Posts Tagged ‘adventure’


I saw teenagers again yesterday.

As a matter of fact, I have seen more teenagers as of late than I have in quite awhile.

I blogged about teens before; they are reoccurring antagonists in my writing. I am always an innocent protagonist just trying to find his way through the obstacles of life being haunted by the constant prospect of teenagers lurking all around. I am of the sound opinion that one could re-write the entire screenplay for The Walking Dead simply by finding all the references to zombies and subsequently replacing them with wild and crazy teenagers. You really wouldn’t have to change the title of the show either, just the wardrobe of the monsters. Instead of tattered flannels and torn jeans, you would need itsy-bitsy shorts with random words across the butt region, and of course skinny jeans.

In the new version of the show, the skinny jean wearing teenage boys are the weaker of the monsters. They pale in comparison to the strength and abilities of the teenage girl monster. This is not that the teenage boys aren’t a force to be reckoned with–quite the opposite actually. It is just to say that if there is a teenage girl present, the teenage boy becomes resigned to trying to please the teenage girl and momentarily forgets his original mission to ruin the lives of the grown adult.

I so badly want to tell you that there are exceptions to this rule and that there are good teenagers out there–like the Twilight version of vampires, but alas, there are no sparkling teens. If you ever believe yourself to either be the owner of one or an acquaintance thereof, you have been seduced by the worst type…the sirens of the teenage world who lure adults into a false sense of security and trust, and then boom, you and countless screaming adult argonauts are shipwrecked and left for dead.

There are no “good teenagers,” there are only teenagers who, like an alcoholic who has kicked the habit but is in constant danger of falling off the wagon, are sober from committing any variety of teenage inequities, but will most likely falter and resume terrorizing the adult of our species.

Teenage boys, while not the most dangerous of their kind, are troubling because of two things:

1.) They have not grown into their appendages. They are a clumsy breed and have trouble with seemingly easy physical movements like walking or any combination of walking and another physical activity. Their feet are awkward and they do not know what to do with their arms. They lumber around from one place to another tripping and swinging their arms with no rhythm. This is why there is a good case for my Walking Dead contention earlier. The teenage boy is, for all intents and purposes, a zombie–in skinny jeans.

2.) They are unsure about their body hair. I have said this before and I say it again. If a teenage boy can grow facial hair of any kind, they will–regardless of whether it is in their best interest. Thusly, teenage boys tend to look homeless, which again aligns itself with the Walking Dead contention from earlier paragraphs. The hairstyles which teenage boys choose to wear are another problem for me. I do not want them to depart from this habit, however. This habit makes them easily negotiable should physical violence ever become necessary. Their vision is impaired by their bangs (this is a sentence that should never be associated with men). Men should not have bangs.

Teenage girls are the meanest of any human species. I have a list of over one thousand reasons why, so I will choose a couple that you NEED to know to function out there.

1.) Utilizing shorts that they had to sneak and put on without any self-respecting father’s permission, they control the teenage boys. They are actually the brains for the entire teenage population. They are the like the queen bee, or the leader of the bugs in Starship Troopers. They are miniature women. They have not yet honed all their skills, like those of their adult form, so they are even more dangerous–think baby rattle snake who is actually deadlier than their full grown counterpart because they cannot control the release of venom. Teenage girls are scary, because they are learning to be adult women, who are actually the most powerful being ever to exist. However, adult women are allowed to be scary and powerful, because 92.3 percent of time they use their power for good (when they do not, however, countries fail, people are murdered, horrible, horrible things happen: For further examples see any show on the Lifetime Movie Network, or take a second and study the breakup of the Beatles).

2.) Teenage girls are exceptionally bad because most of the teenage girls’ parents do not believe that their teenage girls are part of the group of bad teenage girls. It’s quite simple. Even as those of you with teenagers read this blog, you are saying to yourself, “Not my teenage girl.”

**Newsflash** All of you are saying this, but what I have written is happening out there, so at least one of you are wrong.

To a certain extent this rule applies to teen boys as well, but teen boys are not as adept at looking innocent. I am sorry teen boys, but adult women have passed on to their female children an ability to manipulate that will haunt you until your dying day. As a case in point, you know, there was a time when I had PIN numbers that were original to me…Now, after years of work on my wife’s part, all our PIN numbers are ones which she brought to our relationship. Most startlingly of all, I recently found that the PIN numbers utilized in my home are the same that my Mother-in-Law uses. This absolutely confirms my worst fears: Females have a much better training program then males. Its scope and organization is irrefutably better than even the military. I am certain that if males do have a training program it consists of only one rule, and that is: 1.) If what you are doing seems to please a female, continue doing that….

I write this as a warning of our enemy, people. They are not to be discarded as weak even though skinny jeans could lead one to that assertion. Teenagers are a thinking and adapting enemy. They are trying to take over the world and our only hope is that before this can happen, they begin the turn for adulthood. However, I have started to see may teenage characteristics in young twenty something year olds. Be vigilant. Think Anti-Teen Force Protection. Act like teens are trying to kill you and you should be fine.

I just wanted you to know, because I have been holding it in since last night at the movie theater where teenagers were hellbent on ruining the movie….

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Have you ever been tortured? I have. I have lived, hell I live, with the constant and agonizing terror of not knowing when my torturer will come back through the door–when the purveyor of pain will return to peddle their product to the innocent man that is me. For years, I have faced the fanatical fiend that found her way under the false pretenses of a fortuitous future into my life. The problem, my friends is that the perpetrator who propagates my plight, is so sweet in the day and evil in the night.

So this alliterative attempt, albeit now with added assonance, is the introduction in another episode of my anguished sleep life.

I have written to you all before of my wife’s nightly antics. I want to record them so badly, but I worry that if I was to show “Awake Whitney,” “Asleep Whitney,” that some tragedy would occur like in Back to the Future with the polaroid and the whole “Marty McFly disappearing while playing Earth Angel” thing.

Lately, its taken a turn for the even more insane. It has become a harrowing experience complete with me waking up to Whitney standing on the bed, looking nine feet tall from my vantage point, head on pillow. In her eyes, resided a look that said, “I am going to stomp your head now.” When I asked her what she was doing up there, Sleeping Whitney scrambled for an excuse, as not to give her true intention of stomping my noggin into flatness. Her answer was simple and logical.

“I was trying to catch the floating baby.”

I am not even sure how to have responded to her statement. Why? Well it’s simple. I am not sure that the floating baby scenario isn’t just about the creepiest thing she could have said at that moment. It’s like interviewing a psychopath using the Rorschach Ink Blot Test. You know how it goes. I hold up a card that looks remarkably like an innocent butterfly and say, “What do you see, Whitney?” To which Sleeping Whitney would respond calmly and like it is obvious, “I see a butterfly…………..with wings made of human skin and the ability to talk, but when the butterfly talks it can only say perverse and vulgar phrases.”

Adding to the drama, once Sleeping Whitney explained her heroic intentions of catching the floating baby, she panicked and dropped in place like she was shot, or worse still, like the demon in her body promptly exited, stage left, and in doing so, her hind end hit the marble top of the bedside table, cracking it, and leaving a triangular shaped purple mass. For two weeks now, when Awake Heath pats Awake Whitney’s butt as an affectionate gesture, Whitney glares at him in pain. For just a moment, a fleeting and brief moment, we remember what lies beneath the seemingly sweet facade that is my wife’s awake body.

And this, my faithful following, was only one event, and it was the most innocent of them all. The following night, I was scared awake by Sleeping Whitney yelling in her sleep. Sadly, this is not too out of the norm in my house, but what ensued was unexpected. After about ten seconds of unintelligible ramblings, Sleeping Whitney somehow propelled herself, without having left the laying down position, three feet out of the bed slamming into the wall. The abrupt meeting with the wall was enough to wake Whitney.

Dazed and confused, she looked at me and said, “See what happens when you steal all of the covers?”

This was horrifying.

“After the “Floating Baby Incident,” and the world record setting “Three Foot Flop,” I quickly realized that crazy had come to town and that it had taken up residence in my bed. Alas, these two were just the labor pains of something much more terrifying.

In the middle of sweet dreams of unicorns, puppies frolicking upon clouds made of marshmallow goodness, and beams of rainbows and Oompa Loompa’s singing rhythmic riddles, I was jerked out of slumber. Sleeping Whitney must have saw my Ooompa induced smiling and felt the necessity to end all happiness. I can only guess as to what led up to it, but I picture a wide eyed beauty, now overcome with evil, panting as she reached across the bed and dug her fingers into my eyes. Grabbing with such violent tenacity, one of her fingers was actually able to get beneath my left eyelid, so that when I jerked away and grabbed her hand, my eyelid actually popped from Sleeping Whitney’s gripping fingers and slapped with elastic fervor back onto my eyeball. It was stretched so far and tight that when it connected with my eye, it created an audible popping sound and sent my head backwards; back and to the left; back and to the left like JFK.

Quickly, I blinked and felt for my eyes, certain I would find a gaping hole where once a deep Sinatra blue orb, capable of wooing myriads of women existed. To my surprise, I still had both eyeballs and my vision seemed only momentarily blurred by the tears resultant from a good quality eye gouging and eyelid popping.

I pushed Sleeping Whitney back onto her side of the bed. Sitting still, breathing heavily, I watched Sleeping Whitney. She appeared to be back to normal sleep. Curiously, I leaned in closely and tried to see through blurry tears. Too dark to get a really good look, I leaned in even closer. Silently breathing, eyes closed and resting, she looked as if nothing had happened. I kept close.

The following is not an exaggeration. I would not joke of such things. As I stared, Whitney’s eyes popped open glaring into my face, a small grin appeared on her face as I jumped back and recoiled under the covers. For the next three hours, I felt that lifeless, wide-eyed grin watching me as I feigned sleep. It was the longest night of my life.

So, let me retract my earlier contestation that crazy was now residing in my house, or in the least, let me revise the statement. Crazy just doesn’t do it, for Sleeping Whitney is far more sinister.

I just wanted you know, because I have been holding it in for years.


Longterm relationships, boyfriends and girlfriends, married, gay, straight, all carry around with them the same types of issues. All couples fight, and the ones that don’t are probably more destructive than the ones that actually have members that say what they are feeling to one another. In these relationships, there is a chance for growth. In the silent, seemingly happy and fight-less couples, one member is, no doubt feeling voiceless and oppressed. I told my wife on a couple of occasions, that there has to be at least one moment occasionally, in a marriage where the man should think he wants to become a monk and run off into some form of solitary lifestyle with just men, who all think the same way they do. I picture it being a little slice of heaven in some far off land. It will have over one hundred taps and all the beers will be my favorite microbrews. There would be a place to smoke cigars and it would be well ventilated. Other men would would show up and we’d all talk about 17th Century Literature, and everyone would agree with me…the problem in the end of all of this is that after the first drink from the bar, I would have think, “man, I wish my wife was here, she’d love this place..”

This is not a blog about fighting, you need to figure that our on your own, but you need to know it happens and to suck it up. Nope, enter this blog into the “How to Continue Dating Your Spouse, Long-term Boy/girlfriend” category. You didn’t ask for the advice, but then again, you didn’t ask for anything else I have written either.

Zombie movies are, in my opinion, the number one way to date your wife. Mine pulls me into her and holds on tight when humans are eating other humans. So, World War Z was going to be the venue of our first date (where we actually hired a babysitter and went out). I love my wife, and I want her to be happy. I want her to look at me and think, “damn, I won the husband lottery.”
In my quest for doing so, I compiled the following list of important behaviors. Some are proven, and some are conjecture. Either way, I would immediately include them in your relationships.

1. Open the door for your significant other.
This is huge, and it shouldn’t be that difficult. I open building doors for her, and generally, I am a man of great manners with an extremely chivalrous nature. So naturally, I chose to forego this necessity. Additionally, I opted to further compound my omission by making a joke. It went like this:

My wife says to me, “Just how I pictured our first date in months starting; my husband jumping in the car and waiting for me to open my own door.” I told her that it was rude of me and I would do better. My coping strategy is always to go to humor in order to move past any moment where I have screwed up. So I say to my wife, “If I have to remember these technicalities involved in car-door opening while dating, you have to remember your obligations for lewd and lascivious behavior once in the car, whose door was graciously opened for you.”

In perfect Whitney timing, she responds, “That’s not a problem, I will just think about Brad Pitt fighting zombies…mmmmmmmm.”

2. If going to a movie at a theater, show your wife how much you value her love by stopping at a Walgreens and buy boxes of candy ahead of time.

Don’t read that as sarcasm. This is actually a huge move in a marriage. One box of candy at the movie costs the same as three gallons of gas. It is like the airport and movie theater have the same owners and they are both dicks. Rich dicks. Anyway, I did this yesterday and this actually made my wife fall more in love with me more than ever. She runs the finances, so it is actually romantic for her to see me being economical.

I went into the store and saw the plethora of options for possible candy enjoyment. Panic ensued. I couldn’t remember the last thing Whitney said she was craving, (we don’t eat a ton of candy, so it has been awhile). So what I did was absolutely genius: I pretty much bought every candy there was. Once in the movies, she reached in her purse (the one that all women have that was purely brought to smuggle large items of “stuff” into areas that do not allow the “stuff” to be brought in from off the premises. One of the boxes was Whoppers. I had struck gold. Whitney breathed in a long content sigh and said in a high pitched voice she whisper yelled, “You remembered!!!! You love me!!!!”
Now, I hope she doesn’t realize that in not remembering the actual candy, subsequently panicking, and following that up with buying everything in reach, I spent more money on candy than we would have at the airport/movie theater.

3. When you leave the movie theater, and you remember to open her car door, also remind her of her obligations once inside again, because that joke never gets old, right?

I didn’t do this, but I really wish I did.

4. Make your wife or significant other laugh.
This is what I do to make up for my lack of “conventional good looks.” Making a woman laugh actually makes you more attractive to them. Make them laugh like it is your sole mission. It will show them that they are worth the effort, and there is nothing better than a wife who is smiling.

5. Don’t belittle your wife when she has non-sensical requests.
I say to Whitney, “Baby, little woman, sweet thing, do you want a Starbucks on the way to the theater.” She replied with, “No, I need a Starbucks, but I would rather have a coffee.”
I know, I know, but just let it go.

6. If you see a girl who your wife points out is pretty, always say she is dressed like a slut.
I didn’t do this, but it is always a good move. It is especially important to add a dimension of disgust to your voice. If you say it with excitement, it will not have the desired intent.

These are six important aspects of dating within a relationships that are sure to work.

In the end, I believe all of this is relatively true. We as humans put more time into impressing our bosses, random acquaintances, and just people who don’t matter than we do our spouses or boyfriends, or girlfriends, or whatever. My wife used to teach dance lessons, and she had this strange habit of not letting married people dance together when initially learning steps. Her answer when asked why was startling and true. “Most married people will treat a stranger nicer when they screw up the dance than they would their spouse.”

So find a good zombie movie and go. Buy some cheap candy and make her laugh. You’d be surprised what behavior that could lead to in a car….


Man of Steel

I have to admit that I am as excited as anybody to get out and see the newest Superman movie. Although DC comics pale in comparison to its counterpart, Marvel, Superman has been a longstanding part of every man-child’s upbringing. We, the masculine form of our species, have long been enamored with the idea of this spectacle Superman. A dude from another planet with values and morals beyond reproach, with only one weakness, if you don’t count Lois Lane, which I never do, because having a woman / love interest also be a weakness is so cliche it isn’t even funny. I could never stand that Lois would rather see Superman weak and get beat up in a diner rather than just be an awesome lover who could fly her around Metropolis on Date Night Fridays. That is not why I write today, although I would like to expound upon Lois and Superman’s relationship at some point in my life. I write because today is Father’s Day. I want to talk about the old man who brought me up and instilled in me the tenants of being a man.

There exists a thousand stories that I can tell that would prove the assertion that my pops, Lane started me early in training. If you have ever read anything about Teddy Rooselvelt, you would understand that, as a kid, this mountain of a man was weak and fragile. Afflicted with asthma and possessing a generally frail body, Teddy wasn’t the guy who one could see later leading the Rough Riders or hunts for wild animals in far off countries. One day Teddy’s father came to him and said, “Teddy, you weren’t given the strongest body, so you have to make it yourself.” From sick and weak to the Presidency–no big deal. The rest is history. I don’t really tell that story to glorify Teddy. He was a good dude, but I wanted to to point out his father, because in his father, I realize what it is my father did for me.

Lane Phillips, quite possibly the meanest man to have walked the earth, a man who is destined to be the subject of many an outlaw country song, the man who when cut bleeds like a wounded knight from a Monty Python sketch. Lane Phillips, the man who spawned me from his loins and then surrounded me with sisterfolk, the man whose mustache is rumored to be more full and thick than that of God himself. Lane Phillips, my father, and now my friend.

This is my dad in a nutshell.

I got in a bike accident as a sixth grader. I hydroplaned for one thousand feet (read ten or so feet) and came up with road rash all over my arms and legs. I was out of myself in pain. I was running around in circles, and according to my father, I was shedding my clothes like some moron, like I had entered into a state of shock and lost control of myself. People were gathering and watching the entire show. I was a star! My dad grabbed my bike. Walking right onto the stage during the drama, he grabbed me and looked at all of the wounds, probably making sure there were no bones broken. He put my hand on the bike and said, “you need to get yourself together and limp out of here pushing this bike home. Nothing you’re doing right now is going to make any of this better.” His voice was riddled with a tone that said, “wrecking is one thing, embarrassing yourself is another thing entirely, push through this and move on.”

A few years later, I watched my dad catch a fish. The fishing lure he was using had a treble hook and and was barbed to ensure the fish, once caught, stayed caught. While removing the fish from the hook, the fish jerked as fish do, one of the hooks went into my dad’s finger. My dad said one word and it was profane. With the hook through his finger, he still removed the fish and put it on the stringer to be cleaned later. The barb was through the skin so he had to push the entire hook through in order to get it out. He bled like his index finger was actually designed incorrectly and attached to an artery, but never said another word. I saw what a calm and cool reaction did for him and was amazed..He just pushed through and everything was better.

A few years later, I was attending Officer Candidates School for the United States Marine Corps. After jumping into a huge hole full of water, I felt an extremely painful and audible pop in my right ankle. Another Marine had to lift me up and we both kept running. I stayed calm, cool, and collected and finished three more weeks of training on a foot that was missing all anterior ligaments. When I told the doctor that I kinda was just brought up not to act like an idiot when you hurt yourself. The doctor responded, “How admirable, but its the stupidest thing you could have done.” What does he know, right Dad?

My Dad has raised me to be courageous in adversity. Something Superman never has to do. My Dad has built in me a longing to be responsible for my actions–a trait far too lacking in society today. My Dad has raised me with the values that your wife is the someone to be taken care of and cherished. My dad has raised me with a longing to be tough when things get difficult. My dad instilled in me a longing to give my child every single opportunity, but not to give them every “thing.”

My dad said to me recently that he sometimes forgets that his father is gone on to a better place and that there are moments when he will be thinking and he will have a question for his dad. He relayed to me how sad it was to realize again that his dad is gone. He told me stories about his old man, and how amazing and brilliant my grandfather was. I heard emotion in his voice and longing to have just one more discussion with the man. In that moment, me a mid-thirty year, became a boy again. And sitting there, in an honest voice my dad taught me another lesson. My Dad has taught me to slow down and not be as tough–to take the time to be a dad–to look at him as an example of all things good and bad–to take the things about him that I love and apply them, but to build upon other areas. He has taught me that he is not perfect and that the best parts of men are found in how they respond to their own failures and shortcomings. My dad has taught me to be a better dad than even he was.

My beautiful wife has given me a daughter. Today I thank my dad, because he has given me the foundation to be a Man of Steel for her.

I just want you to know, because I have been holding it in for years.


We have become hikers. We haven’t become the hikers who have the shoes, knitted socks, and professional style walking sticks. We haven’t become the hikers who forage off of the land as we hike through it. As hikers, we are somewhat novice, but the cool thing about hiking is that you kind of practice for it every time you walk, because hiking is just a walk. Except, hikes are a walk where you constantly worry about snakes, your hydration, dying from the elements, an accidental wrong turn and subsequent three day search for your hypothermic and near lifeless body, and in my case, you have to worry about your wife trying to murder you.

If one was to get overly technical, the murder was probably warranted, but nonetheless, it added a new and somewhat unsuspected dimension to hiking. Like I said, we have become hikers. It wasn’t the result of a process of thought and in-depth research, it was a spur of the moment decision that hiking is what all the cool kids do, the realization, that we are also cool, and therefore should be hikers. So last weekend, we hiked, and what I want to relay to you in this edition of LifeasIKnowit is what hiking is all about. Maybe after reading this, you will all feel so inclined as to start off on a more active lifestyle. This entry would go down in the category of self-help, and it will be well worth your time to continue, trust me, I wrote it, I know how it ends. Plus, I went hiking with Whitney, the reoccurring character who plays my wife in previous blogs.

Hiking starts off with a bunch of happy hippies on a trail eating granola to carboload for the impending trek into nature’s bowels. Hiking probably actually starts off a day or two previous to the hike in question. I picture people preparing by packing their little hiking packs with water, snacks, compasses, random survivally things. Hiking probably starts with the hikers drinking water to prepare for said hike. All of these things are important for those interested in hiking, and as is to be expected, none of these were things we decided to do. I am being less than truthful, we drank a lot of beer and wine in preparation for the hike, which may have covered the carboloading portion of preparation, but defeated the hydration portion of prepping. (Although, Whitney believes that drinking is a great hydrator as it leaves your pee clear).

Everybody is happy at the beginning of a hike. There is much to be excited about. The trail is pretty, and you feel so productive that you can’t stand it! You walk about three hundred feet and you happen upon your first group of hikers who are finishing up the same hike. You try not to notice that they look like undead versions of the same group of hippies starting at the time you did. They walk, dragging their left legs along beside them. They do not talk; instead, they mumble and grunt loud guttural booms of sound from their respective diaphragms. You try not to notice the dog that probably started out walking with them, but whose lifeless body is now being dragged just behind their left legs. You are blind to this, and you quest on.

You are given one more seemingly innocent, yet foreboding warning of things to come when Whitney, who is walking like a professional walker–hands up and dangling, while breathing in a perfect rhythm who-who-hee-hee, says, “Do you think we should have brought sandwiches?” All you can do at this point is continue to fall in love with your own plan, or lack thereof. “We will be fine with what we have brought (which consists of a Nalgene bottle and, well that’s pretty much it.)”

You walk another half mile and the trail starts something alarming. The trail begins to go from a nice, flat and enjoyable walk, to an alarming incline and group of switchbacks. To give you a point of reference, the incline is the same incline Sisyphus was forced to push the boulder up in mythology, or more simply stated, the incline is the same walk you would have to walk, perpetually in hell (you can keep going, but it generally sucks). There was no gradual increase in incline, nature just reached out and smacked you in the face with itself. Softly and sweetly, in the back of your head you can still hear Whitney’s question echoing, “Do you think we should have brought sandwiches?”

You are now halfway up the mountain. You have stopped to rest and the pleasant blush resulting from the increase blood flow has turned into relentless panting and random words in between. Where once there was loving conversation between two happily married people, there is pretty much only the sound of contempt ridden scowls. People walk by you and for just a split second, you make it look like nothing is breaking you, like this is easy.

Another hiker on her way down passes and does it. She plants the time bomb. “Be careful,” she says. “I just about stepped on a snake. They disguise themselves so well.” So now, what was a quick moving pace has slowed to the exact same pace that those poor soldiers who search for land mines must walk. Our eyes never leaving the ground, dismally marking every square centimeter of the trail–this would be a part of my hell. “Do you think we should have brought sandwiches?” Still echoing.

What seems like four hours later you reach the top. Some experienced hikers are looking out at the view–it is beautiful. You smell marijuana. Some kids are smoking it while philosophizing over life’s meaning. You pan around the area and realize the problem with a hike. When you hike, once you get to the top, you still have to go back. You look to your left and see a group of jerks doing something just to rub their planning in your face. They are eating sandwiches. You turn Whitney around quickly and we start back down. You think you can hear something about sandwiches coming from Whitney, but you just press onward. If you ever thought down can’t be as hard as up, you are dead wrong. Down becomes a torturous near free fall that shoves your entire foot into the front one third of your shoes. You are like a Chinese woman with bound feet. Down sucks.

You find that you are about thirty feet ahead of Whitney. You stop and wait for her to catch up. She nears, and you notice that she is wearing kind of an empty look, like no one is home. You start to talk and before you can get out three words she says, “Unless you have a sandwich, I don’t think you should say a god damned word to me!”

As you near the end of the trail, you are both dragging our left foot behind us and grunting nightmarish sounds from our diaphragms. The group just starting, shoving sandwiches into their packs, still joyful and excited asks, “How was it?” You grunt at them and continue your zombie walk. There, just ahead of you is your truck. You have accomplished what you set out to do. Your marriage is stronger because of your lack of planning, right? Whitney looks at you and says, “I am godawful miserable right now.” Yes, you answer yourself. Not planning for the hike was a great decision for your marriage. But we are hikers now. Tested in the flames of hell.


The Fame Ponzi Scheme

Listen,

We can do this together. It is going to take you being unselfish and a little trust. I need all of your support on this, or we are not going to accomplish what I am about to explain. Before I go into detail, you need to know that this is not all about me either, there is plenty to go around. Nowadays with it being so cool to be communist, this shouldn’t be that difficult to get on board with. Seriously, this could change your life for the better and in a dramatic fashion.

So gather around, suspend your negativity and listen.

The theory:

Becoming famous, and the extravagance and riches associated with said fame can be a game changer for more than the person who is the “face” of this fame. One can use the fame of the famous person to their benefit. It sounds so Machiavellian, but in this instance it is not, because all would agree that this is how it should be. The person who initially finds fame and fortune is the stepping stool for those to follow. His selfless devotion to the betterment of the whole will save the day and change countless lives.

The Argument in the converse:

The Che Guevara / Castro Possibility. In this story of communist takeover, you have what I call, unoriginally, the “totalitarian in communist’s clothing” revolution. A leader guy with seemingly good intentions gets a bunch of other people with seemingly good intentions to help him overcome the oppressive regime with seemingly ill intentions. Unfortunately, upon successfully overthrowing the oppressive regime, the leader guy, who a bunch of well intended persons thought was well intentioned, becomes decidedly oppressive himself…or at least thats the way I think it went.

This is a possibility. This is why the person we send should be someone who can shoulder the burden of power (fame) and still function the way we need them to. To act as our preverbal “coyote” shepherding those he used to find fame originally through the divide separating the plebeians from the proletarians. Without using words I just looked up to find: We can’t afford to make a person famous and then have them become a Judas, who will kiss our cheek like we never existed. The person has to be of solid character, yet believably capable of being famous.

The MC Hammer Paradox. This troublesome little tale has a skilled dancer and purveyor of words who finds fame. After achieving his goal, he brings his entire neighborhood along to share in the party. Soon, Hammer finds himself struggling to make ends meet and with nothing left of the millions his feet had earned him. Regardless of how much the man prays, he cant touch this problem and it just won’t go away. When people should have had to hold him back and beg, “Hammer, don’t hurt ’em,!!!” he just let these so-called friends suck his life away.

This is much more unlikely because our plan is not parasitic in nature. I’m not, rather, the person we nominate, to send to fame isn’t just going to spread his riches, he is going to utilize the infrastructure of his fame to build the rest of the people’s. It is brilliant and absolutely without flaw. This isn’t the “come mooch off me” plan for life, it is the “let’s not waste an opportunity and only let idiots like the Kardshians and Perez Hilton be famous for nothing when we can all do it” plan.

The How:

We have to work together to make one of us famous. We have to violently enforce our will upon the outside world and take fame. We have to spread and push the name of the individual we are peddling with tenacity. Through voracious and relentless work towards a common goal we can raise one person to stardom regardless of what they are actually capable of doing that would solicit fame. The details need to be hashed out, but the premise is sound.

The Who:

As I have alluded to, this person needs to be of sound mental stature and able to deal with the pressure of riches. He needs to be convincing at convincing people he deserves to be famous. He needs to possess some intangible quality associated with people of fame. In short, this person must be of great character and willing to serve the people. Even shorter, I nominate myself.

Remember I’m doing this for you — I am your sacrificial lamb and we are about to usurp the way this world works.

Let me know?

I just wanted you to know, because I have been holding it in for years….


Friday September 28, 2012 is the first day I really think I got it.  Everything came together for me in one single moment of clarity.  I was punched in the face with truth, and the truth set me free.  The undisputable morsel of knowledge was this:

I am tremendously thankful that I am a man who does not have a vagina or the ability to grow life in my uterus (if I had one).

I mean, up until this point, pregnancy kind of just turned Whitney into a man….She has been gassy, burps a lot, and doesn’t sit like a lady anymore.  Let’s get this straight, she is dead sexy and glowing, but she has her Al Bundy–Married with Children moments.  I conveyed this to her the other day, but to my dismay, somehow this comment wasn’t met with the merriment I expected.

Friday, September 28, 2012, at a routine pre-labor appointment, turned close but no cigar for delivery, I realized exactly what is going down here—literally.  There were metal tools, monitors, multiple women peering into the nether regions of my wife as she sat in motorcycle rider position on a table.  I had this distinct feeling that the nurses were setting up some form of camp in my wife’s birthing area.  Seriously, it looked like they were the advanced party for a circus that is coming to town and their job was to get the big top set up ahead of the carnies’ arrival.  The sounds confirmed my suspicions.  The clanking of metal sounded like tent posts and stakes being prepared for assembly.  Nurses clamoring about grabbing straps and chains excitedly mumbling random things to one another filled the air with the same nostalgic feelings I had before the State Fair in Albuquerque, NM as a kid (minus the potential to be stabbed or killed by gang members or propositioned by local prostitutes).  Things were getting real.  And more importantly, things were getting really invasive.

I offered my hand to Whit as she lay there victim to the carnival occurring just two feet down from her head.  Whitney looked beautiful, but nervous, and rightfully so.  I needed to say something to calm her down while the nurses resurrected the biggest show on earth, so I blurted the first thing that I thought of, “Whitney, you are doing so much better than I would if the nurses were checking my cervix.”  That was it; that was the best I had.

I mean, what does a man say to a woman in this moment that really contains any meaning?  I don’t want to be a coach who just says motivational phrases.  I want to be a valuable member of the push towards life.  I don’t want to say things for the sake of saying things.  I wanted her to hear my words and know that I understand her pain.  I thought I conveyed it.  I am certain that if the nurses were checking my cervix, it would not be met with the calm look of absolute resolution that Whitney met the moment with.

Whitney was like Xena, Warrior Princess sitting there.  I was proud of her, but I cannot say that there was a moment when I thought, “let me take this pain for her.”  I think women are somehow better suited to deal with this moment than men.  Plus, I want to reiterate that Eve ate the apple, and we men just felt compelled to follow suit, because since the dawn of creation, we have just followed our ladies around hoping for a little attention, and we thought that if we were cast out of paradise at the woman’s side, she might give us a little lovin’ later.  I cannot change history…

In the end, the trip was just the beginning of what looks to be a process that is winding down.  I keep trying to coerce Whit into labor by making her do Jumping Jacks, and through a steady diet of spicy foods, but Whitney is hell bent on an October Baby—and make no if, ands, or buts about it, Whitney is this circus’s ringleader.

I just wanted you to know, because I have been holding it in for years.


Earlier this week I happened upon.  No, no, no, let me be honest, because Whitney is going to read this and she will know that I am being dishonest lying.  About a month ago a tragedy happened.  My wife and I were leaving our home to attend a movie together.  Our driveway is above average in length, which means that things that happen at the end of the driveway are far enough away from the house that they occur unbeknownst to us.  As we got to end of the driveway, we saw it…the scene of a crime, a horrible, unsolicited attack on my mailbox.  There it was frail, barely clinging to life, its mouth flung open like a boxer just hit with a left hook.  Its red flag pointing downward bent beyond the joint’s range of motion.  Nails were broken out of the wood, but somehow, the post was still able to support the aluminum house for travelling letters.  Only now, the box was ripped 90 degrees to the left from the destructive nature of the impact from the vehicle that hit it.  It needed to be fixed, so what did I do?  I did what any self respecting young man on his way to the movies would do—I stood it back up and drove off vowing to Whitney that I would fix it.  Whitney muddled something under her breath that sounded an awful lot like sarcasm with a side of doubt and disappointment.

Okay, so for reals now, yesterday I happened upon slow agonizing death in action.  I pulled up to my home and saw what was coming for a month now.  On the ground, in two pieces lay the beat up mailbox and two feet from its lonely grave rested the post, which once supported the box through rain, sleet, and snow.  I was to be tested this morning, and I would prove myself—MAN.

With a hammer and nails, I created life!!  I took a mailbox destroyed by a teenager who sucks at life and at driving, and with the tools that have been the staple of manhood for years, brought it back to all its mail holding potential.   I was a man today for thirty entire minutes.  I swung that hammer with authority and purpose driving the nails into the post.  Two cars drove by and noticed the swagger with which I made two into one.  They saw what a man does out there, and they were impressed.  I waved at them as they passed, and our eyes met momentarily and they approved.

I grabbed my man tools and headed into the house where I was certain I would receive the praise of a king returning to his kingdom from the battlefield—victorious.  In a black nightgown up at the top of the stairs was my fair, impregnated maiden.  She saw it too.  She saw a man walk through the doors of her castle, and she was impressed with his tone of walk.  I shouted out, letting it echo through the house, “I am Man!”  I was going to grab my crotch and spit on the floor, but it seemed like it would have been met with disappointment.  Instead, I flexed every muscle in my body and drooled.

I marched around the entryway of our home and moved things, and stomped, and grunted, and said things like, “I created fire!”  When I calmed down and let things get quiet, I heard Whitney say the following statement:

“A man’s job is never finished.”  Without letting a second past, she retracted and corrected her statement, “Well, with you, Heath, a man’s job is always halfway finished.”

Either way, people.  I fixed the hell out of that mailbox, and for today, that is enough for me.  I will thrive off of this for two weeks.   The day that the baby decides to introduce itself here, I am sure will be another day of unabashed masculinity.  I will have created life.  Just like I did today with that mailbox.

I just wanted you to know, because I have been holding it in for years.


I have spent the last few blogs documenting some of my father’s abilities. I am not going to come back to you now and tell you that those things were not necessarily the truth about the big guy, because they are absolutes. Actually, if he were to come here and tell you, he would admit that the things I am writing about him are points of pride for him. Not only this, but I also think he is surprised I came out of my childhood able to put together groupings of words that form readable sentences. Somewhere in Albuquerque, NM, the man is sitting at the table remembering the days when I was right there to torture, and on his face is that little smirking smile of nostalgic satisfaction.

He is everything I have described from the earliest blog where I talk about his driving issues, to the last blog where I, to your horror, at least the 15 of you who read it, exposed the “television to my cranium” incident of 1984ish where my dad let it slip that on the level of importance list, his son falls somewhere below a 1970s television. Of note, the television still sits on Lane Andrew Phillips’ shelf at home as a constant reminder of an unfinished job.

Born in 1950, and the son of a Sailor, my dad is as old school as they come. Some things he does deviate from a complete stereotype, but they speak more to his reckless disregard for society’s expectations. For instance, the man cannot stop wearing socks with sandals. I think worse still, the man wears ugly sandals that no one wears. Even the company that makes the sandals hates them; they feel guilty about selling them. If you bring up to him his cheesiness, he will remind you that the problem is not him, the problem is people caring about what other people think about them. The problem is that people get so caught up in nonsense that sandals have somehow become an issue that says more about a person than the fact that the person has a 9 to 5 job and can pay all of his bills. Lane Phillips would look you in the eye and tell you that you are petty and weak. He would tell you that the second you can shed your desire to be accepted by the cool people, you’ll be free. On Father’s Day, I offer up to you ten facts about my dad.

1. Not a huge hugger. On the rare occasion we do hug, I have seen him sneak away to wash the hug off of him.

2. He has used his pinky finger and spit to clean my face off before a family picture. During this occasion, I got the distinct feeling he cleaned my face off quickly, but was actually trying to rub the skin off of my face.

3. He lives by a code, and one of the points of his code is never to trust a child. I have seen him break this rule once and it cost him dearly. He asked his son, me, to put a truck into neutral so he could use his motorcycle to pull the truck up a driveway. He said to his son, “Do you know what neutral is? Son, this is a very important question, because the truck will not move if it is in gear, and then I risk the possibility of causing damage to the motorcycle. . You do! Great, when I tell you to, put the truck in neutral and let me know when it is ready.” 500 dollars later and a new clutch for his motorcycle, and the cat was out of the bag; I had no clue what neutral was. I just got in the truck and jiggled some stuff, but definitely did not put it into neutral. Ooops, my bad.

4. He has weak thumbs and cannot hear out of one of his ears. That being said, he could still kick my ass in a fight.

5. Very involved in his son’s high school extracurricular activities. On one occasion, Lane Phillips came home from work and asked his son how track practice was. When his son brought up the fact that he did not participate in, nor would he ever run track, Lane Phillips mumbled something like, “that’s because you are weak and walked out of the kitchen.” It was the thought that counts.

6. My father actively hates, has hated, or will soon hate everyone he comes into contact with.

7. Unforgivable sins to my father in order from most unforgiveable down:

a. Wearing a baseball cap backwards. If his son were to come home after breaking curfew, escorted by the police and in cuffs, and had his hat on backwards, he would be yelled at for the hat being on backwards. In his mind, catchers are the only human beings allowed to wear their hat backwards, and oddly enough, if you played catcher, you could wear your hat backwards when dressed in everyday clothing. I think he does this so that if he is ever throwing together a pick-up game of baseball, he doesn’t have to ask a lot of questions. He can just grab the first guy who wanders by with a backwards cap on. It is much simpler this way.

b. Communism

c. Crying over physical pain.

d. Disagreeing with him regardless of topic, issue, or actual correctness

8. Lane Phillips will only stop on road trips at Denny’s. If he is ever forced to eat outside of his comfort zone, he will order fried shrimp. If he had a chance to give one and only one piece of advice to the world, it would be, “stick with fried shrimp, you can’t go wrong there.”

9. Lane Phillips does not like to be in places where there is even a small probability that he will have to be around other people. People annoy my dad. People are the worst invention ever.

10. Lane Phillips believes that all kids are inherently evil and should be treated as such. All kids want to ruin your life; they are plotting to right now. . If he had a chance to give one and only one piece of advice to the world, it would be, “Kids are great to have around as long as you remember they are trying to destroy you inside and out. Economically, spiritually, physically.”

All of these facts aren’t saying that he isn’t a great father, because the dude is amazeballs. I love him, but it makes me feel icky to tell him, but that’s his fault, right? So instead of calling him and saying something mushy, that would make him continue to question his decision not to finish the job the television started, I wrote these facts. I wrote these facts because I love him…and I’ve said it before, I am definitely my father’s son.

I just wanted you to know because I have been holding it in for years.


Being a human being means two things.  These two things are certain, everything else people tell you are lies and these people cannot be trusted.  Understanding that these two things will probably be the most important realization of your life because it directly affects everything else you do.  Here it is written in Georgia size 10 Font:  1. You will at some point have to acknowledge the presence of other human beings in your life, and 2. You will enter into some sort of long term relationship with at least one of the humans you acknowledge as being stuck here with you.  I don’t know if you know this about me, but I freely offer up my opinion to anyone willing to listen.  As a matter of fact, my advice is, not only unsolicited, but also probably not worth reading.  So in that sentiment, I am offering up some advice to all of you in, or contemplating entering into, a long term relationship.  

I have one of those jobs, which happens to employ other human beings.  These other humans and I work together to do all kinds of crazy things.  Working with other humans makes you realize that we all have one thing in common—we all have human being problems. One human being problem stems from one of the certain facts I mentioned in paragraph one.  We will enter into long term relationships with other humans; some of us enter into life relationships we call marriage.  What I want to lay down for you here are two of the most solid pieces of marital advice I have ever given.  If you chose to read on, and then apply it to your marriage, and then live through the experiences, I make another guarantee.  I guarantee that your marriage will be stronger than it ever was before, because it will have been tested to the limits. 

I have heard it said that a couple should go on a road trip together to help them decide if they are meant to be.  You know how it goes.  The prospect of sitting in a car for longer than 30 minutes where you actually have to make conversation with this human you have chosen to attempt long term cohabitation with is really daunting.  That is child’s play.  Man-up and read on.

Firstly, Make A Major Purchase Together.

I am not talking a new coffee table; I am talking in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.  I am talking life altering purchases.  I am talking a substantial financial commitment that brings with it stressful monthly obligations.  I am talking about something where the process just to purchase the thing is months long and incredibly inconvenient and stressful.  I recommend you buy a house together.   My life is a great example of how this can work for you.

After years of renting, my wife and I were ready to test the fibers of our marriage.  Renting just wasn’t stressful enough and we needed more excitement. We had been looking for months for that perfect home, but nothing seemed to speak to us and we were quickly losing hope.  One weekend the realtor we were working with took us to a house where another couple was already looking.  It was awkward and felt weird walking through a house thinking about buying it with someone else there doing the same thing.  I think it would be similar to speed dating where you listen to some pathetic dude plead his case to this girl just before you sit down, and you pretty much think everything he is saying is stupid, and furthermore that the girl sitting there would be so much better off if she selected you rather than the d-bag currently in front of her.  Ironically, the girl is probably not that great, but that is not the point.  This is when I realize two things about Whitney. 1.  She is extremely competitive, and 2.  She is either plagued with extreme buyer’s remorse over any purchase above $17.99, or is she is perhaps the savviest women on the face of the planet and she should be both loved and feared equally.  

When Whitney heard this alien couple discussing where they would put their couch or their dining room table, she gripped my hand harder than any man has ever during any handshake before or since. Now it is important you know for your own safety in case you ever deal with my wife, who I call, The Whitness that when my wife gets into the competitive spirit, she tends to develop a redneck accent.  It is not always, but I have witnessed in on multiple occasions to include once in a fight with another customer at a local Wal-Mart.  The conversation I heard at that Wal-Mart went like this: 

True Story:

Other redneck customer yelling:  “There is no way my son threw the dog food at that pregnant woman.  HE DIDN’T DID IT, he’s a good kid.”

Whitney  (5th grade teacher and college graduate with honors):  “If he DIDN’T DID IT, I WOULDN’T BE HERE, BUT HE DID DID IT, I was watching the whole time!” 

Back to my unsolicited advice:  She looked at me and in the redneckiest voice I have ever heard, she said “I want this god damned place, I want it something awful.”  When my wife goes redneck, you don’t argue, you just do as you’re told.  This was the house we would buy.  This was what I had dreamed of for years.   I pictured Karen Carpenter coming back to our closing and zombie singing, “We’ve Only Just Begun.”  I thought that this would be the happiest moment in our marriage to this point.  I thought rainbows and unicorns would frolic through the closing and leave fairy dust on all of the documents.  I pictured the Oompa Loompas singing to us, “Oooompa ooompa oooompity ooom I’ve got another riddle for you.  What will you do when the money is spent?  You will live in a home that you don’t have to rent…”  That’s right; I not only just referenced Oooomp Looompas in a blog, but I also wrote a quick little lyric they would sing if they showed up at a closing to a house…..even though I know this doesn’t make sense….everyone knows the Ooompas never leave the chocolate factory. 

What actually occurred was more like what I have seen in the videos following the death of President Kennedy.  On the day of the walk through and closing, my wife entered into buyer’s remorse mode.  It was like a funeral procession through the house.  The home we saw weeks earlier was  now seen  a new dismal light.  The previous owners had moved out and left it less than clean, and the initial picture of love and happiness had faded distinctly.  I could feel my wife’s mood change.  I had seen this look in her eyes before, and it makes my stomach hurt to this day. 

After leaving the walk-through, my wife said, “call the realtor and back out.”  What does a good husband do at this point in their marriage?  I don’t know, but I called my realtor.  My realtor promised me at that moment that if I could get my wife to the closing, he would make it worth it.  Needless to say, at the closing, Whitney was dressed in all black and had huge Jackie Onassis glasses on crying the entire time.  I was looking for Oooompa Looompas everywhere, but there were no little people, except lawyers….  In the end, after hours of wiping tears and blowing noses, the lawyer felt so guilty, he refunded all of his fees to us and we walked away from our first closing with a check for $1773.00.  

We ended up loving the home, but to this day I am not sure that 1. Whitney ever really initially wanted the house, or really just didn’t want the d-bag couple already there to have it, and 2. Whether my wife is so savvy that she didn’t orchestrate the entire thing….when I saw the Lawyer writing the check, I glanced at Whitney and I swear to god, for a split second, she lifted her glass and there was a look in her eyes, something I have seen before in the eyes of warriors and heroes.  It was a look of…..victory.

That was the day I learned my wife is like the Godfather, minus the random killings and other criminal activity…so far.  She is a “made” woman and should not be trifled with. 

Tomorrow stay tuned for Part Two called, “Buy an RV and Then Ask Your Wife to Help You Back it Up Through Tight Spaces because it Will Change Your Life.”

 

I Just wanted you to know, because I have been holding it in for years.