Can I get a do over?

October 10th, 2005

Who do I talk to in requesting a "do over" on last night's sleep? The opportunity to close my eyes and attempt a better rest is greatly appealing. (I'll avoid my geeky request for the real life Crtl+Z.)

Everything was going as planned. The Sunday night football game was on (with minimal volume) as I lie in bed with my Torts book. I was being a good student and reading the cases before class...blah blah blah. As I began to fade, I set my book down and turned out the lights and off the television. It was maybe midway through the third quarter.

The next thing I know, my cell phone is ringing. Most people sleep with their cell phone off or in the other room. I use my cell phone as my alarm, thus it being on...full volume and a few inches from my head. It rings. I answer. Loud undecipherable noise. Call ends. Great. It rings again...

Did I recognize the number? Are you kidding? I did not have the presence of mind to actually look at it first, I simply answered. The loud background noise coming through the phone sounds familiar. I know that noise...that sounds like a bar. Who on Earth is at the bar at whatever time it is?

"Hello?"
"Hey!"
"..."
"Do you know who this is?"

Ok, I have to stop. This is the all-time WORST question to ask someone on the phone. Why do people do this? A better question is do I care who it is...

"No."

Rob Caliendo, ladies and gentlemen. One of my brother's groomsmen-to-be decided that this was the perfect opportunity to discuss whatever it was that was on his mind with...me. The little background you need is that he just so happened to have called me the night before. I was at the bar. He was at the bar. If you have ever attempted a similar phone call, you understand the difficulty. As I did not have his phone number and could not distinguish any recognizable voice patterns over the phone amidst the noise I did not know it was him. But last night was a great time to recap our call, right?

"Hey, I called you last night."
"Yes. If that was you, then yes you did."
"We need to talk."
"Ok."

If in fact he has something wedding related, one might suggest calling me at another time. One where we are both available to talk and maybe brainstorm with clear heads if need be. On the other hand if he called for another reason, so be it. This is the part of the conversation that is a little fuzzy in my head, but I will do my best to give you the rundown.

"Ok, I blacked out last night and I know we talked."
"Well, there was too much noise and I never heard a word you said."
"But the call went on for minutes."
"No, it was very brief. I couldn't hear you and that was it."
"I was told we shared a moment."

You really have to know the kid. This is him half-seriously attempting to find out what went on and him half-obnoxiously baiting me into a much longer conversation than I am hoping to have.

"No, we didn't."
"You don't sound like your usual self."
"I was sleeping."
"Why? It's not like you have to work tomorrow."

Ok, now this threw me for a loop. I seem to remember going to sleep on Sunday night, which would make this "tomorrow" he speaks of Monday by my calculations. But if this person is telling me I don't have to work the next day, it can't be Sunday. So I start to wonder why I was asleep and what day it is really. A ha, I figured it out. Tomorrow (today), Monday is Columbus Day. A day apparently where some businesses take the day off to celebrate a day on which a man found some islands near where we now call home.

"Actually, I do have work tomorrow.
"Ok, call me later this week. We have to talk."

Ok, Rob. I'll call you this week.

12:30am. Not too late when you really think about it, but it was my inability to fall asleep after the phone call coupled with the 4am wakeup time I had scheduled for this morning. It's this little thing I do since I am a bad student and have difficulty having the cases read before class...blah blah blah.

So if I appear crabby today, my excuse is now made public.

Unappreciated.

October 10th, 2005

So Saturday night, in a rare turn of events, not only did I end up at the bar, but I actually found myself talking to girls. Trust me, I was as shocked as you. I headed out to the bar with a buddy from law school on Saturday in an effort to get out of the house. Also, we hadn't gone out together in awhile, so that was remedied.

While we stood watching Penn State secure their win over Ohio State, a girl came and stood between us. She excused herself explaining that she just wanted to watch the end of the game. Good for her. Sure she could have watched any one of the many TVs in the bar showing the same game, but she set her sights and went after it. I've heard stories of such events, though never been witness to one before this weekend.

So she and my buddy get to talking. I, as a good friend and wingman, interject enough to keep conversation going between them. I'm also good for a joke every now and again just to make sure everyone's paying attention; even if at one point I used his joke. So sue me. She wasn't around the first time when he used it, so when she came back I took the liberty. His fault for not using it. But after a reprimand, I did agree to parenthetically cite him when I use his joke(s) in front of girls he is courting.

I will be so bold as to say that I am good (not great) at helping out a friend in need in just such a situation. I say the right things to make you look good and keep everyone happy. It almost always is appreciated. Not Saturday.

One little comment and all of a sudden I am the bad guy. I can't help it; it slipped. I join the conversation late to find that this girl's dad was his teacher and football coach in high school.

Here is a short list of acceptable responses:
"Oh, no kidding."
"Great."
"Small world."

We also would have accepted:
"Huh. Ya don't say."

But not me. No, I like to think outside of the box:
"You played football?!?"

It was an accident. Such a harmless comment dripping in my tone of disbelief, though she did give a little sympathetic laugh and did the flirty hand on his forearm girlie thing. Even in my moment of weakness I help the kid out.

Sure I tried to explain that girls have cooties, but he had to go get her phone number anyway. It has to make you wonder why her friends responded to that bit of news as they did. What do you think, "No, she's a great girl. ...(just don't break up with her)," means?

Either way, a successful night. And a lot of fun. How come no one ever told me that talking to girls could be such a good time? Maybe I'll try it again sometime. Probably not, but maybe.

October 8th, 2005
The reason why so few good books are written is that so few people who can write know anything.
- Walter Bagehot

Canadian Beer + Hockey

October 6th, 2005

Life is good.

Last night I met up with some friends at a sports bar to watch some opening day hockey. Let me first say, "Welcome back, NHL." That year off was tough for me, but I feel things picking back up. Watching my Red Wings trounce the St. Louis Blues with a cold Canadian brew just felt right.

I could not believe how empty the SPORTS bar was considering the following factors:

1) Bar in Metro Detroit and hockey is back.
2) Playoff baseball was on.

In any case, there weren't many people at the bar, but it was nice to be out in public and able to cheer in a crowd as Patrick Lalime was shamed on the first game of the season.

A few notes on the game:
I am so excited that the Wings were able to resign Pavel Datsyuk, and he made his presence felt immediately with two points in the first game of the season. Brendan Shanahan, though he almost has his AARP card, played enforcer last night (as he often does). This Detroit team unfortunately has no go-to "goon" when things get a little confrontational on the ice, but Shanny is always in the thick of things when it happens. That is good to see. I applaud the 10 minute misconduct he got for instigating a fight. In fact it was the best kind of fight. The gloves dropped with the puck at face-off. In no way does it compare to years ago when 6 Red Wings fought 6 Avalanche as the puck dropped (yes that includes goalies skating to center ice), but it signaled that hockey was back. Manny Legace played well enough. He only faced some 13 shots in total which has to be tough on some goaltenders who expect to keep on their toes and not grow complacent wondering when the puck will next come their way. I would like to see him finally win the starting job in Detroit. He has been a solid backup over the past few years as the Wings have brought in big name goalies. I feel he has paid his dues, but even I won't hand it to him, he has to out-play Chris Osgood all season long.

October 4th, 2005
All good books have one thing in common - they are truer than if they had really happened, and after you have read one of them you will feel that all that happened, happened to you and then it belongs to you forever.
- Ernest Hemingway

October 2nd, 2005
If you haven't found something strange during the day, it hasn't been much of a day.
- John A. Wheeler

Can't take me anywhere.

September 28th, 2005

Everyone among us has done this at some point in their life; I am confident of that. The specifics will differ person to person and situation to situation, but the broad idea remains universal. There are sometimes that either due to sleepiness, or being preoccupied, that we do something we would normally only due when alone...in public. Sometimes being seen is trivial, other times it can be highly embarrassing.

I am not one to embarrass easily, but I can say that it was at least a little awkward yesterday as I was accidentally swept off my feet by some song on the internet radio. To the disappointment of a reader or two, I did not come out of my chair, but I will qualify the little head bob I did as "dancing" as I lip sync'd? lip sanc? lip synched? sang along volumelessly. Lost in song I did not notice the coworker walking towards the GIANT WINDOW of my office. He just watched as he went past and smiled a "you are truly a putz" smile and went on his way. No skin off my back really, but as I said it was at least a little awkward.

Another instance, today I spent my lunch hour at the barbershop getting my ears lowered. While in "the chair", there was one waiting and he had a copy of today's newspaper. Left page in left hand. Right page in right hand. Having held a newspaper open, you are familiar with how fickle the crease in the paper can be. This gentleman managed, with little effort, to upset the crease. Remember, left hand...right hand... This guy pulled the paper closer and stuck his neck out and helped fix the crease in the paper with his face! I'VE DONE THAT!! I cannot tell you how much better I feel for having witnessed another human being employ this move to fold his newspaper. You have been there, if you release one hand or the other, pages will fall. There is no table in front of you on which to place the newspaper so you are left to improvise. Like a hatchling poking through his egg, you use your face to fix your newspaper. I imagined the most high powered CEO or a world leader, someone who commands respect, fixing his newspaper this same way and all was right with the world.

It is as if he brought validation to my existence. Obviously I imposed upon this man each and every idiosyncrasy of mine and made them ours so if just for a minute I was a little less...different. Then I had to take them back, they're what make me me, right?

At least it's Friday.

September 23rd, 2005

It is amazing. A man could walk into your office and tell you a tale of how his morning has been. A true horror story, three simultaneous flat tires in the rain on a highway with a closed shoulder, spilt coffee in his lap, difficulty sitting down after his alien abduction, you name it. All you have to say is "At least it's Friday," and he will instantly perk up. How has medical science not spent millions of dollars researching this phenomenon?

Where does the therapeutic nature of this phrase gather such strength? I bet even if the stock market crashed on a Friday, they wouldn't even call it a "Depression" until Tuesday (What? Too soon?).

Try it. Today being Friday, you could probably walk up to a stranger you pass on the street and punch him in the stomach. "Sorry, pal. Hey, at least it's Friday." And boom, no repercussions. I am unable to figure it out. Maybe the harmonic nature of the syllables as they are strung together creates some euphoric state in the brain of anyone within earshot.

I will warn you, though, "At least it's Friday" does NOT carry the same weight unless it really is Friday. I tried it on a Tuesday not too long ago and rather than cheering up said coworker, I received puzzled looks. "It's not Friday," was all I got from her as she walked away.

Lesson learned.

September 19th, 2005
Underneath this flabby exterior is an enormous lack of character.
- Oscar Levant

The Mystery Egg

September 19th, 2005

What a way to start off the week. Making myself breakfast this morning I came across The Mystery Egg. If you have never encountered one of your own, please allow me a moment to explain. In my carton of eggs I noticed one was a bit larger than the rest; oversized if you will. Not only do I enjoy eating, but eggs are on the list of things I like. A bigger egg in my carton pleased me to no end. You can imagine my sudden guilt as I felt that I was cheating the system. I had paid for 12 normal eggs, and not 11 normal eggs plus 1 behemoth egg. I was originally leaning towards it being an ostrich egg, but women's intuition tells me maybe it is not an ostrich, but rather a Tyranasaurus Rex egg! Wait, women's intuition? Ignore that.

It was one egg to rule them all, and I here it was in my carton...rather, stuck to my carton. Disappointment set in as, in the realm of eggs, one stuck to the carton means that it is a broken one. When chipped and/or cracked, spilt contents will adhere rather strongly to the carton. If common sense does not tell you this already, please disregard this egg. Attempting to consume such an egg would not produce healthy results.

After some careful massaging and caressing of my gargantuan egg, I finally was able to sever the carton's grip and my egg was free at last. Disappointment became elation when after my ordinary and prudent review, the egg shell was solid and completely intact.

I am no egg connoisseur, but I do purchase them from time to time for various purposes, or purpi if it pleases you. Cooking, baking, decorating your favorite teacher's house, whatever. One thing that I have never come across in my short time on Earth is an egg such as this. Not only was it a bit bigger than usual, but it also has some...issue...with its contents. An exercise for us to do together is this: go to your refrigerator and pull an egg out of the carton. Now, hold it near your ear and shake it gently. You should not hear anything, nor should you feel anything as the contents dance inside the shell. My mystery egg failed one, not both of those criteria.

Something was definitely moving inside my egg. Not on its own, but moving none the less. After careful deliberation, I have decided not to eat the mystery egg, but this chapter of my life will not close so easily. There is one piece of my puzzle missing. The way I see it, there are two options before me.

1. Defy the burning curiosity and dispose of the mystery egg, never to hear from it again.

This option may be the safest for mankind if the mystery egg may contain the apocalypse. How guilty would I feel if I unleash the end of the world? Tell me you would like that on your conscience. Not me, no thanks.

2. Take ownership of the curiosity and crack the egg.

I would not eat the mystery egg, that ship has sailed. However, I feel that I may contribute something to the state of modern science with my examining the contents of the mystery egg. You never know, it may contain the cure for cancer; or maybe even herpes. Imagine NOT getting your picture on the cover of Time Magazine for curing herpes all because you didn't crack open the mystery egg. Sounds glamorous, but it is not without danger. The risk here is that I may develop such a debilitating phobia of eggs that I am unable to even hear a chicken cluck. The contents may be so absolutely disgusting that I cannot go near another egg, mystery or not. I am not sure that is a wager that I can afford to make.

No one ever explains to you the hard choices you will have to make in life, when you are a child. I am not sure I am adequately prepared for this. I do not consider my parents entirely at fault, but I do vow to you that my child(ren) will be equipped with the tale of the mystery egg. The next generation will be ready...