Thursday, January 10, 2019

Nurse the Hate: My Alternate Life As A Dry Wall Installer and NFL Divisional Round Picks

When I was in high school I remember being sent for a meeting with our guidance counselor.  A high school guidance counselor is perhaps the least worthwhile job in education with the exception of high school shop teacher.  My high school shop teacher spent most of the semester screaming at kids to not chop off fingers on the jigsaw while he ignored us and lovingly worked on his own advanced woodworking projects.  I made a shitty looking hurricane lamp in the same time in which he produced a craftsman level dining room set.  I got yelled at every day and I am fairly certain he thought my real name was “Shit-For-Brains”.  I was called that so often that I will even now reflexively turn if I hear someone yell it out.  To be fair, I did not excel in the class.  It is remarkable I have all my fingers.

One day we were given appointments to meet with the guidance counselor, a man named Jim Kissman as I recall.  This is all from memory, but I think Mr. Kissman had a degree from Edinboro University, perhaps the least prestigious school in Pennsylvania.  Mr. Kissman’s role was to provide us a launch pad for future success by helping us get accepted at lofty universities.  In retrospect, a guy from Edinboro with scuffed shoes and Jeff Lynne afro might not have been best suited for this task.  He had the feel of a guy that could probably help you secure a pretty good price on a replacement muffler. 

One by one we met with Mr. Kissman in his office to discuss “our futures”.  This was an odd meeting for me as I had never even spoken with Mr. Kissman prior to this “sit down”.  I sat uncomfortably on the plastic chair on the other side of his cluttered desk.  He opened his file cabinet while repeating my name (“Miller”, not “Shit For Brains”) until he found what he was looking for.  Months earlier we had taken a standardized test which was supposed to help us focus on career areas in which we would flourish based on our interests.  The questions were like “Would you rather add up a column of numbers or build a TV set?” or “Which do you prefer, camels or mechanized drill presses?”.  None of it made any sense.  The exam result would somehow provide us with the laser focus we would need to have a profitable and rewarding career.

My high school sent something like 96% of all students to college.  This is where I assumed I would go, like my parents did and their parents before them.  There were 12 kids in the school involved in a trade school program.  We knew these kids by sight only as boys in tattered jackets that smoked cigarettes and had wispy boy mustaches.  We had almost no interaction with them.  The information on them was spotty.  They listened to a great deal of heavy metal and had been known to smoke marijuana.  They were known to teacher, student and parents alike as “The Rats”.  Not that our community looked down on trades or anything…    They took an early morning bus from high school to the trade school and would be ignored by the other students walking in much as you would ignore men waiting to give plasma.

Mr. Kissman squinted at my test results.  He looked at me.  We stared at each other.  Two strangers sitting in an office.  “So, Greg… what are your plans after high school?”  My plans were to embrace a college lifestyle I had seen in “Animal House” and “Revenge of the Nerds”, but the specifics were a little vague as I was only 15 at the time.  “Go to college I guess.  Maybe study radio and TV…”  Mr. Kissman stared back at the folder.  “You know, maybe the trades would be good for you…”  He might as well have said, “I think you have brain cancer.”.  I was stunned as I could not and cannot build or repair anything.  Was he suggesting that I should be a member of The Rats?  What the fuck?  Am I not college material?  Everybody else is?  I'm not?  Kissman read from The Report.  “According to this, you would be well suited to be either a turbine mechanic or a shepherd.”   I left the office stunned, completely questioning my earlier self assessment about my obvious talent for advertising because a stranger that had never met me looked at results from a clearly flawed standardized test.  It really shook me until I realized that Mr. Kissman didn’t know anything except where to get a good replacement muffler.

Sometimes I think about what would have happened if I would have listened to Mr. Kissman and enrolled as a poorly qualified member of the trades.  Though I would have had no inherent skill, I think I would have learned enough to be employable, maybe as a dry waller.  I could see embracing the idea of getting paid in cash, getting drunk at a chicken wing bar and then missing work until my money ran out.  Make no bones about it, I never would have actually flouished in the trades, skills to which I am now very envious.  It would have been a radical left turn in what my life later became, that’s for sure.  Today a friend of mine sent me an old photo from a Halloween party where I grew a bad mustache and had my fake teeth in.  I think I would have looked like this, listened to a lot of metal, and still not known how to fix shit.  I still probably would be betting on NFL Football games though and hopefully felt the same way about these upcoming playoff games.       

It isn’t often when you see a NFL Playoff line that seems incorrect, however that Colts v Chiefs line looks off to me.  These are two teams that have been going in opposite directions.  Kansas City since losing Hunt have gone 1-6 against the spread in their last 7.  The Colts, after starting 1-5, have the best point differential in the league and are getting better each month.  The line is at 5.5 but this should be 3 just for Kansas City’s home field advantage.  On a neutral field, this game should be a pick ‘em.  I think this game is begging you to go all-in on the Colts.

A couple of quick stats for you.  Chiefs coach Andy Reid is 1-6 in his last 7 playoff games, effectively becoming this generation’s Marty Schottenheimer, who ironically lost big games as a Chiefs coach too.  The Public, who loves Kansas City because they had some of their gaudy offensive players on their fantasy teams, has already forgotten that KC has the 26th ranked defense.  They are also repeating the “Andy Reid doesn’t lose after a bye week” mantra.  They love themselves some Patrick Mahomes.  They probably don’t know that this generation of NFL quarterbacks making their first start in the Playoffs are 3-19-1 against the spread.  That is a trend.  The only downside here is this is the Colts third high intensity road game in a row, but what the hell…  It’s not like Indy is that far from Kansas City.  I've done that drive in a van and felt tip top by the time I got to the club.  I love the Colts here.  Indianapolis +5.5 

Speaking of teams heading in the wrong direction, let’s talk about the Rams.  They got pasted by the Bears, lost at home to the Eagles, beat a terrible Cardinal team, and then got a closer than comfort win over SF where they were +4 on turnovers.  They clearly peaked in October.  Meanwhile Dallas, with the exception of that trap game vs the Colts after they secured their playoff slot, have just kept winning with defense and rushing.  Last week’s games showed that to win in the playoffs, you need defense and ball control.  The Rams do not stop the run very well.  This is going to be a problem.  I am thinking about getting crazy here and doing a parlay of UNDER 49 and Cowboys money line.  I figure that half the stands will be filled with Cowboy fans, so it’s not a traditional road game.  If the Cowboys fall behind 14-0, they are cooked.  There is no way they can come from behind a big margin.  If they do what they do, play D and grind clock, they can win this game.  With that scenario, it’s a low scoring game.  I am going to take a flier on this one if I win the Indy/KC game.  Cowboys Money line and UNDER 49.5 at +568.    

Season Record:  18-12


At January 11, 2019 at 7:17:00 PM EST , Blogger Bobdontgiveaf#ck said...

I’m not gonna say that’s easily the best picture of you I’ve ever seen but......oh, wait...

At January 11, 2019 at 8:06:00 PM EST , Blogger Chiller said...

I'm on your Cowboys parlay. Looks promising.

At January 12, 2019 at 11:52:00 AM EST , Blogger Ken Miller said...

After getting the College Football Championship wrong for the 7th time in 8 years, I am ALL IN on the Colts, with 4 units on the spread and two units on the money line +190.

At January 12, 2019 at 2:01:00 PM EST , Blogger Greg Miller said...

I still have the teeth. I threw the shirt out after the party. As there was a flag on it, I think if I had done that now, I would be sent to Guantanamo Bay and NOT with an ocean view.

At January 12, 2019 at 9:32:00 PM EST , Blogger AZ said...

I will assume the weather, and Ken's suggestion, clearly lead you to alter the original betting plan's "Super Lock of the Week?"

At January 12, 2019 at 9:35:00 PM EST , Blogger AZ said...

Oh, the irony of us all making fun of the Japanese for photographing everything. With that said, I thank God that we only grew up with cameras and not super photo phones so I, just like you have only a very rare smattering of these gems.

At January 13, 2019 at 10:59:00 AM EST , Blogger Greg Miller said...

Well, it is a Halloween costume. It's not like I was driving around like this for a number of years...


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