Kiss me just this one last time

The last time I wrote an article that wasn’t about football was on September 4th; the last time I wrote an article that wasn’t sportsrelated was on June 20th. I’m not entirely sure why that is, exactly, but more importantly over these last six months I don’t think I’ve even thought about it. The only real conclusion I can draw now that I am thinking about it is that I find sports to be more interesting than my own life at the moment.

And it’s funny, because I’ve been blogging for almost 15 years and the main topic has always been about me. I imagine when you analyze the trivial life of an 18 year-old on a Xanga blog, every day and every occurrence within that day feels so much newer; the less a person experiences, the more the experience matters.

It used to seem so important. You know, living. Breathing. Instead of being a child and running to mommy every time I had a good report card from school, as a teenager and young adult I would smash 500 words on my keyboard at night. The sensation was so satisfying. It was like I had a secret that I was sharing with myself and the strangers who read it, but I wasn’t really figuring it out until I wrote it down on the blank canvas in front of me.

Somewhere along the line the novelty wore off. The experiences became less and less new, and my surprise with life dwindled. I got in my car to drive to work sometime in the early 2010’s, and tonight was November of 2022 and I drove home.

None of this is to say I’m sad, or depressed. I gave up long ago lamenting the bad decisions I’ve made in my life, whether it’s with girls and relationships, putting myself in debt, making bad bets or picking stocks that failed. Some things are better left on the field with the rest of my wins and losses. I’ve done a lot of cool shit in my life and I have fucked up more times than I can count. I look forward to more cool shit and more fuck-ups.

I really turned my life around a few years ago. One of the things I have written about is how to handle money — at least as it pertains to me — and I remain convinced that save for a million dollar idea or winning the lottery the only way out for working class people is saving money. There is a time for gambling, and there’s a time for investing, but at the end of the day (if you will pardon me the use of one cliché) there is nothing more powerful than going slow and steady and truly playing the long game.

I do have my vices. I still smoke cigarettes to pass the time and I still have a few brews every night. I still gamble on all manner of things. Not a lot has changed. I remain either the smartest dumbass or the dumbest smart person you could meet. At this point I really have no choice other than to wear it as a badge of honor.

At the same time, a lot does grow in the dark. A couple years ago when I was staying with my ex-girlfriend I started running every night, and at the beginning I couldn’t make it more than 30 seconds or a minute before I ran out of breath. Then after a brief walk in the twilight, I’d start up again and push for another 30 seconds or so and repeat the process again. To the cars that passed by it meant nothing. But for me, personally, it was embarrassing.

We fast-forward to present day and I am now able to run three miles without taking a break. People who genuinely give a shit about how their bodies look would read that sentence and either roll their eyes or chuckle to themselves, I imagine, but I think it’s pretty dope. As an impatient and entitled millennial who wants everything for free without working for it, it’s a reminder that almost anything is possible. Except rather than taking a magic pill that does all the labor for me, I did it the old fashion way.

I’m also having the best professional year of my life, which is kind of lucky since I work for tips but it’s also, like running, part of the gradual process. I have worked at the casino I am at for almost eight years now, and it wasn’t until this last 12 months (give or take) when I felt like I had absolute command of my surroundings. The relationships I have developed with players — particularly the good players — is at the point now where I don’t even look at it as work. I just drive an hour to the casino, pick up three or four hundred dollars a day, and drive home to run and smoke weed and play video games.

My foundation has always been with communication. I credit my brief tenure at Virginia Tech with allowing me to learn some of those principles — after all I once really, really wanted to be a sports writer — but more than anything else I have my mom and my two brothers and my dad to thank. Each of them, obviously, and by nature, is different. The way to talk to them and handle them is different. Understanding how they operate, and how I operate in return, as a mirror to them, have shaped my interactions with the thousands of people who have played at my table over the years.

Some men want me to talk shit to them. Other men don’t want me to say anything at all. Some women like to be flirted with. Other women want to be told how to play their hands. And many others sink into a grey area where I need them to make the first move to allow me the verbal gymnastics and subtle microaggressions as means to extract tips. It’s more art than science, but there is a blueprint if you know how to talk to people.

None of this matters, which is why I don’t write very often about my life. Going from running for 30 seconds to running three miles doesn’t mean much to anyone but me. The fact that I have basically made more money than any other calendar year of my life with close to two months to go doesn’t mean much to anyone but me. As a writer, I am neither good nor interesting when I am happy. I’ve just been happy, I guess.

I would argue that is the best explanation for why I wrote so significantly much more about sports than my life, because at least sports change on a week-to-week, or month-to-month basis. My life hasn’t changed very much lately. I am stuck in a position where I want to move on to the next big stage — buying a house — but factors outside of my control are keeping me grounded.

I’m a positive dude and I have a lot of reasons to be. I have a good job. My health is at least average. I do not have a helluva lot to complain about.

Anyway, this is my status update for November 2nd, 2022. I’m sure I’ll be back eventually.

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