Tuesday, July 12, 2011

"Country Hardball"

It would stand to reason that anybody perusing this particular post would immediately assume that I am embarking on a piece about our national pastime.

There are at least two very good reasons for this including my unwavering devotion to a team that smells like cabbage cooking or perhaps that today happens to be the day of the "Mid-Summer Classic" or MLB All Star Game.

Not to disappoint the legions of fans and followers that I have (28 to date), but unfortunatly this post will take an unexpected turn.

This is an homage to phonetic word combinations.

While being directly related to the boys of summer, the term "country hardball", in my most humble of opinions, is an example of a well balanced, emotion provoking structure that serves as an example of my very lure to the art of the written word. So balanced in fact that one could deduce that the term itself might transcend the boundaries of the sport in which it refers to and lend it's influence as a great name for a rock band or a truck stop diner off of route 441 through the Smokey Mountains.

Point being that when a person is talented enough or just plain lucky enough to produce the perfect word combo, the power duo is free to explore possibilities outside of its initial intended use, and in my case, embed itself deep inside the pshycy and rolls around like a marble in an empty fishbowl only to be quieted when released by a concoction of written words to describe such a phenomenon.

There are few terms that provoke emotion and deserve such attention, and "county hardball" is one of them, now joining the ranks of "lung butter" or "draconian devil".

Monday, June 27, 2011

Why I Love Golf!

I love golf, and not for your typical reasons.

I didn't hit a hole-in-one my first time out, I didn't grow up on any praticular golfcourse, and my friends and I are not members of an elite country club where the bartender knows what I like to drink and has it waiting for me as I come off the 18th green.

True, there is more than a traceable amount of respect for the game that hovers around the fact that you really only compete with yourself, it is a game of integrity, and there is a moral fiber that intertwines itself throughout every aspect of the 18 hole challenge, but I love the game for one reason. For me golf allows me to vividly re-live memories that have nothing to do with the game.

When I see golf on television or drive up to the first tee, I am reminded of the sight of the outdoor lantern lights hung from tree to tree over a swimming pool at a summer party that my parents brought us too at the neighbors house when I was 8 or the relfection of the christmas tree lights in the shiny wheel base of a brand new bike with the front tire cocked at an angle that makes it appear as if it were waiting for me to see it for the first time.

I smell charcoal, burnt hot dogs and suntan lotion on a scorching hot summer day knowing that there will be no school for 2 more months and the scent of assorted chocolates and tart candies that smack me in the nose as I open my trick-or-treat bag for the first time in the safety of our living room.

I hear the unmistakable pop of the fireworks and the choked squeal from a paper horn that is being blown too hard from a few houses over on a chilly new years eve when I am supposed to lying down and going to sleep or the sounds of other kids playing Marco Polo in the nearby pool while I lay on my back drying as the sun penetrates my closed eyes making the world pink.

I feel the surprisingly strong flap of a fistful of slimy fish as I try as a 10 year old to get it off the hook without my dad helping, then the coolness of the lake as I lean over the boat and put him back in the waters or the last firm plastic buckle snapping shut on my ski boots as I look up the hill to the chairlift knowing that today is the day I try the double black diamond for the first time.

And I taste the thick frosting of the rollerskate cake with the licorice rope shoelaces that my mom made for my birthday party, or the root beer floats that my dad made for my brothers and I well after our usual bedtime on an evening that my mother was away with her friends.

And I feel it all in a momentary rush that happens in seconds.

You see, I love golf for reasons that have nothing to do with golf. The sight of a stretched open fairway, a flag dotting the horizon in the long shadows of the clubhouse on 18 as the moon and the sun struggle for ownership of the sky, brings me to a series of places and a times that is reserved for moments of unadulterated pleasure, comfort, and security.

A time that was never scripted to last this long and can only be found again under very specific conditions. Stored in a vault, deep within my memory, that for some reason has golf as its only key.

I don't understand it myself, but then again, I don't need to!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Free At Last, Free At Last...Thank God Almighty...

The transformation from Food and Beverage whipping post to creative earner is complete. I have kicked and pried myself out of the GI Joe kung fu grip that had become the restaurant biz. Mind you that I am very careful to point out that it was indeed (or haphazardly became so) the whole industry and not merely a single restaurant.
Do I have an "icky-er" taste in my mouth that is slightly fishy, from the last tank to captivate me? Yes, I do, but more than anything I am really very sorry for them, that their hand was forced to play, entertain, and work with my mental fatigue in the days, nay months, leading up to my parole.

I have grown accustomed to referring to my metamorphosis in cliche and god bless the woman to my left that refrains from the involuntary eye that results in having to hear these one-liners every time we cross somebody who mistakenly mutters out of politeness the phrase "what are you up to these days"...just cause they ask, doesn't mean you have to tell...but I do and I will.

Being plugged into more than one of the social medias that allow you to know exactly when I am washing my shirt, or debating between BBQ or PHO for dinner have served a very enlightening purpose that I had not foreseen.
It arms the casual conversation with a starting block and in this "no-time-for-love-Dr.-Jones" world we live in, chance encounters on the street can have more substance as well as getting right to the point. Any person lucky enough to be a "friend" or "follower" can now approach and right off the bat proclaim, "I heard you got out of the business", to which I can reply "Yeah-it was time that I started getting tested for intelligence rather than threshold for pain", which is exactly how I feel, but rejoice in making it appear that I just thought that comment right on the spot.
Or one of my favorites that take the casual visitor a little more time to digest is the response to "well what are you doing now?".
I love coming right back with "almost the same thing as restaurants. I am a technical writer at a Bio-engineering firm".
I am usually met with the initial expression that would accompany a person who just thought they heard a guy next to them use the word "pussy" in church. Doesn't make much sense. Kind of a "huh" thing where the persons head is thrown off it's access like a Golden Retriever waiting for the ball.

Like any other person lucky enough to escape from prison, I'm not so dellusional to say "I'm never going back". I know the business, and I know the sticky tentacles that I goes looking for you with as soon as it realizes you have escaped. "I keep trying to get out and it keeps suckin me back in". But if ever those cold fingers of death that dangle the lure of a fast buck in front of me come back and start to dance again, I would be tempted to pull a Cagney and never let them take me alive.

However; until that plank has been pushed out over the side and I have been politely asked to walk it, I will revel at the fact that this very minute I am at a desk with a picture of me and my girl on one side and a nice bonsai I found on Amazon on the other, and pressed by the fact that if I don't wrap this up I may be late for our weekly staff meeting cause I have to stop by the break room and brew a fresh cup of coffee and get some of those peanut butter filled pretzels that I have grown so fond of. Best of all I will leave this new place of employ right at the time that a restaurant manager will be gearing up for their shift and I will be silently wondering if I should go out to dinner somewhere tonight. Let me call up 15 of my friends and NOT make a reservation......I'm just kidding...could you imagine?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Jagged Little Blogger

I have recently embarked on a journey to the outer depths of the writosphere where my hopes and desires lie with the elite ranks of my professional mentors who get to write everyday for a living, and on this quest I have been privy to some of my "less-than-marketable" attributes.

"We here at Toby Airlines would like to welcome you aboard. We are currently flying over the beautiful state of Arizona and out the right hand side of the plane you can see the Grand Canyon. For those of you to be so unfortunate to be on the left hand side of the plane towards the back you can see what appears to be a jaded, sliver tongued word smith who applies far too much sarcasm to his daily angst in written form. We will now begin our decent into truthville so we remind you go ahead and leave those seat trays in the down position in the hopes that when we crash (and we will be crashing) they will provide a quicker end to this humbling madness. Smoke em' if you gottem!"

I have so very recently put the stipulation on myself that I must apply to at least two free lance writing jobs posted on public websites a day Wed-Fri (my writing days). This is not to achieve a dream job at some Gazette somewhere, but merely for exposure in the hopes that some publisher somewhere will read what I have concocted and have their "A HA" moment. The tricky thing about piloting this quest is the fact that I am doing so completely blind and without a net. I don't know if this is how one breaks into a writers guild, or gets discovered but my vessel is fueled by the two largest components of flight....hope and patience.
All I truly know at this point of infancy is that all (not some or most) sites require a writing sample which of course I am going to pull from this here shiny blog pond. Thing is I have been forced to go back to the archives and pull a marketable piece from this very collection. A collection mind you that is full of angst, sarcasm, bitterness, and swear words. None of the least which is marketable.

True the blog was created at first to merely vent the pressures of everyday life working in a restaurant, and double true is the fact that I make no bones about being a huge proponent of "comedy for one", the art of making myself laugh-even if you don't; but here I was so recently being forced to answer internal questions like "am I really that jagged?" and "should I create a literary Toby that is more shiny happy, care bear-esque in the hopes of getting discovered only to hold (then unleash) my wrath in season two of my Comedy Central series that I am bound to get?". I mean here I am as a human practicing the philosophies and teachings of Buddha, privately meditating on human suffering, then turning right around and calling people with celiacs disease a**holes (see the **-already starting to clean it up). Where is the balance here, and what do I stand for?

I will not waver from the structured belief that people on the whole need to learn how to eat out better, and I will not ignore that selected few representatives of our population should be singled out as ruining it for others, but I will try to be more compassionate in the hopes that I may be softer on the pallet if only to show that I truly believe that we are a remarkable race worthy of literary translation. I will just try and represent the other side of the spectrum more completely, even when my explored side of the spectrum piss me off....and they will piss me off......darn it-there I go again.

Maybe I need Prozac!