20 20’s Hindsights

This week will mark the 20th piece that I have written since I started this here blog back in February. In that spirit, I’ve decided to come up with a concept for this one that ties into that number. So here’s what I’ve got. Now that I’m a few years into my thirties, it’s pretty wild to think about how my feelings and philosophies have evolved since I was just a kid trying to figure out how life works. So without further ado, here are 20 lessons I learned in my 20’s in no particular order.

20) Things don’t always happen for a reason

This may fly in the face of your beliefs, and if you are the kind of person that believes that everything does happen for a reason, please don’t take this to mean that I’m saying you’re wrong. I’m only speaking to my experience. Everyone gets thrown countless curveballs over the course of their existence, and oftentimes there may seem to be no rhyme or reason why. What I do believe is not so much that there’s a universal explanation behind those things happening, but that if you respond to those events in a constructive way, life has a way of putting you right where you’re supposed to be, whether that be mentally or physically.

Having said that, sometimes life deals people a particularly shitty hand, and the hills they have to climb to overcome those things may seem more like mountains. That’s why I have to stop short of saying something cheesy like “anything is possible with the right attitude!” because life is a lot more difficult than any dumbass motivational poster with a cat on it can capture.

19) You are the only person who can prioritize your own happiness

Happiness is not a given. If you’re like me and you’ve struggled with depression, you know how exhausting it can be to try to dig yourself out of it. Leaning on people you love is an important part of finding your way. And there’s no doubt that having a strong support system is hugely important. I’m blessed to be able to say unequivocally that I do. But it took me making some extremely difficult decisions and making my happiness a priority to get to a place where being content with my life and my surroundings is at least the baseline that has set me up to be able to move forward. No one else is going to do that for you.

18) No one should be defined by what they do for a living, because nobody is just one thing

I used to work in sports radio in New York. I loved that job. Now I work as a server in a restaurant. I can’t say I love it. But when I talk about what makes me who I am, neither of those things would be one of the first five or six things I would mention. I have occupational goals for myself that I haven’t attained yet. But even if and when I do, it won’t be what defines me. That’s because before I would describe myself by what I do to make money, I’d tell you about the character attributes that make up who I actually am. I’d tell you about how I try to present myself to the world. It’s only as we go further down the list that I’d mention that, oh yeah, I also love writing and broadcasting and that those are things I’m passionate enough about that I hope to be able to monetize them enough that one day I can make a living.

17) Change isn’t always good, but when you decide to make the change yourself it usually is

I absolutely detest the phrase “change is a good thing!” That’s because every one of us has had to endure a change in their life that they didn’t ask for and they didn’t want. But when you decide that you need to make a change for the better, pulling the trigger on those kinds of decisions often lead to the most fulfilling experiences imaginable. Case in point, my decision to leave radio and the only home I’ve ever known to come to Vancouver and start anew. My life is so much better for that decision. It’s changes like that which I decided to make for myself that have always been the ones that have paid dividends.

16) You can’t half-ass love

I’m sure many of us have been in a relationship before that we were in just for the sake of being in a relationship. That has never, and will never be enough to make love work. Hell, I was in a relationship like that for six years at one point. It wasn’t fair to either one of us. All it did was make the heartbreak feel worse when it inevitably ended. If you love someone and want to be with them, you either go all in or you don’t go in at all.

15) Work to live, don’t live to work

This is not to say that having a strong work ethic isn’t important. But no one should have to be in a position where 80 to 90 percent of what their life is made up of is working. There’s an exception to this if you genuinely love what you do. But in those cases, working and living are often more intertwined. For most of us, six or seven-day work weeks are draining and leave you with little or no time to actually experience what life is all about. Even if you have to make room for fun in your schedule by planning it out ahead of time, fucking do it. Because devoting too much of your time to working a job you don’t love is an absolute soul sucker.

14) Mistakes are a part of the process

Hey, guess what? You’re gonna fuck up. A lot. Embrace it and learn from it. What’s the old saying about the definition of insanity? It’s when you keep doing the same things and expecting different results. Try doing things whichever way you see fit. Fail at it. And then try it again a different way.

13) There is no use in trying to curry favor with people who don’t give a shit about you

This could apply to anyone from a boss to a friend. But when people make it abundantly clear that they don’t have your best interests in mind, there is no use in trying to win them over and have them come around. That shit just ain’t gonna happen.

12) Set boundaries

To be honest, this is one that I still haven’t fully learned yet. But I’m working on it. If you feel like people are regularly taking your kindness for granted and walking all over you, it’s likely because to some extent you’re allowing it to happen. Put your foot down when someone crosses the line. It may be uncomfortable, especially when it’s someone you care about who is responsible, but if they care about you, they’ll respect what you’re saying. You don’t have to put up with bullshit just to make it easier for people to like you. Take a stand when you feel like you’re being taken advantage of.

11) Talk less, listen more

When people come to you with a problem, it’s not always advice that they’re looking for. Sometimes we just want to feel like we’re being heard. So many of us keep our feelings bottled up inside because we don’t want to bother anyone else with our bullshit. But I would hope we’ve all had the experience of how liberating it can feel to just say the things we’re thinking out loud to someone who isn’t going to judge or feel it necessary to respond. Oftentimes the response can come off as defensive or just be completely unnecessary. There’s a lot of power that can be derived from simply hearing someone out and validating what they are feeling.

10) Never deny what you’re feeling

Don’t say “I’m fine” if you’re not fine. That isn’t a show of strength. It’s a show of denial, and it’s 100% counterproductive. Communication is everything. There’s also a difference between allowing yourself to feel sad as opposed to wallowing in it. The former is not only acceptable, it’s important. The latter is when it’s time to do something about it.

9) Prioritize self care

This feeds back into what I was talking about with the whole “don’t live to work” message, but I can’t stress enough how important it is to give yourself a break if you need to give your brain a rest. Get outside. See your friends. Be with family. Or if it’s what you really need, just stay inside and do nothing all day. Play video games. Read a book. Listen to music. Some people might refer to some of these things as distractions or a waste of time. But I’d tell you we all need to be distracted from the grind of everyday life from time to time. This shit is exhausting.

8) It’s ok to ask for help

Independence is a wonderful thing. But if everything you do is an independent venture, you’re fucked. We all need to lean on others to keep going sometimes. Surround yourself with the right people, and feed off of each other. Needing help isn’t a sign of being weak. In fact, having the wherewithal to understand that you can’t do it on your own and reaching out to those you trust to help you is an indicator that you’re mentally tough enough to understand that what you’re exposing isn’t your weakness. If anything, all you’re exposing is your humanity.

7) Strive for improvement over perfection

No one and nothing is perfect. So don’t try to make it perfect. Just make it better. Even if you take a step back, understand that’s normal. Progress is never a straight line. There will always be peaks and valleys. Just stay with it and you’ll be fine as long as you’re approach is sound.

6) Romantic relationships won’t “fix” you

If you are self-aware enough and feel like you still have a lot of work to do on yourself, getting into a committed romantic relationship may be the worst thing you can do during that process. Being lonely sucks, but I find that to be much more preferable than heaping your baggage onto another person in hopes that they can help lift you out of your issues. A romantic partner shouldn’t be there to play the role of savior. That’s not a symbiotic relationship, and it can be extremely harmful.

5) Understand that you don’t always understand

Lord knows I’ve faced my share of difficulties throughtout the course of my life, but all things considered, I’ve lived a pretty blessed existence. I can’t even begin to wrap my head around some of the things that those less fortunate than myself have had to endure. That’s one of the reasons why this attitude of “just lift yourself up by your boot straps” that so many people have towards those living in poverty bothers me so much. Compassion runs woefully thin in our modern society. And that’s a goddamn shame. It’s infuriating to people who are struggling to hear condescending advice from people who have absolutely no grasp on what it’s like to be in their position. So to all those who think they have the answers to everyone’s problems, you don’t. So knock that shit off.

4) Comapring yourself to others is useless

This has been a tough one for me. I tried carving out a career for myself at a place where I was surrounded by people way more accomplished than me. Even now, I look at the amazing work being done by some of my friends and former coworkers and it makes me feel inferior by comparison. But I recognize I have to stop that. Everyone is on their own timeline, and just because you may not be where you want to be yet doesn’t mean you won’t get there. The comparison game is not only useless, it’s damaging to your confidence and your overall psyche. Just do you.

3) Never read the comments/replies

I mean, of course I do read them. But I almost always regret it. Social media is a wonderful thing in a lot of ways, but it’s also a cesspool of human misery. I’ve vowed to do my best to never take to heart the thoughts that some anonymous jag has submitted from behind the safety of their keyboard. You know what’s all the rage these days? Rage. And most of it is useless bullshit that you’d be better off not even allowing to enter your mind.

2) Strive to do things that scare you

Facing down fear is an oppprtunity for growth. There are things that I strive to do with my life that scare the shit out of me. But that’s part of the reason I want to do them. I remember how nervous I was about hosting a three-hour talk show on the radio. But that experience is on a short list of the cooler things I’ve ever done in my life. In fact, when I think about what scares me, most of that fear comes from the worry that I will invest my time and energy into something and put myself out there only for the people in my audience to hate it. But there’s also an inevitability that not everyone is going to like everything I do. Embrace the fear. Many times it helps you rise to the occasion.

1) Maintaining a positive mindset is as rewarding as it is difficult

Oh boy. After all that talk about not wanting to be cheesy, I’m ending on a note that could be on one of those cat posters. Oops. But this one is just too true not to include. Let me make this clear. When you’re depressed, it’s very easy to succumb to negative thoughts. All you have to do is nothing. Feelings of sadness are intrusive, and can take over a depressed mind with ease.

Recognizing the need for change and then enacting that change are two separate steps in the path out of that cycle. The first one is easy. The second step is anything but. But with a change in mindset and the help of others, you can get to a place where you find yourself on the other side of that negativity, and you’ll likely find yourself in a place where life is actually easier to live. Don’t get me wrong. That doesn’t mean everything will always be peaches and cream. There isn’t a permanent fix for depression. But that’s why I used the word maintaining a positive mindset. Just like any piece of machinery, our brains need maintenance from time to time. So be kind to yourself.

When I was at my deepest depths, I was the one who treated myself the worst. In my own mind, there were times I felt I was worthless and that my life was hard because that’s what I deserved. That’s a dangerous way to think. It wasn’t easy to reverse that mental pattern, and it took some massive change, but coming out on the other side of it has allowed me to frame things in a more positive perspective. That doesn’t mean I’m free from the struggles that dealing with depression entails, but I am better equipped to deal with them now than I have ever been before.

I’ve still got a lot to learn. At 33, I’m a young man with so much still left to experience and grow from. Even though my 20’s weren’t necessarily the best years of my life like many people seem to think of them as, they sure did teach me a lot about how life works. I hope none of what I wrote here comes off as preachy, because that certainly wasn’t my intention. I just wanted to share some thoughts about how growing up has informed my perspective.

If anything I’ve said here strikes a chord with you, I’d love to hear from you about your experiences. Leave a comment below or find me on Twitter @MaxMadeATweet. I hope you’ll be back next week when I will likely go back to writing about something a little less weighty. Until then, take care of yourselves.

It’s a Good Time to Be a Devils Fan

You know who just had a really good weekend? ME! That’s because Ray Shero, the GM of my beloved New Jersey Devils put in some goddamn work at the NHL Draft here in Vancouver.

For starters, he used the number one pick in the draft to select 18-year-old Jack Hughes, who promises to be an elite-level talent at center for years to come. As a kicker, he was also able to snag P.K. Subban from the Nashville Predators for some spare parts, some draft picks and some major salary cap relief. And y’know what? I don’t think he’s done.

The Devils still have north of $25 million in cap space, although they will no doubt be saving a chunk of that in hopes of being able to sign Taylor Hall to an extension, seeing as how he is slated to become an unrestricted free agent after next season. But with a hoard of contending teams looking for ways to stay under the $81.5 million cap threshold for next season, Shero and Co. are in an enviable position when it comes to the flexibility of being able to add to their roster without having to subtract much.

The same can’t be said for a team like the Toronto Maple Leafs, who just had to surrender a future first round pick to Carolina simply to free themselves from the weight of Patrick Marleau’s contract. The Vegas Golden Knights are in a similar predicament. They currently find themselves more than $6 million over the cap ceiling, and it seems they will likely have to part with some high-end talent for a light return. The Devils are one of the teams best positioned to swoop in and take advantage of that much like they just did with David Poile’s situation in Nashville.

There is also a tantalizing crop of free agents available that Shero may be willing to bring on board if the price is right. Artemi Panarin highlights that list, but the idea of adding a player the likes of Anders Lee, Mats Zuccarello, Ryan Dzingel, or even Joe Pavelski is an enticing possibility. But I wouldn’t expect the Devils to start throwing cash around recklessly. After all, this summer is really putting a spotlight on the importance of having financial flexibility.

Even without taking any future maneuvers into account, the Devils roster as currently constructed is a leaps-and-bounds improvement over what they finished with last season. They may not be at Cup contender status yet, but the additions of Hughes and Subban in one weekend puts a lead block on top of the gas pedal on their rebuild. This team was thought to be years away from their contention window just a few months ago, and now they find themselves in a position where a few more savvy moves by Shero could put them right there.

The Devils also have some promising prospects in their system that might slot into the NHL lineup as early as this coming season. The impact that veterans like Subban and Andy Greene could have on the development of defenseman Ty Smith is incredibly exciting. If the organization is high enough on a guy like Swedish winger Jesper Boqvist, they likely wont feel pressure to overspend on a free agent forward. I get the sense the Devils feel like they have legit future pros down on the farm, meaning they can save their financial assets and wait to spend until they’re one or two major signings away from being a championship team.

Aside from the obvious talent boost, this team also just became a lot more fun from a personality perspective. Subban is one of my favorite characters in the league, as evidenced by this video he tweeted out after the trade to New Jersey became finalized…

#Smashville – I love you! Thank you to the @PredsNHL team, teammates, fans and community for embracing me over the past three years. Ready for this next chapter… @NJDevils are you ready for the Subbanator? 😈☝🏿👀— P.K. Subban (@PKSubban1) June 22, 2019

@PKSubban1 on Twitter

After watching cameras follow Hughes around on draft day, a few things become clear. One, the guy eats, sleeps and breathes hockey. Even as he was being whisked around from one media availability to the next, he couldn’t take his eyes off of the TV broadcast of the draft. But the other thing that is apparent from watching this video is that this kid is going to inject his personality into the locker room as well…

Follow Jack Hughes around on his first day as a Devil.— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) June 22, 2019

@NJDevils on Twitter

Keeping with the theme of Devils having fun, here’s a video of Blake Coleman dancing to Old Town Road at his wedding last week just because…

There’s a part 2 and it’s even better 😂— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) June 23, 2019

@NJDevils on Twitter

All of this is to say that it’s a damn good time to be a Devils fan right now. There are few teams in the league who are as solid down the middle with Nico Hischier still on the upswing of his career. A defense corps that was once the glaring weakness on this squad is officially on the come up. Strangely enough, the biggest question mark for this team may be in between the pipes. Cory Schneider isn’t getting any younger and had a hell of a time recovering from injury last season. 22-year-old Mackenzie Blackwood showed a ton of promise in limited time, but still has a lot of room to grow his game.

Needless to say, I am giddy with anticipation over what the rest of this offseason may bring. Last season was a painful one. The litany of injuries never really gave the Devils a chance to return to the playoffs after a surprising postseason berth the year prior. But going forward, a playoff appearance should be the baseline goal for the team this season. October can’t come soon enough. And who knows, if things break right, there may be a summer in the not too distant future where the Devils are lifting the Stanley Cup over their heads once again. And best believe when that happens, we’re gonna party like it’s 1995.

Legacy and Lament: How I Remember My Dad

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I was asked a deep question this past week that was clearly supposed to be difficult to answer. The question was simple: If you could only have one thing in this life, what would it be? Don’t ask me what prompted this person to ask me this question. I have no earthly idea. But after a brief pause to let the premise of the question wash over me, I realized I already knew what my answer was. It’s something I’ve thought about many times before, even if it wasn’t necessarily in that exact context. All I really want…is to create a legacy.

The thing that was particularly apropos about the timing of when this question was posed to me is that it came within 24 hours of a significant anniversary of one of those days in my life that will stick with me forever. May 28, 2014 was the day my father died. And when we’re talking about the concept of a legacy, there is no question that my dad undeniably left one. It is as complicated and imperfect as a legacy could be, but it’s one that impacts me now and will continue to impact me for the rest of my life.

That may sound as though I carry it like a weight on my shoulders, and if I’m being honest, in some ways I do. Lord knows that the events surrounding the last year of his life have brought untold amounts of pain to me and my family. But the totality of the impact he made on the person I’ve become is impossible to ignore, and it’s something I will always be grateful for.

My dad was as close to a rock star as a person could be without being an actual rock star. He rose through the ranks of FM radio until he made it onto WNEW in New York City. In his heyday, he was the host of the Dave Herman Rock & Roll Morning Show, and he was so good at what he did. What I remain most impressed by is how he was able to be on the forefront of so many ideas that moved the industry forward. He created an on-air persona for himself that seemed larger than life. I’m talking about a guy who was rubbing elbows with everyone from The Beatles to Bruce Springsteen to Paul Simon. In fact, if you listen to the live album 11.17.70, the voice that introduces Elton freakin’ John to the audience is my father. That’s pretty damn cool if I do say so myself.

But I wasn’t even born yet during the prime of his career. Even towards the end of his run on the air, I was just a child. I didn’t comprehend at the time the magnitude of what he was doing for a living. I couldn’t. To me, he was always just Dad. All of the perks that came with being this radio star’s son just seemed normal to me. It was all I knew.

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Me and my mom just chillin with Peter and Barbara Frampton

My dad was always there for me. When I made the varsity baseball team in high school, he was a fixture at all of my games. He’s the guy who made me a Yankee fan, which also served as my initial introduction into the world of sports, even if he wasn’t the kind of fanatic that I turned out to be. If you know my previous work at all, you know how important the impact that combining a love of sports with a passion for broadcasting has made on my life. Would I have ever entered into the world of sports radio if it weren’t for him? The answer to that question is an easy no.

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The time I met my first baseball hero, Don Mattingly, at an event my dad hosted for K-ROCK

But of course, it was much more than that. Some of the best advice I’ve ever received when it comes to life, love and everything else came out of his mouth. I’ll never forget how he would constantly remind me to do my best to only focus on the things that I have control over, and to worry less about the things that I can’t. That’s the kind of advice that may seem obvious, but to have it framed in those terms was so important to my development as a goal-oriented human being. It’s something that I remind myself of on a weekly basis.

What I’m getting at with all of this is that when it came to simply being a father, Dave knocked it out of the park. At least he did with me. What bothers me is that he didn’t do it for all of his kids. I don’t want to speak to the experience of my siblings, simply because I don’t want to pretend I know their stories better than they do. But I can say for sure that my younger brother did not get the same parent that I did. I was already seven years old by the time Sam was born, and there’s a sense that after raising three other kids over the range of most of his adult life, he just wasn’t ready or willing to do it again at that point.

But without question, if we’re narrowing down the conversation about my dad to only include the context of the job he did raising me, there’s not much negative I could possibly say. Man, if only it were that simple…

Now is the part where things get a lot more difficult for me to talk about. But I’m gonna try. My parents began the process of getting divorced when I was in my early teens. I say process, because it dragged on for years. That time was a dark period marred by legal proceedings, lawyers, custody hearings and therapy sessions that sent my family’s life into calamity. And with all of the good will my father had built with me over the course of my childhood, he would use that to play me like a pawn in the chess match he waged against my mom.

The gaslighting job he did on my mother was executed with such precision, it makes me nauseuous to think about knowing what I know now. He would create situations to make her seem as though she was crazy, and it was so effective, there was a time I actually believed she was. If he was the puppeteer, I was his unwitting marionette.

From my perspective at the time, it seemed like my mom was constantly manic for no reason. What I didn’t realize was that the things that were setting her off coincided with all of these audacious legal maneuvers my dad was attempting behind the scenes. But I didn’t have any grasp of what was going on in that arena. So when I would arrogantly defend my dad, she would understandably lash out at me. When it was happening, my thought process was, “There goes Mom, acting crazy again.” But now I get it. There’s no need for me to get into specifics, but some of the things he did through the courts were absolutely preposterous. And yet somehow, he managed to get everything he wanted.

The result of all of this was that my mom finally realized she needed to get as far away from this place as possible. It was in 2002 that she moved to Vancouver, and that left me and my brother in New Jersey with our dad maintaining full custody. My relationship with my mother was strained so badly that we didn’t even talk for long stretches of time. She and I would reconcile in the following years, and I couldn’t be happier to say that at this point in my life, my relationship with her has never been better. I love her with every piece of my soul, and I’m so blessed to have her influence back in my life. But the thing that devastates me is the realization that for a large chunk of my growth from teenager to young adult, she wasn’t there. There’s no telling how much of a difference her presence would have made in my life during those years, but there’s no doubt she would have made a huge one. Instead, I had to learn how to grow up without my mom. And she had to live with the sting of having her children ripped away from her. Frankly, the blame for that rests squarely on my father’s shoulders.

The family separation would only continue in the following years. In 2005, my dad had designs on living out the rest of his retirement in the Virgin Islands. So despite all of the talk about how crazy my mom was, he wasn’t going to let that ruse mess up his plans on building his dream home in the Caribbean. With me already out of the nest and off at college, and with him having no desire to be a single parent to my now 11-year-old brother, he shipped Sam off to live with my mom in Vancouver. That was a devastating blow to me. My brother and I have always been attached at the hip. In the moment, I kicked and screamed in opposition to the idea that he would be moving to the opposite end of the continent. Of course, that move would be instrumental in my brother blossoming into the brilliant young man he has become. So it’s hard for me to be upset about it now. Also, he and I now share an apartment and are as close as we’ve ever been before. That, my friends, is a beautiful thing.

I fondly remember the trips I made to St. Croix to visit my dad. With him living there, it was an easy excuse to take a Caribbean vacation every year, and his house was a beautiful place with an incredible view overlooking the water.

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The pool was pretty sweet too

We had such great times enjoying the beaches and joining him at a local watering hole called Off The Wall for Bingo night, an event that he would host every month as only he could. Right until the end, my dad was an entertainer, even when his audience was 30 drunk people just trying to win a beer koozie. I can’t stress enough how funny this man was. Sometimes it was unintentional, and we would be laughing at his expense. But the guy always oozed personality.

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Despite our relation to the host, my brother and I never won a damn thing at these Bingo nights. But we sure did have fun.

But I can’t say that I ever felt like this was the right place for him to be. I mean, here was this 70-year-old dude from the Bronx trying to adjust to “island time” and spending his days mostly in isolation. There was always something off about it. It just didn’t really fit. And clearly, something changed in him during his time there.

It’s not like there was ever an interaction I had with him where I was like, “Whoa, what’s going on with dad?” It was more just this sense that he didn’t belong there. My dad was a people person, and he didn’t really have a lot of people around him while he was there. Sure, he got along great with his neighbors, and the Bingo nights gave him an opportunity to schmooze with the locals. It just didn’t seem like it was really his kind of scene.

Even in the time that I spent there, he would spend an inordinate amount of time every day on his computer. There was nothing particularly alarming about that at the time, but let me ask you: If you were living in a tropical paradise, would you be logging hours upon hours online with a plethora of incredible outdoor activities to choose from a short drive away? I don’t know. It just felt like it was defeating the purpose of why someone would choose to live in a place like St. Croix.

And then it happened. It was in October of 2013 that my life changed forever…

I had just taken my seat aboard a train headed back to New Jersey after a lovely visit with my friends in Philadelphia. My brother’s birthday was the following day, and since he was attending NYU at the time, I was excited to get back so I could spend some quality time with him. But as I sat down, I answered my ringing cell phone to find my sister, Jenny, on the other end. I immediately could tell based on her tone that something was horribly wrong. When I asked her what was up, she ominously responded, “Did you hear about Dad?”

Naturally, I thought for sure she was about to tell me that he had passed away somehow. After all, he was not a young man and he had undergone open-heart surgery less than a decade prior. Instead, I learned that my dad had been arrested that day. By Homeland Security. In a sting operation. For sex crimes.

I was numb. I rode that train for an hour and a half in dead silence. I can’t for the life of me remember what was going through my head. I don’t know if anything was. I completely disassociated from my surroundings. Could it possibly be true? Was this some kind of sick joke?

I finally got home and laid my head down on my pillow. And then every single repercussion of what this news meant hit me all at once. I would say I cried myself to sleep, but I didn’t sleep a wink that night. I was heartbroken for my family. I was heartbroken for me. But then came the aftershocks. I realized this was going to be in the newspapers. I knew I was supposed to go into work at my New York City radio job the next day. Obviously, my bosses excused me from work and told me to take as much time as I needed before coming back. But the headlines reached me nonetheless.

It may sound strange for me to say, but in my mind, my father died twice. The day he was arrested was the day the man who raised me somehow ceased to exist. I only spoke to him over the phone one more time. He called me from jail on my birthday the following April, and even though he poured his heart out to me, I wasn’t really interested in hearing what he had to say at the time. I was still too angry, even if I was holding out hope that he was innocent as he claimed to be. I couldn’t bring myself to visit him in prison, despite the fact that he had been extradited to Newark – which in a unique twist of fate just so happened to be the same city I was living in at the time.

The last and only time I saw him after his arrest was the night before he died. Jenny had called me that day to tell me that he was having medical complications and that this would likely be my last chance. Seeing him laying in that hospital bed was incredibly uncomfortable, but I’m so happy I was there. His face lit up when he saw me. For a man who was literally on death’s door, he squeezed me so tightly in an embrace that I was ready for him to jump out of the bed and pull the IV out of his arm.

Even though he was pretty heavily medicated, he couldn’t have been more coherent when he started telling me how proud he was of me. Just as I had always been his biggest fan, he made it clear that he too was mine. He told me how he was able to get a radio in his cell and that he would listen to me every night I was on the air. He joked that one day I should take over for John Sterling as the play-by-play voice of the Yankees.

It was in that moment that a lot of the bitterness I felt started to melt away. I didn’t want to be angry. I just wanted to love my dad and be there for him just as he had been there for me so many times before. So that’s what I did.

For a while, he couldn’t seem to grasp the gravity of what was happening, that he was nearing the end. My sisters and I tried our best to communicate with him what the situation was. Finally, I did my best to cut through the noise and give it to him straight. I told him that either the doctors could plug him into a machine, and they could keep him alive…or…

And he stopped me right there with an emphatic, “NO.” So all that was left for me to say through my tears was, “Then it’s time to say goodbye.”

For all of the things that tear me up inside about this story, the thing I’m most grateful for is that the last words I said to my father were, “I love you.” Because I do. I always have, and I always will.

My dad was my hero. And even though he did some unforgivable things that crossed into the realm of sociopathy, it would be foolish of me to ignore all of the good in my life that he is directly responsible for. He’s the reason I’m a broadcaster. He’s the reason I’m a sports fan. But most importantly, in so many ways, he’s the reason I’m me.

When I’m gone, I want to be remembered for my legacy, not just the mistakes I’ve made. And even though some mistakes are far worse than others, my dad’s legacy remains in tact. That’s because even if his reputation is in tatters, the legacy of broadcasting will live on through me. The legacy of music will live on through my brother. The legacy of being revolutionary in our field will live on through both of us. You might not know that yet, but you’re damn sure going to before long.

So as we approach Father’s Day, I’d like to raise a glass to Dave Herman. A ground-breaker. A brilliant mind. A star. And yes, a deeply flawed human being. There’s so much about the events of his life I’ll never understand. But the best job he ever did was as my father. He did so much right. I refuse to only remember him for his wrongs, even if I can’t ever forget them. I love you, Dad. Rest in peace. Shine on you crazy diamond.

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Can the Raptors Actually Do This?

The Toronto Raptors are in the NBA Finals for the first time in their 24-year history. Their path to this stage has been a wild ride, as the team has had to shrug off numerous body blows throughout the playoffs. But through all the moments of doubt, the Raps have thrived with their backs against the ropes as they’ve consistently found a way to dodge the knockout punch.

There was the brief moment of panic after losing their very first game of the postseason at home against what was supposed to be an overmatched Orlando Magic team. They coughed up their home-court advantage against the Sixers in the second round and fell in a 2-1 hole, before storming back and eventually winning that series in one of the best Game 7’s in recent memory. The image of Kawhi Leonard’s buzzer-beating shot bouncing around the rim before falling in and advancing them to the Eastern Conference Finals has already cemented its place in Canadian sports lore for the rest of time.

Then of course, the East Final was a saga all to its own. After losing the first two games against the Bucks – the team with the best record in the league – the doubt in many Raps’ fans actually felt more like concession that this was the point where it was all going to come crashing down. Except instead of going away quietly, Toronto didn’t lose another game in the series. They took four straight from a Milwaukee team that had only lost TWO in a row one time over the course of the entire 82-game season.

The joy that has been felt all across Canada following that win has been impossible not to feel. But even with all of that being said, there is also a sense even among some of the most die-hard Raptors fans that this is where the party ends. And honestly, considering the depths that this organization has been mired in at certain points of their history, this NBA Finals berth is enough to warrant the glorious celebration it has elicited.

The obvious reason why there is trepidation in believing that the Raptors can win the whole damn thing is because their reward for getting themselves into the Finals is a match-up against the most prolific dynasty of this generation, the Golden State Warriors.

But the way things have gone in this particular postseason has me thinking, is it really that crazy to at least hold out some modicum of hope that the Raptors have what it takes to do this? Your thinking doesn’t need to be all that pie-in-the-sky to find reasons to believe.

For example, as loaded as the Warriors’ roster undoubtedly is, they are in fact missing Kevin Durant, who you may be aware is very good at this whole basketball thing. The scary part is that even though no team that employs KD could possibly consider themselves BETTER without him, the fact is that in the last 32 games where Steph Curry has played and Durant hasn’t, the Warriors have won 31 of those games. And honestly, that’s just dumb.

There’s no doubt that Curry is the engine that makes the Warriors go. He’s the best shooter in the league for a reason, and his ability to reach NBA Jam on-fire status from deep is the biggest reason why Golden State is never out of any game, even if they find themselves down double digits late in the 3rd quarter. However, there have been games during this particular playoff run where he has been less than stellar. The idea of him being guarded by Kawhi Leonard should make it reasonable to believe that he can be held in check enough that someone else is going to have to pick up the slack offensively for the Dubs. Is that Klay Thompson? Sure, it could be. And I’d be willing to bet that at least for a game or two, it will be. But any situation where the Raptors can force Golden State into relying on a strong performance from Klay to win a game is a best-case scenario for Toronto.

Getting back to the subject of Kawhi, now is the point where I address how God-like he has been during this playoff run. The man has clearly been playing hurt for a while now, and yet he has still been the best performer on any team this postseason night in and night out. His basketball IQ combined with the intangible will to win he wears on his proverbial sleeve has elevated the play of his teammates. The way he impacts the game on both ends of the floor has been a thrill to watch. In case anyone was unsure of whether or not he is worthy of being in the conversation for top-five player in the league, his performance this spring should erase any of that doubt.

Leonard’s supporting cast has been efficient, even if they’ve been inconsistent. Kyle Lowry is a perpetual enigma who has the ability to go off for 30 on any given night, but somehow also feels like he could be due for the kind of underwhelming showing that has plagued him in the past. But let’s put it this way, if Lowry is knocking down shots and creating transition offense on any given night, the Raptors are scary. If nothing else, Lowry can increase Toronto’s chances of winning enormously if he can defend Thompson well enough to force him to put the ball on the floor instead of the catch-and-shoot approach in which Klay thrives.

Fred Van Vleet has been a revelation as these playoffs have progressed. His three-point efficiency has been a pleasant surprise, even if it doesn’t necessarily feel sustainable. Pascal Siakam has had one helluva year, and should prevent Draymond Green from putting up any eye-popping offensive stat lines. But considering the all-hands-on-deck approach it’s going to take to knock off the Warriors, he’s going to have to make an impact on both ends of the floor.

Marc Gasol has been up and down this postseason, but his ability to hold Brook Lopez in check after an absurd Game 1 performance in the East Finals is a good omen considering that I think it’s safe to say that Kevon Looney is no Brook Lopez. Gasol is another guy that doesn’t necessarily HAVE to have a strong shooting performance for the Raptors to succeed, but if he does find his stroke for a game or two, it would provide a huge boost.

The Raptors are very clearly Kawhi Leonard’s team, but the performance of their bench late in the Milwaukee series was a sign that they at least have the ability to beat anyone, even Golden State. And after all that I’ve written here, I still haven’t once mentioned the name Serge Ibaka, who is one of the most proven playoff performers on the team. He brings an intensity to the floor which is one of those intangible things you won’t see quantified in a box score, but is unquestionably an asset.

At this point, I’ve laid out so many positives that the Raptors have going for them, you might be thinking I’m picking them to win this series. But here’s the thing. When it comes to beating one of the best teams ever, it’s going to take most or all of the “if this happens, then maybe” scenarios to play out exactly how Toronto wants.

When I talk about the possibility of Curry being less than amazing, or Klay being held in check, or Draymond struggling to contribute, or Lowry being a consistent scorer, or Van Vleet doing this that or the other, I’m talking about possibilities that could easily go the other way. You know, the way that would see the Raptors struggling to even win more than a game or two in this series.

On paper, no one is better than the Warriors, with or without KD. But the games aren’t played on paper. The biggest strength the Raptors have going for them is that defensively, they have done a remarkable job of forcing their opponents to get away from their identity. This was particularly evident against the Bucks. No team during this incredible MVP year that Giannis Antetokounmpo has had was able to get into his head the way the Raptors did. All Giannis wanted to do was be able to penetrate off the dribble and get to the rim with a burst of speed. But time after time, the Raptors defense converged on him at the point of attack and either forced him backwards, or caused him to get rid of the ball. If the Raptors can identify and execute the ways to cause Golden State to play an off-brand version of their game, this could be a long series.

So can the Raptors actually do this? Yes! I think it is 100% possible. Is it likely? I don’t know if I’d go that far. But one thing is for sure. I haven’t been this intrigued by an NBA Finals match-up in at least a few years. I don’t know if it’s going to yield the result that most Canadians I’ve talked to are hoping for, but it should be a joy to watch. It all starts Thursday night. I can’t wait.

Hey Boston, Enough Already

The Boston Bruins are just sitting back right now, feet up on the coffee table, waiting in the wings for the winner of the Sharks-Blues Western Conference Final to be determined. The Carolina Hurricanes were the most fun story the Stanley Cup Playoffs had going, and the Bruins just smothered them in the East Final like a deflating bouncy house at a children’s birthday party. They swept the Canes, who had swept the Islanders, who had swept the Penguins. So I guess on the plus side, haha Pittsburgh. But what that leaves us with is a Boston team that is going into the Cup Final as rested as could be, and awaiting an opponent that will be some combination of tired, shorthanded, or just worse (at least on paper) than the B’s.

So what it comes down to is this: The Boston Bruins are going to win the Stanley Cup. Right now, I can’t be convinced otherwise. And that bums me right the fuck out.

Before I continue, I feel it necessary to point out that when it comes to spoiled sports fans, I am one of the worst. In my lifetime, my New York Yankees have won five World Series. My New York Giants have four Super Bowl rings (although I’m really only old enough to have appreciated two of them). Even my rarely talked-about hockey team – the New Jersey Devils – have hoisted three Stanley Cups. What I’m saying is that if you hate me for that, you’re allowed. I couldn’t possibly blame you.

The chokehold that the city of Boston has applied to the sports world in the first two decades of this century is nothing short of enraging. That’s doubly true for me as a New Yorker. The curse of the Bambino has been dead for almost 15 years now, somehow. And oh what I would give to go back and live in those days when the Red Sox were a team that was just good enough to get themselves into an LCS match-up against the Yanks, only to have their hopes and dreams dashed in the most heartbreaking of ways. If that sounds sinister to you, well, it kinda is. But that’s just part of what it means to hate a rival team. Sports are one of the few realms in life where experiencing schadenfraude isn’t something that should be accompanied with instant shame. It’s part of the fan experience.

Since the Patriots beat the Rams in 2002’s Super Bowl XXXVI, that football team has won five more rings. The Red Sox have won four World Series. The Celtics have an NBA title to their credit. The Bruins have won one Stanley Cup, and seem poised to add another. Should that happen, it will be 13 championships in 18 years for one city. But perhaps worst of all, the last three will have come in the span of nine months. Bless the Bucks for knocking the Celtics out of this year’s NBA Playoffs so we at least don’t have to worry about the potential of a clean sweep.

All of this serves to underline the point that Boston has become the modern-day Titletown, and there is no close second. That this has occurred while the New York sports scene has largely devolved into a three-ring circus only adds fuel to my personal dread that would coincide with four more Bruins wins this spring. And the sad truth is, I’m not counting on either St. Louis or San Jose to save us.

Of course, a major part of my disdain for this team is merely because of the location where they play their home games. It’s true that there are some genuinely likable characters on the Bruins’ roster. Zdeno Chara is easy to root for. Tuukka Rask is a great story, and is undeniably one of those guys that seems to shine when the spotlight burns the brightest. There’s a lot to be said for that. In a vacuum, would I love to see David Backes finally win a championship after 13 years of being a very good player who was never on the best team? Sure. And of course I have a soft spot in my heart for former Devil, Marcus Johansson, who has really had a stellar showing this postseason. But as long as they all wear that B on the front of their jerseys, I can’t help but hope they go down in flames.

Honestly, any good will I can build up towards this Boston team as a whole is undone entirely by the way I feel about Brad Marchand. Taking nothing away from his skill, of which he obviously has plenty, the goonery that he puts on display on a regular basis leaves me no choice but to want to see him get his comeuppance. That doesn’t mean I want to see him get injured. I never wish that upon anyone, even if he has a penchant for inflcting injury on others. I just hope that he gets put on his ass every time he hits the ice. More frequently though, he’ll make a dazzling play in the offensive zone that makes me shake my fist at the sky. To Marchand’s credit, it’s rare that you see a guy with the ability to throw a seasoned veteran like Justin Williams so far off of his game that he seemed to forget that he was playing hockey. There is certainly a spot on any team’s roster for a guy with the ability to do that, but Marchand is way too extra for me to actually get to a place in my mind where I can celebrate him.

I’m getting slightly off topic here though. So let me end on this note. It certainly looks like we’re headed towards a Boston-St. Louis Stanley Cup Final. And you can bet your ass I’ll be rooting like crazy for the Blues. But I just can’t see them winning four out of seven against these goddamn Bruins.

Boston sports dominance doesn’t appear like it’s going to go away any time soon. The Red Sox are getting their act together after a putrid start to this baseball season. The Patriots are still the Patriots until proven otherwise. The Celtics will continue to be good, even if they’re not elite. And there’s no sign of the Bruins falling out of the category of perennial Cup contender in the near future. All of it together just leaves me with an everlasting sour taste in my mouth. I mean seriously. Enough already, Boston. We get it.

The New Vampire Weekend Album Is So Goddamn Good

Every now and then, an album enters into my life that I know I will hold near and dear to my heart forever. That just happened a few Fridays ago when Vampire Weekend released their long anticipated double album, Father of the Bride. It had been nearly six years since they dropped what I thought was going to be their magnum opus, Modern Vampires of the City. But this new project is just absurdly good and honestly blows their other work out of the water. And I love their other stuff!

As is the case with most of my favorite albums of all time, the main strength of this project is the delightful lyricism that frontman Ezra Koenig provides in spades from start to finish. So this week on the blog, I’m going to go track by track and let you in on what makes this piece of art so special in my mind.


The album opens with a beautiful acoustic guitar riff, and immediately sets the scene. We are placed at a wedding in which the relationship in question has clearly been strained with its future uncertain. It’s the first of three duets between Koenig and Danielle Haim, all of which have a country essence to them. The opening lyrics of this track are also the ones that resonate the most for me, even if the relationship that I think about personally when I hear them is the professional relationship I had with the place where I got my start in the broadcasting business.


I know the reason why you think you gotta leave
Promises of future glory don’t make a case for me
I did my best and all the rest is hidden by the clouds
I can’t carry you forever, but I can hold you now


Of the six singles that were released before the album came out, this is the one that I found to be the most elevated by the full context of the project. The light and bouncy guitar sounds are joined by an upbeat piano, but they are countered by lyrics that portray a character who is fed up with the way things have been going. Koenig even rehashes a lyric from a song off the last album called Finger Back in which he states, “I don’t wanna live like this, but I don’t wanna die.”


Anger wants a voice
Voices want to sing
Singers harmonize
Til they can’t hear anything

I thought that I was free
From all that questioning
But every time a problem ends
Another one begins


This is one of the three tracks on the album that runs less than two minutes, but it’s also one of my favorites. The use of vocoder and crunchy guitars makes it one of the best head-boppers on the record. But the track gets quieter to make way for the hook, which conjures up thoughts of a person who feels they need to step away from the one they love when things begin to seem untenable.


My Christian heart cannot withstand
The thundering arena
I’ll see you when the violence ends
For now, ciao ciao, bambina


This track comes through with buoyant guitars and hand claps. It’s the kind of song that makes you snap your fingers and sing along. But as you sing along, you may realize that you’re singing about the uncertainty of life that gives us all pause from time to time. Who among us hasn’t at one point or another thought to themselves, “Oh Christ, am I good for nothing?


Baby, I know death probably hasn’t happened yet
‘Cause I don’t remember living life before this
And darling, our disease is the same one as the trees
Unaware that they’ve been living in a forest


This is the most lyrically simplistic of the tracks on the album, merely because it’s one stanza that repeats itself three times. I can’t claim to know exactly what Koenig’s inspiration was behind these words, but to me it sounds like an address to the universe itself as life becomes more difficult to cope with.


Big blue
For once in my life I felt close to you
I was so overcome with emotion
When I was hurt and in need of affection
When I was tired and I couldn’t go home
Then you offered protection
So am I learning my lesson?
Or am I back on my own?


This track underlines one of the most jarring juxtapositions between the instrumentation and the lyrical content. Musically it is a song that features happy keys and fun harmonies, as well as playful guitars and sound effects. At times, you can even hear some hip hop sensibilities in the production. But the lyrics at first paint a picture of this failed relationship, and eventually describe the future destruction of Los Angeles.


Getting to the top
Wasn’t supposed to be this hard
The house is on Mulholland Drive
The car’s on Sunset Boulevard

The registration’s here with me
Neither of us has the key
We could live down in the flats
The hills will fall eventually


The fact that this song is one of the lowliers on the album in my opinion really speaks to the quality of the overall project. While musically beautiful, the only reason why it’s low on the list of my favorite tracks is because lyrically it doesn’t ADD a whole lot. It does contribute to the theme of a failed relationship, but I guess I just feel like there are other songs that do a better job of accomplishing that. That said, the hook is yet another example of terrific songwriting.


There’s an avalanche coming
Don’t cover your eyes
It’s what you thought that you wanted
It’s still a surprise

It’s hard on the body
It’s hard on the mind

To learn what kept us together, darling
Is what kept us alive


If I could only pick one, this would be my favorite track on the album. In a world where we’ve superficially created the idea that wealth equates with success, this song is a breath of fresh air. Hammering home the idea that money doesn’t buy happiness, it starts with a brilliantly crafted line that goes, “When I was young I was told I’d find one rich man in ten has a satisfied mind, and I’m the one.” Other stanzas pepper in concepts of love, and a striking through line also touches on the ridiculousness of the odds we stack on people who are trying their best to achieve their goals, no matter how unlikely they may be at face value. Let’s just say that this idea in particular is one that hits close to home for me. Also, the Looney Tunes-ass strings that come in at two separate intervals of the song are just so gorgeous, it makes me want to get up and waltz.


One in a million don’t mean what it meant
And these millions of gold coins don’t gleam when they’re spent
You’re left with none

Ten million dollars could win the whole lot
But if ten million dollars is all that you got
You wont be the one


This is just a straight-up country duet between Koenig and Haim that is belied by the modernized production behind it. It’s not the best song on the album, but it’s certainly not the worst. It does provide one of a few moments on the record when the two partners in this doomed relationship address one another directly. I’m particularly a fan of when they collectively discuss the idea that this relationship once seemed perfect, but both of them have long since lost sight of that time.


EK: I thought you might learn the language
DH: I thought you might learn to sing
TOGETHER: We were born before the gold rush
So why can’t I remember anything?


This is the closest attempt Vampire Weekend has ever made at producing a jazz song. The song is appropriately moody and does a great job at expressing the regret that goes along with feeling responsible for the end of something good. It’s probably the track with the least replay value, but it accomplishes the role that it’s clearly designed to play in the context of the album.


There was choice to get out
Or remain in this state
There was springtime and future
Til I made my mistake


Holy shit, does this song slap. I wasn’t aware that flamenco and techno could be blended so smoothly, but it turns out, yep! It starts with a spoken word intro that says “I think I took myself too serious. It’s not that serious” And this song is seriously bonkers. It also contains some poignant observations of the world, including this gem of a line in the second verse.


I’d never heard the words
Enemies for centuries until there was a third


Teamed up with the brilliant guitar playing of Steve Lacy from The Internet, this song is one of the happiest moments on the record. That’s the case even though the lyrics actually present the idea of rebelling against the world and the way it operates. To me anyway, the messaging of the song is one of resistance against contributing to the functionality of a cruel universe, and instead choosing to spend the day indoors kept to yourself.


Sunflower in the morning
Standing in the garden
All before you wake
No power can compel you
Out into the daylight
Let that evil wait


I can’t lie. The hook of this song makes me cry. Not only does the use of vocoder make Koenig and Lacy’s vocals sound beautifully heartbroken, the words speak to some of the strongest emotions I felt throughout my darker times a few years ago when I was reassessing what I was doing with my life. I hear the message of wanting things to be different, but understanding that in order for things to be the way you want them to be, it’s going to require a big change, and a great deal of patience.


Flower moon, curse the night
If the sun don’t make things right
Then it’s gonna take a year
(Gonna take a year)

Flower moon, sacred sign
Coca-Cola and red wine
Now’s the time to disappear
(Gonna take a year)

14) 2021

This track features the simplistic sound of a synth and a lyric sheet that ponders about the future. It’s sweet in its brevity and easy relatability. It also plays off of Flower Moon incredibly well, in that it recycles the concept of patience, but stresses that too much patience can actually work against you.


2021, will you think about me?
I could wait a year, but I shouldn’t wait three


The third and final duet between Koenig and Haim is just absolutely wonderful in every way. After all of the trials and tribulations of this problematic relationship, they come together to sing about how much love they have for one another, even if ultimately it didn’t work out the way either of them had hoped. The words when read in isolation may come off as cheesy or saccharine, but honestly, they work so perfectly that not only is that NOT a strike against the song, it actually adds a lot to it.


We go together like give and take
Pains and aches
Real and fake
We go together, don’t be opaque
It’s clear we go together


The words to the chorus of this song serve as the thesis statement for the entire project. “Things have never been stranger. Things are gonna stay strange.” There are a number of elements to this song that make it one of the poppier sounding songs on the record, and I just love it. As the album begins to come to a close, you can sense the themes of the songwriting shift from pensive and in-the-moment to reflective and grateful.


The sound of you and your sister
I couldn’t face these days alone

You got the right light, candles burning
We don’t need the moon anymore

I used to look for an answer
I used to knock on every door
But you got the wave on, music playing
Don’t need to look anymore


This is another song that does a tremendous job of describing a specific event in time. It paints the picture of this couple’s last moments together, as a spring snowstorm has caused her flight to be delayed, giving them a few more hours to be in each other’s company. But just as was the case with the relationship in general, this moment is only fleeting. The two of them have to accept that this is just the way everything was meant to play out.


The snow fell last night
Your flight couldn’t leave

Come back to the bed
Let’s take this reprieve

It felt like the end
The end’s been delayed
You’re here in my arms
So what should I say?


This song is a heartbreaking way to end the album, but it is still somehow the perfect conclusion. While there are obvious references to the sadness felt towards no longer being with a beloved, there are also bigger themes addressed that speak toward the world as a whole. As Koenig has stated, the song is really about “what it means to connect to something bigger than yourself.” Despite how heavy a question like that is, Koenig does a great job of personalizing the answer. But as far as the one line that stands out to me as the most personal to my experience as someone trying to find the right avenue to chase down my life goals, it’s this one:


You’ve given me the big dream
But you can’t make it real

To wrap this up, Father of the Bride is not even two weeks old on my ears yet, so perhaps my recency bias is playing into why I hold it in such high regard. But sometimes you just know. I can’t say that this record will unseat The Hazards of Love by The Decemberists for my favorite album of all time. But I do think I can comfortably place it in my top five. Bravo, Vampire Weekend. Bra-freaking-vo.

Sorry, I Suck Today

This blog feels like work today. And I hate it. Right now, my brother and his record label mates are making a beautiful song in the next room, and all I want to do is immerse myself in that process with them. But if I don’t do what I said from the beginning I was going to do with this space, then I’m going to feel as though I’ve failed the day. And I wont allow myself to do that.

I said I was going to write every Monday, and if I just decide to take a day off, then what’s stopping me from taking next Monday off, or the Monday after that. I can’t do that. I wont.

Maybe this is me putting unnecessary pressure on myself. But whatever. Someone needs to put pressure on me creatively, and no one else is going to do it. It’s just another thing that makes this project mine.

I’m so fixated on the idea of being great at everything I do, I find myself being uncomfortable with the idea of just being fine on any given day. But I realize that’s a dangerous precedent to set for myself.

My brother has been a terrific sounding board for me, and he told me something not long ago that I need to take to heart. He even put it into a sports context, because he knew it would resonate with me more that way. Essentially what he said was, “You don’t need to go out and hit a home run every time you step up to the plate. Sometimes you just need to hit a single.”

And he’s right. So I guess that’s what I’ll view this post as. Just a little baseknock. Honestly, it kind of feels more like reaching base by getting hit by a pitch. But maybe this way, the next time I do hit one out of the park, there will be some runners on base. Is this sports analogy getting too convoluted? Yeah, it could be. But it’s actually working for me, so I’m gonna just roll with it.

My brain just feels locked up today. But I’m finding that it’s helping to work my way through it by doing what I love to do – writing about it. So I guess I’m not as lost as I think I am.

I just couldn’t stare at a blank screen anymore. It was giving me anxiety like you wouldn’t believe. So now I’ve got words here. They may not be the most inspiring words I’ll ever write, but part of what this blog was designed to be was an invitation for the reader to get into my headspace.

So this is what’s going on in my head today: I’m really fucking aggravated that I haven’t met my own standards of quality lately. I’m not going to let it be an indictment of my ability, but it sucks to feel like you’re not doing the best you can do. And frankly, I need to do better next week.

I already have a deeply meaningful post planned for later this month, because it will coincide with another one of those anniversaries of a significant life event. But until then, my goal is to approach next week’s post with a concrete idea and to execute that idea to the best of my ability. I know I have things to say. But all of my ideas for this week’s post either felt half-baked or just dumb.

It pisses me off to say this, but this is the best I can do today. I just need to feel like I’ve met my obligation to myself to write SOMETHING. So if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go wrtie a song or a poem now so I can feel a little bit more accomplished. See you next week. Sorry, I suck today.