Is Reading Cool?

Is reading cool?

Let me take you back to Grade 6. My class was having a Spelling Bee. Participation was optional. If you wanted to compete, you were to study the words in the textbook. I decided I didn’t want to participate.

The day of the Spelling Bee arrived and everyone who wanted to spell words went to the front of the class. My teacher saw that I didn’t go up and encouraged me to join. So I did.

The winner was going to receive a gift card to a bookstore.

I made it to the Final 2, without studying. We took a break for recess.

The other finalist came up to me at recess and asked if I could just let them win because I “don’t even read books” and they could use the gift card more than I could.

Ha!

I ended up losing the Spelling Bee. I didn’t throw it. I just didn’t spell my word correctly. I wish I could remember what the word was. I’d probably put it on a t-shirt, or make sure I never use it in my daily vocabulary.

Contrary to the belief of my competitor, I did read books. I loved books. I was in the book club at the library every summer. That consisted of me reading books and giving the librarian a synopsis.

I even read the sports section of the newspaper just about every day.

The other day I read the sports section of the newspaper for the first time in months, maybe years. I didn’t enjoy it anymore. The writers felt like they were trying to show off by using adjective after adjective. It felt like I was reading something that had become a chore to them. They didn’t feel connected to their words.

I didn’t publicize my passion for reading back then. Didn’t feel like I had to. I was known as the sports kid. Surely, no kid who wore a sports jersey to school once a week had any patience for books, right?

That always infuriated me, and still does.

Even in university when I majored in Sport Management, I always felt like I was looked at as lesser than someone in science or a “smart” subject.

“Oh what do you do in lecture, look at highlights and talk about stats?” 

And I’ve always felt the need to prove myself, that I’m not just this person obsessed with sports, but I have interests and capabilities beyond that.

You see these Bachelorette recaps I write? I find joy in them and I’m glad there are people who get a laugh out of them. But I’d be lying if I said that’s my only reason for doing them.

A big part of it is me revealing something about myself, that people may not have expected, and forcing others to think twice about the stereotypes they have in their head.

I mean, guys don’t watch The Bachelor. They mustn’t. That’s a girly show. Guys who watch sports definitely don’t watch it. They’re too brain dead to change the channel. 

I don’t like fitting stereotypes. I don’t like being a cliché. I don’t like being pre-determined. I like the unconventional. I like the random. I like doing things that people aren’t expecting. I prefer to be predictably unpredictable.

I could write a blog post tomorrow about two raindrops racing down the window, just to catch you off guard. Of course, I can’t now. But wouldn’t that have been unexpected?

You’ve had some time to think about it, so I’ll ask again.

Is reading cool?

Now, that may be an unfair question. But I want an answer.

Thinking back to elementary school, there were some kids who brought books to school and read them during free periods or recess, but as a whole, reading didn’t seem very popular.

Maybe that’s just kids being kids and having too much energy to focus on books. Or maybe they were like me and read books at home, instead.

Everyone got excited about the Scholastic Book Fair, I know that much. Perhaps it was because of the cheap posters and chance to win a raffle prize.

I was one of those raffle winners. I still have the image in my head of putting my ballot in the box and knowing in that moment that I would win. Just one of those premonitions I’ve had that I’ve written about before.

I won a Spongebob Square Pants poster. I had no use for a poster and I never saw more than five minutes (unwillingly) of Spongebob.

Whoopty-doo.

A lot of people go through school without reading any books outside of the ones they are assigned. I was that way when I got to high school. I didn’t do any outside reading. It felt unnecessary. Excessive, even. I didn’t want to strain myself, right?

When university rolled around, I brought three books with me when I moved into residence in first year. I told myself I would read them when I had spare time. They sat on my bottom shelf and collected dust.

I brought the same three books back for second year and said the same thing.

I brought the same three books back for third year and said the same thing.

I left them at home for fourth year. There was no point. Spare time? I barely had time to sleep.

Somewhere between the end of Grade 8 and the end of university, “reading” turned into a dirty word. I didn’t want to hear it. I’d look at the syllabus and see that I had to read 30+ pages by the next seminar and I’d find every way to avoid it, or get it over with as fast as possible.

There wasn’t much enjoyment. I was sabotaging myself, but it didn’t feel that way. It felt like I was being forced to read something that I didn’t want to read.

I was becoming that Grade 6 stereotype of “you don’t even read”. It was true. I didn’t. I was tired of reading.

I would scroll through Facebook and Twitter, reading poorly written thoughts by people I no longer knew. I would read texts that I’d have to fill in the gaps for. I would proofread my group member’s work and make corrections.

So many words, but nothing was ever perfect.

It wasn’t until I graduated that I regained my desire to read. My desire for learning something, on which I would not be tested. I had lost that somewhere between the late night McDonald’s runs and early morning fire drills.

I enjoy non-fiction books that are sport-related.

The behind-the-scenes aspect of sport has always intrigued me. Reading the words directly from an athlete or broadcaster, helps answer the questions in my head. It feels like a personal connection between myself and the author.

They aren’t telling a story, they are sharing one. There’s a difference.

Think of it this way:

I’m talking to you in a room full of people. Everyone is off chatting with someone else. It’s just us in our own bubble. I’m sharing a story with you, only you. All of a sudden, Johnny Big Ears joins the conversation. Then the story becomes less personal. I hold back on all the details. I paraphrase the parts that Mr. Big Ears missed. I am now telling a story. I’m not sharing one.

And if I’m honest with you, and myself, I’d say that I’ve taken that same philosophy with this blog. It’s so much more meaningful when it feels like I’m talking to one person, rather than multiple.

That’s how I try to write. Sharing, not telling.

Again, is reading cool?

I’ll walk into the bookstore and book it past the Travel section (that was two jokes in six words, keep up), ignore the History and Political Science sections because of covfefe, and find myself in my happy place. The Sports section.

I chuckle when I see that it’s right next to the Humour section. This is my comfort zone. The supposed “dumb people” section of the bookstore.

What can you learn from sports and humour? The intellectuals aren’t rushing to that section. No wonder it’s in the back corner.

One last time, is reading cool? I’ll share my thoughts, first.

The question does not matter. You should’ve been screaming that the first time you saw it. The only thing you should care about being cool is the other side of your pillow. That’s it.

Because what is cool?

It is a word we all associated to a group of kids at school, and chances are, none of them had books in their hands. Am I wrong? Therefore, the ones who did have books were uncool.

Being a “bookworm” is associated with being a “nerd”. And if you’re a nerd, you can’t be cool, right? It goes against the definition.

But why? So what?

Why is it cool to be stupid? Why is it cool for the class clown to disrupt the class? Why is it cool to play sports at recess, but it isn’t cool to read?

Why is butchering the English language on social media so widely accepted? You can type out words faster than you can write them, why do you insist on using abbreviations and shortcuts every chance you get?

Doesn’t it take more effort to spell a word wrong, than to spell it right?

It makes no sense to me. What is this culture of stupidity that we are fostering?

People graduate from college and university every year, and they can take all the fancy photos they want, but deep down, I promise you, most of them can’t put three written sentences together to save their life.

Look, I don’t claim to have all the answers. I don’t claim to have any answers. In fact, I’m not even the biggest reader in my family. If we were to count books, I’d come in last place by a landslide.

Quick shoutout to those of you who own a Kindle.

What I do know, though, is that reading is a nice change of pace.

I’m not forced to reply instantly. I don’t have to like or retweet. I don’t have to adjust the volume. I don’t have to follow anyone or anything, except the words the author has written.

I think that’s cool, even if others do not.

Follow me on Twitter: @CappyTalks

Posted in Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 39 Comments

Viewing Notes: The Bachelorette Ep. 2

Tonight I watched baseball, wrestling, and now The Bachelorette. I also ate chicken wings with lasagna. My head is going to be in a weird place soon, if it isn’t already.

Last season, Episode 2 brought us a sketchy photographer in a man romper (I call them Brompers – Bro Rompers), Nick kissing everyone within a 100 mile radius, and Corinne revealing herself to the world. My hopes are high tonight.

Well what a surprise, it’s Chris Harrison! And his sleeves are rolled up!

“I hope everyone is here for the right reasons.” Drink!

Two group dates and a one-on-one date is on the menu tonight.

Oh by the way, I’m giving Blake the nickname: Little Drummer Boy because he is an aspiring drummer and came in with a marching band last week.

The first group date begins and all the guys are dressed in dark t-shirts because they went shopping together. Took lots of change room selfies, I bet.

~ Of note, Pretty Boy Pitbull Kenny King, Little Drummer Boy Blake, Morning Show Host Iggy, and The Odd Toddlers – Whaboom and Tickle Monster, are on this date. Thank you, producers.

They’re playing football in non-athletic clothing so Rachel can see who sweats easily.

~ Rachel has brought her “friends” to help her today – Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis.

~ Now I wish I brought a friend to help me with this blog post.

~ The men have to go through an obstacle course to see if they are husband material.

~ In wrestling, this would be considered a “Three Stages of Hell” match.

~ So what we have here is a mixture of Punk’d and Fear Factor.

~ They have to change a diaper, put on a baby holder thing, vacuum, unclog a drain full of hair, find a ring in another drain, and then set a table.

~ The losers go to a dog house and the winner wins over Rachel’s heart without even learning her birthday.

~ And they’re off!

~ “I poop every day so I feel I can handle it alright.” – Iggy

~ All of these guys took off with their vacuum without plugging it in. They all suck.

~ Ahahahahahaha get it!? It’s a vacuum pun! Ah what’s the point…

~ Whaboom goes to find the ring in the drain, but he’s drowning the baby in the process. Why am I laughing so hard?

~ Whaboom gives Kenny King a stiff arm and the Pretty Boy Pitbull sells it like the wrestler he is.

~ Whaboom wins the contest and screams, “I’M HUSBAND MATERIAL”. Then he SPIKED the BABY on the GROUND.

~ Viewing Notes will resume in five minutes. Paul is on the floor in hysterics. 

Man, I haven’t laughed that hard in years.

Little Drummer Boy Blake is throwing a hissy fit because he lost and then mic-dropped his baby. Not cool, LDBB.

~ They’re spending the evening at an arcade. Rachel is excited for the night ahead because it can’t be any worse than seeing men drown fake babies.

~ Whaboom gets to bat leadoff and talks to Rachel first.

~ Little Drummer Boy Blake says he knows Whaboom from a “previous encounter” and says he’s only there to be on TV. What a saboteur this Blake guy is, eh?

~ Whaboom whips out a poem? AND THEN HE KISSES RACHEL.

She likes him. Yes! That just bought him two more episodes.

~ Oh hey, Camper Fred Flintstone is on this date! Rachel says she can’t get over the fact that he was a bad little boy.

~ “You’re amazing. There’s something special about you. But seriously…”

~ The compliments on this show are quite cliche. Let me give this a try.

~ “When I look into your eyes, I see your eyes. And then you blink and I don’t see them and I panic. It’s like, where did they go? OH! There they are!”

~ Bam. Beat that.

~ The Tickle Monster brought his baby along and tells Rachel the key is to minimize the wiping.

~ As far as romantic words go, “wiping” has to be right up there. Get it? It was a wiping joke…laugh!

~ Rachel isn’t finding romance with any of these guys. I’m shocked.

~ Back at the mansion, Peter gets the one-on-one date. Of course he did. He looks normal.

Blake gets alone time with Rachel and uses it to tell her that he lives with Whaboom’s ex-girlfriend.

Ohhhh snap. Somebody call the Vengaboys!

~ Whaboom boom boom boom, Blake’s seen him in her room, they spent the night together, together in her room.

The Drummer Boy said Whaboom brought his own makeup so he looks good on TV.

~ THEORY: Is there any chance The Drummer Boy likes his roommate, but she doesn’t like him, so now he doesn’t like Whaboom? Nahhhhh.

~ Rachel likes Dean because he looks like Chris the Bachelor from a few years ago.

~ Meanwhile, Whaboom is telling Blake that his roommate said he was a crazy maniac. Blake looks hurt and reports that the roommate is now being evicted.

~ Hey, my theory might be right ahahaha.

Are we seeing a double turn here? Whaboom becoming the good guy and Blake becoming the bad guy?

PBP Kenny K. has a daughter named Pretty Girl Puppy Mackenzie Rachel. He tells Rachel about her. Rachel then brings up how he’s one of the older guys in the house.

~ Oh man. Put some polysporin on that one, Kenny.

~ The group date rose goes to Mean Dean (his wrestling persona). Well knock me over and roll me out like a carpet. No way.

Back at the house, DeMario is interviewing Law Law Land member Josiah to fill the role of best man at his and Rachel’s wedding.

~ Hold your horses, DeMario.

~ Rachel and Peter are headed to Palm Springs. She’s breaking the news that there is going to be a third wheel on the date. It’s her dog Copper, who has an injured leg.

~ “Copper, say hi to Peter.”

~ Copper and Peter have been more affectionate than Peter and Rachel, so far.

~ “I’m ready to get my dog on. My bark on?” – Rachel

~ Rachel, let me help you with the awful one liners. I specialize.

~ “I’m here to have a paws-itive experience.”

~ Oh, they’re at Bark Fest, which is a pool party full of dogs in sunglasses.

~ Meghan, you’re loving this aren’t you?

Peter, Rachel, and Copper go for dinner, which means we won’t see them actually eat the food in front of them.

~ Peter and Rachel both have a gap between their front teeth and are bonding over it. Copper feels left out. He’s the only one there with four legs.

The rest of this season is unnecessary. Peter is going to win. There isn’t even anyone else worthy of a podium spot.

Time for the third group date and they are off to play basketball. This time, in athletic clothes.

~ Rachel has invited another “friend” to help her. His name is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, one of the best basketball players ever. They are not friends, stop lying to me.

~ It’s almost as if they put these dates together knowing I’d be watching.

Next week, Rachel will have another one of her friends join her on a date. It’ll be the Pope.

~ These guys are terrible at basketball. You can tell the net is lowered for them, too.

DeMario is treating this like Game 7 of the NBA Finals. Slow your role, kid.

~ Kareem tells the benchwarmers that they have a game later in front of a crowd.

~ Woah woah woah, Chris Harrison is there? Where did he come from?

~ Chris Harrison Sleeve Update: Rolled Up.

~ How much did they pay this audience to cheer so loud? Or is the noise being added in in post-production?

~ Yeah, I took Comm Tech in high school. Can’t pull a fast one on me.

The home team won 30-24, whatever that means.

Oh what’s this, a random girl pulls Rachel aside and tells her that DeMario has been her boyfriend for 7 months?

~ Ohhh snap. Somebody open the windows because the truth is about to come out!

~ DeMario still has the keys to her apartment. What is with all this roommate drama?

Can we have a mixed tag team match between DeMario and his girlfriend vs. Whaboom and his ex-girlfriend, with Blake as the special guest referee? I think we can. #FantasyBooking

~ DeMario “disappeared” and this girl turned her TV on and saw him on the After The Final Rose show where DeMario met Rachel. Good thing she just so happened to turn the TV on at the exact same time. Wow. What timing.

~ THEORY: The producers knew this all along and told her to come out on this date and ambush Rachel, while DeMario was strategically selected to be there.

~ “Ohhh who’s this?” – DeMario when he sees his girlfriend. Ahahahahaha.

She reads him the riot act, as DeMario plays dumb. “I met her a long time ago.”

~ DeMario wants to talk in private because this is “personal life stuff” that he doesn’t want on TV.

~ Falling in love and marrying Rachel is not “personal life stuff”, you guys.

~ This has turned into an episode of Jerry Springer really quickly. I’m almost expecting another guy to come out any second now.

~ DeMario is downplaying their relationship. His “girlfriend” is pulling out her phone and threatening to show Rachel the messages they exchanged.

~ Oh no, not the phone! Anything but the phone!

DeMario is 4 seconds away from being DeGone. And he is outta here!

Na na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye.

~ DeMario leaves in a car, while still wearing his jersey and headband.

~ Rachel avoids talking to Chris Harrison. That’s the true story here.

~ Thou shalt not ignore Mr. Harrison when he wants to talk.

Rachel tells the rest of the boys and they hold a team meeting in the locker room.

~ And then Bugs Bunny comes in and passes around a bottle of Michael’s Special Stuff.

If you don’t understand that reference, Google it.

Josiah is bothered by what DeMario did because he was the front-runner to be DeMario’s best man at DeMario and Rachel’s weddi…ahahaha I couldn’t even type it out.

~ Alex sings to her.

~ Eric kisses her.

And the date is over. The group date rose goes to Josiah!

Always the best man, never the groom.

This is a big win for Law Law Land.

~ Back at the mansion, everyone is packing their bags just in case they don’t get a rose.

~ Some guys are searching for a hidden immunity idol. #Survivor

~ Morning Show hosts, Iggy & Diggy, talk about the DeMario incident. All that and more coming up on 104.7 The Blur. Now over to Figgy with this morning’s traffic. Figgy…

Cocktail party time.

~ I don’t know this guy’s name, but he didn’t have a date, so he sits Rachel down and kisses her to make up for lost time.

~ OH! It’s Bryan The Chiropractor! His face was all over hers on the first night. Never did find out if he wets his hands before or after applying soap, though.

~ Hahahaha DeMario has returned to the mansion and a fake security guard is called over.

~ Fake Security Guard doesn’t escort him off the premises, but instead, says he will go get Mr. Harrison. He must read my blog. I’m the only one who calls him that.

~ Why is Chris Harrison judge and jury? Why is he the grand poobah? Is it because of his multiple emphatic hand gestures? That’s it, right? Gotta be.

~ The producers definitely told DeMario to swing by, yet Mr. H asks him what he’s doing there.

~ Hit ’em with the hand gestures, Chris!

~ The fake security guards stand on guard for thee.

~ “How you doin’?” – Chris, you’re not a contestant.

~ “We have an uninvited guest.” – Chris

~ Come on. Uninvited?

~ Lee gets word of what’s going on and enters the house like a town crier exclaiming, “DEMARIO IS HERE! EVERYONE ASSUME YOUR POSITIONS!

~ TO BE CONTINUED

~ I can tell you right now how this will go. Rachel will ask him what he’s doing there. He will say he was caught off guard yesterday. Heck, he might even apologize. He’ll wonder if there is a chance he can come back. She’ll say, “Aw hell naw, I can’t trust you anymore.” And then The Bowtie Bros – who have been noticeably absent – come out of nowhere and hit their finishing maneuver (The Double Knot) on DeMario. He’s down for the three count. At the count of two, Little Drummer Boy Blake comes in and breaks up the pin, which confirms his heel turn.

So yeah, don’t act too surprised when that happens next week.

I’m done. If you made it this far, thank you.

Posted in TV | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Viewing Notes: The Bachelorette Ep. 1

I’m back. You’re back. We’re all back. No need to ask why. So pack it up, pack it in. Let me begin.

~ The bachelorette this season is a woman named Rachel. Everyone say, “Don’t do it Hi, Rachel!”

Oh look, it’s host Chris Harrison! He uses the same hand gestures during every speech he makes. Watch for them.

Let’s meet Rachel! Yeah!

In the morning, she likes to dance down sidewalks. By day, you can find her in courtrooms. At night, she walks in parks. Lovely.

~ Rachel and her dog, who has a cast on its leg, board a plane and away we go!

Don’t pout too much about the dog, Meghan.

We come back to Mr. Chris who tells us Rachel has everything except love. Define “everything”, Christoph.

Let’s meet the guys via pre-made video packages. The macho meter is about to go sky high.

~ Sure enough, first up is a wrestler named Kenny. He has a daughter and no one attends his wrestling matches, apparently.

~ No Barb, I’ve never heard of him before.

Next up is Jack the Attorney. He has a dog. Hey wait a minute. Rachel is an attorney and has a dog. This has amateur matchmaker written all over it.

Here is Alex. He likes lifting weights and solving rubik’s cubes.

Mohit likes to dance with his large family in his small living room.

Lucas just broke the macho meter. I think he’s yelling “Whaboom” repeatedly. He’s also a rugby player. This should be a disaster.

Whacartoon.

Blake E. works out a lot and has a haircut from 1994.

Diggy from Chicago has a dog and 575 pairs of shoes. He wants to have children with Rachel.

If someone doesn’t say “Get Diggy with it” by the end of Episode 2, I’ll cry.

Josiah is a prosecutor. He’s been through a lot in his life. I’ll root for him.

Before Rachel meets everyone, she has to sit down with 7 former contestants from The Bachelor, who are just glad to be back on TV again after their Instagram followers plateaued three months ago.

Is this segment really necessary?

Oh hey, Kristina is there. I liked her. Everything’s fine. Carry on.

The guys are on their way to meet Rachel.

Rachel arrives at the mansion and Mr. Harrison greets her with the same smile, hug, and skeptical questions he greets everyone with.

“Let the journey begin.” Drink!

First out of the limo is Peter in a bowtie, complimented by sweat on his forehead, as viewing parties across the country scream “Aww he’s nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready.”

Here comes Josiah in a bowtie as well. Was there a memo? I think there was a memo.

Bryan the Chiropractor is out next and he immediately speaks in a different language. Fortunately, I can translate.

“If your back ever hurts, I can fix it. I also like pickles.”

Kenny the wrestler! I hope they go on a wrestling date. It’ll be a real slobber knocker.

Hey folks, that was a solid joke. Start laughing.

Rob the Law Student calls Rachel his first round draft pick! Buddy, that’s vague. You need to say “First overall pick”. The first round can have 30 picks. What’s wrong with you!?

THERE IS A GUY NAMED IGGY? THIS IS THE BEST THING TO EVER HAPPEN.

Iggy and Diggy bromance confirmed. Hey, they may even get their own radio gig.

Tune in to Iggy and Diggy in the morning on 104.7 The Blur.

Bryce the firefighter picks her up and talks to her like a bad guy in a bad film.

Steve Urkel just came out of the limo, slipped, went back in, and came out again as Stefan Urquelle.

Give this man the one million dollars, or whatever he’s there for.

“I’m here to teach you how to Diggy.” RADIO SHOW CONFIRMED.

Kyle shows up and shows her his buns. Okay.

Blake K. shows up and he’s this year’s version of Kristina. Too good for the show but still there anyway.

Male model Brady brings a chunk of ice and breaks it with a sledgehammer.

Kenny the wrestler on commentary: “Good God almighty, he broke it in half! Foreign objects are not apart of this match!”

Kenny better go far. I have about 58 more wrestling references to make.

I’m still reeling over the Family Matters reference. Fantastic. 10/10. Thank you, Urkel.

Dean met her already and meets her again.

Eric the personal trainer starts dancing with her.

DeMario shows up in a bowtie! I’m calling shenanigans.

The bowtie is this season’s version of the red dress.

DeMario is already in love and has a plan to elope in Las Vegas. Man, he just spoiled next week’s episode!

Oh stop it. Here comes a marching band. If Santa isn’t at the end of this parade, I’ll be upset.

I’m upset. It’s a drummer named Blake, instead. Way to ruin Christmas.

Sticking with the wrestling theme, I’m creating the first faction of the season – The Bowtie Bros.

“She’s wicked hot. Smart too. You don’t see that combo.”

We’re only 47 minutes in. I’m ready for the 7th inning stretch.

Here is Fred. I haven’t seen a Fred on TV since The Flintstones.

Fred Flintstone from the town of Bedrock, shows up with Rachel’s old yearbook. They went to school together over 15 years ago.

This is 98% of all people’s worst nightmare, right?

“He was a very bad kid.” No rose for you!

Jonathan heard she’s looking for a man who could make her laugh, so he recommended me because he’s quite dull.

Oh, his occupation is “Tickle Monster.” He’s far superior to me.

Lee comes out with a guitar and starts singing like an unsuccessful singer from Nashville.

Alex shows up with a vacuum because he stole it from the hotel he’s staying at.

Kenny the wrestler just called for a “Vacuum on a pole” match.

YES! There’s a ventriloquist(?) named Adam with a dummy named Adam Jr.

Please last at least 8 episodes. Please last at least 8 episodes. PLEASE LAST AT LEAST 8 EPISODES. I need this material.

One member of The Bowtie Bros has a whistle.

Out comes Matt in a penguin costume. He’s going to waddle right into her heart. Yeah, he has no chance.

An ambulance rolls in and out comes Grant with a cheesy line.

Anthony.

Jamey.

Jack. Another Attorney!

“You look amazing!” Drink!

I’m creating another faction called Law Law Land. All the attorneys will be in it. They will feud with The Bowtie Bros at the next Pay-Per-View.

Mohit.

“Sausage fest.” Drink!

Jedidiah. As in Jedidiah Jebediah Springfield?

Michael is 26 years old and a former basketball player. Translation: He played in college and barely got any minutes.

Lucas finally appears. Mr. Whaboom himself. Rachel looks petrified.

I don’t need to give Lucas a wrestling persona. He already is one.

Whaboom and Tickle Monster are going to be a tag team. Give me a few minutes to figure out their team name.

“Amazing.” Drink!

“She was too good for Nick.” These guys read my blog, don’t they?

Oh good, they’ve all arrived. She goes inside to make a speech.

“I know what it’s like to be standing in your shoes.” Drink!

“Cheers to no regrets.” You’ll regret that, Rachel.

Josiah steals her away first. The rest of the guys are shocked he did that because they’ve never seen the show before.

Dean and Rachel are now building a sand castle while wearing fancy clothes. Makes sense.

Rob gives her a “first round draft pick” fantasy card. ROB WE TALKED ABOUT THIS. It’s “First Overall” not “First Round.” Go home.

“What does love mean to you?” Deep question.

“An unexplained energy you just feel with someone.” Solid answer.

Uh oh, Adam Jr. the dummy looks bored. One member of The Bowtie Bros wants to give him time with Rachel.

ADAM JR. IS GETTING TIME WITH RACHEL. ALERT THE POLICE.

Adam Jr. scares her and Adam Sr. takes offence. He’ll cry later.

Fred was in 3rd grade, Rachel was in 8th grade. She was his camp counsellor. This breaks every rule a camp counsellor is told to follow.

Bryan the Chiropractor tells her he’s good with his hands. Fine. Great. But do you wet your hands before or after applying soap?

THEY’RE KISSING.

CHRISTOPHER HA…OH I’M STILL ON CAPS LOCK.

Christopher B. Harrison walks in and drops the first impression rose off.

The Bowtie Bros are already calling Rachel their wife. I don’t like this infighting, boys. Knock it off. You have a match against Law Law Land in three weeks.

DeMario asks her if she prefers N’Sync or the Backstreet Boys. Hey DeMario, since you like random questions, ASK ABOUT THE SOAP THING.

There are 30 men and only one bachelorette. In camp terms, a 6:1 ratio would be better.

Back to Whaboom – he screams “WhahahahahahhBOOM” while shaking his face. That’s why he’s annoying.

Whaboom and Tickle Monster will now be known as The Odd Toddlers. TOT for short.

Rachel doesn’t like chocolate! How honest of her!

One half of The Odd Toddlers just saw a shooting star. No one cares.

Blake E. doesn’t like Whaboom and thinks he’s just there to be on TV.

~ Ahahahahahahahaha oh Blake. They’re all just there to be on TV.

Herbert Hoover – the vacuum guy – is cleaning up.

One guy is growling on her shoulder.

Blake E. is calling out Whaboom for being a clown. No Blake E! He’s an Odd Toddler. Get it right!

More like Blake F.

“If she chooses Whaboom, we need to re-evaluate what we think is fly.”

I don’t think I’ve heard someone use the word “fly” in that context since 2004.

“Catch me outside, how bout dat.” Red Card. Leave the house immediately.

Kenny the wrestler’s ring name is, Pretty Boy Pitbull Kenny King.

“Are you down with PBP, yeah you know me.” – Kenny King, probably

Bryan the Chiropractor, who is good with his hands and shoved his face into hers, gets the first impression rose.

THEY’RE KISSING AGAIN.

One guy sees it and screams, “NOOO”! Top 5 TV moment of 2017, easily.

~ Time for the Rose Ceremony. I didn’t think we’d ever get here.

Chris wakes up from his nap and tells Rachel to say goodbye to people.

“Tonight has been a really long night. Thank you for your patience. Adam Jr. is creepy as hell. Whaboom needs to tone it down. As for the Bowtie Bros and Law Law Land, I can’t wait to see your match.”

Two members of The Bowtie Bros – Peter and Will – receive the first two roses. Obviously.

~ Iggy gets a rose. Waiting on Diggy now to keep the radio duo dream alive.

The third member of The Bowtie Bros – DeMario – gets a rose.

Tickle Monster gets a rose. Waiting on Whaboom to keep The Odd Toddlers afloat.

Pretty Boy Pitbull Kenny King gets a rose. My wrestling references live on!

Matt the Penguin gets a rose. Everyone who is sent home tonight will cry themselves to sleep for the next two months.

Josiah – fourth member of The Bowtie Bros, and secret member of Law Law Land – gets a rose.

Josiah will eventually turn on The Bowtie Bros, but shhh, no wrestling spoilers.

Camper Fred is wetting himself.

Diggy gets a rose! Iggy and Diggy live on! Diggy is also a Bowtie Bro. He’ll have to choose one or the other in the coming weeks.

Camper Fred gets a rose and Rachel will never get another job at a camp because of it.

Adam…just Adam. Adam Jr. is crushed.

Blake E. gets the penultimate rose.

Please be Whaboom. Please be Whaboom. PLEASE RACHEL. PLEASE.

Whaboom gets the last rose!!! The Odd Toddlers survive another week!

Rachel hates him so much, but the producers need him on the show for storylines. Otherwise, they’d have to use my wrestling storylines. And my storylines are too good for them.

Blake K. – I told you when he got out of the limo that he was too good for this show. At least he gets to go home early, rather than get strung along like Kristina last season.

Oh good, it’s over.

If enough people enjoyed this post, I’ll probably do it again next week. Ah who am I kidding? I can’t walk away yet. My wrestling storylines need to play out.

Posted in TV | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Not That Person Anymore

Have you ever put on a pair of clothes, only to quickly realize they no longer fit? That happened to me a few weeks ago. It caught me by surprise.

My pants felt like I needed to shove a lampshade down them just to make up for the extra space. My dress shirt was big in the shoulders and no matter how much I tried to tuck the extra fabric into my pants, it wasn’t working.

For the past few weeks I’ve struggled with whether or not I was going to share the following with all of you. I’ve decided that I am.

My grandfather passed away at the end of April. I don’t want to share the details with you, or go through the memories I have of him and I. I’d like to keep those to myself.

So there I was, trying to fit into clothes I was going to wear to his funeral and nothing fit anymore. I’ve lost weight over the last few years, but still, I was caught off guard.

Fortunately, I can walk into a store and pick out clothes within seconds. I’m not the type of person to hum and haw over a shirt or pants. When I see it, I’ll know it’s for me. If I don’t see it, I haven’t found it yet.

At the funeral home, a slideshow of photos played on loop. You never know how much something meant to you until you see a picture of yourself in an old photo where you’re smiling from ear to ear. Those moments are everything.

The tears couldn’t be controlled that day. Even right now, I’m struggling.

Life goes by so quick, and I’ve only been here for 25 years. My childhood feels like yesterday, but at the same time, it doesn’t. It feels like someone else lived that life, not me.

No matter how many memories I conjure up in my head – the good and the bad – I’m not that person anymore.

I’m not the kid who tripped over a hula hoop on the first day of kindergarten. I’m not the kid who loved playing floor hockey. I’m not the kid who was picked on for reasons I’m still not sure. I’m not the kid who was always told I had a good head on my shoulders.

I’m not any of those things anymore, and yet, I’m all of them. Whenever I see two people off laughing about something, I still worry they’re laughing at me. But they aren’t because I’m not that kid anymore.

I’m not a university student anymore, who at one time joked that he had too many friends. I’m not the first person people text anymore. I’m not the leader of a team. I’m not someone’s 2AM McDonald’s buddy. I’m not the guy in lecture who is dreaming about lunch. I’m not the guy who wears jeans once every four months.

I’m not any of those things anymore, and yet, I’m all of them.

Jeans suck.

I’m not a camp counsellor anymore. I don’t have a group of kids who are happy to see me. I don’t have co-workers who, seemingly, became my best friend overnight. I’m not a fresh out of university person, who people have patience for.

I’m not any of those things anymore, and yet, again, I’m all of them.

Life is so weird. Who I am is constantly changing from year to year, month to month, day to day. Who I was five years ago is not who I am today. And there are days when I hate that. When I wish I could just stay in one version of myself and live it out forever.

In 2012, I had more confidence and motivation than anyone. It was me against the world. Now, I look at that person and see a stranger. I don’t know who that was. I don’t know where he went. I don’t know how to get him back.

That’s just the truth.

I’m one of those people who doesn’t know how good I am at something until someone else points it out to me. Because in my head, it just feels natural. It doesn’t feel like it’s anything special.

I remember one of my first days on a job where I just so happened to be working the front desk. Someone came in for an interview and I dealt with them accordingly. When they started working there the following week, they were shocked to know that I was new as well.

They thought I had been there forever because I was so professional. Meanwhile, I was scared out of my mind. But they didn’t see that. Only I did. And the exact same thing happened at another job. I was told I was doing a really good job, but in my head I thought I was a disaster.

Maybe I need to look at myself the way other people look at me because they see something different. They see something better.

Maybe I’m still stuck in a childhood mindset where I think people are just laughing at the way I walk or talk, or the things I do.

And the internet is full of motivational and inspirational phrases and quotes and I’m so sick of seeing them. Because we can like and retweet things all we want but at the end of the day all we’re doing is hitting a button with our thumb. That’s it.

I want words to mean something, so when you say something and I say something, we both feel it. We’re not just going through the motions of exchanging generic phrases.

That is who I am now, or at least who I’m trying to be. Someone who is unapologetic for the things I like. Someone who will be who I want to be, regardless of anything else.

Throughout the different versions of myself, one thing remains. Me. I am still Paul.

I am still the pizza-loving, sports-watching, pun-making, leaf-raking, book-reading, never-had-a-nose-bleed, always-willing-to-help-someone-in-need, guy. That’s me. That will always be me. No matter how much I may change.

Man, all this because a shirt and pants didn’t fit.

A special shoutout to a few people who’ve been really good friends to me the last few weeks. 

First off, Barb. You’re my blog mom. I don’t know what I’d do without your lengthy emails and attempts at using modern day terms. Thank you.

Meghan and Jess – Thank you for the music, laughs, and the nonsense we call “conversations”.

Chris – Man, you’re about 254 trillion tea and crumpets away (I was good at geography, trust that I’m right) but we’ve never felt closer. You’re the best. Use a comma every now and then, alright? Stay golden.

Neetu – No matter how far apart we get, I’m glad we always come right back around. Maybe one day I’ll like a song you send me. Until then, thank you for caring and thank you for your encouragement. Sorry my texts are always long. You love it, though. Right?

To the rest of you, don’t worry about me. Honestly. I just needed to get this off my chest in time for The Bachelorette Viewing Notes on Tuesday.

Follow me on Twitter: @CappyTalks

Posted in Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 56 Comments

Bits and Pieces

Take a look
over your left shoulder
you’ll find me there
your worry holder
and I’ll be there
if you need me now
because if you need me now
then now will never end

It’s the little things
you hope to find
like chocolates
and an open mind
when one more thing
is never enough
it’s never enough
you can’t get enough

Find your song
on the radio
turn it up
and don’t let go
it can play us in
it can play us out
listen for your line
and leave no doubt

Watch the seconds
tick on your watch
the moments fly by
without a botch
are you worried now
I am worried now
the best are gone
but time goes on

Dip your toes
in the water below
the further we get
the deeper we go
if I start to go down
will you pick me up
who will pick you up
should we just get out

When you change your mind
and leave me behind
all I ask is
take me with you
and you with me
to the places where
we can never be
it will never be

Form a picture
in your head
of the people you love
before you’re dead
and hold it together
bit by bit
so we can hold it forever
piece by piece

So take a look now
over your right shoulder
you’ll find me there
your worry holder
and I’ll be here
if you need me now
because if you need me now
then now can never end.

The Runner and the Lover – Former Vandal (ft. Shelby Merry)

Now on Twitter: @CappyTalks

Posted in Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Follow Me On Twitter

I’ve been thinking about creating a Twitter account for this blog for a long time. I finally did it.

Follow me on Twitter: @CappyTalks

Not only will my blog posts be posted there, but so will all my thoughts that you all love so very much. I promise I won’t make it boring, even if I ramble on about sports a lot.

I hope to share your blog posts there, as well. The “Retweet” button will get a work out.

Also, you can expect me to be annoying and remind you to follow me at the end of every blog post I write.

Follow me on Twitter: @CappyTalks

Do it.

If I don’t follow you back, it’s because I don’t like you.

That was a joke. I’m sure there are other reasons.

Follow me on Twitter: @CappyTalks

Posted in Random | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

The Bags We Carry

There once was a man who
went grocery shopping once a week.
He would park his car in the lot
and head inside with his bags.
Up and down the aisles he went
grabbing all the food he wanted
while striking up conversations
with whomever would listen.
He paid for his items
put them in his bags
and loaded up the car.
This was his routine.

Proud

There once was a man who
went grocery shopping once a week.
On one fateful trip home
his car broke down.
So he walked there from his house
thirty minutes away.
Up and down the aisles he went
grabbing the food he needed
and greeting others with a smile.
He paid for his items
and put them in four bags.
This was his new routine.

Self-conscious

There once was a man who
went grocery shopping once a week.
On one fateful trip home
one bag ripped
and another got stuck
on his front gate.
So to the store he walked
thirty minutes away.
Up and down the aisles he went
and out the door.
One bag in each hand.
This was his new routine.

Embarrassed

There once was a man who
went grocery shopping once a week.
On one fateful trip home
a milk carton leaked
through one bag.
So to the store he ran
only twenty minutes away.
Up and down the aisles he went
a blur on surveillance.
He walked out with one bag
with less than he needed.
This was his new routine.

Ashamed

There once was a man who
went grocery shopping once a week.
A little boy saw him and asked his mother
“Why does that man only have one bag?”
She looked at the man and said to her son
“I don’t know.”
The little boy looked at her and asked
“Can we give him some of ours?”
His mother said they could.
The man thanked them with a smile
and started walking home.
This was his new routine.

Intrigued

There once was a man who
went grocery shopping once a week.
A little boy and his mother saw him again.
The little boy asked if they
could give him more bags.
Instead of responding to her son
the mother walked to the front of the store
and looked outside.
She turned to her son and said
“No more bags. There is a storm coming
we will invite him over for dinner.”
This was his new routine.

Hopeful

There once was a man who
went grocery shopping once a week.
He would park in the lot
and head inside with his
wife and son.
Up and down the aisles they went
striking up conversations
with whomever would listen.
They paid for their items
put them in bags
and drove home.
This was his favourite routine of all.

Happy

Posted in Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

The Blue And White

“Though the flame burns bright, in an instant it’s gone.”

A few hours ago, the Toronto Maple Leafs were officially eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs by the Washington Capitals.

I am not mad. I am not sad. I am not heartbroken or numb. I am not going through the normal symptoms a fan experiences when their team has been eliminated.

I am okay.

This is why:

Let me take you back to May 4, 2004. On that day, the Toronto Maple Leafs faced the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 6 of their second round series.

The Flyers had a 3-2 series lead and the Leafs were playing at home, trying to force a Game 7.

Where was I? I was on a four-day overnight field trip to the middle of nowhere, where I stayed in a cabin in the woods. I missed the game. I was not a happy camper. Literally.

At that point in my life, I was 12-years-old and already planned my days around watching sporting events on TV. I’d like to say that has changed in the last 13 years, but it hasn’t. So when I found out I was going to miss Game 6, I wasn’t pleased.

My only hope was for the Leafs to force a Game 7.

They didn’t.

I remember being told that the Leafs had lost in overtime and were eliminated. No one told me, but in my head, I already knew Jeremy Roenick scored the winning goal. A few days later when I got home, my premonition was confirmed.

I missed the last game of the season. I missed watching the raucous crowd. I missed seeing Darcy Tucker run Sami Kapanen into the boards so hard that he didn’t know where the bench was when he got up.

But I got over it pretty quickly. You know why? Because the Leafs always made the playoffs. And they’d be there the following season.

There was always next year.

Nope.

As it turned out, there wasn’t going to be a next year. The 2004-05 season was cancelled.

When hockey finally returned to my life a year later, the Leafs were different. They were old. They were slow. They weren’t good anymore. The playoffs were a mere suggestion, rather than a guarantee.

Mats Sundin eventually left and things got bad.

Being a Leafs fan was like being your own punchline. Wearing a Leafs jersey to school was no longer a sense of pride, but rather an invitation for others to tell you what you already knew – the Leafs sucked.

In university (circa 2010-11), I watched Leaf games in my room with other Leaf fans who resided on my floor. We left the door open so the rest of the hall could hear us scream when the puck went in the net.

We wore our Leaf jerseys to hall meetings at 10PM, just because. Don’t get me wrong, the Leafs still weren’t a good team, but that didn’t matter to us. We bonded over our passion and loyalty for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

In 2013, the unthinkable happened. The Leafs made the playoffs for the first time since 2004. Finally, I could wash away that memory of being in the woods while the Leafs lost Game 6 to the Flyers.

And when they took the Boston Bruins to Game 7 and held a 4-1 lead with ten minutes left, I had never been so excited in my life. Oh my God, we’re actually going to win this series.

Oh. My. God.

Then it happened. Three goals by the Bruins. Tie game. Overtime on the horizon.

I felt sick. I probably would’ve thrown up on the spot, but I didn’t want to miss overtime.

Even if you don’t know what happened next, you probably do. The Bruins won the game in overtime. I was numb. I couldn’t move. I stayed on the couch for two more hours, unable to stand.

It felt like I was being hit by a bus, over and over and over, but no one was coming to my rescue.

Just when the Leafs had earned back the respectability they had lost since 2004, it was gone. All the jokes came back. The mockery came back.

“4-1” is all anyone had to say to a Leaf fan to get under their skin.

But it was okay. You know why? Because there was always next year. And the die hard Leaf fan in me thought this was the team I had been waiting for. This was the team that would make the playoffs, year after year, just like I had been accustomed to in the early 2000s.

It was all a lie.

They didn’t make the playoffs the following year. Everything fell apart. Again.

By 2014, I couldn’t sit through a Leaf game anymore. In my heart, I still loved the team. But they were hard to watch. That carried over to the following season.

The Leafs finished last in the NHL and (finally) received the 1st overall pick in the 2016 Draft.

Excellent. We could go through a proper rebuild – something we should have done when Sundin left.

Hello, Auston Matthews.

The Leafs went into training camp this season with no expectations. Actually, the only expectations were that they would be extremely young, inexperienced, and probably not very good.

They had more rookies in the lineup than I’ve ever seen in my life. The Leafs have never been good at developing prospects, so to say I was skeptical would be an understatement.

And then the first game of the season happened. Auston Matthews scored four goals against the Ottawa Senators and all my trepidations went away. The Leafs were back, baby. The Leafs were back.

But even then, I didn’t think playoffs were possible. And I didn’t even care about reaching the playoffs. I just wanted to watch a team that I could be proud of and see potential in. That’s all.

I got way more than that. This team became must-see TV. They were young, skilled, fast – oh man, were they fast. They were also extremely likable.

We had Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews singing “Livin’ On A Prayer” on the bench during a stoppage in play, like it was karaoke night and we were all invited.

We had Willie Nylander skating circles around opposing defensemen before making passes we didn’t know were possible.

We had Zach Hyman being a bull in the corners and scoring shorthanded goals. What? When have we ever scored shorthanded goals?

We had Connor Brown showing off his speed and scoring 20 goals while all the focus was on everyone else.

Nazem Kadri grew up. Tyler Bozak became a veteran. JVR did the shot between his legs thing a lot. Matt Martin was a bulldozer. Frederik Andersen brought back flashes of a former #31.

Behind the bench, Mike Babcock lured us in with his lovable Canadian accent. And high above the rink, Brendan Shanahan and Lou Lamoriello put us at ease every time they were shown during a broadcast.

At times this season I caught myself thinking, “How did this happen?” I came to the conclusion that it’s best not to ask questions and just go along with it.

This team, that no one expected anything from, made the playoffs. Their learning experience was about to go to the next level.

The Washington Capitals had the most points in the NHL this season and last. Welp. That being said, they are known for choking in the playoffs.

Well then, step right up, Toronto. And step up, they did.

After three games, the Leafs were leading the series 2-1. Late-season call-up Kasperi Kapanen was quickly becoming a fan favourite with his knack for big goals.

Oh, he is also as fast a Formula 1 car. That’s my scouting report, at least.

Kasperi Kapanen – the son of Sami Kapanen. Remember I said Sami was drilled into the boards by Darcy Tucker in Game 6, back on May 4, 2004?

Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?

Anyway, the Leafs lost the next three games and bowed out last night.

But as I said, I am not mad. I am not sad. I am not heartbroken or numb.

I am proud. I am excited. I am optimistic.

The Leafs pushed the Capitals to the limit. And I know, that’s a terrible cliché that gets used too often in sports, but it’s true. Five of the six games went to overtime – all six games were decided by one goal.

What more could I ask for?

Over the last ten days, it has been so much fun cheering for this team and watching the young kids battle their facial hair challenged faces off.

The future is bright for the Blue and White. I can sleep easy tonight.

“Within my heart, above my home, the Maple Leaf forever!”

Posted in Sports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

From Within

I know you’re worried
I know you’re scared
trust me, I do
and I’m only saying this now
because there is a chill running through my body
which will not be ignored
so here it is
you will be okay

You know what you want
don’t lie to me
don’t lie to yourself
you know
you always have
and you picture it in your head
it lives there before you sleep at night
it wakes up when you wake up
it is your vision of the future
we all have one
I said don’t lie to me
even if it is just a dream
one full of question marks
it is there
isn’t it

There were moments when you sat
on the floor of your room
just hoping for a knock at the door
but it never came
and you wondered why
why couldn’t you be on the other side of the door
it sounded like fun
who doesn’t like to have fun
but there you sat
talking to yourself
talking to the presence in the room
hoping and begging
praying
praying for something more
praying for the fun on the other side
because you wanted this time
to be different
this was your time
it had to be

All of a sudden
the knock came
and you changed
that day
those few seconds
it happened
the day you were praying for
was here
you were finally you
the real you

You know how it goes
there are highs and lows
we all struggle at some point
look around you
you change
people change
and maybe that’s unfair
maybe that’s not what you want
maybe that throws you off course
but it is necessary
in order for the story to progress
page after unwritten page

You’re lost
but when haven’t you been
when have you ever been sure
when did you ever know everything
you haven’t
you won’t
you can’t

So what’s the problem
why are you frozen in time
are you so worried
about those around you
writing their book faster than you
is that it
a matter of penmanship
or is it deeper
do you feel unconfident
in your abilities
or in who you are
or even in your smile
is there something telling you
that you can’t
or is it just you

Because here’s the thing
no one can do what you do
that is why it is so hard
to see others
make things look so easy
because that is what they do
that is what they are meant to do
that is what their life is
and your life
is not their life
you were not meant to do
what they were meant to do

Your talents come naturally
that is why you can’t see them
you don’t think they’re special
you think they make you normal
you think they make you regular
like a bag of chips
but no one is normal
there is no such thing
your talents are seen by others
they are received by others
they are obvious to others
they make you who you are
that is why everyone who knows you
can describe you
because they see you
for you
while a mirror doesn’t know
the first thing about you
and that is the point
isn’t it

I know you’re worried
I know you’re scared
trust me, I do
but we’ll get through this
me and you.

“Something missing, left behind; search in circles every time I try…”
These Walls – Trapt

Posted in Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Foggy Night

Dog in the fog
Where art thou
Find your way home
Don’t let me be alone.

Posted in Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments