Why do we Stand?

It’s morning at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.  Welders, electricians, shipfitters, and engineers alike settle in to begin their day working to repair the pacific naval fleet.  The rain pounds the asphalt as I walk from my office to the machine shop for a work brief, ill equipped for the weather as usual.  It’s been this way for weeks now, as is the norm in the Puget Sound, with no signs of a respite.  Any second now, a trumpet will sound through the loud speakers, signaling the national anthem.  All that are inside are free to go about their business while the it plays.  However, those caught outside are instructed to stop what they’re doing and stand at attention.  I pick up the pace and walk briskly to the door, fast enough to make it in inside, slow enough not to bring about unnecessary attention.  I’m almost there, mere seconds from sanctuary—

“Badum, badum!” the trumpet plays.  Only a few steps separate me from the entrance of the shop.  I hesitate.  My mind goes into hyperdrive.  Do I sneak in?  I don’t want to be late for the meeting.  Besides, I don’t think anybody will even notice, and who would blame me if I did?  Nobody will ever see…


If you’ve ever spent an extended period of time on a military base, most likely you’ve had a similar experience, especially if you are stuck in extreme weather conditions.  Every morning at 0800, the Star-Spangled Banner rings throughout the base, and every morning, everybody who is outside stands at attention out of respect for our military, including me, no matter how many thoughts vacillate through my head.

So, it’s no surprise that several different emotions ran through me last Sunday as I watched players kneel during the anthem, or link arms to make a statement that didn’t seem to have much to do with the anthem.  I was angry, even furious at times.  The headlines on CNN, “NFL players take a knee in defiance of Trump,” didn’t make matters any better.  “How could somebody be so disrespectful to a country that has given them so much?” I thought or, “Why protest like this?  Why make a political statement at the expense of the American Flag?” or perhaps the most egregious, “What are they doing?  This kneeling crap’s going to screw up my fantasy team (which it did)…”

At the same time, I was sad.  Watching the demonstrations take place, it was almost as if I no longer recognized the country that I had grown up in.  I felt that I could never watch a game and cheer for a team I loved so much the same way ever again.  It was as if by a single gesture, all the excitement, the entire livelihood of the NFL had been sucked out of me.  Perhaps the worst part was that I didn’t see a single leader of the NFL, the coaches, commissioner, or any of the broadcasters have the courage to say what those players were doing on the field was wrong.

After all, standing for the national anthem is a practice that’s been entrenched into most of us since we were young.  It’s an anthem that often gives me goosebumps, and even a little swell in my heart after a beautiful and emotional rendition.  And I hate to admit, but during times of inebriation, I’ve admittedly sang the anthem at the top of my lungs like a jackass.  But if you’re anything like me, for most of your life, you’ve stood with your hand over your heart, many times just to go through the motions, never really stopping to ask the question, “why is it so important to stand for the national anthem?”

Many of the reasons the players chose to kneel were well expressed, most stemming from the that inequalities still exist in our country and that social justice must be attained before they choose to stand again, a viewpoint exacerbated by Trump’s recent comments.  And how much can I argue that inequalities don’t exist?  After all, we are a country that for better or worse, has been through a lot since its inception, born with its ailments, or foibles perhaps, that the founders knew couldn’t be cured with just the stroke of a pen.  They were shortcomings that would take years of pain, suffering, and intense battle to overcome.

“America is great because she is good.  If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great,” said Alexis de Toqueville, the French diplomat who had spent a copious amount of time studying democracy in the early years of the United States, eventually authoring, “Democracy in America.” The founders shared de Toqueville’s sentiment that the American citizenry consisted of a good-hearted, God-fearing people, and had faith that they could, and would carry out the dream of a free society if given the chance.  With this, they were granted the power to choose its leaders through a representative Republic, with the ability to form, to quote from our constitution, “a more perfect union,” of which many risked and sacrificed their business, riches, security, and in some cases, lives to fight against all odds, against the most powerful nation on the planet, so that one day, maybe, just maybe they could secure this dream for the American people.

We are a country that in order to remain united and survive past its infancy, had to accept the inhumane practice of slavery.  And although slavery existed, the founders knew the system of government they had set in place would allow the will of the people to eventually right its wrongs and put an end to the practice.  And with a war that cost the lives of roughly a million Americans, a great president, and nearly divided our country for good, we paid our debts and were able to overcome this evil.

We are a country that continues to fight against the evils of racism to this day.  During the civil rights movement of the sixties, people of all backgrounds fought against many powerful institutions to pronounce the treatment of a group of people based on their race is wrong, and it must be stopped.  And through peaceful protest, heavy persistence, and battling past the constant threat of violence, those who had fought so long for fair and equal treatment won the argument and changed the hearts of Americans alike.

We are a country who continues this rejection of prejudice to this day.  At the recent riots in Charlottesville, while many in the media screamed of fear and the rise of fascism, white supremacy and racism, I saw a swath of Americans who came together to take a stand against a vile display hate and anger.  The hundreds of demonstrators that came to protest that day were highly outnumbered by the voices denouncing them from all around the country, voices that aren’t afraid to speak out, not matter where the source of such evil comes from.

And when it comes to evil, we are a country who has had a proven track record against it.  On December 7th, 1941, there was little hesitation from our country to take action after the attack on Pearl Harbor, judging by the response of our leaders and the abundance of young men willing to join the military to take a stand against the Nazi’s and Imperialist Japan.  And like the soldiers of the American Revolution, Civil War, and other wars before them, they fought, risked, and sacrificed, from the beaches of Normandy to the islands of the Pacific, enduring the harshest of conditions and all horrors that come with war.  They fought to defeat this evil, for there was a belief that what they were fighting for was something greater than themselves, that although they may fall, their brothers would fight on to secure their way of life, that their sacrifice may result in a much better world for their friends, family, and the rest of the world.

We are a country who from the beginning, has always promoted science and innovation.  Not by force and coercion, but by allowing the pursuit of happiness to take its course, to let one take command of his or her own ideas, dreams, and visions of the world and watch them flourish.  Through this, we’ve built and powered great cities, from New York to San Francisco.  We’ve taken command of the internet, unleashed its power and provided an infinite catalogue of knowledge and the ability to connect with people thousands of miles away with just the click of a button.  All throughout our history, we’ve created thousands of other inventions most of which go unnoticed in the day to day grind: the automobile, airplane, iPhone with GPS capabilities, indoor plumbing and waste treatment, air conditioning, electricity, fresh drinking water, refrigeration, an MRI machine, Disneyland, Nintendo, Instagram, and the list goes on.  Thousands—millions of inventions that make our lives better, each and every day, most of which are taken for granted by everyday citizens, including myself.

We are a country that promotes the free expression of art, creative ideas, and different modes of thinking.  And through the advancement of music and motion pictures, artists continue to find ways to experiment and express themselves, creating art that touches our hearts and makes us laugh, cry, and at times jump up with excitement.  By watching films like the Godfather, Forrest Gump, Star Wars, or any John Hughes movie, or by attending your favorite band’s concert, whether it be Kanye West, Taylor Swift, Metallica, or Kenny Chesney, this art holds a deeply emotional and significant impact on our lives and has changed the way we view the world.

I mean, c’mon, we are a country that put a man on the mother f’n moon for God’s sake!  Excuse my language, but think about this for a second.  Back in the day when the Pilgrims came over, it took 2 to 3 months just to sail across the ocean, one way, and this ain’t your luxury Carnival Cruise we’re talkin’.  These trips sucked, and if you wanted to go and visit Europe, you best believe you were gonna stay there for a long ass time.  Then, America was born, and in less than 200 years, we flew a couple of dudes into space, traveled nearly a million miles, landed on the moon, and brought their asses back to Earth in a little over a week!  That’s incredible!  (And if you’re one of those people that believe the moon landing was a hoax, Buzz Aldrin will come and punch you in the face!)

Imagine Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson talking about this after they wrote the Declaration of Independence.  “You know Tom, after we get this forming a country stuff figured out, someday, we’re gonna walk on that big old moon up there.”  Forget about it.  It never happened!  And who could blame them?  The country they helped form was able to do something inconceivable, something that nobody in their wildest dreams could’ve ever thought possible, a feat no other country has ever been able to do, ever!  Man, if they were alive today, they’d be damn proud of what this country has accomplished.

Somebody once shared a quote from John Adams that has stuck with me, “I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy.”  These great men who set the foundation for this country, who did the heavy lifting and hard work in its early days, and those who, to this day, serve to protect our country, our freedom, and our way of life, who allow us to live peacefully without the threat of anybody taking that away, it’s these people who allow us to live our lives as we see fit.  It’s these great men and women who allow people like me to drink Rockstar energy drinks and share silly stories of my misfortunes when I should be studying mathematics and philosophy.  It’s these same people who provide artists like Kanye West the opportunity to share their crazy views while creating their amazing beats without the fear of censorship.  It’s these people who give us the luxury to watch, play, and celebrate a game in which two teams try to carry a pigskin across a field.

It’s these people of whom we are indebted to, of whom deserve our deepest gratitude.

And above all, we are a country that comes together during the tough times.  I’ll never forget September 11, 2001, watching on a 13-inch television set in Mr. Rayburn’s science class as a Junior in High School when both towers of the World Trades Center came down, knowing that the one and only world I ever knew would be changed forever.  And I’ll never forget the emotions felt during that time, the amount of pride I felt as an American, in my fellow countrymen, seeing almost every single person I knew set aside their differences and unite to heal as a country.

It’s a spirit of lending a helping hand to our fellow man that continues to this day, as I watch several strangers come together, donating their time, money, and efforts to provide aid and rebuild the lives of victims of the hurricanes in Texas and Florida.

I see the national anthem as an allegory for this type of spirit.  Played before times of intense battle and divisiveness, where fans will relentlessly jaw insults back and forth and two teams will spend 60 minutes pounding the crap out of each other, we all can take a moment to stand with our hands on our hearts, to remember that there are things in this world and in our lives that are bigger than us, bigger than Donald Trump, that there are principles we all can unite around.

We can take a moment to reflect on those great men and women, admittedly greater than myself who have served and those who have shaped this great country through art, innovation, risk, and sacrifice into what it is today, to allow us to partake in such coveted pastimes such as the NFL.  It’s a reminder that someday, through hard work, patience, and sacrifice, we too may become the great men of our generation.  It’s a reminder that though our country is not perfect, nor will it ever will be, we have the ability to change, to strive towards a more perfect union.  Our system of government allows it.

…It reminds us that America is great because she is good, and despite our differences, the flag and the anthem unite us.  It always has.  It is the single most unifying symbol we have.

If anything good has come out of the craziness of this kneeling fiasco, it’s given me a chance to reaffirmed my beliefs on standing for the anthem and the importance behind it.  It’s given me the opportunity to articulate my views so that others who do not know better may understand.  Never again will I question whether or not I should try to sneak in at the last second to avoid having to listen to the anthem for a minute on a military base.  And as long as America remains great, I will always stand at attention when the anthem is played, on base or at a sporting events, no matter the weather.  I will show respect for the American flag, and I ask you to do the same.

I ask you to set politics aside, and remember the reasons as to why it’s important to show this respect when our anthem is played.  I implore you to search within yourself, to look at the big picture, to remember that even with the present inequalities or injustices you may see in your life (and trust me, I have a list of my own), that there is so much more good than bad that has come about from this country and from the people living in it.

I implore you to stand next to me with your hand on your heart, unified.

Broventures in Tulum

Saturday, February 21st, 2014, 1:15 PM

Man, I can’t believe it’s here! I’ve been waiting for this moment, ever since we got the news over Christmas! And after hitting up the gym 5 times a week for the last 2 months, I’m ready. I’m finally doing it, baby, Spring Break! And get this, I’ve already had two Rum and Cokes, and we haven’t even taken off yet! Man, First Class is awesome, mom and dad really hooked it up, and so are my washboard abs! Sorry, I know I shouldn’t brag, but I can’t help it. All those protein shakes were totally worth it!

Oh, they’re doing that safety presentation thing. Damn, the flight attendant looks hot right now… That’s right girl, show me how you inflate that life vest—hold up, she’s coming over, looking right at me. I think she’s checkin’ me out… Let me give her the nod, ok, here we go, “What’s up? How you do— oh, my com—until when? Yea, I can—geez, sorry—uh, yes mam.” Ok, I guess they’re making me put my computer away for a little bit. No worries, I’ll be back. Spring Break Cancun, here I come!


Saturday, February 21st, 3:00 PM

Dude, First Class seriously hooks you up fat! A full meal, movies and everything! And the funny thing is, my poor little sister is stuck sitting in coach. Sucks to be her! I can’t wait to brag about how many free drinks I’m getting! Oh, speaking of drinks, hold up… “Oh miss, can I get a… yea, what was that one you gave me earlier, a shardinay or something? Yea perfect!” This old broad keeps coming around and filling my glass with wine whenever it’s empty. I’m not really a fan of the stuff, it doesn’t quite go down smooth like a nice, cold Keystone Light, so I’m just kind of shooting them down as fast as I can. Hey, as long it gets me drunk and it’s free! That’s my motto.

I think we’re staying at this resort, called the Tulum I think. My sister sent me some pictures and the place looks hella rad! Beachside, like 5 or 6 rooms all together, cabana style villa. I can’t imagine the babes I’m gonna be able to bring back and party with. I’ll let mom and dad take the upstairs. They’re old timers anyway, they’ll be in bed by 9. Not me though. I’m gonna party all night and sleep all day.  That’s my motto.

“Oh yea, can I try the rose kind? Yea, the pink stuff, thanks.” Let me down this real quick… whoa, there we go. This wine stuff gets you a little loopy… Where was I? Oh yea, first thing’s first, I’m hitting up the beach and the pool. They’ll be crawling with bikini babes, and babes who like to party. And then shots. Yagerbombs, cherry bombs, vodka Redbull, Tequilla Shots, Jello Shots, Body Shots, Vod— “Oh yea, get me a shot of that red stuff… Cool, thanks.”   I’m going hard, 24/7. YOLO! That’s my motto.

I bet MTV’s gonna be down there too! They always come down for Spring Break, and they have the best rappers, always. I’m talkin’ Pitbull, Mac Miller, Macklemore… those guys get me really pumped! I’ll find out where they’re partying too, it’ll just be like that one movie, Spring Breakers, where those chicks go out to all of those ragers and meet that one du


Saturday February 21st, 9:30 PM

Man, I don’t know what happened. I was kicking it with all of these old farts in First Class, pounding wine shots and what not, and the next thing I know, we’re here! Oh well, heheh.

Anyways, we’re taking a shuttle to our first hotel right now, the Courtyard Marriott. The driver looks like a pretty cool guy, like he knows what’s up. “So where’s the best clubs around here? You know, the biggest place to party and stuff? Hello…” Well, apparently the driver isn’t much for conversation. It’s like he can’t hear me or knows what I’m saying. Oh well, at least he’s letting me drink a beer on the way. Man, this is the life, just like those “Find Your Beach” commercials. I can finally relate.

“Hey, what do they take around here? Dollars? Yes, no, anybody?” Whatever, I’ll just give him a dollar or something for driving. They like that kind of stuff.

Well, this is it! Tomorrow’s the start of a full week of partying at the Tulum!


Sunday February 22nd, 9:00 AM

Down in the hotel lobby, waiting for my sister and her husband, Derek. I guess they’re gonna drive us to this Tulum place. Man, I’m pumped and ready to go! I can’t wait to get on the beach and— oh, here she comes right now. Does she see me, ok cool, she’s walking towards us, and she’s got a smile on her face… must be glad to see me. Ok, she’s got a really big smile on her face… That’s weird. I know I haven’t seen her in like a year, but it keeps on getting bigger. What the heck?

“What’s up Meathead Rob Lowe,” is the first thing that comes out of her mouth.  I actually don’t know what to say, I… I’m beyond words. I think that’s the nicest thing she’s ever said to me…


Sunday February 22nd, 10:30 AM

For some reason, we’re going to Costco right now, who the hell knows why? I didn’t even know they had them down here, but regardless, it seems really unnecessary, for I’m just ready to go down to the pool to start drinkin’. It’s actually starting to kind of piss me off a little bit, but whatever. We’ll do what THEY want to do. While I’m here, I might as well stock up on some supplies.


Sunday February 22nd, 10:35 AM

I grab beer, tequila, Red Bull, and Doritos… the basics. All ready to go. Where did my sister’s go?


Sunday, February 22nd, 11:15 AM

“Yea, what about it? Because I want it, that’s why—What’s it to you!?” Great, now both my sisters are having a fit over this stuff, I don’t know what the big deal is. It’s not like I’m giving them crap about their wine and cheese and olives and more wine and other crap, let alone the fact that it took them an hour to get like 5 things. God, they won’t stop arguing and telling me to listen, saying there’s not enough room in the car or whatever. It’s not like we needed any of this stuff in the first place? Come on!

And out of all the things, what they’re most pissed off about are the Doritos! Something about not eating authentic Mexican food… I forget exactly what all they were saying, I wasn’t really paying attention, but they keep screaming at me to put them back. We’ve literally been going back and forth for the last 5 minute about the damn Doritos now, and it’s starting to cause a scene. All these people are looking at us like we’re crazy and—Whatever, it’s not even worth it anymore. I’m over it. They win.


Sunday, February 22nd, 11:18 AM

I can’t do it. Don’t care. I want it, I like it, screw it, I’m getting the Doritos.


Sunday February 22nd, 1:00 PM

Um, why are we driving away from Cancun? The hotel shouldn’t be way the hell out here. I’m trying to ask, but sister keeps on going off about how this rental car place screwed her our of a Jeep Wrangler. I mean, what’s the deal with this Jeep Wrangler anyway, and why does she have to have it?


Sunday, February 22nd, 1:10 PM

Seriously, she won’t shut up about the damn Jeep! It’s like her life is completely ruined over the fact that she can’t drive around and look cool. News flash: Who Freaking Cares! You have a car, get over it! My God, if I have to hear about that stupid car one more time, my head’s going to explode! Meanwhile, we’re still going in the wrong direction and the way she keeps on blabbering, we aren’t turning around anytime soon.


Sunday February 22nd, 2:00 PM

Well this just sucks. All to my glorious surprise, Tulum isn’t a hotel, it’s a town, nowhere near Cancun. It’s so nice of them to tell me this now. And worst off, the fact that I didn’t know is apparently hilarious to everybody. What a bunch of BS, and frankly, this really pisses me off. So yea, I got her to stop talking about the damn Jeep, but who cares? I just gave them a new thing to talk about. That and that stupid show about Girls.


Sunday February 22nd, 3:00 PM

We’re driving through this Tulum place, which isn’t even a town, but a village made out of sticks and straw in the middle of a jungle. And would it kill them to make the roads just a little wider? It’s not like they don’t have the real estate. The last thing we need to do is get in a crash with a smuggled bag of Doritos in the back.

There ain’t much for partying either, and every babe I’ve seen so far has some boner walking along side. I guess it’s better than nothing, but still, I ain’t digging it. Wait, now what’s goin… Ok, so we’ve just passed the town, and we’re starting to drive on this sketchy dirt road. What are we doing?


Sunday February 22nd, 3:15 PM

So we’ve been on this long dirt road towards the middle of nowhere, with a bunch of tropical trees on each side. How long do we have to drive till we get to this place? And what’s with all these “topes” anyway, Spanish for either “Bump” or “Pain in the Ass.” They’re everywhere! That’s like 4 in a row now that we’ve bottomed out on. Maybe if my sister wasn’t driving like a madman, then—Uh oh, here we go again… Ok, that’s good, let’s just take this nice and slow. We’ll get over and… Ohhhhh… Well, there goes the bottom of the car, she’s gonna have a good time explaining that one to the rental car place… and there she goes again about the stupid Jeep Wrangler… Great. Just great…


Sunday February 22nd, 3:30 PM

Ok we finally make it to our house, and good thing too, because I gotta take a dump. It’s a cool looking place, I’ll admit. Too bad it’s in the middle of Bum F*** Egypt. How am I supposed to pick up any chicks all the way out here?


Sunday, February 22nd, 3:35 PM

“So, you’re telling me I don’t put the toilet paper in the toilet, but in the trash? What’s the point? That’s completely disgusting…”


Sunday, February 22nd, 3:36 PM

So, their toilets can’t handle TP, and neither can anyplace else around here, at least that’s what the husband and wife who are the caretakers of the place supposedly said, according to my sister. So it looks like we put our used TP in the trash from here on. This is freaking ridiculous.


Sunday, February 22nd, 6:00 PM

Mom and dad pull in. They’re all in a good mood, happy to be here. Good for them. My mom asks me if I’m excited. I respond accordingly.

“Yes, I am so excited to be all the away out here, away from everything, with no TV, nobody else around, and nothing to do but spend an entire week with my family. This is going to be SUCH a great vacation…” She smiles gives me a giant hug, and tells me she’s excited too. My dad looks back in pride. From what I gather, neither of them understand the concept of sarcasm. I need a drink. Or two…


Monday, February 23rd, 10:00 AM

Time to check out the beach, I mean, as long as it’s right there, and its private, then why not? It looks pretty nice, at least so far, except for these piles of seaweed that are everywhere. Doesn’t bother me though, I’ll just walk through it and—UGGHHAA, God, I think a squid just grabbed my foot or Octopus or… Oh, just the seaweed. No big deal, it’s just so slimy and everything. It threw me off, freaked me out a little bit. I’m good. Really, I am.


Monday, February 23rd, 10:02 AM

Ok, lets try again. Everything’s good, and I ain’t a wus. Just start with the ankles… good. And down to the knees… that’s right, now—AHHH forget it. I’m out.


Monday, February 23rd, 9:00 PM

Spent the afternoon in town shopping with my mom and sisters, while my dad and Derek went to the grocery store. So, I pretty much did absolutely nothing until dinner. Really, the only awesome thing that happened was there was this topless babe walking on the beach near town, but I was standing there with my mom, so I had to pretend I didn’t see her. In fact, except for a quick glance, I didn’t see her! Just my luck.

I did grab some more Tequila though, we’re just about out back at the house. I needed it, too, especially now. That Costco stuff went quick

I know I shouldn’t, but it’s been a long day, and that waiter took his sweet time with the bill too. I’m just gonna take a quick little swig—DAMNIT! Freaking Topes! Tequila everywhere! I swear to God, Topes piss me off!


Monday, February 23rd, 9:07 PM

Ughz. You know, this dirt road is kind of creepy at night, with all the jungle trees and all. It feels like some guerillas are all hanging out on the sides, watching us drive by. And any second now, some cartel guy is going to pop out of nowhere and take us all out. How much you want to bet that after we get around this corner there’s going to—

JESUS CHRIST! Holy Mary… My God. Sweet Jesus. Holy Crap. What in God’s name!…


Monday, February23rd, 9:08 PM

Yea, so we almost died. Head on collision. Barely missed it. That bastard was out of control. I’ve never heard so many dirty words come out of my family’s mouth at once. Good thing I got all that… Never mind, tequila’s all over the floor.

This sucks.


Tuesday, February 24th, 9:00 AM

Since there’s no gym here, I might as well run on the beach to keep my tone, just in case. Also, I need to clear my mind. Mom and dad were all worked up about me spilling liquor all over the car. Something about drinking and driving in Mexico can get you in trouble. It was an accident for Christ sakes, big deal? I wasn’t even driving, and they probably do that stuff all the time around here!


Tuesday, February 24th, 9:15 AM

Dude, running in the sand sucks. I just keep sinking, unless I run on the buttloads of dried seaweed all over the place. What’s with all this seaweed anyways? Out of all the places, all the world’s seaweed just happens to show up right here, on the exact day we decide to come.

Oh, there’s another house on the beach. I wonder if there’s any other babes around? Ah, doesn’t look like it, at least not right now. I’ll check it out later.


Tuesday, February 24th, 9:30 AM

So as it turns out, right after I passed that house, this rabid dog started chasing after me. The little turd wouldn’t stop either, followed me for like a half mile, I nearly passed the hell out I ran so hard in the sand. Pissin’ me off. I can’t get back now, unless I run passed that thing, which I don’t really want to deal with right now. It probably has rabies or something dumb like that. The road can’t be too far away, maybe I’ll just cut through a little jungle here.


Tuesday, February 24th, 9:40 AM

It’s just been one giant mistake after another now hasn’t it? The road’s way farther out than it should be, leaving me stuck in the middle of the jungle. I swear some critter is going to jump out and attack me. Every time I step on a dry leaf it’s like they’re rustlin’ around, plottin’ and schemin’ on the low. Or it’ll be something stupid, like stepping on a big old snake or having a spider bite me. Or what if I happen to stumble upon a drug ring camp out in the forest here? How the hell do I explain myself out of that one?

That stupid ass dog. I’m about ready to turn back and whoop it’s ass.


Tuesday, February 24th, 7:00 PM

Good news, I made it out of the jungle alive, and I didn’t have to beat up any dogs. Bad news, my mom insists we stay in tonight and play this stupid game called “The Settlers of Catan,” and I’m almost all out of booze. I’ve played it before with them, and I know exactly what’s going to happen. I’m going to win, and everybody’s going to get all butthurt about the whole thing and start crying. It literally happens every time we play.

The thing is, it wouldn’t be such a bad game if everybody didn’t have to spend 5 minutes on their turn figuring out what they were going to do. It’s like “Gee, maybe you could’ve thought about that when the person before you was taking 5 minutes?”


Tuesday, February 24th, 7:05 PM

Just found out that this is Derek’s first time ever playing. Awesome. He’s gonna take his sweet time because he doesn’t know what he’s doing, and then he’s going to do something stupid and screw me out of winning, I just know it.


Tuesday, February 24th, 8:15 PM

Guess what. Derek just built a road that leads to nowhere right in front of me, and pretty much just screwed me out of winning. I’m honestly on the verge of losing my crap right now.


Tuesday, February 24th, 8:45 PM

Oh, my God. This game is taking FOR-E-VER!!!


Tuesday, February 24th, 9:00 PM

Game’s over, and now I have to deal with my little sister parading around like she’s the Queen of Catan. Yea, congratulations, you won your first game. You had a newbie screw everybody except you, and then you happen to have all your settlements on 4’s, which got rolled like 5 times in a row. Yea, you should be really proud of that, and the way you’re acting too. What a waste of two hours, and a giant load of BS. This game pisses me off. And I barely got anything for dinner tonight too. At least I still have my… what the. Ah Hell no— “WHO THE HELL ATE ALL MY DORITIOS?!?!”


Wednesday, February 25th, 11:00 PM

Nobody ever ponied up to eating my Doritos, surprise surprise. Anyway, today was kind of boring. We went to these ancient ruins, which was just a cluster of tourists running around aimlessly. The place wasn’t even that cool, but they managed to squeeze 5 bucks out of me, and everybody else who went there. And then there was this girl who was trying to do handstands and get her picture taken by the ruins, except she didn’t know how to do a handstand, so she just kept trying over and over again, right in front of everybody. It was freaking ridiculous! She was like 20 years old too, which I didn’t know people still did handstands at that age, unless they’re kind of kinky, which I don’t think she was, because she didn’t know how to do a handstand. But yea, everybody’s trying to be all nice and polite not to get in her way, and its taking like 10 minutes, so finally they—wait, what the hell is that over—

“OH F*** THAT!!!”


Wednesday, February 25th, 11:02 PM

A giant ass rat just walked into my room. I swear to God if there’s one thing I hate, it’s rats. Looks like I just woke everybody up too. My sister’s are running in freaking out, and now my parent’s, and, hold up… “No, it’s ok mom. Yes, it’s gone now… a rat. I said a rat. No, not a cat, a rat. A big ol’ rat… Yes mom, I’m fine… Yes, I’m sure it was a rat… It was really big… Don’t worry—ok I’ll shut all the doors before I go to bed…”


Wednesday, February 25th, 11:04 PM

I can’t believe I dropped the F bomb in front of my mom… I’m a horrible person…


Thursday, February 26th, 2:00 AM

So as it turns out, it wasn’t a rat, it was this thing called a lemur according to my little sister, who probably ate half of my Doritos, and still won’t confess, but that’s beside the point. That bastard was huge! And now everybody’s all freaked out, so they shut and locked all the doors, which sucks, because I gotta take a whiz now, and I can’t get to the bathroom without knocking on the door and waking everybody up. “Well, why is the bathroom door locked, and why can’t you get in?” you ask. Well, it’s because the villa we’re staying at is weird, and I don’t want to explain it cause it’ll take too long, so it is what it is, ok! Long story short, I’m taking a whiz on the beach.


Thursday, February 26th, 2:03 AM

Wow, I never noticed how well you can see the stars from out here. It’s actually quite spectacular. There are so many of them, 10’s of 1000’s. Maybe even millions! I can pretty much see any constellation out here. Look, there’s the big dipper right there! Oh, and over there, that has to be… Well, um…


Thursday February 26th, 2:05 AM

Gee, as it turns out, that’s the only constellation I know, heheh. Whatever, the stars aren’t even that cool. I’m done peeing anyways.


Thursday, February 26th, 5:00 PM

So, today we’re supposed to have this giant fish dinner that the caretakers made for us, and we’re all going to eat it together and it’s supposed to be really good. Heck, I even got a glimpse of the fish, and even I approve. This thing’s a pretty big deal to them. They even brought their daughter over too, and while she might be a nice girl, well, um… let’s just say, she’s not really my type to put it nicely.


Thursday, February 26th, 7:00 PM

I’m chowin’ down on this fish. Man, this thing is good. It’s got onions, and peppers, and hot sauce… I’m really going to town!

My older sister’s talking to these people in Spanish, and my mom’s talking to them in English like they understand everything single word she’s saying. They’re all laughing and stuff, and all I’m doing is eating. These are some big old fish!


Thursday, February 26th, 7:10 PM

Now they’re all pointing at me, and keep saying my name. My sister keeps on saying “ci.” It means yes, I know that, I’m not an idiot for God sakes. And they keep using this word, “matrimonio.” I don’t know what that means, matrimonio. But anyway, my sister just keeps on saying “ci” and the dad keeps laughing and has this big old smile on his face. They’re looking at me now like they’re questioning me. What did I do? All I’m doing is eating some freaking fish and now suddenly I’m the “Bell of the Ball!” And why does this girl keep staring at me? She won’t stop, and she keeps smiling. This is freaking me out man. “Yea, whatever, ci ci.” I just want to eat the fish.


Thursday, February 26th, 7:11 PM

Now what? They’re all screaming, hooting and hollering, getting all happy. The dad, the wife, they’re all just ecstatic all of a sudden. Was it something I said? Oh great, this girl’s staring even harder at me. And smiling…

I don’t like this at all.


Thursday, February 26th, 8:00 PM

I ate a whole entire fish. I’m done. I’m never eating… ever, again.


Thursday, February 26th, 8:10 PM

The caretakers are leaving for the night, but the dad gives me this big hug and says something like “Mi familia.” Yea, familiar with what? I never found out, he just hugged me again and then left. And their daughter waved one of those creepy finger rolling waves on her way out too. I’m just glad that’s all over. What a weird night. Man, I’m stuffed.


Friday, February 27th, 1:30 AM

Oh my God. I can’t believe it happen. This is awful.  It was inevitable. Montezuma’s Revenge has finally struck. Ugh, I feel like Hell.  It was the damn fish. It had to be. Oh God. Just a… Ahhh help me Jesus, it hurts so bad. I can’t stop.  It just keeps… UGHZ.  I woke my sister’s up too. I had to. No. Other. Choice. Door was locked. I had to go. Why is this happening?  Oh, I hate lemurs so much right now.  And fish, and—oh no, here it goes!  No…


Friday, February 27th, 2:30 AM

Not again!!!


Friday, February 27th, 3:00 AM

This is bad. This is so bad. It’s even worse than I’d imagined. Worse than Ben Woodward and the Toilet Bowl Massacre… No, nothing’s worse than that. But this is still bad. Wait… Yea, never mind, this is way worse…


Friday, February 27th, 3:45 AM

I have literally destroyed the toilet. As in, this thing is no longer recognizable, every square inch of it. I can’t even describe the abomination that was created. I am honestly disgusted at myself, and my body. It’s a travesty to the human race. It’s so disgusting and ugly, I’m not even proud of it. It’s horrific.  God, I think this could even be illegal, and all I can do is sit in shame over this monstrosity, and pray for forgiveness. God help me. God forgive me…


Friday, February 27th 4:00 AM

Please God let this be it. This is the worst. I really hope I can pinch it off and just sleep now, cause I don’t know how much more I can take. Oh, you got to be kidding me. What’s wrong with the toilet now? It’s not even flushing. Why won’t it… the toilet paper… I didn’t put it in the trash like they… Oh, F my life…


Friday, February 27th 1:00 PM

Well, I’m pretty much out of commission for the rest of the day. The rest of them went to a nearby beach, one without seaweed. Whoop de freaking do. It was nice of them to ditch me like this. I’d never do such a thing, but that’s just me.

So I decided to do a little reading, an activity that’s light on the stomach. They have a couple books here to read, even this one from this dude, Ernest Hemmingway. I’ve heard a couple of the smart and nerdy babes in class talk about how he’s so romantic and stuff. You know, the one’s that act all smart because they know literature and everything. Maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to get acquainted with my old friend Ernest, and his book, “The Sun Also Rises.” Besides, there’s something about a girl in smart looking glasses that kind of turns me on…


Friday, February 27th, 1:10 PM

Screw that, this book sucks, just a bunch of drunken A-holes. It ain’t even worth it. What a pile of garbage. What a waste of my freaking time…


Saturday, February 28th, 10:00 AM

It’s our last day in Tulum. If anything, I might as well run to this bridge we pass on the way to town and take a picture of the ocean from there. Those types of pics get at least 15 or 20 likes on Instagram every time, guaranteed, half of which are from babes, and probably a couple extra since it’s in a foreign country. It’s totally worth it. I figure this, I can get some exercise, get a picture, and maybe meet some more babes while I’m over there too. Kill two birds with one stone, that’s my motto.


Saturday, February 28th, 10:30 AM

Oh, what in the hell? Yea, I’m at the bridge. I’m also stuck in a damn monsoon. Right when I got here, it came down, right out of nowhere, Forest Gump, Vietnam style. It’s like I’m that EPA butthole on Ghostbusters when they blow up the Marshmallow Man and all that white goop dumps all over him. I know exactly how he feels. So much for that Instagram pic, and my phone. And here’s to a 2 more miles of running in the pounding rain.

I said it once, and I’ll say it again. F. My. Life!!! That’s my motto.


Saturday, February 28th, 11:00 AM

Yea, go ahead and keep laughing, you heartless souls. I’m so glad my siblings think all of my suffering’s hilarious. Maybe I should stick them outside for an hour and see how they like it…


Saturday, February 28th, 7:00 PM

Well, it’s done raining, and it’s our last night in Tulum and we’re at dinner. Everybody is kind of in a bummer mood. I for one am glad we’re leaving tomorrow, because frankly, I’ve had enough of this place for one week. And now everybody’s bummer mood is kind of putting me in a bummer mood.


Saturday, February 28th, 7:05 PM

The waiter comes by, kind of a weird dude, taking our orders telling us about all the nice stuff they have. “Just get me the steak, and a couple beers, and some shots.” I’m getting tanked tonight. I don’t even care anymore.


Saturday, February 28th, 8:00 PM

I had hella beers and shots, and ate a steak, and I’m not even drunk. Well, whatever, I’ll be home tomorrow anyway, so who cares. I’ll get drunk then.


Saturday, February 28th, 8:03 PM

Well here comes the waiter again. Great, now what does he want?

“Thank you very, very much. Say, I have question. Do you play American Futball?”

“Who me? Well what do you mean, I have before and all…”

“Like, uh, what you say, profesonale?

“Oh Pro Football, in the NFL. No, but thank you, that’s awfully nice of you to say so…”

“Oh man. You look like profesonale. You look like one man, very handsome. Throws American Futball.”

“Um, you mean the quarterback?”

“Ah yes, quarter back. What his name? Roger, I think. Wears color of green. Play by water. What you call it, Bay?”

“You mean Aaron Rodgers?”

“Ahh yes, Aaron Rodger. My favorite. Fantastic at Futball. You remind me of Aaron Rodger.”

“Well, uh, gee, I don’t know what to… thank you… I mean, I can see where there’s a connection, but… just, wow, that’s just… wow!”


Saturday, February 28th, 8:05 PM

I am literally at a loss of words right now, as in I don’t know what to say. That was one of the nicest things anybody’s ever said to me… Oh my God. Dude, I… I think I’m gonna cry…


Saturday, February 28h, 8:10 PM

Say what you want about the Mexicans, but they sure are an honest bunch of people. Nice people too. I don’t think I’ve ever been treated with as much respect as I have here. What a great little town. Truly heaven on Earth…


Sunday, March 1st, 7:00 AM

Well, on our way to the airport now, and just went over our last Topes, at least for a while anyway. They’re really not so bad, once you get used to them. My sister may disagree, she’s still yelling over them and the Jeep Wrangler, but I can’t be too hard on her. I just don’t think she has the same sense of culture as I do.

And you know, Tulum isn’t such a bad place if you think about it. Sure it’s not for everybody, but that’s ok. I guess it just takes a certain person to like this type of stuff. A type of person who’s cultured, willing to try new things, somebody who has a sophisticated sense of appreciation for the world. Somebody like me…

I don’t how keen my family is about coming back, but that’s ok. I just don’t think they were able to connect to the people like I did, that waiter last night being the perfect example.  Man Aaron Rodgers…  I just can’t believe it.  I still feel like a million bucks!

Maybe someday, they’ll learn to appreciate the finer things and people of the world, like me. Hell, I feel like this whole experience has changed my life! I don’t know exactly what happened either. Last night, well, that was just amazing…

Oh well, until next time. They can enjoy places like Cancun. You know where you can find me.

-Grizzly Chadams

A friendly message to my fellow Seahawks fans

Crying Seahawk

It’s football season, and thanks a lot Seattle. You have to go and win a damn Super bowl and make my life freakin’ miserable. Yea, I’m sure it’s all fine and dandy for you guys, meanwhile I’m constantly circumvented by ungodly amounts of Seahawks fans crowding the streets, stuck with a sucky commute for the next 4 months, forced to shell out 350 bones for a crappy seat to a football game, leaving me no choice to go to the bar where it’s a pain in the ass to find a decent place to sit because of the shear number of people who suddenly realized they like football, and now I can’t even make it 10 feet down the street without some dingleberry yelling, “Sea-HAWWKS.”

And of course, I have to sit and listen to at least one person each day make some witless, disparaging comment about my team and then go on about how the Seahawks are so good and all that other bull crap, followed by “Russell Wilson this,” and “Marshawn Lynch that,” and “Richard Sherman’s the best corner in the ga—“

Shut up Richard Sherman. Nobody cares…

Ok, I’m done bloviating. I apologize for the histrionics, it was a little over the top, I know. The truth is, I like a lot of you Seahawks fans, and there are many of you whom I consider my close friends that are well versed in the game of football, people I would stand next to and defend their honor as a true fan. And in a way, now the Seahawks are world champions, it’s kind of fun having a lot more people around to talk about football since the number of fans in the city of Seattle has grown exponentially in the past year, purely by coincidence I’m sure.

But then, there’s that “One Fan…” You know, the guy who’s overly vociferous in nature, an innate instigator, the one who flaunts their team’s success and derides his opponent’s failures. They’re a little bit on the loquacious side and believe their team to be commensurate to the second coming of Jesus. I’m sure you at least know one person like this, and I happened to run into more than a couple of them who let me know quite well their unfavorable attitude towards me during a recent visit to Century Link Field when my favorite team took on the Hawks.

So being the nice guy I am, I collected their mocks and insults and came up with a few pointers to help educate these people, and to give everyone a good reminder on how to remain good sportsmen throughout the season, because God knows we could use it from time to time, especially to make sitting next to that Bears fan at the bar a much more ameliorable experience.

And please, try not to take offense to what I’m about to say. Any criticism, if that’s how you end up seeing it, is only meant to be constructive, because I’ve been in your shoes, and I know how you feel. I too, remember the first time my team was good, and that—

Well, I take that back. My team has always been pretty good throughout the years, even before I was born, so that’s not quite an accurate statement, but I digress. Here are my “12 tips for the 12th Man.”

1) And let’s start with that. You are the 12th man, and you are loud and proud, which is ok. That’s you’re thing, I get that. It’s what makes you unique as a fan base in the NFL.
But please, you don’t have to get all irascible when somebody mentions a comment on how they don’t like going to a Seahawks game because of the noise. In fact, normal people do not like loud noises. Loud noises in most situations make a person quite agitated and very uncomfortable; and throw this person into a crowd of people screaming unmercifully in and around their ears, it makes sense that one would feel a little beleaguered in such a hostile environment, as if they’re surrounded by a group of savages ready to tear their head off!

So again, just so we’re on the same page, let me reiterate. No need to reply with an affectatious scoff because you overheard a random person mention an ingenuous comment about loud noises. Just accept it and move on.

2) I enjoy a little innocuous banter here and there. It’s partly what makes the game so fun! But just as a reminder, a friendly jab at somebody isn’t the same as getting in my face unprovoked, screaming at me, and threatening to beat me up.

Even with that being said, I expect, and can handle, a little belligerence at a game, particularly if I’m rooting for the visiting team. But if you feel it’s necessary to indulge in such inordinate behavior, it would be very appreciative if you would put a tic-tac in your mouth or chew on a piece of gum or something of similar nature beforehand. Nobody likes bad breath, and I myself have very disturbing memories that pop into my head whenever my scent receptors pick up a hint of my grandmother’s old medicine cabinet. I do not the memento, thank you.

3) Also, since we’re on the subject of talking trash, I would advise you not to do it while wearing a Spiderman outfit. It does not make look you “Bad Ass.” It simply makes you look stupid, especially if you’re an adult.

4) If you’re going to bring a sign to an NFL game, I would urge you to try and use some creativity while constructing it. A couple of cardboard cutouts of the male reproductive organ with the opposing team’s name plastered across it is something I’d expect out of a 12-year old, not a group of mid-20 and 30 year olds.

I mean, a bunch of penises? Really guys? Your mother’s must be really proud to have raised such a group of refined sophisticates like yourselves.

5) I know you guys like to teach us how to pronounce the word “Seahawks,” over and over again, but such lessons are quite unnecessary. I am fully aware of the phonetic pronunciation of the word, so belaboring us with its slow incantation becomes pointless after the 12,438th time, mostly because of the fact that the word is surprisingly elementary; a compound word consisting of two syllables, “Sea” (se) and “Hawks” (hoks).

Along that note, you also do not have to augment your voice to make it sound deeper and louder than it actually is. I am a foot in front of you, and I can understand you perfectly, and probably much clearer if you use an inside voice.

One more thing: The fact that you are a 5’ 8” hipster wearing tight pants and thick-rimmed glasses negates any affect of intimidation you may have on me, no matter how many times you repeat the phrase.

6) Girls who are into football: Hot. Girls who are into football and wear football jerseys (even if it’s a Seahawk jersey): Smokin’ hot.

Girls with potty mouths: Not so hot.

7) You cannot complain about the refs “screwing you over” in that one Super Bowl, and in the very next sentence, defend the infamous “Fail Mary” as a legitimate touchdown call. It’s called football, and you can have one or the other, but not both. Arguing for both just makes you sound unintelligent.

8) If you happen to run into me on the elevator and notice my lanyard that has my favorite team’s name on it, it is very inane to remind me of that one time your team beat mine. Yes captain obvious, I am aware of the occasion in which our two teams played, and yes, I understand that your team beat mine on that day, and I certainly remember it if that day happened to be less than a week ago. Congratulations, miss lady. I applaud you and your astute NFL knowledge.

9) Being extremely loud and obnoxious, while not necessarily being a bad thing, does not prove to me that you are the best fans in the NFL. It just proves that you’re loud and obnoxious, and that’s it.

Furthermore, if you’d like to argue with me about how your team has the best fans, it’s probably not a great idea to bring up the time that your team was almost sold to another city. Yes, you are free to contend how you believe in your pure and honest heart that it was the fans that saved the team from leaving the city, but anybody with an ounce of debate experience only needs to bring up that it was the lack of revenue from lackluster ticket sales caused by fans not going to the games that rooted the foundation of the team selling crises in the first place. Again, not trying to sound like a butthole here, but just trying to do my part to help so that you aren’t caught looking like a jackass in front of a bunch of people.

10) Richard Sherman’s a nerd. Period.

11) And last but not least, you are flying high and well right now, and you think your team is the apotheosis of modern football. But need you be prepared; brace yourself for that one moment when everything changes… That game where you find yourself standing in ineffable disbelief as you watch your team lose that walk in the park playoff game to that underdog wildcard team that everybody, including yourself, had previously flouted.

Prepare, for that day will come, and it will be then when all of the insults, rude and cocky comments, passive/aggressive pokes, and in your face smack downs that you dished out all throughout the season come back to bite you in the ass. Yes, it is then when you will be bombarded with nefarious tirades that your fellow football peers have been waiting months, and possibly years with great alacrity to throw back in your face, just so they can watch with immense exuberance the culmination of your deprecation, leaving you in such a lugubrious state of insularity, that you’re only defense is to stare at a TV for months on in meeting a myriad of artificial characters who tell the tales of how they were once great adventurers like yourself, but then took an arrow to the knee—Aka, your own virtual version of hell, one that you fatuously contrived yourself.

12) And believe me, I keep a long, long tally of all the people who’ve crapped on me throughout the seasons, and my mind is very acute with every little detail, down to the most miniscule of attacks. I remember it all, and will show mercy to no one when judgment day arrives. I’m talking to you, annoying woman in the elevator with your unneeded commentary and your atrocious cackle, spider man fan who decided to open his fat D-bag mouth, the “to-up” bouncer who wouldn’t let me into the bar after the game, little turd of a kid with you’re wretched sneer who’s father forgot to teach you proper sportsmanship etiquette, Richard Sherman trash talking wannabes, every one of you who has to yell “Sea-HAWWWKS” in front of my face, 12th men, 12th women…


And when the time is right, I will find you, and I will make sure you receive the requisite amount of reparations you deserve, and that no repudiation will reprieve you from the resolute ramifications you whole-heartedly deserve. I will unleash the gates of hell, create a firestorm of fury, pummel you into bloody submission, obliterate you into oblivion, annihilate you into an abysmal microcosm of existence, castigate you with a catastrophic cacophony of vindictive vitriol, permeate into your skin with pernicious perfidy where the persistence is perennial until your perturbance has reached the potential of a paltry plebian, and finally, impugn your integrity until you’re nothing but an infinitesimal ignominy shivering on the floor in destitute diffidence, for the sound of my inexorable mockery has been forever embedded into you as an intrinsic part of your impotent soul to remind you that it was your foolish desire to belittle me that has led to this intractable indignance to carry out my monolithic machinations!

Translation: I will go Kanye West leather sweat pants wearing 30-minute concert rant on you, Charlie Sheen Tiger Blood-winning on you, Richard Sherman best corner in the game on you… I WILL GO BILL O’RIELLY DO IT LIVE ON YOUR ASS, AND THERE IS NOTHING YOU CAN DO TO STOP ME!!!!!

“But why?” you ask, as you beg for mercy in the morose milieu that you have manifested yourself into, hoping that your maudlin pleads will mollify my misanthropic malignance and put an end to the malaise you find your self in. But I will just stare at the sorry subject of a moribund mendicant and deliver unto you a wicked smile of accomplishment.

Why? Because like the rest of us, I am a decent, God fearing, America loving, tax paying, integral part of the community; but when it comes to football, just like everyone else, I loose my freaking mind, and I become a terrible, terrible human being within the blink of an eye. And aside from life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, there is one self-evident truth the founding fathers forgot to mention in the constitution: Payback’s a bitch!

If you thought that was a little too much, well… just be thankful that I’m a pretty levelheaded guy! And better yet, not a 49ers fan. God, I don’t even want to imagine what evil concoctions they have running through their acid-laced brains!

And Let’s face it guys, there is nothing out there that really effuses our inner honesty and brings forth the sheer ingenuity for excitement more than football does, and I thank the lord for that every chance I get. If you sit down and think about it, we are actually really blessed to have such a sport that bring us together in such a fraternal manner. I mean, why are the people in ISIS such jerks? Why does it suck so bad in North Korea? How come the French have to be a bunch of A-holes all the time? Yea, I’m sure there’s a couple minor factors here and there that come into play, but I bet ya if they could sit down on a comfy couch on Sunday, crack open a couple cold ones with their best buds, and watch a group of grown men savagely beat each other down just to get a pumped up piece of pigskin down the field, they wouldn’t be so pissed off, and the world would actually be a better place. Heck, they may even enjoy their lives for once. Who knows?

So if I may leave you with a benediction for next football Sunday it would be this: Today is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice, and be glad that it’s football season. Seahawks fans, and all football fans alike, take these 12 points and permeate throughout the land with the gift of your newly acquired knowledge.

Go in peace my friends, and Go Pack Go!

-Grizzly Chadams

Wisconsin Part 2: The Green Bay Packers

Friday, August 9th, 2013


I will never know exactly what drove me to walk into my grandparent’s garage that morning.  I had no purpose to enter, but some supernatural source kept guiding me up the stairs and out the door.  They say the Holy Spirit works in mysterious ways, and could’ve very well pushed me into an event that I would not want to miss.  OR it could’ve been the evil spirits released when Cousin Holly convinced Cousin Erin and myself to use a Ouija Board, a decision I’ve regretted ever since which has cursed the downstairs living room for the past 15 years (I still can’t sleep in there to this day).


No matter the cause, I turned the doorknob and immediately sensed turmoil.  I entered to my grandma flailing her arms about in panic as if the sky was falling.  “NO!  STOP!” She screamed in blood curdling fashion, just like in the slasher flicks right before the killer slices his poor victim into pieces.  Part of me wanted to step away from the pandemonium right then and there.  I mean, what if there was a killer on the loose?  I didn’t want to be the next!  But I couldn’t leave my grandma behind like that.  I had to find out what was eating at her soul; what was driving her bananas.  I mean, what the hay…  We’re family!


When I turned to my right, everything started to make sense.  It was so crystal clear why she was acting so hysterical, as if she had heard news that Aaron Rodgers had just gotten into a car accident and was in intensive care…


My grandpa was attempting to park the Lincoln.


For some reason, the Mercury was parked in an awkward position where as the task of maneuvering the Lincoln through the garage and into its normal dwelling proved much more difficult than usual.  I guess I could blame my pops for that one, but then again, if it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t be writing such an epic tale of miscommunication, one of the best recipes for failure in the business world.


 “To the left!  Stop! Back up! NO!”  My grandma was barking out orders so fast and so furious she could easily be mistaken for that Chef Ramsey guy on TV, and was driving my grandpa to shear madness.  He had endured a lot through the war, and she was inching him to the breaking point.  Her words and actions were becoming a giant blur.  Heck, even I was getting confused, but at the same time impressed at the sight of an 85 year old moving her arms and legs in the fashion of a Richard Simmons workout on crack!


My grandpa however was a different story.  All this bewilderment had pushed him to the edge.  “Screw it!” he mouthed through the windshield of the Lincoln right before he blasted his foot down on the pedal.  What followed was the sound of metal crushing on metal and a brand new streak of scratched paint etched onto the Mercury.  That was when all hell broke loose…  And my grandma lost her freaking marbles!


She was making noises I never knew existed!  The closest thing I could describe it to were the sounds in “Alien” where the baby alien pops out of the guy’s stomach.  But it was when she started smacking herself in the head with both hands when I knew action had to be taken, common sense for any person with an ounce of courage.


But that’s not what I did.  I just froze.  The world was crashing down all around me and I stood there, petrified.  “I couldn’t move a muscle!  “Wake up stupid!” I said to myself.  I needed a catalyst, something to strike a reaction to get my blood flowing once again.  Then came cousin Brian, true-blooded Eagle Scout and captain of the pontoon.  He maneuvered past grandma’s flying fists of fury and to the Lincoln to guide it back to its customary state.  Just the spark I needed.


With grandma’s attention diverted, I slothed across the garage and made my escape to the outside unnoticed, miraculously unscathed from the mayhem.  After taking a moment to digest what had just happened, I was reduced to the emotional condition that any man goes through after a near brush with death.  I started giggling like a little schoolgirl to the point where tears nearly streamed down my face.  And I couldn’t stop!


It’s one of the surreal survival stories that you just can’t make up.


I guess life throws us for loops sometimes, but we have to bounce back quick in order to press on and make it in this world, which can be said of the mangled Lincoln incident.  We had to move forward, for me, my sisters, Cousin Holly and her domestic partner Nick were on our way to see the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field!


Man we were all so excited.  So much that my older sister was almost charged with shoplifting at the supermarket right before the game.  Her mind was just racing like a racehorse at the thought of stepping into the great arena of beer, cheese, and athleticism.  Luckily for us, the people of Wisconsin are kind and understanding, and let us off with a simple warning, knowing how important this moment was for us; something you just don’t see in the other NFL markets (no offense to the other teams).  And thank God, for that!  I would’ve pulled a grandma if we missed the game just because she got sent to the pin!


Most people have heard of Green Bay because of football, but don’t understand and would never understand its captivating appeal unless they visited, for it’s unlike any other city with a professional football team.  It’s barely considered a city with its 100,000 residents, where the whole state of Wisconsin travels far and long to converge and watch their Packers on game day.  Where the towering skyscrapers surrounding the stadium in a metropolitan city are replaced with farmed planes and a suburban neighborhood, and your parking lot is a family’s backyard, located a  block away from the stadium.  You are greeted with open arms and are invited to use their bathroom, cook on their grill, and even join them for a miller light or two.  It doesn’t even matter if you’re rooting for the other team.  The Packer nation welcomes anybody with the respect they deserve, as long as the same decency is returned.  That is, unless you’re a Bears fan (Don’t even get me started on them.  They’re awful.  I kind of want to throw up thinking about it right now.  Yuck.  UHUAGH!).


Come game day, church’s rearrange their scheduled sermons, stores shut down, and the city of Green Bay along with its neighbors gather around to cheer for what is truly their team.  Not a team owned by a mega billionaire or controlled by corporate interests who give ridiculous names for their stadium just to promote their obnoxious products or company (Mall of America Field?  Gillete Stadium? Century Link Field? Sorry Seahawk fans but I mean, c’mon!), but a team that is bought and paid for through shareholders made up of members of the Packer nation, for which I am proud to say that I am a part owner.


The people’s team.  It’s what’s taught to the children of Wisconsin and decedents of Packer fans.  Bred in green and gold, they learn early on about the significance of their team, and what it means to be a part of it.  It is the only small town team that could withstand the turbulent years of the NFL when money was not accessible and the talent pool was lacking They were able to survive as an NFL franchise when no other small town team could, with its dignity still intact no less.  In fact, when the team was on the verge of going broke, the city came together and pitched in to cover all of the bills and expenses in order to keep the team alive.


Then there’s the legend of Vince Lombardi, a man faced with prejudice his whole life for having an “i” at the end of his name.  A man who fought tooth and nail to follow his dreams and become a head coach in the NFL, even if nobody was willing to give him the chance.  A man, who for when all the odds were against him, took a rag tag group of grunts, the worst in the NFL (and the only team that would take him) and turn them into the greatest championship powerhouse the game has ever had, all while becoming the most respected man in the history of the sport.


Or the countless stories fans have to share about their team passed down from generation to generation.  Spend enough time in Wisconsin and you’re bound to run into somebody whose family stories date back to the days when Curly Lambeau founded the team and can tell you of innumerable experiences of traveling to Green Bay to endure the freezing temperatures just to watch their boys battle it out on the frozen tundra; the most memorable being the Ice Bowl, an infamous game in which the Packers clashed with the Cowboys over a field that was completely frozen over with a wind chill temperature of nearly -50 degrees; a game where the Packers miraculously came back and scored a touchdown at the final seconds of the game to send them onto Super Bowl II.   A game that my grandpa attended, in which he had help enduring thanks to a bottle of whiskey.  I am still in awe whenever he tells of the story.


And even after attending one game (even if it’s only a pre-season game where they lose big time, or a playoff game where they go 16-1 for the season and then blow it), you realize that it’s more than just a game for the people Green Bay, Wisconsin, and Packer fans as a whole.  It’s a way of life.  A supportive culture of people who will go out of their way to make you feel at home and who will risk life and limb for their team.  It’s because the Packers are as much a part of them as they are to the players, coaches, staff and executives, and without their contribution, the Packers most likely wouldn’t even exist.  Green Bay would just be another small mid-west town, and the team would’ve moved elsewhere and would be just like any other big city team, which makes visiting Green Bay during a Packer game and going to Lambaeu an experience you can’t find anywhere else.  An experience I hope to share with lots of friends and family for years to come, and a tradition I plan to pass down to my children someday, as it has been passed down to me from members of my family.


So here’s to the beginning of football season.  Here’s to the memories it brings.  The good feelings, the bad feelings…  Here’s to the Green Bay Packers.  GO PACK GO!!!