Thirty-eight year-old Chad Swampf, an English professor in the suburbs of Chicago, finds himself getting very excited this time of the year as the upcoming NCAA College Basketball Tournament as well as the beginning of Major League Baseball season provides him with several opportunities to inform complete strangers that he is not into sports at all.
Todd sits nervously in his chair, reading the Italian menu sitting in his sweaty palms. He’s berating himself internally for choosing this place, he doesn’t know how to read or speak Italian.
“I hope you don’t look up to her,” my mother scoffed from our kitchen. I don’t remember what my hero had done now to solicit that comment, but I responded with a halfhearted “I don’t.
I finally got the call. A friend of mine, who runs several legitimate businesses, but tends to spend his off time in the shadows had told me about a private, big baller home game held weekly in the penthouse suite of a Los Angeles area, deluxe, high-rise apartment.
I’m a Chicago sports fan. Not the most hardcore admittedly, but I do hold a deep appreciation for its teams. The people that can spew out genuine stories about the fanaticism that lives inside the confines of America’s greatest city.
I had just arrived in Paris after spending the past five weeks in Angola managing some offshore drilling rigs. Shitty job. After laying down the rules, I got some pushback from the locals. Not a surprise. Typical work politics down there.
The pale grey, pink sky was fading in the rearview mirror as I drove along the canyon road that leads home after a joyful time at the coast. Bob Marleyʼs “Waiting In Vain” came on and immediately Iʼm reminded of a special memory with my Dad, who passed a couple years ago.
When people ask me where I started doing stand up comedy and I say “Hawaii,” it’s always met with assumptive skepticism. They never relay it with actual words, but their raised brows and frowns gives me all the signal I need. I agree, it is an insane idea to perceive. How does one go to paradise and ultimately decide that telling jokes is a feasible way of life? It’s part perception, duration, and realization.
It’s the reason why people sit through funerals, attend weddings, wait expectantly outside delivery rooms—that unnamable presence that accompanies death and birth and the consummation of love. They’re all hoping for a glimpse at the infinite. They’re all looking for something profound.
In today’s music world, it seems my teenage kids are hooked on every two-bit, no-name hip hop or rap artist who can mumble “Skirt, Skirt” (which is a rapper mimicking the sound of an expensive sports car screeching its tires on the asphalt) behind some poorly programmed bass and drum track.