Tuesday, December 6, 2016
Today was a very interesting day. On my way to the airport at 5:30 am, I got news that my Grandmother (Mimi) had passed away at 4:30 am. I was heading out on a business trip to Phoenix. My Grandmother and her husband, Jack, live in Prescott, AZ, which is only about an hour and a half from Phoenix. Mimi had not been doing well for a couple of weeks now and my plan was to visit her after I concluded my business. She was 88 years old and I was cognizant of her reality. I was simply hoping to see her one last time, but I didn't make it. That's the sad part.
The happy part is that I visited Mimi and Jack just a few weeks ago. I came to their home. I took them out to lunch to one of their favorite restaurants. We had great conversation. Mimi wanted to reminisce about the past. She brought up at least a dozen happy memories I had long forgotten. Although her body had betrayed her, her mind was still sharp as a tack. When Jack went to the bathroom, Mimi and I had a quick, private conversation. She told me she didn't have much time left, but that she was at peace because she knew something bigger awaited her on the other side. I have never been a religious man. Neither was Mimi until later in life. But once she committed to her faith, she became quite spiritual. I told her I needed proof that Heaven was real. I asked her to give a me a sign once she got there. She smiled and said, I will. Jack returned from the bathroom, we went back to their house, and spent another hour or so together before I had to depart for the airport. When I was leaving Mimi told me she was proud of me for all I had accomplished, and that I had always held a special place in her heart. We hugged, told each other I love you, and both cried knowing full well it was likely the last time we would ever be together. In retrospect it was kind of a perfect day.
Fast forward to today when I got the bad news from my Mom first thing this morning. I had a busy day ahead, so there was no time to process the reality of what had happened. I had to compartmentalize it to get through the day. Once in Phoenix I proceeded to a partner event where I presented to a room full of customers. I then had 2 more important customer meetings, with multiple phone calls in between, before calling it a day. I checked in to my hotel and then headed to my favorite local dive for dinner (Cornish Pasty Company in Tempe). I rolled up to the bar and took a seat at my normal spot near the elbow (and the beer taps). I had been sufficiently distracted by work for the entire day. At this point it's important to note that my Grandmother was from Michigan. She spent the better part of her life there. It's where I visited her and my Grandfather every winter growing up (my parents moved us out to California when I was just a baby). Michigan is how I always have and will identify my Grandmother. So here's the interesting part: When I sat down at the bar, Bob Seger's "Night Moves" was playing loudly on the radio. Bob Seger happens to be from Michigan and was a high school classmate of my Dad (they're still friends to this day). The waitress then approached me and asked what I'd like to drink. I asked her to bring me her favorite IPA on draft (they have about 50 beers on tap). She returned with a cold mug of beer and said it's a new IPA they recently started carrying from Michigan. Call it a happy coincidence, but I call it my sign. The sign I had asked Mimi for just weeks earlier. All at once the gravity of what had happened hit me. Mimi was gone and I would never see her again. Tears streamed down both sides of my face and the waitress gave me a look of concern. I explained how my Grandmother had passed and the role she just played in delivering the sign I had asked for. She started to tear up as well and came around the bar to give me a hug.
It's funny the things that flash through your mind when you lose someone you love. I remember random things like exploring Mimi's neighborhood in Lansing, MI, after the first ice storm I'd ever experienced. I remember taking cold, morning walks with her and her dogs. I remember the motor home trip we took when I was 13 years old exploring Upper Peninsula, MI. My Grandfather and I didn't get along so well, but Mimi was always there to take my side. I remember the first time I ever beat Mimi in Scrabble (she was a world class Scrabble player until the day she died). Overall I remember just how full of life she was until she wasn't. I guess that's just the journey we're all on together.
Life is short. We need to focus on spreading more joy and less hate. We need to hug more and fight less. Time with our loved ones is fleeting. Soak it up... and for those who were wondering, Heaven is real.
RIP Mimi. I love you. See you on the other side.
Thursday, November 3, 2016
But that’s not the only thing that’s evolved. My view of the world also seems to be changing. I no longer find myself fixated on personal appearances or the annoying behaviors of others. Instead I find myself wondering what challenges other people might be going through that could affect how I view them. Is this what empathy feels like? When confronted with a difference of opinion, my first reaction has always been to dig in and vehemently defend my position. Lately I find myself keeping more of an open mind and trying to understand both sides of all issues. I no longer assume someone is stupid just because they’re a Hillary fan, or they believe in global warming, or they’re from the South. I find myself using the word hate less and less, and I’m all of a sudden more inclined to pay compliments to total strangers. I’m sure deep down inside there’s still a wretch of a man in there somewhere, but he’s becoming less and less evident. Which begs the obvious question, what the hell happened to me and how do I fix this? I do have a few theories:
1) After 21+ years of being together, my wife has finally started to rub off on me. She is still after all the best person I’ve ever known (and I’m still trying to figure out why she married me).
2) I’m in one of those rare places in my career where I absolutely love what I’m doing, and truly enjoy the people I’m doing it with (thank you Rubrik).
3) After 42+ years of being an over-grown child, I’ve finally begun to enter into adulthood (better late than never I guess).
Whatever has happened, and whether or not it can be fixed, one thing is clear. This blog will never be the same. For my 29 loyal followers who liked the old me, we’ll always have the archives to look back on. For the enlightened few who have just started reading this now, get ready for a new brand of content. While the inappropriate honesty may be gone, the honesty will continue to be the cornerstone of this whole platform. For instance, Hillary and Trump both suck equally but for different reasons. Please stop posting about the election and trying to convince people otherwise. Vote for whoever you want, but shut the f*ck up about it. The United States of America is the greatest nation in the world and will persevere regardless of which asshat we elect next week. More importantly the Cubs just won the World Series for the first time in 108 years, which gives me hope that the Chargers might actually win the Superbowl before I die.
God bless America, the Chargers, and country music! Yeehaw.
Monday, May 9, 2016
As I watched Ted Cruz’s concession speech last week I couldn’t help but think of a line from the movie “Risky Business” (yes, I know I’m dating myself). In the film Tom Cruise plays a character named Joel Goodson, a teenager living in Chicago. Joel is a good kid who’s always tried to do the right thing. Shit goes down however when his parents go out of town and he’s left home alone. Joel inadvertently gets mixed up with a call girl and the situation quickly escalates out of control. As Joel is confronted with multiple dilemmas that he’s simply not equipped to deal with, he adopts a new mantra from his buddy, Miles. That mantra: “Sometimes you just gotta say, what the fuck!” Joel goes through some pretty serious shit throughout the movie, but in the end everything works out okay. Which somehow seems very apropos when looking at the current presidential race.
With Ted Cruz exiting the Republican primary and Bernie Sanders all but eliminated from the Democratic primary, we must accept the sobering reality that our next POTUS will be either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. Even typing that statement seems surreal. Our next POTUS will be either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. What the fuck! I must be in the middle of a bad dream, right? It’s like going to a restaurant where there’s only two items on the menu: a turd sandwich and a turd sandwich. Suddenly I’ve lost my appetite. On the one hand you have Hillary Clinton. One could argue there’s never been a candidate more prepared to be president. But she’s also a lying, conniving bitch who epitomizes all that is wrong with politics. On the other hand you have Donald Trump. He’s a very successful businessman who’s not afraid to challenge the status quo. But he’s also a racist, a misogynist, and quite possibly a certifiable sociopath. Unfortunately this is not a nightmare. This is actually happening. What the fuck!
Before you get on your soap box and try to convince me that either candidate is actually good for our country, just know that they are NOT. Because regardless of who wins, we will have never looked worse to the rest of the world. People in China, Japan, Germany, the UK, France, India, and even Canada have got to be scratching their heads and thinking, is that really the best they can do? I’m literally embarrassed to be an American right now. Don’t get me wrong. The United States is still the greatest country in the world and I’m proud to be part of it. One bad election does not erase 240 years of awesome. It is what it is. There’s no sense in feeling sorry for ourselves or complaining about things we cannot change. We simply need to choke down this turd sandwich…
...and pray that a 3rd party candidate enters the race at the 11th hour (Michael Bloomberg I’m looking at you).
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
It’s Super Tuesday #3. Donald Trump is leading the Republican primary and Hilary Clinton is leading the Democratic primary. This means it’s highly likely that one of these two completely miserable human beings will be leading our country for the next 4 years. It’s enough to make you lose your faith in humanity. But then you see a story like this that warms your heart and puts a smile on your face, and you know that everything is going to be okay.
SANTA FE, N.M. - Sheriff's deputies in Santa Fe, New Mexico, arrested a naked woman Saturday morning after law enforcement said she crashed her car into a pickup truck during a high-speed pursuit. Police received reports of a woman throwing items from a vehicle just before noon. The driver, identified as Barbara Arellano, 51, did not pull over when deputies attempted a traffic stop. Deputies chased the car as it ran red lights and reached speeds of 100 mph before plowing into a pick-up truck. Arrellano then bounded out of her Toyota 4-wheel-drive vehicle and ran screaming across traffic toward deputies. The woman shouted "Jehovah, Jehovah," as deputies tried to subdue and handcuff her. She fought and spit at deputies while they tried to restrain her. A motorist stopped and provided a blue tarp to cover the naked woman as deputies wrestled with her. She was then put into the back of a patrol car, where she continued yelling "Jehovah!" Deputies had to put a mask over Arellano's head because she continued spitting on them. The entire bizarre incident was captured on dash-cam and body cameras (do yourself a favor and google that shit). Arrellano has been charged with one aggravated count of fleeing a law enforcement officer, as well as reckless driving, DWI and two counts of battery on a peace officer. While being questioned she told officers she had ingested heroin, pills and whiskey while "partying like a damn dog."
But the coup de gras came when she was asked by police why she was naked. Her response: “I was hot.” Instant fucking classic. Faith in humanity restored. You’re welcome.
Thursday, February 18, 2016
I was having lunch by myself the other day, which I do from time to time while traveling for business, and I overheard a conversation between a father and a son. They were talking politics and the dad was asking his son who he was going to vote for in the upcoming primary elections. Very matter-of-factly and absolutely the son responds, “Bernie Sanders of course.” The dad probes him a bit and asks him to explain why. The kid looks offended that he even has to explain his position as if Sanders is the ONLY logical choice. He poses back, “Dad, do you know what a bought candidate is?” The dad responds, “I know what you think it is.” This kicks off a fairly heated debate where the dad essentially tells the kid that he doesn’t know shit about how the world works. The kid stares back at his dad with disgust like he’s too old to understand the new world order. And there in lies the great divide between millennials and those of us who are just a bit older (and wiser). For reasons unknown to me millennials seem to be consumed with a deeper sense of purpose and creating some sort of utopia, while the rest of us are focused on reality and making the most of what we’ve got. That said it makes perfect sense why Bernie’s message resonates so well with millennial voters.
Let me preface this rant by stating that I’m fully in support of affordable higher education, access to adequate healthcare for all who need it, and social security overhaul (I’d like to actually collect my benefit some day). But the manner in which Sanders plans to pay for all of this “free shit” is completely nutballs insane. Namely through higher taxes on the “rich”:
Sanders describes his top rate as 52 percent, but in reality top-bracket taxpayers would be paying up to 58 percent (the 52 percent base rate, plus the 2.2 percent health premium, plus the Affordable Care Act’s 3.8 percent surtax on investment income, which Sanders would keep). Add on top of that the CA state tax (for those of us lucky enough to live in the great state of California) and the effective tax rate is north of 70 percent. SEVENTY FUCKING PERCENT? And this doesn’t even include Sanders’ “Robin Hood” tax on financial transactions. To say this is exorbitant is like saying that Donald Trump is only slightly in love with himself. The kicker is how Sanders defines the “rich”. Are you ready for this? Anyone who earns over $250,000 a year. What the fuck, Bernie? I fit into this category (as do most of the people I know) and please check my bank statements because I’m fairly certain that I’m nowhere close to being “rich”. Anyone who lives in California knows full well that if you’re only pulling down 2 ½ bills, and socking even a modest amount away for retirement, then you’re pretty much breaking even or living paycheck to paycheck (I know, cry me a river). And this idealistic asshat wants to increase our effective tax rate to 70 percent?
I’m no economist but just how exactly is this going to fix the economy? Last time I checked it was the people with disposable income who were actually stimulating the economy. It’s a pretty straight forward equation as I see it: You earn the money, then you spend the money, then small businesses thrive, then more jobs are created, then more people are working and paying taxes to the government, and everyone wins. You see how this goes? (yes - I know I’ve dramatically over-simplified things but you get the point) The only consolation is that once all of the millennials who work in retail, food service, and hospitality vote Sanders into office, they’ll soon discover how the real world actually works. For after there’s no money left over to buy things at retail stores, or eat out at restaurants, or take vacations and stay in hotels, all the businesses that employ said millennials will cease to exist. And then they’ll really “Feel the Bern”.
But at least they’ll have all that “free shit” to fall back on…