what level of commitment was expected. I’ve been selfish at times, confused, scared, and she’s been forced to bear the full weight of my shortcomings. In response, she’s been inexplicably patient and unflinchingly kind to me. She has never been jealous or controlling and she’s always been able to set aside her own pride in the name of giving me the time and the room I need to figure things out.

She makes me laugh and she’s a big fan of the blog and in spite of the fact that I have an overwhelmingly female audience she has never once asked me to acknowledge her or made any effort to mark what she can rightfully claim as her “territory.”

In spite of my mistakes, she has remained a consistent, positive presence in my life and has demonstrated a true ability to forgive me when I sincerely apologize. She’s stood up for herself and has set reasonable expectations for the future. Most importantly, she has unselfishly looked past my inability to accept my own feelings--often at her expense--and has helped me understand that her feelings for me are unconditional. She has allowed me to be a better person on my own terms and for that I am indescribably grateful. She also laughs at my jokes.

Often when we realize we have someone in our lives like that it’s often too late. Fortunately for me, it isn’t. I’ve been through quite a bit in the last few years and my time alone this weekend has helped me amalgamate those events with the people currently in my life. I’ve realized unequivocally that I want all of those people to remain in my life, especially her. In short, Some Guy in Austin is officially off the market. I’m thrilled that I’ve finally learned to listen to myself and I’m lucky to have a person in my life who has been patient and supportive enough to let me figure that out for myself.

Well, there it is. It’s amazing what a person can discover sitting alone in a field with a case of 20 gauge shotgun shells and a six pack of beer, isn’t it? When I shared the subject of this with a close friend she told me that I was going to lose a large portion of my audience. That’s crossed my mind too, but the truth is the truth, Readers, and my Special Lady Friend has earned the right to let the truth see the light of day.

Thank you all for reading this week. In exchange for indulging my metamorphosis this week, I promise to deliver big next week. I’ve got a couple of stories in mind that should do the trick. Thank you again to everyone involved in the John Wayne Film Fest this weekend and thank you to those of you reading this that made a donation to the fund. Please keep Austin and its residents in your prayers. Take care of each other. In the meantime, if you need me, I’ll be writing love letters. DP