Eleven Point Comparison of U2's guitarist vs. G:TB's Doofus Overlord,
(More than) Ten past-year memories,
Nine Clips You Tubin',
Eight Wren-based Nuggets,
A Seven Point Loss,
Six games worth watching (and picking),
Five Combined Wins,
Four Compliments For T.J.,
Three French Hens,
Two Dope-ass Rhymes (and a whole mess of sub-par ones as well),
And a Doofus Dancing (Amidst a Really Long and Grumpy Analysis of the New Kanye West Album).
The time has come, the year is over; thought I’d something more to say.
We’re closing out Gheorghemas and 2010; we might miss the antics of Gmas, but quite a few of us will not miss the 365 days of miscellaneous scrotazzling that comprised this calendar year. G:TBers and FOGTB, like everyone else, had highs and lows, but with our collective’s uncannily disproportionate doses of health issues, close relatives going to the great beyond, financial woes, relationship struggles, job stress, parenting challenges, people generally being Mike Love on a daily basis, and the motherfucking griffin, I mean . . . didn’t it suck? It sucked.
All that said, Gheorghe: The Blog remains the perennial highlight, a salve to the chafe of our day to day drawers. It underscores my unfun year when I realize that I spent less time chiming in and bringing my blather to your eyes than in any year of G:TB past . . . except perhaps Year 1, which was Teejay’s one-woman stage show, “Non Sequitur: A Stream of Consciousness Thought in 137 Parts.” My absence is my loss, not yours, obviously, and Igor did little in my stead to fill the void. Vows around the New Year are like those preceding a walk of shame, but I’m promising myself to take more advantage of Gheorghe: The Blog (and the women who read it) in 2011. My condolences in advance.
Anyway, it’s time to shelve the lamentations and remind ourselves of the best things of the year, at least in the Gheorghian view. (Which is akin to gravity bong vision.) So, as I’ve done in Gmases past, I’m delivering my dozen or so appreciations for this year.
* * * * *
I appreciated turning 40. I appreciated like hell that quite a few friends came long distances to the Outer Banks to help me ring it in drunkenly. Hell, I appreciated that I lived to see 40, which for a handful of our cronies was too much to expect. And I appreciated that the good lord is still blessing me with the self-confidence to slip into (just) a bikini bottom in the middle of a party and the craftiness to wake up early and delete pictures from everyone’s cameras and phones.
* * * * *
I’ve been snoring and sleeping badly for the better part of those 40 years, so I went to the local sleep center and had a study done. The technician awoke me in the middle of the night, telling me it was “too painful to watch you breathe . . . or I should say not breathe.” At one interval, I went 64 seconds without taking in any oxygen. The paraphrased prognosis: fuck, dude, you could die. And so I just now picked up my handy-dandy CPAP machine, destined to turn my girlfriend off but turn my life around. Or so they tell me. Since by some estimations I haven’t had truly restful sleep since Rafael Santana was in the bigs, I am appreciative even of the prospect of some solid Z’s, and I don’t mean Zman and his impending shorty. (For which the G staff is appreciative as well, natch.)
* * * * *
I have, at times, appreciated anonymity. It can be liberating. Coming back as myself is, like a never-nude shedding his cutoffs, a little odd. Those of you who haven’t picked up a nifty new moniker should try it. It is so choice. And get a douchey one like Mr. Truck, they’re more fun.
* * * * *
I’m appreciative for tequila, lately. I spent a night with a brand called Corzo a few weeks back with good results (many yuks, no yaks). Last night it was Cazadores Blanco. Get some. Tequila!
* * * * *
So the year was 1994. Bill Clinton was in his first term. George Clinton was on the big screen in PCU. Gheorghe Muresan was on the Bullets. Some among the G:TB family were still in high school. And it was the inaugural season of our fantasy football league. Caveman style, where we called opponents with starting lineups and checked the Washington Post for stats the next day to see who won. I made the playoffs that year; our chum Cliff did not. Nor did he in 1995. Nor 1996. Nor 1997. And in every year since. Cliff’s team missed the postseason every single year. That’s sixteen years without making the playoffs.
12 teams in the league; six get in every year. The odds that year in and year out Cliffy would fail to make the postseason are staggeringly low. But that he did. He’d start 5-1 and miss the playoffs. He’d start 0-4, then rattle off 5 straight, then miss the playoffs. He’d tie for the last spot, be short a few points overall, and miss the playoffs. In life, there are very few things you can count on over time, but Cliff missing the playoffs was one of them. This is a guy who was nicknamed “Jim Thorpe” in college, a dude who spends more time playing and watching sports than bathing or keeping in touch with his friends. It made no sense.
Cliff analyzed, overanalyzed, and out-thunk himself every time. And missed the playoffs. He recruited “assistant coaches,” friends who’d won their other leagues, to help him out of the funk. Those friends would stay on the job a few years, pull their hair out, and quit after missing the playoffs every year. Inexplicable.
2010. Cliff was again flanked by Billy, his third frustrated resident guru. Billy had won a handful of FFL titles before languishing in obscurity aboard the cursed Cliffy vessel, and word had it he was on his way out. The duo went 7-6 this year. And . . . Cliff made the playoffs. Cats and dogs, living together. Cliff made the playoffs. For the first time in 17 seasons, Cliffy made the playoffs.
. . . and won twice, vaulting himself into the finals, where . . . Rob beat him. What a dick.
* * * * *
The Teej. I appreciate ‘im. Left my laptop in his car after the OBFT, dude FedExed it overnight to me. I forgot to pay him back the 94 smackers that cost, dude never mentioned it. I suck. Teej is cool. Preesh the Teej.
* * * * *
I appreciate traditions. Love them, in fact. Traditions like Gheorghemas, and like the dudes here letting me finish off the Year with Day 12 once again – even though my output resembled Luis “#1 in Your Scorecard But #25 Million in Your Heart” Castillo’s this year. Greatly appreciated.
* * * * *
Speaking of crappy teams and the crappy people who root for them, my sports teams are predominantly wretched and embarrassing – and even the Tribe has taken what I penned in this space last year and shoved it up my Haynesworth. Wren football gacks one up in the first round, Wren hoopsters . . . poopsters. But, and this is a William & Mary co-ed sized but, I’m still paying my dues. Watching every down of the Redskins, still paying for Extra Innings to watch the Mets, even as they embarrass themselves (and me) routinely. My world is the opposite of the one Dave depicted in his post (and on SoD) – the players seem to fatalistically relive their nightmares time and time again, while I forget them and move on, hoping against hope. Someday, one day, I am going to be one of these morons, and it will be worth it. Unless I die first.
* * * * *
I appreciated Jeff Tweedy uttering my name on stage (twice) in March and giving me a gift certificate to a restaurant. Tweed-meister, here’s your reciprocal shout-out. Bit of a letdown, I’m sure.
* * * * *
And finally, I want the world to know that I appreciate Clifford Ray.
Yeah, that Clifford Ray.
You know, the one who played in the NBA. The one whom the C’s shitcanned from their coaching staff this year for no good reason. The one who molded many a big man into a big stud. (Ask Dwight Howard.) The one who saved a dolphin’s life. Yeah, that’s right. (Read about it at Deadspin.)
The one who had this written about him in the Globe:
He’s had breakfast with Alfred Hitchcock in Hawaii. He’s walked with Marlon Brando on Brando’s island. Jack Nicholson has sent him text messages. WheneverIt’s the same Clifford Ray who appeared in the 1980 film Inside Moves – which is why I bring it up. The movie was on cable two days ago, and there was Clifford Ray (as himself). And when I saw him, I remembered all the crazy facts about Clifford Ray . . . well, not all of them, I didn’t even know some of them until I just looked him up today. The man is fascinating, a cancer survivor, and good at what he does.
he’s in Oakland, Al Davis insists they have dinner together. He’s sailed from Fiji to Tahiti on an 85-foot catamaran. He saved a dolphin.
One time, he got a call in the middle of the night from a friend in the music business. He had a song he swore would be a hit and he wanted Ray to hear it before he recorded it.
The friend was Marvin Gaye. The song was “Sexual Healing.’’
And he’s 6’9”. Well, of course he is, right? I would have made it up if he hadn’t been, but he is.
But why I do I appreciate him? All that stuff is cool, but it’s something more personal.
Let me take you to the Capital Center in Landover, Maryland. The year is 1997. The Bullets are playing the Nets, and – in a promotion aimed at a very fringe element – it’s 70’s Night at the game. Future FOGTB Shlara was working for the Bullets at the time, and she scored Buck and me some good seats – contingent on us dressing up. Fair enough, we’re easy.
As it turned out, there were at least four or five people dressed for 70’s Night; two 6’5” honkies stand out a little wherever they go, but you deck them out in pleather, velour, and platform shoes (what?? Of course we had this stuff on hand), not to mention my wrist cast that I had painted at Mardi Gras the week prior . . . we stood out like sore thumbs. Slightly drunk, retarded sore thumbs.
Our seats were right over the tunnel where both teams went into the locker room at halftime, so when that happened, we stood up to clap our heroes off. As Big Gheorghe was walking through, I yelped gleefully, “Gheoooooooooooorghe!!!” This blog’s namesake glanced up at me with a look that, if I had to describe it in a word, I’d call terrified. Rightfully so. A big fat guy in a leisure suit and a cast shouting your name will do that to you.
Seconds later, while still laughing at Gheorghe’s reaction, I hear Buck say, “Hey – that’s Clifford Ray. That’s Clifford Ray!”
I was sure Buck would get the same reaction, but then it happened. Clifford Ray looked up at my man, gave him a head-bob, and sent him a nod like “That’s right. Sup.”
Clifford Ray is fucking cool.
I appreciate Shlara, Les Boulez, Buck, the 1970’s, Mardi Gras, Budweiser in a plastic cup, live sports, and Gheorghe Muresan. I also appreciate Clifford Ray. And so should you.
* * * * *
I’ve been channeling the Mountain Goats’ chorus for a while: “I am gonna make it through this year if it kills me.” I’m nearly there, and looking for much more next year. But not before I get rip-roaring hammered again among friends tonight. It’s okay, mom; I’m a good drunk.
As Coach Dale said, I love you guys. And my team’s on the floor. Happy New Year, Gheorghizens.
So F ’10; this one goes to ‘11.