Friday, May 27, 2011


Every Wednesday I have lunch with the guys that I used to work with at my old company. We meet at Buffalo Wild Wings (BWW) around 11:30 am and catch up on the latest. I am usually the last one to show because of my lack luster time management skills. I work from home so there is usually something that has my attention and keeps me from leaving in a timely matter.

This last Wednesday I was ahead of schedule. I managed to get my act together and headed out to meet the guys earlier than usual. It was gray and drizzly when I left the house. Most of the time I don't have the radio on in my car because the commercials make me stabby. This last Wednesday was no exception. I drove to BWW in silence completely unaware of anything going on beyond my field of vision.

The closer I got to BWW the harder it rained. I pulled into the parking lot in a heavy down pour. So, I decided to wait this one out high and dry in my car. I hadn't been there more than a minute when the manager of BWW opened the door and whistled at me to get my attention. When I rolled down the window he yelled, "get inside there is a tornado in the area!" So, I scrambled out of the car, ran in the pouring rain, and joined other wide eyed patrons watching tornado coverage on the big screens.

At the time the tornado coverage was mostly hard to hear reports on cell phones and video of a wall cloud less than a mile from my location. The most unsettling aspect of the coverage was the fact that the wall cloud and pending doom it represents was heading north towards my house.

My first thought was to get home and get the cats into the basement. I knew that driving into the path of a possible tornado was not a good idea. I was stuck watching radar and helicopter video hoping a tornado doesn't wipe out parts of the city. Especially the part that my house sits in. I tried to call Queentuffy, but I had no cell service. She couldn't reach me and I couldn't reach her. As far as she knew I was at the house.

After twenty minutes of watching weather coverage with butterflies in my stomach, we got the all clear and I headed home. Since there wasn't any report of a tornado touchdown or any structural damage, I expected to get home and find everything still standing.

The closer I got to home the clearer the skies became. By the time I pulled onto our street the sun was shining. There wasn't any branches or leaves on the ground that would signal strong winds. The empty trash can was still upright and by the curb waiting for me drag it back into the garage. Everything was as I left it. Whew!

After the terrible tragedy in Joplin, I was a little more on edge about the weather. Thankfully we were spared this time around. The whole episode has taught me to at least have the radio on in the car when driving in inclement weather or get a weather radio. Either way I don't want to be stuck in a BWW watching helplessly, again.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Self Esteem

It is funny/sad how an incident from your childhood can still effect you today. I was always one of the bigger kids at my school. You think that fact would have kept me from being teased, but that was not the case. I was teased so much in school that the mere mention of one the perpetrators names can cause me to slip into a mild depression.

Thanks to Facebook I have come across the ghosts of my past. Those little fuckers that caused me so much pain. Seeing their adult faces does not ease the pain. In fact it had me reliving some painful moments. Here is an example.

I was and continue to be a big guy. You know the kid who had to where husky sized jeans. Even though I was the husky kid I was really good at sports. Way above average in the little town I grew up in.

When I was a freshman in high school, I noticed a lot of the popular jocks had t-shirts on that said "200 pound club" or "250 pound club." I asked my football coach what that was about. He told me that you had to bench press that amount of weight three times in his presence to earn the shirt. I thought this might be a great way to accomplish something I could be proud of and have a shirt to prove it.

At the time I was lucky if I could bench press 100 pounds three times. So, I had some work to do. Being on the football team and the track team gave me ample opportunities to hit the weight room. Also, during the summer the weight room would be open three nights a week as long as there was a teacher to supervise.

I hit the weights hard. I was there at every opportunity. I was there so much that the teachers would ask me if I was going to be there so they new if they had to or not. I lifted before school and after practice. During the summer I was there 3 nights a week, every week.

I made it past the 200 and 250 pound club my sophomore year, but I didn't test out because I wanted to achieve what no one else at my school had done - 300 pounds. I figured that would something I can strut around school about. No one could take that from me.

My junior year I fractured my elbow during a football game. That set me back the entire year. It took six months before I could lift without pain. It took another three months to get back to where I left off.

A few months into my Senior year I was ready to see if I could qualify for the 300 pound club. I met my defensive coach (we called him Chief) and another teacher (I can't remember her name) as a witness after school. After the warm up, I lifted 300 pounds three times with relative ease. My coach pushed me into trying a higher weight. In the end I lifted 350 pounds three times. Chief was great. He told me how he appreciated my hard work and that no one in the history of the weight club at our school had earned the 350 shirt.

Of course I was beaming. I was walking on cloud nine. It took a week to get my shirt. When I did I could not wait to wear it to school. The next morning I wore with pride my hard earned trophy. I could not have been any more proud to wear a t-shirt in my life. Unfortunately the first people I come across at school were my tormentors.

After seeing the shirt, they made jokes that the shirt stood for how much I weighed. They proceeded to tease me at high volumes. By lunch time I had withstood a barrage of fat jokes. It was too much for me (remember I have no self esteem.) I drove home at lunch and changed shirts. I threw my newly acquired prize in the trash. Something that took me three years of hard work to earn was rendered a complete failure in ONE morning.

When I went back to school, I hid in the only safe place - the weight room. I missed all my afternoon classes because I could not stand to be around anyone. I just lay on the wrestling mats and stared at the ceiling until I felt it was safe to go home.

I continued to lift and participate in the sports I had left, but I never really got over the 350 pound club and how easy it was to take away.