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And Now I’m Back

August 14, 2014

Quite a while since I’ve tickled the keyboard and written a post about the world around me and life in general. To summarize on what I’ve been doing for almost two months, it’s been a pretty busy time for us.

For starters, the World Cup came, and basically grabbed my attention until the time when my beloved Meg had bilateral partial knee replacements surgery. (You may have followed her surgery via my Twitter account. I posted using the hashtags #MegSurgery and #MegRecovery.) She’s now recovering and is moving much better. Her surgery coincided with the U.S. National Team’s third match at the World Cup, against Germany. (I was prepared, bringing my iPad with Watch ESPN app, but was able to convince everyone in the hospital waiting room that the match would be far more entertaining than The View.)

Additionally, I had a chance to write for Insulin Nation, a site for the similarly pancreatically challenged. I wrote about a fairly recent interaction I had with a prick EMT who thought it would be a good idea to try to shame me after I had an insulin shock. (A couple items for the record: I respect EMTs and the work they do. Also, I’m not particularly a fan of the headline that was written for the article. But, c’est la vie.)

The point of the column is that I’ve noticed a lot of EMTs use a situation where they’re treating someone who’s in need as an opportunity to be an all-around prick, trying to make us (read: me)  feel guilty about having experienced an insulin shock. I wrote only about the last experience, but it’s something that’s happened to me before. General embarrassment and the fuzzy state I’m in when coming out of a hypo prevented me from speaking up about it before. No more, I tell you. Next jagoff who decides to try to shame me after a hypo is getting an earful.

For the record, Chad Ford never edited his factually inaccurate column on and is, therefore, still a douchebag.

The English Premier League season is upon us again, and I can’t wait. I’m hoping for a little more success in getting to watch the matches this year. Owen, while being a United fan who’s learning a wide variety of soccer chants, is, after all, just shy of 3 years old. So his preferences fall a little closer to the “Fireman Sam” and “Thomas and Friends” variety. I found a good way to get him to allow me to watch Premiership matches last year, though, was to let him watch programs and play games on my iPad. So this, again, will be my strategy until I can get him to watch the matches with me.

Same goes for the Eagles.

Anyway, with the Premiership upon us, here are some thoughts. You’ll remember I made some statements and predictions last year, among them that I’d written off any hopes of a trophy under Moyes in his first season. (I’d argued that Moyes deserved more time, but if the board didn’t trust him to spend the $100 million war chest on players who could make United a winner in the short term, then he had to go.) I predicted Liverpool’s free fall (and it couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of punks). I dealt with the frustration of the first season ASA (After Sir Alex).

Now I’m ready to see what Van Gaal can do. The Guinness International Champions Cup doesn’t mean anything, but we did win it. United went through the preseason winning six of six, and they did it with some pretty good displays. The team is still a little unbalanced, but there will be more new signings coming in to help bolster the center back position.

(Personal mea culpa: Late last year I said I didn’t know if Van Gaal was the answer for United. His history shows that he usually leaves teams with fire burning behind him, and it’s a real possibility to happen here, too. However, it’s going to be fun watching it happen.)

This season is a proverbial seven-horse race, with Arsenal, Chelsea, Everton Liverpool, Man City, United and Spurs all in contention. Off the bat, you can rule Liverpool out. Their inspirational captain is old and wasn’t able to keep up with the action either at the end of last season or through the World Cup matches. Their best player (and stark raving sociopath) is gone, and they’re expecting two English talents who are soft as the proverbial s&#t to make up for the goals he scored and created. They do have Paulinho, who’s an incredible talent, and some useful young players. However, they don’t have what it takes to win. Mark my words on that. That team is soft. They have zero heart and it’ll be fun watching them collapse. Again. As they have every year since 1990.

While my expectations are tempered after having gone through such a tumultuous season, I’m still expecting some silverware this year. And I expect United to look good while doing it. This is what attracted me to United in the first place, back in the early 1980s. They played with a swagger, even when they weren’t winning. Their style was incredible and they played hard. Every time. That’s what I want again. I’ve gotten used to seeing them win trophies over the years, but I remember the lean years and the early Ferguson campaigns. I want to see a little grit and a little panache, as well as getting to see some good young players come through the system. (Unlike Chelsea and City, who keep buying their whole first team and haven’t developed many talents between them over the past 10 years.)

The Premiership is back and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

Prior to this summer’s World Cup, (one of my favorite websites) published a somewhat ill-conceived column about “value” as it relates to the players and teams in the World Cup. Bill Barnwell, the author (whom I read and respect), attempted to argue that the U.S. team lacked value.

I commented, immediately after I finished reading, that “value” is a relative thing. In fact, instead of screwing it up, here’s what I wrote:

These values are based on the economies of the leagues, too, which isn’t taken into account.
Yes, the average value of a player on the England team is higher than the average value of a player on the U.S. team. However, the actual value of Michael Bradley, 26, is higher than the actual value of James Milner, 28.
But because Milner is English and the economy of the Premier League is higher, Milner’s value is estimated to be well over 10 million pounds (about $17 million), while Bradley has a transfer value of $9.6 million.
These transfer values have little true value without a way to factor in the economics of the different leagues and how they relate to one another.

Pretty straightforward, right? I thought so. Then the James Milner lovers started coming out of the woodwork. They couldn’t believe I would have the temerity to claim Michael Bradley could carry his jock. Granted, Bradley had a pretty poor World Cup. But at least he was on the field. (Unlike James Milner, who didn’t play until England’s final match, by which point they were already eliminated.)

I would think being on the field would make someone exponentially more valuable than a player who had his ass rooted to the bench.

But maybe that’s just me.

My latest A1c: 6.1. F#&k you, diabetes.

I recently had a mid-year evaluation at work, and my positive attitude was highlighted. It made me happy to hear about that, and also to see the work that the Happiness Advantage can bring about. A little over a year ago, I started writing regularly to test Shawn Achor’s theories. Although I haven’t been writing as much lately, or posting my three affirmations, or necessarily exercising much, I still think it’s a great plan and have recommended it to lots of people.

I don’t like it when customers mistreat people in the service industry.  You see, I worked in the service industry, waiting tables and bartending at a friend’s bar. (Poorly, I might add.) Even thought I wasn’t terribly skilled, I know, firsthand, how hard those jobs are and what a drag an individual with a shitty attitude can be. I recently had the chance to remember a particular incident of crap attitude and thought I’d share.

I once worked with a knucklehead. (Note: Really, I’ve worked with several knuckleheads. This one, however, is not the same guy who espoused wackjob theories about vaccination, 9/11 conspiracies and the dangers of fluoride. This is a completely different clown altogether.)

Anyway, I had just started working for a company, and my coworkers and I went to a local eatery to get to know one another. While there, I watched the knucklehead (whom I’ll refer to henceforth as “Bitchface”) berated the waitress, talking down to her and treating her, in general, like garbage.

I was less than amused.

“Why would you talk to someone that way?” I asked Bitchface.

“I just want what I want, and I want it the way I want it,” he replied.

“But you don’t have to be an asshole in order to get it,” I told him.

“Well, I just like things the way I like them,” he repeated.

“She’d be completely justified if she spit in all of you’re food,” I told him. “You don’t get to treat people like shit. If I were your waiter, I’d refuse to wait on you. In fact, I’d probably drag you out of here by your ear.”

Bitchface was unmoved. The table was quiet.

Later, when we were all back in the office, one of my other new coworkers who was at lunch with us told me that she and the other members of the team were talking, and they decided I would fit in nicely. It seems standing up to Bitchface’s bitchface tendencies was a test. And I’d passed.

One closing note: I’ve seen that the people who treat service industry workers the worst are the ones who are the most ill-equipped to do those jobs. You don’t have a right to treat service industry workers like shit just because of a sense of entitlement. Treat them with the respect they deserve and you’ll probably get a better dining experience anyway.

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