Is this the hill you wanna die on? -fave quote from James Carville, Vogue Magazine, 2013
Category Archives: Philosophy
Continuing on flaunting my ChickBro status this week, with a dash of celebrating Women’s History Month, I’m gonna share one of my favorite sports memories.
Picture this… Mannheim. Germany. 1992. Freshman year of high school, Mannheim American High School Homecoming Week.
It’s Powder Puff time.
I had been chomping at my bit for this since Freshman Initiation. The MAHS Seniors put up a grand advance, but we 8th graders going on to 9th grade returned with an offense that would’ve made General Douglas MacArthur proud! And amongst shrapnel of shaving foam and egg shells, I distinctly recall a CERTAIN Senior doing the two-eyes-pointing-at-her-then-at-me thing as she and the other defeated cleared the battlefield.
It’s Powder Puff time. Freshmen vs. Seniors. And she and I are both on the field.
Coach serving as referee circled us freshman to one side, seniors to the other. “This is flag football, ladies. No touching, no tackling.”
Eyes shot lasers across the demarcated center field line. Clearly none of us heard that.
Coach drags his hand across his chest. “No hitting the letters on your chests.” Clever way to say, ‘no tit punches’, Coach. Snarls exchanged across the line. Clearly none of us heard that.
“Seniors, take it easy on the smaller women.” Coach had a right to declare that. Most of the Senior class of 1992 were Pacific Islanders. I’m not saying they’re big. I’m saying. They are BIIIIG WOMEN. I was rocking a buck fiddy myself those days, so I can comment thusly.
“Alright, let’s have some fun out there!” We clap in unison to break, and take to field position.
I, having just tried out for cheerleading (making base of course) and tried out for volleyball, of which the Islanders ruled, I was ready to show them these thick thighs in motion. I squatted down to join the freshmen offense, ready to guard my QB, and I watch as Ol’ Revenger, at the last minute, switch places with the senior in front of me. She gives me that nod, that ‘payback’s a bitch’ nod.
Play is called, I lurch up and forward from my squat with my arms crossed, elbows out. She’s meeting me with the same ram. And, SMASH! The girl runs right over me.
Flat on my back.
That. Was. AMAZING!
The play continues without me. Seniors are cheering, so I guess it was an incomplete. I pop back up, get ready for the next play action. The seniors are talkin’ mad shit, but I’m just smiling. I ache, but it’s a good ache. We set along the line of scrimmage. “You ain’t scared?” she half mocks/half compliments across from me. She was one of the volleyball tryout judges. She scored me for JV, ideally to be my team captain.
Play is called. I’m having the time of my life. Lots of whisteblowing from coach, because we didn’t catch the part where we couldn’t knock, punch, pinch, smack, squeeze to get to the flag. We’re soldiers’ kids, whaddya expect?
My father got his PCS orders, so we ended up moving to America after freshman year. But man, did I enjoy playing football! Title IX, while in effect, must’ve not hit Texas yet, so I couldn’t try out for high school football, but I TOTALLY would have, and I totally would’ve stuck with lineman.
I’m happy that school girls participate in and excel at high school football, and many female professional athletes are condoning high school athletics as a form of empowerment. While I missed out on continuing my love for playing football, I will continue to support young women in all sports.
[Writing Prompt: ekphrastic and timed; time limit = 15 minutes]
“How’s the baklava?”
He shoots me a surprised look. “You know to ask.”
“I know my baklava.”
The proprietor closes in to block off the other barflies. “Order it next time. This batch…?” He shakes his head.
I order a burger, a good burger, as I rarely keep red meat in my house. The order comes, and I ask for tzatziki sauce on the side.
Tzatziki. Boston lettuce. Tomato slice. Scrape the O rings off. 1/4 pound of beef, large slice of feta, more tzatziki, close with the bun. Flip over for good luck. I invented that, I don’t know when, but it’s just something I do. Bury my knife into the middle to part my feast and…
Solid. Grey. LUMP.
My eyes slit.
“I know I ordered medium rare.” It was supposed to be delivered with concern, but instead, dripped with acid.
The keeper, the trainer, the new cook, everyone’s in disarray then in a hurry. I backpedal my statement, realizing it’s become an issue. Before I could finish explaining myself, the new burger is in front of me, the house cook, doing me the favor of meticulously dressing my burger the way I just had that pile of dog food.
Sorry. It’s just that ‘well done’ makes no fuckin’ sense to me. You gonna eat meat? Get some blood in ya.
I carve in, the juices flow, all is well in the land of The Burg.
Other than the petite woman breathing down my neck as she read the beer menu board, I enjoyed my company. On moments when I teetered back to breathe and let my gullet expand, I joined in on the surrounding conversation, the latest concern from the proprietor being his current roommate situation. I dive back in. The guys around me and in the kitchen comment, “She’s really putting it away!” “She’s not playing around!” “I thought she was kidding!”
“Fellas, fellas,” I lean back as one sliver of 1/2 pound burger awaits its demise, “don’t let the small frame fool ya. I’m here for a slayin’.” I hoark the final piece down to emphasize I mean business.
“Ready for dessert? Other than the baklava?”
“I absolutely would. But I have a technical error.”
“Too full from the burger and fries?”
“Not at all. I’m wearing tight pants. There’s no more give!”
Everyone laughs. He goes back down the bar.
“Is this The Dynamics?” the guy sipping on pinot noir asks. The proprietor checks Pandora. Yes, it is.
“That’s an amazing cover.”
I agree as I finish my Lehnenkugel. “That is an amazing cover.” The White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army.
They go back to the roommate issue. “If I don’t get someone to move in, I’m gonna have to get another job,” he laments.
Pinot Noir suggests, “There’s always stripping.”
“Yeah,” he laughs “there’s always stripping.”
“Just do me a favor,” I insist as I slide my bar stool back, descend from my seat, and hoist my purse onto my shoulder. “Don’t strip with sneakers on. It is just so unsexy.”
At first I get several pairs of weird looks, and then, once the thought has soaked in, laughter.
“Til next time, fellas.”
What and how much had I lost by trying to do only what was expected of me instead of what I myself had wished to do?
Borrowing my friend Waiting For Satan‘s blogging style, I pose to you the question: what should BA have done to work the situation to his favor?
The boy blithely swung the black, shoulder stocked, scoped weapon along his right side, right index finger wrapped around the trigger.
I planted my hands on my hips and focused on his movement along the lake.
The boy rose the muzzle of his air gun towards a murder of crows heading eastbound.
I furrowed my brow.
The boy discharged a pellet towards the animals, lowered the air gun back to his side, and, smiling, continued his walk along the lake.
I descended my stairs and restrained the want to tackle him.
“Tell me you have a reason to be back here with an air gun.”
His lackadaisical stroll slowed as he realized I was talking to him. Gun is still to his side, finger is still wrapped around the trigger. His to-and-fro swing can send a pellet any direction, including my way.
“You’re out here shooting birds?” I ask, because it’s illegal. His ability to walk around the lake with an outfitted air gun is also, technically, illegal. But this is Florida, these details tend to be oversights.
I’m standing 20 yards from him. His finger is still on the trigger.
“I’m doing target practice. I set up a target over there.” He points with his left hand to the grouping of pine and palms along the back fence. I scan the trees. There’s no targets of any kind. But I do know there’s bald eagles, red tipped hawks, and vultures in that vicinity. This is my backyard, after all. I know all the wildlife back here, sentient and nescient. This nescient bastard of bastards was brand new to me.
His finger is still on the trigger. He’s brought the gun to his hip. I’m standing 10 yards from him. I’m fighting the urge to whip him with his own weapon.
I don’t follow him but my eyes do. He continues crossing the yard, looking back at me watching him, his smile twisting more wryly the further he gets from me. He shoots me an annoyed look. My glare doesn’t break, but I remind him, “Try not to hit the endangered species.” I want him to. He’d HAVE to go to jail once he does.
It looks as if he’s heading towards the walking path, away from the trees, away from the lake. I turn to ascend my stairs.
“Don’t worry, I won’t hit the endangered species!” he snarked. I ball my fist around the staircase railing. That little shit! Let it go, Von, let it go.
Recently a Florida man was sentenced to 30 years in prison for firing his weapon into a car of teenagers. He killed one, but the jury was hung on the decision to charge him with first degree murder. This man was compelled to fire his weapon because the volume emanating from the vehicle he shot into was too loud. He felt inconvenienced and decided the smart solution was to add volume to volume. You ever fire a weapon in close range? There isn’t a loud enough rap song to overcome that sound.
But for him, it was logical. Cogent. Righteous.
My concern about this little brat crossing my yard to shoot at birds is that he didn’t see a problem with carrying the weapon as he did, finger on the trigger, swinging it to his side, ready to fire. My problem isn’t with the gun. It was his lack of accountability for possessing it. His disaffected demeanor in holding the gun was his pronouncement of dominion; in the case of the crows flying over, he was contented to shoot at them for the mere capacity for it. Not a care in the world.
A school-aged kid walking around the lake at 10am on a Friday afternoon. I don’t get into the whole parents argument because I am not one. But I will say this; this Florida asshole running around with a weapon at his disposal will be an adult soon. He will become an asshole law enforcer, or even better, an asshole law-maker. I can’t make him my problem now, but he will be all our problems later.