How I Met Your Mother (aka The Gray Shirt Part II)

The text from my wife last week informing me of a grammatical error and remind me of an important gray t-shirt fact.

The text from my wife last week informing me of a grammatical error and remind me of an important gray t-shirt fact.

(Sunday Paper, Volume III, Issue 40)

Last week I told you about the lucky sports streak I had with my old favorite gray shirt…and how I was lucky enough recently to find another gray shirt that has become a new favorite shirt…

And in all that excitement over the gray shirt I forgot to tell one of the most important stories in the lore of the original gray shirt:

It played a role in the John and Kathy origin story.

I suppose it might be best to wait a year to tell the story as a sort of twentieth anniversary celebration…

But if I write about the gray shirt again without mentioning its role in our little love story we may not be together another year.

Just kidding.

Let me quickly reset the scene: October of 1999 - Mets are in the playoffs, and I keep wearing a gray t-shirt and jeans because it’s lucky.


Here’s the other thing about October of 1999 - I didn’t have a job. I had graduated college the previous May, but all of my friends were still at BU, so after coming home for the summer, I moved back to Boston for the school year to be with them. (Into the apartment a mile from Fenway, as you may remember from last week.)

So, I needed a job to pay the rent, and by October I was starting to panic a little bit.

There was a restaurant where I went through all the server training and then failed the menu test and I was pretty upset about it and didn’t go back. (THEY CHANGED THE MENU THE DAY OF THE MENU TEST…AND TESTED ME ON THE NEW MENU!! But I’m not going to talk about that right now. And I don’t think I’ll name the restaurant. But it rhymes with Boolibans.) In the joke of all jokes - though I was not joking, I was dead serious and desperate - I took an application from the hardware store around the block because they were hiring…but I’m pretty sure that wasn’t going to work out either.

But in the meantime, I went back to the TV station sports department where I interned my senior year of college and asked if they wanted some extra help. I would be a sort-of intern, working for free and not getting college credit, but I would get to hang with some of my favorite people and watch sports and that was appealing to me. (And I figured it could open doors and eventually lead to paid work and it did - I was hired for real on November 15, 1999 and worked in the industry - at 3 stations - until 2004 when I started teaching.)

Unlike the previous year when I would dress up (my senior year at college dressing up was a horrid combination of button-up shirts and khakis) to go to my internship, for my free internship I did not dress up. And since the Mets were in the playoffs…I wore my gray t-shirt and jeans.

Here’s the thing - I had a crush on a producer at Channel 7 from my previous interning days and she came into the sports office one weekend night in my new interning days to check in on timing or a story or something, and I was sitting there in this smelly t-shirt and I never felt more self-conscious…but I was happy to see that she still worked there. Turns out, as I found out later, she was also happy - and probably quite confused, since I wasn’t an employee - that I was back in the sports department. We had caught one another's eye, I guess. In three months I would finally ask her out - Kathy and I had our first date on January 25, 2000.

But that night she came into the sports office was one of my favorite nights in the sports office. I don’t want to look this up and ruin the memory: because I believe there was a Yankees-Red Sox ALCS game - perhaps the one where Jose Offerman missed a tag at second, or the call was missed…I don’t know - it was a big game. And then there was Mets-Braves - it was Robin Ventura’s Grand Slam Single. And then the U.S. won the Ryder Cup right up the street in Brookline, Massachusetts.

I know I logged each of those events in the Channel 7 Sports Department in October of 1999…I just don’t know that all of them happened the same night. (Oh man. I’m going to look it up but I really don’t want to.) (Oh man, I have good news and bad news. Bad news: Ryder Cup was late September, so it was a separate memory. BUT good news, Walk-Off Single was October 17, same day as the ‘phantom tag’ at second base.)

So maybe I have some confusion over the sports memories…but I’ll tell you what I’ll never forget:

In October 1999 - most likely October 17 - I saw my future wife in the sports department at Channel 7.

Also, that Mets game was so exciting.


*I know I keep telling you it’s the same old, same old in the writing department. But one thing I don't think I’ve told you is that since the calendar turned to 2018 I’ve taken time each day to do a little creative writing. Just something every day, to create the habit of making time to write. As I do that, I’m also setting some new goals for 2019. So I don’t feel the need to tell you that I am doing that every week as it progresses…but know that in addition to the work work that I’m doing every week - which is great, I’m lucky to be working and that I have the work to do that I have - I also have some self-imposed work that I’m doing too and since we’re nearing the end of the year I’m looking forward to going back through 365 days’ worth of little stories and observations and seeing if there’s anything there worth diving into a little deeper.


*October is off to a good start with comedy. Worked on some new stuff at an open mic Wednesday and then on Thursday I did a fun show up in Maine and had a really good set. I was afraid I’d be rusty but it was one of my smoothest sets in a long time.

This week is going to be great - I’d recommend coming to one of these two shows if you’re interested in checking out a show this week. On Thursday I’m doing the Standup Jam at Improv Boston - it’s an early show, 7pm, and it looks like a good one. But I’m really excited for Wednesday night. It’ll be my first time performing at the new Comedy Studio in its new location in Bow Market in Somerville. I’ve been there already a couple of times and it looks great and I can’t wait to get on stage there and tell jokes to a Comedy Studio crowd again.

What I’ve Been Enjoying

*I’m sorry (not really) to say that the next couple of these might have to do with my brother. He’ll have some new music out soon, and he’ll be performing in New York City next weekend which, if you’re able, you should try to get out and see. It’s part of a little weekend festival put together by Adam Duritz - who you might not know by name but instead know as the lead singer of the band Counting Crows. Duritz hand-picked the performers, and he’s a big fan of Matt’s music.

You might already know that he’s a big fan of Matt’s music, because I’ve written about it - or I’ve shared Duritz’s social media postings about Matt. But this week, what I enjoyed was hearing it straight from Duritz’s mouth. Click this link to get to his podcast, and listen to the one dated October 2nd. In the first ten minutes of the podcast, which exposes listeners to some of the artists featured in the festival, Duritz and his co-host play two of Matt’s songs and talk glowingly about his songwriting. It’s fun to listen to. You can read about what it meant to Matt on his social media - here’s his Facebook, here’s his Twitter. And go to his website to find out about live performances and such. If you can’t make it out next week, at the very least listen to the podcast. (And though they finish talking about Matt in the first ten minutes, the whole episode is pretty enjoyable. Some good music coming to that festival.)


*You know what’s cute about calling this one “How I Met Your Mother”? (Even though I was going to write it as an episode of the show but I quickly backed down from that idea.) “How I Met Your Mother” was a big part of me and Kathy’s relationship: I think we started watching it just because she went to college with the show’s creators. And we enjoyed it, so we continued watching it. And it was the first show we watched from beginning to end within our time together. For what that’s worth.

*Last week I told you I’ll start taking questions from you loyal readers for the end-of-year Question and Answer Sunday Paper. I won’t share how many questions I received so far so as not to influence your decision to send a question this week. (It’s zero. So far, zero.) Also, I forgot to put the call out there on Facebook, but I’ll try to remember to do it this week. BUT since you’re such a loyal reader and you’ve read this far you get first priority! Send a question and I’ll start compiling for the end-of-year. It’s just, like, 10 Sunday Papers away, crazily. Please do it. I don’t want to have to scramble to stitch that post together.

*OK. Have a nice Sunday. And a nice week. I appreciate you reading my words. Next week I will write about something other than a gray t-shirt.