Regrets, I’ve Had a Few…

I’m never going to be a professional baseball player. I’m not good enough. I tried out for my high school team three times without making it. Of course I was still fat for two of those tryouts. When I didn’t make the team I started playing men’s softball at age sixteen and did it really well for about twenty years. I made the All-Star team in 1997 in a fast-pitch league and drove in the winning runs off one of the fastest pitchers in the league. I still have the t-shirt. So there’s that.

I can’t have my colon back. It was surgically removed and I’m still alive because of it, so I guess it was a fair trade. But it has made things quite a bit more complicated than they would have been otherwise. The whole holding a job and being able to take care of my family thing kind of fell by the wayside. Not that I missed the jobs I had, just the paychecks. And that feeling of accomplishment one can sometimes get when one makes enough money to pay the monthly bills. I haven’t paid a bill with money that I earned in about three or four years, which does suck quite a bit. For that reason, and for many more you don’t want to hear about, I miss my colon. If I could I would welcome it back with open, um, arms.

I have been forced to embrace my baldness. In fact we’ve moved past embracing into tongue-kissing, heavy petting, and toothbrushes at each other’s apartments. Let’s face it, I’ve gone all the way with my baldness. We’re looking at houses, picking out child names (I prefer “Harry”, baldness is pushing for “Jean-Luc”), and we’re talking wedding dates. The thing is I never expected it to get so serious so quickly. I thought I’d have some time to get used to the idea, but you know how determined a mate can sometimes be about needing a commitment. So here I am, in way over my follically challenged head, another victim of a casual dalliance that has grown frighteningly out of control. After shaving my head recently, my wife referred to me as a “handsome egg”. I can only dream of what I’ll never have again, the head of kinky-curly hair that I spent my wild younger days with, living with reckless abandon and imagining the summer would never end. Alas, it will always be with me, like Paris will always be with Rick and Ilsa. Yeah. Just like that.

Food has become my enemy. It was never particularly good to me, and it was the main cause of my being a fat fat fatty until my junior year in high school. But once that was under control we had some real good times. And when I met Mary Ellen, it became an ally in our relationship. We reveled in food, spent 95% of our quality time together eating it at our favorite restaurants and talked about it when we weren’t partaking of it. It was the sun around which our twin planets rotated. Sick? Yeah, probably. But I always remember watching an Oprah about obsessive-compulsives where this Chinese guy came on and admitted that he couldn’t seal an envelope without checking two dozen times to see if he was trapping his daughter inside of it. They asked him how he could live under the staunch control of his compulsion. He answered, quite jovially, that knowing his daughter WASN’T in the envelope filled him with such joy that rather than perceiving his insane actions as a negative, they made him quite happy, thank you very much. Similarly did I “suffer” through my addiction to food, all the while savoring each delicious morsel. Then the previously mentioned deal with my colon happened, and anything more than a medium-sized meal caused me pain. Pain is reallllly good at changing behaviors, even longstanding ones, so I could not continue to live my unrestricted foodie life. I had to adapt to previously unheard of activities like “portion-control” and “restraint” and “discipline”. Now that I have been forced to adopt each of these, I can tell you unequivocally that they all suck out loud and twice on Sunday. I’d much rather be able to pig out on Chinese food every once in a while without having it send me to the hospital. Ah well.

Recently I’ve grown to regret being a Met fan. Not that I could EVER root for the Yankees, which in my book is akin to rooting for IBM to go up another point. My kinship with underdogs would never allow me to actually switch to a more successful franchise, like, say, any of the other teams in the league right now. I was 16 when the Mets won the World Series in 1986 and that was great, but the combined weight of their wretchedness since then has served to all but eradicate that happy memory. They lost the right to go to the playoffs in both 2007 and 2008 on the LAST DAY OF THE SEASON. In 2008, there was a big todo planned for after the game because it was the last dance at Shea Stadium before Citifield replaced it. They had every Met star there since 1964, all brought back to say goodbye one more time to the ballpark that held all their wonderful memories. And the freakin’ Mets couldn’t squeeze out ONE win to make the occasion an enjoyable one. After the loss I couldn’t even watch the parade of stars, so overwhelmed with grief was I. But they managed to get worse in 2009 and 2010. Now in 2011 their ownership is going bankrupt because they’re fending off lawsuits for allegedly being involved in Bernie Madoff’s ponzi scheme. The team is the worst in the league already and their pitching staff recently gave up a lead in five consecutive games. Two players on the disabled list are making $23 million and $18 million this year, respectively. And I have no choice but to go down with the ship, watch them stumble and slide, cheer their pathetic little victories and endure another lousy, bitter season. I can’t do otherwise because I’m the worst of all possible losers: the loyal fan. There are Chicago Cub fans who were born, lived their lives to a ripe old age and died without ever seeing their team win a World Series. And I wish fate had made me a Cub fan right now, because even they have a better chance of winning than the Mets. They suck as much as not being able to support my family and not being able to eat what I want combined, they couldn’t make my High School team and if they were trapped in an envelope I would gladly seal it without a second thought.

So. All I need is a late blooming career as an All-Star second baseman, which will lead my Mets to a World Series victory, which would catch the attention of some medical specialist Met fan from the Mayo Clinic who will perform the first successful colon replacement surgery which will allow me to eat the way I like and work for a living again. If all that happens, I can live with being bald.

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