It feels like I've been doing this a lot lately, but I apologize for the lack of activity on TBG. I covered my recent ill-health (that is NOT AT ALL correlated with the McRib sandwich, McDonald's lawyers!) in this post on the McRib Sandwich. I've also been working a large proposal effort at work since the start of the New Year.
How big is it?
Well, yesterday, I was supposed to meet m'man Smitty in Anaheim -- 100 miles north of San Diego -- for what could've been the greatest "TBG Eats" experience ever. Slater's 50-50 makes their burgers with 50% ground beef and 50% ground bacon! They've got 30 beers on tap! And, their most famous dessert is the Bacon Brownie! Unfortunately, I had to pass on all of this awesome as I was called into the office on Saturday.
Since stories about "posts I almost wrote" are inherently unsatisfying, I'd like to offer up the next...uhh, best? thing. In the comments section of last week's How Well Do You Know Jalen post, a friend of mine whom I've known since
I normally abhor most of my older material, but this one holds up well enough. I've made a few negligible edits from the original and slipped in some Posnanski/Simmons-inspired footnotes to freshen it up a bit. This originally ran on February 20, 2004:
We have something of a tradition in the Cameron Household. Every Friday morning, the wife asks me how long I was up working on this column the night before…and then she asks me what I wrote about her.
The answer to the first question usually falls between 9:00 and 11:00 PM, although I managed to set a personal record when I was still typing at 1:40 AM last Friday morning*. (If only I was this dedicated to my paying job.) Anyways, the wife usually finds out the answer to the second question on her own, as she'll scan my work for any embarrassing mention of her name.
* -- My Friday Music News Bootleg column ran from February 2003 through February 2006. By the end of its run, I was writing 10-12 pages in MS Word per week and often finishing after 2:00 AM on Friday morning. Immediately after Jalen left the hospital, it was a race against the clock to be in bed before one of his nighttime feedings or else I'd be on bottle duty. Today, Mrs. Bootleg and I joke about how awful my fathering was during our son's first six months. I think she's joking.
She's been such a good sport throughout the last year** that I thought I'd repay her loyalty as my punching bag with a shameful tale of my own.
** -- During Mrs. Bootleg's pregnancy, I took near-weekly digs at everything from her emotional swings to her cravings to her physical changes. Looking back, I think most of it was harmless. Some of the material, however, seems more than a little mean-spirited. It would top the list of early column material I most regret along with my overuse of casual profanity; lazily picking the low-hanging fruit (e.g. fat jokes) and inadvertently inciting the maniacal wrath of Elvis Presley's and ICP's respective fanbases.
Last Saturday, Mrs. Bootleg was discharged from the hospital. It was her first day outdoors in two weeks so, of course, she spent most of it inside Stately Bootleg Manor. In the evening, we drove down to the hospital to visit Baby Jalen in the ICU, grabbed dinner and came back home.
I ended up crashing in bed, while the wife jumped on the computer and began to upload dozens of baby pictures from the kid's first week on earth. Around 2:00 AM, she comes running into the bedroom to inform me that our cat had brought yet another mouse into the house.
This wasn't the first rodent he had invited home, so I fetched my mouse-hunting gloves*** and went downstairs. After 15 minutes of back-and-forth, triple threat action between mouse vs. cat vs. Aaron; I snagged the mouse by his tail. On my way to the front door, the lil' critter shanked me with its razor-sharp teeth.
*** -- Don't laugh. In his 11 years with us, Mrs. Bootleg and I witnessed our cat feuding indoors and/or outdoors with mice, lizards, dogs, rabbits, raccoons, coyotes and birds. The thick novelty gloves really were a necessity when I had to remove a specific vermin from our home. REALLY!
Mrs. Bootleg, who is swimming in postpartum hormones, demanded that I go to Urgent Care and get a tetanus shot, immediately. I held off until the sun came up, but at 8:00 AM, there I was, amongst a phalanx of phlegm-filled kids and their unshaven mothers in the waiting room.
I filled out the necessary forms and squeezed out my last remaining molecules of manhood when I filled in "bit by a mouse" in the space marked "What's your emergency?" Then, as if to punish me for wasting doctor's valuable time****, I was led back to a small little patient room and made to wait nearly two hours before I received my shot.
**** -- This is one of the more subversive Simpsons references I've ever written. I imagine one -- MAYBE two -- TBG readers actually "getting" it. I don't care. The obscure source material makes me smile nearly 20 years after it originally aired.
Oh, and I discovered a new regulation on California's books. It seems that whenever you receive medical care for an animal bite, you have to fill out and submit an "Animal Attack Report". Imagine my pride, as I answered questions like:
Animal's Weight (approx): less than one pound
Location Where Attack Took Place: my living room
That form is now on file with the state of California's Department of Animal Control, while I wonder if a neutered male such as myself can still be a positive role model for my son.