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Worldwide Ace

Worldwide Ace

Because a true Ace is needed everywhere…

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Four Drafts

July 15, 2014 (8:05 am) | Women




Breakfast the other day was pleasant, and I appreciate that you wanted to meet, but I feel like it was a wasted opportunity to actually talk. When you said you still wanted to get together, I assumed you had things you wanted to say. I had hoped you wanted to explain how you’ve been feeling and why things happened how they did from your side. Instead, when I asked you why we were there, you put the effort back on me, asking me to talk, asking what I wanted. I understand you were tired and had difficulty figuring out what to say—you admitted as much—but I left on Sunday with an even worse sense of closure.

And therein lies the rub.  Read more »

3 hats in the ring.

Open & Honest – Part X

July 4, 2014 (6:15 pm) | Women

Continued from
Open and Honest – Part I – Part II – Part III – Part IV
Part V – Part VI – Part VII – Part VIII – Part IX

“I think I’m done,” I say. It’s the first time I’ve said it out loud. It feels good to say it.

I just wish I could say it to her.

It almost catches me off guard. I have to pause to think about it.

“That’s too bad,” my friend tells me in the lull.

“No,” I reply, “it’s not.” Yes, it is, I think.

There’s this moment, when day three rolls around and I still haven’t heard from her. I’ve been left to my own thoughts again. It’s never a good thing.

There’s a reason I prefer to stay busy all the time, why I throw myself into my work, why I focus so intently on whatever project is in front of me. It’s to quiet the little voices in my head, the ones that niggle and prod, that play with reality.

But I’m not wrong here.

I had asked her to be better about communicating. She responded with an apology. And now she’s responded with more silence. Read more »

One hat in the ring.

Open & Honest – Part IX

June 25, 2014 (6:45 am) | Women

Continued from
Open and Honest – Part I – Part II – Part III
Part IV – Part V – Part VI – Part VII – Part VIII

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen you angry,” she had told me.

If she were here now, she would. I’m glad she isn’t here. I’m glad she can’t see this. Tomorrow, or maybe the next day, I’ll have formulated my words, dealt with the anger, worked it out. And then I’ll be back in this strange limbo.

For the first time in weeks, I’m going to see her.

“Good morning!” I text. “I look forward to seeing you tomorrow at German Two’s birthday. I hope it’s cause you’re joining us, not working. Any idea of your schedule this week?”

“Haaaa yeah I’m working a double that day…” she replies. “And closing. But I’m insisting y’all be in my section so we can hang out.”

It’s not the response I was hoping for. No info on her schedule. Not even a direct pronoun for me. I stifle the disappointment, the sense that I don’t matter, that she’s trying to push me into the group and out of the singular. I’m probably just overreacting, overthinking.  Read more »

Throw your hat in the ring.

The Bicycle Thief

June 23, 2014 (6:45 am) | Philosophy, Social Commentary, Sports

It’s only two miles, I tell myself as I deposit my dilapidated sandals in the trashcan in front of the post office.

The streets are eerily empty as I begin my barefoot march home. Really, it shouldn’t be a surprise. There aren’t many people who want to be out and about after the last bus has left deep into the wee hours of a Monday night. The white glow of the moon, the stark yellows of the streetlights, and the resonant heat from the day mean it’s hardly unpleasant save for my personal issues.

My feet ache. The cold mottled cement of the sidewalk wears into my heels. The granules of asphalt scrape the bottoms of the my toes as I cross the street. Needles, twigs and organic debris press into the balls of my feet as I plod through the night. The weight of my baggage lilts me left or right as I trade hands trying to keep my shoulders fresh. I focus on each step, tired, annoyed, determined to make it home, knowing I need to be up in mere hours for a long day of work.

I’m halfway home, in a darkened corridor of trees on the sidewalk, when I notice the bike lying in the small stretch of grass between my cement carpet and the street. Without thinking, I lift the bike on to two wheels, sling my suitcase onto the handlebars, and continue walking, my load lightened.

As I cross to the next block, the light from the streetlights casts my shadow on the road in front of me. I blink slowly as I realize that I’m holding the bike, walking slowly home. I look down at my right hand, cradling the handlebars, my bag hanging to one side.

I stole a bike, I think with surprise. I’m stealing a bike, I correct. I glance over my shoulder at the block I just left, wondering what the fuck I’m doing.

And then I start walking once more.

Read more »

Throw your hat in the ring.

Open & Honest – Part VIII

June 17, 2014 (6:45 am) | Women

Continued from
Open and Honest – Part I – Part II
Part III – Part IV – Part V – Part VI – Part VII

Five days.

I keep telling myself it’ll only be five days. Five days of fun with friends, of visiting with family, of bachelor party and Boston.

Despite all the wonderful people and times, every spare moment is spent thinking of her.

I send a postcard, carefully picking out a vintage print. I plot surprises for my return, think about things we could do together, events to which she’d like to go. I work on being even more the person she makes me want to be.

On the day of my return, she offers to pick me up from the airport. It’s unexpected. The distance between her and the airport isn’t small. This isn’t a favor I’d ask of a friend. I could bus it and then get a ride. That would be reasonable, but all the way is outside the bounds of good taste. Yet here she is offering. And I don’t want to say no.

My flights are delayed. Over and over, the timing gets worse. I’m racked with guilt, as the airline fails to tell me the changes until the last moment, and I can only hope to relay them.

She’s tired and sore when she picks me up. We cancel the concert we were going to catch in Denver on the way back. We crawl into bed, sleeping immediately. There’s no making up for lost time. There will be time enough for that later.

The next day, her world crumbles.

Plans she was making seem untenable after she finds out her debts are greater than she wanted. She closes herself. She cries. I try to cheer her up.

It’s an odd sensation, realizing that when I’m with her none of our combined problems seem insurmountable. I know I can’t solve her problems. I know her and I know she’s capable. I can make it more bearable, more pleasant; I can be supportive and make things easier if only she’ll let me. My problems I can handle. They don’t even worry me when she’s at my side. Hers worry me more than I want to show, if only for their effect on her.

“I want you to be happy. I like when you’re happy,” I want to tell her. “What can I do to make you happy?” I want to ask.

But I don’t.

I reach out gently, probing, hoping I can breach the sudden wall. She schedules herself hellishly for a week. She makes good money. I watch as she disconnects from the world. All that exists is work, commute, sleep, eat.

My life is no simpler. I’m starting a new job. I’m moving, without a car. I’m in my own little hell, ripped from the peaceful fun of post-ski season haze. I take loads via bus. It’s painful and difficult. I tap friends to help in little ways or bigger ways. Several come through. I make a concerted effort not to ask her for help, not to heap my problems on her own.

I don’t worry about it. I don’t stress it. I’m too busy to bother. I’m too worried about her to worry about myself.

Read more »

One hat in the ring.

How to be a Great Father

June 15, 2014 (5:00 am) | Family, Growing Up

Fenway Park

“I used to be a football fan,” he tells me.

“That surprises me,” I reply. “I mean, it doesn’t surprise me that you aren’t a football fan, but it surprises me that you used to be.”

He smirks and snickers knowingly. “Football is how I bonded with my dad. In many ways, it’s the only thing we had in common.”

The thought gives me pause.

Phil looks every part the hipster. His short, skinny frame is punctuated by pea-coats and obscure hats. The tattoos on his arm feature beautifully scripted Shakespearean quotes and his skill with a guitar puts my musicality to shame. His upbringing in San Francisco left elements of Bohemian style ingrained in his personality. And sports seems about as fitting as Bollywood-style dancing would at your average frat party.

I feel incredibly lucky to have enjoyed a wonderful relationship with my father. We’ve always had so many common interests and such similar senses of humor. Our awkwardly identical thought processes makes it so that he knows exactly what I need to hear nine times out of ten (even when I don’t want to hear it), and when I trail off mid-sentence, he can already see the conclusion I was trying to reach.

For me, however, it all comes back to baseball. Read more »

2 hats in the ring.

Open & Honest – Part VII

June 13, 2014 (6:45 am) | Women

Continued from
Open and Honest – Part I – Part II
Part III – Part IV – Part V – Part VI

She adorns herself in the blankets, wrapped in comfort. Her breath slips out slow and steady, her chest rising invisibly beneath the comforter. I stand there, goosebumps covering my body, chilled, and I’m torn.

I want to dive beneath the covers, exploring the depths of the bed until we’re wrapped tightly next to one another, steam rising from our collective warmth. To do so, however, would place my chilled flesh against hers, the shock yanking her from her reverie. And that, I could not abide.

I slide into the chair and watch her. Her auburn tresses splay across the pillow, disappearing into the ruffles of the comforter. Her lips, flush with rest, pout ever so slightly more as she slowly draws each languid breath. Her eyes, gently pursed in repose, dance with each dreamy twitch of hidden visions.

With the greatest of care, she tilts in her downy crown of pillows, pushing her hand and arm from beneath her cozy cocoon. She squeaks and bends, her lashes peeling open ever so slightly, a supple smile sliding across her face. It feels like sunrise as her eyes open, every millimeter illuminating my soul.

“Good morning,” I whisper as our gaze meets. She just smiles.

Without realizing it, I’ve crawled beside her, pulling myself close, and like that, we’re entwined.

“Sometimes I think I have kind of a high sex drive,” she admits to the bedroom.

“Oh really?” I say, mocking her. She tries to raise an eyebrow and scowl at me; her face is contrived and comical, yet cute in the effort. She huffs as I laugh at her, pursing her lips into a perfectly adorable pout. “I might have noticed,” I say as slide closer and move to kiss her. Read more »

One hat in the ring.

Max & The Pornographer

June 11, 2014 (6:24 am) | Women

Image from Adweek.com

Back before clickbait was clickbait, back when I was still early in my college career, I received an email. The subject read, “Have you seen this!?”

A high school friend had run across some risqué pictures of an acquaintance from high school. As I scrolled through the shoot I wondered what possessed this girl to take these less than comfortable photos. I sat there, dissecting the social norms, the shock and judgement of the email, and wondering if I even knew this girl well enough to ask her directly about the experience.

Suddenly, a lightbulb went off in my head: the girl was at UMass; so was my friend Max; the pictures were pornographic; and I seemed to remember my friend Max working with a pornographer.

Max has this incredible way of shifting the importance of things. Here he was, working for a pornographer in college, the ultimate wet dream frat boy job, and he had mentioned it offhand as if it were no big deal, so much so that it took me several moments to connect the dots between the photos and Max’s employer.

I was on the phone in an instant, a never-ending stream of babbling questions falling from my mouth. Did he still work with the pornographer? Did the pornographer know the pictures or who took them? What sort of situation was it?

Read more »

One hat in the ring.

The Magic of Happenstance

May 21, 2014 (7:18 pm) | Work

A funny thing happened on the way to New Zealand. Maybe it wasn’t so funny. I got rejected.

Despite five years of training and hard work, two weeks of maddening attempts to be interviewed, and a ski instruction resume I truly feel is worthy of pride, it took less than 48 hours from the time of my interview to receive an automated form rejection. Consensus from those who had made it overseas in previous years is that I’m too old and too expensive.

SIDE NOTE: New Zealand allows a large number of 18-30 year-olds to get “working holiday visas”; they allow a young person to travel to the country without a job and find whatever work they can during the 6 months they’re traveling. It’s an exchange program between dozens of countries including the US, Canada, and New Zealand. After 30, however, that privilege goes away and each country has its own stringent rules. In the case of New Zealand, a work visa must be sponsored by a company, meaning the person in question would need a job waiting for them and the company would likely have to pay a bunch of money to get the worker over there legally.

Though in other years, I might’ve lounged around and lamented my plight, the ejection only angered me and filled me with an odd sense of relief. I wouldn’t have to worry about the cost of getting overseas, and my months-long journey in summer work limbo was, in one sense, over. Instead, a different sort of limbo, one much more familiar, took over: unemployment.

Through the weeks that followed, I spent more time thinking about what I wanted to do, where I wanted to go, and how I wanted to work than I did applying for jobs.

Read more »

3 hats in the ring.

The Endless Celebration

May 13, 2014 (6:45 am) | Beer

A crowd huddles around the phone, eyes glued to the glowing screen as pictures from a brag book float by. In any other venue, it’d be a gaggle of grandmas sharing pics of their kids and grandkids. “How cute,” they would coo at each other.

“Look at how big that one is,” I hear one of the onlookers say. It easily could’ve been said by a grandma, but his gruff voice and thick auburn beard make it easy to see that this isn’t your average brag book.

Lit up by the glow of the phone are a half-dozen young and middle-aged men, each craning to see the screen as images of home-brew set-ups float by. Each of the men gathered around the phone are active members of Fort Collins’s deep and varied beer scene. With twelve open breweries and tap rooms as of the first of the month, there’s seemingly no end to the number of people coming and going, playing with recipes, and brewing on a commercial level.

Read more »

4 hats in the ring.

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