Month: July, 2012

The Green Felt Pressure Test

I tricked my mother into buying me my first journal in the summer before fifth grade. It was a composition notebook, the kind with the black and white dots in a random pattern. During our back-to-school shopping at the local suburban superstore compound, I snuck the contraband notebook into a shopping cart already overflowing with school supplies of every type—folders, scissors, glue sticks, and Trapper Keepers. I nestled it between a lunchbox and calendar, hoping my mom wouldn’t notice.

It wasn’t that she would have begrudged me the money; my parents were always willing to spend money on educational endeavors, as attested to by my collection of Hooked on Phonics and Schoolhouse Rock! Videos. I just wanted privacy. I did not want to answer questions about the notebook, didn’t want her to know I intended to begin a journal. Had my mother asked, I would have told her that the dotted-notebook was required, flashing the school supply list too quickly for her to ascertain that it didn’t contain a line item for a composition notebook.

I wish I could say that I wanted the journal because I knew that I was destined for greatness as a writer, but the reason was much simpler: I didn’t have any friends and I intended to use the notebook to make it seem like that was a choice. There were a myriad of reasons for my solitary state, most of which now seem like excuses: My family moved often, I was shy and anxious, and even as a child I was skeptical of the motives of strangers. It only took a few tastes of being teased and having my feelings hurt to adopt an adage: Being alone is easier than being disappointed.

Not having friends is socially awkward in a way that multiples loneliness, squares and cubes it. Living without closeness of others is obviously painful in itself, but think of all the little daily opportunities for you to be reminded of your singular status. Something as simple as taking a meal in public becomes a cause for sadness and embarrassment. Even as adults, most people don’t like to dine alone. It’s difficult to know where you should look and if you should even smile, because it’s suspect to see a stranger smiling without understanding what provoked it. The menu is taken away and you’re left with nothing to occupy your time outwardly, and it can be terrifying. In these instances, it’s important to provide your own entertainment and focal points, lest you stare too long or erupt in tears and storm out of the restaurant (or elementary school cafeteria) because the pressure of keeping up your façade becomes too great.

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The Hall of Nearly Great

The ebook that everyone’s been talking about, The Hall of Nearly Great, was released last Wednesday. Chances are, you’ve already purchased a copy, but if for some reason you got distracted, couldn’t find your credit card, hate happiness, or were waiting for your paycheck, I’d like to take the time to remind you that, “Good News! The ebook is still available!”

I’ve finished reading the whole book now,  and while you might find my opinion horribly biased since I’m one of the authors, I will assure you that it’s a fabulous book with some really great stories about baseball players that even my mom purchased. Essentially, if you don’t buy the book, you’re less cool than my mother, in which case I’ll tell everyone you like Barry Manilow albums, Murder, She Wrote re-runs, and mom jeans.

If you’d like to purchase the ebook, you can click here. Using this link will not only allow you to purchase the ebook (that can be read in any number of formats, including just .pdf on your computer), but it will also give me a little extra bourbon money… and to that I say, “Cheers, dear reader.”

In case you haven’t heard, The Hall of Nearly Great is, “is an ebook meant to celebrate the careers of those who are not celebrated. It’s not a book meant to reopen arguments about who does and does not deserve Hall of Fame enshrinement. Rather, it remembers those who, failing entrance into Cooperstown, may unfairly be lost to history. It’s for the players we grew up rooting for, the ones whose best years led to flags and memories that will fly together forever. Players like David Cone, Will Clark, Dwight Evans, Norm Cash, Kenny Lofton, Brad Radke, and many others.

This is not a numbers-driven project (although our contributors lean analytical in their views). Our plan isn’t to be overbearing with stats and spreadsheets to convince you that these players are worth remembering. What we aim to do, instead, is accomplish that same task through stories. Think of your favorite players growing up: they have their moments, games, seasons, quirks, personalities, and legends worth remembering and sharing. Now, combine the best of everyone’s forgotten favorites, and you’ve got a Hall of Nearly Great. Ask the people who have those memories and love for these players to write essays about them, and you have The Hall of Nearly Great ebook.”

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June 1st: No Hitters, Good Dinners

Today was the day.

I took the elevator to the eighth floor, and waved my badge in front of the keypad. I never let the badge touch the keypad, treating each morning’s entrance to the office suite as a challenge to test the limits of the RFID range in my badge, delighted to find that the badge and keypad don’t actually have to touch to open the door—the sheer approximation of its presence was enough to gain entry.

But that’d never happen again.

My messenger bag was uncharacteristically light that day, I’d reserve some real estate in the main compartment for my various personal effects like mardi gras beads, lavender hand lotion, Washington Capitals sock monkey, framed photo of Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield.

They were going home.

My paper and electronic calendars for the day didn’t contain any meetings. Instead, both versions, the paper iteration scrawled in green sharpie, just contained the phrase, “Fuck Yeah” and two exclamation points—marking my last day in a job I hated.

The morning was meant for web-surfing, the lunch hour for fish tacos and bourbon with favorite coworkers, and the afternoon was spent catching up on box scores.

The Boston Red Sox lost to the Detroit Tigers, 7-3. Quintin Berry notched three singles, stole two bases, and scored two runs. He made a game-saving catch as the Tigers celebrated their first victory at Fenway Park since 2010.

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