I don’t know how to talk…

I’m a natural born extrovert that is extremely loquacious…However, I have now idea how to talk.

Yesterday, I went on a “coffee date” with someone that I knew before I even sat down was my equal or totally out of my league. And all I wanted to do was ask questions and compliment.  My brain wouldn’t allow me to process how to speak casually and just be “natural”.  Is this a “problem” that I need to “work” on?  Or is the result of the world we currently live in?

We all have that friend that will always remind us of our past while being dismissive of their own; don’t we?  My past may be more dramatic than others while being tame in comparison to so many more.  But our past is our past, and for some of us, it not only haunts our future but dictates our present.

My divorce from my wife happened on 9/27/14.  Which really sucked, not because it happened 18 days after our two year anniversary.  But because it happened just over a month after my 36th birthday.  When I moved out of our house, I moved into a luxury apartment down by the Hudson.  Like how I threw in luxury?  The reason I mention where my apartment is located is because my divorce papers came just over a month from me being able to say:

My name is Keith Hannigan, I am 35 years old, and I live in an apartment down by the river.

For those that get it, good. For those that don’t, I provide you with why I think this is hysterical:

 

Was this thought process a defensive mechanism that I created after years of burying negative thoughts and building upon them with humor?  My therapist would probably tell you so. This is instinct for me.  Back when I had no idea how to talk to women, I would drink. Which was obviously quite successful… Because of that, and many other reasons, instead of describing myself like this legendary character created by the late, great, Chris Farley.  I have to describe myself in a way Farley would have to if he were still alive:

My name is Keith, and I am an alcoholic and an addict.

For over 11 years I have that as my “Scarlet Letter”. Like being divorced after technically two years of marriage, there is a shame and embarrassment, sometimes humiliation that comes with these “labels”.  But those labels don’t define me.  Never will, however, they have created someone that is still a work in process, like all of us until the day we expire and reflect on the life that was.

I’m not good at relationships, and unfortunately, I need a willing participant to become better at it. And I know I bring a good amount of substance, humor, and not bad looks to the equations.  But confidence when initially meeting the other sex…not so much.

“There is silence, do I compliment her for the 14th time?”

“She just said something very thought provoking and all I can think about is what she looks like naked”

“She just asked me about where I’m from and all I can think about is what her shimmering painted lips taste like”

Funny thing is, I’m sitting with a woman that obviously finds me attractive, however I struggle to simply converse. Meanwhile, my email just exploded with a woman having a meltdown about the upcoming fair for work.  And with a smile, I can easily talk her off the ledge.

I don’t know how if I will ever be able  to talk to a woman that I just met with confidence and ease.  But like those aspects of my life where I have improved by myself; who knows if this one, this amazing woman I just met, will be the willing participant to teach me so much more that I never knew existed within me.

Here is to hope, or faith…

 

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How you doin?

“Good”

Really? Because if everyone  who answered that question with this conditioned response actually felt that way, we wouldn’t probably wouldn’t be the most depressed country in the world!

In all of its forms: “How you doin?” “How are you?” “How’s it going? How’s your day? How’s life? How’s that rash on your inner thigh?”, all of which are asking the same exact thing; how are you feeling?  This may very well be the hardest question we can ask one another. Because…imagine if we got the truth…

“How’s it going?

“Awful, the father in law wants me to go squirrel hunting and then have lunch…Guess what were having; squirrel”

“How’s your day?”

“Perfect, since I’m already making less than a pizza delivery driver, my job wants me to increase my workload, get a raise in title only.  Which means nothing other than I have 10 times more work.  And hopefully, when I get home the dog doesn’t have diarrhea like he’s had for the past week. Yours?”

“How’s that rash on your inner thigh?”

“Spreading.”

Nobody is just good…we don’t even know what that means.

Years ago, I stopped by GNC looking for something to help me sleep.  Being a recovering alcoholic and addict, my options are somewhat limited.  God I would love to know what having sex on Ambien and Viagra is like…So, I’m pretty much forced to travel down the supplement route.  Sleep wasn’t happening at this juncture of my life.  Work was in the middle of a weak quarter, the weather was, well weather in Upstate, NY during January, I hated my house, and my marriage felt like that zit you have right in the middle of your shoulder blades.  You could feel it, you couldn’t squeeze it, especially with my limited, T-Rex wingspan, and it was bugging the every living shit out of me.  I was convinced I was stressed.  We will get back to why I wrote convinced momentarily, however, this is not the point of the story.  The young man behind the counter, love asking for nutrition, health, and especially sleep advice from a kid that couldn’t have been a week over 19.  But he recommended Melatonin.  I informed him as to why I needed a sleep aid and inquired how many milligrams I need to take.  You know, I needed his obvious expert advice. And he then said something I will never forget: “Well, you know I’m stressed too, you know…the economy…”

I blacked out after economy so he could have told me that he was stressed due to being on trial for sexually assaulting an alpaca as part of a fraternity hazing for all I know.  But the economy?  Really?  Stressed over that Roth IRA and how much is being taken out by Uncle Sam there sport?  Jesus, I’m glad to see that GNC has put together such a comprehensive retirement package for your minimum wage position.  I’m sorry, I really should take it easy on the boy…No I’m fucking not. That kid should have one concern; how many girls he is going to sleep with and hopefully not get one pregnant or catch an STD.  The economy?

But here is the thing, he was conditioned to say the economy, even though he has no idea as to what that meant.  What in this world, or specifically, life in this country, are we NOT supposed to be depressed about?  The fact I can get a burger, large fry, and a coke for less that five bucks?  Yeah, that sounds great in theory.  The catch is how god fucking awful I will feel for a solid 2 hours after I have explosive diarrhea.   So…There’s that…

We worry because it’s easy to do.  We beat ourselves up because it’s harder to look ourselves in the eye and say: “I love you.” We hold grudges because it is so much more cathartic to hate than to forgive.  But for some reason we don’t accept blame.  We are never the ones culpable.  And when I say we, I don’t mean individuals, I mean a respective amount of our ever evolving species.  That doesn’t get attention these days does it?

We all have the friend that life is just an episode of General Hospital.  We can’t tell if the drama just hovers over them like the dark cloud and thunderstorm from a cartoon. Or if they just follow the drama. And we keep feeding that mentality, and now…well

Now, they have a larger arena…But so don’t those that hate, those that fear change, and those who don’t know the meaning to literally.

The latter has nothing to do with anything, I just had to make a point.

We have more platforms than ever to share love, gratitude, and joy with another, and instead, we choose, yes we, we choose to use those to say: What Im not going to do

Why I hate that

Who is wrong

and so on.

Why is this?  Is it because we’re conditioned to only know pain? To know hatred?
Yes and no.  Because we’ve seen both.  This isn’t 1777, the year after we Declared our Independence.  When I’m sure plenty of people looked around and said: “I don’t have a fucking clue what to do…You?”  But they did it because it felt better to do, than to don’t.

And you want to know why?  Because it’s in our DNA.  Do you think cavemen sat on their ass all day watching ESPN and bitched about what his wife made for dinner?  No, either he went out, found something to eat, or they perished.

So why did I say I was convincing myself I felt stress? Because  how do we know what stress really is?  The same reason why people hate so easily.  We are told what to hate.  We are told what to worry about.  Why aren’t we told what to appreciate?  Why are we not taught what to love unconditionally?  I don’t know.  But what I do know:

The fucking economy?!?

I really wish I could ask him today; how you doin?

 

 

 

 

Am I starting to hate what I love most?

I will never have my moon landing moment.  However, I have my JFK and/or Pearl Habor (9/11). Every moment that is great during my lifetime is sports related.  If you were to ask me to name the first memory that pops into my head from my earliest years; Phil Simms going 22/25 as he led the New York Football Giants to their the first Super Bowl victory in their franchises history in Super Bowl XXI.  And I’m miserable because of that.

My parents never liked each other, let alone felt love for one another.  Convinced they only had sex twice during their entire marriage: 1) Night of their wedding. Married in October, born in August.  Do the math.  2) To save their marriage.  My mom refers to my brother as a miracle.  You can figure out the rest.  Moral of this; I was never taught what love is.  At least for a person with affection. For a bunch of guys, twice my size, black, and have no interest in ever meeting me; the outcomes of the games they played determined my meaning in life.

The New York Giants and the New York Mets.  I remember sitting in my bedroom praying with a rosary that the Giants would do the impossible and defeat the heavily favored Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXV.  Those that can’t remember exactly which one that was, aside from the fact there were no turnovers or penalties in the game…It was the Whitney Houston/Persian Gulf War game.  Also infamously known as the proof there is a God and he was happily answering my prayers that night; Scott Norwood wide right. As I was kneeling in front of my television on my 8th Hail Mary,  my father was sitting on the couch and wouldn’t say a word to me. And he DEFINITELY wasn’t saying a word to my mother, his wife.   We Hannigan’s HAD to be focused.  I hope this is the exact moment you are truly picking up my cynicism about how absurd our behaviors were…Are.

For some it’s wealth, some health, some religion, ours was Giants and Mets. That is what our happiness was contingent upon.  This is by no means a unique situation.  Christ, I grew up in Rutland Fucking Vermont, not Green Bay, Wisconsin.

The thing is though, I’m coming to the conclusion more and more every day as to how ridiculously foolish this is.

How in the hell is my life better if the Giants or Mets win? I don’t know, but what I do know is for some goddamn reason it’s worse if they don’t!  A shithoused drunken gambleholic on ecstasy in Vegas wouldn’t make that bet.   But I do, every year, for 16 weeks of the fall/winter and 25 weeks during the spring and summer.  And it makes me loath tomorrow.

Do me a favor, for those of you that read this and want to try a test of your own well-being; Tomorrow morning, listen to talk radio.  Now, successful talk radio is at least 75% negative (A guy yelling at you and bitching about the absolutely most pointless, meaningless shit) and 25% of a “straight guy or gal” being the voice of reason.  But what the guy screaming at you like a televangelist  trying to sell you steak knives that are so sharp God would use them is trying to do, is get you, the listener, to become you, the caller.  Just so I, the listener, that won’t call, is privileged to hear Barry in Putney bitch about the lack of the Yankees farm system.

And the day after that, listen to music.

See how you feel that morning, day, and night.  Juxtapose it against the previous day.  Chew on it, taste it, then digest it,  and then think about how many people that YOU know that listen to talk radio.  Then think about how pleasant they are.

Now, one could blame talk radio.  But how many people on this earth watch a fucking pro football game?  Soccer match?   150 Million people watch the last NFL game of the year. i.e. the Super Bowl. 1/3 of them could tell you want a touchback is.  Everybody is intrigued by sports.  I feel I’m one of those that’s obsessive fascination with it may have already impacted my life in a negative light.

But my love of sports is only the superficial subject, the deeper analysis should have the first inquiry of: “What is important to me?”

Aristotle wrote in his “Nicomachean Ethics” of eudaimonia.  Eudaimonia is essentially translated as:happiness is doing well and living well.

Is wellness subjective?  No.  Being healthy is a fact.  Which I am physically, but mentally?   Those fucking Mets…True story, Bryce Harper just homered to put the Nationals up by one in the 4th as I’m writing this.  As soon as that happened I wanted to slam my laptop shut and eat some Ben & Jerry’s.  Of course, Gary Cohen had to say: “The Mets have handled Harper quite well over the past couple years”.  Thanks douche.

And this is why I can’t have nice things…

My brain hurts too much trying to figure out what happiness is, let alone what makes me happy.  But what I do know;  my go to every night is what is going on in sports, and every day I wake up sad.  Okay, that may be a little dramatic, but my point is, or the sole inquiry that needs to be made: Is watching the NY Mets and the New York Football Giants worth it?

Ask me when the Mets win the World Series…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mourning while they’re very much alive.

With every birthday we have, and I’ve had 37 of them with number 38 lurking less than 2 months away, we are given the gift of being more conscious of mortality.  Happy birthday, can’t wait until I’m 50 .  Funny statistic: The highest rate of suicides in the U.S.?  Teenagers right?  It’s white men between the ages of 40-50.  Lowest rate?  Black men.  Why?  Men my soon to be age that are white, so fucking self-absorbed. Men my age that are black, they have bigger things to worry about.  I digress.

I say all of this  because I’m becoming more and more aware of the fine amount of time that we have with each other, but more importantly, with our pets.

Opie is a 14-year-old, black and tan dachshund.  He is without question, my best friend in life.  And he is shaking, he is losing sight, motor skills, his hearing, and I know I don’t have much more time with him.  Side note: As I write this, I need a goddamn maxi pad to cover my keyboard.  If you understand that, you will smile, if you don’t, just stop reading.

Close your eyes. Think about some loved one you’ve lost.  It could be a grandparent, parent, sibling, friend, etc.  You think back and you smile, start to eventually get sad, but you almost compartmentalize the emotions you have while you reminisce.   Sadness may not be prevalent in that days series of emotions.   Now think of a pet you will never see again…Happens quick doesn’t it? So what causes it?  Because it is the only form of unconditional love we receive.  They are just so happy to see you!  ALWAYS! And you are so happy to see them!  Some of the time.

This leads me to the point of this:  Are we morbid if we think of not having them while we do?  I don’t think so.  If you are conscious that you have limited time with someone, and they (pets) are someone, then you appreciate them more in the now.  You become consumed by them.

Yesterday, Opie and I would pretend to go downstairs so the other two: Jack (Golden Retriever) and Dixon (Mixed Primarily Beagle), would race downstairs. Once they were out of sight, simultaneously he would turn to me as I was squatting down.  This turned into a full sit on the carpet so we could just be together.  Like we both know.  Eventually, the other two came up the stairs,  and I would have to stand up after about 20 seconds of that.  Anyone that has ever sat on the floor while a golden retriever was present will totally understand why.  But that minute we had, each time we did that…3 by my count. That minute we had, it was…ours.

As I left last night to go back to NY. The other two were sitting right in front of me as he sat by himself.  He was looking away as if he had no idea I was there.  Just so you know, where I went, he went that entire day.  Inside, outside, it didn’t matter.  But as I say goodbye, no.  There were no goodbyes.

If yesterday was the last time I see him, I will most undoubtedly be a trainwreck for what may seem like an eternity squared.   But I at least didn’t assume that I would just see him again.

But I at least didn’t assume that I would just see him again.

 

Mic…Dropped!

Over the course of this year, I have mentioned multiple times in both blogs and in my Future of Communications course that the day will eventually come when the likes of Apple, Google, Facebook and/or Amazon will outbid major network television for the broadcasting rights of the National Football League.

This statement has solely been based on my opinion.  I see how much the aforementioned companies are worth, and their exponential growth with today’s emerging technological world we live in, and then compare that to the amount of money that the networks, in particular ESPN and NBC are losing.

I consider myself somewhat of an expert on sports, which can be questioned due to my love of the NY Giants and NY Mets these days…However, growing up watching, reading, and studying religiously, plus now have a media analytical mind thanks to my education, I don’t think this theory isn’t too far fetched.

But my lack of understanding of the money analytics where my argument/theory loses steam.  However, I gave you this and consider this my walk of blog of the year!

 

http://www.forbes.com/sites/ericjackson/2015/12/08/nfl-rights-could-be-worth-a-quarter-of-a-trillion-to-apple-or-amazon/

What the hell is the human element?

The Human Element…If you are familiar with this term you are obviously a sports fan.  Because in my 37 years on this earth, sports, in particular professional sports is the only place I hear this.  However, I Googled the “human element” and there is actually a humanelement.com.  And this is its Mission Statement: “Human Element solutions are processes for addressing and resolving human issues in the work place—lack of accountability, unhealthy competition, infighting, malicious compliance, turf wars, etc”

Okay so this tells you how to cope with humans in the workplace…However, it sports it essentially means: “They’re humans, so they are going to screw up and we need that in sports because we’re…humans”

Here is a prime example of the human element in sports with a human moment:

http://m.mlb.com/video/topic/6479266/v8632475/umpire-joyce-on-call-that-cost-galarraga-perfect-game

 

Jim Joyce, the umpire took accountability of his actions which was looked down upon by his colleagues because they believe they need to have an aura of “above the players”, almost like a police officer with an enormous ego.  However, years later MLB adopted instant replay for what are commonly referred to as “Bang, Bang” plays such as this. And it shows you how hard it is to get these calls right.  Especially in a social media age where everything is being scrutinized.  And don’t think for a moment that these umpires, referees, and officials don’t know that.  Because…

 

Here is an example of the officials on the field getting the call right, but due to overwhelming scrutiny of how they always “seem” to have questionable calls, there should be a automatic replays on certain plays.

A couple years ago NFL and then NCAA Division 1 College Football mandated that every touchdown and turnover could be subject to replay.  And this is what happens:

 

The problem with the “Human Element” in sports is that we expect people to not be human.  We get pissed when the guy making $20 million a year strikes out to win the big game, wondering how can this guy make so much to fail in the most pressure packed of moments.  Not realizing the billions the league makes, and the hundreds of millions the team makes.  That $20 million is only a fraction.

But if the guy that makes $120,000, a year being a MLB  umpire gets one out of 10,000 calls he makes a year wrong, he has to worry about his life.  What is next?  An automated strike zone?

Well:

http://www.baseballamerica.com/minors/automated-strike-zone-gets-test-run/

Okay, what is next, robotic players………….

So when is gambling not gambling?

Before I take you through this excruciating and frustrating story of how the world of Daily Fantasy Sports has essentially lied to the country, or more so the world about what they have been doing, I give you this:

 

 

As it sits today, the Attorney General in NY came out and ordered a cease and desist for any “bets” being placed by NY state residents.  Initially Fan Duel and Draft Kings were going to court to fight this, however, Fan Duel has since complied.  Reason being, the best possible outcome for Daily Fantasy sports leagues is that this stays a state to state issue.  Because if it were to be federally regulated, then it would be subjected to the same taxes that other gambling entities are subjected to, which is approximately 70% of its earnings…

The latest blow came as the NBA, MLB, NHL, and MLS, along with owner of the New England Patriots Robert Kraft and the owner of the Dallas Cowboys Jerry Jones were cited as Defendants in a class action lawsuit in Florida before the U.S District Court.

To say this is a fluid situation would be a massive understatement.

In my opinion, there will be a time when we  look back 20 years from now and  either scoff how ridiculous it was when  gambling on professional sports was illegal.  Or we are sitting around the TV that is streaming via Facebook on Thanksgiving  and we say: “Remember when there was Daily Fantasy Sports?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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