The Unauthorized Biography of Rosco P. Coltrane

When it's my moment in the sun, I won't forget that I am blessed, but every hero walks alone, thinking of more things to confess

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Location: Owensboro, Kentucky, United States


Friday, January 27, 2006

Captions: That Was Me

A few days ago, I was searching through a box for a book I was going to lend someone when I found an old picture album that my mother had given me some years back. I sat on my bed, forgot about the football game I was watching, and looked through all the pictures. I couldn't stop smiling. I laughed at old thoughts that had been parked away in some remote parking garage in my mind.

As I explored each page, I would take out the picture to get a better look. Holding the photos in my hands made the past seem closer, the images more real. The biggest surprise was that on some of the pictures there was writing. I don't know what surprised me more, the date on the photos or the fact that in the past 13 years or so I had forgotten what my grandmother's handwriting looked like. The cursive letters were very distinct and here details were quick and to the point. Captions like "Jim and Josh, Thanksgiving '79."

So I have decided to fill in the blanks, the other details that haven't been written down on the backs of the photos before they, too, are stored away in the parking garage of my mind.

So this was me, and my baby sister (who I will always call my baby sister no matter how old she is) probably sometime around 1983. Was I styling or what? Brittany had one of her many Care Bears in this picture. How sweet does she look? Me, well, I was in my Thriller phase. I remember I hated to wear penny loafers, but I loved that jacket. I think I used to wear it to our school recitals. My only hope is that somewhere in a closet or attic, my mom still has that jacket. Because mark my words, those jackets will come back in style one day.

Funny sidenote: a few nights ago me and my buddy, Berg, were at a basketball game. The halftime show dancers were dancing to Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal" and "Bad." I looked over at Berg and asked him, "Do you remember when Michael Jackson was cool?" He answered, "Yeah, but just barely."

Thursday, January 26, 2006

T+ 15,137,278,927

It was 20 years ago today that the Challenger blew up. I look back and try to ponder what happened that day in Mrs. Scott's 3rd grade class. I can honestly say that I don't remember watching it in class, though we very well may have watched the crash. Funny how I remember watching teeth cleaning videos in that class, but I don't remember watching the shuttle explosion. It is one of the defining moments of my generation, the moment we are all supposed to remember where we were at. But I don't remember the event.

I do remember the aftermath. I remember the sadness that surrounded the school for the next few days. I remember other kids talking about what happened. Some kids said that it was the Russians, back when the Russians were the bad guys, that blew up the shuttle. The picture, the shot of the shuttle debris forking in two directions, in the newspaper the next day seems so real in my mind 20 years later that I have to check to make sure some of the newspaper ink isn't still on my fingers.

It struck a such a nerve.

Back then, astronauts were the coolest of cool. Even though every kid in America dreamed of being a baseball star, movie star, president, everyone knew that being an astronaut was 10 times cooler than any of those jobs. But now, I doubt any kids dream of being astronauts.

The thing that made the tragedy so real, the reason why there was such a pall over every school in America was because there was a teacher on board the shuttle. Though we all dreamed of being Astronauts, the chances were most kids would never have a star that burned that bright. But a teacher was on board. That meant that maybe someday, any number of kids who would never be as cool and smart enough to be an astronaut could be on a flight to outer space as a teacher. It made it more real, though I am sure none of us knew it at the time. That reality must have also been very tangible to our teachers as well, many of who put in an application to be the teacher on that flight. It must have hung over their heads for days and days afterwards as they were planning their science lessons and grading papers wondering how lucky they were to not be picked and a bit of shame for feeling such luck.

It was my generation's day that will live in infamy. The day will stand out simply because for the vast majority of my generation that was our innocence died. It was in the days afterwards that we learned of O-rings, but we learned a lot more than that.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

453.6 grams (The Weight of the World)

I have to admit something that might make my father want to disown me. I like the metric system. I think it is easy to understand. I think it is a better system of measurement. I have a hard time with conversions. I can never remember how many pints are in a quart. I can never remember how many quarts are in a gallon. I have no clue what a bushel is. I hate to even think about ounces.

There is only one conversion that I know for sure. There are 453.6 grams in a pound.

But our measurement system is so ingrained in our culture that I doubt the United States will ever change. Can you imagine people talking about the kilogram for kilogram best boxer in the world? Everyone would also be going to McDonald's and eating "Royales with Cheese." Or maybe we would call them 100 gramers? It just sounds warmer to be a nice and crisp 75 degree F day instead of a nice 25 degree C day.

The point is even though our system of measurement is hard to convert and a bit on the bulky side. But whereas the metric system is scientific and exact, our system has some poetry to it. It's not as stiff. It's not flexible, but it is more easy going.

It doesn't necessarily make for the best system, but it is the one we have. And if you will excuse me, I will go finish my liter of water.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Man With The Plunger

I was walking through beverage aisle of Neighborhood Market last night. I was picking up a couple of gallons of drinking water because the water still tastes bad here. When I almost ran into some dude. But this was no ordinary dude.

I consider myself a fairly open-minded person and realize that it takes a lot to really surprise me. But this dude made me jump back.

He was wearing all black, had a a couple of rings through the interior of his nose, and was walking through the store with a plunger in his hand like a sword.

I jumped back and almost screamed like a woman. Seriously.

I apologized really quick and made a beeline for the other part of the store. I stood in the deli meat section for almost 15 minutes trying to avoid this dude.

I son't know why I was startled so bad, but I was. I think it wouldn't have been so bad if he hadn't had the plunger. I don't know though.

What can I say but I am getting soft in my old age...

Monday, January 23, 2006

My Many Roles

About a week ago, a friend of mine (Rockstar Jones) was over watch Scrubs with me while his wife was at a work function. He said that he had been thinking a lot and came to the conclusion that I am the smartest person that he knows. It shocked me a bit. My first thought was that he must not know very many people. My second thought was that it was one of the best compliments anyone has ever given me. My third thought was that there was no way I could add both of those thoughts together to adequately express the thanks and shock of his statement.

It got me thinking though. I began to wonder about all the roles I play in life. It was either Shakespeare or Elvis (maybe both) said that life is a play and every person plays a part. I know I play, played, and will play a lot of roles in my life. Each role will be different for every person. And each person will judge me on their perception on how I play a role, a role I do not even choose most of the time.

I am someone's angel. I am someone's regret. I am someone's hero. I am someone's first love. I am someone's best friend. I am someone's sounding board. I am someone's marriage counselor. I am someone's pride and joy. I am someone's arch-nemesis. I am someone's poet. I am someone's fool. I am someone's one-liner. I am someone's saving grace. I am someone's future pallbearer. I am someone's devil. I am someone's frustration. I am someone's truth that needs to be heard. I am someone's old friend. I am someone's I-always-wonder-what-happened-to. I am someone's mover. I am someone's happy hour buddy. I am someone's library. I am someone's inspiration. I am someone's funniest story as well as saddest story. I am someone's reason for belief and doubt. I am someone's envy. I am someone's future. I am someone's past. I am someone's passerby. I am someone's I-used-to-know-a-guy-that. I am someone's smile. I am someone's smartest person they know. I am also someone's biggest asshole they know. I am someone's bad intentions. I am someone's good advice. I am someone's car mechanic. I am someone's fixer-upper. I am someone's strong back. I am someone's first crush. I am someone's rock. I am someone's answer man. I am someone's waste of time. I am someone's luckiest bastard. I am someone's hurt feelings. I am someone's flirt. I am someone's no one.

And I hopefully, I am a lot of someones' friend.

It was Norman Maclean who said that "It is those we love the most that elude us."

I know I elude many people.

I am not easy to peg.

But it isn't on purpose, it's just you haven't had a chance to see all my roles. Maybe someday you will.