Monday, January 2, 2012

Badger Tears

This is not the ending I was expecting. Bucky is sobbing on the streets of Pasadena. Somewhere Hubbard, Rosa, and Purdy are singing On Wisconsin off-key. All over the dairy state, cows are tipping themselves over in shock and dismay. Beer refuses to leave their taps. Oscar Mayer is blowing a dirge on the wiener whistle. The colors of cardinal and white walk around shrouded in black crepe. Lawry’s wants its steaks back.

I am disconsolate. I am angry. I just ate my cheesehead without the benefit of strong whiskey or any other lubricant. It went down as hard as the last second football spike ending a game without any time left on the clock.

Congratulations to Oregon. The last time an Oregon team won the Rose Bowl, America was several months away from entering World War I. The Czar was still running around Russia scooping up Fabergé eggs. The Ottomans still had an empire. And Iraq was not yet a country.

This Badger loss is my fault. Not the Jared Abbrederis fumble at the four minute mark of the fourth quarter. Not the questionable burning off of two time outs in the second half when neither, as it turned out, was really necessary. Not the fact that Montee Ball had three carries in the fourth quarter for NO YARDS. No, I take full responsibility for the loss: I, Mister Greenbushboy himself, was too damn lazy to go to the game and drink the beer, eat the hot dogs, wait in line to whizz, and listen to drunks around me question how Russell Wilson came to Wisconsin.

Every time I’ve sat my ever expanding keister down in the nose bleed section of the Rose Bowl, the Badgers were assured a victory. I was there in ’94, ’99, and 2000. Suddenly in my old age, I’ve become, like my exercise patterns: unreliable, lackadaisical, lethargic, slothful, and gaseous. In 2011, I decided to actually watch the Rose Bowl game in the comfort of a home with a 50 inch screen and I gobbled down food until it ran out in the third quarter. And what happened? Wisconsin lost to some team whose name shall never be mentioned in my presence.

This year, I went one better. The screen was the size of a mansion, there were enough bathrooms for a battalion, and the food service began the night before. And how did it end? We lost again. How can I call myself a Badger when obviously all I’ve been thinking about is my own self interest and my gut? Isn’t there a circle in Hell for reprobates and blackguards such as myself?

The next time Wisconsin has a quarterback the quality of Russell Wilson, I’ll be dead and won’t know about it anyway. Unless we have someone even half as good waiting in the wings come September of this year, the Badgers will end up at best playing in one of those toilet bowl games held before the New Year and who gives a crap about them? I fear that Wisconsin’s loss only portends what the Mayan Calendar has been warning us all along. The end is nigh.

Rose Bowl 2012

I’m a Bucky Badger who lives out in Los Angeles. Until Barry Alvarez rode in on Rocinante in 1990 and gave all of us Wisconsin football fans a reason to live for Saturdays, Badger Football was so bad that any Wisconsin emblazoned clothing I wore around the city, I had the words “Be Kind, Be Generous, Show Pity” sown prominently into it. I must admit I did plagiarize that slogan: It is the union motto for the WGA out here as well.

I learned to despise the football programs of both Ohio State and Michigan. Those two teams, made up primarily of walking sides of beef, were proof positive of the existence of Satan’s spawn on Earth. Only in high school did I discover where those two states were located and how close in proximity they were to Wisconsin. This made me even more nervous, since geography was one of my better subjects in school.

Prior to 1990, I personally was leading a life best described as unglued and disquieting. I walked around in a daze and was known for mumbling the names Alan Ameche, Pat O’Dea, and Pat Richter whenever stressed out. I was arrested several times during those years for wearing my Wisconsin parkas and sweatshirts in 100 degree temperatures and pronouncing the word "Sepulveda" incorrectly. People also thought I was a Washington State Huskies fan which really made me hated around UCLA and USC.

The Rose Bowl is a beautiful stadium. I’ve gone there for concerts, 4th of July celebrations, and its fabulous flea markets. The stadium is either 26 or 32 miles from my place depending on which car encrusted freeway I try my luck on. MAPQUEST says it is about a 40 minute drive from where I live. MAPQUEST is afflicted with alcohol poisoning. On an average day, when most traffic patterns originate in Hell, the trek is well over an hour. On Rose Bowl Day, bet on a probe launched to Mars to get there quicker.

I went to the Rose Bowl on January 1, 1994 and some miscreant sided swiped the left side of my car causing several thousand dollars in repair. I went to the Rose Bowl Game on January 1, 1999 and a drunk or drunks used the right side of my car as a public urinal and vomitorium. The pissing rubbed the paint off the car and the ralphing smell took two weeks to disappear.

For the January 1, 2000 game, nothing happened to my car. I did, however, misplace my binoculars and break my glasses tripping down a flight of stairs at the end of the game. I no longer remember whether I was pushed by the mob racing to leave the Stadium or just slipped on some cheesy food. It took me ages to find my vehicle and driving home with eyesight just north of Helen Keller’s proved both my mettle as a foolhardy male and my capacity to cry on command. I will always be thankful for all the DUIs caught on the roads that night, employing the police so fully that they ignored this squint-eyed fool snaking down side streets, back alleys, and through portions of the LA subculture at 12 miles an hour. I got home by sunrise.

I did not go to the 2011 Rose Bowl game since my nerves were still on edge from 2000. I sat and watched it on a 50 inch screen at a friend’s house a mere two miles away and bawled like a puppy. Wisconsin lost that game and we ran out of food in the middle of the third quarter.

I will not be attending this year’s game either. Instead, I will be viewing it on an even larger screen with friends who know that a football game of this magnitude has food served two hours before the kick-off and six hours after the last play has been run. As is customary at such events, I will be wearing all sorts of Wisconsin headgear, sweatshirts (one for each quarter), and socks with the famous “W” emblazoned on them. With each touchdown score I will high five some stranger and puff up my man breasts with pride.

Wisconsin will win this BCS game by a minimum of two touchdowns. If for some Mayan apocalyptic reason the Badgers should lose to the Ducks, I will personally sideswipe my own car while peeing on it as I vomit up the last 24 hours worth of stomach contents. Will I be so clumsy as to step on my own glasses? What? Do you think I have cheese for brains? I’ve grown up since my days at Wisconsin.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Bye Bye 2011

My Year End summary to all my friends, creditors, and assorted others who still believe I owe them money.

2011 had more ups and downs for me than a retirement community discovering Viagra for the first time. 2011 was a year filled with some joy, but that’s boring to speak about so let’s get to the mental chaos, the physical pain, and those unusual number of late night phone calls from someone calling herself Manny the Horse.

The phone calls began in early January, threatening to expose some dark secret I had kept hidden since high school. As I did nothing in high school except take up space in the back of every classroom, I was curious about that secret myself. Manny the Horse said she would get back to me on that. When she finally did call again, she apologized, telling me that these late night threatening phone calls were actually for some other Greenbush Boy located in Greenville, South Carolina. She asked whether she could still call me late at night because she loved the hysterical nature of my masculine voice. I told her only if she talked dirty to my fixed cat.

She would later reveal herself to be Esmeralda Schwartz, a psychotic woman claiming to be my long lost daughter. She was last seen yodeling in the Tyrolean Alps. I hope to hear more from her in the New Year because ever since I saw The Sound of Music, I have loved the noise of sheep courting goats.

2011 began auspiciously enough with my final court appearance regarding that nasty paternity suit that had dogged me since my teen years. How one becomes pregnant on a toilet seat, especially if one is alone at the time, was beyond my biological pay grade as I kept arguing in court. The twins who claimed to be my love children born to someone named Sally from Anchorage were finally proven to be the charlatans when both were tasered and forced to hand over some DNA spittle. Lab tests were conclusive when traces of dieffenbachia were found in their mitochondrial strains. My lineage is straight Eastern European fir and switch grass from the Great Plains.

In February, I broke my arm in the defense of a woman’s honor. Apparently she still desired to keep hers. It was all a misunderstanding, as I tried to explain to the arresting officers, who must have mistaken me for a felon on the 10 Most Wanted List and beat me like an Al Qaeda suspect. While recuperating in the emergency room, I met a very lovely doctor who had no interest in me whatsoever. She did, however, volunteer both of my kidneys to an Eastern European body parts cartel working out of the back room of the hospital.

At about the same time, I discovered my love for the outdoors. My normal pattern of spending my days locked away in a cold fourth floor walk up was replaced by the exotic world of nature. This new venture out in the wilderness would eventually help me pay off a number of backlogged gambling debts made during the calendar year 2005 when I began mixing muscatel with Nyquil to cure my inability to draw with my left hand. Planting certain medicinal plants in the back trails of various national parks in Northern California, ,and Idaho resulted in adding the right amount of vitamin D back into my body.

I also learned a valuable civics lesson about our Bill of Rights while roaming the great outdoors. When in doubt about the worth of one’s botanical harvest, it is always best to point the business end of the Second Amendment at your buyers first before the negotiations become too heated. The bullet that tore off half my right ear now forces me to walk rather lopsided, but it does add a certain gangster appeal to my resume. I now have no need for my vast hoop earring collection. No reason any longer for me to watch The Shopping Network. I’ll miss those ads about spandex underwear.

Thanks to a Martha Stewart tip, reusing paper plates are fine as long as they are not washed in a dishwasher. The things one learns as a bachelor.

Thanks to the court ordered electronic bracelet and home arrest, I was finally able to catch up on all the novels I missed from the ninth grade onward. I am shocked to discover that Moby Dick is about a white whale and not the name the author gave to his male organ.

Do you know that tea candles burn at varying lengths?

I finally got around to dusting my apartment this summer. I discovered dust under the dust but nothing I could sell either on eBay or to any of the pawn brokers who now call me by the moniker “Clueless.”

Walked once around the block for my yearly cardio workout.

In September, I decided to try my luck dating again. Removing the electronic bracelet certainly helped with my mobility. The back pages of the LA Weekly have never proven too successful in helping me to find just the right girl for an evening out -- though I’ve spent plenty for a lot of the wrong girls for an evening in. One date refused to eat much even when taken to IHOP. She said she was on some new flesh eating diet, which as I discovered from reading articles on the Internet is the latest Southern Californian craze in addition to waxing one’s teeth, Brazilian style. Another date proved short lived when she began correcting my spelling while I spoke to her.

I attended several funerals during the year which corroborated to those of us still breathing how both depressing and dangerous such events can be. I can’t count the number of attendants coming down with shin splints and angina as they danced on the graves of those just buried. I guess this is a Hollywood tradition I as a Midwesterner will never get used to.

On a lighter note, several more of my friends had ugly divorces this year. I take no pleasure in telling anyone, “I told you so,” but I do find satisfaction in knowing that during the heated divorce proceedings, my gag gifts were not the ones being fought over.

Must end this blog. I believe Esmeralda Schwartz is calling again.