Give Till It Hurts

by Rich on December 8, 2016

Christmas is almost here and I am once again faced with the daunting task of trying desperately to decide just what on God’s green earth I’m supposed to give as gifts. It’s beyond painful. It’s excruciating. And it really shouldn’t be.

I’m a giver. I give. That’s who I am. That’s what I do. And I love to give gifts. But the process of making a list and figuring out who gets what, and all on a timeline? That’s where I run into problems. And that seems to be what Christmas has become.

Ok, ok…all you competitive shoppers that score big on Black Friday or have your lists completed and wrapped by Memorial Day, just back off. I’m not making value judgements or going off on a “Christmas is too commercial” rant (it is). No, this is just about me and the changing times we live in.

There are a number of factors that go into why gift giving gets hard for me. First, we all live in our own separate little universes now. Again, not a value judgement, I’m just saying. We communicate via email and text and Snapchat and Twitter and whatever other kind of electronic device pops up every 20 minutes. That means less face to face interaction. Less interaction makes it more difficult to know what another person might need or want. Also, we live in a world where anything on the planet can be delivered anywhere at anytime. While I typed that sentence, an Amazon drone just flew into my office and dropped Rachel Hunter on my desk (full disclosure: it didn’t. But it probably could). So who NEEDS anything anymore? I mean, I need new tires for my jeep, but that’s not going on a “What Rich Wants For Christmas” list (but hit me up if you got a deal on tires).

I used to need things like a blender, or want something like a book. But again, with my Kindle and Amazon, if there’s something I need or want, I just go get it.

And maybe that’s the bigger problem. My generation, and those that have followed, have almost zero concept of delayed gratification. We’re the only people on the planet that will stand in front of a microwave, impatiently yelling, “C’MON! I DON’T HAVE ALL MINUTE!” We see, we want, we get. It’s as simple as that.

Not only does that make us impatient, but it also makes it difficult for others to give us gifts, and equally difficult for us to appreciate them. And maybe that’s why there is so much junk out there to consume. We all have just about everything we need. All the essentials are covered. And most of the non-essentials as well. So when gift giving time comes around, we don’t get that one book that we’ve been wanting so bad, or the belt that will go with those shoes. All that was taken care of the second the desire sprang from our poor, spoiled souls.

This is why, I suspect, we have homes filled with…well…crap. Seriously, take a look around your house or apartment. Even if you’re living out of your car, I promise there is some useless piece of plastic that’s supposed to magically regrow hair (or remove it) or make your shoe laces glow or make Pop-tarts cook faster in the toaster. It’s ridiculous.

So, that’s why I’m not giving anything to anyone for Christmas this year. I will not feed into the gross over-consumerism that has beco….

 

…oh man… I ALMOST HAD YOU! HA! But seriously, people, quit buying yourself stuff in December. Just tell everybody what you need. It makes it easier for the rest of us to give to you. Or at least it makes it easier for me. And let’s face it, that’s what’s really important here: me.

Because I give. I’m a giver. That’s what I do. That’s who I am.

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Let’s Go Bowling

by Rich on December 5, 2016

The college football season is quickly and sadly coming to a close, and that means Bowl Season is about to begin. And with Bowl Season comes all the noise from sports pundits around the country, lamenting the fact that there are too many bowls, or that the bowls don’t matter. These people are communists and should be forced to do a minimum of five years at Ft Leavenworth, making small rocks out of big rocks, or eat squash casseroles every meal for a month (take the former. Trust me).

“But Rich, do we really NEED all these bowl games? Do they really MEAN anything? Isn’t the risk of injury from more games too much to justify superfluous bowl games?” That’s what all the bowl naysayers throw out as “reasons” to not play games like the AAA Battery Disposal Unit Bowl in Spencer, WV (home to the annual West Virginia Black Walnut Festival!) I used to have similar feelings on the matter, but friends, I have seen the light.

Here’s the thing…football is awesome. That’s not just my opinion, by the way. Look at the numbers. It really doesn’t matter what level of football is being played or when, when football is on TV, it beats out everything, up to and including the Victoria’s Secret “We’re Not Really Wearing Anything But We Call It Underwear So It’s Ok” fashion show. So if some football is awesome, more football is more awesome. That’s just science, people.

But there are other reasons as well. Reasons that matter more than what I want to watch on a random Wednesday in December.

Football in America, for the vast number of players engaged in the game at the college level, begins somewhere between in utero and 3rd grade. These guys have been playing football for most of their lives. And if they are seniors, that bowl game that you don’t care about is probably the last time they will ever play it. The funnel into the professional ranks becomes a medicine dropper by the time the NFL draft rolls around. The percentage of college players that make it to the show is microscopic. So, no more football.  Think about that for a second. All the teams, all the seasons, all the coaches and teammates and seven on sevens and spring workouts and film room time…this one thing that has consumed the majority of your life, this one thing is about to go away. Forever. Wouldn’t you want one more game before you hang up the pads? But nah… that bowl game doesn’t mean anything…

Sure, the winner of the “Terry’s Taco” Bowl in Tuscan between NW Tippecanoe University and Buford State, Albany, probably doesn’t have National Championship implications, but so what? Those players and coaches and staff have worked hard for an entire year. And they get one more game to play. And I have one more game to watch. What’s the downside? What else are you going to do over the holidays? Get a head start on your taxes? Re-tile the bathroom? Spend time with your in-laws?

Football has become America’s favorite TV show and just like you can’t get enough Survivor, America can’t get enough football. So relax… who care’s if you don’t think the games mean anything? They may not to you, but they do to the kids playing them.

Football is awesome. And if some football is awesome, more football is more awesome. Don’t fight science, folks.

 

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(Horn-O-) Plenty To Love

December 1, 2016

I love the holidays. I know that’s not an Earth shattering revelation, but I really do. And when I say “the holidays”, I’m talking about that magical season that starts about ten days before Thanksgiving and ends sometime between The Super Bowl and St Patrick’s Day. There was I time when I was much more […]

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Slackers-R-Us

November 28, 2016

Well, it’s another holiday weekend and that means that most of us will have a chance to take a much needed break and a bunch of people who are slackers will have an excuse to continue being slackers.  But it also means that that there will be a lot of people that you probably don’t […]

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Grace And Casseroles

November 24, 2016

It’s 9:30 on Thanksgiving morning and I’m on the 2nd floor porch of house on the beach, watching the waves rolling in. My whole family is here (minus one niece who had to work). It’s my mother’s birthday and we have rented this palace for the week. There are ten adults, two teenagers (one of […]

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Passing The Bar (Not For Lawyers)

November 21, 2016

Not long ago (read: yesterday) I went to a local sports bar to watch some football and hang out with some friends. Being the people watcher that I am, spending time at establishments like this is fascinating, and I noticed a few things that I think deserve my attention. Huddle up, Sparky. Let’s start with […]

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Wins And Losses

November 17, 2016

It will probably come as a shock to many of my readers who know me, but I have actually participated in my fair share of organized sports. “Participated” is obviously the key word in that sentence, but it’s true. I have played a lot of sports. Most as a child, but a few as an […]

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Veteran’s And The Sports Gap

November 14, 2016

This weekend is Veteran’s Day. I know it was actually Friday, but all weekend long we’ve seen acknowledgements and expressions of gratitude for those who have served and their families. At almost every sporting event there have been recognitions and ceremonies, and that’s a good thing. Because one of the many ways that we as […]

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Sisters (Not The Nuns)

November 10, 2016

Sisters are awesome, and I should know. I have 3 of them.  Two older, one younger. Well, 3 and a half. One of my nieces is now a mom of 2 and I have roped her into the “sister” category.  They are all gorgeous, all funny, all talented, all brilliant. I’m not indulging in false modesty […]

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Dr. Evil Had A Point

November 7, 2016

There are certain things in life that are unpleasant and unavoidable. There are things that are difficult, and that we, as a species will never be able to get our heads around. Some things just cannot be fixed. You can’t do a little “I Dream Of Genie” arm cross head bob and magically be in […]

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