Thursday, July 28, 2016

Nurse the Hate: Hate the NCAA II

July 28, 2016

Mark Emmert
NCAA Eligibility Center
PO Box 7110
Indianapolis IN  46207

Dear Mr. Emmert,

  As per my previous letter from May 20th, I am attempting to live my dream of becoming an NCAA Division I punt returner for a powerhouse football program.  I am quite disappointed not to have heard back from the NCAA.  I was hoping your organization would be more careful with my dreams.  I could really use some help here.  As I outlined earlier, the NCAA has mistakenly placed a bureaucratic hurdle in front of me which prevents me from having the necessary eligibility to participate in football.  I did graduate from Kent State University well over two decades ago but did not play any sport while a student.  In what must be some sort of oversight, I will not be allowed as per your existing rules to play as an NCAA athlete.  I’m sure you agree sir that this is folly!  Just because I hit the books in the last millennium, it should not prevent me from dazzling fans on the gridiron in this millennium. 

 My masterplan at the moment is as follows…  Step one:  Attract interest from a major football program (check!).  Step two:  Arrive on campus, dominate on the field, and get a catchy nickname like “G Money”.  Step three:  Join a fraternity and build lifelong friendships and valuable future business contacts.  Party like crazy.  Mark, as we both know, there is life after football.  Step four:  Win the National Championship by utilizing my deceptive speed and mongoose like agility on a backbreaking 4th quarter punt return on national television.  Step five:  Leverage my newfound fame in town by fronting a car dealership, appearing at booster dinners, and standing around the sidelines of varsity games.  I’m thinking about high pay/low effort for my Golden Years.  My agenda?  Cigars, bourbon and back slaps.

  This is the American Dream my friend.  All I need is for you to say the magic words and I can get on the field and do the rest.  Just think of the pride you will quietly feel as I scamper down the sideline to win the NCAA title game.  I can see it now.  “Wow, that middle aged man sure can run!  And I made his dream possible with the flick of a pen…  Mark, sometimes this job is quite rewarding!  I did a good thing there.” is what you will be saying to yourself.  Let me say this…  I envy both of us right now.  We’ve got some future to look forward to over the next four years of my electric football career.   Let’s make history together.

  Give me call with any questions or concerns.   I’d like to get this turned around ASAP.  I can’t wait to get on the field!

Thanks again!

Greg Miller

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Nurse the Hate: Hate The Bern

The Bernie Sanders Revolution has ended in the exact way I expected.  Tears of disbelief rolling down the cheeks of Millennials makes for excellent television.  The dream dies hard to those that haven’t had their dreams crushed in such a manner before.  The idealists and opportunists that had jumped on board had convinced themselves that showing up at some rallies and circulating clever social media posts would tumble the existing power base and leave behind a worker’s paradise.  Why, we’d all hopscotch around with free healthcare and education!  And who would pay for this?  The Rich!  They have all the money!  It’s unfair!  They stack the deck against us!  

As I gazed upon these tears flowing at the convention hall, when it had at last become apparent that no last minute miracle would happen, I was transfixed.  I wanted to see if I could see the exact second when the realization hit these people.  “This was never going to happen.  Ever.  The Establishment will always win The Game because they are the ones the write The Rules of The Game.”  Wake the fuck up hipster.  Revolution doesn’t come from sharing a Facebook post.  It takes money, cold blooded violence, and understanding that everything that you know is wrong.  Powerful people do not become that way by accident.  They tossed some bodies in the quarry along the way.  To think that some utopian crazy talk was going to move them out of the way is childishly naïve.  You have to get in the mud and fight your way out.

While it could lead to some long term good in America, this will probably crush the will of the millennials.  Having been told all their young lives that they are special and everyone gets a trophy, this punch in the teeth is something altogether new.  “We’ll show them!  We will march out of the Convention Hall!”  Grow the fuck up.  Bernie knew he wasn’t winning this thing from the start.  He knew the score.  He got what he wanted out of it and then compromised like his job requires.  Taking your ball and going home is not going to accomplish anything.  Sitting out the election like a petulant six year old will get you Grand Emperor Trump, and you will learn what “unfair” really means.  Go ahead and spend a year hopping out of a helicopter getting shot at by dudes in rubber sandals in the desert.  You’ll yearn for the Good Old Days of “Occupy Wall Street” humping like a feral dog in a tent listening to Frank Turner records.

It was important to get the issues Sanders championed into the public discourse.  Free universal health care isn’t going to happen.  However, at least we can discuss changing the obviously broken situation we have now.  Should we limit corporate finance of political campaigns?  Of course we should.  Should we charge companies for carbon emissions?  Probably, but don’t go crazy when you get laid off because the company had to reduce production or sink money into capital improvements.  Free education?  OK, but who pays for it?  We have broken bridges, roads, tunnels, airports, etc.  Who’s paying for all of this?  The Rich?  No way.  They will just fire a bunch of you and cut your wages to keep their lifestyles.  This shit is complicated.  Waving a cardboard sign about “Feeling The Bern” doesn’t get it done.  Time to face reality and get to work.  The party is over. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Nurse the Hate: Hate Surfing

I thought it would be really cool to know how to surf.  I have always liked the ocean.  Even as a five-year-old boy I would body surf with the adults and big kids confidently in my floaty bubble on the Jersey Shore.  “Locals only muddafuckah!”  The bigger the waves the better was my motto.  It freaked adults out to see me out there.  I have no idea why I had no parental supervision.  I especially liked it when the wave would catch you and toss you around like a rag in a washing machine.  The sheer raw power of the ocean is not something to forget my friend.  It will fuck you up.

I should have known surfing was not a good idea for me.  I was America’s worst skateboarder during the first great skateboard wave of the late 70s.  As a youngster with compromised balance that lived on a street with “tar and chip”, it was not an ideal situation.  The great age of “tar and chip” has long since passed, but in our community of Erie PA, what passed for road repair was spreading molten hot tar all over the street and then passing by with loose gravel that had been crushed into rough angled chips.  This happened each summer.  The little rocks worked into everyone’s driveway, which guaranteed that every ten minutes your skateboard would come to a sudden unexpected stop with a rock wedges under the wheel.  This concluded in the rider flying off the board and rolling around on the pavement.  Mt. Dew commercials later taught kids this was “extreme”, but to me it hurt like hell and I didn’t like it.  As a result, my skateboarding career was brief and undistinguished.

I tried to surf at Myrtle Beach once in college.  The waves were so small that it was a complete waste of time.  I did have a photo taken of myself holding the board in my Jams shorts hoping it would make me look cool to any ladies I somehow lured back to my lair.  “Oh that?  It was just some surfing trip last year.  Waves were… ah… tasty?”  I don’t recall anyone falling for that.  I was very much in the middle of my awkward stage, which I just emerged from in 2012 after slipping into it quietly in my pre-teen years.  It was a rough go for a while there.  No one was buying into “Greg Miller: Surf Bum”.

I finally had a pretty good chance to surf in Ixtapa Mexico a few years back.  The waves there are surprisingly large in the middle of the bay.  I was staying at the Barcelo Hotel with a bunch of South American jet trash.  No one spoke English.  I remember the maitre d at the hotel kept trying to seat me in the smoking section.  “Ah!  Smoooooking Yes?”  No.  Non smoking!  “Yes!”  Then over to the smoking section.  He must have thought I looked like a smoker.  Maybe it was my costly sunglasses?  I dunno.  The whole hotel was filled with Latin guys in mustaches smoking cigarettes in a detached way while their wives and kids acted like assholes.

One afternoon I went for it.  I used my room number to get a surfboard.  The waves were probably six feet or so, which looks really big when you are actually in the water.  This being Mexico, no one asked me if I knew what I was doing.  “Senor?  You want a spear gun and a bottle of tequila?  Here you go!”.  It really is what makes it a great place to visit.  They will let you do almost anything if you pay for it.  This meant a disinterested kid in a Squalo wetsuit just handed me a surfboard and forgot all about me.

If I had been given any instruction whatsoever, I would have known how to paddle out past the break.  I knew vaguely that I needed to make sure not to be close to where the waves broke while on my board.  I had seen that on Wide World of Sports.  I was a real pro.  This is when I made a fatal mistake.  I sort of paused as a set approached.  Can I make this?  I don’t know.  Yeah, I think I can.  I start paddling.  Wait.  I don’t know.  I realize I have completely misjudged the size, speed, and force of this wave.  It was much bigger than the others.  There was no doubt I had fucked this up.  I was in the worst place possible.  The wave lifted me up and then spiked me into the sand.  The board hit me in the head.  I was then thrashed around unlike anything I had ever experienced.  I had no idea that the ocean could do something like this.  My shoulder moved in a direction it was not designed to do.  I had no idea where the surface was at this point.  I held my breath and waited for it to let me go.  I was almost out of air and broke to the surface.  That’s when the next wave hit me even worse than the first.

When you glance at a newspaper and see “Tourist Dies at Beach”, you probably think the same thing I do which is “How did that dipshit manage that?”.  As I was being thrashed around it hit me that there was a decent chance I would be that dipshit.  The wave kicked the shit out of me.  I surfaced.  The third one hit me square.  My world exploded again.  This time I got coughed out on the beach, almost on top of some little kids building a sand castle.  They wondered whom this sunburned gringo was that had washed ashore like a shipwreck victim on their serene playground.  I was coughing up water.  My shoulder hurt like hell.  I wondered if my head was bleeding.  The board was 30 yards away on shore.  A teenage boy smirked as he handed it to me.  I pretended it was an insignificant event that had just transpired until he had walked down the beach.  Then I slunk back to the hotel water sports area, returned the board, and lay down on my poolside chair.  I hoped no one had seen the utter disgrace that had just occurred as my shoulder throbbed away.  Soon enough I could rejoin my disenchanted friends in the smoking section.

This was my last surfing attempt.  

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Nurse the Hate: The Uncle Tupelo Story

I remember being in the back seat.  That I remember.  I had spent the early part of the evening watching a fairly competent blues band bust out a George Thorogood type set in a bar with uneven wooden floors that served flat beer in grimy pint glasses.  What ever happened to blues bands?  There used to be a time when you couldn’t throw a rock and not hit some guys doing a decent version of “Red House”.  Every town had their shit hot blues guitar player that was referred to with reverence.  “Hey man, have you ever seen Robbie Jenkins play?  Oh, he’s something…”  Guys that listened exclusively to Stevie Ray Vaughn records would shake their heads solemnly thinking of the spot on covers of blues warhorses Robbie Jenkins would play.  Then whatever guitar player (Bobby/Bobby/Gary) that was playing lead for us would melt their brains as the concept of them having not only played what they had just seen but create the part dawned on them.  “I had no idea your guy was that good…”  Here.  Buy this CD.  You’ll like it.

The guy driving the military surplus jeep had a long beard before that thing was in fashion.  He was yelling over the tape deck and the wind.  Some shit about getting some whippets at the porno movie store.  I didn't know what was going on.  The girl I had just met was rubbing my dick outside my jeans.  I didn’t know what her name was or where we were going.  The ringleader was the girl in the front seat.  She turned around, her long hair whipping around in the wind.  “Where are you from again?”  She was cute with a space between her front teeth that made her even cuter.  The flaw somehow allowed you to see how utterly lovely she was except for this one minor thing which actually served to make her perfect.  She turned back around not waiting for my answer, laughing with jangling bracelets as she put her arms above the windshield to feel the wind.  I felt really disjointed, but it wasn't because of the beer.  Something didn't feel right.  I had no idea that the jangly bracelet girl had put acid into my pint earlier.  She thought I "looked uptight and it would help me" from what I learned later. 

The girl in the backseat was now kissing my neck.  Who was she again?  How did I get here?  She rubbed my crotch with slow focus.  "I want you to fuck me."  Meanwhile I am trying to figure out where we are going, who these people are, and why I'm having trouble making my brain work correctly.  I started to get an anxious fear.  I had to get out of this Jeep.  The jangly bracelet girl started to dance in her seat, moving her hands above her head when the cassette deck blared The Plimsouls "Million Miles Away".  The girl in the backseat puts her tongue in my ear.  The sound echos and echos and echos.  I know I am acting weird.  Do they notice how weird I am acting?  What should I do that's not weird?  I'll bet everyone notices.  Oh God.  Keep it together.  What's happening?  (This really would have been a good time to have known that I had been slipped LSD as opposed to my assumption that I was having some type of breakdown.)

The Jeep came to a sudden stop.  Everyone gets out of the vehicle.  We are outside of a bar, some dingy building with neon beer signs in the windows.  Everything is unusually crisp and colorful.  A euphoric wave washes over me.  My legs and arms are moving very slowly.  What are you looking at?  Hey, did you guys give me something?  They all start laughing.  We walk into the mostly deserted bar.  It's dark.  Like every bar in that town it is beat up, like the city itself.  The bartender enthusiastically greets the guy with the beard.  Handshakes and hugs, backslaps.  I notice his wild eyes and shiny smile, like a wolf.  We retreat to a booth in the back.  A Bass Ale miraculously appears in front of me.  There is animated shit talk and wild plans that will never come to fruition.  A song comes on the house sound system.  I've never heard it before but it's familiar at the same time.  How do I not know who that is?  Who the hell is that?

Hey, do you know who this is?  The guy with the beard is still smiling his carnivorous smile, his eyes almost crackling with electricity.  He turns his head, yelling over to the bartender smiling all the while.  "Hey Stinky!  Who is this?"  The bartender keeps his attention on washing glasses and yells back.  "Uncle Tupelo!"  I don't want to forget the name of this band.  I write "Uncle Tupelo" on my left hand with a pen.  I have no idea what time it is or where I am.  The jangly bracelet girl whispers to the other one that has given me so much attention.  They both smile and laugh.  Jangly bracelet girl looks at me and leans across the booth.  "How do you feel?  Better?"  She smiles.

That was the first time I heard Uncle Tupelo.