Keeping It 101

(Sunday Paper, Volume II, Issue 32)

A few more guest posts to finish out my summer vacation.

I've written about Kevin quite a bit - probably because he's one of my biggest supporters.

I hardly write anything that he doesn't read, and he, along with the next two weeks' worth of guest posters, has been instrumental in my comedy exploits - I'll explain more about that another time.

He also did a lot of the graphics for me for the original Sunday Paper iteration...and we'll have to get back to that at some point here. (He's a lot busier now in his role as college professor.) But that banner below that I still use today is cut from his work then. 

So today he takes the reins.

That's him in the picture there, along with....well, I'll let him tell you more about who that is.

And you might want to guess that guy's age before you continue....

John’s Sunday Paper is normally full of stories about kids (with more stories on the way in the next few weeks with new dads guest writing…) so I’m going to take this week’s guest post in a totally different direction. Instead of telling you stories about newborns, I’m going to talk about a long-ago born.

My grandfather is 101 years old. The picture above is from his 100th birthday last June, so that should give you a hint of how good he is doing. He still lives at home, mows his own lawn (push mower), and goes to exercise class three days a week. This past Thanksgiving, he cooked the entire turkey dinner. He closely follows the news, the stock market, and Major League Baseball.  He likes making waiters guess his age (they’re never close). And his favorite television show is The Voice – don’t call grandpa when The Voice is on.

Lost in how well he is doing is the fact that I sometimes forget just how old 101 years really is.  For example:

  • I went to EPCOT at Disney World a few weeks ago and watched The American Experience show. Part of the show focused on the Great Depression – which seems like forever ago. Then I realized that Grandpa was in his teens during that time.
  • Visiting Grandpa last week and I said that if my old house was closer to my old job, I’d probably still live/work there but the 45-minute commute each way nudged me to go back to school. Grandpa’s response was that if it wasn’t for World War 2, he’d probably still live in Pennsylvania. Suddenly my commute story seemed lame.
  • Grandpa made 18 cents an hour his first job out of college – and he thought that was a lot of money.

Every time I visit grandpa, I think that I should audio record some of his stories. I never do. This past weekend when I visited (I was the “friend” who bailed on John’s Washington DC trip), he started telling more stories and I decided that next time would be it. So once school starts I’m going to order a fancy microphone and go back to visit grandpa and keep those stories forever.

I’ve done a lot of really cool things in my life, but I think I get the most enjoyment out of bragging about my grandfather instead of my own accomplishments. Here’s to many more years…

Comedy

*I think the most interesting thing about being a comedian is the idea of “who owns a joke?” For example, my favorite joke of John’s is one that he doesn’t tell anymore because he heard someone else tell a very similar joke a few months after he started using it. He decided not to tell it any more, unsure who would think he copied it from someone else. (To be clear - there is no way he did.) But darn I miss that joke. I think I’d have a hard time giving up a joke I was really proud of.

*Whenever I’m having a bad day or I need a quick laugh, I watch this YouTube video. Make sure to stay for the slow motion parts at the end:

Writing

*I do a lot of writing. As a professor, part of my job is to do research and write academic articles that no normal human being would ever find interesting. If reviewers find them interesting enough, the articles are published in academic journals that are only accessible to librarians and other professors. So it’s safe to say that I’m not widely read.

However, I’ve been fortunate that my research has allowed me to focus on things I find interesting: sports and broadcasting. This summer I’ve been finishing up a paper about NBC and the Olympics and another about how Major League Baseball teams are reaching out to Hispanic fans through Instagram. If you’d like to see a list of my work, it’s all right here.

What I’ve Been Enjoying

*I hear people talking all the time about Game of Thrones or some Netflix show that I’m supposed to be watching like House of Cards.  I don’t watch either.  For me, the best show on television is – without a doubt – American Ninja Warrior. From the athleticism on the course, to the heartwarming back stories, to the excitement of if they are going to get up the warped wall, I simply can’t get enough. I’m glued to the television each Monday night and have now gotten to the point where I’m watching reruns on Hulu in my free time. If you’re not watching, you should give it a shot.

*My goal this summer was to start running. Last summer I did CrossFit, and while I enjoyed that quite a bit, the rigid class time schedule didn’t work out for me once school started again. I figured running was something that I could keep up with after summer ended, and most surprising – I actually enjoy it (hence why this is in the “what I’ve been enjoying” and not the “notes” section). We’ll see how dedicated I am once I’m working all day, but here’s hoping I can keep it up (especially since I just spent too much money on new sneakers). I know John used to run a lot, so perhaps he, or anyone else, can give me tips.

*Like John’s sister-in-law, I’ve been enjoying my summer off from teaching. I’ve been attempting to relax more and do less – something I’m not very good at. However, I think I just really like my job because I am ready to get back to campus and see the students again. Being on a college campus is a pretty cool environment, lots of students with excitement about the future and very little drama (at least that involves me). We’ll see how I feel once school starts in a few weeks.

Notes

*I don’t have a Facebook account, but I think this is where I’m supposed to say that you should like John’s page so you can stay updated on his comedy. I bet he’ll add in a link to it right HERE.

*He’s at something called the “Laugh Shack at Lincoln’s” this Thursday in Portland, Maine. According to the map, this place is two and a half hours from where John lives, so if he’s driving that far to deliver the funny, I think the least we could do is go (I will not be going). Other upcoming shows are linked here.

*As I wrote earlier, I went to Disney World a few weeks ago. I love going to Disney and moving seven hours away was a big letdown when I got the job in South Carolina. I really can’t even put my finger on what I like best about it – the rides, the environment, the fact that everything is in one place, the overall happiness of the place – but I just really enjoy it. Plus, there is no better place in the world to people watch. Hoping to go back again soon (although maybe not in the summer).

*While I enjoy each and every Sunday paper, this blog post from 2007 will always be my favorite from John. He’s so excited to do the live blog for the day and literally nothing goes right. It’s comical in its tragedy. Poor John. Poor Tom Glavine. But mainly poor John.

*Lastly, in addition to bragging about grandpa a lot, I do the same about John. I had lunch with an old friend last week and he said a mutual acquaintance of ours was quitting his job to try standup comedy. My friend thought he was nuts. I quickly bragged about John and how amazed I was that he was making this work. It’s really pretty cool.