OK, I had to take a break yesterday due to a hangover from trying to keep up with my parents on Saturday night. My dad’s Manhattans, while delicious, can really put a guy out of commission. Hopefully, Saturday’s story wasn’t too much and you have come back to read a little more, don’t give up on me yet! This has to at least be some good ammunition to talk about how self involved I must be to think you all want to read about things that have happened to me or what I think about anything. So, whatever your reason, I do appreciate that you are here reading again.

Today we will go a little farther back in the past and look at one of the many ridiculous things that happened to me as a child… I was a very injury prone and clumsy kid. This was probably due to the fact that I grew like a giant the first 13 years of my life and then just stopped growing, literally. I still have a pair of Doc Marten boots that I wore in 7th grade and they fit. So, I was a chubby, freckle faced, giant, awkward kid. Despite this, I was actually very coordinated so I had that… This is not to say that I had a bad childhood by any means, it was quite the opposite. But I am trying to paint a picture because it will add to the humor of what is to follow today and what I will write in the future. I had a BIG set of buck teeth as well. Oh, one last thing, I was a panzy, a wuss, a mommas boy (take a minute to gather yourself from the shock of learning this).

Summer 1995. I was 10 and on my way into 5th grade. If I remember correctly I was like 5’2″ and 120lbs, I was a big boy… I looked like Robin Williams in that movie “Jack” compared to everyone else that was my age (a little less hair on my arms and knuckles). Anyways, it was a summer day like any other, riding my Huffy candy red 10 speed all over the neighborhood with my friends. I most likely had a kool-aid stained mustache and a chocolate stain somewhere on my shirt.

There was a group of us at a neighbor’s house 2 down from my own, just hanging out in the driveway, probably shooting some hoops and listening to KCLD on a little boom box (most likely listening to TLC’s “Waterfalls”). What happened next is one of those things that I swear only happens to me. I am minding my own business and just being a kid when some sort of fly, flies directly in my ear like that’s where it lives.

Now, I don’t know if any of you have ever had a living fly inside your ear before… but at the time it was the most horrible thing that had ever happened. Because, shortly after this little friend entered my ear it seemed as though he wanted out immediately. It was buzzing and flapping its wings about every 10 seconds. Now, I would be interested to talk to the people today who witnessed what happened next to hear their perspective, but I only have my experience so I will try to interpret what they were seeing…

As soon as the bug hit my ear, my automatic response was to throw a palm strike to the outside of my ear as hard as I could. The looks on all of the kids faces was that of confusion, but they quickly thought I was just messing around. 10 seconds later, bzzzzz! It was like an electric shock to my ear drum quickly followed by, wham! Another sharp palm strike to the side of my head. Now, everyone was laughing at me (uh oh). That all too familiar lump was forming in my throat and my eyes were starting to well up due to the mixture of embarrassment and pain I was experiencing. I was determined not to cry in front of them. Bzzzz! Wham! I sprinted to my bike, hopped on and started peddling as fast as I could as the tears started to stream down my face. Bzzzz!

Since I was riding my bike and couldn’t see clearly due to the tears, I decided that I shouldn’t attempt a palm strike. By the way, I didn’t try to pick it out of my ear because I was convinced that it would burrow deeper into my head and the palm strikes were meant to kill the bug so this could not happen (seemed logical at the time). Since I couldn’t throw a palm strike now that I was on my bike, I started doing the next logical thing… yelling at the bug inside my ear. “Stop! Please, stop!” I screamed. I don’t know if my friends witnessed this part, I was not quiet so I am assuming they at least heard part of it as I rode away. Let’s examine briefly what they saw…

Out of no where, I start hitting myself in the head as hard as I can with no explanation. I run to my bike and start peddling away as fast as I can, again, no explanation. Then, I start screaming at myself through the tears as I ride away. Imagine what they must have been thinking. I have thought about this numerous times and I think the most logical thing they could have come up with was that I was pooping my pants. We were only 10, so it’s not as if they were thinking I was having some sort of mental break or that the for some reason “Waterfalls” sent me into some “Rainman”, hot water baby moment. And, they probably assumed I was yelling at my bowels over which I had lost control of suddenly…

Anyway, luckily I was only a minute from my house. I dismounted my bike on the move and sent it flying out of control into the yard as I went running up the front steps screaming for my mom. Bzzz! Wham! Bzzz! Wham!

At this point I was convinced the vile bug inside my head was determined to get to my brain. Now, only my mom would be able to describe what the scene was as I came in hitting myself in the head repeatedly trying to get out exactly what the problem was. “There’s (gasp, gasp), a (gasp, gasp), bug in my ear!” I said. Bzzz! Wham!

We got into the car quickly and were off to the clinic to see my dad to have the bug removed from my ear. Bzzz! Wham! I’m sure it was quite the sight for other people driving through Brainerd to see this hysterical chubby kid hitting himself in the side of the head while his mother was pleading to him to stop bludgeoning himself in the head.

We finally get to the clinic after what seemed like an eternity. The buzzing was now happening less frequently, which I feared the bug had mad through my ear and was on the verge of entering my brain. I sat down and as my dad looked in my ear he found…. nothing. Huh? Nothing was in my ear. I thought, how is this possible? What happened to the fly? To this day, I have no recollection of feeling the fly exit or when exactly the buzzing stopped. Since then, I have had a couple of close calls with bugs landing on or running into my ear with out actually, uh, entering me. Every time it has happened I have felt the flood of panic and I like to think that I would be more calm and try pull the bug out with my finger, but it would probably end up like, Bzzz! Wham! as I start to cry.


Baby Boy

Since it is Saturday I will continue to keep this light-hearted for the weekend. Just a fair warning here, this story will contain vulgar language and adult situations. You have been warned.

Winter 2003. My first semester of college was definitely an interesting one. I went to college thinking I only knew a couple of people and I quickly realized that there were more familiar faces than I realized. One of the houses where I spent the majority of my time drinking was on 16th and Como. This is where I met the eleven roommates I would live with the following year… although I didn’t start hanging out with those guys until late in the first semester. The group that lived there was divided into people I knew from high school and people they had met in the dorms the previous year (I was the baby of the group, a role a play very well). This allowed me to meet a lot of new people and form some new friendships.

It was an early winter night and after I finished pre-gaming the party in my dorm with my roommate (who rarely left the Playstation and even less left our dorm room) I set off by myself on the 12 block journey to 16th and Como.

Let me extend a little bit on yesterday’s post regarding Drunk Tim. Drunk Tim likes to dance, a lot. Now, I don’t remember this being the case prior to college. At some point early in my college career the switch was flipped (it has yet to be turned off).

As I am sure we all remember there was a popular television show on MTV called “The Wade Robson Dance Project” (well it was popular in my dorm room at least). If you didn’t watch it (loser) then I will give you a brief synopsis. People who could dance went on to the show to compete with other dancers… Wade Robson was a choreographer and back up dancer who would mentor the dancers and judge the competition. He was Drunk Tim’s hero.

As I arrived to the party everyone was gathered in the same place they do at every college party, the basement. Basement space in dinkytown is more valuable than shore front property in Malibu. Now, in the afternoon the basement was dingy, cramped and smelled like an alcoholics bathroom or at least what I imagine one to smell like. At night, it was a Vegas dance club mixed with the best pub you’ve ever been to (at least that’s what it was like to an insecure drunk freshman).

Now, as with most of these stories there are some fuzzy gaps so I can’t tell you exactly how I found myself in this position but, somehow, I found myself dancing with a small group of girls. One of them I knew from high school but the rest of them were strangers to me at this point. I know we had been discussing the Wade Robson show earlier in the night and at some point a song came on and the rhythm got a hold of me and in that moment, I was Wade Robson (minus the dancing skill, training, good looks and body). So, mentally, I was Wade Robson. I started teaching these girls choreography – steps, head bobs, back rolls (they were following along like I knew what the fuck I was talking about). After I felt they knew the routine, I let them dance on their own. And fell into my Wade Robson critiquing impression in which he would strut back and forth behind the dancer monitoring their performance. This video will illustrate how he behaves in the background…

This went on for a while and I ended up becoming friends with all of these girls, they were good sports. But, this is not where the story ends. When we were finished with dancing and I was sweating like I just ran the Boston marathon, I went to the keg for some much-needed hydration. And as I am filling up my cup someone walks up behind me, leans in and whispers in my ear, “you’re a fucking unbelievable dancer.”

I looked at her long enough to realize that she was serious and thought, you’ve gotta be fuckin’ kidding me. Now, this is the first time in my 18 years of existence that I have actually been hit on, so I had to see where this could go… Jenni was back at high school and I had no intention of doing anything that I shouldn’t, but I couldn’t stop this short.

So, we sat down at the bar in the basement, which if I remember correctly had a wrestling mat as the counter, and we got to talking. Simple stuff.

“Where are you from?” she asked.

“New York” I answered. Oh yeah, I should have also mentioned that Drunk Tim is from NY and Sober Tim is from Brainerd. NY sounds better and it is technically true.

The reason Drunk Tim always says NY is because drunk girls like this one assume I mean the city… if pressed I will tell the truth that I am closer to Canadian than I am to being a New Yorker, but usually it is assumed that you are from the Manhattan. So, in this girls eyes I am an amazing dancer from NYC. All the time I am thinking, what the fuck is going on?

We continue to talk for a while and she is laughing to hard at my poorly constructed drunk jokes. She even waited in the same spot like four separate times while I went to the bathroom over the course of 45 minutes. While I was in the bathroom I can remember talking to myself in the mirror and starting to believe that I was the desirable guy… Why wouldn’t she be hanging around me? (see: douche) This was getting serious.

When I returned from my bathroom break she finally asked, “where do you live?”

“Comstock Hall” I said confidently.

“You’re a freshman?!” she screamed in laughter and I thought to myself, well it had to end sometime.

Turns out that she was a senior. In that instant she transformed into an adult and I felt small and immature. She asked where my room was and I explained that I was on the first floor with window looking out onto the small hallway where people would cut through on there way to the cafeteria, she knew where it was. Suddenly, I felt like I was talking to someone who went to the U years ago and was helping lead them down memory lane. She had taking a liking to calling me “baby boy” since I was nothing but a young freshman. I was ready to end the conversation and I was just about ready to get up when she said…

“Baby  boy, tonight I see you taking me to your dorm, I will be wearing nothing but high heels and you bending me over and fucking me in the window so that everyone going to the cafeteria can see.”

To which I suavely responded, “w-what?”

She said, “you heard me.” And of course I did, but I now was in over my head and I quickly said, “I gotta take another piss.”

I sprinted up the stairs and took my time coming back down to the basement. By the time I made it back down she had found another guy and had no further interest in her baby boy (aaawwww).

I learned that night that my dance moves are powerful and with great power comes great responsibility… The next week as I was walking through the mall to my next class, I vaguely recognized one of the girls from the dance group I was mentoring in the basement (we are still friends to this day). As she passed she said, “Hi Wade” with a smirk. I didn’t know if she thought that was my name or if she was joking and that didn’t matter to me.

Punch Drunk

Hopefully yesterdays post wasn’t to dark or long and you have come back for more. I will try to lighten things up a bit today. I am really just going with things that strike me on a daily basis, there really isn’t a plan as I look ahead. I will try not to make it sound like random babbling from the uni-bomber or something…

If you know me, you know that I am not a fighter. You know I am not tough. You know I cry more than a grown boy (I was going to say man but that didn’t seem to fit, agreed?) should. This does not stop me from slinging insults or talking tough if a situation arises and I have had some cocktails. So, before we start this little story, let’s briefly discuss drunk Tim…

If you have met him, drunk Tim is a very nice guy. He lip syncs to pop songs by female artists (mainly Christina Aguilera or Miley Cyrus… stay tuned for more on this down the road), he will talk and ask questions to figure out your life story and hang on every word as if it is the most interesting thing he has ever heard, he has even been known to engage in public displays of affection with his wife (sober Tim does NOT do this). Drunk Tim likes to party. He used to be a little boisterous back in college however, but mostly stayed out of trouble… Until one night it all caught up with him…

Fall of 2004. I was a Sophomore in college at the U of M. I was living in a house with 10 young, umm, gentlemen (yes, you read that right ten). This particular evening is a little hazy but I am sure it started out like most nights beer from the kegerator and 20-30 friendly games of Foosball. Although, as I recall, I was in my “fancy” attire at the time (sweater from 10th grade and khakis) so I must have gone someplace with my parents for a much-needed meal and money for food (beer), school supplies (beer), and a little fun (lots of beer). Whatever the case, I had managed to get myself hammered drunk and Drunk Tim was ready to party.

Our neighbors at the time were having a get together on this crisp fall evening which meant that the corner of 14th and 7th in dinkytown was rather busy as people bounced back and forth between the two houses. At some point I found myself in the basement of the neighbor’s house enjoying some of their famous blue drink that tasted like it had no alcohol but, in fact, had a high alcohol content (I researched this as a personal project during my college years). As a couple of buddies and myself were drinking and talking it became apparent that another one of the parties attendants was your textbook bad apple. The way he lurked in the corner just screamed that he was looking for trouble. There had been no incidents when I decided to leave the apartment and go back to his house (probably because the blue drink had been known to cause serious heart burn, this was discovered through the research project previously mentioned).

When I left the basement and made it outside the attendants of both parties were converging on the front lawns, worlds were colliding. As I made my way up the front walk to the porch of his house there was a young lad, er, relieving himself on the finely kept (not really) front lawn. He looked like a mix of Eminem and Kip from Napoleon Dynamite. As I passed I overheard him blabbing to his friend (who was standing far to close to him) about people, “disrespectin’ him.” He sounded like someone you might see on the Maury Povich show finding out whether or not he is the father.

I decided that the irony of this situation could not go unmentioned and in a drunken slur I said, “why you be disrespectin’ me by pissin’ on our lawn?” (I’m sure it sounded like a guy who would have been cast in an all white version of “Boyz in da Hood”) and continued on my way to the front porch of the house. Now, hindsight being 20/20, I should have recognized that respect (or lack there of) was a hot button issue for this guy. As I reached the top step, not knowing he had finished his business, he grabbed my left shoulder turned me around and nailed me with a cross to the right eye.

Now, I had never been punched in the face prior to this nor have I been since. It was flash, then a few seconds of numb while my brain tried to process what the hell just happened, surprisingly, no pain. I looked to a roommate who was standing on the porch for a clue as to what just happened… he was laughing, thus confirming that I had just been punched in the face. I heard my assailant, who had since retreated to the sidewalk, screaming in my direction… “yeah, bitch!” and “what up now?!”, I was starting to think that this guy was not in fact a student enrolled at the U of M, though I never got a chance to confirm this.

As previously stated, I am not a fighter and I am not tough. I decided that I would just retire for the evening and cut my losses. What’s more, is that my eye wouldn’t start watering (no, I wasn’t crying… I know what you’re thinking) so I thought I would go assess the damage. As I walked to the entry way I was met by a couple of roommates who looked at me and immediately asked/yelled, “who did it?!”, that is when I realized my eye was not watering but bleeding. That made me mad. I promptly pointed at the douche bag that hit me and the house of 11 drunk guys was mobilized like bees whose hive was under attack.

My original point to who had done it was not completely accurate and a smaller guy who was a spectator and not involved was shoved to the ground… At this point I was angry and kicked this guy when he was down, this is not something I am proud of and would gladly give this guy an opportunity to get me back if I were to ever encounter him. I am not a fighter and I am not tough.

What ensued from there was a stand-off and to my surprise my assailant had acquired his group of friends, including the guy I had seen in the basement earlier and he was holding a bottle that he broke over the curb (I knew he was bad news). The stand-off looked like something out of a bad reenactment of West Side Story or Michael Jackson’s “Bad” video. A few minutes into the stand-off one of my roommates was punched and knocked to the ground. He quickly got up and said, “I’m done” as he turned on his heel and retreated home.

At this point we were on the other side of the block from our house when the dreaded spot light hit our faces. Someone yelled “cops!” and I can’t swear it but I am pretty sure someone yelled “scatter!”

As we made our way through a driveway, I encountered a 5ft fence (uh oh, I know what you’re thinking). I watched a few of my roommates hop right over but as I attempted to do the same and got my left foot on top of the fence, I froze. The fence wobbled back and forth under my foot as I tried to figure out how to complete the task of getting to the other side. This thought was interrupted by my impatient roommate who gave me a helpful shove. As I went face first over the fence my khakis (remember I was wearing fancy clothes) caught on one of the rusty spires on the fence ripping the pants and digging into my mid-thigh and cutting me down past my knee. I got up and hobbled the rest of the way back home to evade the dreaded campus police.

The next day I was greeted with an eye swollen shut and a nasty cut, oddly enough we didn’t have a first aid kit in the house (we rarely had toilet paper). The next couple of weeks I was forced to walk around with the reminder on my face that… I am not a fighter and I am not tough.

Ice Cold

Day 2 still writing! Thanks to those of you that showed support of my first little post, believe it or not it was a little overwhelming… now, it appears, the pressure is on.

This story is true and one that you have probably heard before, but maybe with not as much detail as I will provide here. It is about the second time I almost killed myself (and my friends).

January 2003. I can’t recall the exact date anymore, which is ironic as it very well could have been engraved 6 feet above my head for all of eternity. I was a senior in high school at the time and the night started like any other weekend night for anyone in high school… telling your parents a half truth about what you will be doing that night away from home (I know I will pay for these little lies when I have teenagers of my own). I don’t think that I went out with the intention of not doing what I said I was, but there was a party happening and, well, there isn’t a whole lot for an 18-year-old in Brainerd, MN.

We went, there were 6 or 7 of us in total (including my girlfriend Jenni, now wife, and my best friend since 1st grade). We piled into my jeep which, full disclosure here, I hated. It had a stupid visor with 5 orange lights across the front, why was it there? It served absolutely no purpose except for being a source of ridicule among my friends. Anyway, we arrived at a cabin that belonged to the grandparents of someone I did not know. Of course, no grandparents were there as it was January and below zero weather. I was dubbed the designated driver for the night.

The driveway was a long narrow lane that had been plowed recently, so there were tall snow banks on either side. There was only enough room for a single car to make it through. Naturally we were one of the first cars to arrive; we pulled straight into the turn around adjacent to the garage where the majority of the, uh, festivities would be taking place. It must have been 8 or 9 when we arrived and it was already bitterly cold. The kind of cold that makes your nose hairs freeze as soon as your face is exposed and makes your ears burn. We hustled toward the garage where the country music was loud enough that all conversations had to be shouted. It was, in fact, a party. I don’t remember much from the party except for not wanting to stay, I wasn’t a big fan of 90% of the people there (I’m sure those people would tell you they didn’t want me there, so why was I?). Also, I remember seeing the biggest beer bong I had seen at that point in my life (Aaah, high school in Brainerd), I have since seen bigger. For the record, I had 1 beer that night and when it became clear that we wouldn’t be crashing at the cabin, I stopped drinking.

After a few hours passed, I made it clear it was time to go. The party had grown extensively since we originally arrived. Cars were parked single file down the narrow lane (of course no one car pooled per usual in the Brainerd Lakes Area), which meant that exiting the way we entered was not possible. Luckily, this cabin was right on Pelican Lake or was it Lake Edward? We will get to that…

Since we had arrived early, we had a straight shot to drive right on the lake which we could then take to the public access, easy. We piled in, our group had now been reduced to 5 (the beer bong had claimed the other 2 in our party). Jenni in the front seat and 3 of my buddies in the back (2 of which were groomsmen in my wedding). Now, this hasn’t occurred to me until right now, but my buddy whose house I was supposedly staying at was not in the jeep (beer bong got ’em)… I don’t know where we were headed exactly, but we were leaving come hell or, in this case, high water.

Now, I am not a big believer in signs from above but before we got to the ice there was a big bank and as I tried to drive over it we got, er, stuck. Literally, the jeep was resting on its frame (think teeter totter). Was something telling us to stay off the ice?

Panic struck, as I am one to do, I immediately went to worst case scenarios… irreparable damage to the jeep, dents, or we would need a tow and my lie would be exposed. But drunk teenagers are nothing if not resourceful and next thing you know we had a crew of guys behind pushing as we attempted to move forward. After about a half hour it jumped forward and we were free. Finally we were leaving and the crisis was averted, relief. If there was ever a time for Nelly’s “Hot in Herre” this was it and that is what was playing as we drove out on the ice (not exactly “My Heart Will Go On” which might have been more fitting but, hey, I was a closet Titanic fan back then). I remember glancing at the compass/temperature display and seeing the it display -11 degrees outside, cold.

All we had to do was find the public access. The argument in the back seat flared up regarding what lake we were actually on (imagine if your GPS could get into a drunken argument with itself about where you should be going). Edward, no Pelican, no Edward, etc. We were actually on Pelican. It was decided that if we went around the next point ahead of us that we would then find the public access to the lake and be on our way to who knows where. As we started around the point to what looked like the public access there was a pause to decide if we could make out exactly where it was. Then, from the back seat I hear, “this don’t look right.” There was a big bump then, a nose dive, and a crash as the icy water washed up onto the windshield.

Panic, that is the only way I can describe it. We had plowed through the thick sheet of ice at a 45 degree angle so that the rear doors could be open, luckily, the guys in the back were able to step out on to the with barely getting wet. Next, a sound that I don’t think I will forget was, Jenni screaming scared for her life and I put her there, more panic. See, we couldn’t open the front doors and the water was up to my lap at this point. It became clear at this point that Jenni needed to get out the back and luckily one of the guys from the back (this story’s hero as far as I am concerned) came back in and grabbed Jenni by the collar and pulled her out of the sinking car, relief.

The final task was getting myself out. At this point the water is at my chest but I don’t remember feeling the cold. Getting out through the back as everyone else did was not an option in my mind so I made the decision to exit through the drivers my window. Somehow, the car still had power, the lights were on, the radio was playing and the window rolled down to allow more water to start pouring through the window. I attempted to pull myself out of the jeep when I realized that I was still wearing my seat belt, more panic. I fumbled with numb fingers in the water to unhook the seat belt and being, again, to pull myself out on to the ice. This was to the helpful suggestions from everyone on the ice of, “get out!” (the best advice I have ever received). I managed to get completely out of the jeep as the driver side window disappears under the sheet of ice, numbingly sweet relief.

The power in the jeep stayed on for at least 45 seconds longer until the lights went off and we were left under the cold, clear open night sky. By the time we made it back to the cabin the sweatshirt I was wearing was frozen into a piece of plywood on my chest (I remember knocking on it, it was that cold). Turns out the jeep went through in a channel merely 15 feet from shore in about 6-7 feet of water, deep enough for 95% of the jeep to be under the ice. There are times I fixate on what it would have been like if the window didn’t roll down or I couldn’t get the seat belt off, anxiety.

None of us were hurt, which is something that I am thankful for every day. Rarely a week will go by that I don’t think about that night and I get that familiar pang of panic. More than anything I am thankful to the hero of this story, Andy. You saved the love of my life and I am forever in your debt.

The only payment that Andy ever asked for was the 3/4 case of Busch Light that was in the back seat which we recovered the next day after the jeep was pulled out of the water. And if you ask him today, he will tell you, “that beer was ice-cold.”

The Beginning, A Very Good Place to Start

It has recently occurred to me that if I am going to be that happiest person that I can be that I must do what makes me most happy. I know, I know, what a revelation! But, honestly, I have been nervous to start writing anything because like so many humans I am self-conscious and constantly worried about what other people may say or think (see: narcissistic). Well, I guess this blog means that I am starting to care a little less (as my chest tightens in that familiar way when I step outside my comfort zone).

My goal here is to write, no more and no less. For what ever the reason, things seem to happen to me that people find entertaining… maybe you will, maybe you won’t. I guess this will be a mix of personal stories, social commentaries and some fictional shorts (you know, a blog) as I try to figure out how to accomplish my ultimate goal of writing a book.

If you are interested, feel free to follow along, comment, critique,or complain about what I write. Or, don’t and I will just be writing for my mom and my wife.

My goal is to write daily. If you are a fan of self-deprecating humor and people who don’t take themselves to seriously, come back and check it out. At the very least it will give you something new to make fun of me for.