Thursday, September 20, 2018

Nurse the Hate: Euro Tour 2018 Prelude

I have been in the last crush before this tour.  Everything has come to a head in one snarling chaotic tension filled froth.  I handle essentially everything.  Coordinating dates with the booking agent.  Pressing a special tour LP.  Printing different shirt designs.  Booking flights.  Coordinating van and gear rental.  Coordinating promotional efforts in a language and culture I barely understand.  I am the go-between for everything.  It’s a great deal for most people to handle on their own, much less working full time with the responsibilities of a semi-normal “adult” life. 

I look upon the other band members with some envy.  They only need to pack their bags, show up and it’s all been handled.  For example, the only thing Leo is required to do is get on the flight I booked for him and land in Frankfurt with a snare drum, cymbals, sticks and a bass drum pedal.  That’s it.  If you get down to it, he could buy a toothbrush and underwear when he got there.  I feel confident that he has almost no idea of any of our destination cities, much less clubs.  Sure, he probably knows we are playing some of our favorite places like Stuttgart, the Wild at Heart in Berlin and Finnegan Shinnegan.  He’s likely overheard talk about Bux setting us up in Belgium.  However, it’s all vague.  Whatever happens, happens.  This is why receiving a text message from Hector in Iceland saying “Leo didn’t bring his snare” was almost the death of me.

A drummer literally has four things to remember.  I had 117.  Yet at 1035p the night before departing, I suddenly had to try and find a snare drum in Northern Germany that we could use for two weeks.  I thought I was going to have a coronary.  I would have felt badly about my death having the tour cancelled, though I suppose it could have gone off with “Whiskey Daredevils featuring Greg Miller’s Corpse”.  While maybe not as exciting musically, this version of the band might have outdrawn us with more curiosity seekers checking it out.  I can see it now as one German sipped a long crisp pilsner, saying to his friend, “Diese Band mit dem toten Kerl war etwas besser als ich erwartet hatte.”  (That band with the dead guy was better than I expected)

This will be a point of bitter contention and arguing within the van for years.  Leo has taken the position that he told me well in advance that he was not planning on bringing his snare and would instead just get one from where we rent the gear.  This explanation is a bit shaky as I knew weeks ago that we would be getting the gear from a different source, and he might not have the opportunity to take a snare drum.  A snare is personal to most drummers, the key to their personal sound.  It’s like asking to borrow someone’s retainer.  Leo asking me to secure a snare would have stood out in a “you want to get you a snare?  Seriously?”.  He is firm in his position, confident of his memory, despite decades of evidence pointing to the contrary side of the argument.  It is very well documented that if Leo “remembers” something, it is likely a wild guess at what he hopes might have happened.  It will be a bitter dispute that will never be resolved, like the DMZ in Korea.

The real lesson is I need to relax.  I did all I could to try and make this trip successful.  The die has been cast.  I should at least capture a sliver of joy out of it.  The bottom line is that playing songs you wrote halfway around the world to enthusiastic music fans is incredibly fun.  It is absurd that I was ever able to do this, much less after all these years of already having done it.  I need to work more Leo into my head, something I never thought I would type.  It will all work out somehow.  It always does.  Leo knows it, so why don’t I?

I’m about to leave for the airport.  I will provide as full an accounting of this slam though Germany and Belgium as I am capable.  Look for the Euro Tour Diary 2018 in this space.  

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Nurse the Hate: John Lydon at LAX

I saw this photograph of John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten) yesterday landing at LAX Airport.  I would imagine you had a similar experience I did when seeing it, perhaps even muttering out a “wow” yourself.  The jokes popped into my head immediately.  Anarchy in the BK.  God Save the Dairy Queen.  Granted, Lydon is in a bit of an unfair situation.  Almost every photograph published of him is from 1978 when he was a lean 21 year old, the embodiment of personal freedom and the rebel spirit of punk rock. The point of comparison for Lydon as an amazingly overweight senior citizen in a track suit pulling his roller bag is especially cruel.  Let’s agree that it is an unfair situation.  However… 

Lydon is in LA to promote a documentary about his time in Public Image Ltd.  John is there on business.  John Lydon is in the “Johnny Rotten/John Lydon business”.  He only has two things he needs to do in that business.  1) He needs to be a grouchy iconoclast. 2) He needs to bear, at the very least, a passing resemblance to John Lydon.  That’s it.  That’s all he has to do.  He needs to tell some stories, say some outrageous things, and be the man the book is about.  He can’t show up like a fat old guy you feel sorry for because he gets winded walking the terminal to Cinnabon.  

I can already hear the apologists getting warmed up.  “That’s what makes him so punk!  He just doesn’t care about your expectations man!”  Stop it.  He didn’t become an enormous guy in a track suit because he was making a statement.  He became an enormous guy in a track suit because it was easier to eat shitty food and/or drink 11,000 beers than it was to maintain a semblance of his appearance.  To me the biggest tell is that he still has that orange dyed hair.  He lets it all go and essentially gave up, yet still keeps the orange hair.  If he wasn’t still putting a thin effort into being “rock and roll”, he would have just tossed on a little cap.  The orange hair lets you know that despite looking like a Benny Hill extra, he’s still “subversive”.

I watched an interview he gave yesterday on a digital platform I have never heard of with the director of the PiL documentary.  John gave it his best in his flannel shirt and sporty all black skater shoes, but with his fleshy face and accent he reminded me of an angry London wallpaper hanger that you stumble into a conversation with in a workingman’s pub.  “You a Yank, eh?  Wol I’ll tell ya bout these sods in powah.   Buying me a pint are you?  Noice!”  I couldn’t believe the transformation from even the Lydon of a few years ago.  The guy in this photo carries himself like an East End cab driver.      

I get it though.  It must be extremely tiring to pretend you’re still 24 when you’re at retirement age.  Can you imagine how many times Ronnie Wood must have thought, “Godammit, I don’t want to dye my hair black, toss it up in a rooster cut, and climb into these tiny size zero black jeans.  Can’t I just put on a pair of Dockers and get some fish and chips?  Can’t I just take a bus trip to a casino with people my own age and play video poker?”  It must be exhausting.  How many man hours are spent making Paul McCartney look like he is frozen in 1985?  Cher is a 72 year old woman.  She looks the same as she did 30 years ago.  She must be 85% plastic and wigs now.  However, no one is buying tickets to see a woman that looks like Granny Moses sing those terrible songs in a sports arena.  The illusion must be maintained for business.  Hell, even Elton John is in better shape and he's a disaster.

Maybe John Lydon is more punk than ever because he is confrontational and does what he wants.  It's a thin agrument, but it's an argument.  Still, I'll tell you this.  I am not paying to see a London wallpaper hanger try to belt out "Rise" in a track suit.  I would trust his opinion on Arsenal though. 


Sunday, September 16, 2018

Nurse the Hate: NFL Week 2

I’ve been busy this week trying to get my life together.  It’s been a full week of “rope a dope” as I take body blows trying to outlast my opponents and cobble together whatever constitutes something resembling a win.  Thank God for the illusion of control that sports gambling affords.  Sunday afternoons can once again be moments of self medicated peace as I rail against the injustice of an inevitable roughing the passer penalty that will cost me some hard earned American Green.  It’s the little things…  Now, onto the games.    

I have a hard time understanding what is going on in Buffalo.  The team made the playoffs last year for the first time since the War of 1812, and they immediately cut bait on Tyrod Taylor without a tangible plan.  I had to call Leo to see if he had become the GM over there, which would have been better than the current state in Western New York.  “Yeah…  we released Tyrod Taylor as QB…”  But Mr. Love?  Who is going to be the quarterback?  “Ah… Ah… Well… It’s a little fucked up.  But… It’s going to be great.  What the fuck were we talking about again?”.  This appears to be The Plan in Buffalo.  The Bills will have to choose between running Nathan Peterman out there, who I consider to be “The Poor Man’s DeShone Kizer”, or Josh Allen, who is a new version of “Rookie Blake Bortles”.  Neither of these options are conducent to winning football bets. 

The Bills are a much better team at home than that abortion they trotted out in Baltimore last week.  This is probably due to the fact that 40,000 dudes in beards have been drinking Labatt Blue and pissing in the woods surrounding the parking lots in Orchard Park since Thursday.  There is an angry blue collar Viking mentality that seeps onto the field that will probably freak out the SoCal vibe Chargers.  This might even last until the second half, at which point someone on the Charger sideline will realize “Hey, we’re playing the Bills.  Let’s win this and get back to LA and get organic free range hemp smoothies.”.  I don’t know how the Bills can score enough to keep pace with the Chargers in the event they score more than 7.

As the Chargers generally play poorly when going east playing at 1pm, I don’t love them giving the 7.5.  I don’t know why these guys can’t adjust to flying a few hours east.  I do red eyes over to Germany, drive around in a van, and then play a show after waiting around 8 hours and drinking 17 beers.  Then again, I don’t have a point spread on “OVER seven lyrical mistakes Miller in set 1”.  Regardless, I’m going to tease the Chargers with the Eagles. 

Philadelphia played that NFL Thursday night kickoff TV special clusterfuck that seems like 2 years ago.  Meanwhile Tampa stunned the Saints away last week with an improbable asskicking from the manly beard of Ryan Fitzpatrick.  I love Fitz and I love his flowing beard.  That beard makes you forget he’s a Harvard Man slumming it for some cash until he slides into some Old Boy Network finance gig to suck from the teat of Wall Street.  Fitzpatrick as an NFL QB is the same as me as a cowboy.  All are not as they appear. 

I think the Bucs spent this entire week giving each other high fives saying “Bro!  We won Sunday!” forgetting that the Eagles are coming in to break their bones.  The Eagles, even the Nick Foles Eagles, will bring Tampa back to reality this week.  I seem to recall the Eagles winning the Super Bowl last year, which suggests to me that they might be good.  The Eagles also have had an additional three days to rest and prep for this game.  I think the word most sportswriters will use to describe this game on Monday will be “dispatch” as in “The Eagles dispatched the Bucs Sunday”.  Chargers -.5/Eagles +2.5

The Redskins v Colts line has moved from Redskins -3 to Redskins -6.  Whenever you see a line move three points that quickly it means The Public has poured money onto one side.  I will continue to preach to anyone that listens that The Public doesn’t know anything.  A lifetime spent in advertising has taught me that no matter how stupid you think the general public is, you haven’t even begun to grasp the lack of basic reasoning out there.  Spend a few minutes and watch any video interview that is described as “Trump supporter defends president”.  That’s about half of the country that is armed with that type of brain.  Even as you read this there is a guy in a red MAGA ball cap that is shoveling money across a betting window on the Redskins.  His belief is that since the Redskins beat the shit out of an awful Cardinals team last week, they will beat the shit out of EVERY TEAM they play in the future.  This dope has no idea that the Colts were one freak play away from beating a good Bengals team last week and the Redskins are still the Redskins.  I’ll take the points here and assume that Vegas is once again fleecing The Rubes.  I’m not betting ON the Colts so much as betting AGAINST the wisdom of the American People.  Colts +6   

Season Record: 2-1

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Nurse the Hate: A Short Story About That One Night

When Victor and Christina came on the scene, things picked up.  They moved back from their Mom’s place downtown into their Dad’s place out here by the lake.  He wasn’t “on” the lake technically, but lived a few houses down on this access road where the neighbors were all cool and the cops left you alone.  It was close enough to the lake that the midges were a real pain in the ass and you could smell the white bass rotting on shore.  They had both moved in with him after he got that Alzheimer’s diagnosis.  I never met him when he was normal, but you could see glimmers of what he used to be like shine though for a while.  He got worse pretty quick but that summer he was OK and he never gave me any shit.

Victor was fun to party with, and we started hanging out over there so he could keep an eye on his Dad.  I was failing out at community college during the day and partying most nights.  I had a usual crew.  We would start out by rolling over there and getting a solid base going.  Victor would give his Dad a beer and put the Beach Boys on the stereo to keep him settled.  His Dad wandered around the house while “Good Vibrations” boomed out of the Pioneer speakers.  You had to put Beach Boys on or his Dad would fucking start to lose it.  Victor always played that Greatest Hist disc over and over.  

Victor’s sister Christina was sexy as fuck.  She kind of looked like Suzie Quatro, but there was no denying that she sort of looked like Victor in a wig.  Those two looked like twins but Victor was a year older.  They had that weird brother sister thing where they looked so similar that it was easy to imagine the other one with a flipped gender.  It used to fuck with my head.  She was quiet and would sit in the corner while most of the guys tried to impress her by doing stupid shit.  I hardly ever talked to her cause I never knew what to say. 

So we were over there like normal.  Good Vibrations is booming.  Victor’s Dad is mumbling the words to the song walking around the house holding a Stroh’s tallboy.  I’m with Mikey and Little Mikey, even though Little Mikey is a pain in the ass, but he drove so that was that.  I’m standing in the kitchen leaning against the counter drinking a beer and Little Mikey keeps blabbing about “This town is dead!  This town is so fucking dead!” and Victor is smiling like he always is saying “Maybe we should get some coke” and I’m already fucking bored.  Then Mikey starts to wrestle Little Mikey and Victor is doing some WWF announcer voice and I’m like “this again?” when Christina says to me “You like books?  You read, don’t you?”.  I’m like “I can’t believe Christina is talking to me” but I’m trying to play it cool and I say “Yeah” because I do read some, way more than these other assholes.  So then Christina says, “C’mon.  I want to show you my books.” and we walk down the hall to her room.

Christina walks me in there and shuts the door behind her, and I’m totally freaking out.  I’m thinking for sure Victor is going to go fucking apeshit because he is totally protective of his sister and he’s going to think I was doing some backhand shit.  Still, I’m trying to play it cool and all when she walks me over to this little bookshelf to show me her books.  She had some bullshit up there but it was kinda surprising bullshit like Tolkien and Vonnegut paperbacks and I’m leafing through it pretending to be really into it but really I’m freaking out trying to figure out what I’m supposed to do.  She is standing really close behind me and I can smell the soap on her, like really good smelling soap girls use, not like that Irish Spring shit.  And just like that we start making out.

It’s not that I’m not into it, it’s just that my head is still all wrecked from this girl I used to see named Lisa.  Lisa wanted to move to Montreal and wanted me to go, and I loved her but it’s not like I knew French so what was I going to do in Montreal?  She drops this ultimatum on me and says “Either you go to Montreal, or we are done”.  I don’t want her to go so bad my whole body starts to shake but I don’t want to look like I’m a bitch so I just look away and say “whatever”.  Now she’s gone in Montreal and I’m driving around getting fucked up with Mikey and Little Mikey thinking about her all the time, so when Christina starts making out with me I feel like I’m cheating on Lisa.  The last year has been like I’ve been in a car and I missed the exit I was supposed to get off at with Lisa but I just kept driving the wrong way and now I’ve driven too far to turn back around to get her.  What are you supposed to do when you get one chance in life and you fuck it up?  Then I start to roll around on the bed with Christina.  

At this point I’m thinking “this is fucking awesome” but at the same time I’m thinking “make out a little bit but don’t do anything else” as if that would be enough to keep Victor cool if he went mental on me and it wouldn’t really be like cheating on Lisa who doesn’t give a fuck about me at this point anyway.  Then it starts to really get going.  She’s rubbing my dick through my jeans and I’ve got her bra off and she looks fucking hot as hell and it’s all going really fast.  I pull off her jeans and she has this little black triangle of pubic hair and I’m like “holy shit” and say the dumbest thing ever “I don’t have a rubber”.  She is pulling me back to her and she whispers in my ear “get one out of my nightstand” so I start fumbling around blind with my left hand in that drawer while I’m kissing her and fingering her with my right hand and I’m not doing either very well.  I can’t find the fucking thing in that drawer.  I keep pulling out hair brushes and batteries.  She starts huffing in my ear “just put it in me!  Just put it in me!”  and I just say fuck it and I do it.

It feels so fucking good I can’t believe it and I’m almost having an out of body experience thinking “holy shit I’m fucking Christina” while I hear Mikey and Little Mikey and Victor all yelling about shit over the fucking Beach Boys outside the door.  Christina’s facial expression changes, like she loses this edge she always has on her.  She looks younger or something, like she took a mask off.  It’s like she decided to show me who she was, like she decided to take a chance with me because she trusted me and then that’s when things get fucked up.

Little Mikey starts banging on the door and he’s laughing it up and is like “Hey man!  Let’s go!  We’re leaving!  We are bolting like right fucking now!”  So for some reason my first thought is “man, that’s my ride” but at the same time I’m still fucking Christina but the magic is all gone because I can hear those guys saying shit to Victor like “I think he’s fucking your sister in there man” and then I just pull out of her.  Boom.  There’s like this one moment where we both sort of look at each other and I’m like “oh shit” cause I know this is really bad.  I start to mumble some excuse about “sorry umm he’s my ride” as I’m putting my boner in my underwear and somehow she’s the one embarrassed even though I’m the one who just did the most asshole thing ever.  She covers herself up with the sheet and I can see she’s trying really hard not to cry but tears are welling up and she’s mad at herself because she doesn’t want me to see that.  I’m so ashamed at myself I’m practically running out of the room because I totally humiliated Christina who is probably nicer to me than anyone at this point but she doesn’t know it’s not her and that I’m still in love with Lisa and I’m scared shitless of her brother and it’s not her fault because I’m totally this fucked up broken person anyway.  I just bolt like an asshole.

Mikey and Little Mikey are out in the kitchen and start to give me a hard time and Victor is like “what the fuck dude?” and Victor’s Dad is just staring at me saying the words to “Surfin USA” which is screaming out of the speakers and I practically run past them to the car.  I climb in back too, and don’t even try to get shotgun so when Mikey and Little Mikey get in the car Mikey knows something is fucked up.  Little Mikey is a dick like always and when we pull out of the driveway he’s like “let me smell your finger dude!” and starts laughing like a fucking hyena and Mikey smacks him and says “chill the fuck out man”.  I don’t say shit the whole drive over to some guy’s place that Little Mikey thinks has coke but he doesn’t so we listen to Skynyrd and drink beers and listen to Little Mikey scream “This town is fucking dead!”. 

I try not to think about that night anymore but I still do.     

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Nurse the Hate: NFL Week One

Week one of the NFL means the official start of Gambling Season for me.  I absolutely love betting on NFL games.  It’s like a weekly puzzle to solve while also undeniably providing me with the false sense of purpose.  As my plan to become the Baron of Tasmanian Sparkling Wine in the late 1800s has hit a snag, I now need to provide focus on the dream of one massive windfall thanks to an otherwise meaningless late field goal by the Texans.  We all have dreams.  I am going to need cash to fulfill my destiny as the melancholy man in the exquisitely tailored suit smoking cigarettes in a stately Hong Kong hotel lobby bar.  I guess I’d have to start smoking too, which seems counter intuitive for a man of my now advanced years.  I can worry about that later I guess.  First I need to string together a few winners if I’m going to wander around grand old hotels in Asia.  Hong Kong ain't cheap, and neither are those tailored suits.  I'm going three piece too, so I can put a pocket watch in my vest.  "Heavens, look at the time.  Have Kwan fetch my trunks.  Call The Peninsula and have them reserve my table.  I'm hoping to dine with My Muse this evening."   That scenario has to be better than selling TV spots in Ohio.

Let’s discuss the Browns game this Sunday.  I was privy to an interoffice email from a stocky yet energetic TV weatherman in which he described the weather bearing down on the Browns v Steelers game Sunday afternoon as “the worst forecast I have seen for a game in my 16 years here including snow events.  I have no idea how anyone will be able to sit in the stands, much less play a football game.  Expect 4-5 inches of rain and 20-40 mph gusts.” 

First, let’s go on record and say it is never a good idea to attend a Browns game in person as the stands are filled with dangerous alcoholic degenerates each attempting to see how low they can set the bar for basic human behavior.  I’m surprised that most of the end zone sections don’t spend the game making guttural noises and throwing feces at each other like chimpanzees.  To spend three hours doing that in a Biblical rain storm?  No thanks.  Beyond that basic point, it is important to note that wind, not rain or snow, is the strongest indication of low scoring football.  You can’t throw it accurately in the wind, which means lots of running plays, which means short gains, which also means the clock keeps running. 

When I received that weather email I immediately excused myself from a meeting to load up on the BROWNS UNDER 44.5 and contacted many of my associates to urge them to do the same.  That line has already moved to 41.5 as of Friday late afternoon, and I suspect will continue to drop when The Public learns of our fate here in NE Ohio.  While you all are trying to find a high point total today, I will be building an ark in preparation of building the New World with my winnings.

I am going to take the Bengals.  Not only that, I am going to take the Bengals on the road, give up the points and take the money line.  This is normally an indication that a person has gone mad.  I will admit that the winds have picked up here and the constant battering against the house have taken a toll on my nerves.  I may have gone quite mad, but hear me out.  Public opinion has decided the Bengals are now awful.  They are not awful, but in fact dwell in that NFL Middle Class of teams that will hover between 7-9 wins.  Meanwhile, I am not sold on Andrew Luck being 100% healthy.  The Colts had great difficulty moving the ball in the preseason, and the Bengals roll in with a solid defense.  I just don’t see a guy playing his first real game in 2 years being able to score enough against a Cincinnati team that has legitimate skill position players.  My concern is that Marvin Lewis tries to get cute with the coaching, but at +140 it’s worth a flier.  This all could be madness induced from The Winds though, so caveat emptor.  Cincinnati money line +140.

Each season it is assumed that the Patriots will win the Super Bowl.  I believe that is because the Patriots have won the AFC East every year since the horseless carriage was introduced by Thomas Edison shortly after he landed at Plymouth Rock.  It’s true.  Look it up.  However, this is a team that is not great out of the gate.  They have won 65% of their September games while notching a crisp 85% of December games in the Brady era.  The Hoodie figures out what his team can and can’t do early in the year.  That’s why I love the Texans +6.5.  It’s week one so Deshaun Watson isn’t hurt yet.  The Texans had the #5 offense in football with Watson at QB last year.  When anyone but Watson is QB, they dropped to dead last.  Eventually the Texans will have their dreams crushed when Watson gets horribly mangled and Brandon Weeden comes in to perform The Full Weeden, but for now, they should be a good team.  This game seems like a FG will decide it to me, so I’m taking the points.  Houston +6.5

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Nurse the Hate: NFL WIn Totals Bets 2018

I have had great success betting season win totals in the NFL.  It's one of my few skills.  The key in these bets is looking for teams that have too much hype, or had too many things break their way in the previous season.  Human nature runs towards people believing that whatever happened in the past will repeat itself, and in something as chaotic as football, that is rarely the case.  There is great pleasure to be had in identifying a team that will underperform and then revel in weekly failure from that team. I enjoy smugly watching a team I don’t care about lose, inching me ever closer towards a financial windfall.        

One of these teams is the Buffalo Bills.  I have no idea what the fuck they are doing in Buffalo.  They cut Tyrod Taylor with no real plan at QB.  They sign AJ McCarron.  They then draft “the project QB” Allen, who looks dodgy at best.  They then trade McCarron to presumably hand the offense to that guy Peterman that tossed five interceptions in the first half of his only start last year.  This does not fill me with great confidence that the front office has a plan beyond daily gut reaction.  Their GM must be an off the rails coke dealer.  Hell, they gave the Browns a draft pick for a guy that demonstrably can’t catch and cut him two weeks later.  Now they’re on the hook to Coleman for 3 million too.  Does this seem like a team poised for success?  Buffalo UNDER 6 wins.

Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis must not have any close friends to let him know how absurd his haircut looks.  If he had friends they also would have stopped him from giving TV personality Jon Gruden $100 million dollars to coach.  Am I the only one that noticed that Gruden won that Super Bowl 16 years ago with Tony Dungy’s guys?  He’s been doing Hooters ads and screaming into TV mics creating his “brand” while the NFL has marched on.  Meanwhile the Raiders have gotten back to their bread and butter of signing players from the scratch n' dent bin as opposed to replenishing the roster with young talent.  I’m not sure why they didn’t want to spend on Mack, arguably the best defensive player in the league, when their defense completely sucks.  It seems inevitable that the draft picks they got from Chicago for Mack will turn into a speedy receiver that will catch 11 passes in two dreadful seasons and a kicker.  I’m not sure who besides Cooper will make a play on offense.  The Raiders have to play KC/SD/Denver twice and they’ll go 1-5 against that lineup.  This is a gimme.  Raiders UNDER 8 wins.

No one has ever lost money betting against the Browns.  There is an unreal amount of optimism about the Browns.  This is fool’s gold.  The Browns have secured some legitimate NFL players on the roster, which is a complete novelty in Northeast Ohio.  The sentiment appears to be that since there are some legit players, the team will flourish.  I would like to point out that this team has gone 1-31 in the last two years, and improvement is relative.  They will be competitive in streaks, but only if they remain freakishly healthy and Hue Jackson stays out of the mix.  I am convinced that Hue Jackson could take the 85 Bears and go 7-9.  He is an awful coach and will probably be ousted in a coup d’etat by his hard ass assistants by Halloween.  Tyrod Taylor was cut loose from the Bills despite them having no legitimate option at QB.  Yet, NE Ohio seems to believe that the Browns signed Steve Young.  Taylor will be injured or on the bench by Week 6.  Don’t let the glow of HBO’s Hard Knocks fool you.  This is a team in the bottom third of the league where 5-11 will seem like a Super Bowl season but will still give you a winning ticket.  Browns UNDER 6 wins.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Nurse the Hate: The Strangers In The Photo

He was sitting in the company lunch room, a bleak industrial space without windows and under fluorescent light.  A slight buzz could be heard from a failing bulb.  He had decided to trade in the desperate loneliness of wondering about his lost love for the piercing pain of certainty in searching out photographs of her on social media. He was staring at a photo of her in a group.  It was a mixed group of men and women, smiling with the shared comraderie of a night out.  He studied it like the Zapruder film of the Kennedy assassination.  What did the subtle facial expressions indicate?  Each hand location implied familiarity and no doubt created dozens of potential scenarios in his head.  He stared over at me.  “I never should have looked for her.”

I, on the other hand, had hoped to slip by and go out to the parking lot with that nod of acknowledgement that signified “Hello.  I see you.  Greetings, but I cannot stop due to inflexible time constraints.”  He was deep in it though.  There was no way I could avoid it.  I was going to have to fill the role of priest, advisor, and most likely liar.  He needed someone to throw him a rope. 

“What do you think?  Is she with one of these guys?  Or is this just like a bunch of people from the office that went out?”  Now I didn’t know any of these people.  I had never seen them before.  And these photos were frivolous instants in stranger’s lives.  What did I know?  It was a group of people in their late 20s/early 30s.  Everybody had probably fucked everybody or was at least trying to.  I looked at it closely.  Somebody was fucking the cute little brown girl.  That was clear.  Probably the guy in the baseball cap.  His ex-girl was in the back of the group smiling, not wanting to be the center of attention.  She was probably just out with the group.  Yet…  Who was that guy back there near her?  He seemed a bit meek, like he was under the sway of the girl in question.  Hmmm…  Something was going on there.

“I don’t know.  Who are these people?”  He wasn’t sure.  Work friends he thought.  They were all on some sort of outing.  “Well, someone is hooked up with that girl in the green.  I think it’s that douche baseball hat guy.  One of the two dorks is probably with that puffy pale girl in the sundress.  It looks like your girl is just hanging out.” 

“Really?  Do you think so?  I think that guy back there next to her might be her new boyfriend.  See how he’s lurking near her?”  Uh-oh.  He saw the same thing I did.  I looked over at my co-worker, knowing full well what he expected.  He needed me to provide him with a scenario where he could have the willing suspension of disbelief that his girl was still like he remembered her, thinking about him as much as he was thinking about her, that somehow, they would get back together.  He needed me to tell him a lie that he could cling to for combating the misery of imagining her happy, in constant coital bliss, and having totally forgotten him.  He needed a lie that would work.

“No way.  She would never go out with that pussy.  Look at him.  He’s probably just trying to get in there.  Look how uncomfortable he looks, like he’s got no game.  I wouldn’t worry about it.”  He stared back at his phone, trying on my scenario, seeing if it fit.  I took that pause as my way out.  “Hey, I gotta go.  Don’t let it bother you.  It’s her loss.”  I walked out the door, a successful escape.  I still had the image of the photo in my mind, of the girl and the thin uncomfortable man.  There was no doubt. 

They looked like a couple.