Archive for August, 2010

Something to Think About

I Chronicle tonight from the touristy, but very nice, Saint John Ale House in Saint John, New Brunswick. The Large Man is abroad. By “abroad”, I don’t mean that I’ve painted up my lips, smeared some rouge, and donned a pretty dress with a nice pair of f-me pumps. I simply mean that I have traveled to another country.

Tonight, thanks to a strategic seating by the fetching young hostess named Shauna (black hair and blue eyes – is there anything prettier?), I am in the care of Stephanie – a smoldering beauty dressed in black and denim. Steph doesn’t talk much, and she seems immune to my piercing blue eyes and aw shucks smile… Stephanie is a great waitress – a pro. I can spot cool from a mile away, and this young woman is cool. Every single one of you reading this tale tonight would like her. The ladies would like her because she is pretty, but not begging us to look at her. The men would like her simply because she is pretty…but we’re easy like that. The group would appreciate her because we would immediately notice that everybody else seems a little frustrated with the slow service…if you’re at Stephanie’s table, this is not an issue.

A sassy little IPA from a small brewery in Moncton, New Brunswick is the crowbar that will pry out tonight’s Large Man story. The Pump House Brewery beers are really good; if you’re ever in the Maritime Provinces, give them a try.

Something to Think About:

Fathers, be good to your daughters.

I think John Mayer is a tool, but there are few songs that touch me more than Daughters. It says so much, and I see the point every day.

I’ll share (briefly) what I saw yesterday at the Buffalo International Airport…

HER… Palomino blonde, blue eyes the size of a full moon, an athletic but very feminine build that made me almost consider breaking one of the 2 most passionately followed Large Man rules*.

She is sitting alone, and talking on her cell phone to somebody she loves. She is speaking in an eastern European language that I obviously can’t understand or identify.  She smiles and laughs all through the conversation. She is a pretty picture. Her language is percussive and lyrical…her smile is genuine, and her heart is full. This young beautiful girl has all the promise of a sunrise. She makes me smile.

Then he walks up…

HIM… Died black hair, a black pair of these new “skinny” jeans that I’m seeing more and more of…on dudes! Black denim blazer over black and white striped tee-shirt, with a white scarf wrapped around his neck…its fucking August, and this punk is wearing a scarf. He looked like that Adam Lambert dude from American Idol. It works for Adam, I really like him – his new song is great. This guy however, just looked like an idiot. She looked athletic and feminine, he just looked feminine. I really fought back an urge to punch him in his vagina. It wasn’t because of how he looked, it was because of how he behaved. He didn’t make me smile.

I looked at the two of them and I thought of the two angels that sit on each of my shoulders when I’m faced with a moral dilemma. She was the white angel wanting me to do good things…he was the dark angel wanting me to do evil. I mostly interact with these angels when I’m alone in a hotel room looking at pay-per-view options – She wants me to watch Marley and Me. He wants me to watch Girls Gone Wild – Panama City. So they both have important roles in the Large Man world; it mostly depends on how many beers I’ve had when it comes down to whose guidance I follow.

Unfortunately for the Adam Lambert poseur, it’s 9:30 AM and I have had nothing to drink. The fatherly instincts in me lean towards protecting a pretty girl more so than trying to understand and relate to the dark, misunderstood, brooding young man.  Please understand that I understand that both of these kids need a little love. Some guidance from someone who has taken a few trips around the sun could go a long way here. But this dude is just mean. How in the world did this guy worm his way into her world?

He doesn’t talk to her, he just barks at her. Unless “asshole” is a language or accent, he spoke with none. I’m guessing he’s the boyfriend. I’m also guessing that he’s thinking the same thing that everybody else in the Gate 6 area is thinking. What in the HELL is this girl doing with this jerk. This would explain his aggressive posture toward her. He doesn’t deserve the kindness that she continues to show, and she’s eventually going to figure it out and move on. But he has her now. You could see her body language completely change as he walked up and sat down next to her – she went from abundant sunshine, to cloudy with a chance of tears. He wasn’t a physical threat, and as sad as it may seem, the emotional power he had over this girl was more disturbing than if he were a physical threat.

I had to walk away. I decided it was best to leave before I did or said something I would later regret.  I have a tendency to poke at snakes. This was none of my business. However, because I am who I am, as I got up I kinda stared at the guy and shook my head. He made eye contact, and thought about something, but as most bullies do when confronted, he let the thought pass. I can assure you that this young buck could have whipped my old ass like it was a hobby. I knew it, but he didn’t. That’s how bullies are; they’re only strong when someone else is weak.

I don’t have any idea how these two opposites got together. There is no certainty that I’m even right about the dynamic between these two kids.  But I’ll bet I’m close. They could be fine, but just in case, please heed these words…

Fathers, be good to your daughters. Tell them you love them every day. Tell your little girls why you love them. Tell them that they are so special that they never have to put up with shit from any other man, woman, or child. Tell them how smart they are, and how much you admire their strength. Tell your daughters how proud you are to be their Dad. Tell them these things so they don’t have to reconcile their Daddy issues with guys that look like Adam Lambert. Tell them they can avoid pointless relationships with guys who wear white scarves when it’s fucking August.

I think if we tell our daughters these things it will make a difference.

That’s all…just something to think about.

Thanks for reading…one more beer, and I gotta go.

The Large Man

*Rule # 1 – I don’t wear black t-shirts

Rule # 2 – I never ogle real life girls under the age of 25 (by “real life” I mean girls that are not on TV or in movies…you get a pass for that)

Rule #1 is because of my fair complexion and my disdain for the marketing practices of the Jack Daniels Corporation. Rule # 2 is because I have too many friends that have daughters in their teens and twenties, and it’s completely cootiefied for a 50 something year old man to ogle real girls who are that young. There are so many beautiful women in their 40s and 50s that I can objectify, it just seems classier to do that…I can maintain my scoundrel and hound status, but stay classy. It’s important to be classy.  This is my choice, my rule, and my rationalization, and you do not have to agree. No matter how wrong you may be.

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You’re catching the Large Man on a good day. There is very little mischief dancing around in my head, limited angst, and remorse is nowhere to be found. I’m feeling blessed by a good life, a mostly healthy family, friends that at least act like they like me, and an outlet to express it all.

Yesterday, after years of consideration, shopping, studying, and comparing, and most importantly; convincing my wife, I upgraded to a flat screen TV for our living room. Yesterday was a great day.

On Friday, when I decided to finally pull the trigger, I asked my over sensitive 9-year-old boy to go on an adventure with me, and I told him what we were doing. Just to make it more fun, I told him that it was a secret, and that we couldn’t tell the girls (my wife, and our over sensitive 11-year-old daughter). His ice blue eyes lit up more brightly than my most recent birthday cake. Later that evening, he mentioned to his mother and our neighbors around our Friday night camp fire/happy hour/jam session  (at least 3 times) that “me and my Dad are  having a Man Day tomorrow. We’re getting my hair cut, and having lunch.” Then he would turn to me and give me a huge smile and a wink that required the use of his entire body. Nod of the head…dip of the shoulder, and then a jerk back. My over sensitive 9-year-old son has not exactly developed his poker face yet.

So we rise and shine early Saturday for the quest…an hour in one direction to get a TV stand that my little Mrs. fell in like with a few weeks ago; then 35 miles in another direction (we’re a bit remote) to get the TV, lunch and a haircut. I found the TV I wanted, a nice little 32” job, it had the specs I desired, and a price my wife was willing to let me pay. I showed it to Poker Face and said, “I think it’s this one, Jack. What do you think?”

Jack looks at the set, looks at me, then the shoulders drop…and the head looks at the floor. “Really? I wasn’t thinking of something THAT small.”

Hmmm…he’s only 9 years old, and he dips potato chips in ketchup, but my spawn makes a good point. It really was small.

Now I left the house with a very clearly defined budget, because the TV is not the only upgrade taking place in our 100-year-old home. But Jack, our baby, is disappointed. A disappointed Jack is the key to finding extra money in any budget situation at the Large Man headquarters. He is Mommy’s boy.  Now I’m excited!

“Well Jack”, I replied, “what size TV were you thinking we should get?”

He takes a look around the show room. Very carefully considers about 3 or 4 of the … ahh…larger models that were available. Go big, or go home – that’s my boy! I love it!

Unfortunately, a 50” TV wouldn’t fit anywhere in our house, and certainly not in our living room. I directed him a little further to the left of the display wall, and he found a nicely appointed, very conservative, and highly regarded 37” model. “How ‘bout this one?” he asks.

For only (roughly) a car payment size chunk of change more, we could upgrade our upgrade to a larger, higher defininitioner, more better TV. OK, I’m thinking…this could work. A compromise has been struck! A deal was done. We get a bigger better TV, and it was Jack’s idea, so nobody’s gonna be in trouble. The college money used to pay for it won’t be missed for at least 7 or 8 more years, so everybody will be happy. Right?

I perspired most of the 30 minute drive home while my 9-year-old, over sensitive, non-poker face wearing, freshly sheared, mama’s boy, wiggled in his seat with absolute delight. He wore my hand out with high fives. “Thank goodness I was with you”, he exclaimed. “You almost made a huge mistake!”

Yeah…let’s hope so.

Everything’s gonna be alright, I thought.

…and it was. It was all fine.  It was fine,  because I came in and made it clear that I was the bread winner in this house, and if I wanted to provide nice things for my family, that’s the way it was, and I wasn’t gonna take any shit over it. Well…it was sorta like that. What I actually said was, “Honey, when we looked at the 32”, it just seemed too small. I hope you don’t mind, Jack really wanted something a little bigger…I know we agreed, but this is a better fit for us”. That’s what I actually said, but she knew what I really meant.

I followed up my forceful proclamation with a request for assistance, “because you’re better at putting this stuff together than I am”. I’m thinking if I seem helpless and vulnerable, my punishment might be lighter…it’s hard to beat a pathetic, worthless man when he’s down. Also, she actually is better at putting stuff together than I am – she uses the directions.

So an hour later, we have the old TV out, the new TV hooked up, and Sponge Bob looks better and more defined than ever before. It was a nice upgrade. The cherry on the sundae came when Poker Face headed off to bed, he asked the girls (my wife, and daughter) if they “had anything to say” to him before he left. They responded with only a quizzical look.

“How ‘bout a Thank You for saving the day.  What if Dad had bought that little TV?”  He told them. They thanked him, and sent him to bed feeling like he just cured athlete’s foot.

All said, it was a great day… one on one time with my boy, the joy of a new gadget, and an upgrade. Other than an ice-cold beer to celebrate the day, what more could a person ask for?

I’m having a Smutty Nose I.P.A. right now, so I ask for nothing.

Thanks for reading, there will be more Chronicles on upgrades over the next few days.

Big love,

The Large Man

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A Day In Jersey

I can’t make this stuff up, and I’m pretty good at making up stuff. This all just happened. Just a day in Jersey.


I woke up at 5:30 which is a little early for me, but not outrageously so. The asshole in room 217 at the Fairfield Inn in Avenel, NJ decided he needed a shower at 5:30 this morning. This woke me, because some time ago the architect that built the Fairfield Inn in Avenel, NJ decided that he didn’t need thick, sound proof walls. Both of these decisions were made without much consideration for me or anyone else that may be staying in this $150.00 a night hotel. Such is life. You can’t let it bug you, because you have no control over these circumstances. This patience and wisdom are what I like about being 50.

Even with the early wake up, something told me that today was going to be a great day. There was a pretty blue sky that was a dance floor for a few cotton white clouds that swayed in a warm breeze. The sun was smiling.  I felt the need for a good breakfast, so I went to Google to look for a diner close by. As it turns out, there is a diner from Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives show just a mile or so away from where I’m staying. Giddy – up!

I walk out the lobby door, across the parking lot to my car;  feeling a little chill as I step through the morning shadow cast by the dome from Rahway prison. Whenever I look at a prison, no matter where it is, I shudder. When I look at a prison I never think about the rehabilitation that’s going on inside, I just think about unwanted anal sex that goes on in there – with murderers, lawyers, rapists, financial advisors, and the occasional politician. I can’t help it – that’s what I think of, and it scares the shit out of me. I never want to go to prison.

I need to get these dreadful thoughts out of my head, and as luck would have it…

 …I reach my car and notice on the side of the building where I’m parked, there is a large tour bus loading a group of absolutely beautiful young women (I could make this part up, but I’m not). Turns out it’s a volleyball team from some former Soviet Union country with a name that I can’t pronounce, and won’t even pretend to try to spell. It has a lot of Ks in it.

The women (young ladies) are tall, mostly blonde, very smiley – even at 6:00 in the morning. Almost all of them wave or nod at me as they walk by. It’s like I’m a judge at a beauty contest. What a nice change in my thought direction. Now I’m just thinking about regular sex.

I watch the girls safely board, and listen to the big diesel engine roar as it belches out a little black smoke taking the group to their next competition. Somehow this whole scene reminds me why I love America, I hope they do too. In fact, I hope they stay.

So I pull into the lot of the surprisingly small Bay Way Diner in Linden, grab a seat at the counter as I’m greeted with a smile from a pretty Latino woman. She hands me a menu and a glass of ice water, then screams at the top of her lungs, “KAISHA! YOU HAVE A CUSTOMER!” Kaisha comes out of the restroom, and they start arguing with each other in Spanish – it seems very heated, but I also think it might be the nature of the language and the dialect. They abruptly stop; Kaisha looks at me and smiles, and asks for my order. I tell her what I want, and they continue their argument. Now, the one whose name I do not know, pulls out a bunch of very large knives…just as I’m deciding to leave and settle for a bagel at Dunkin Donuts, the owner walks in and starts yelling at both of them in a mixture of English and Spanish…he said the “f” word quite a few times. He ends the tirade with two very loud and hard “point making” slaps on the countertop with his massive diner owner hands. Then, all three start laughing hysterically, and he puts away the knives. I felt like I was in a David Lynch film. But no, no film at all… I was just in Jersey.

The breakfast was great.

Back to the room, shower and shave, check a few emails, and head out for a few morning sales calls. As I got on the highway, I cut off a fellow motorist in one of those only in Jersey jug handle turning places. I can’t explain the jug handle. It’s like a roundabout, or rotary intersection, except not really. If you’ve been here you know what I’m talking about, if you haven’t…well, just don’t come. So, because I cut this guy off, he yelled an obscenity at me that rhymes with duck glue, and gave me the finger. I’m still feeling good, so I engage him with a return finger. He pulled up beside me and showed me a gun that he just happened to have riding along with him. He is less than 1 mile from Rahway Prison, and he waves a gun at me. He must think differently about prison than I do.

 At this point, I decide that he is taking this incident more seriously than I am, and his “finger” is bigger than mine.  I continued through the jug handle, and lost him. Only a little bit of pee came out of me, so overall I would call this my third successful interaction with the citizens of New Jersey today. And here it is only 8:00! I guess, technically, the volleyball team members were not from Jersey, but you get the point.  


Over the mid-day meal, I separated two good customers twice from heated arguments over who was going to buy what from whom, and where they would sell these things after they bought them. They talked about each other’s mothers in extremely disrespectful terms. They debated loudly, and rudely. They never settled the argument, and we all agreed that the issues on the table needed further study before we could come to an agreement. After all this yelling, and screaming, and spitting hate filled words at each other, we shared an appetizer, had some sandwiches, and talked about the Giants. I had to leave, but they decided to stay and have a few beers with each other. I looked at them incredulously, and they returned my look with a sort of puzzled wonder…as if there might be something wrong with me.

Around 3:30, I hopped on the southbound lanes of the Jersey Turnpike, and headed for good ol PA. While I drove, I started thinking that there is an aggressive nature in the folks in this land called “Jersey” that I struggle with, and don’t really understand. In fact, I mentioned this to my lunch buddies and they told me that they “don’t really give a fuck” what I struggle with or understand. So there’s that.


So as I drive south in the slow, heavy traffic, I contemplate the day and take inventory of its events. It’s sort of exciting because I know it’s a Large Man Chronicle that will basically just write itself; all I have to do is come up with the first sentence. The smile on my face is taking over my whole body…what a great day. Full of conflict, aggression, and ill tempers for sure; but it was still great. Everything turned out OK. And at that very moment, as if to put an exclamation point on my thoughts, I see the reason for all the slow traffic. The State Police have a group of young men pulled over; some are in handcuffs, a few others have yet to be wrangled. There are batons waving, and fists flying, obscenities being exchanged, but nobody is running – they’re just fighting. I don’t know what the reason for this conflict was, and I doubt that these perps and cops will go out after processing and arraignment to have a few beers together, but after what I’ve seen today it wouldn’t surprise me. This Jersey place is strange. I can’t wait to come back.

Until next time,

The Large Man

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