Done with Unfinished Business

Or are we ever?

I’m an annoying communicator. Send me an email, and I’ll sit on it for three hours, three days, three weeks, three months—or longer. Spin the wheel. 

...And then, one day, you’ll have a 2,800-word version of Rime of the Ancient Mariner, except with references to Evie on Out of this World and the Evil Dead. And then, I’ll wait (impatiently) for your response which should hit my inbox before noon that same day, or in my head, we’re no longer friends, or I did something wrong. 

This all manifests into a world of complex or not-really-there friendships on occasions when people Feel Obligated to Reach Out (which, to be clear, is nice and not necessary and something that should never be taken for granted.) 

September 11th is one such time when a few loyal and kind souls tend to send me an obligatory subj. line “Hey” or “Checking in” just to make sure I’m there, maybe. It’s nice. I’m not knocking it. I’m bad at setting reminders on people’s important days and even worse at following through, even if it’s an occasion we shared. 

Such is the case with my ex, the one I married nineteen years ago next month and got a divorce from seventeen years ago in December. She’s kind enough to do the obligatory outreach to me once in a while on my important days, and 9/11 is one of them because we had just been starting to date, and I woke up next to her that morning. 

The truth is in that moment, I should have gotten up, given her a long hug, maybe a kiss on the forehead, or even a firm handshake and said something like, “My whole world’s about to spin out of control through a type of suffering and loss that I won’t be able to define for literal decades and, what’s worse, it’ll be shared with the country and the rest of the world as they continue to watch us spiral.” And with that, I should’ve walked out, a movie exit. Nobody needs a front-row seat to that kind of self-imposed suffering, self-aggrandizement, or muted, low-key, constant self-destruction.

But that didn’t happen. Instead of parting ways, we went all in. And it looked OK for a while; the ship was big enough in love and support from others that one end could be getting bailed out while the other kept churning ahead. But eventually, it capsized, quickly and with brute force. Both parties swam for shore in different directions.

So it’s nice of her, really, to reach out. Albeit it’s painful for both of us, I suppose. For me, it’s revisiting one of life’s greatest failures and learning all over again you can’t possess someone or do anything but make them miserable under your restraint. 

I wrote her back thanking her for the nice note this year and did something I haven’t done before. As my therapist (I know, I know) once told me, “You can feel you’re one hundred percent right in any situation, but you never are. Even if you’re one percent wrong, that can enough do the other person harm.” Note: I was not one percent wrong either and relied too heavily on her to clean up various bad behavior pee stains while grieving. Guys especially, don’t do this.

I admitted for the first time that I wasn’t the person that had come in the packaging at first. That morning I got thrown off my axis with an initial wave that would end with me spinning in an entirely new and aimless direction for years to come. What’s worse, that sort of tedious hand-wringing and get-nothing-done boring traumatic lilt would actually morph into a ...personality. Yuck

And it’s not easy to admit that even thousands of days later. I sit here and think about it, and it’s ...not great. Imagine the obit if I died tomorrow. “He suffered a lot on purpose and made others suffer a little as a result. In the meantime, his jokes grew dark and less funny, and his playlists grew stale.” 

She answered back right away, which I didn’t expect, and kind of did a minor mea culpa in exchange too. It was like we’d both moved off the wicker chairs facing one another in the couples’ therapists' office and back to face to face more than a decade and a half later. She mused about what it would have taken to stay married and I—of course—have no answer for that because there is none. 

Not just because it doesn’t matter (it doesn’t), but for people to really go through the rough waters of any relationship, you have to do it as you. And I didn’t have that basic part down. Not only did I not have a paddle or an oar, but I didn’t have a boat. I was just floating through the rocks and the white water, naked and face down, flotsam waiting for a calm meadow underneath that last set of falls that, so far, hasn’t come. 

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UCLA vs. Fresno State

UCLA’s football program (2-0) is now in the fledgling stages of being a fully formed Chip Kelly college endeavor which means the players are well taken care of. Boosters who bristled at the extra money going into meal prep can now rest assured that they’ll likely have a program that is notable nationally for the next 18 to 24 months. 

So the time to strike if you’re the Bruins is now. UCLA alum/Huntington Beach-based attorney David Witzling, who had a pregame back and forth with Louisiana State football coach Ed Orgeron, ended up with Orgeron closing out the discourse referring to UCLA as “sissy blue,” and the rest is now Canva-designed janky T-shirts on for $22 history. 

BUT Witzling said players would receive 100% of the proceeds off the sales via California’s new name, image, and likeness (NIL) rules where college athletes can take specific avenues to profit off their brand.

“The idea is to have the pot divided between eligible student-athletes,” said Witzling.

UCLA’s NIL rules mandate that a deal doesn’t insist players’ enrollment or continued enrollment and for work performed, and selling cheap-o shitpost shirts seems to have cracked the code for now. So go ahead, buy a shirt or five and hold this Orange County attention-seeker accountable.

Beyond the fact that these players may get a small penance in their Venmo after some guy chases his 15 minutes, UCLA as a program now believes in themselves and Kelly’s system to the point where they’re scoring a massive amount of points every week. 

Combined, UCLA and Fresno State are averaging 85 points per game which is 23 more than the 63 current o/u in their upcoming tilt. 

Of course, part of Fresno State’s ginormous margins comes with an asterisk, a win against my own backyard squad, the Cal Poly Mustangs, who traveled inland to receive their annual shellacking. 

Fresno State QB Jake Haener finished with six touchdowns, four passing, two rushing throwing 380 yards. Bulldog wideout Josh Kelly grabbed a pair of touchdowns and added 127 receiving yards. The Bulldogs ultimately covered the heady 32.5-point spread. With the win vs. Poly to buffet their stats, the Bulldogs are now averaging 527.3 yards per game, which is more than 200 more than the Bruins defense typically gives up.

Take UCLA -11.5 and the Over (62.5) at the Rose Bowl 7:45 pm PST Saturday, Sept. 18