Sunday, March 28, 2010

You know what I find awkward?

So recently I was in a moment where I was having my picture taken and that in turn made me think of another moment involving pictures. That always awkward family photo.....that’s not with your family.
You all know what I'm talking about. There you are at a family function of your significant others. Maybe a grandmother’s birthday or God help you a family reunion. You meet everyone. Take in stride the jokes about how awesome your current girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend is. Come to accept that no one there can remember your name, but can only come up with some similar name that starts with he same first letter as yours. Pretty much all tolerable and part of a relationship.

Then the pictures start.

Not just the random candid photos that will without a doubt catch you taking a huge bite of the hotdog your girlfriend’s uncle cooked using his secret hotdog marinade. I'm talking about the family memories forever photos. The one where all the kids, grandkids, cousins, nieces and nephews line up for a cherished picture to be used in next year’s Christmas card. You do your best to distance yourself from everyone once these pictures start. All of the sudden that gate on the other side of the yard needs an inspection.  Oh my! I know I work at a restaurant but I just got a really important email on a Sunday afternoon of all days.... Anything not to get caught up in one of those pictures.

Then, without fail, your hear "Hey Clayton, or Clanton, or Clinton, or Clappy, or Clamato, get on in there!"

Damnit. Now you’re stuck and you know it. The more realistic members of your girlfriend's family make that "He's not really part of the family and they have only been dating for a couple of months so do we really need him in the photo of Nana’s birthday" face. And you know that they can all see the "I hardly know these people and the fact that I'm in a relationship with one of their 3rd cousins doesn't mean I need to be in this picture" face your making. But, social manners dictate that no one says anything. The worst is when you don't even get to be in the picture next to your girlfriend but you get stuck to her cousin whose finger she warned you to never pull.

This is one of those situations where you just wish that reason would prevail. If you could just logically explain to them that while I do have feelings for your cousin/niece/daughter, a marriage isn’t really on the table and why risk it? We may not last another month so why take the chance that in a couple of years when even Mi Maw is questioning her mental capacity she'll look at this picture and have to ask who is this young man standing next to Lewis in my 75th birthday picture? What time does my program come on tonight? Is it Lewis or Larry?........

My point being why take a picture that is going to be around forever that has a guy in it who more than likely isnt going to be around forever?

Reading this you’re probably thinking that this is just a metaphor for fearing commitment. It's not. I mean I don't want to say if I am or am not afraid of commitment. Do we really need to label my feelings on commitment? Let’s just play it by ear.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Don't worry, this will probably be my only post about working out....probably.

So, I have started working out again. By again, I mean I haven't seriously worked out since high school. Don't worry. I'm not going to be bombarding you with constant updates and pictures. I know that you don't want to hear about my developing six pack or that my traps are getting more defined and let’s face it, it'll take years for me to have anything to update about my abs. I certainly won't be posting any pictures either. If you want to see me with my shirt off you’re going to have to do like every other person and wait until I get semi drunk and dare me. Or if you’re a pretty girl just say hi. I'll rip it off. I'm not good at social interaction and that particular strategy has yet to work.

Now I'm not just going up to the gym and running and lifting some weights. No, I have a plan, DVD’s and a pull up bar. I'm not going to be a pitch man for said plan but I will tell you that it should take about 90 days and it's do you spell that?

Not only is it a workout program but it has a diet. This is where I see me having some trouble. I'm not a glutton but I do love some good food. I've been on this diet for 3 days now and I'm already noticing changes. Not my weight, but I feel a little better and I'm constantly hungry. And my sense of smell seems to have been heightened to Wolverine type sensitivity. Every time I go somewhere and get out of my car I can smell any unhealthy food within 200 yards. If you misplace your hamburger just let me know and I'll sniff it down for you, just don't expect to get it back once I find it.

If I have learned one thing so far it's that I had no idea how out of shape I really am. The workouts on the DVD's are challenging to say the least and I know that it will get better but at some point in the workouts I feel like Private Pile from Full Metal Jacket.

I'm not 100% certain but I feel that if I don't step it up my cat is going to throw me a blanket party. That just seems like something she would do. And before you make fun of me for having a cat keep in mind that I'm working out and we all know that witty responses hurt more coming from someone in shape. I'm not above waiting three or four months to give you a comeback. Just saying.

I'm sure they did it on purpose but on one DVD there is a guy working out with a prosthetic leg and so far this guy has kicked my ass. I'm not trying to take anything away from people with prosthetics, but I'm saying that if I start to make excuses to not work out or slack off I can think about that guy and justifiably tell myself to stop being a tool and get my ass in gear. I have no excuses left. Well played DVD, well played.

I know that it will get better. Eventually I'll get in shape, I won't be so sore that I refuse to go up my stairs no matter how much I need something and I won't cringe every time I have to stand up from the couch. Wish me luck Dear Reader. Hopefully I'll stick with it and be better man for it.

Ps. if you get an e-vite from my cat for a "beating Clifton into shape" party...please decline.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A little story about my grandmother and shuffleboard.

Growing up I spent a lot of time with my grandmother. I called her Granny. Her real name was Wanda. I'm not going to tell you that she was the typical grandmother. While she did spoil me and took very good care of me as every grandmother should, she also lived a different kind of life than most grandmothers. Until the day she died she was a bartender at the V.F.W. in Kermit, the same V.F.W. that I lived above most of my teenage years.

Now, the V.F.W. was not a loud hard partying bar. It was filled mostly with men who rolled in at 5 or so and drank until their wives called the bar and told them to get home. She was an amazing woman. She was also one of the toughest women I have ever known. As shown by this story that was relayed to me by her brother many years ago.

Many many years ago my grandmothers brother was in the Navy. He had been at sea for a while and decided to come visit my grandmother, Wanda, while on leave. She was pregnant at the time. Despite this he talked her into going to a bar with him. He wanted to drink some beer and play some shuffleboard. A classic American outing.

So things are going well. My granduncle is enjoying playing shuffleboard and having some beers. He is getting to spend some time with his sister and relax. All you could ask for on some leave from the Navy. But, like most good times had at a bar it was brought to a halt by some drunken idiot. While my grandmother was bent over lining up what was to be without a doubt an amazing shot (she was really good at shuffle board) a drunken buffoon walks by, pinches her butt, and proceeds to walk over to the booth him and his buddy are sitting at and laugh about what he just did. Poor judgment on his part. My granduncle saw what had happened while he was at the bar getting more beer. Intent on doing what any brother would do for his pregnant sister he started walking over to the booth to beat the hell out of the guy (that’s just how my family handles things sometimes). Walking, focusing on the man he was about to punch, he didn't even see the shuffleboard puck until it hit the guy square in the face. My granduncle turned to see where the puck had come from but he knew before he even turned his head. My grandmother, apparently quite the athlete in her day, was underhand fast pitching the shuffle board pucks at the two guys sitting in the booth. She hit the other guy in the chest and they both went crawling under the booth seeking shelter. She proceeded to unload every puck at the booth, 8 in all.

Those things are heavy and solid. I can only imagine that they would have been better off taking the beating from my granduncle. After she was done my granduncle turned to the bar, sure that the bar tender was calling the cops. He had disappeared. After a few seconds the bartenders head slowly came up from behind the bar and asked "Is she out of ammo?"

Good times. Unless you’re one of the guys in the booth of course.

Like most stories passed on to us by our elders this is one that you can learn from. I'm sure everyone will get something different from it.

What did I take from it?

You never offend a pregnant woman, and if you do. Pray that her brother gets to you before she does.