Down Time Memory Jolts

Wow. A lot going on.

I never thought it would get this bad. Panic, quarantine, economic uncertainty.

But here are some positives: IF…I’m not working, I’m at home. If I’m at home I’m with my wife and kids. Which is more than I can say for 50+ hours of a normal week. I am going to challenge myself to do as many of the things my wife and I always talk about not having enough time to do. I don’t know how many times we’ve gone to bed talking about all the stuff we wanted to get done and didn’t because life just got in the way.

Clean the closet: Speaking of which…how about all these moves the Vikings have made this offseason? Remember when you were in your 20’s and all you did was look forward to Sundays and football talk with Curt Paul? Even though neither one of our teams was ever any good. Didn’t stop either of our aspirations. I at least in the back of my mind knew…Curt always thought Buffalo was going to the super bowl no matter what….These are the thoughts that ran through my head the last time I cleaned the closet.

Get my car checked out: Speaking of which, why would anyone ever run duel stacks on a straight lift? I’m guessing it could be the ‘J wire’ or the ‘G valve’. Or maybe it just needs a new solenoid. Regardless, that’s what I’ll be thinking about when SOMEONE ELSE is looking under the hood and he could tell me any damn thing and I’d be forced to believe he knows what the hell he’s talking about. Every time something is wrong with my car I always laugh to myself when I pop the hood…as if I’ve ever checked under there and had any idea whatsoever what it could be. I once went to a burger king drive thru late night and had the window employee tell me my hood was one fire. Actually his exact quote was ‘your car’s on fire’ as blandly as possible, handing me my food bag and closing the window politely back up. I look ahead and my hood is smoking. Didn’t even bother pulling aside and checking, just gunned it home, hoping I’d make it without an explosion. What the hell was I going to do if I pulled over and looked at it? These are the thoughts that ran through my head the last time I had my car looked at.

Yard work: I taught my 12-year-old how to mow the lawn a couple of summers ago. He half-listened and half ignored my instructions, and 100% focused on looking cool at all times. Sporting his shades and a sleeveless shirt. Watching him was a blast. That’s what I thought of the last time I did any yard work.

Clean the garage: One time my parents put all my clothes in garbage bags and threw them in the garage without telling me. It was my mom’s way of showing she didn’t appreciate the way I had been recklessly leaving dirty clothes in the laundry room. I acted like I didn’t notice and just kept pulling the clothes out of the garage as needed. I was 30 years old. The result was my mother getting even more furious with me. That’s what I thought about the last time I cleaned out the garage.

Organize my office: The last time I had an office I was in my mid 20’s working at a hotel in Missoula, MT. The stuff I found when I cleaned out that office produced many thoughts and memories. One weekend, as a part of my friend’s bachelor party, I put up about 12-15 guys in 6-8 rooms. Comp’d. Acted like a big shot. I would love to call out a few of the guys by name for never even saying thank you. Nick, Adam, Matt…I hardly knew you guys and maybe that’s why…but when I barely know someone and they’ve done something nice for me, directly or indirectly, I’ve always gone out of my way to thank them. That’s what I was thinking about the last time I organized my office.

Clean out my car: One of the times I cleaned out my car real well was when I decided to come home from Vegas for good. I made it all the way to Bozeman in one sitting, only stopping for gas. I reached out to a few of my buddies who lived there when it became clear I was going to be in town. I rolled in about 4 p.m. Met up with one of my buddies (at his suggestion) at a local gentlemen’s club around 5 p.m. I was surprised the place was already open, my buddy (initials MD) assured me they would be. What happened next was a little surprising. We both bellied up to the bar. Before I had finished my beer we’d been kicked out. MD was escorted to the door. As I stood up to gather my coat and make sure I had everything…”Hey, you can stay, it’s just your buddy’s gotta go”…came a loud voice. I of course put my coat on the bar stool and saddled back up. Out of straight principle…had to have at least another beer. I knew I was gonna have a story to tell the boys for the rest of my life. Although I hadn’t gained many of the details yet. The fact was we’d been kicked out of a strip club…at 5:30…PM. It was my pleasure to showcase MD around all night and tell anyone who’d listen what happened. The best part of that story is MD texting me “I’m outside” when I was inside having another beer. That’s what i was thinking about one of the last times I cleaned my car out. The details of that story won’t be shared on this format.

Clean and organize the kids playroom: The last time I cleaned out my kids playroom I was reminded of my poker playing days. It was thanksgiving of either ’04, ’05, or ’06. Somewhere in there. A lot of my friends were back in Great Falls to spend the holiday with their parents. There was a 1-3 game at the Hi-Ho Tavern that night. Three of my good buddies were playing in it. I was broke. I remember thinking all I wanted to do was get in the game and sit there for the entertainment, fold everything, but get to hang out with the guys. I had 20 dollars to my name. Just so happened to be the minimum buy-in. The folding theory didn’t pan out. Four hands in I found it impossible to fold A-10 for reasons unknown. It’s an easy fold. Anyway, the flop came 10 high and away I went. Bet-call. Turn card was a brick. Bet-call. River card was a king. Now I checked and the guy who called me twice already put out a bet. I sat there outwardly pist off. Squirming in my chair and making comments to the guy about how bad of a player he must be to hold onto King high and chase me down, etc. I looked at my chips. I had 7 dollars left. If I called and was wrong I’d only have 4. I finally put in the crying call, and the guy flipped over A-3. Air. Absolutely nothing. I immediately stood up from my chair and said something like ‘Yeah, that’s right, you don’t try to bluff me. I always have it. You don’t know who you’re dealing with’ etc. I was proud of myself. The table fell silent as I gathered in the chips with a non-bashful grin on my face. I looked over at one of the buddies (TK), the one of the three I was pretty sure would find the situation funny, and he was just shaking his head in disproval. The guy who lost the pot politely said “We’ll I don’t have to take this, I’m just here to have a good time,” as he moved his chips in towards the dealer to be cashed out. My other buddy who is a regular at that game leans over to me and says ‘what are you doing…he’s a good guy…’ An hour or two go by and the game continues. I’m up to around 60-70 chips. Well the gentleman from earlier must have gone somewhere and thought better of getting talked to that way. I’m guessing he brought it up to his friends and/or increased his alcohol intake then decided he wasn’t going to stand for it anymore. I look up and see him and a few of his buddies standing around the table, “What do you gotta say to me now…? Etc, etc” I look up without hesitation and say “I’ll be right with you, I’m still counting some of your chips,” as I’m raking in another pot. Shortly after that statement I felt a giant pain in my ear. Followed by seeing my feet up near my eyes as the chair I was sitting in was now spinning like a top next to my head, with me on my ass. The dealer kicked us both out. I argued I should be able to stay and play my chips since I didn’t feel I was involved in a fight having thrown no punches. No chance. I woke up the next morning, my ear hurt so damn bad. I felt like such an asshole, like I usually do after a night like that, fist fight be damned. I checked my phone and had a voicemail from TK. All he said, in the most obvious sarcastic tone…knowing I’d wake up feeling like an idiot…”who the hell did that guy think he was trying to bluff you.” That’s the story that popped into my mind the last time I thought about cleaning and organizing the kids room.

Play some golf: It’s one of my favorite things to do. I don’t know if I’ll be able to get any time on the course, but it is one of the few pieces of entertainment/recreation that has remained open. At least in our area. So many golf course stories come to mind. Driving to Great Falls from Missoula at about 90 MPH trying to make it for a tee time with the Nebels. Then getting pulled over. The officer told me I had been going too fast, I said I know…”I’m just in a hurry I’m on my way to play golf with Bob Nebel.” He responded ‘Who is that?’ In a sort of timid, without trying to sound timid, voice. I say “Oh don’t worry about it, he’s just friends with Tanner Keil.” It gets silent for what felt like a minute but was probably only a few seconds. I finally look back towards the officer (I had been looking straight ahead) he’s staring down at me with his sunglasses around the tip of his nose, his hand extended back towards me with my license in it. ‘Have a good day,” he says. No ticket. No warning. I told a million people about this. The best explanation I heard was maybe it was a relatively new cop and he thought I was dropping names of important people in the state, insinuating that I was connected to power folks. Who knows. Meanwhile being a lazy, carefree jackass in my 20’s had finally paid off. There are plenty of other good golf stories available upon request.

Part Two of this post forthcoming.