LOOT CRATE: The Bane of My Existence

I went to get my cards read by psychic RoseWolf of SecondSightRose.com a while back, and I knew she was truly accurate when she said to me, “I’m getting that the decor in your home looks more like a…MAN CAVE?!?” With all of the comic book convention tzotchkes, art, pop culture collections, art books, and work samples Dave Dorman has amassed over his 35-year career, outside of the Smithsonian Institute, there’s no facility existing to properly display all. of. that. shtuff. Oh, wait–there’s Warehouse 13, if only it was real.

So…you can just imagine my reaction when we started getting these LOOT CRATE boxes in the mail every month — it was like a geek menstrual cycle, and equally a pain in my ass. Every time Dave or Jack’s back was turned, I was throwing away these irritating, tiny collectibles into the circular file (which Dave and Jack never seemed to miss) in my attempt to maintain some semblance of decluttering. Outside of the Legends of Zelda terry cloth wrist band, which I used for tennis–and to wipe my brow as I labored over throwing away more LOOT CRATE crap–there was nothing in these LOOT CRATE boxes of “exclusives” worth the $20 a month. But this month, I have to hand it to Loot Crate. They actually sent something that I like. Something with purpose. Introducing my new Breaking Bad apron:

The BREAKING BAD Los Pollo Hermanos Apron, courtesy of LOOT CRATE

My new Breaking Bad Los Pollo Hermanos Apron, courtesy of LOOT CRATE

Mind you, Dave doesn’t enjoy my “clean eating,” so I’m rarely cooking for anyone but me or Jack, but if Jack’s occasional box of Mac & Cheese splashes up, at least my Batman tees are now protected. However, Dave’s t-shirt collection and mine are like constantly warring nations, fighting for closet space territory.

Good thing Dave’s out of town 3 of 4 weekends in September so those, too, mysteriously find their way into the circular file…

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Lesson Learned: Don’t Ever Say The Chicago Blackhawks “Made a Point!”

Marovich and I played our first round of tennis last night for this season. It felt so good. We decided to serve and volley for the cardio, rather than play out actual points…except that Marovich couldn’t stick to the script…she cannot resist abruptly ending a great back-and-forth volley with one of her decisive killer shots. Sadly, in neither racquetball nor tennis is my 1.5″ height advantage over her 5’4″ Mighty Mouse physique any advantage at all.

Tennis Bitches

Tennis Bitches–We belong on a Wheaties box!

Post-tennis, Marovich tried schooling me on hockey, since our Chicago Blackhawks are once again in the Stanley Cup play-offs, and we were watching the game. “They made a point!” I squealed, caught up in the excitement of the last minutes of the tight game. Marovich’s head whipped around faster than Regan in The Exorcist, scowling at me in disgust and shaking her head. “Promise me you will never utter those words again. They scored a goal.” My sports vernacular is sorely lacking, but at least I didn’t ask “How many quarters are there in a game?” like her brother Joe once did, which I brought up right away, attempting to make myself look like less of an idiot. It feels like for the past several months the Blackhawks been in some form of play-offs, and every time I specifically asked, “So when do they actually play for the Stanley Cup???” Marovich would deliver this long-winded explanation of all of the play-off games and series they’d have to complete…with my ADD, it was forming this confusing, infinite M.C. Escher painting in my mind’s eye, and sounding a lot like Charlie Brown’s muffled teacher…I think there was something in there about having to sacrifice albino virgins during high tide in a harvest moon. I know nothing about hockey, but I did have my Blackhawks brush with greatness back in the early ’90s when the Hawks were playing for the Stanley Cup. Blackhawks player Chris Chelios lived in the same Oak Brook neighborhood where I was working out of Jan Gabriel‘s home, writing and producing motorsports TV series, “The Super Chargers.” Jan even shared the same cleaning lady, so I knew which house was Chelios’. (She steadfastly refused my requests to steal a pair of his boxers.) The morning after they lost the Stanley Cup, I drove past Chelios’ home and there was this guy passed out on his front porch. I was actually concerned he might be dead, so I pulled over, got out of my car, and poked at his unconscious body with my foot. He stirred a little, and I recognized who he was, and that he was just drunk. I rolled him over so he wouldn’t aspirate on his own vomit (Hey, with my anxieties, SPINAL TAP is a cautionary tale).  The snoring carbon life form was one of Chelios’ Blackhawks team mates, who shall remain nameless. I didn’t follow the Blackhawks too closely after that, but perhaps my random act of kindness was some sort of tipping point, like George Bailey saving his brother from drowning, or preventing the grieving pharmacist Gower from that deadly pill prescription error in “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I’ll never know… and I’ll never know sports speak without the benefit of Marovich’s incessant, stern coaching.

The Racquetball Chronicles, Episode 4: Sprained Boobs

Don’t shoot me if it’s been more than four. I think we’ve established that I’m terrible with numbers. For the record, the final scores tonight in Marovich’s favor (of course) were 21-1, 21-1, and 15-8. As you can tell, I was just warming up by Game #3. I’m confident I would have handed her ass to her if we’d rented the court for two hours instead of one.

Marovich & Me: We've been playing this game for 30 years and we still haven't bothered to learn the rules!

1980s-style Marovich & Me: We’ve been playing this game for 30 years and we still haven’t bothered to learn the rules!

So Marovich and I still haven’t read the 70-page PDF document explaining the Official Rules of Racquetball. I tried reading it, but my ADD got in the way, and Marovich is just way too busy with work. I’m lucky she squeezes me in. We were hoping tonight that one of you reading this blog might already know the rules of racquetball. If so, here are our questions for you:

#1. If you hit your opponent with the ball and you’re not the one serving, is it an automatic point to the server, or an automatic do-over?

#2. In the server box, there is a smaller side box to the left, and one to the right. In cut-throat, does one of the three players have to be in that box during the serve?

#3. If the ball hits our bottled waters sitting in the corner of the court, is that an automatic do-over?

#4. If the player receiving the serve chooses to play on a Long (Duck Dong) Serve or a (Martin) Short Serve, does that count? Or do they have to call it long or short?

#5. What is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow? (Just makin’ sure you’re still with me.)

Our latest on-court shenanigans resulted in the addition of the “The Belch Hindrance” clause to our already customized version of the Racquetball Rules. Marovich knows if she belches while I’m serving, I’m the 12-year-old who just busts out laughing and blows my serve. Every time. You see, we have a girlfriend who has earned our deep respect for really setting the bar high on the tone, volume, and resonance of her belches. For our own amusement, we used to dare she-who-shall-remain-nameless to drink down an entire can of Diet Coke, call her mom on the phone, and then emit this depths-of-hell belch that literally went on for 10 seconds straight, as her appalled and very proper Catholic mom was screaming at her to stop in the names of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. It was EPIC. Sadly, Marovich has finally found the one thing in life she can’t do better than someone else. And every time Marovich attempts her totally fey belches on court, she knows my brain goes right back to our friend belching in her mom’s ear, and that makes me laugh even harder. When you’ve been friends since 7th grade, you know each other’s Achilles’ Heels. Hence the necessity for the new clause.

The estrogen-centric reading this will agree, there are some days of the month when “the girls” are more tender than others. I forewarned Marovich my girls were uber-sensitive and requested could she please try not to hit me in the chest with the ball, just this once? The next thing I knew, I somehow managed to hit my own self in the chest with the racquetball and it was so ridiculous, we had to stop playing so Marovich could regain her composure. In the next play, Marovich put both hands out in front of her–palms facing me–as she tried to reach one of those maddening shots that hugs the wall without crashing into it at full speed. My sore, swollen girls stood right in her pathway. Another hindrance. It was like that classic Seinfeld scene where Elaine accidentally falls in the women’s locker room and grabs Jerry’s girlfriend’s breasts to break her fall. With aplomb, I delivered Teri Hatcher’s famous line to Marovich: “They’re real, and they’re spectacular,” as we lost another five minutes on the clock to me icing down my sprained boobs.

After racquetball, Marovich imparted that Amy Schumer shares our same, sick sense of humor, as evidenced by her hilarious new Comedy Central music parody, “Milk, Milk, Lemonade,” which spoofs the big booty jams. It’s #NSFW, so don’t watch this one around the kids. I warn you, it’s a total ear worm and you will hate me in the morning: http://bitly.com/MilkMilkLemonade 

One summer night we were all drinking at the Diet Coke Belcher’s house, drawing Dirty Sanchez mustaches on each other with Hershey’s chocolate for selfies, debating the origin of Eggs Danny Thomas-style, when I got the impulse to call GoDaddy.com and purchase the MilkMilkLemonadeAroundtheCorner.com URL (I may even still own it, I’m not sure…). I was incensed to learn that someone else already owned my first choice, the MilkMilkLemonade.com URL. For all I know, it could have been Amy Schumer. And if it was Amy, then that’s okay.

 

What in the Wide, Wide World of Sports is Going On?!? Dodgeball Has Gotten Wimpy

I avoid living vicariously through my son, but not when it comes to Dodgeball. I signed him up through the park district, and okay, I’ll admit it–it might’ve been because I heard adults could play, too–so last night was our introductory session. Jack was reluctant to play. That is, until he quickly realized that together, he and I make a viable force–serious contenders. I’m no athlete, but there are four exceptions: Dodgeball, Four-Square, Racquetball and Tennis. If it has a ball, I’m IN, and I play with PASSION. So does Marovich, which is one of her many great BFF qualities.

One of my favorite movie scenes was this one (link below) with Justin Long and Vince Vaughn in the movie Dodgeball–a catchphrase I like to repurpose a lot: “If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMWdnkSMPGM

My favorite scene from DODGEBALL: "If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball."

My favorite scene from DODGEBALL: “If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.”

My “Sister Wife” friend Maura snapped some photos of me last night. I called Marovich this a.m. admitting that images existed, but that I wasn’t about to send them to her. “Tell you what,” she coaxed ever-so-smoothly, “Just send them over… I’ll decide whether or not they’re blackmail material.” That Marovich. Always thinking.

Marovich and I loved Dodgeball as kids. We were reminiscing about playing over the phone, and she reminded me how she “used to love it when someone wasn’t looking and (I) could nail them right in the head!” I had the unpleasant task of informing her that head shots are no longer allowed. “What the shit is THAT?!?” she sneered, in sheer disgust. I agree. We’re raising a nation of wimps clad in bubble wrap, hovered over by helicopter parents.

I don’t know if it’s just our park district, but the red, rubbery balls I remember fondly from childhood are no longer used in today’s version of Dodgeball. Now they use these lightweight, spongy wimp balls that don’t deliver the leverage I like for hitting hard.

So Marovich and I are now in hot pursuit of an Adult Dodgeball League. This may be our last middle-aged gasp at going for the gold. Dare I hope (Dare, dare…) that there’s a Dodgeball Olympics?!?