“The Days When T-Shirts Said Something” or “When I Tried to Do a Sudoku While Jogging”

I have lots of t-shirts with phrases and sayings on them.

I have one that says, “Sermonator.”  I like that one.images

I used to have one that said “Super Student.” That one was awesome.  It made my campus pastor laugh when I went up for communion.

Sometimes the truth is really funny.

And I have one from my college days that says, “Don’t You Wish You Were Me?”  It glows in the dark.  I bought it 20lbs and 20,000 hair follicles ago, but I still wear it to work out at the gym.

It used to be funny.  Now it’s ironic.

They don’t make many of those t-shirts anymore.  Sigh…I pine for the days when a t-shirt said something about a person.

Anyway, I was wearing this last shirt to the gym tonight, and in my right hand I had yesterday’s (Wednesday’s) Redeye paper, the free paper here in Chicago with all the news that’s fit to be printed in a free paper.

I like the Redeye…but I like it mostly for its Sudoku.

I’m not a Sudoko wiz.  In fact, I’d call my Sudoku skills as “above average,” with my number skills falling somewhere between an 8th grade mathelete and Stephen Hawkings.  But I can usually tackle the Wednesday Sudoku with little problem.  It’s a “medium” in difficulty.

And so I came up with the brilliant idea to do the Sudoku while jogging on the treadmill.  I did this for two reasons.  A) my biggest stumbling block when it comes to running/jogging is boredom.  God, it’s boring.  Ugh. Boring, boring, boring.  Runner’s high?  Nope.  Jogger’s boredom. B) Because running is boring, I need a goal to get me through.  Past goals include, “Run until Cops is over.”  Another goal, “Get through half the Scissor Sisters album, and then you can stop.”

Tonight’s goal: do the medium Sudoku from Wednesday’s Redeye.

I started up the ‘mill.  5.5. Easy, easy jog.

It wasn’t until about 30 seconds in that I figured out this was the dumbest idea ever.  First of all, it was really hard to read the blocks.  I don’t run with my glasses on (sweat streaks), and I don’t wear contacts (can’t touch my eyeballs), so I had to squint really hard to see the blocks.

Secondly, have you ever tried to write numbers in blocks while jogging?  Not easy, my friend.  Not easy.

So I lowered that level down to a “brisk walk,” where I could hold the Sudoku up to my face and work on it.

That’s when I started hearing the high-pitched squeaking noise coming from my treadmill.  I thought to myself, “Awesome.  I chose the squeaky treadmill that everyone else avoided and hates, and I’m going to annoy the hell out of all of these people…”

And then I realized that the treadmill only squeaked if you neared an edge.  And then context clues led me to conclude that the treadmill is designed to do this to tell the user, “Hey, get your eyes off of the Sudoku, you’re about to fall off!”

Apparently I was walking much slower than the speed given.

So I adjusted and started filling in the blanks, and I was doing a pretty good job (except my 7’s began looking like 4’s, causing some momentary confusion).

And then the sweat started.  It started dripping on my paper.  And the ink started to run.  And here I was, 32 minutes into my jog/brisk walk Sudoku challenge with about half the boxes filled in, and my hard work began to suffer terribly because my body started flinging juice everywhere.

So I started filling in boxes; guessing at answers.  And before I knew it, two fours appeared in the same line and, blamo, challenge met.

Subconsciously I self-sabotaged my Sudoku challenge to stop the embarrassment; I know this to be true.  Between the squeaking, squinting, odd gait, feverish sweating, and intermittent vocalizations of “Ahhh” and “No…” that just come from me when doing math problems, my true self had had enough, ramped up the sweat, and called the question.

As I was wiping down the machine, my failed Sudoku in hand, another jogger passed by, looked at my shirt, and just said, “Nope.”

It took me a minute, as he stared at my face, and then at my chest, and back at my face.  “Nope.”

He walked away.

Inside I said quietly, “Me neither, buddy, me neither.”

And then I balled up the Sudoku and tossed it to the trashcan.

And I missed.



Why I Want My Kid to Play Hockey

My son is 10 months old.Hockey-Stick-and-Puck-Photographic-Print-C11950881

We’re starting to think about his first birthday party, but not because it’s going to be a huge blow-out. Let’s be honest, any peers he has won’t even remember the thing so, why bother, right?

No. A small affair.

But there is something that we want to make memorable, not just for us, but for him: the cake.

Why? Because we’ll undoubtedly take a picture of him next to the cake and force him to look at it on every birthday for the rest of his life.  And when we show him that picture, we want him to recognize that this moment was the moment when it happened: he decided to play hockey.

Well, technically we decided for him, but whatev…

So his cake will be a Blackhawk sweater.  Chocolate body, vanilla sleeves. I can’t wait.

See, this is the thing, I’m a big fan of just three sports: hockey, football, and baseball.

But if I’m honest with myself (and I always try to be), baseball is only really fun to watch if you’re at the stadium.  A professional stadium.  Oh, sure, I’ll have the Cubs on at home when I can’t make the game.  But I’m always reading or folding laundry or making dinner or anything but actually watching much of the game.

Because baseball is often like slow death to watch.

So, baseball is out.  I don’t want to sit on metal bleachers in the blazing sun to watch a kid hit a ball off a tee and run into the outfield because he’s confused about where the bases are.

And football?  Well, I love football. Love. It. But I don’t want him to play football.  His head isn’t even fully fused yet! And am I going to, in a few years, risk unfusing it?

No ma’am.

So, football is out.

And that leaves hockey.  And I love hockey.  I love watching hockey.  I love cheering to hockey.  I love trying to figure out exactly what “icing” means as an infraction (because, really, who the hell knows?).

I love hockey.

“But he might lose his teeth!” you say.  Listen, we can replace teeth. Perhaps it’d even be a benefit to replace some teeth at some point. Easy maintenance.

But we can’t replace his brain.  Hence why hockey is preferable to football.

Another added benefit: I’ve never played hockey.  If I’ve never played it, there’s no expectation that I’ll be any good at it.  There’s no expectation that I’ll have to show him how to play…we’ll leave that to the professionals.

I’ve played baseball and football.  I’m terrible. TERRIBLE!

I was that kid out in right right roving right field who was picking dandelions, bored out of his mind.  When we were told we couldn’t taunt the other team, I really had no other role.  I played right field for a reason.  You know how many balls came to right field in little league?

Zero. None.

Unless you got that errant roller, and then it was just a matter of running to the ball already on the ground. I had zero talent.

And football?  I played fine for a kid who wasn’t big or fast or coordinated.  Which means I stunk.  I loved playing, I just stunk. I was great on the sidelines…which made me realize I should just join the band because at least they got to do something during the game.

So I did.  I figured trading one uniform for another isn’t so hard.  Plus, band headgear was so much easier to wear…

What’s that?  Basketball?  Why isn’t basketball on the list?

To be honest, basketball doesn’t do it for me.  I played that more than any other sport and I made one basket in four years of playing.

That’s a quarter of a basket per year, if you’re keeping track. Which is about as often as I got to actually play, anyway.

The only thing I was good at in basketball was fouling.  Which is why my parents stuck me in karate class.

I was good at karate. He can do that, too, if he wants.  But karate isn’t that fun to watch.

And really, it’s all about me.

So, hockey it is.  Now lace up while your mom and I grab a seat in this temperature controlled rink.