The Day I Met Dez Bryant

I was sitting Indian style underneath a a rough sappy Pine Tree bigger than an airplane reading a copy of Power Money and Sex by Deion Sanders.  The day was foggy and brisk, the sun was low, shining like a steady Canon flash through polyester fabric, on it’s way up.   I was a morning person then.  My days were full of routine, and firm, cold hard decisions.   This is the day that changed everything.  This is the day that I met Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant.

I used to walk through the neighborhood with my arms folded safely inside the front pocket of my hoodie to a shortcut I found that led to the city park.  There I would spend my mornings reading, walking, watching, living.  Every morning was seemingly the same, just the way I liked it.  I made silent acquaintances, or people who I would stroll past day after day, nodding and exchanging pleasantries with nothing more than a look.   People like this seem very familiar and help to enclose you in this world of routine.  Routine makes sense to me.  So you could imagine that if somebody new were to enter my field of vision on one of these days, that I might take notice.   Well one day that’s what happened.

My tree was struggling to find me shade, and while pine needles make for great bookmarks, I was tired of the riddled mess that was piling around my thighs.  I hopped up and decided to sit on the bleachers, for a change of scenery.   These particular bleachers were stationed specifically for viewing pleasure of football games, and like many football fields, this one was circled by a track.  He was running on the track!

I knew it before I really did.  He was sprinting like he was in the Super Bowl, shirtless and alive.  The sun sparkled a brief glare from his diamond ear ring, and he stopped.  He looked up, panting with impatience and yelled in my direction “Yo, white boy!  I got a job for you!”  My eyes had been peeking like a tom over the edge of my book since I spotted him, but I didn’t budge.  Statue time.  I thought surely he wasn’t speaking to me.  Then I looked again.  He was closer!  Then I realized that I fit the description of the potential suitor he was searching for!  I was the only one here.  It had to be me!  I cooly, said “Sup?” In a way that suggested that I didn’t know who he was.  Dez says “You like football?”  I said “Of course I do Dez.”  He smiles, because he now knows that I know his status as a man.

“Come with me.” said Dez Bryant, with a slight twinkle of magic.

He apparently had just been kindly asked to leave the local YMCA because of a dispute with a disgruntled Eagles fan.  He wouldn’t give me specific details, but just said that he was not allowed to return and he needed a new workout buddy.  Someone to throw him passes, spot him on the press, etc…  I was immediately scared of doing this, my routine was so precious to me at the time. But I shrugged off my doubts and like a girl scout I screamed “Yes!”

He said to meet him at his house the next morning at 6:00 am.   He handed me his business card, which had an image of two bloody lions who had apparently fought to the death on the front. In clear print that could only be seen in specific light, just beneath the lion blood, was his home address.

I arrived 10 minutes early, with workout gear that could dress an Olympian clothed against my body.  When I knocked, a small, grey-bearded man answered the door.  I told him “I’m here for a workout with Mr. Dez!”  He rolled his eyes and led me into the living room.  The theme of this room was obvious. Swords.  There were trillions of them.  Knives, Daggers, Blades, Arrows.  Name it.  Dez had it.  The ceiling was higher than you would expect, swords dangling from hooks attached, all blades pointed south.  It was scary.  Captain Hook wouldn’t have gotten any sleep in that room.

I heard a grunt, which I chose to follow and I happily jogged up the stairs looking for my new friend.  He was difficult to find.  I eventually discovered him on his own roof, doing the splits.  “Born to Run” was blaring from an enormous speaker that was bolted to an upside down wooden table, that was bolted to the roof.  He nodded when he saw me come in and said “Dude Bruce Springsteen man, I love that shit.”  Then we proceeded to work out, and I made a friend that will hopefully last me a lifetime.

To be continued….

Most likely never….

This is all false….

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Good Day Sunshine

The title I just chose is bound to be misleading.  I named this post, like it was some deep engraved message in the back of my skull before I even began writing it.  When really it’s just the name of a great Beatles song I used to listen to in my vehicle every time the weather was fair and my windows were lowered.  I had a thought, like, if I chose the most happy, joyful title I could think of, then my blog post HAD to be an exciting experience for both myself and all three readers (okay, two counting myself).

I recently graduated from the University of Memphis.  It was a good enough school I suppose.  Not a lot of pressure to do extra curricular activities, which was never my thing.   Plenty of pressure to lock your car when you head inside for class.

I spent a long time worrying about which major I should choose.  This seemed like such a monumental decision at the time.  My first year I decided on business, that would be good enough.  Pretty basic.  Nothing fancy.  I was just going to go in there and grab my business man degree real quick.  No problem Robert.  Well, it turns out that business is super awful.  I took an accounting class my second year and stopped going after a month or so.  I literally fell too far behind to even justify showing up anymore.  What was this life of suits and briefcases anyways?  Buncha posers.  I was too unique to have such a mundane existence.  So I decided to switch majors.

Turns out, Communications was the only degree that I could achieve without re-taking Accounting.  So naturally, I went with that.  I heard that in Communications classes, there were no right or wrong answers.  Everything is subjective.  Sweet.  I was about to kiss studying goodbye.

Teachers in the Communications department are different than teachers in Business.  Totally different world.  I was living in laid back city.  The doors no longer locked when the clock stroke class time.  Classes were filled with fluid discussions, rather than strict instruction.  This could have never been more up my alley.

There is something strange that goes along with being a communications major.  What would you do with that degree for a living?  It sounds so vague, and it is.  “I will now communicate…. professionally.” 

In business, things seem so straightforward.  You are going to attend classes on time, excel, make top notch grades, graduate sumo cum latte, get a job the Monday after graduation at some 24 story building called Remcom, eat breakfast everyday, marry a suitable partner, cook things like Veal during the week, and basically kick life in the teeth everyday moving forward until you retire cheerfully, at the ripe age of 64.  A businessman’s retirement party is always such a bittersweet occasion, full of tears, laughs, awards and slideshows.  (I have never actually been to one of these happenings, but I did see the movie About Schmidt, so I’m basically formally trained on the subject).   

I respect a business man.  He has more patience/grittiness than I do.  I seriously just want a bunch of hand outs I’ve realized.  Truthfully… as God is my witness I want things to be easy and interesting.   I cannot handle a life of monotony.  I will perish.  I am just too lazy.

I would like to watch television shows for a living.  I am very good at that.  Actually, I would like to open up a business, where people could come inside my store and sit on the most comfortable chair, in a room alone, and watch whatever television show they wanted.  I would own every season, of every noteworthy show there is.  Even really obscure titles.  The customer could sit in their dark room and watch my television, with no distractions.  I would have many cozy rooms, with excellent boob tubes.  I would provide meals, or snacks, or any type of tobacco products they would ever like to enjoy.  I honestly wouldn’t care if they sat there and did heroine if that’s what they wanted to do (although I would rather not supply the heroine…byoh [bring your own heroine]).  This would probably be a gross job, but somebody could have to do it.  We would hold meetings after really long viewing binges that lasted throughout the night to talk about what everyone learned from their particular show.

I told you my title would end up being misleading.

Titles are Bastards

I am having a weird afternoon.  One of those days where I can’t pinpoint how exactly I’m feeling. I was thinking about it for a while.  “How does it feel to be me today….seems uncomfortable in a cozy kind of way” said I.  I then began to shift my focus.  Why does it matter how I feel?  You know what? Fuck how I feel.  Feeling bad sucks, but putting a label on it and announcing to the world that you feel bad won’t make said bad feelings go away.  You just deal with that shit as it comes I guess.  I don’t know.  If my head hurts, I’m gonna take two Aleve.  If my stomach hurts I’m off to take a dump. If I’m hungover, it sucks but there are inevitable consequences the next day for pretending to be the drummer from Aerosmith the night before.  
 
There is this thing that my football coaches used to always remind our team of when I was in high school.  It drove me nuts, because it would always spoil my plans of trying to get out of practice.  There is a difference between being in pain and being injured.  You can play through pain.  Of course it’s not ideal, but you can do it.  They sure weren’t going to let me sit out the up-downs at the end of practice because I had a headache.  The truth is, everybody had a headache.  That is the direct effect that comes from pounding each other in the head for 3 straight hours in practice.  They KNEW we had a headache.  They also could see who was mentally weak by making a note of who was complaining about it the most.  Who was giving them excuses for not being able to practice?  Who was practicing to the point of near fatality every day? (Damn you Matt White, you overachiever… ruining it for the rest of us).  This person would usually try to convince the coaches that he should practice, even when he probably shouldn’t (effing nuts).  The latter ends up being the guy who gets the playing time when the game is on the line.  
 
The point is, it doesn’t matter how you feel.  This worlds not about that.  The more times you “play through pain” the better chance you get to do something meaningful.  Obviously there is a fine line between being sick and not feeling good.  I’m not trying to give you a football practice metaphor saying that you are a pussy if you don’t go to work when you have the chicken pox.  I just would like see myself move past “myself”.  How you say… “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”       

One of those Movie Lists

So here’s the thing.  I read one of those blogs that some girl wrote about her 10 favorite movies and how much joy she gets from watching these movies.  It seemed easy for her to write.  See, I struggle with getting past myself when I’m writing.  I want it to be so easy.  I want to enjoy it the whole time these typing practices are happening.  Funny thing is, I see myself as kind of a movie lover, a hero really.  I am also a television show snob.  But for the sake of my title (which I created before I started writing this post, and it just so happens that it would be quite simple to change, but I would rather have an excuse not to do that) I will stick to movies only, as to not be misleading.  So yes, I have revealed to my audience, that I am not only deciding to make one of those cliche “Top 10 Favorite Movie’s Ever… Hell Yeah” lists, but I am also stealing this rather common idea from some other happy blogger.  (Don’t turn me in!)  Enough with my introduction.  Here is my top 10 movie lists.  Well maybe not my 10 favorite.  I am bound to leave some really important one’s out.  But you can at least count on the fact that these 10 movies have my respect, and that I have wasted numerous hours watching and re-watching them over and over. Please try your best to pretend for like 4 minutes that I’m some person who’s taste in movies you might actually appreciate.

10)  Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

I was tempted to put another Jim Carrey movie…. most likely Dumb and Dumber.  Just because it is awesome.  (If I had written this in the 10th grade, that would have probably been number 1.  Last Action Hero would have been on there too.  Gah that’s sweet.)  I honestly thought this movie was pretty unique and really showcased Lloyd Christm… I mean Jim Carrey’s abilities as an actor.  It has such a great cast all around.   It almost makes you dizzy, but for some reason I would be okay if it lasted 6 hours.  You don’t even really want to figure out what’s going on, because it’s so entertaining watching it unfold.

9) Natural Born Killers

It almost weirds me out that I love this movie as much as I do.  It’s such a rabid and bloody adventure.  I decided that Juliette Lewis is top notch in everything she’s in.  This flick also has a sneakily fantastic cast.  Mickey Knox (Woody Harrelson) just kind of fascinates me in the way he is complete full throttle adrenaline.  Life is just a game, and he’s gonna play the hardest until somebody beats him.   And then “Take the Power Back” by Rage Against the Machine comes in right when he breaks out of jail on national T.V.  Huah.  I could watch that scene every day.

8) The Darjeeling Limited

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This of course was a situation where I couldn’t fit every one of Wes Anderson’s movies into this list, so I decided to pick my favorite.  The characters are wonderful.  They are quirky, strange, depressed, yet looking for satisfaction in something they all know they haven’t found, but none of them are willing admit that to each other.  Jason Schwartzman’s character is my favorite.  He’s the youngest, and the smoothest with the ladies, although when it does work out it seems to be almost an accident or a misunderstanding.  Such a good brothers/friends/travelers movie.

7) High Fidelity

If you haven’t watched this movie at least 24 times, then shame on you.  John Cusack is the Michael Jordan of playing a sad, lovesick character.  You like him even though he can be irrational.  He has a great excuse for all of his many faults and mistakes.  He is so easy to relate to.  He is super cool for some reason.  Not in the classic sense of the word.  Many people think he is not cool, some people assume he is a loser, and he can be.  But if you were going to be a sad excuse for a man by choice, this is how you would do it.  And don’t get me started on Jack Black singing “Let’s Get It On” at the end.   Just Golden.

6) Fight Club

The first rule of Fight Club is, you don’t talk…. Blah blah blah.  You thought I was actually going to finish that for a second didn’t you?  I know it’s a classic and every bro that’s only had the patience to watch this and 4 Sly Stallone movies all the way through have seen it.  But it’s just so awesome.  Brad Pitt just kills it as always.  This is one of those “screw with your head movies” that leaves you thinking it’s going to end better than it actually does.  I don’t know why, but this movie has never been about the ending or how it makes me feel afterwards.  It’s about the ride.  It’s about the brutal punches and the insanity.  It’s about the sharp turn towards things getting totally out of hand.  It’s about Edward Norton becoming a bad ass, only to realize that maybe this is all too much for him.  I hate when people say this, but this movie really does just get better the more times you watch it.

5) The Sandlot

Man oh man.  “I’m baking like a toasted cheeser, it’s so hot.”  I can’t even tell you how often this movie was apart of my everyday life.  It sums up the things a boy cares about, what he wants to be when he grows up and who he wants to spend his time with.  It teaches so many lessons so discreetly.  The characters are all brilliant.  And they all exist.  They all went to middle school with you.  They all rode the bus.  They all talked smack.  It’s the American life as a kid summed up in 100 minutes.  Timeless.  I will watch this movie when I’m 64.

4) Superbad

Well this was my Sandlot version of High School/College.  All of the great things that the Sandlot taught me as a kid, Superbad taught me as a (very) young-20 something.  It’s too quotable for its own good.  Judd Apatow has reinvented the “funny movie” genre.  It’s no longer a slapstick world of theatrics and well written jokes.   He has turned things more toward a reflection of reality, with improvisation as a crucial part of that.  Underneath all of the wiener and fart jokes, is a movie with a lot of heart.  Two friends who don’t truly realize how much they rely on each other for companionship.  It’s a love story in the most heterosexual of ways.  It is also a magnificent work of art.  There I said it.

3) Blow

Woa-Hoa!! What a story.  Small town kid leaves small town.  Goes to big town.  Trouble finds him.  Kid loves trouble because trouble means money and women.  Money buys luxery.  Kid loves luxery. Kid becomes man.  Man become good at trouble.  Too good.  So good it gets bad.  You get the point.  It’s a rags to riches to rags tale, and Johnny Depp is just about as good as it gets.  When Depp is pleading his case to the judge and trying to justify his distribution of marijuana and he quotes Bob Dylan’s “It Ain’t Me Babe,” that was rreeaallllyy neat.  This is just most likely the life you would want to lead if you just didn’t give a shit.  It also is a great example of how a life can turn out when you just don’t give a shit.

2) Almost Famous

Well this movie sort of changed everything for me.  I grew out my hair, ate mushrooms, got a girl pregnant, joined a rock n roll band and pretty much set the roof on fire.  Okay only some those things are true.   This movie was definitely a game changer though.  The thrill of the road and the true belief in the music are re-occurring traits that just totally captivate you from top to bottom.  If you haven’t watched it, it is a must see.  There are so many great factors in play.  It’s about relationships… Between mother and son, friends, romantic, musical, siblings, co-workers, all of it.  Every door is opened with free entrance for all.  I feel like I sound like Timothy Leary or something right now.  Whatever.  It’s really just a movie that I happen to adore. So it belongs here.   (Me Singing) COUNT THE HEADLIGHTS ON THE HIGHWAY!!!!!

1) The Big Lebowski

Well this movie is about The Dude.  If you know about The Dude, then, well, you know.   If you don’t,  then this may seem like a crazy first choice.   But this tale of right and wrong, of good and evil, of over the top and passiveness… It really is just nothing special to be honest.  People watch this movie one time and think… hmm, that was kinda weird.  They probably read on some blog where some guy said it was the greatest movie ever.  It has an absurdly large cult following.  And don’t get me wrong, it’s the best movie ever, but it’s really nothing special.  People make a critical mistake when watching this film for the first time.  I made it, and if you’ve seen it you probably did too.   They try to figure out the story.  They try to follow it.  I mean that’s what you do when watching movies right?  You try to guess who’s responsible for all this conflict.  Who disturbed these nice characters?  Who is at fault?  But The Big Lebowski is not about the story.  Oh sure there is a story in there.  But it’s irrelevant really.  Not even very interesting.  You get so caught up in the plot the first time that you miss the spectacle and beauty of these characters.  It’s about them.  It’s about their genuine reactions to disruption in their peaceful lives.  There is really no other movie that has fulfilled the gaping hole in my heart that needed a movie like this.  It is so relieving to know that the Dude is out there taking it easy for all of us.  It almost seems like  it’s great on accident.  They just stumbled into relevance.  One way or the other, I am a pretty big fan.

Are the Celtics Still Elite?

I read an article yesterday about the Boston Celtics that quoted Doc Rivers as saying that he thinks his team is still elite.  Not that this is anything groundbreaking.  Doc is always standing up for his team and believing in them.  That’s why he is one of the best coaches in the league.  But it got me thinking about that word “elite”, and what the qualifications are to reign as a team of that status.

According to Wikipedia the word elite “refers to an exceptional or privileged group that wields considerable power within its sphere of influence.”

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At first thought, many NBA fans around the league would say no, the Celtics are certainly not elite.  They are a team full of wily old veterans who have lost a step, a point guard that can’t shoot, a center that can’t stay healthy, a bench full of players who have never won anything, and a coach who’s owner bought him two superstars and a championship.  That doesn’t sound very elite.

But the cold hard Laker hating truth is, that this is the one team in the Eastern Conference that shouldn’t be overlooked.  And as much as the media and fans continue to overlook them, I guarantee that players and coaches around the NBA do not.  The core players on the team are Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo.  There are bench and role players filling in everywhere else, but the Celtics go as far as these four guys take them.  To be sadly honest, KG has clearly lost a step.  He’s not the defensive force that he used to be.  Paul Pierce does not have the lift to get up and dunk on people in the lane anymore.  (He would be so disappointed in me if he read that).  Ray Allen is turning 60 years old in May I think.  Jermaine O’Neal has great grand children.  Saying all this is only reinforcing the notions of what people already know.  Those guys are old. Whatever.

Bring in the bench….

I’m going to tell you right now, we didn’t lose to the Miami Heat last year in the playoffs in embarrassing fashion because our starters were old.   We lost because we had a bench full of softies. We traded our muscle (Kendrick Perkins) for Nenad Krstic and Jeff Green.  We decided to put faith in the fact that Shaquille O’Neal, who was ridiculously productive when he actually played, was going to stay healthy and guide us through the playoffs, which of course didn’t happen.  So basically, we lost our young, playoff experienced starting center to get two glorified role players.  Green had potential to be more, but never quite found his role on this team.  Kristic is a really poor man’s Pau Gasol, with none of Gasol’s actual ball skills, and all of his feminine on court daintiness.  So instead of relying on our toughness and defense, which got us two trips to the NBA Finals in the past three years, (Could have possibly been three if Garnett doesn’t go down in 2009) we rely on jump shots and perimeter defense, which were never our strengths. I could hear Dwayne Wade giggling as he dunked on Nenad in the fourth quarter of Game 5.  We were totally outmatched athletically.  The truth is, age is an issue.  But it shouldn’t be a deal breaker.  We need a bench that comes on the floor and plays harder than the starters, not move even slower.

In need of a good offseason….

Danny Ainge realized he traded our hopes for an NBA championship straight to Oklahoma City after the season was over, which is a shame, that’s about when I accepted it as fact too.  But he didn’t put his head down.  He made that move for a reason.  It hurt us last year on the court, but it also opened up some big possibilities for this offseason. He made Celtics fans everywhere almost pee their pants when he talked about trading Rondo for Chris Paul.  We all know now, that didn’t work out, but he showed us that he’s willing to do what it takes to keep us elite.  Moves were made and fans who, unlike me, actually liked Big Baby Davis as a basketball player, were sad to see him go.  But new faces have arrived.  A collection of overlooked talent, many of it “starting talent” was assembled on our bench.  The Celtics have yet to prove to anyone that they are elite on the court this year.  But their bench is filled with players who are tough and willing to learn a new way of practicing, a new way of working, the Celtic way.  Unlike some, I trust in Doc Rivers.  He’s proved me wrong too many times, and so have these core players. At their best, they are too good to count out.  But of course that’s the key words:  “at their best.”  It’s still up in the air whether or not they will ever find that special zone again that we’ve so many times.  But right now, sitting at below .500, 9 games into this strange awkward shortened season, with 5 new contributors that are still trying to find their role on this team, I think this could be a legitimately elite team, that just hasn’t hit it’s stride yet.  But when it does, it could be fun to watch.  These old dogs might have one more fight in them after all.

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Just For Starters

My name is Gerry Adair.  I do different things for a living.  In the mornings I am an insurance man.  In the afternoon I am a Sports talk radio producer.  That’s pretty much all you need to know about that.  I spend enough time in my day worrying about jobs.  It seems about time I worry about me and what makes me happy.  Jobs can be so full of expectations.  What do I wear?  What do I talk about?  When is it okay for me to fart in front of my co-workers?  I would like this to be a place that is reserved for me to vent.  Like air through a conditioner.  Like pickles on a burger, let’s just get it out.

I live in Memphis, TN which is the home of the most awful people in the world I’m pretty sure.  Don’t get me wrong, I love it.  I enjoy the harsh realities of life.   In Memphis you have to protect what is yours.  If you leave your car unlocked (or sometimes even not) with an IPod in plain sight, easily viewed from through your window, chances are somebody is going to take it.  When that happens you can  do one of two things.  1) Get mad and scream in pure agony at the world “WHY ME!!!!” followed by an unsuccessful attempt at revenge,  or…. 2) Get your shit together and stop being stupid and giving petty thiefs opportunities to steal your stuff.   The choice is yours homey.

Hey and while I’m at it, I think this is a good opening for me to invite all of you who have never been to Memphis, and already had an awful vision of what it might be like… Yeah you.  Why don’t you come on down and stay a while.  I’m sure I didn’t just reinforce every “crime stereotype” about this city that has ever been uttered.  But whatever.  Living in Memphis is slowly turning me into a mean mugging bad ass and I like it.