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Hero. I've been turning that word over in my head for as long as I can remember. Truth: I still have no clue what it means. If anything, I'm more confused. It used to be black and white- bad guys would try to hurt people, good guys would show up and stop them. It was perfect. Now, who the hell knows? Superman even died that one time. Do heroes stand up for what they believe in? What if it's the wrong thing? Do they keep the ones they care about safe? How many does it take? What makes a hero?
Mom got a new job. Department of something for the county. Weird because it doesn't effect me at all. The announcement was like a dispatch from the front line- one quick line and nothing to do with me. Weirder because I don't know why she's changing. What's the point when you're post-midlife? She took a class to be more like my sister, now I guess this brings her closer. What a goal. One day maybe she'll realize there was another kid all along. One day It'd be nice if there will be a woman in my life- a happy one.
It dawned on me that no one's ever written Lois Lane correctly. Not even Jeph Loeb, who understands the DC universe better than anyone, ever. She's a super-bitch or a damsel-in-distress. I understand. She IS a hard- nosed, no-nonsense reporter. But, there's got to be something else. I mean, you've got Clark, who can literally hear meteors scrape together in outer space… yet he hangs on her every word. Superman could have ANY woman and he chose her. She must be really special. I've never given any thought to superhero love interests. Maybe because someone's around now—and she's really special.
Watching baseball again is happiness. The season is back on. Throw in some beer and hot dogs and life cannot get any better. Try it. Yankee tickets rock my world. 12 games. I hope cool people go with me. I wish I could play more catch. You need two people and two mitts though. Damn it. Catch makes life seem perfect. The way the ball goes back and forth, and the *shlup of the ball in the mitt. That and feeding ducks. They both convince you that your life is awesome. Or at least, they make me think mine's awesome.
I wonder if I'll ever be able to not worry. My life is rad right now, and yet at times I'm overcome with doubt. I'm good at my job. Yet in the back of my mind, screwing up is always a possibility. My parents are finally adjusting to us not being around. Yet I wonder if they still need me. What would an expert call this? Am I just being responsible? Overly so? Is this self-doubt? Self-loathing? It seems like a lot of these entries will lead to questions. I was hoping I could talk some answers out of myself.
FAITH inspires beautiful things, but can also cause a lot of PAIN. PAIN is equally tricky. It hurts, but how would we GROW UP without it? GROWING UP is hard. But isn't that what the journey's for? Have you ever asked a child "what do you want to be when you GROW UP?" Peter Pan couldn't GROW UP until he could be LOVED and reciprocate. Sometimes being in LOVE is TRUTHFULLY the hardest thing of all. The TRUTH can cause PAIN too. But with a little FAITH we get through it all and GROW UP and LOVE each other, right?
Dear Opening Day, You fucking rock. I've looked forward to your annual visit for as long as I can remember, and have yet to attend work/school on it. You should have a national holiday. This year I'm in a new city, I'm really glad you still managed to find me. And you're bringing nice weather this time; is that a first for us? A lot's happened since we last saw each other. I have a new job, and won't be watching the game with dad or Bridge this year. Anyhow, I'm looking forward to it. We should have a drink.
Yankees won over the White Sox, Tigers over the Orioles, and Rich was off to a healthy lead over Life in the 5th. A weird show and worsening weather in the 7th evened the score. Life's pitcher threw a ball that plunked Rich's early-season phenom, Confidence. With a hit batsman on 1st, Life all-star Lingering Self-Doubt began warming up, but would never enter the game. The next Rich batter, Common Sense hit a two run blast to end the game. "If someone is worried about hurting this club," said Sense, "they probably care about it a whole lot. That's cool."
"And in a single moment, he shows us again why he sets the standard for so many. There are those who think of him as outdated, the ‘boy scout' whipped by his selflessness. They do not, cannot, see him for what he is… a hero." I read that line a few weeks ago in a comic book. It's been tattooed on the inside of my eyelids ever since. Jeph Loeb wrote it- Batman's narrative about Superman. I'm sure some think I'm outdated as well. If someone could honestly say this about me once in my life I could die happy.
Listen to "Family Business" by Kanye West. I don't think "family" has to be related. Every team I've played on became a family. My floormates in the dorms were an amazingly close family. We all supported and took care of each other. That's more important than how similar your blood is, right? The staff at the bar tonight is most definitely a family. They wear their love and respect for each other like a blanket. I should put something like this together, because I don't have family in New York yet. I'd like to hang out with one on Easter.
Do I leave an impression on people? I wonder if I've inspired anyone to do anything that matters… or if I will. My life is fantastic… which leads me to the question- what do I do with it to help others? When I'm feeling especially contemplative and asking myself, ‘what's next?' it's hard to see where other people benefit. Then I think of Cal's book, and how he never really had that planned. Just one day at a time, doing his thing. I guess I should allow things to slow down and try that for a bit. Thanks again, Cal.
What if you could travel time and meet yourself at five years old? Would you tie his shoe? Would you listen to one of his stories? Would you read him one? Would he want you to? What if he asked you for all the answers- or wanted to know about everything to come? Would you tell him? Would he even believe that you were he once? Would he care? Many would ask, "how would meeting me affect him?" I think "how would reconnecting with him affect me?" is better because you wouldn't need time travel. You can try that today.
I think rain gets a bad rap. Granted, it sucks when you have to show up to a meeting all wet, or you had a picnic or ball game or golf planned, and you get rained out. But who doesn't like the way it smells outside right after the rain? I think the best part of a rainy night is laying in bed, going to sleep… and feeling safe and content inside, with the rain hitting your window. Thunderstorms are awesome too. It's like nature's reminding you to be in awe of its presence and fury. Should've been a weatherman.
It's safe to say the honeymoon's over at work. Seven months though, not too bad. Once something stops being new, what keeps us excited about it? I guess it's the little things- shitty day at work- but no clouds in the sky. Miss the friends and family, but have a few terrific friends here. Uncertain about my future, unhappy about my past- but nothing's better than my life right now. Laundry lost my shirts, but I'm watching Bad Boys II. Riding a good wave the last few months. Before, I would expect things to get worse. I stay up now.
15 days of writing these. 10 years without crying. 9 months in the city. 22 years on earth. Average prayer: 33 seconds. 3 months since I smoked. 2 hours since I drank. 10,000 years until this sound reaches Pluto. 30 minutes until bed. 7 hours until work. 3 months until I visit my parents. 4 hours since I talked to my sister. 1.5 hours since a friend called. 8 hours since I wrote a letter. ? until no one remembers me. ? until I'm in love. ? of youth left. Breathing in. Make every second count. Breathe out. You will.
I love the way sports bring people together. It's a pleasure to live in a true baseball town for the first time in my life. Everyone's my friend now. No matter where I go, I can talk about the score, the game, that play, that call. Every day this summer 9 men will meet 9 men on some field in some town somewhere and the most poetic mass will be said, and people like me will cheer and cry and discuss it. Until the next one. There will be the guys and the mound and the grass and it's perfect.
What makes a love song a love song? How do people decide what "their song" is? If life were a movie, I think the soundtrack to mine would be awesome. There would probably be hip hop interludes, because my life is rad. Maybe Kanye or Diddy. I love Danny Elfman scores, but my life's more glorious than weird. I'm not saying I deserve John Williams grandeur… but some Thomas Newman stuff would make sense. The quiet in-between moments are the ones where the best thoughts occur. You've gotta have a good score for that stuff. "Me against the World" music.
Things can't be any better. I would see this as a warning sign that bad things are about to happen. But now, I just can't wait for what's next. The stuff I know- I know well. What I don't know I can learn. Stripping away the need to feel cool, or important, or that I belonged was the best. I'm more honest and open than I've ever been. People in my life make it all worth it. I don't know where I'd be without this crew. I don't know where I'd be if I'd have settled for the old one.
Do you ever wonder how long you'll remember right now? I've had this feeling lately that this is one for the ages, that now could be a defining point in my life. But I must've thought before… during a time I can't recall, right? It's just like everything's turned up a notch. I need less sleep, the air tastes better, every word is cool, every move is on point… and there's not a hint of worry for the first time in a long time. I'm not even sweating if it will draw to a close. I'm just digging it. Now.
4 dinner guests: live or dead, fictional or real, who would they be? Jim Henson- the most compassionate visionary to effect a generation. He taught us to read, and used his incredible warmth and sense of humor for good. Roald Dahl- Favorite author and made me want to write. Taught hard lessons sweetly. Cal Ripken Jr.- favorite ballplayer. Learned about the game and the importance of family watching him. Wouldn't be where I am today without his work ethic. Shel Silverstein- his quirky and brilliant work showed me the joy in ordinary life and the beauty in ordinary people.
I'm not sure I'll ever understand what Peter Parker sees in MJ. When they met she was a destructive party chick that didn't give a rat's ass about dorks. She was into Harry and his money. She never really settled down either. She was in love with Spiderman, not Peter, for a really long time—only when she found out they were the same guy did she fall for Parker. She faked her own death to get out of their relationship, and Peter still took her back. What a selfish bitch! She chose a worry-free life over a happy Spiderman.
The weather and my mood are directly related. I understand it's common. How can I get myself to feel great when it sucks out? It looks like for the next few months it won't be a problem. Summer's coming with a vengance. The boys are playing ball again, I'm taking my time going from the train to work, and all is well. This is the best time to be a New Yorker. This is going to be a rad summer. I can feel it. Last summer was killer. Had a lot of growth, and the blackout (Die Hard: The Day)
Too often, we don't pay close enough attention to everyday words and actions. We think we have enough to burn. When was the last time you asked someone how they were doing, and had moved on by the time "good" came out of their mouth? Have you ever been destroyed inside, but when someone asked if you were ok, you said "yes?" Were you on the verge of tears, but held it back to spare those around you? Ever bite back a smile because you didn't want people to wonder? These are all tiny half-truths. Please help. Use the truth.
Dear everyone that matters, Thank you so much for sticking by me recently. I know there are few of you, but your voices of support are loud. I'm sorry my humility keeps me from telling you all about the things I've done, but I want to thank you so much for all of them. My life's rad because of you, and I keep learning from you and getting better. You can do the impossible, stop the world, even change MY mind. And I love you for it. Without you I would just be a rumor. You make me real. Thanks
If you had to transmit your soul to any non-living object, what would you be? I'd be a night-light. My whole job would be to make people feel less scared. That way I could protect someone, simply by being there. Being depended upon for somebody's security would mean a lot to me. It wouldn't matter that there's no reason to be scared of the dark. Most of the things we're really frightened of (being alone forever, people not liking us, hurting the ones we love) we can't do anything about, just like the creatures that go bump in the night.
Tourists are visitors. If they're lucky, guests. They won't really affect that place they visit… they pass through. What does that make me, and all the other young people striking out and making it happen? We haven't been here the whole time. Most won't be here until the end. But we shape this whole experience; it redefines us. The city/moment/relationship/situation… pick one. Sometimes I feel like I'm groping in the dark, trying to find the familiar in all the new. At times, it's like I close my eyes and make it HARDER. Are we all we're pilgrims of the now?
Everything old is new again… and everything that dies someday comes back. Will technology ever go out of style? Will there ever be a lashing out, like that super bowl ‘1984' commercial? I see so many people get so frustrated at their computer, or that damn cell phone screen that's broken again. Aren't these supposed to make our lives easier? There's something wholly evil about taking a call at the ballpark, right? Will it get worse before it gets better? How long until jerks get laid based on their ringtone? Is "what's your screename?" the new "'come here often?" Fuck.
"It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The hard... is what makes it great." A line from A League of Their Own. I think it works for more than baseball. The hard, the risk, creates the reward, right? If I really were unstoppable, everything I've ever accomplished wouldn't be a big deal. If were a prefect communicator, I could always say what's on my mind- but then the rare moment I get my point across properly wouldn't be so cool. Our limits don't define us- but the moments when we rise above them do.
My sense of humility and gratitude share a thin ledge lately. I don't like to talk about my accomplishments, so the contributors go sadly unthanked. The truth is, I don't boast about things I've done to protect myself in the future: If I attract people now that love me for what I do, they'll all go away disappointed when I have to slow down (no awards for just plain good PR guys- only young PR guys) and I'd be alone and crushed. If I find people that love me for me, they'll still be there in support regardless of performance.
Epilogue. For better or worse, this completes an entire month of me pouring out my head. Please read what you wish from the month. I hope this collection starts conversations, answers questions, and pushes you to ask more—whether you know me or not. As you read, keep in mind, these things are written in the moment. It's hardly ever as bad as it reads. However, it's always as good as it sounds. Probably the most important thing I've learned: life's so rad… and it's a work in progress. I may continue next month, not sure yet. Thanks, happily -Rich
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