He called me Champ.
My dad, perpetual coach and marketing Maharishi, called everyone by a nickname. As a coach, that’s what he did. He gave kids nicknames. It was his way of branding the individual to strengthen the gestalt. Well, that, or he couldn’t remember their actual names. Regardless, the kids loved having them for the simple sake of having them. Because they sounded cool. Case in point: For me, it was either Chuckie or Champ.
Which would you rather?
There was Slick and Flash and Hollywood and Tito. There was Spider and Speedy and Hondo and Hammer. There was Buck and Say Hey Willie, as in “The Say Hey Kid,” as in just plain old “Kid” (my youngest brother’s glorious epithet and all its incarnations, named after the Say Hey Kid himself). There was a nickname for every single kid on every single team my dad ever coached. And my dad coached a lot, particularly me.
I got mine the summer before 1st grade, playing tee-ball for the Orioles. I spent the next 11 years trying to live it down. Champ, it turns out, while perfectly acceptable for a six-year-old playing tee-ball, is not all too appropriate for the captain of a varsity football team.
My old man never taught me how to fish. He never took me hunting. He never sat me down on his work bench, the smell of fresh saw dust stinging my nose, and said, “Son, this is a socket wrench.”
No, he wasn’t a deadbeat. He just wasn’t that kind of guy. I’ve sometimes wondered who I would be if I’d been raised by a real man’s man, but the only conclusion I can come to is: I wouldn’t be me.
A few years ago, I took my girlfriend along for a trip to the cabin my family rented on Lake Michigan. I brought a football. My Dad brought old-time radio shows.
Q: Did The X-Files predict 9/11? Isn’t The X-Files, like, about aliens or something?
A: Relax, baby. Just sit back while blogger Benjamin Christopher quietly blows your mind.
This is a response to the novel The Absent City by Ricardo Piglia. Often described as a political thriller, the book is a journey through Argentina’s oppressive past. It features Junior as the novel’s protagonist and Elena, a machine that was created originally to translate stories but ends up twisting tales and memories that concern Argentina’s authorities.
The novel is a quest to unwind truth from fiction; in fact, it is an exploration into what truth actually is in terms of national identity, stories, narrative, and language. It is a dense read but highly engrossing…well…for those of you that love melancholy and semiotics, that is.
It’s all his fault, really. Along with his hairy back, plump lips, short stature and fondness for procrastination, I have inherited the muscle structure of a line backer. The old man is set at a stout 5’8 and a half while my mother stands at over six feet in heals. It’s amusing to see them at formal events. Her, pale, lanky and dark haired, towering above a husky, sun drenched and balding man. Even though his wife has to bend down to kiss him, he maintains a confidence I can’t seem to find. I haven’t dated a girl taller than me since the 8th grade and she licked my teeth when we made out.
To The Talkative
Talking to you takes
all the fun out of my beer.
So shut the hell up.
arch(r)ival By Shae Rue A virgin in a holy war battling against the page inkwells of rage stuck in the waves. Child of God, Sister of Dust. You do the things you know you must. Even when the pain has spread, swelled up. Journals of uneven length chronicles of sad rapport burned against my pride [...]
First, the leaves of maple trees catching heaven’s gilded gaze,
casting everything here in brilliant, benevolent shadow.
Then, the shale, a skein of stone shaped by constant
currents, smooth as the skin of a newborn’s wrist…