Word – A St. Louis Comedy e-Zine – September 2018

SEPTEMBER 2018

Sports Nuggets:  An On-the-Couch Look Into Sports History

By:  Sharon Hazel

Spotlight:  What is the best drug to be lit on to achieve the best performance of your career?

Two runners up and therefore viable candidates to be the best non-performance enhancing drug to have in your body while making professional sports history. Here are a few examples of when substances taken recreationally somehow became key ingredients in a perfect storm of athletic achievement. Second runner up is booze.  Though it is the universal fuel of professional sports, it is rare for an overweight, poorly mustached, less than agile athlete such as former New York Yankee pitcher David Wells to bring a belly full of beer and brats to the party and leave with a no-hitter.  Playing the San Diego Padres, Wells attended an SNL cast party the night before the game.  Many tequila and Big Reds later,  Wells’ kid is waking him up the next morning to make it to the ballpark on time. With one hour of sleep and in the heat of summer sun, David Wells pitched one of the best games of his life and in New York Yankee history.  Over/under is 15 on how many straight hours of sleep Wells had the night after the perfect game.

First runner-up is cocaine.  Yes I’m talking about a New York athlete with once-in-a-generation talent that admittedly bumped rails before games. His name doesn’t end in Strawberry.  Without an ounce of any drugs in his body, the New York Football Giants’ Lawrence Taylor was a beast. One of the most talented linebackers football has ever seen.  Growing up a Redskins fan I never hated dudes wearing a single dangling earring more in my life.  But if anyone could pull off that look its Lawrence Taylor because he could manhandle anyone with disparaging words to say about their jewelry choices. So ferocious that in one tragic play he folded up Joe Theismann’s career, put it in a nice little suitcase, and said “you’re done with football now”.  After breaking numerous records, in 1986 he was named Defensive Player of the Year by the National Football League.  In 1987 he tested positive for cocaine for the first of many times. He would go on to admit smoking crack in the middle of ‘85 season as well. During his most impactful seasons in the NFL Lawrence Taylor was coked up.  He broke all kinds of records with a level of intensity and ferocity never seen before. Odds are the intensity would be there anyway despite the cocaine because of Taylor’s high level of athletic performance prior to his drug abuse.  The cocaine just seemed to bring out the humble, gentlemanly, boy-next-door nature that we cherish so deeply about LT.

The winner is acid. LSD baby. Pick anything you do in your life pretty well, drop some acid, and proceed to have one of the best performances of all time doing it….while everyone watches.  In 1970, Dock Ellis pitched a no-hitter while tripping baseballs.  Already on a healthy diet of speed pills, Ellis admittedly was on a bender of partying and apparently didn’t want baseball or paying the bills to get in his way. He partied through his day off and mistakenly thought he had the day free to do as he pleased.  You or I might take in a long brunch with the free time. Dock Ellis decided to start his day like he was in a summer stock production of Hair. He somehow made it to the game and pitched the no-hitter.  Interestingly enough, this game was also against the San Diego Padres. I bet the palm trees gave Ellis great trails.

Be Present

By: Christine Compass

@Christine.Joelle

We are always blazing our own trails,

Creating our own chaotic world of lessons,

Constantly pushing us to grow

To see the why behind the what,

And let it usher in the know.

We make choices,

We chose paths,

Our fate always residing,

On our ability to focus on the task at hand

So be present in this moment,

Don’t miss the lesson in today,

For tomorrow’s path will prosper,

When we focus on finding our way.

Celebrations I Need to See

By: Jake Beckman

I need to be entertained. I don’t want to be entertained. I NEED to be entertained.

So obviously, I was ecstatic when they eased up on the rules for touchdown celebrations in the NFL. An incredibly arrogant, thought out, and flamboyant “eat shit loser” after you score is the pinnacle of American entertainment.

But we, as a society, have room for improvement.

Well, not society, just the players…

See, we haven’t had a full football season yet, and I’ve already seen the “Let’s take a group picture” celebration like 40 times. And I’m not trying to rag on that move; I think it’s neat and a solid default. I’m just saying that if a team has a 55 person roster, they need to a have a sit down sesh and brainstorm.  A “no idea is a bad idea”, “get everything out on the table” pow-wow.

Also, as a fan of the game, I feel like I should be able have some input on what I see, so here are some of my ideas.

Snake:

Let’s get retro.

Snake is possibly one of the best and most recognizable video games of all time. We wouldn’t have Angry Birds and Doodle Jump today if Nokia didn’t include this game on their Bricks. So let’s pay homage to it by being the snake when we score.

The team starts off with 4 players in a Mamba Line and run around the endzone picking up the other 7 players. Very simple.

This could have some longevity to it too, because if they are feeling extra cocky, they can use the whole field or make the sidelines the barriers.

Let me paint a picture…

Eagles just went up 24 to 3 against the Pats. Carson Wentz is at the front of the snake, leads it right to the New England sideline, touches the white line, and BOOM. Everyone falls over and lays there.

You just got Snake’d

 

Human Wheelbarrow Races:

Let’s get recreational.

The potato sack race was fun, but this one establishes physical dominance.

These guys just drove 85 yards downfield burning 7 minutes off the clock. Don’t they just need some water and a break?

No. Fuck that.

If you score, you shove it in the face of the people you just dominated.

You pick up a lineman’s legs and run from sideline to sideline. Show the other team that you still have the energy for a nonsensical and exhausting activity that uses the entire end zone. Let them know that their best effort is trash.

 

Baptism:

Let’s get sacrilegious.

You know how they pour Gatorade on the head coach?

It’s like that, except this is for when someone gets their first touchdown. Pour a bottle of water on his head and it’s a done deal.

Bonus points for the Baptizer being mic’d up and nailing a sideline sermon.

 

Red Carpet Treatment:

Let’s get Hierarchical.

This one’s really only going to work with a kicker because he’s probably the smallest dude on the team.

If you have a guy who just drained a 47 yarder, this is the one you want.

Treat your kicker like he’s holy. The other 10 players lie on the ground, like a carpet of sorts, and let the kicker walk on their backs like he is a king amongst dogs.

Will it be painful? Probably.

Will it look dope as hell? Definitely.

You want to be the team that treats their kicker like he is above the law.

 

Patty Cake:

Let’s get childish.

You’re never too good for patty-cake.

Like yeah, you feel like a doofus when you first start slapping hands, but once you get in a groove…

You get on cloud nine. You look down and your feet look a mile away. Every time your hands touch you feel more connected to the person across from you. The rhymes flow from your mouth with so much ease. You’ve reached full consciousness.

Also, that’d be funny to see 2 huge dudes slap hands. That’s silly as hell.

 

Pregnancy:

Let’s get medical.

Childbirth is hideous. I won’t get into the ‘tails, mostly because I don’t know them, but also my assumptions are gross.

This is simple. Put the ball under someone’s jersey so he looks pregnant. Have two guys act as stirrups of sorts, and have the quarterback deliver the hell out of that ball-baby.

Maybe sneak another ball and have twins. Shit, go for an Octomom thing and pop eight babies out if this laboring mother-to-be.

If you’re feeling saucy go for a C-Section and use red Gatorade for the fluids.

 

Tiananmen Square:

Let’s get historic.

This is kind of a one-time thing, so it’s probably better as a celebration for a defensive touchdown.

Get four defensive backs to piggyback on four linemen (these are the tanks). Get a linebacker (the citizen) to get on his knees so there’ll be a nice size comparison thing. Then have the tanks march slowly forward towards the citizen. Just as soon as they are about to run him over, stop until it goes to commercial.

Did they run him over? Yeah probably, but you don’t have proof. The only people who know for sure are the people who were there.

A New Beginning

By: Brendan Olsen

On December 28th, 2013, I went to my family doctor. I sat on the little bed in the room where they do the check-ups, my feet dangling nervously. After about 15 minutes, a young woman opened the door and stepped through the threshold. Smiling warmly, she asked me how I was doing, and If I had quit smoking since our last visit. I knew I smelled like an ashtray, So I told her I was working on it. Looking at her chart, she quietly asked why I had come into the office. Again, Looking down at my legs still dangling nervously over the side of the small bed, I told her that I wanted to kill myself.

Just under a week later, the following Saturday, my mother came to Centerpointe Rehabilitation to take me back home. I had spent the week reading and going to group therapy sessions, meeting people who were recovering from all sorts of addictions. I was on 3 separate medications; Wellbutrin, Lithium, and Zoloft. I couldn’t wait to tell all of my friends how fucked up I was.

You see, I’m a romantic. Not in the traditional sense. I romanticized my depression, my suicidal ideations. I found myself envying alcoholics because they at least had a reason to get out of bed every morning. I seemed to think the most interesting part of myself was my depression. I was constantly either thinking about suicide or thinking about thinking about suicide. I wrote poetry and stories about how I was toxic to those around me. I even fantasized about getting cancer. It’s a strange feeling, just wanting to know people care about you, even at the expense of your own consciousness.

On the Monday night after my very first group therapy session, I was curled up in my twin sized bed, browsing through Facebook. I couldn’t tell you now who messaged who first, If I reached out to the girl I had a crush on in high school, or if she messaged. Either way, I found myself sending messages back and forth with this young woman who I’d been friends with years ago. We quickly planned a lunch at Applebees the next day. For the first time since I left the hospital, I felt a sense of control and purpose.

I picked her up from her mother’s house around 11pm. If I’m being honest, I was petrified. I’d cleaned out my car just for her, perhaps thinking that if my vehicle seemed put together, so would I. However nervous I may have seemed, she matched it 1 to 1 with enthusiasm. She was a firecracker. Her face lit up when I pulled up to her driveway, and when we got to the restaurant she skipped across the parking lot. Needless to say I was infatuated.

We caught up over chicken fingers and caesar salad. I talked about my time in the hospital, my depression, and all of the medication I was on. I needed to impress her, right? I wanted her to think she was on a date with a bad boy. The thing about it was, she didn’t seem to take notice at all. Here I was, this chubby sad boy sitting across from her, and she just seemed happy to see me. I was a little taken aback. When we had finished our food we decided to go back to her mother’s place. I wanted to pay for the meal, as I felt I owed her something for putting up with me, and I succeeded in this, slipping my card to the waiter before she could. She protested for a moment, but cleverly struck a deal that she would take care of the tip, promptly leaving $20 on the table.

We spent the next 3 days together. I don’t mean we made plans and hung out on 3 separate occasions, 3 full days in a row, 74 hours like normal functioning human beings. The 15 hours after our Applebees date were filled with Monopoly, video games, and messaging each other cute stickers on Facebook for no other reason than neither of us really knew how to flirt. At 3 am Wednesday morning, after being berated by her mother, we escaped to my apartment where we could ignore our responsibilities.

On Thursday night, just before I took her home, sitting on my living room couch, I asked  her if she would consider being my girlfriend. I told her that I really enjoyed the last few days, that it didn’t matter what other things we had going on in our lives, that we seemed to make each other happy, and that we should be together. She took my hands and held them in hers, bringing her eyes up to meet mine. She gave me a wry smile and told me no.

How could she say no? We had just spent so much time together, I knew she felt everything that I had. We slept on my tiny twin sized bed together. I had even offered to sleep on the couch and she said no! All of these feelings, confusion, anger pain, frustration. I felt them all…die…inside of me. In that moment, I felt numb. Purposeless and no longer in control. But just for that moment. Because she wasn’t finished. She said no. But only because this was a huge decision. I was taking on more than I was prepared for. She wanted me to KNOW this is what I wanted. She wanted me to take the weekend to think about it. She wanted me to be sure that I was okay with dating someone who was 3 months pregnant.

I clearly had a lot to consider. Raising a child, was that something I was prepared for? No. Was the complexity of this situation something I could fully grasp? No. Did I have the financial wherewithal to support a pregnant woman? Absolutely not. Did I really want to have sex with the girl I had a crush on in high school? God yes. So as you can imagine, I spent about a half hour mulling it over and came to the decision that would ultimately lead to me becoming a father.

During her pregnancy, we both went through a lot. I turned to self harm more times than I’d care to recall. She was driving the worst car you could ever imagine. I lost my job, found another, and lost that one too. She had to deal with being pregnant, which is probably the  worst thing you could have to deal with. We weren’t doing well. But we had each other, and we hoped that would be enough.

On June 15th, 2014, Father’s Day, she went into the hospital because she thought she had ringworm. She was admitted with severe preeclampsia, her blood pressure was extremely high and she was at severe risk for a heart attack. They needed to induce her immediately. I got the call and rushed to the hospital. I got there around 1am in the morning, and slept on the floor by her bed. At 9 in the morning, the next day, Virdonna Jean Mourey gave birth to a beautiful baby boy named Elliot Thomas Murphy, he was 2 months early. I stood over him as he opened his eyes and saw the world for the very first time. I will never forget how his little fingers squeezed my thumb, and my heart melted. His life was beginning, and so was ours.

I want to say that, in that moment my depression disappeared and that things were perfect. It didn’t, and they weren’t. The truth is, my new beginning was based on bad decision making by a broken and imperfect person. My depression, my selfishness, my insecurity. All of these things drove me into a situation I wasn’t prepared for, but for all that I have grown. And what is a new beginning if not a chance to grow?

 

Good Detective

By Justin Luke and Rima Parikh

Opinion Essay on Opinions

By: Matt Wayman

My opinion is that I don’t have opinions. I mean I do, I just respect other people enough not to share them. Not that I think that what I say doesn’t matter, but no one needs to hear it. If parents would tell their children at a young age that no-one gives a shit what you think till your thirty, I feel like we would be much better off as a species. Opinions are like wildfire when expressed they destroy. They elicit responses that are positive or negative never indifferent. So in essence what they accomplish is to divide. They push you to a side by forcing you to agree or disagree.

Why is it always the smartest person in the room that is the most unsure? Because smart people know that when you consider all the options separately, there is room for argument. Constructive arguments used to accomplish a goal of weighing the options not simply justifying the outcome. When people are “certain” they disregard logic. Trapped in a cycle of positive reinforcement that makes many overlook basic rationale. Which is understandable, emotions are hard to escape. Our bodies are designed to react to stimuli and that is what they do. To escape emotion is to escape living. But emotions often lead to negative emotions. Negativity that is brought forth because it is easier than being happy. Negativity that is all-encompassing. Once spewed it replicates quicker than love ever could.

My mother used to tell me if I didn’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all. I didn’t talk till I was 18. That’s a horrible joke but an illustration of our lives. If you think about how much of your day is spent talking shit and how much of your day is spent being positive, I think many will be disappointed in themselves. This is not some hippy ideal this is basic human decency, a quickly disappearing phenomenon more readily available in the South than anywhere else. Decency is not only the right thing to do but it is also self-serving. I do something nice for you, for you and also for me. I want to feel good about doing something nice for someone else and if I do I feel good about myself. So next time someone opens a door for you just say, your welcome. I let you open that door for me, for you. The point I am trying to make, unsuccessfully, is that as we go throughout our lives we forget. We forget that people are people. The world trains us to be unsympathetic towards others, to put ourselves in front of others. What we need to learn is that by putting others in front of ourselves, we are actually helping ourselves. We are giving ourselves the ability to help other people by noticing and caring. By being in the moment and accepting the situation for what it really is, we get an opportunity to be proactive.

I used to think that other people were out to get me. That everyone had a chip on their shoulder and that if I didn’t work harder I would not get to the top. I am not sure if any of that logic is true but I know it’s no fun. Life it too short to be in a constant state of turmoil. Working longer for more, when more is not what we need. We need less in our lives. Less stress, less work, less sadness. Your life is yours to live not anyone else’s, so prioritize yourself and the rest will fall into place. The only real truth in life is that at the end of the day whoever has the most fun, wins!

P.S. I turned 30 last week, so give a shit about what I think.