Monday, October 28, 2013

Calling All Keynoters!

I suppose it's time to get back into the dangerous neighborhood that IS my mind! That whole Reunion thing is behind me now. I have no regrets and I won't apologize for the last two submissions in here. Yes, they were kind of sappy and sweet. And I almost showed a level of transparency that would destroy all the work I've put into convincing you of what a self-centered, self-absorbed, narcissistic Cretin that I am!

I actually thought that the Doc Holliday piece might be a great stopping point! It was number 38! I was running out of ideas. I truly don't want this thing to become a deadline. And although, I have TENS of readers, I am concerned that you are seeing  my little attempt at therapy as getting a little tired!

But, I don't need to come up with ideas! I'm on Social Media! And you are a flowing fountain of topics! And trust me! That is not always a good thing!

A few weeks ago, someone who is now a FORMER Facebook friend posted as a status update, "I want to apologize for not keeping up in here recently. I've been preparing for a conference. Keynoting is SO HARD!"

Let me tell you what's hard! Cleaning vomit from the screen of a laptop computer and from between the keys on a keyboard!

Are you serious? Are you kidding me? Please tell me that this was schtick! Please tell me that this post was an attempt at shock value! Please provide me with crackers and 7-Up to calm my stomach! Keynoting is HARD? Keynoting? Is that even a word?

Calling all Keynoters! HUSH! HUSH! Just HUSH! Your search for significance and continued need for affirmation is smothering the rest of us! And it's destroying our laptop computers!

Whew! I feel better now! And for those you that are about to scream "Hypocrite!" at me, you can HUSH, too!

I am fully aware that my Nike+ App posts every run I do to my Facebook status. And I am also aware that I make snarky comments about a "little 9 miler" or short "7 mile effort." I do that mostly to annoy my daughter! But I do it to annoy you too! It's schtick! I think it's funny. It's for shock value. It's to get a response. It's all a part of my ongoing social experiment on Facebook and on this Blog.

I will not share the number of speaking engagements I've had just since September 1st. The most recent one was yesterday. They aren't HARD! They are a privilege! They aren't difficult! They are humbling!

I belong to a fellowship that stresses the importance of SERVICE to others. The motto is, we do it "For Fun and For Free!"

Calling all Keynoters! Just try it once! Do it "for fun and for free!" Don't do it for the accolades. And don't do it in order to share it on Facebook and make us all vomit!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Doc Holliday Would Have HATED Facebook!

For those of you who don't know, Val Kilmer's portrayal of Doc Holliday in Tombstone is one of the greatest cinematic performances in the history of EVER! I have no idea how many times I've watched this flick. Rarely a weekend goes by that it's not being broadcast somewhere on Cable. I get sucked in every time.

Doc delivers a plethora of clever lines in this movie. Most of them are sarcastic, witty, and concise. However, one line near the end has always impacted me, even though I've heard it dozens of times.

Turkey Creek Jack Johnson is quizzing Doc as to why he's willing to involve himself in Wyatt Earp's feud. Doc simply states, "Because he's my friend."

Johnson then says, "Well hell, Doc, I've got lots of friends."

Then Doc simply replies, "I don't."

In my mind, this dialogue between Turkey Creek Jack Johnson and Doc Holliday is the turning point in the movie and it always gives me pause for reflection.

More times than not, I'm in total agreement with Turkey Creek Johnson. He utters that line and I think, "Me too, I've got lots of friends." On occasion, however, if I'm watching Tombstone late at night, by myself, the thought will enter my crazy mind, "Me and you, Doc."

Doc would have hated Facebook! He would have had thousands of friends. THOUSANDS OF FRIENDS on Facebook!  But would Doc ever felt as close to any of them as he did to his friend, Wyatt? I'm beginning to hate Facebook, too! It is becoming abundantly clear that being "friends on Facebook" is detrimental to being friends in life!

It dawned on me last weekend, that I have dear friends that I used to talk to, converse with, and even have lunch with on a regular basis. In some instances, I will have no personal interaction with them for several months! But, I'm keeping up with these dear friends because I saw their last Facebook check-in at the Friday night game!

Occasionally, I will bump into someone that I haven't seen in years. They say, "How's So&So doing?I know y'all  are real tight." I respond, "Oh yeah, they're doing great! Got the cutest new puppy. Saw it on Facebook."

Meanwhile, I haven't spoken to that person in 9 months and haven't seen him in 2 years. But, we're friends on Facebook! So, things are ALL GOOD!

It has been a crazy week! And the nostalgic effects of this silly Reunion are still messing with my mind. A friend linked Cheaper Than Therapy to the Closed Reunion Page. The response was phenomenal! (And a little intoxicating!) But I'm pretty sure that I'm NOT the only one who checked that reunion page dozens of times during the week.

Apparently, no one wanted the weekend to be over. And there's much talk as to not waiting another 10 years. It almost seemed that there was some level of grieving. A certain sadness shadowed the posts following that event because ALL we are NOW is back to being Facebook friends. And being Friends on Facebook doesn't seem to be enough.

Last weekend, we hugged each other's necks, kissed each other on the cheeks. And the laughter was SO REAL! Apparently,  "LMAO"  and "ROFL" as a response to a Facebook post is just NOT enough!

The image I try to portray to my DOZENS of readers is one of cynicism, pessimism, and downright arrogance! For some reason, I NEED you to believe that I'm just a pompous horses' ass!

But I welled up a little last Monday when writing that piece and felt like a complete wimp. Doc Holliday would not have approved! But unlike Doc, I have lots of friends! And they have ALL impacted me in a very special way. I am a blessed man! And I refuse to let Facebook trivialize those blessings!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Has It Really Been THIRTY Years?

Many of you who are reading this Post are reading Cheaper Than Therapy for the very first time. You are not familiar with the premise of this Blog, nor how that premise disappeared in the 2nd or 3rd post.

This little experiment was SUPPOSED to be my forum for getting all the noise out of my head by blasting it into Cyber Space and saving me $100/hour with a Shrink. I'm tired of me. My few friends are tired of me. So, I concluded that I would stop annoying you with ME and try this platform. It's Cheaper Than Therapy. Right?

Then, an interesting phenomena occurred. I would post a cynical, negative, bitter opinion about something really INSIGNIFICANT and the private messages would flow in....."Kev, I'd never admit this in the comments section of the blog or your FB wall, but I've been thinking the same thing for years!"

So, I quickly concluded that you are nuttier than I am and it was my task in life to educate you....Bless Your Hearts! I have SO much to teach and you have SO much to learn!

Today, however, there will be no life lessons. This rainy, Monday morning will probably just be a bunch of incoherent "scatter-shooting" about the RLT Class of '83 Reunion.

Only the Class of  '83 would schedule a FOUR DAY event! Are you kidding me? Early on, Teressa expressed ZERO interest in attending. Her "30 year" was last year and she could not have cared any less. The obvious "man thing" to do was to say, "If you're out. Then I'm out." But all along, I think she sensed that I would end up going even though I tried to feign no interest.

The game on Thursday night was bitter-sweet. Our 40-50 folks nearly doubled the crowd size. The evolving demographic change in the school is obvious. The team is still horrible. The Cheerleaders--Bless their Hearts! Didn't watch the Band or those "Vivacious Lionettes." Perfection was the goal in the early 80's. Political Correctness, these days, has made these activities more inclusive! Need I say more?

On Friday night, the "informal" mixer was at a bar (of course!). I was a little hesitant, but I was actually getting requests to show up! Who woulda thunk it? The saying goes, "if it's too loud, you're too old!" I'm TOO old! Conversation was tough! And everyone just wanted to chat! I was thinking a church Fellowship Hall was more in order. But of course, that would have made the mandatory drunk-fest not feasible.

It was REALLY good. I was not the only one drinking Virgin Rum and Diet Cokes. Funny when you order it that way! Bartender just rolls his eyes and fills a plastic cup with Diet Coke!

There seemed to be no "posturing" and no one seemed to be on the outside looking in. Judgementalism was apparently non-existent! It was good. Real good! (One Editorial Aside---Pound for Pound, I like our chances to whip any Class of '83's A**!)

I did not purchase a ticket to the Main Event on Saturday night. Teressa wasn't interested and I wasn't going to get my one "funeral suit" dry-cleaned to go Solo. But the Committee cut a deal for anyone who wanted to join in after dinner to socialize, dance, and chat....and of course drink. Some of the Friday Night crowd asked me to join. Most of them just wanted to see Teressa. By this time, she had made commitments for the evening and could not join in. Oh well! The Virgin Rum and Diet Cokes costs $4.25 at the Cash Bar. Ouch!

Just some general observations:

1) I really needed to attend. The only other Event I had attended was a "5 Year" Event in 1988. I felt like I owed everyone who was at that Event an amends for very unfortunate behavior. You can read between the lines on that one. Did not drink virgin drinks that particular night!

2) There was one girl there who I treated very badly in HS. I poked fun of, ridiculed, and laughed at her for 4 years. Following her on Facebook, I have found her to be a beautiful child of God and a great example of what a  fine Christian Lady looks like. I needed to tell her that in person.

3) There was one dude there that I was in class with EVERY single day of my HS career. We are on POLAR OPPOSITE ends of everything on this PLANET. It was good to see him. Our differences seemed insignificant.

4) The KNOCKOUT was there on Friday! This girl TAKES over a room! We had lockers 4 or 5 down from each other for 4 years! I never said a word to her in HS. We are friends today. I think that's pretty cool.

5) The old girlfriend was there. She got married exactly one week to the day after Teressa and I did. Twenty-four years and still going. Not keeping score.  But, that puts us in rare company with not a whole lot of other couples.

6) I will name a few names. Kevin Patterson, Mike Resnick, and Craig Fyock are men I love dearly. They were there and I am HONORED to be considered their friend!

In High School, I was a preacher's kid in a very conservative faith tradition. I simply did not participate in a lot of things. I do not know what a sock-hop, Homecoming Dance, or Prom looks like. I was NEVER pressured to drink by anyone close to me. I did get some odd reactions about the whole dancing thing. Go figure!

Finally, with about three songs to go, I gave into "peer-pressure" at 48 years old. I got onto the dance floor with folks who had never seen me dance. It's likely, they hope to never see THAT again.

And we danced! We danced like no one was watching! We danced out of friendship. We danced to celebrate. We danced cause we were blessed enough to have the health to do it.

I lost count. But at least 13-14 names were read of classmates who are no longer with us. Some of them I knew. Some of them, I didn't.

I am sorry they weren't there. I'm also sorry that I can think of a number of living classmates who did not join us that I would have loved to see.

For one night, status, money, designer clothes (I hated you guys with the Alligators on your shirts in HS) didn't seemed to matter. We celebrated 30 years! And we danced.....

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

REALLY! It Is Better To Look Stupid!

Old, tired clichés are certainly an easy topic when writing a blog. I've tried to avoid falling into that trap. In fact, I've really had the feeling that "this is the last one" with each of my last five or six entries.

But then, I have to venture out into the world and deal with you. And you continue to provide more material on a daily basis than I could ever hope to address. Remember, I just don't DO you very well. My old friend Casey best summed it up when he said, "People just aren't my kind of people." Truer words have never been uttered. The reality of that statement makes me just want to sit and weep.

Which leads me to the old, tired cliché that "It's better to look stupid than to open your mouth and remove all doubt."

In the last four days alone, it seems that everyone I encounter is hell-bent on removing ALL doubt! On Saturday, the consequences of this reality could have been catastrophic. Had I not removed myself from the situation, there was a very high probability that a man who was "removing all doubt" was going to end up in the hospital and I was going to spend the night in jail! This cretin really needed to shut his mouth and apparently, I was the only one willing to shut it for him.

Then today, the very relaxing activity of simply reading a Blog about Grace worked me into a complete lather. This Bible Scholar pontificated about Grace and gave the example of how Jesus handled the potential stoning of the adulterous woman at the Well. Dude! The "woman at the well" and the "woman caught in adultery" are TWO different stories! Is it really necessary to show just how illiterate and ignorant you are and blast it onto the World Wide Web?

Evidently, for this moron, it is necessary. And today, at this very moment, I'm trying to be okay with that.

My spiritual advisers have devised a "3 Question" test for me that has turned out to be the hardest and toughest test I have to take on a daily basis:

1) Does it need to be said?

2) Does it need to be said right now?

3) Does it need to be said right now, by me?

In the core of my very being, the answers are Yes, Yes, and Hell Yes! But I am getting old and quite frankly, I am getting tired.

On Saturday, I excused myself from a potentially volatile situation. I answered the test with three NO's.  I simply got into my truck and drove away. Today, the answers were NO again when I really wanted to embarrass that Blow-Hard in the comments section of his blog. I just closed the link and kind of felt sorry for the guy.

After all, another old, tired cliché says that "Ignorance is Bliss!" If that's true, these two idiots are some of the happiest guys on the Planet.

Who am I to rob them of their happiness?