Friday, May 21, 2004

T-Ball is Fun, Right? (Part 2)

Feeling pretty good considering Mental Woman had already set my eye to twitching, I looked at the clock in my cell phone. I realized it was about 6:05. The game was scheduled to begin at 6, so I made an effort to get it going (as it was obvious I was going to have to take the lead on this one - anything else would be uncivilized!). Gathering up my kids, I announced the batting order and put them in line on our bench. By now, two other "coaches" were helping out the future mental patient with her team. She walks over to me and asks, "Why aren't you guys out in the field? We're the home team, so we hit first." What the ..............(There is no curse word sufficent to express how utterly flabbergasted I was at this statement).

Ok, first rule is that if you coach a sport, please know at least a LITTLE bit about the sport. Taking deep breath after deep breath after deeeep breath, I replied, "No, the home team hits last. That way they get last ups. You know, that gives them a little bit of an advantage." (I lay on the wink wink and flash my dazzling smile, in case she doubted my verity.)

I guess I'm losing my touch, for she looks shocked, "No, no, no. The home team actually has the choice of hitting first or second. We choose to hit first."

Frantically trying to remember which speed dial # my cardiologist is on, I said, "No, you don't get to choose. The home team hits last. That's the way it is. There's no room for negotiation here. Get your kids out in the field and let's get going. We're coming up on 6:15 here and some of us have to get our kids home so they can get to bed sometime before midnight."

She looked like she'd just been slapped (don't think it didn't cross my mind once or twice). "Ok, but my kids aren't going to like not hitting first."

Again, I bit my tongue. Actually, I almost bit my tongue clean off. All I kept thinking is that this woman probably will make some psychologist extremely rich in the future, although I'm not sure I'd trade my time with this psycho for any amount of wealth.

She finally gets up the courage to tell her kids that, sadly, they wouldn't be hitting first. Shockingly, they seem to take it in stride. I expected nothing short of a full-fledged midget riot, considering Ms. Personality's concerns. No long faces, no pouting, just childlike enthusiasm to actually get this game going. She painstakingly puts each kid in their appointed positions. When I say painstakingly, I mean honestly, she draws an 'X' on the ground with her foot for each kid and tells him/her NOT TO MOVE from that X until the ball is hit. Having your team ready to play is a task that should take about 30 seconds. She gets them all situated in a shade under 5 minutes while our kids are patiently waiting to hit.

The rules of t-ball state that your whole lineup of kids hit every inning. We have seven regular kids, so it should theoretically take about 10 minutes to play ½ of an inning. However, after each one of my kids hit, she goes to each position and places them back on the 'X' she had drawn. Some of the kids hadn't moved two feet and she STILL went to each position to put them back. After it took us 15 minutes to get through four of our hitters, I'd had enough. My eyes by this time had been rolled so many times they about popped clean out of my head. "Is it really necessary for you to put each child back on each individual 'X' before EVERY hitter? I mean, I understand the need to teach them positioning and all, but if they're in the general vicinity of their position, that's about all you can hope for with 4, 5 and 6 year olds, don't you think?"

"No, no, no. The ball cannot be hit until the children are in their assigned spots." At this point, I was expecting her head to do a 360° and split pea soup to spew from her gaping maw.

"Lady, this isn't school, nor is it rocket science. I honestly don't want our three inning game to last three hours. Let's move a little quicker, please."

Looking like HER eye was going to start twitching, she relented, "Ok, I guess we don't have to be so precise."

Great! I have broken through her force field of obsessive-compulsiveness. After we got that straight, we breezed through the rest of our half of the inning.

I send my kids out to play the bottom half of the inning. I tell them one by one what position they're playing and they trot out to their assigned spots. No 'X's', no hand holding, no nothing. Just a "Tommy, go play first" or "go to short, Johnny." Mental mommy looks amazed, like I've taught these kids how to cure cancer or something.

Her kids come up in the bottom of the first. There's eight of them. Mistaking herself for a MENSA candidate, she has come up with a self-imposed way to speed up the game - let's use two balls and let the second kid hit right after the first one does. And when I say right after, I mean RIGHT FREAKING AFTER. Her first kid comes up and hits a dribbler out to the mound, which my pitcher scoops up and goes to throw to first base when *Bam* the second hitter hits the second ball, which hits my pitcher in the leg. Now, I've got a crying pitcher, a confused shortstop who has just picked up both balls and can't figure out how to get them both to first base at the same time, and a massive headache. I called "time out" and walked over to her and said, "What are you doing? Two balls? At the same time? You can't tell me that your kids are used to doing this." I honestly wouldn't have been surprised if the vein in my forehead ruptured, squirting anyone within 20 feet of me.

"Well, you're the one that's in a hurry to get out of here. Seems to me that you'd like this idea."

"Yes, you're right, I think maiming my kids is a marvelous idea. Why not just let your kids take turns chasing ours around the field with their bats? If they catch our kids they can just pummel them right where they lay."

"Now you're just being silly."

"Lady, you have no idea just how silly I can get. Since you've gotten here, you've agonized over the littlest details and forgotten the most important thing - actually teaching your kids the CORRECT way to play baseball. This is an instructional league and the only instruction I've seen you give these guys is to stand on an 'X' before the ball is hit. Not once did I see you correct someone when they didn't field a ground ball the proper way. Not once have I seen you show your kids the correct place to stand in the batter's box to hit a ball off the tee, which I can understand because there's really no room for an 'X' in this batter's box. All I've seen you do is act like a candidate for the Galactically Anal Freak of the Year award."

After I let loose with that tirade, I realized that everyone in the park was staring at me. I mean every single person. Even passersby stopped to witness the obviously insane man pick on the poor, defenseless woman. Then, something amazing happened - the parents of the OTHER team applauded me. I actually got an ovation. I heard someone say, "We tried to tell her before, but she didn't believe us."

My intention wasn't to make her feel bad, but that's what I had done. Her son was looking on in abject horror as his mother was humiliated in front of what had to be his whole world. His father didn't seem to mind as much, however (actually, I think it took everything he had not to laugh right out loud). She simply said, "I'm sorry, I didn't know I was this bad." Then, turning to the crowd, "If you all felt like this, why didn't you say something? Why let it come to this?"

Apparently, they had said something on many occasions. She had turned a deaf ear. They all felt she had gotten what she had coming. She walked off the field, as she did she turned to me and said, "You're a good coach, teach my kids something, ok?"

So, it was the first time in my life where I actually coached opposing teams. To my amazement, she was sitting on the bench the whole time TAKING NOTES.

After the game, I went over to her and apologized for acting the way I did and she said, "No, I deserved it. I bit off more than I could chew here. There are parents that offered to help and I ignored them. Actually, I learned a lot from watching you coach these kids."

Feeling like a complete ass, I offered her an embarrassed, "Thanks and good luck the rest of the season." Then turned to gather up my son and our stuff.

The opposing parents thanked me again and I told them to help her out. I think she's a little more willing to accept it now. Hopefully, her kids will learn that playing baseball isn't about standing on an 'X', sitting in the same dugout, or even choosing whether to hit first or last. It's about being part of a team. It's about having fun.

On the way home, my boy said, "Dad, why do some coaches not know how to coach and some coaches have a vein that sticks out of their forehead?"

I said, "Buddy, not everyone knows how to coach baseball, and that's ok."

He said, "Yeah, but I was just glad the vein wasn't my fault."


Wednesday, May 19, 2004

T-Ball is Fun, Right? (Part 1)

Ok, last night my 4 year old had a t-ball game, which normally isn't any big deal. I mean, the kids go out onto the field. Some of them pick their nose, some of them play in the dirt or grass and some of them actually pay attention to what is going on. My boy always pays attention. He has a passion for playing baseball exactly like I did when I was a little guy.

Anyhow, we weren't at our home field, we had a game "on the road." My son and I were the first ones to arrive at the field, as usual. I parked right next to the third base dugout, which wasn't so much like a dugout as it was just a bench behind a fence. I got our stuff out of the truck and put it down against the fence. Shortly thereafter, more of my team started to trickle in. We were throwing the ball around the infield when the "coach" of the other team showed up. Normally, that's not any big deal either. Most coaches know what they're doing. The first words she utters to me are, "Um, excuse me. Coach? Uh, well, um, errrrrr, would you mind changing dugouts? Our kids are used to sitting on this side."

I gave her my best, 'you're totally kidding me, right?' look. I said, "Um, well, errrrrr, I'm not understanding something here, does it make a difference where your kids sit? I mean, really, it's the same game from both dugouts, right?"

Boldly and totally cluelessly, she presses on, "Well, it's just that they're USED to this dugout. You know how it is."

I thought to myself, ~actually, Rain Woman, I don't know how it is because my kids will sit where I tell them to with no questions asked.~ but I didn't say it. After all, I don't want to get into an argument in front of my team. So I just said, "Well, I guess if it's really THAT important to you, I can pack up all of our crap and cart it across the field, just so you and your kids won't feel uncomfortable."

She then proceeded to act like she won something, "Yeah, if you could just pack up and go over there that would be great. My kids aren't comfortable sitting over THERE." Meaning, she's a dimwitted control freak and can't handle change of any sort. Should I feel more sorry for myself, or her husband? I've only got to interact with this freak for an hour, her poor bastard of a husband has to live with THAT.

This all happened at 5:40. The game was scheduled to start at 6. So, not sensing any urgency, I kept throwing the ball around with my team. Not two minutes later, Estrogen Mary is on the field saying, "I thought you were moving your stuff."

I said, "I am. Considering the fact that the game doesn't start for another 20 minutes, I thought that me leaving our stuff where it's been sitting for another 10 minutes wouldn't be that big of a deal."

"Well, how will my kids know where to sit? I mean, they'll see your stuff here and become confused." Was her reply.

I must have looked totally floored because my son said, "Dad, that vein is sticking out of your head again. Just like the time I dropped your X-Box after you told me not to pick it up. Wemember?"

I think I hesitated for a full minute before I responded. "They won't become confused because you'll be there to tell them where to sit, right? I mean, you're not going to be wandering around the field aimlessly until I move my stuff. Or at least I hope you're not." What I really wanted to say is ~lady, do you coach a bunch of "special" children? Because that's how you're describing them. I mean my kid's only 4 but not only does he not care which side of the freaking field he sits on, but he has the actual cognitive ability to realize that if his coach and the rest of his teammates are sitting on a certain bench, that maybe he should be sitting with them.~ but I didn't.

She looked at me quizzically and said, "Well, it's just that your stuff is in our dugout."

At that point, I probably could have dropped this wench like a frickin used condom, but I said nothing. Instead, I dropped the ball I was holding, walked directly over to my "stuff" and carted it across the field to the other dugout.

Having felt somewhat vindicated by not totally going Jackie Chan on Special Olympics Sally, I thought to myself, "as soon as the game starts, it should get better."

As you'll see in my next installment, I couldn't have been more wrong.


Friday, May 14, 2004

Hello There

~Turns ridiculous looking hat uncomfortably askew~

Hello there, friend. Listen to this. My best friend and I were playing a rousing game of basketball, you know playing a pretty darn good game, when this girl and my girlfriend stopped by the park. She was driving my convertible. This gentleman that was on the opposing team took notice when she got out of the car and goes over to her as if to ask her out. I then politely stepped in front of him and said, “Please refrain from doing that, friend.” He asked, “Why would you ask me that? Who is she?” Trying not to make this gentleman mad, I replied, “She is the love of my life and bearer of my child.”

Now you can tell this gentleman has a lot of money just by all of the flashy jewelry he’s wearing. And to top it off, he isn’t a bad looking guy, so naturally my girlfriend was taken a little aback. She said, “That guy is very nice looking. He’s just a good looking guy.” Sensing danger, I felt I had to get her out of that situation. I switched the subject, “Here’s some money. Go to the mall and buy me some tennis shoes, please. After I’m done playing basketball, I’ll come home and cook us dinner. If you would like to make love after that, we can. After all, no means no.” When she heard that, she looked at me lovingly and said, “I love you so much.”

When she left, I breathed a sigh of relief as the gentleman said, “Your girlfriend is really beautiful, you’re a lucky man. Whereas I feel a little pang of loss here, don’t worry about me, there’s plenty of fish in the sea.”



Thursday, May 13, 2004


~Turns Old Skool Lakers hat sideways~

Sup, yo. Peep this G. Me ‘n my dirty was straight up ballin, y’know representin hard, when this shorty and my boo came rollin up in my drop. Thass when dis dogg from another crew tries to run game on my ho. Thass when I roll up on him and I’m like, “Hode up mah nizzle.” He’s all, “What up dogg? Who dat is?” Tryin to squash this beef, I’m all, “Dat my baby mama.”

Now dis dogg got mad flow and so much bling it goes BLANG. And boo’s all “Lizzook at dat playa. He’s he’s off the heezie, fo’ sheezie.” So, I gotta straight up tighten up the twizzah. I gave my baby mama some benjamins and tole her, “Go to the mall and sco me some new kicks. I’ll skip by the crib tonight so we can knock boots.” Aftah I tole the sista dat, she got that mad crazy love look back in her eye. “Aww playa, you my one.”

Aftah my bitzitch leff, dat dogg look at me and brought it like this, “Dogg, dat sista is foine. But it’s all good G, I got hoes in different area codes.”


Homies, Ima break it dizzown for y’all tomizzorrow.


Trailer Hitches, Suburbans, Hybrids and Burnouts

I saw the funniest thing on my way home from work yesterday -- a trailer hitch. Yes, I know a trailer hitch isn't normally funny. However, it's downright ha-frickin-larious when it's attached to a Geo Tracker. Take a second and think about it. What in the holy hell are you going to tow with a Geo Tracker? A Radio Flyer? A baby carriage? A skateboard (sans Tony Hawk wannabe)? My 4 year old's Big Wheel puts out more torque than a Geo Tracker. You could put a Geo Tracker in the back of my Suburban and still have room for...well....everything I own. I mean the inside of a Suburban is roughly the size of Bakersfield.

Ok, you caught me, I own a Suburban. Rather, Household Finance Company lets me drive the Suburban they own as long as I make a payment each month. Be that as it may (can you tell I'm ADHD?), you never know how many tree huggers are in your area until you drive a gas piggie like a Suburban. The looks I get from the tye dye wearing, deoderant deficient contingency in this city ranges from mild disapproval to unmitigated disbelief. One of these musky burnouts actually had the stones to tell me, "Do you know how many natural resources your vehicle is wasting?" To which I responded, "Look Moonbeam, you're wearing enough hemp to open a Head Shop and you're lecturing me about wasting natural resources? Now get back in your hybrid before I kick it into 4 HI and turn your eco-mobile into a lowrider." After sizing me up (or perhaps my 20" tires), he turned around, got back into his Toyota Prius and drove off.

At least it wasn't a Geo Tracker.


Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Second Opinion

As some of you may or may not know, I was diagnosed some time back with high blood pressure. Very high. 180/110 high. The problem is that I maintain a relatively healthy lifestyle consisting of a good diet and exercise, so the doctor was stumped as to why it suddenly spiked up. I've been going to the same doctor for years but pretty much got tired of hearing, "Keep taking your medicine and come back in two weeks." That's total bs. If it's high, it's his job to help me bring it back down and it wasn't working. I figured a second opinion was in order so I scheduled an appointment with a new doctor yesterday.

He's got a new and very small practice so it's easy to get an appointment and I was the only one in the waiting room when I got there. I signed in and about 3 minutes later they called me back. I knew I'd have a bunch of forms to fill out since I was a new patient but...cripes! They wanted my life history. It didn't help matters much that my old doctor never sent over my records like I requested 3 freaking weeks ago. That just reinforced why I decided to go with this new guy. That other doctor's office is borderline inept.

The forms started off innocently enough, asking for my name and social security number (I nailed both of those) and then moved into a little more perilous territory.

Employer's address: I have no clue. I've never mailed anything to myself at work. I wrote down the street name and left it at that.

Wife's employer's address: Umm...pass.

Length of time wife has been at current job: Why the frick do they need to know that? This isn't a damn loan application. I thought I'd play with them a little and wrote, "Yes".

Wife's social security number: Okay, now this is getting bad. Why couldn't they ask for my wife's birthday or my anniversary? She's seared those into my cerebral cortex over the years. I went with "867-53-09".

I fully expected the next few questions to be:

"What was your name in your last life?"
"What is your quest?"
"What is the air speed velocity of two mating bald eagles?"

No dice. It was at that point that I decided no one was going to ever read this thing, so I went all out.

Date of last rectal exam? Do you mean voluntarily?
Have you ever had herpes? Is that a proposition?
Have you ever had unproteced sex? No. I always put gloves on both hands.
Do you participate in any risky sexual behavior? No, it’s always on a bed and over quickly.
Date of last inoculation? I rubbed one out a couple of hours ago, if that big word means what I think it does.

I finally finished all the forms and the doctor comes in to check me out. First he tells me he's going to do a reflex test.

Me: A what test?
Him: A reflex test.
Me: I usually gag.
Him: Excuse me?
Me: I have a bad gag reflex.
Him: Umm, no. I'm going to check the reflex in your legs with this little hammer.
Me: Doc, this’ll go a lot more smoothly if you just say that in the first place.

He then went through the usual stuff like holding my legs down while I pushed up, holding my arms and pushing against him. I guess he was testing...well, I have no idea what he was testing. What came next totally floored me, but first a little background. My mom recommended this guy and she told me that at her first visit they asked her to count backwards from a hundred in increments of seven. Sounds like a DUI test to me but whatever. She said she absolutely blew it so I prepared myself for something along those lines. That's when he told me to, get this, stick out my tongue and shrug my shoulders. I'm not lying here. I couldn’t make that up if I tried. Stick out my tongue and shrug my shoulders. I can only assume that he knew how my Mom did on the complicated stuff and decided to give me a break. I can just imagine the conversation with his colleagues before he came in to see me.

"Remember that old lady who couldn't do simple math?"
"Yeah. What about her?"
"This is her son."
"Oh shit. Give him something simple. It might be a whole family of retards."
"How about I tell him to stick out his tongue and shrug his shoulders?"
"BBBWWWAAAHHHAAA!! He'll look pretty silly."
"Well, at least he'll get it right."

So when he tells me to do it, I get this really confused look on my face because I think there's no way I heard him right. He must have noticed so he tells me again what he wants me to do. Oooookaaaaay. I do what he says and I swear I heard a muffled laugh somewhere. I'm pretty sure there was a two-way mirror and the entire office staff was watching me. I'll go to my grave not knowing what that little maneuver was supposed to accomplish.

Next comes the rapid fire questions detailing my personal life.

"Do you drink alcohol?"
"What 'ya got?"
"Sorry. Yes, I do."
"How much?"
"A couple of mixed drinks every night." "Anything else?"
"And a couple of beers."
"OK, three beers."
"Is that all?"
"And a few shots of Beam."
"All in one night?"
"Sometimes into the morning."
"You need to cut back."
"OK. I'll start going to bed earlier."
"That's not what I mean."
"Good. I like staying up late."

~thinks to self~ This isn't going very well.

"Do you exercise?"
(Very proudly) "Yessir!"
"How much?"
" I work out 3 times a week."
"You need to increase it to 4 times."
"You mean I'm not doing enough?"
"You've got high blood pressure, don’t you?"
"Good point."

"Do you get dizzy spells?"
"I never did until I started taking the medicine."
"That's a good sign."
"Why is that good?"
"It shows that the medication is working."
"So feeling bad is a good thing?"
"In this case, yes."
"But I didn't start feeling bad until I started...never mind. I can't win this one."

"Do you urinate normally?"
"Yup. Always standing up."
"No, I mean is it regular, does it hurt...things like that."
"Oh. Well hell no. I don't have any vulnerable disease if that's what you mean."
"It's pronounced 'venereal'."
"Really? I was sure it was vulnerable."

"I need you to lie on your back."
"What for?" "I want to examine your internal organs."
"Whooaaa Nelly! That's not gonna be necessary, doc."
"Not that. I'm going to feel around on your stomach."
"Well that sounds okay."

He then begins to poke and rub on me like one of those Chinese massage ladies.

"I get happy ending?"
"That's not funny."
"It is from this point of view."

"Uh, Doc? You seem to be spending an awful lot of time on my right side. What’cha looking for?"
"Your liver."
"It's probably that thing that feels like a brick."
"That's not funny. We've already discussed your alcohol intake."
"Yeah, about that...I lied."
"About what?"
"I drink a little more than I admitted."
"Look, it's pretty obvious that you need to cut down a great deal. I don't think you can tell me anything that would change that."
"A six-pack."
"I drink a six pack a night in addition to the mixed drinks and shots."
"My God, man! Do you think you're an alcoholic?"
"If it's okay with you, I'll just ignore that question and you can go on with your organ scavenger hunt."

After about 30 minutes of this crap he finally decides to check my blood pressure and it turns out to be....


Perfectly fricking normal. Booyah!

So it would appear that I went through this living hell for no reason. He tells me to keep taking my medicine and think about the things we discussed, which I promised him I would. In fact, as soon as I got home I looked up venereal in the dictionary. Tomorrow I'll check out inoculation.




Hi all. Welcome to my little corner of the Internet. Here at The World According to JP, you will get my insights into the things that matter most to me at any given time, which could range anywhere from how crappy the Mariners are this year to how dumb Dubya is to the wench that cut me off this morning in traffic. Some will be total bs and some will be all truth, but most will be a combination of both. I’ll leave it to you to decide which is which. Basically, I believe that the world is full of idiots and that it’s my duty to point out and ridicule each and every one of them. You never know what I might say!

Happy reading. Oh and if you don’t enjoy my stories, please feel free to stick your head up your ass and blow....hard! :op


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