I'm a lot more old and a lot deeper in debt

I’ll be the first to admit that I live in a fictional world of my own creating. I’m pretty sure if you admit that, you’re not crazy.

And can you blame me? It’s a great place. In here I’m a martial arts master, a world class lover, a charming conversationalist and just five or six push ups from being Mr. Universe.

I’m strong enough to arm wrestle a bear, brave enough to kick a dragon in the nuts and smart enough to do a rubix cube.

I’m surrounded by thick walls of denial and a moat filled with delusion.

You can’t hurt me here, nothing can.

Nothing can get me.

Nothing, except occasionally reality.

Yesterday I had the chance to go to my old stomping grounds, USU, and try to convince intelligent people to leave the ramen-for-breakfast, working-19-hours-a-night, covering-yourself-with-books-at-night-for-warmth life of a Masters/PHD student for world where you can eat what you want and afford blankets but do have to go to meetings and use the same toilet for five years.

It’s a harder sell than you might think.

My company send me to recruit from time to time and I always enjoy but this time it was a little different.

I was talking to all these fresh-faced, bright-eyed young people with their whole future in front of them and I realized something.

I’m friggin’ old.

I’m 31 next month. I’ve had plenty of time to get used to the idea of me being an old fart, and yet somehow, I was so busy in the inner world that I forgot to update my image in there. For some reason, in there I was a strapping young man with a full head of hair and a beard that would make an amish viking feel insecure about himself.

Outside, not so much.

But so what?  I’ve gained a few pounds in stomach and lost a few worth of hair. It happens to everyone. And in exchange for that I got all this world wisdom and cool stuff, like a futon and a mortgage.

Yeah, this isn’t really doing it for me.
So what can I do? Be one of those guys in denial about his age? Get a wallet chain, a V-neck T-shirt and some skinny jeans?

I’m just realized some of you probably pictured that in your minds.

I am so sorry.

I’m just going to stop now before I do any more damage.

I'm super honest about myself

Really there’s only two things that have kept me from flipping my entire company the bird, buying some spandex and starting a full time career of brooding on top of rooftops, getting my girlfriends killed and occasionally fighting crime.

1) I don’t have a good superhero name.

2) I don’t actually have any powers.

I’ve wanted super powers for as long as I’ve known what super powers are. But I’ve dreamed about it for so long and thought about it so much I’m starting to realize that it’s probably a good thing that I don’t have any.

I’ve always assumed that if I got powers, I’d be a bastion of good and right in a world gone wrong. That I would be the be the one who fights for those who cannot. That, in short, I would be a true hero.

Now I’m pretty sure I would just use my X-ray vision to ogle women as they jog.

It’s not just about being a pervo though. I just really don’t think I’m as good of a person as I would need to be to not be corrupted with the ability to fly and therefore could make myself appear much taller.

I’m not saying I would be a bad. I’m not going to be villain or anything. I just think I would use my powers for douchebaggery instead of for good.

Unwilling to accept that I was not the hero, I tried to think if there was some sort of recognized super power that I wouldn't be able to used in some twisted way for my own sick purposes.

So far I got nothing.

Super Strength: In my entire life I may use this once or twice to stop a runaway train. I would use it daily to push other people’s poorly parked cars into the middle of the parking space.

Invisibility: I would constantly go invisible to pick my nose, fart and scratch my crotch in public.

Fire power: Really the only thing I could see me doing with the ability to control fire is burning the cigarettes of people smoking by a bus stop.

Regeneration: This is just distasteful practical jokes waiting to happen.

Mind Control: I don’t think I have to explain this one. I’ll just say two words and let you figure it out: Free. Cheese.

I can’t be alone in this. I bet most people would be the same if they were given great power. Not a superhero. Not a super villain. Just a super dick.

Hey that could be my name.

Ummmm... don't read this unless you're Sally

So back in January I decided this was going to be the year when I become a writer in the sense of I was going to be a person who writes rather than being a write in the sense of being someone who gets cranky at his day.

So I arbitrarily picked Thursday as the day I do this thing that I now do. If I’d been a little smart about it, I would have picked another day, because this year Valentines Day falls on a Thursday.

There’s some unwritten rule that if you publish on Valentines Day you’re contractually obligated to talk about it. You have to either go hard core mushy or launch a full attack on the holiday and everything it stands for. There is no middle ground.

I guess that means I have to bring the mush, since people who actively hate Valentines Day are as soulless as people who don’t like Gangnam Style (seriously how can you not like that video, it’s 4 minutes of watching a guy be really happy).

I don’t know much about love on the whole. But I know a lot about it in my own life. I know how much it’s changed it; how much it’s changed me. And I know how it changes over time.

Love-life two days: Love is young. Love is shy. Love is quick glances and a warm feeling whenever you think of them.

Love-life six months: Love is exciting. Love is fresh. Love is new. Love is still uncertain, but thoughts of the future and the possibilities it holds make your soul fly.

Love-life 1 year: Love is your support. When the world is scary (which is all of the time) love is what turns the light on, hands your soul some cocoa and tell you it’ll all be fine. Love never lies.

Love-life 2 years: Love is commitment. There is no getting away from love, there is only the realization that you don’t want to.

Love-life 4 years: Love is what gets you out of bed in the morning. Both with a desire to make the world a better place for the one you love and because they are jabbing you with their elbow to go turn off you

Love-life 6 years: Love is learning. Love is accepting those things that would threaten love and turning them into the things that make love stronger. Love is learning to sleep through another person’s alarm clock.

Love-life 8 years: Love is growth. It’s trying new things, things that you’re scared to do, but that you know you need to do and it’s OK, because you’re doing them together.

Love-life 10 years: Love is amazing. Love is still feeling stronger now than you ever had before. Love is a constant desire to be a better person, because someone else deserves that much. Love is the single greatest thing in your life.

Love-life more than that: I don’t know yet. But I’m excited to find out.

Thanks for the best 1/3 of my life baby.

I love you.

Are you game?

I have the perfect plan if you ever want to have at least three hours worth of fun at the expense of a bunch of little kids.

Step one: Find a bunch of kids ranging in age from six to ten.

Step two: Teach them how to play Clue but not how to the setup works.

Step three: Suggest they play a game.

Step four: Agree to set it up for them while they wash their hands.

Step five: Deal out the cards without putting any in the little manila envelope that you stick under the board to know who did it.

Step six: Laugh maniacally to yourself.

I love board games. Not as much as I love video games or computer games or even role-playing games, but more than party games or reindeer games so that’s pretty good.

I love almost everything about board games. I love the sound of rolling dice. I love the smell of a brand new board and that sound the make when you unfold it for the first time. I love the instant modibilty that comes with house rules. I even love have to read ten pages of colorful instructions obviously translated from German while five other people stare at you expectantly before you can even get started.

I just have one problem with board games.

I don’t have anyone to play with besides my family.

That sounds way meaner than its suppose to, and yet, somehow, not mean enough.

My family is awesome but we are also competitive and not afraid of a little metagaming. It leads to some weird games.

I’ve answered phone calls after midnight to officiate in rules disputes in games going on in other states. I’ve had to throw games so that we wouldn’t have to play one more because it was 2 AM. I’ve even had to pull a Battleship battleship out of someone’s nose.

We started young. Back when we’d play Go Fish and my brother would lay out his cards face up in front of him and then cry when we’d beat him.

It wasn’t just the kids, my parents started this whole problem by getting married in the first place. My dad will spend 15 minutes on his turn in Scrabble before playing the word “AT”. When playing Settlers of Catan, my mom will tell you you can’t have a brownie unless you agree to trade rock for sheep (and sheep are the worst card ever, trading anything for sheep is the board game equivalent of eating glue). They both would stack the deck so they wouldn’t have to play Candyland for more than five minutes (“Wow son, you won again, well I gotta mow the lawn”).

So yeah, board games to me are nothing more than emotional baggage that you have to shuffle cards for.

And like all good childhood drama, I fully intend to pass this crap on. Next time I’m at the toy store, I’m bringing home Chutes and Ladders so that I can teach my son, the thrill of the ladder, the anguish of the chute and the utter confusion of your father flipping the board in frustration.