Must Be November—Seeds, Stomach Bugs, and Car Bows


The World Series was a compelling watch this year. Stellar pitching, clutch hitting, and a remarkable showcase of human spitting. How these men conjure an endless stream of saliva for four hours baffles me.

Of course, with tobacco no longer en vogue due to its frightening potential of making your face cave in, the boys have turned to seeds. No, throwing in a dip of Wintergreen Kodiac isn’t salubrious, but I’m doubtful consuming a bag glorified salt licks every day makes the heart say “thank you.”

To be sure, ballplayers used to go to their doctors and inquire if dip was hurting them. I’m wondering what the doc says when they ask about their seed-eating habit.

Well, let’s see here, Jose. You’ve sucked on and ingested a bag of sunflower seeds every day for the last six months, and have done this every year since you were 19. Now that you’re 35, you’ve probably eaten over 2,500 bags of sunflower seeds, which means you’ve achieved a lifetime of sodium intake in 16 years. Let’s check your blood pressure and pray salt doesn’t start spraying out of your orifices.

Stomach Bugs

‘Tis the season for stomach bugs. I’m not sure there’s anything more frightening for a young family. One kid starts yakkin’ and within eight minutes your whole crew is aligned at the toilet. Then it’s 48 hours of Gatorade, Lysol and wet wipes.

After your kid has had the bug, the discomfort continues when you have to explain to other parents why your child is no longer quarantined.

“Oh, I heard your little girl had the stomach bug. Is she feeling better?”

“Oh yeah, she got it all out of her system. Doc says it’s no longer contagious. Principal welcomed her back to school. And we have a sworn affidavit from the CDC that she’s safe to touch your kid.”

Car Bows

It must be less than 40 days to Christmas because every car on TV has a big red bow on it. Is is just me or has this campaign been going for 20 years? Who is still positively responding to this ad and getting excited about dropping 60 grand at Christmas?

I suppose I’m simple. For Christmas, I may treat myself to a pair of khakis or an ice scraper for my windshield. This practicality feels good. Wearing pants and seeing the road are vital to my success as a human. When considering a little something for me, things like “boat,” “pool,” and “car” just don’t come to mind.

And what cruel, crazy person is gifting something like a car to their spouse? Honey, I got you a new Benz! I just thought, what better way to celebrate this season of materialism than with the gift of back-crippling debt?

In case anyone reading this is getting ideas, I’ll tell you straight up what would bring me joy when I look out my window this Christmas morning: my same old unshiny Ford Taurus and a pile of freshly raked leaves. Now that is a good Dad gift.

Your Favorite Sports—Announced by Kids

As a sports fan, I can really get into all of the analysis and deep-dive breakdowns of players and match-ups. However, I also realize what a simple activity a sport actually is. Which is why I love watching little kids talk about sports, because they break sports down to the most basic levels. Sports really aren’t much more than some people striking a ball.

Which made me think, what if networks allowed kids to broadcast a few games every year? I think it would do us all some good to get a proper perspective on the games we love so much. Here’s how it might go:

Dylan sitting in studio: Hello everyone. My name is Dylan. What’s your name? Welcome to the best sports day. It’s the best sports day because today they’re playing basketball, baseball and football today. First, my friend Nathan is at the basketball game. Nathan, is it a good game?

Nathan: I think it’s about to start. The ref throws the ball in the air and that guy gets it. He is bouncing the ball down the court. Oh, now LeBron has the ball. LeBron has the ball. He is the best basketball player. Now he is bouncing it. Oh he gave it to his friend. His friend gave it back. LeBron always catches the ball. He never drops it. LeBron James is the best catcher. Oh he shot it. The ball went in the goal. That’s more points for LeBron. He has so many points, he’s winning by a lot.

Dylan: Thanks, Nathan. LeBron James always wins the games. Now let’s go to Kate. She is at the baseball game. Kate, is the good team winning?

Kate: No team is winning. There are no scores. The game is starting I think. The guy on the pile of dirt is the pitcher. He is throwing it to the batter who has the bat. The batter is Bryce Harper. He swings the bat hard and fast. He can run hard and fast, too. He is the hardest and fastest player.

OK I think the pitcher threw it. I didn’t really see it but the guy behind the batter is throwing it back. So I think there was a throw. Now we’re waiting for the next throw back to the batter…Still waiting…I don’t know why he’s waiting, is there a timeout? OK he threw it back to the batter. Whoa, he swung and I think he hit it. Did anyone catch it? Not sure, but that sounded like a big run. Did the good team win? I’m not sure who won, but Bryce Harper was the fastest swinger.

Dylan: Bryce Harper is such a good swinger. Antonio is watching football. Is it a good game, Antonio?

Antonio: OK Dylan, all the men are getting in a line. Oh, that guy has the football. He just put it on the ground. He kicked the ball really high and far to the bad guy team. He caught it and he is running hard at the guy who kicked it. Oh, he got jumped on and beat. Was that J.J. Watt who beat him down? J.J. Watt is so good at grabbing guys and beating them. One time he beat Tom Brady. Tom Brady is the best thrower ever. But J.J. Watt beat him. J.J. Watt beat him.

Dylan: Whoa, that’s so cool that J.J. Watt can beat anyone down. That’s all for the best sports day ever. We’ll be back next week to see the guys with the sticks on the ice and all the best soccer kickers.

Survival Guide to Beating the Heat in Your No A/C Beater

The summer is upon us and there’s no worse time to be without A/C in your car.

It’s not likely you suffer this affliction; most of us will buck up and fix the A/C so that we can remain comfortable.

But comfort is costly, and the frugal among us just aren’t willing to shell out hundreds of dollars to prevent perspiration. Dang it, I was given sweat glands for a reason and I intend to use them.

If you’re like me—without car A/C and distressed about the looming summer—have no fear. I’ve published a little guide here to help you through the heat.

Here’s my Survival Guide to Beating the Heat in Your No A/C Beater.

1. Make Plans to Bake – You know it’s going to be hot as equatorial crap in your car. Don’t be a fool by failing to prepare.

First, always have ice water handy. Of course, this will melt in mere minutes in your Saharan tank of a transport, but if you can get your hands on a Yeti or Yeti-like vessel, you’ll always be just moments from a modicum of refreshment.

Next, you need a towel nearby. Five minutes into your drive you’re gonna be sweating like an Amazon warthog. While the sweat beads do nicely to temporarily cool, they’ll leave your clothes a damp mess. Unless you are indeed off to the gym, this is not a good recipe for people wanting to be around you. A towel nearby will temporarily save you this embarrassment.

2. Get a great parking spot – People with A/C know their car will cool fast, but you don’t have that luxury. And it is a luxury, cooled cars. Much of the world is still confined to bikes, camels and donkeys for their commute, and no freon on the planet can make those suckers comfy.

Of course, premium parking spots are often in the baking sun. Let those rich motorists have them. What you need to do is find the shady spots in the lot, if there are any. Observe trees and the daily movement of the sun. Park your car in a spot with maximum daily shade duration. Be willing a walk a little longer to your destination. If you execute all of this perfectly, you’ll reduce the initial thermal blast of entering your car from a blistering 137 degrees to a balmy 113. It could save you approximately two minutes of sweat. #worthit

3. Think “sauna,” enjoy the heat – Even with shade, you’re still gonna be roasting like a Chinese duck in minutes. So you might as well embrace the warmth on your skin. I, personally, sit in a cool office all day, and the feeling of hot air is temporarily therapeutic. When I get in my car, I close my eyes and envision I’m enjoying the spa at a world-class resort. My skin is happy and seems to tingle with thankfulness.

4. Keep windows up until your breaking point. Oftentimes, A/C-less rookies will put their windows down the moment they start up the car. Big mistake, cheechako. You’ve just wasted an opportunity of profound relief later for fugacious comfort now.

What you need to do is sit there like a tea kettle. Let the sweltering, suffocating cloud of oxygen work its way from the outside in. Feel the sweat beads form on your forehead and neck. Then, when you have the thought “good golly I don’t think I can drive anymore,” release your windows and let the slightly less stuffy outside air rush in and blow over you like an industrial fan.

That car better be moving though. If you release your windows in bumper-to-bumper traffic, you’ll wish you weren’t alive.

5. Welcome Others’ Pity – When you arrive at your destination, you’ll literally be a hot mess. It may look like you just took 30 on the treadmill when in fact all you were moving was your lower lip to blow up air onto your face.

When people see you, they’ll feel bad that you obviously been suffering. Take advantage. Accept the cold beverage, position yourself under a fan, and even head straight past the family to the shower. It’s ok. They don’t want to be with you anyway.

Inevitably, upon cooling down and actually hanging out with people, you’ll be asked why you don’t get your A/C fixed. Then you may utter something completely sane like “Because I don’t need it,” at which point everyone will laugh and tacitly reveal their belief that you’re a fool.

And that’s ok, too. Deep down you understand that lacking A/C builds character, and makes you appreciate walking into a cooled building so much more.

If you can hold your head high and remain convinced you don’t need A/C, you can happily drive cars without it for years to come.

Isn’t that what it’s all about?

A Skinny Man’s Plight and Grumblings You Have No Sympathy For

Yes, I’m skinny. But hold your applause; evidently this is no cause for celebration.

I’ve found skinniness is only admirable if you were once fat. Or better still, if people knew you were fat.

Did you know I haven’t always been a pasty rail? It’s true; in college I faithfully gained my “freshman 15” and maintained semi-puffy cheeks through the early years of my marriage.

Then I lost weight and everyone asked what the hell happened to me, not like a “hey, bang-up job on losing pounds, dude” but a “who the hell are you to lose some fat?” kinda way.

Because America, of course, has gotten more obese, to the point where adding weight is the norm. I realize our food industry, genetics, and sedentary work life make it hard to stay fit. If you struggle with weight, I understand, and completely support you in your efforts to be healthy. Hear that.

But also hear that it’s a little awkward to be ridiculed for being a damn beanpole. Truly, I deserve no sympathy, and realize I risk sounding like an ass for even broaching the sentiment.

Because it is strange. People tell me in jest that if I turn sideways they can’t see me, or that they hate me for my svelte corpus. I’m so sorry to have disappointed everyone. It’s apparent you preferred I made a few more late night runs to Taco Bell and engorged myself with Gorditas.

Really though, I’m wondering why skinniness is always brought up. Doesn’t part of it have to be that it’s abnormal? I mean, we’re not just pointing people out for wearing a shirt or brushing their hair.

Indeed, skinnies are the new freaks. It’s not everyday you meet one and when you do you’re somewhat perplexed on how to react.

There was a time when skinny—particularly male skinny—was en vogue. Adult men were praised for staying fit and victoriously warring against slowing metabolism.

Not anymore. Being 35 and yet to develop the patriarchal paunch is no longer a feat, but a farce. Like I’m some mutated anomaly, a slender Sasquatch roaming the Earth, unrecognizable to all accustomed to the quintessential Dad bod.

Nowadays, like the olden days, the gut is grand. Dudes used to show off their embonpoint in portraits, for it symbolized good eating and rich, healthy living.

Back then, people would be like, “Behold, the big bastard upon his horse. ‘Tis Lord Blakenship, a rich, happy, and good soul. And over there? That emaciated mule of a man? That’s Old Slim Billy. He’s 90 and still walking. He actually enjoys the act of breathing. So tragic he doesn’t partake in such jollies as a fourth helping of mutton.”

Seriously, people worry about me, like not having a double chin and man boobies is insalubrious to my health. There’s this odd, tacit idea that more fat would help me. Like, maybe it could be useful for my survival, perhaps keep me warm.

But that’s no concern of mine. I don’t reside in northern Manitoba. I’m not an elephant seal in need of blubber. I’m a skinny man living in the Southeast with access to good coats.

What I’m saying is, don’t be a thinist. Yes I’m skinny. But I’m a person. And I want to be an inspiration. I want to be living proof that you don’t need to be fat to be happy, but can find contentment with a diet of celery and yarn.

At the end of the day, I want to be so much more to the world than just some pencil-thin lad who reminds us all we have bones.

Skinny questions?


The Problem with Pizza

Has anyone noticed how ubiquitous and dominating pizza has become? What a culinary bully. It’s the food you can’t get away from.

The obvious reason is that it’s delicious. Buttery dough slathered with sauce and showered with cheese; yes please. Then literally any of your favorite foods on top. Steak, barbecue, chocolate—it doesn’t matter. It’s ok because it’s pizza. It has no bounds, no tact. It’s open-door policy to ingredients has caused a feeding free-for-all.

Pizza is too convenient. If I have a phone I can get one in 20 minutes. If I have a car I can get it in five. I don’t have to do any work to get pizza.

In fact, I just have to show up. If I go to a place, any place, if I just stick around long enough, the pizza will come. Home, work, church, school, party, practice, hospital, cul-de-sac, whatever.

There it is! Pizza is in my lunchbox. An alert for pizza in the conference room is in my inbox. I don’t want pizza with drinks right after work. Too bad son, pizza is cheap at happy hour. I get home after three pizza sessions and there’s nothing to eat in the fridge. Dare I look in the freezer, that gelid jukebox of choices where a pizza will forever magically appear?

Seriously pizza, leave me the heck alone. Remember the girlfriend who always wanted to hang out? That’s pizza. You liked her and didn’t want to go too long without seeing her, but you were always like “Chill girl, I already met you for breakfast and lunch. I can’t do dinner, I just can’t.” And then you’d have dinner with her and think, “Girl, you are so awesome. I love you love you love you.” And then you got home cursing yourself, ruing the day you met, committed to saying “we need a break.” So you went to the pool the next day and she was already there, hot ‘n ready like Little Caesar. Are you still following this analogy? ‘Cuz I’m not.

The point is, this food (which is my favorite) is no longer special. It’s joined milk and bread along with other essentials, a food we can’t seem to live without. But I’m taking a break. Really I am, no pizza for like at least a week.

Oh just saw pizza in break room gotta g

Who You Should Actually Brake For

brakeforpeopleDo you brake for people?

Of course you do. This isn’t Grand Theft Auto where you demonically accelerate to turn pedestrians into street pizzas.

This is Earth, and when people are in the road, we stop. It’s nice to let others live and have us not go to jail. Thank you conscience. Thank you laws. 

Which brings me back to the “I brake for people” bumper stickers I see. Some standard had been proposed for whom, or for what, we should brake. And there are some things that we would at least swerve for. And there are some things we would apathetically flatten as if they damn well deserved it for being in the way.

So, I’ve pondered who I would brake for and who I would not, just so I can be prepared when I’m out on the road.

People? Brake.

All people? Hmm…

Old people? Of course, brake.

Teenagers? Yes, brake. But throw in a fist shake and stern talking to.

Football fans leaving a game? Brake.

Carolina fans leaving a game? Uhh, uhh…OK, yes brake.

Bad hombres? Yes brake, they have no chance for redemption if you vehicular manslaughter them.

Homeless? Yes, brake. But many are quite adept at weaving through traffic so even if you don’t see them you might be all right.

Dog? Yes, brake.

Cat? … Ohhhhh, all right brake.

Deer? Brake hard.

Squirrel? Don’t brake. Swerve cautiously.

Turtle? Don’t brake or swerve, you have a meeting with bagels to get to!

Bird? They’ll get out of the way.

Duck? They might not get out of the way. Honk, swerve, and hope for the best.

Duck family? Of course for the love of nature brake unless there is a pitch black chasm where your soul should be!

I guess the bottom line is that you should brake for most living things. (Living things you can see, of course. If you drove everywhere at four miles an hour and braked every three seconds I suppose you could even avoid hitting bugs.)

So the next time you’re driving down the road and see some living, breathing things in it, stop and make the kind choice not to kill them.

Yes, I brake for people. Anyone you don’t brake for?

How to Respond to Dumb Inquiries When Selling Your Car


I put an ad on Craig’s List for my car, and got this very simple email reply:

“What’s your bottom dollar cash price?”

That’s it? That’s your inquiry? No greeting, no name, no nothing. Well, I just had to write back.


Thank you for that insightful, pointed inquiry. You deserve a sufficiently thorough answer in return.

Indeed, I have a price in mind that is the lowest I’m willing to offer. As tempting as it is to give you that price and completely wreck my negotiating power, I’m gonna hold off.

Also, I’m sure to your chagrin, I am not in dire straits. I do not need the money to pay my overdue light bill or satisfy my opiate addiction. I don’t even know what opiates are, if that gives you any further insight into the straight-laced mama’s boy I in fact am. So I’m not enticed by the fact you have cash. I have cash too and could go buy a round of ice creams right the hell now. But I’m not going to because you deserve more of a reply.

Also, hello. That’s how I meant to start this reply, because generally that’s how people communicate. We wave and offer a very brief greeting. You did not greet me in your email. You just asked me a question, with no greeting or salutation, as though I’m some automaton destined to reply back: “MY BOTTOM LINE CASH OFFER IS THREE THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED SEVENTY EIGHT DOLLARS AND TWENTY SEVEN CENTS. REPLY YES TO BUY.”

And there’s another thing normal people like to do. They ask to drive the car before they consider purchasing it. I’m sure you were absolutely enthralled by the immaculate photos taken from my iPhone 5s. But I’m just telling you, this baby might be a complete lemon. For all you know I use the engine to store moonshine.

So basically, what I’m saying is, I want to look at the car with you. And want to drive around and say things like: “Yes, that thing works!”and “yeah, just jiggle it a little,” and “my mechanic said he had never heard that noise come from a car before so there’s no need for concern.”

But just because you’re the kind of guy looking for a good deal, I’ll give you one.

My bottom line cash offer is I will give you two dollars if you find a coconut and attempt to smash it over your head.

I am willing to entertain a reasonable counteroffer.


Dude Selling Car Online

The Freedom of Fairweather Fandom

cam-poutYou know how to have a great fall weekend? Don’t spend time watching your crappy football team.

This past weekend, my two football teams, the Wolfpack and the Panthers, lost heartbreakers. But I really don’t feel bad for them. They deserved to lose, with the Pack choking in typical State fashion and the Panthers once again displaying a defense that Pee Wee Herman could skip through.

What’s great is I only watched about twenty minutes combined of those games. I anticipated the misery, determined I wouldn’t make myself suffer for three hours, and was rewarded with actually getting stuff done.

The truth is, I used to poke at people who left in the middle of games or didn’t show up when their team was losing. I should’ve commended them. They knew what I now know.

It makes no sense to spend all of your time getting bent out of shape over a game that doesn’t matter. 

state-missState missed a chip shot field goal that would’ve won them the game over #3 ranked Clemson. It stung for the moment, but no one is going to remember that game a year from now. Even this week the State players themselves are back to focusing on other matters, like passing their mid-term Bees and Beekeeping exams and where to take their girl for a dinner better than Gumby’s. Why am I freaking out over a ball that sailed right?

The Panthers have been a wreck this year, and look like the team they had the year before they drafted Cam Newton. Last year was a blast because the team was crushing it. How could I miss a game? This year I’m starting to wonder why I shouldn’t miss the game. I could spend the afternoon saying bad words and telling my kids I’ll be there “in just an hour,” or I could be productive, enjoy life, and take two minutes to read the postgame summary of why we suck so bad. And that’s exactly what I did.

So here’s the thing: I don’t have to watch the Panthers the rest of this year. They’re out of contention. I have my Sundays back. What will I do with my time? I can read, write, watch a movie or nap. Granted, I won’t do any of those things because I have kids, but the idea is really fantastic.

See, there is such freedom in only paying attention when your team is good. Sports can become an enjoyable part of your life instead of a regret.

And if your teams are never good, then find a hobby. Browns, Bills, Raiders and Lions fans: Think of the hours you’ve spent over your life watching horrible teams. 16 Sundays over 30 years is more than 1,500 hours wasted. And you could’ve been mastering the sitar in that time.

So sports (quasi)fans, free yourselves of the tyranny of watching your horrible team. Join the bandwagon of fairweather fandom and tune in when your team has earned it!

An Open Letter to Parents About Your Kids’ Names

Dear Parent,

I am writing to inform you that I don’t remember your kids’ names. Do you have multiple kids? I don’t remember that either. All I know is you have a kid and I’m darn sure they have a name, but my name bank is completely full. I’m sorry.

I do feel bad about it. I will try to at least act like I know your kid’s name. I’ll say things like, “So tell me how’s family life?” and “Man, he is big. How old is he now?” And you’ll say things like “Good! The kids are good. Jamie just started pre-school.” And then I’ll say something like “Oh that Jamie, getting his pre-school on” which is really my way of saying “See! Look! I know your son, I know he’s Jamie!” And the next time we see each other, in a month, when I don’t say his name, you’ll think “Ahh, he knows Jamie. He’s said his name before.” Quite honestly this is the scenario I’m hoping will transpire in your mind.

If I can’t win at the name game, I’ll give it my best try with the gender. So I’ll say things like “Now you have…” and trail off while it appears I’m counting your kids on my fingers but I’m really just flipping myself off—because I should know this. But I know you’ll be real nice and say something like, “Yeah, two boys and a girl. 11,  7, and 4.” But at this point I’ll tell you that for me, the names are out. You have had too many children and I will not entertain it. So I will call them “your oldest boy” and the “middle one” and “your little girl.” And if you have a baby girl or baby boy, I will simply call it “the baby.” Sadly, I don’t remember if you had a boy or girl. I really don’t even remember if you had a baby, but I’m pretty sure you did. If I ask about the baby, and you say they are now like, 6, then I will grab the nearest shovel and bury my dumb head. I’m so sorry.

I hope you know I appreciate your friendship. Even if I don’t quite remember your name either. If you hadn’t noticed, I addressed this letter to “Parent.” I am so ashamed. What is your name? Is it Laura? That’s a wonderful name, but I know about 20 of you Lauras. And another 17 Laurens. And approximately five Loris…..Hmm……How about Lorax? Can I just call you that? I would not forget that. The Lorax. 

Thank you for understanding. I’m looking forward to spending more time with you, your spouse, your old boy, your little girl, the baby and that crazy old dog of yours. Truly, the <ENTER LAST NAME HERE WHEN YOU FIND OUT> family is one of my favorites.


The Blogger Who Shall Remain Nameless

The World Series of Family Dinners

936fe6f485Dinner with little kids is frustrating and hilarious. I laugh at the lengths we take as parents to get our kids to actually eat food, and if at all possible, food that’s healthy. Getting kids to eat healthily is kind of like playing poker…

Good evening everyone from the World Series of Family Dinners. He’s Norman Chad and I’m Lon McEachern. Tonight we’re looking in on the Speight family dinner. Danielle and Carson are attempting to get their kids, Hudson and Ella Jane, to eat healthy food. 

Chad: Should be a great one, Lon. I remember getting me to eat vegetables was like stuffing an elephant into a goose. Not easy.

Lon: Haha, I bet not. OK, it looks like Danielle has prepared a delicious, healthy meal and she’s bringing it to the table.

Ella Jane: I don’t want dat!

Lon: Ooh, Ella Jane came for a fight tonight. She wastes no time in playing her first hand aggressively.

Hudson: What’s dat? Are doze vegetables in dere? I don’t want vegetables. 

Lon: Looks like Hudson is in no mood to get pushed around, either.

Chad: I can’t blame the kid. The vegetables aren’t completely hidden. I’d suggest Danielle buries those things like a culinary undertaker.

Lon: Well it’s called around to Carson, what will his move be?

Carson: Oh my gosh honey, this casserole is delicious! You guys have to try this. So good.

Chad: Not a bad bluff, but did he just say the “C” word? You just can’t mention casserole next to a food item. Immediately ruins the chance of them trying that food.

Danielle: Oh, it’s not casserole Daddy. But it is so good. This is all the stuff you like, guys. Beans, cheese, and rice. 

Chad: Wow! Dani is subtly goading them to go after what’s in the pot. But as my ex-wife always said when I would try to feed my pet snakes, “You cant make ’em bite!”

Lon: And what’s this? Ella Jane is making a move toward the casserole. Looks like she’s betting on lots of cheesy rice being under that mysterious layer of goo.

Chad: Watch out Ella Jane! You might regret that risk. Just like I regret not signing a pre-nup for my first two marriages.

Hudson: Mommy, what’s dis?

Lon: Oh no! Hudson has opened the casserole and exposed Danielle’s hand. Good golly those green beans are everywhere!

Chad: Now that is getting beat on the turn.

Hudson and Ella Jane: We don’t want green beans. We want a treat. 

Chad: Danielle’s stack has dwindled and I really don’t know what she can do right now to regain control of the table.

Danielle: Ok, well if you don’t eat your food there will be no treat.

Lon: Wow, just like that Danielle has gone all in with a pair of cookies!

Chad: And the children are gobbling down their food. They look like Uncle Bubba at the buffet of my third wedding!

Lon: Well folks, that’s it. We’ve witnessed a fascinating final table where in the end a couple of rookies were no match for a seasoned pro. We’ll see you next time on the World Series of Family Dinners.