As luck would have it, on this the day after one of my favorite golf/social events, I would be required to drive about 45 minutes and address a group of approximately 75 people at 6:30 a.m. I am normally very fond of numbers but on that morning 45, 75 and 6:30 were not my friends. When you're twenty-five years old and you wake-up on mornings like this, there is a part of you that says "fuck it," what's the worst that could happen if I don't post. But there is a metamorphosis between twenty-five and forty-five that ends with you being the guy who can drag himself out of bed under almost any circumstances and get the job done.* You even reach a point where you almost become numb to it as if you're talking to your head and your stomach like they're your kids, "don't even bother guys, we're doing this whether you like or not so you might as well suck it up." Generally they fall in line.
By 6:00 a.m. I was at Dunkin' Donuts grabbing a couple blueberry muffins and by 6:15 a.m. I was at my desk going over my notes. Thirty minutes later, I got my cue and started my spiel. I'm not going to get into the topic because that's not germane to the story but I will say it was dry . . . really dry and even the short version was going to take me fifteen minutes to deliver. Oh yeah, I had pretty much lost my voice due to a lingering illness and not aided I'm sure by the previous night's activities.**
|"Is this noticeable?"|
Due to the deteriorating circumstances, I drew things to a close rather quickly. I think I may have actually stopped mid-sentence and asked "any questions?" The consensus appeared to be that the value of any additional information I could provide was far outweighed by the amount of misery I was spreading with the agonizing sound of my voice. Either that or there was a collective decision to have mercy on me. Either way, I was done. The meeting droned-on for the better part of another hour during which I drifted in an out of semi-consciousness inspired only by the prospect of locking my office door and passing-out on the couch.
As it turned-out, I did one better by just bailing on the rest of the day altogether at about 11:00 a.m. Unfortunately, it was a Bay Swim training day and I have made a personal commitment that on such days I am going to jump into the pool regardless of mental, physical or gastrointestinal condition and swim for at least an hour or until I sink like a stone, whichever comes first. There have been a few days where my body just feels like a half-submerged canoe being paddled back and forth and there are other days where the pool serves as something of a cure all. This day was more of the former than the latter.
I was able to grind-out the full hour and as I left the pool wreaking of bourbon and chlorine,*** it had turned into a beautiful day that had suddenly become one of great accomplishment for me. And then it got better . . . a lot better . . . because as I was checking my emails on my way to the car, the following subject line jumped out at me, "CAN YOU PLAY PINE VALLEY ON FRIDAY?" (Ahhh, The Promised Land . . . now I get it). I think my response was, "how can I say no?" How could I indeed? Sure we had plans to host guests for cocktails that Friday evening but fortunately they were golf friends who would understand why I would be unceremoniously kicking them to the curb. I'm not quite sure about the wives though. I may have managed to lower my approval rating among the ladies with that one which is not easy when you're already polling in the single digits. But the FGW blessed my decision so all systems were go and my conscience was clear.****
And you know what, Pine Valley deserves its own entry so let's go ahead and pick this up sometime over the weekend with Part 3.
* My 11th grade history teacher once told a group of us that the sign you have a drinking problem is when it impacts your ability to make it to work in the morning. As long as you can do that, you're ok. I should probably qualify that advice by pointing out that he was about 60 years old, single, wore JC Penny sweaters everyday and drove a car that was manufactured during the Truman administration. Oh and he gave no indication that this was his chosen lifestyle so take that alcoholism test for what it's worth.
|. . . and Joan Holloway.|
*** Per Dave Attell . . . "Just because two things smell good on their own doesn't necessarily mean you can put them together. Like cotton candy and the sweet smell of whiskey . . . holy shit was someone just fucking a clown in here?!?"
**** When choosing a wife, do not underestimate the value of her capacity to think like a dude when it counts. This is a crucial trait under these circumstances because you don't want to be making your first Pine Valley run under even the faintest guilt cloud.
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