Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Q&A: John Boehner's House of Romance

Jan. 9, 2013

(Editor's note: United States Speaker of the House and relationship expert John Boehner was kind enough to join us today to answer your questions on love and heartbreak ... and heartbreak, especially heartbreak. Thank you, John, and also to our readers for their tremendous questions. We apologize for any that may have gone unanswered.)

Speaker Boehner,
My husband obstructs me on everything. I obstruct him on everything. The brinksmanship frightens our children, but it is also the lifeblood that sustains us. Any advice?

Difficult in Dover

Dear Difficult,
Double down. The only way to get what you want is to be as unyielding as possible. Threaten to take the family to the brink of disaster, only to pull back at the very last moment when you both come to a resolution that could have been reached early on. The lasting distaste you will harbor toward each other will power you through to the next disagreement. Going through life with white knuckles, a red face and complete disdain for the ones you are supposed to love are all perfectly healthy. When necessary, cry for sympathy and then go for the knees.



Speaker Boehner,
Eight years ago while on a business trip, I spoke to a woman on the bus for 15 minutes. They were the most amazing 15 minutes of my life. Over these past few years, I have managed to convince myself that had I asked her name, we would be married now, but I did not. Her stop came first and I have been punishing myself ever since. She said, "I'll see you later." Those are the only words I hear when I awake in the morning and go to bed at night. Should I forgive myself? How do I move on?

Arrrrrgh in Arlington

Dear Arrrrrgh,
Well, that's irrational. You screwed up, and it is your responsibility. Don't try to freeload joyful emotions off the rest of us. You had your chance. So how about this? The imagination is the most combustible instrument of emotional self-immolation available to human beings. Use it. Think of the birthdays, the anniversaries, the children, the dog, the cat, the happiness, the sadness, the trips to your favorite restaurant, the vacations. All of it. I recommend obsessing and obsessing some more. Do not think of anything or anyone other than the one you long to see just once more, just so you can get it right -- this time. Consider how that bus ride was the most significant lost moment of your life and how you will never, ever get it back. It will build moral fiber.



Speaker Boehner,
I currently find myself in a rather atypical long-distance relationship. You see, I am time-traveler and I met Alice on a trip to 1868. She understands the situation, I understand the situation, but the expanses of time are much more difficult to overcome than a few states. I can't even Skype across the space-time continuum! It would be one thing if I lived in L.A. and she in Boston (which actually is the case), but I trudge through every day knowing Alice is not even alive in my time. I mean, my God, I looked it up in the dusty public records at the Boston Public Library (It's not like I could just go creep around her Facebook page and scroll through all her daguerreotypes for hours, while accidentally liking one from 1864, which would be incredibly awkward and demand an uncomfortable explanation, you know? Have I thought about this? Yes, I've thought about this.), and you know what I learned? She died of cholera in 1871! She has been dead for 142 years! I wish I did not know that. What do I do?

Longing in Los Angeles

Dear Longing,
Time machine, time machine. First of all, I am going to have my editor get you in contact with Arrrrrgh in Arlington. I'm feeling sympathetic all of a sudden. It's a strange sensation. But regarding your question, how about this: You. Have. A. Time. Machine. You have mastered the unmasterable and the fact you didn't advertise the hell out of this reality tells me all I need to know about you. Get in your little time machine and ask her to go with you to an age where cholera does not exist. Problem solved. Screw the butterfly effect. Time is a property imagined by humans anyway, and it's OK to be proactive once in a while. Half the time, I don't know why I put myself through this.


Thursday, January 03, 2013

2012: It's over, so what more is there to talk about anyway?

Yes, the second day of 2013 is complete, but it is not too late to review 2012. At the end of each year, I try to identify the best aspects of the previous 365 (or 366) days. I typically either write it on paper or simply draft a list in my head (but never in red paint on the wall because that would be unnecessary), but in my attempt to allow this blog to possibly see another life, I figure this might be a productive experiment.

Best day: Nov. 18, my brother and Sarah's wedding. This was a beautiful day, an amazing day, an all-time top 5 day. There is not much more I can say about their wedding day that I have not already said in non-blog form. After the endless planning, the entire day was such a rush that I would appreciate a Bill Murray/"Groundhog Day" type re-run, but the photos demonstrate that it actually happened, so I trust those. (And as a bonus, I was only asked twice about "your (my) turn." As the older one, I feared that question would be broached a bit more often, but fortunately, the focus was kept on the purpose of the day.) (Side note: I do not think people actually say "broached" in everyday conversation. I cannot remember the last time I did.) (Parentheses.)

Favorite band I was not aware of 52 weeks ago: The Lumineers. The first time I heard The Lumineers was while driving away from the University of Pittsburgh in the summer. Pittsburgh has an amazing public radio station, 91.3 WYEP, that I credit for introducing me to a large percentage of the bands I have liked since around 2007 or 2008. Half the time I am sitting at my computer, I have their web stream playing. Anyway, I was in Squirrel Hill when "Ho Hey" played on the radio, and I knew right then that I needed to hear more. They're my top choice for automobile karaoke. My dramatic version of "Dead Sea" is quite ... special. Or terrifying, I don't know.

Best book: "The Dog Stars" by Peter Heller. I have a strange habit wherein I start a book, move to another and another and another, and finally finish all in some random order. Somehow, I am able to keep plot lines straight in my head. This one, though, I read straight through. I hope that particular flu never hits because I doubt I would handle being a survivor as adeptly as Hig. My fate would likely turn me into jerky for Jasper. Oh, sorry. Spoilers, right?

Best sports moment: Rotnei Clarke, Nov. 19, vs. Marquette, oh my gosh. This is why my first-born son will be named Rotnei (subject to negotiation and/or veto, of course). Mr. Clarke will only play one season for the Bulldogs, but he is quickly becoming one of my favorites. Butler 2012-13 has promise. Despite the age difference, I want to be Roosevelt Jones when I grow up. (Honorable mention goes to the Chicago Cubs for making it to the end of the season without disbanding the entire franchise in shame. Nobody would have held it against them, but the rumor is they will try again in a few months. They're resilient. Hopefully, Castro and Rizzo will have some help. Quick, quick! Slap me in the face! My annual resolution against eye rolling and sighing still stands. Hurry and cue up Rotnei, please. Thanks.)

Best conversation with a stranger: While leaving work one night in late March, I crossed paths with a man who was walking across the parking lot. He was initially startled and cursed in my direction. I apologized, stuck out my hand and introduced myself as Daniel. He introduced himself as Gregory, a homeless vet, and we spent 45 minutes talking about the experience of being homeless. It was one of the more enlightening conversations I have ever had. No matter how rich or poor, everybody is a certain number of missed paychecks away from being in a similar situation. Obviously, all situations are different, and each person has a different support system, but regardless, it is important to be compassionate toward those who have less, which seems to be something we struggle to do in difficult times. Constantly searching for someone who is in a vulnerable position to blame for all of society's problems is cowardly. Don't blame, find solutions.

Best random question from a co-worker: "Daniel, I was thinking about this earlier today, and I knew I had to ask you: Have you ever hypnotized a chicken?" No, I haven't, but I should probably get around to it. I have not hypnotized enough birds in my lifetime, therefore I have not truly lived. I think I found my one, true resolution for 2013!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Snow day revisitation

As the snow fell Wednesday, canceling any plans I had for the day, I was able to finally do some thinking about my Internet footprint. I have run through several blogs over the years with this one surviving longer than most. Of course, I have not touched it in four years, which goes to show how neglectful I can be. Whether or not I resume this one is unknown, but I did do some clean-up and deletion of posts that 1) lacked the editing I would prefer to represent me on the web, and 2) seemed a little too, well, odd. (The cringing ranged from mild to severe and the question "WHY WOULD I WRITE THAT?" was asked a few times, but hey, I'm still employed and not locked away in a far-off detention facility, so that's nice. So that's nice.) I imagine there is some more work to be done, but I will have to live for now with what might be buried back in 2006 because I have to sleep sometime. Perhaps I will return at some point, probably after I clean the pile of snow that is covering my car.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

I still exist

I noticed nothing has been posted here since Sept. 29. That's sad. I neglected my little slice of cyberspace. I'll try to do something about that, and I promise I won't talk about "my bracket." No one cares. Why should anyone? Yeah, I fill one out, but I would prefer see enough upsets to eliminate the Dukes, North Carolinas, Indianas and UCLAs of the college basketball world. All we care about here are the little guys. So, go Butler (obviously), Drake, Davidson and Kent State. And when you win and destroy everyone's "brackets," sending them into fits of despair and tears and horrible annoyance, I'll do cartwheels like A.J. Graves.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

If a baseball game is played and nobody is there to see it, did it really happen?

Apparently, it did, and only about 400 people witnessed it. And because baseball preserves every single stat imaginable, there will be proof 100 years from now that the Marlins beat the Nationals 5-4 yesterday in front of nearly 75,000 empty seats. It was hot, humid and involved two of the worst teams in the National League. I have my limits, so yeah, I probably would not have wanted to be there, either. But I have to admit that it would be interesting to watch a game in such a large stadium with such a tiny crowd.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Better than streaking

This occurred during the Colorado-Colorado State football game on Sept. 1. The "running toilet" was apparently part of a promotion by Denver Water to raise awareness about water conservation. What I want to know is how the person inside the toilet suit could see. It does not appear as though there are eye holes. Eye holes or no eye holes, a toilet with arms terrifies me.

# # #

Yes, I know my first post in more than a month deals with a guy in a toilet suit running across a football field. Deal with it, I guess. It's an oft-used, yet rarely fulfilled promise, but I'll try to get back to this thing more regularly.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Dear Cubs,

I'll only say this once. If you want to move into first place, please Cubs, get a hit or two when you have the bases loaded and no out. Every team goes into a slump at one time or another during the season, but this, this is a bad time. Seriously, the Brewers are trying to give it to you. You're not planning to kill me again, are you? Maybe not, but over these last few days, you have managed to put me in a perpetual dark mood. Too much good has happened so far to let this crash and burn. But if that's how you want it, I'll have the gasoline ready.

Thank you.