Changeup, Chapter 22

The room was dark, but the well-dressed elite within would have called it 'atmosphere'. A quiet piano plinked away tunelessly in the background.

The waiters wore tuxedos, but not as expensive as the tuxedos worn by the two men in the corner.

There were no prices on the menus. Prices didn't matter in places like this.

The older of the two men casually flipped his rotund wrist. There were no words and definitely no eye contact, but the waiter did as he was told. He opened the Le Chambertin and poured two glasses before he disappeared once more.

The older man never touched his glass. He leaned forward and trained his flint-speckled eyes on the younger man.


The younger man fidgeted nervously. He didn't know if he should ignore his as well, or if he should make sure to finish his glass of $1000 per bottle wine.

"I laughed at him at first, but Joe seems to know what he's doing. The things he's doing - they're working."

"Hogwash. He's a kid and his team is in last place. I have nothing to worry about. The league has nothing to worry about."

"Then you're not paying attention, Mr. Simpson."

"Enlighten me."

"Every home game this season has sold out."

"At $5 - $20 a ticket, that's not surprising. He's still not making as much as we are."

"Not on ticket sales. But the increased interest has created new fans. People love what he's doing. They can't keep merchandise in stock."

"Neither can we. Our Dominguez and Greenley jerseys have been selling out for years."

"And both of your stars are retiring this year."

"So he sells a few more jerseys than me next year. Again, why do I care?"

"Their endorsement deals are through the roof. And that's major money; corporate money. Long-term contracts."

"All right, you have a point. But when I win the World Series this year, again, I'll have all the endorsement deals I want."

"That's the point, Mr. Simpson. You won't win it again next year. You'll be stuck rebuilding the team for the next few years. You won't get the usual deals you've grown accustomed to. But that's still not your biggest worry."

Mr. Simpson frowned. He finally reached for his drink.

"He's getting the younger players at a fraction of the cost you are. He's hiring them all at league minimums. His payroll is the lowest in the league."

"Good. He'll never keep them that way."

"Wrong. They're signing extended contracts already. And the veterans are begging to renegotiate their contracts similarly."

"Why in the world would they do that, Mr. Finnigan?"

"He's splitting the team's profits with them. Across the board. For life."

Mr. Simpson's wine glass was empty.

Last Minute Weaponized Pizza Gamblers

I have no idea how to grill chicken. If you're having chicken at my place, you're a gambler.

My wife:  Did you check the chicken?
Me:  Yup!
Wife:  And?
Me:  It's still there.

Bananas don't make good weapons. They're too Dole.

There's no such thing as a free lunch. Unless someone gives you lunch for free.

When I'm in charge, we're not having the usual "Candy Dish By the Receptionist".  We're having the "Beef Jerky and Doritos Bucket By Ricky".

Chicken noodle soup is how you punish sick people.

If you order a last minute lunchtime meeting, you should also be required to order a last minute lunchtime pizza.

At some point you say to yourself, "Self - today is not getting any better. So we shall have a cookie instead."

Do you like food too?

Faith Like a Child

I was prepping Evan for PaPa's funeral. I blabbered on and on about heaven and Jesus. I'd never had to explain death and resurrection to a two-year old.

Evan waited until I was all done and then simply said, "He's happy!"

Kids get it better than we do.

Faith like a child.

That's what PaPa had. His faith was simple. His Jesus was enough.

He demonstrated love through his actions.

He was patient. He was kind. He always protected, always trusted, always persevered.

He sat through my Little League games and took me to garage sales and pawn shops. He watched my silly magic tricks over and over, shocked each time. He wrote me letters riddled with typos and one-liners ("If you turn that pitching machine on its side, will it throw you curveballs?").

He exemplified how to love your spouse. Unconditionally, respectfully, tenaciously.

He was generous. He never charged a church or a desperate person unable to pay. They received the same effort from him as those that could.

This is how he lived. These are his beliefs. We are his legacy.

Blither Blather Ducky Duck

If you pray for patience, God will make you take notes during a committee document review meeting.

Here are those notes...

Back-to-back meetings? Grumble, grumble...wait a minute - you brought pastries AND breakfast burritos?!? Talk to me, Boss, talk to me. You have earned my affection, er, attention.

Wow. That was a lot of meaningless words. I wonder if they'll notice if I substitute the Boss' for my own.

What I think was said: High-level mumbo-jumbo nomenclature file plan sponsor quarterly fish fry blither blather ducky duck.

What I'm going to write in the meeting minutes: Documented non-feasible customer supply chain obfuscation and compliance.

We are now in Hour Three of this Thirty Minute Meeting That Won't Take Long At All, Ricky Get Back In Here. It is currently being discussed that we have gotten off track and have not discussed what we should have been discussing at all. Don't you think all afternoon meetings should include Doritos?

so the meeting has been rescheduled for tomorrow.

Hope there's burritos!

Do you die a slow death in meetings?

Amazing NASA Batteries

The following is an email I sent to the manufacturer of our bathroom scale, which is on the fritz:

Greetings Dapper Sirs and Stunning Madams,

We have an EatSmart Precision GetFit scale. We bought it on Amazon around Christmas.

It's great. We love it. It works hard.

Too hard, in fact.

It won't turn off. Ever. It just shines day and night, broadcasting my failure for all to see.

Now to be fair, I have a two year old son. He's constantly pushing buttons on it, so it's entirely possible he reprogrammed it like that one time he turned our DVD player into a rogue NASA satellite.

I can turn it off by removing all the batteries, but then my son puts them in his mouth, which is frightening but also hilarious because he winces and then proudly says, "That's aMAZing!"

So, to recap - Do you have any ideas as to how I can make my scale behave like it did when it was shiny and new?

Thank you so much for your time.


Ricky Anderson

How do you think they'll respond?

Edit: They sent us a new scale, with exactly zero hassle!

Potty Training and Vladimir Putin

Whenever I'm injured, no matter how slightly, I subconsciously limp a bit. Whether I stub my toe, have a headache or a sore throat, I find myself limping ever so slightly. That Oscar has my name on it, right?

We're 0-2 on potty training attempts (for Evan, not for us). He hates it with a fiery passion. Navy Seals have Hell Week. Toddlers have Potty Training. And if you're one of those superstar parents whose kiddo got it down in 15 minutes, I'll just sit here and assume you outsourced the potty training.

Oooh! Here's an idea: An advice column by Vladimir Putin about estate and probate matters. It would be called "Putin On Heirs".

I can't Gantt.
   (My sincerest apologies if you got that one.)

Are you potty trained?

Two Tickets, Please

Evan has a toy airport and airplane. He loves to simulate the entire traveling experience. He checks luggage, loads the plane, and flies the passengers to the next airport, which is really just landing on the other side of the first airport.

I made him a ticket / boarding pass the other day. I stamped it with our return address stamp in order to make it official.

I told him I'd be traveling for work soon.

He asked if he could come, too. I said no.

He asked if I would have a ticket to give the airplane man. I said yes.

He ran into the other room and came back holding his ticket.

"Evan has a ticket! Evan give ticket to airplane man and ride airplane with Daddy?"

I'll be needing an extra ticket, Boss.

My precious cargo won't be in the overhead bin, he'll be with me.

When were you surprised by a child's request?