Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Go For The Silver?

You want to know what you never hear anyone say? You never hear them say "You know that Alexandr Dityatin dude is my hero." Or, "Mikhail Voronin is the shiznit, man." Both men, former Soviet gymnasts, hold the record for the most silver medals in Olympic history, with six a piece.

There were no Wheaties box covers for Dityatin or Voronin. No major endorsement deals like Michael Phelps or Carl Lewis. They live obscurely on paper. In fact Dityatin works as an Airport Checkpoint Security guard in Russia. And Voronin died in 2004 at the age of 59.

Me, well I'd be the record holder if the Olympics included dating as a sport. Countless times I end up with the silver medal around my neck, with some other douche bag standing on the top of the medal stand looking down at me with a condescending shit-eating grin. At least that's how I picture it, anyway.

And you know what they say: If you finish in second place enough times, you start to believe you're really only good enough for second place. Okay, so nobody says that, but I just did. So now they have. Finishing second sucks. Just ask Iowa Hawkeyes wrestler Matt McDonough.

Last weekend, at the Big Ten Wrestling championships, McDonough, a three-time All-American wrestler missed out on first place. It angered McDonough so much that he threw his silver medal in the garbage in Champaign, IL.

I'd never go as far as McDonough did. I'd keep the medal, and hang it up on my bathroom mirror so I'd be remembered every day that I still needed to earn the gold. In fact, I have a mental collection of all my dating silver medals hanging in my closet. 

Back in my swimming days in high school, I had an arch-rival from the crosstown high school, J.D. Dirks, who ALWAYS beat me in my best event, the 100 yard backstroke. And I mean always. I worked my butt off to be the swimmer I was, and J.D. seemed to rely on natural talent alone. But no matter what, I'd always look up after the race and see his teammates congratulating him while I stared at the results board and read my name in second place.

And then it happened. The district swim meet of my senior year, the last meet before state, and it was the last time I'd swim directly against J.D. in the 100 yard backstroke. The first place finisher in the district meet was guaranteed a spot at the state meet. Knowing I had already qualified in another event earlier in the day, I had a "nothing to lose" attitude going into the race. I always actually swam much quicker than J.D., but I had an atrocious flip turn that cost me so much time. 

So as I dove into the water to get ready to start, I told myself "Don't think. Just swim." And on my final turn in the race, I had a slight lead that turned into a huge lead off the final wall. I propelled to the finish in my fastest time ever (at that point, anyway), and looked up to see my name atop the results board.

I still have my district championship gold medal. 

And someday, I'm going to be wearing the gold medal again. 

Don't think, just swim.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Fear And Loathing in America

If you were to believe all the things that come across my newsfeed on a daily basis on Facebook, you'd think we had a Socialist, Muslim, non-US citizen tyrant in the White House, who wants to take away all your guns, take away all your money, and give it all to the Muslim Brotherhood. Our President is here to destroy our country from the inside out. 

He wants to put the oil companies out of business, wants to prevent you from being able to pray to whatever God you choose to, and while we're at it he wants to eat your puppy as an appetizer.

So what are we to do about this travesty, this treason?

Well I'm quite certain, based on the things I see from my Facebook friends, that there are some people out there who would like to have President Obama meet the business end of their AR-15, which is sometimes used for hunting, and sometimes used for fighting tyranny, depending on the day. But it's never used to kill innocent children. 

Now, please don't misunderstand me. I'm not saying Obama is flawless. In fact, I'd say he's been disappointing to me over his first term plus a few months in office. In my humble opinion, he comes across as smug, seems to be following advice from people he shouldn't be, and is better at delivering speeches and firing up a crowd than rolling up his sleeve and getting things done.

But he is not:
  • A Socialist (or a Fascist for that matter).
  • A Muslim.
  • A Tyrant.
  • A non-US citizen.
  • Trying to destroy this country from the inside out.
He IS a black man. And it's hard to not think that's the main factor in the underlying fear and loathing of all things Obama. I'm not calling anybody a racist. But I do have to wonder why he's still being targeted for things that have been disproved time-and-time again over the last five years.

Because I don't remember this fear and loathing during the last presidency. Oh sure, there was plenty of hatred toward Dubya. But I don't count the criticisms from the people who fashioned hats out of tin foil and believed the 9/11 attacks were carried out by our government.

I fully admit that Dubya lost my support when he decided to invade a sovereign (and predominantly Muslim) country as a preemptive strike against false intelligence reports of weapons of mass destruction. As a student of International relations, I was well aware of the fact that Osama Bin Laden first made our country his primary target during the first Gulf War back in the early 90s. A decade later he got our attention with the worst terrorist attack on our soil. So taking our fight back to the scene of the crime seemed to be a bad idea to me. And to Dubya's father, but that's another story altogether.

But my disagreement with his policy always came with a respect for the office. Because that's how I was raised. You take your hat off when you walk into a government building. And you sure as hell don't wear shorts into a courtroom (no, I wasn't in courtrooms as a defendant, or a plaintiff). Disagreeing is allowed, but not without respecting your opponent. 

But thanks to a two-pronged "disinform and disagree" strategy from the Republican party, a media that is out of control in all directions, and the inability to fact-check all of the gajillion statements being made on the interwebz each day, our society is at an all-time high level of cray cray.

The politics of fear is the new way. You don't have to offer up solutions if you're successful at making the other side out to be the boogieman. And it's much easier when the boogieman doesn't look like your constituents. Fear that which you do not know or understand. 

So people are posting videos on how to build your own AR-15 and stay off the government's radar. They are posting links to articles claiming Obama is intentionally trying to cause the price of gasoline to rise. I even read a link on Facebook last week that claimed that our nation is not a pure democracy, but a republic, and therefore Republicans are better than Democrats. And just last week, we witnessed GOP Senator Rand Paul suggesting that Obama would call in drone strikes against members of the Tea Party.

The stupidity must stop. Can we please bring back some decency, some respect, and even a little bit of common sense to our political discussion? Because let's face it...there are many people collecting big fat salaries right now in Washington D.C., and they don't all live at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. And they also don't give one rat's ass hair about you. Or me. 

And I know I'm not going to convince most of you of much. But I hope I can convince you of this much: even if you refuse to respect the man, and even if you fear him, for whatever reason, please respect the office. And if you can't do that very American (and patriotic, flag-waving, apple pie-eating) thing, well then, just do me a favor and STFU.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

A Totally Random Blog Post

Many times I'm asked why I don't have any good crazy dating stories to share on my blog anymore. After all, it was The Hickey Girl Date and The Parking Lot Date that made so many of you become addicted to my blog. Hmmm. Not sure what that says about me. Or you. But I do have an answer for you, faithful reader.

The answer for the last year is simple...first I did deliver with two gem dates from last spring - Eighties Girl, and The Midget Date - both in the same night. You can read about them over at TheSpleen, where eventually, when I'm willing to give up this site I've been dedicated to for almost four years, my blog will migrate to completely. Second, I've definitely prioritized my life in the following manner for the last year, in this order: 
1) My sons, 
2) My job, 
3) My extended family, 
4) My friends, and 
5) My dating life.

And also, truthfully, I'm not willing to sacrifice my happiness in life anymore at the expense of an epic blog post. For the most part, my disaster dates have happened by pure accident, with a dose of naivety. I'll fully admit there were a few dates I've written about that I knew going in would be complete disasters, thus great material for this blog. But I'm not doing that anymore. Deal with it.

The main reason is that I've learned something valuable this past few years. Avoid dating anyone who has:
a) a hickey

b) an addiction to Janey Lane
c) the belief that they are on a master list of midgets
d) holds the same definition of "sex" as Bill Clinton.

I guess I must be getting older. I'd say older and wiser, but I think that's just a psychological rationalization of sorts. The only reason I'm wiser is because I've had more disaster dates than most of you, so I know how to spot them before they start.

Anyway, I just wanted you all to know that in all likelihood, the crazy date stories are a thing of the past. I promise that if I happen to run across a crazy date, and if I haven't already made a verbal agreement with said crazy date that I won't write about her in a blog post, well, I'll share.

But frankly, you can't win if you don't play. And lately, I guess I don't feel like playing. Games are for children. So I'm sitting here on a Saturday night, my kids ignoring me, alone. And I'm content with that. Because it beats the hell out of a whole lot of crazy. 

So consider yourself warned. The next time you read about a date on here, in all likelihood it will be about my future (ex?-) wife.

If not...she's going to be a midget, addicted to Janey Lane, who has a hickey, a tongue ring, and likes to perform acts that rhyme with palatial (and for the record my mother KNOWS what word rhymes with that).