Right about now, all over the nation, Tennessee Volunteers fans are gathering together in support of their team.  I imagine the conversation is going something like this: 

“We’re gonna destroy Winthrop!  Right?  I mean, it’s completely meaningless the Vegas odds have this game at the smallest spread of any 2/15 seed game in the history of the NCAA.  Means nothing.  We’re about to prove to the nation the Volunteers deserved that 2 seed and we mean business! Guys? Where did everyone go?”

Duke is like the hot stripper in the Gentlemen’s Club you think you have a shot with.  You know she’s been noticing you high-rolling, because you decided to forego the classic “dollar bill G-string tuck” and went straight for the “pluck the five-spot from my mouth with your boobs.”  (Always a classy maneuver in a topless joint.  Advise against trying it in your favorite watering hole.  Apparently, waitresses are pretty easily offended these days.  Live and learn, that’s my motto.) She is the hottest girl with Daddy issues you’ve ever seen.  And you’ve had just enough to drink to think you really have a chance.  We’ve all been there.  What happens?  As soon as she cleans off your eyeglasses with her pasties, she snags your last fiver and bolts.  She breaks your heart like her stage name should be “Fredo” instead of  “Diamond.”  My friends, I give you the Duke Blue Devils of 2006.  Returning player of the year, Sheldon Williams.  The virtual lock for player of the year, J.J. Reddick.  They look tempting, and you’re enamoured with them.  I can’t blame you.  And, like Diamond, they’ll tease you right into the Sweet Sixteen.  But by the Regional Final, they will have taken your last dollar, swiped your credit card number, and disappeared out the VIP exit with some genetic freak of a bodyguard.  Consider yourself warned. 

I know it’s not really on the subject of the NCAA tourney, but did anyone catch the RR/RW Challenge last week?  Please tell me someone saw Alton pull a pre-emptive breakup with Jodi, stating, “Tobago is dope. But we’re just friends.  Don’t go getting all weird on me.”  Tobago is dope?  Tobago is dope???!!  Wow.  Strong chance we’ll be seeing Jodi hang herself next week.  I hope if she does, the camera pans to Alton, and he’s slowly shaking his head, murmuring, “I knew she was gonna get weird on me.”

The ‘Fins traded for Daunte Culpepper today.  My buddy Luciano is a die-hard Dolphins fan, and I haven’t heard from him today.  It would be a solid bet he’s wandering around Boston, whispering barely audibly in homeless fashion, convincing himself it was a good move.  That last season was just a fluke with Culpepper.  That anything is an improvement over Fiedler/Frerotte dynamic duo.  Somebody should probably start looking for him now, though.  Because Ricky’s comeback to glory promptly ended when he busted up into the locker room singing  “One Nation Under a Groove.”  Nobody saw that paragon of sobriety relapsing.  Just out of nowhere, really.  And, now, the Dolphins just used all their cap room to score a QB with poor decision making ability and a bum wheel.  Were the Cardinals just completely unwilling to part with Kurt Warner?  Were Tony Graziani and Neil O’Donnel unwilling to discuss a comeback? Seriously, someone start looking for my friend. 

How do I start a petition to ban “LOL”? Little help? I know it’s illogical, but it makes me really angry when someone types that cute little phrase.  Not to get all weird on you. 

I’m gonna close out by getting back to my original intention for this post.  I absolutely love college hoops.  I enjoy it during the regular season, but even more during Championship Week and the Big Dance, itself.  I love how pumped the players and fans are.  I love that any team is potentially six wins away from being the national champion.  I can’t ever turn the channel when ESPN dusts off that old highlight of Jimmy V running onto the court in disbelief after the clock refused to strike midnight for his cinderella NC State squad.   And I love that for just two days out of the year, I have something to bet on before noon while I’m at work.  I hope the partners at Law Firm don’t get suspicious when I lock myself in the supply closet with a transistor radio.  Since the supply closet is currently doubling as my office, I’m probably safe.  (Apparently, someone has to retire or die before you get an office at Law Firm.  No one ever does either, however, according to the contract with Satan we have sealed in a bullet-proof display case in the Lobby.  Selling my soul was a negative but not a deal-breaker.   These guys have top-notch medical plan.  I’m talking dental, optical, the whole nine.  Life is about trade-offs.  I didn’t sell-out, I bought in.)

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got about fifty brackets to fill out.

 

 

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I’m pretty sure I’m ready to go back to school.  I know it seems as if I’ve ridden the higher education gravy train as far as it will go, but I’m willing to test it.  Likely, I’ll not receive any sympathy from my friends, as they moved into the vacuum of despair that is the working world many years before me.  Be that as it may, I may call the student loan office and see how many more years they would keep funding my education and lifestyle. 

Speaking of the student loan people, those bastards are on me like stink on the French.  They must have taken lessons from Capital One.  Apparently, I was a little unclear on the Student Aid process.  They paid, and I went to school and graduated.  I feel like I lived up to my part of the bargain.  What better benefit to the government and society is there than having another lawyer to fight for the cause of justice? Or the American way of life?  Or to sue Piggly Wiggly for negligently leaving some beads of condensation in the produce isle, leading to a poor innocent minority’s complete disability and emotional anguish?  Needless to say, I was shocked and appalled to receive a bill from Uncle Sam for forty large.  It was completely unexpected, and so I just pretended it never happened.  Feigning obliviousness has never really worked out for me, whether it be in relationships or dealing with personal demons.  I thought maybe, just maybe this once, completely ignoring the problem would be the correct course of action.  This was, in retrospect, not a good decision.

I wrote the government a letter, beginning with “I have some potentially disappointing news,” and ending with, “Sincerely, The Executor of ______’s Estate.”  From the letter I received a week later, either they are familiar with that particular ruse, or the government has a poor sense of humor.  Either way, I’m getting audited in two months.  Which shouldn’t be a problem, because I kept meticulous receipts of every purchase made in the last four years.  I hope the I.R.S. agent assigned to my case doesn’t mind unwadding soiled cocktail napkins on which my IOU’s are written to my drug dealer.  Probably nothing to worry about.  I hear auditors know how to party.  Just to play it safe, I’m going to check with H and R Block to see if black market prescription medication is deductible.  I like to cover all my bases.  Some call me overcautious, but better safe than sorry….that’s my motto. 

In the meantime, someone calls me from the student loan office about every other day.  I even broke out my tried-and-true “garbled Portugese” tactic, and I’ll be damned if the bitch didn’t respond in Portugese without missing a beat.  I mean, I guess it was Portugese.  I really have no way of knowing.  Touche, student loan office…..touche.  If my bookie ever teams up with these people,  I’m in deep shit.

And as long as we’re on the subject of Portugese, Law Firm dropped an immigration law problem on me at work today.  I might have mentioned “Expert in the field of Immigration Law” on my resume, which isn’t exactly the truth.  In itself, this is a fairly egregious padding of the resume.  Where I really screwed up, however, was throwing in “Extensive contacts at the Mexican Consulate.”  I must have been hammered beyond belief when I conjured up that little addendum.  Extensive contacts at the Mexican Consulate?  Nice, Vegas.  Nothing can possibly go wrong with this plan.  I actually vaguely remember reading that on my resume, considering deletion, and then saying to myself, “Screw it.  What are the odds of getting called out on this one?” 

Of course, I now have two courses of action.  First, I could accept the INS case from Law Firm, fuck it up beyond all belief, ruin the lives of migrant workers expecting Visas to work for $3.00/hr in the Land of the Free, and possibly incur massive malpractice liability against my employers.  Alternatively, I level with Law Firm, and hope I’m dealing with a “no harm, no foul” situation.  Obviously, I’m accepting the case.  Does anyone have any contacts at the Mexican Consulate?  Por Favor?

 

 


Finally, my friendship with the Fucking Weavers pays some dividends.  Last week, after the bar exam, I was lucky enough to land a job with a products liability and workers compensation law firm in the Birmingham area.  Because I graduated 146 out of 147 in my class at Alabama, interviews were few and far between.  I couldn’t even get a job cleaning floors at most firms around town.  Luckily, the Weavers’ have a cousin who is a partner at this firm.  While I await my bar results, I am now officially employed.  On the downside, a Weaver is now my boss.  I will now give myself a papercut on my tongue.

I wanted to prove my ambition, so rather than arrive at 8:00 as required, I rolled in a smooth 7:58.  My arrival was the smoothest part of my day.  Immediately, I was asked to draft a complaint.  Which, no doubt, is pretty basic.  To anyone who didn’t finish 146 out of 147 in their class, that is.  Let me just say it did not inspire confidence when I asked, “What’s a complaint?”  I tried to cover it by nervously laughing, but I’m pretty sure they knew I was serious when my boss walked by my computer and I was googling “complaint” with “how to con paralegal into writing.” (Incidentally, this search yielded no result. “World’s Best Search Engine” my ass.  No wonder their stock is dropping like a hot rock.  Thanks for the bailout, dickheads).

Glancing at my watch, the cold reality of 8:29 set in.  I was now employed as an attorney (pending bar results), and I had exactly no practical experience.  Most law students accept clerkships or externships while they are in law school, in order to avoid this type of catastrophe.  I, however, spent my summers scoring oxycontin and washing it down with Aristocrat.  Clearly, I got the better end of this deal.  Other than the rehab, delayed bar exam, huge credit card debt, and the pity/scorn of my peers, I really don’t have any regrets.  Hindsight is 20/20, you judgemental fucks. 

After struggling through drafting a complaint, my first day at The Firm was complete.  It took me eight hours to draft a relatively simple legal document.  Badly.  I don’t think there’s any reason to get there early tomorrow, though.  I don’t want to seem pretentious. 

I Decided it was time to unwind and maybe rent a movie from my local Blockbuster tonight.  Considering Blockbuster has my picture behind the counter with a “Mace and Detain This Man on Sight” caption, I decided to go to Movie Gallery instead.  (Incidentally, isn’t Movie Gallery everyone’s Plan B?  Looking around that store, I realized all the customers had been exiled from the choice store due to late fees or sex offender registries.  No one goes to Movie Gallery that has a choice.  I won’t even argue about this.)  Movie Gallery has about fifty unrented copies of “My Date With Drew” and virtually no porn. No porn? And this is supposed to be a legit rental place?  I’m supposed to abuse myself to “Elizabethtown?”  Thanks for nothing, Movie Gallery.  If I could afford $832.45 in late fees, I’d totally never go back there. 

Perusing the small selection, I ran into an old friend of mine from high school.  We talked for a good twenty minutes, exchanging news on people we’d lost touch with.  As we talk, I notice other people glancing over with various degrees of interest.  We agree to go to lunch later this week, and give him my cell number.  Other people are openly gawking at the number exchange.  The thing is, my friend from high school is gay.  Blatantly, glaringly gay.  He rocks the outfit, the lisp, the whole nine yards of gayness.  But because I’ve known him so long, his gayness doesn’t even faze me.  I don’t even think about it.  But, to the onlookers, they just witnessed a flaming homosexual number exchange, with ensuing promise of a lunch date.  Awesome.  That’s just the cherry on my day. 

“I….I’m not really gay,” I say as I place In Her Shoes upon the counter (making a strong case for heterosexuality.)  The clerk and customers are pretending not to hear me.  I know what they’re doing, and I don’t like it.  Condescending bastards.  They’d never treat a man like this at Blockbuster.  Now I’m wishing more than ever I hadn’t decided to keep Home Alone for nine years.  Damn you, Macauly Culkin. Damn your insistence on delivering precocious comeuppance to ne’er do-well theives. 

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to figure out how to hide from my boss, select an ensemble for my lunch date next week, and find a way to masturbate to Elizabethtown.  Is there no rest for the weary?

 


The only thing worse than watching all your friends become licensed attorneys before you is having to take the Bar itself.  I’m about three fucking seconds away from a nervous breakdown.  Also, Montgomery is officially the worst city in the United States.  Here are some slogans I’m dropping off at the Montgomery Tourism Bureau on my way out of town:

“Montgomery…….Because there aren’t enough black people where you live!”

“Montgomery…….Where the only thing dirtier than the scenic Tallapoosa River are the locals!”

“Montgomery…….Birthplace of segragation, but resting place of squalor!”

“Montgomery…….Who doesn’t want a 50/50 chance of getting mugged on vacation?”

You get the idea.

In my view, the world can be evenly divided into two groups of people:  those who like pulp in their orange juice, and those who don’t.  No one sits the fence on this debate.  (Although no one hates pulp quite as much as my buddy Kev.  If I could bet on things like, Kev will be the first of my buddies to get dragged out of his house by cops after a domestic dispute resulting from a breakfast beverage purchase gone awry, it would be a lock.  He’d be screaming the whole time about how “she did it on purpose” and “she and those foul bits of juicy orange got what they had comin’ to ’em.”  Fucking Weavers.)

Speaking of how much I love Montgomery, this is Ex-Fiancee’s hometown.  She knew I was staying here, so she dropped off a gift bag at the front desk.  Which seems sweet, but I can’t eat any of the stuff she left.  I’m not saying she’d lace edibles with laxatives or a low-grade rat poison the day before my exam, but I’m saying I’m afraid she’d lace edibles with laxitives or a low-grade rat poison the day before my exam.  Chances are I won’t need any helping shitting myself when I crack open the test tomorrow.

I gave myself a pep-talk about the bar exam in front of the hotel bathroom mirror after I got out of the shower today.  Full-on finger pointing “Dude, you’ve got this shit” mode.  Then I flexed.  Coin-flip as to whether the pep talk or the flexing was more depressing.

I took a job with a plaintiff’s firm last week, thanks to a friend of mine.  The partner of the firm is a good guy, but he was kind of upset when I asked him if I needed to bring a grappling hook and rollerblades to help chase down ambulances.  I even pantomimed “twirling of the hook” over my head, thinking that would be funnier and he’d crack a smile.  He didn’t, though.  Should make for an interesting first day at work.

If I tank this exam, it’ll be the ‘wagon fall-off’ heard ’round the world.  Let’s just say I’ll be making your local news, World’s Most Insane High Speed Chases, and Faces of Death all within a week.  It’s better to burn out than fade away.  That’s all I’m sayin.’ 

(Montgomery……2,000 FEMA refugees can’t be wrong!)

These are the things that keep me awake.  All night. 


If Snoop Dogg had played at halftime of the Superbowl, ABC could have billed it as “The Snooperbowl.”  And that would’ve been awesome.  (I saw this joke on Leno the day after I wrote it.  If it’d been Conan, I would have felt flattered.  Leno doing it made me feel ashamed and in need of a shower.)

Today I ran into an old friend from High School who I haven’t seen since Auburn, and I asked him how he was doing.  The conversation quickly turned to my stint in rehab, as it often does with people who I haven’t seen in awhile.  What is it about that experience that people love to talk about?  If I run into some girl I had typing class with in 1993, she doesn’t say shit about me graduating from Law School.  But damn sure she wants to hear about rehab because she “heard” I wasn’t doing too well.  (Incidentally, this same friend told me he was ordering poppy leaves off Ebay, grinding them up in a blender, then boiling the sledge down and adding it to his coffee to get a “morphine-esque” high.  I couldn’t make this up.  I saw this coming freshman year at Auburn, when I came back to our apartment from a weekend at home and he’d removed all of our furniture to have a rave.  He couldn’t remember what he’d done with our furniture.  Good times and new-roommateness ensued.)

Today I was studying for the most important exam of my life, and my Mom called to have me help my Dad move some furniture in the freezing-cold pouring rain.  In the midst of it all, my Dad said he’d retire but he couldn’t put up with my Mom’s bullshit for eight hours a day.  It’s good to know my dad’s cubicle is preferred over spending time with his soulmate.  I can’t wait to find that special someone to make my life complete. 

The other day my friend told me his high school girlfriend used to like to have sex to Warren G’s “Regulators” album.  Even though I’m nearing a nervous breakdown because of the bar exam next week, picturing him getting his sixteen year-old swerve on to “This D.J.”  always brings a smile to my face.  I like to think that one day, when lecturing his son on the birds and the bees, he’ll give a thorough account of the amorous effect that a Nate Dogg joint has on the ladies. 

This upcoming fall’s pledge class at Auburn would’ve been nine years old when I pledged.  I will now curl into the fetal position and rock myself to sleep.

Would it be desperate if I called one of those “local singles” phone lines?  I mean, the girls look really hot.  That has to be legitimate.  Has to be.  And, even if they aren’t quite as hot in real life as they are on the commercials, how bad could they be? Am I right?  Because it’s looking like it’s either that or one of those Russian mail-order brides.  You always hear about those, but you never actually see a catalogue with overseas women for sale.  And I’ve looked long and hard.  That’s a hell of an investment, though.  What if she showed up at your door, and you’d given the wrong item number in the magazine?  You’re stuck with a hermaphrodite midget who speak-a no english, that’s what.  And I bet their return or exchange policy is brutal. 

And speaking of desperation, a buddy of mine recently engaged in a cocaine fueled sex romp with a hot married lady.  In itself, that would not be desperate.  When you add in the hot married girl’s husband exceeding the scope of observation and plunging in to participation, the desperation becomes a little more clear.  I can’t imagine anything more awkward than being inside another man’s wife, and yet having to politely refuse a reach-around from the husband.  Constantly, he had to fight to maintain erectness while slapping the guy’s hand away everytime it got near a “zone of danger.”  Clearly, some protocol needs to be established ahead of time to prevent anyone’s feelings from being hurt. 

(It’s kinda easy when ya listen to the G’d up sound, Pioneer speakers bumpin’ as I smoke on the pound.  I got that sound for yo’ ass and it’s easy to see, that this D.J. be Warren G.)

(Giggling like a schoolgirl).

These are the things that keep me awake at night. 

 


This past weekend, I journeyed back to my home away from home, which is the reservation of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians.  I wanted to take in some history, some heritage, and view first-hand the unbelievable collection of American History artifacts such as ancient Choctaw craftwork and centuries-old arrowheads.  Apparently, there is also a casino on this reservation.  Even though I had no idea there was a gambling establishment on the sacred tribal land, since I was already there I had no qualms about participating in a little leisurely gambling. 

I decided to take along a gambling companion this time.  Like movies, having an associate to gamble with doesn’t really enhance the experience itself, but it is nice to to have the company.  Although most of my friends are either married or giant vaginas, my buddy Chad agreed to join me on my adventure.  Everyone has certain friends that are great to hang out with, but are equally exasperating.  The Weavers (Chad and his twin) fall into that category.  I always have fun spending time with them, but when I do, a good 10% of my sentences begin with, “Fucking Weaver..” 

The craps table did not work out as well as I’d hope.  It was so cold, I’m convinced there were supernatural forces at work.  Either the table is located directly above an old Indian Cemetary, or the casino was employing a Tribal Shaman as a stickman.  Down a couple hundred, I feel hot breath on the back of my neck.  Good ‘ol Chad.  Slurping away on a beverage like Cousin Eddie, he enlightens me with this nugget of wisdom:  “Well.  The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away.  That’s from the book of Job.  There was nothing else to read in the hotel room when I was taking a dump, so I grabbed the Gideon’s Bible.  Pretty good stuff in there.”  Fucking Weaver.  (Incidentally, the Gideons would save a lot more people if they placed the Good Book on the back of the toilet in hotel bathrooms.  Seriously.  You’re telling me that you wouldn’t perouse some scripture if there was nothing else around to read while you handled some business?  The Lord works in mysterious ways.)

After I was robbed blind at the dice table, I followed my friend into the “High Limit” slots room.  I tried to tell him that slots are useless and boring, but he wouldn’t listen.  Probably a good thing, since no sooner had he pulled the lever did he nail the machine for five hundred.  He immediately went into a celebration dance that would make Chad Johnson blush, while flies were lazily buzzing out of my open wallet.  I won’t go into details about his makeshift endzone celebration, I’ll just say it began with The Robot and ended with a slow, sensual dry-hump of the machine.  It’s a miracle we didn’t get laid. 

After my buddy’s victory over the slot machine, we decided to grab some food at the all night diner inside the Casino.  Our waiter, like many workers at the resort, was Native American.  And from the service, it’s safe to assume he’s still pissed about The Trail of Tears.  I like to think the squaw that birthed him gently swaddled him in a blanket and said, “I shall call you Drags Ass While Bringing Water,” or “Brave Who Will Make Paleface Suffer From Dehydration.”   Although neither of those names would’ve fit on his nametag, I doubt his real name was “Phil.” 

After spending twenty bucks and an hour on a dry hamburger (my own fault, should’ve waited for Sizzler), we headed to the poker room.  We both did pretty well over a six hour span, although we were eventually asked to leave.  When a bet is called, it is etiquette to show all your cards at once. Chad let another player think he had won the pot, and then flipped over his remaining hole card to reveal he, in fact, had the winning hand.  He followed that subtle maneuver by stiffing the dealer on a tip and winking at the player he had just “slow rolled.”  Stunned silence at the poker table.  Giving up on him, they turned to me. 

“What the hell is wrong with your friend?”

I just shook my head.  All I could say was, “Fucking Weaver….”  

 


When I was in college, I didn’t have very many long-term girlfriends.  And by “many,” I mean any.  So my knowledge of serious relationships was gleaned from watching my friends and their significant others.  Invariably, I would think to myself, “That poor sucker.  I’m going out to try and get laid and he’s stuck on the couch with some chick watching what the WB is touting as a ‘very special episode of Felicity.‘”  And I was happy.  I wasn’t some bitter shell of a young man, sitting on the couch, reading a self-help book because I couldn’t bear to be without a lady.  And although I fear change, it was and is always inevitable.  I graduated, and moved on to law school.

I’ll never really know if finding Ex-Fiancee at law school was because we were right for each other, or because neither of us had a real social identity.  I guess all that’s relevant to this topic, however, is that we settled in to a routine I had watched my friends submit to many times before.  But I wasn’t angry that I had settled down.  Just the opposite.  Sitting there on my couch with Ex-Fiancee, watching One Tree Hill, I couldn’t understand how I didn’t settle down sooner!  This was great!  Talking about feelings, having someone to communicate with,  and being emotionally honest in an unprecedented manner felt terrific.  In other words, I had somehow turned gay. 

After awhile, all that open and honest communication gets to be a fucking hassle.  I bet not one of my married friends would ever say that to their wives (if they value their marriage), but I guarantee every one of them thinks it on a regular basis.  I think it’s a common misconception that women are better communicators than men.  Men can communicate just as easily, it’s just that we don’t feel it’s necessary to torture another with the excrutiating detail of our daily lives.  We just keep the daily occurrences we know our friends couldn’t care less about to ourselves.  Don’t get me wrong, I think communication is necessary on many levels.  Just not on as many levels as the fairer sex.  My Dad always taught me, “keep it bottled up inside, like a real man.”  So when in doubt, that’s exactly what I do.  And I turned out just fine. 

I was with Ex-Fiancee for three years.  And while I’d love to say I miss the constant communication with her, I don’t.  I know that’s unbelievable, and it surprised me, too.  Maybe I’m a loner, or maybe I’m just emotionally unavailable.  Or maybe she talked so much I would hide Alka-Seltzer under my tongue and fake seizures just to get her to stop yapping.  Either way, living the single life has been pretty sweet.  Let me give you some examples.

Never really been a big grocery shopper.  Turns out, Publix is a great place to meet chicks.  I’m over by the fresh fruit isle, contemplating the berry selection, and a hot girl is standing next to the legumes.  I casually begin with,

“Excuse me, do you know how long rasberries will stay good in my refrigerator?  No? Blueberries, then?  See, I’m trying out this healthy breakfast cereal (for the fiber), and it’s pretty bland.  But you know how on the carton picture they always have the fresh berries mixed in with the cornflakes, and it looks really tasty?  Then you get home and open the box, and no berries! So, I thought, I’ll just buy the berries and mix ’em right in with the cereal every morning!  Know what I’m sayin’?” 

In that particular case, she called security.  But it could’ve gone either way. 

One final example of the simple joys of the single life.  Last week, I was sitting in the den playing Contra.  No one was distracting me by running their mouth and making me miss a free man.  No one was yammering on incessantly about ‘a death in the family’ or ‘serious emotional and physical abuse.’  Just me and the Nintendo.  Like it should be.  And it occurred to me: “Vegas, what if you’re doing this at age 45?” 

And then the biggest smile I’ve had in years spread slowly across my face.  My eyes began to water with joyous emotion.  Because I could, in fact, still be doing this at forty-five.