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the way is shut

August 21, 2011


my mother used to worry that she would lose me to alcohol or drugs. i'd get little comments here and there whenever we talked about my aunt or uncle or grandfather. mostly about my aunt. about how i am just like her.

twenty years ago, when she made these comments, i would be irritated by them because i knew myself well enough to know that drinking and smoking and injecting all that crap didn't do a damned bit of good. it made things worse, actually. i watched for years as it took its toll on my brother. i have to ask my family and friends about him now because he's not here to ask. to get to know. and the man i knew ... i got to know more of the things that made him detestable and less of the good.

the things i turned to in times of trouble were stories and swimming. i'd ride my bicycle around my neighborhood for hours sometimes. not because i wanted the exercise but because i was working through a plot i'd concocted. and if those didn't work, i took out my frustration on the water. and then i got tired of swimming. so it's just stories now. usually those told on the screen.

the two movies i'd most looked forward to seeing this summer were crazy, stupid love and one day. the first one made me happy. so much so that i felt compelled to see it again. will probably see it still again. the second made me cry. it made me lonely and miserable.

and i had nowhere to go with that when i left the theater. my friends? they're married. or have children. or both. and you don't call up a married parent at midnight on a saturday complaining about being the hopeless romantic. they wouldn't be able to comprehend that anyway.

so what did i do? i drove to pappadeaux seafood house with the intention of downing a shot or two of vodka and writing. i don't do this often. but the fact that i consider it from time to time ... it worries me a little. fortunately for me, my older brother was looking out for me. the doors were locked. i couldn't get in. and for some reason, the walk back to my car took most of the interest in partaking of adult beverages away.

i don't like how some love stories mess with me this way. i don't like how empty i feel after watching them. and yet, i would watch it again. it's a good story.

i was a better person twenty years ago. i don't like how life is chipping away at that. how the doors almost always seemed to be locked tight. and i was so much stronger two decades ago. i would've found a different way in then. now i seem to spend more time walking away.

show you mine, show me yours

August 10, 2011


lindsey over at running down a dream is doing a linky party of a sort, in honor of football season's arrival (almost! ALMOST! holy hell, i'm excited!)

i learned of this little shindig through my lovely, but unfortunately sooner-fanatical friend tyler. if you were to read her post, you would see some pretty impressive statistics about her favorite team. and i can concede that, generally, as a rule, the sooners are fairly impressive. statistically speaking. and i can also concede that they are my favorite football team OUTSIDE of texas.

INSIDE of texas, though is a totally different story.

because texas gives us the wonderful world of aggieland.

you've seen the movie a few good men, right? in the beginning scenes, that group of boys tossing around their rifles? those are boys from a&m's fish drill team.

and what they do is pretty tricky. i've seen them in action. in person. like, standing ten feet or so away, watching my brother shift a rifle around like it was weightless. it's not. especially in august and september.

the aggies took a professional football team to court because that team insisted upon calling their fans the twelfth man.

the twelfth man or twelfth player is a term used to describe the fans within a stadium during association football or american football games... since most football leagues allow a maximum of eleven players per team on the playing field at a time, the term denotes the attempt of a team's fans to help their team. in american football, the term is trademarked by and originated with texas a&m university in nineteen-twenty-two (wikipedia).

the aggies won. the seahawks can still refer to their fanbase this way. but they have to bow to a&m every time that they do. 


in the game against the sooners last season, a sophomore ran a kickoff return one hundred yards. touchdown. and on the first play of the game? the aggies forced the sooners into a safety. the sooners were ranked eighth in the nation at the start of the game. the aggies weren't ranked at all. weren't even close to being ranked, i imagine. the end changed things up quite a bit. and at the end of the season, the aggies tied the sooners for the big-twelve south title. WHOOP! that hasn't happened in a LONG time.

in the following game, the ags kept the cornhuskers from scoring a single touchdown. all nebraska could do was kick two pansy field goals. in sixty minutes of play.

we weren't supposed to win that one. we weren't supposed to beat the sooners, either. we weren't supposed to be good at all, given that we lost to teams like missouri. that was not a good game. but those boys got out of their own way and did some pretty phenomenal things in those last few games.

did you know that the aggies set a national collegiate football record for student attendance at that game against nebraska? kyle field's capacity is eighty-three thousand two. ninety-thousand, seventy-nine folks were at that game. that's like cramming the populus of a small city into a significantly smaller space, one that's already full.  pick up nevada, missouri--where i spent my first two years in college--and drop it in a maxed-capacity kyle field, and there you go.

thirty-one thousand five attendees were students.


it was CROWDED.

there was a whole lot of yelling going on. it was awesome.

they may not be the best team in the country... they've only won one national title, they've lost more than four hundred games in their history, and only one of their players has been awarded the heisman.

but they have the best games.


because they have the best band. hands down. there's this thing called a four-way cross-through that is supposedly impossible. can't be done. men have said so. computers have said so. and yet, i've seen it done. numerous times. and it is beautiful. and the half-time show they presented in norman, oklahoma two seasons ago is one of the best i've seen.

the best traditions -- the march-in, the twelfth man, the war hymn ... oh, i love that song.

and bonfire. that one was the best of all.

the best spirit. even when we're down. but especially when we're up.

september fourth cannot get here fast enough.

there are words i long to hear:

and that's a fightin' texas aggie first down.

touchdown ... a&m.

and now... formed at the north end of kyle field... the nationally famous fightin' texas aggie band.