Cheer The Deer

Monday April 26th, 2010 – Milwaukee, WI

Usually I’m working at Zanies in Chicago on a Monday night, but not this one. I had the week off from teaching and hosting and the timing couldn’t have been any better. A night to myself without having to think was exactly what I needed. I unplugged my brain and it felt good not to have any deadline other than to meet my cousin Brett for a sushi dinner.

Brett doesn’t have that much time off with his job and neither do I, so a night of relaxed grubbing up and catching up is always a treat. He’s got his hassles with his boss and work situation and a lot of it is the same as mine – many people in charge don’t belong there for whatever reason but they’re there…and we have to deal with it. It can be very frustrating.

Brett is a lot like me in that he’s left handed and creative and likes to do things his way, especially when he has a vision of what he wants to do. He’s very laid back and a friendly person, but he gets the same way I do when idiots come in and ruin his plan. He’s exactly like me in that he doesn’t suffer them well, and it’s cost him. We have similar struggles.

Both of us have had to slug it out in life with zero help from our parents. His father and mine were brothers, and as different as we used to think they were, they’re turning out to be exactly the same. They haven’t spoken in years, but there’s really no reason now. He’s got cancer apparently, but the damage is done. Brett speaks openly about it just as I have.

Fortunately, there aren’t all that many people who can relate to something that ugly. We both can understand how there can be absolutely zero feelings when hearing of a parent’s death, and we’ve both done it. His mother died a few years ago and I remember the frosty tone in his voice when he called to tell me. It was ice cold, just as I was when he called to tell me my father was dead. There was no emotion whatsoever. It was like a recording.

This is all deep and harsh and hopefully most people can’t relate to it at all. I wish I was one of them and I know Brett agrees. He’s done extremely well for himself and continues to make an honest living as a tradesman and instructor, but there’s still that gaping hole in his life where a father’s love and influence are supposed to be. I have one of those myself.

Why is that father position so damn important? I don’t know, but it absolutely is. It’s not a matter of being perfect, it’s a matter of being THERE, both in body and spirit. Those are memories that last a lifetime, good and bad. It affects both boys and girls too. My grandpa used to say that on both sides of every stripper pole there’s a bad father job. He was right.

The funny thing is, both of his sons said that HE was a bad father. He was wonderful to me, but maybe he wised up in his third chance to raise a child. He struck out the first two according to the ones he raised. I sure am thrilled he got it together by the time I got here.

I’ve always been deathly afraid to have children because I never wanted to do what was done to Brett and myself by our fathers. Brett never had kids for the same reason. He took it even further by having a vasectomy to really make sure. We wanted to break the chain.

It was totally therapeutic to get all this out over dinner, but also very heavy on the soul. Neither of us have very many people we can talk to about deep stuff like this, so when we do get together it often comes up. Better to get it out verbally than perched in a tree with a rifle picking people off bus stops. Getting it out of our systems is cleansing for our souls.

Since I was in Milwaukee anyway, I decided I was in the mood for live sports. I haven’t treated myself to a game in ages and there were two to choose from. The Brewers were at home as were the Bucks. Since it was a playoff game, I chose the Bucks. I’m glad I did.

I haven’t been to a game in years, and it brought back memories of when I worked there as a ball boy in high school. Actually, the Bradley Center wasn’t even built yet. In my day they played at The Arena, also known as ‘MECCA’, that had the multi colored floor. That joint used to absolutely rock during playoff games, and I can still remember that energy.

It was the ultimate cool job for a high school kid to sit directly under the basket and not only see the games for free, but get paid $10 a game to be there. I bet the ball boys make a lot more now, but so what? We had fun, and that was as close to any kind of major league sports as this short white boy would ever get. Mopping up sweat was my sporting height.

One of my ball boy friends Wade Waugus still works there all these years later. He’s an outstanding person and a great friend, and I suppose I could have gotten a ticket from him but I wanted to buy one and support the cause. He’s taken care of me plenty in the past, as has John Steinmiller who we worked for and is still there. I didn’t mind paying my way.

The ticket was $29, but what a game it was. The seat wasn’t that bad at all, except for a group of obnoxious lard ass twenty-something white guys who didn’t seem to understand the concept of sitting DOWN to watch a game. They were loud and rude and one of them farted so heinously in the third quarter I almost threw up. I wished I had a taser with me.

Let the record be straight that there were three twenty something black guys sitting with me in my row that were extremely well behaved, polite and paid attention to the game the whole time, just as I tried to. We all watched the white guys embarrass my entire race and I leaned over and said “THIS is why I hate Caucasians.” They doubled over with laughter.

Eventually, I just got sick of those idiots and moved to another open seat a few rows up to watch the rest of the game. What a perfect one to pick. The Bucks looked sharp for the entire time, and I was happy for Wade and John Steinmiller and Scott Skiles too. I think he’s an excellent coach, and the team really turned around this year. It was fun to watch.

Whether they win the series or not doesn’t really matter. They have their center Andrew Bogut out for the year, and nobody expected them to get this far. It’s good for the city and good for the team, and I found myself really having a great time and forgetting everything that was supposed to be pissing me off or making me feel like the lowly piss ant schmuck I’ve started to feel like in the last day or so. There’s plenty of time to worry about that the rest of the week. For tonight, I went back to high school again and ‘cheered for the deer‘.


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