Sunday, June 1, 2014

Updates from the Road Redux Part 1

Fourteen years ago last January, the FGW and I pulled a Lost in America* and dropped out of the world for six months to travel across the United States for eight weeks and backpack through Europe for sixteen more with a break in the middle to hit the St. Patrick's Day Parade in New York City followed by a bus ride to Atlantic City for me to hit a bachelor party in progress (because all marital bliss and no male bonding shenanigans makes the FGR a dull boy). We did this primarily because six months prior to that, I had walked into the office of the law partner for whom I was working at the time and announced that I was leaving the firm. The conversation went something like this:

"Irish Car Bombs for lunch anyone?"
FGR: "I'm leaving the firm."

LP: "Where are you going?"

FGR: "I don't know but I can't keep coming here."

LP: "Will you give us two weeks?"

FGR: "Of course. I want to leave on the best of terms."

After which I proceeded to come to the office everyday for two weeks arriving around 9:30 a.m. to play Euchre online for six hours before telling my secretary, "I'll be right back" and going home for the day. What difference did it make? The day after I quit I handed all of my five cases off to some other sucker anyway. I think the only reason they kept me on was because they didn't want to have to lie and tell my replacement that the guy who worked for the shitty partner that he was about to start working for walked out without saying goodbye like the guy before I did (I guess that made me the sucker at the table). 

I spent the next six months sort of trying to get another law job while dabbling in pharmaceutical sales rep interviews because everyone doing that seemed to be making a ton of dough while working two days a week. Then I discovered that there was an actual sales component to it and I had to face the reality that I couldn't sell a solar powered space heater to an Eskimo so then I didn't know what to do. Regular readers of the Fantasy Golf Report may recall that this eventually led to a medical delivery job that ended with me pulling the equivalent of a John Winger from Stripes pulling over on the George Washington Bridge and throwing the keys to my cab in the river. ("I don't think I want to take your abuse anymore ... and I know I don't want to take your blood sample to the lab).

"Hey babe, watching the Godfather trilogy
for the third time this week inspired
me to go out and get us a pizza."
What made ​​matters worse was that the FGW was working from home doing a real grown-up job so she was there to bear witness to my downward career/life spiral. Either she sensed that it needed to be headed off at the pass or she got tired of me coming home from the video store every day with three hour movies like Gandhi and Nixon but whatever it was, at some point she suggested that we take advantage of this "opportunity" and travel. The next thing I knew, we had rented our house, bought a bunch of maps and were driving south on a budget of $ 70 per day including lodging  (welcome to the Red Roof Inn next to the overpass ... please excuse the crime scene tape across the door of room 217).

It was a life changing experience in many ways but it was most important as it relates to the Fantasy Golf Report in that it was the first time I ever wrote (a) for other people and (b) for fun. Remember, this was the year 2000 so the only way we had to communicate was good old fashioned email and to get access to that you had to walk into an Internet cafe and buy an hour at a screen and in some cases a cup of coffee which was their version of a one drink minimum. 

So about once every three weeks, the FGW and I would carve a few bucks out of our very tight budget and buy some online time to email our friends and family about what we were doing. Eventually we realized that, to economize our internet time, it made ​​sense to send out what we now call an email blast with the FGW recounting our journey as I hammered the keyboard with the occasional embelishment. These posts came to be known as the Updates from the Road and what we discovered was that after a couple months they had taken on a viral quality because we started getting responses back from people we didn't know asking to be added to the mailing list. If only I had thought to call them "friend requests" or "followers", I'd be freakin 'rich.

Those updates were the trailblazers for what would become the Fantasy Golf Report. One day when I hit the big time, I'll publish them in their entirety but for now I'm going to rekindle the idea as the entire FGF is in Italy for a three week journey that is now six days old so we'll pick-up with the trip to date in Part 2 and, at some point, we'll get to a recap of the bay swim but oh that seems so long ago as I sit on my ass stuffing myself full of cheese, pasta and Chianti. By the time I get home I'm going to need flippers and water wings to make one trip across the pool.

Footnotes

* Lost in America is a mid 80's semi-classic starring Albert Brooks and Julie Haggerty about a couple who quits their jobs and travels across the country in a Winnebago. Hilarity ensues (really - but only if you like Albert Brooks who is not for everyone).