Fuel

“Hatred in your heart will consume you too”

I’ll give you 3 guesses as to who said that one liner. 

…Will Smith. Crazy right. Who knew that a line from Just the Two of Us would affect me like that.

Anyways, there are things every day that can make you mad or upset. I mean this morning I was woken up by my neighbor throwing logs into a wood cutter. And last night I couldn’t sleep because I had a wicked bad cold. Those things make me mad. But in the words of Hymen Roth, those things are “small potatoes” (Godfather 2 reference, check.) Which leads me to my story.

Story Time: Brought to you by Bud Light “Suck One”

Now this is a sports story. I hope that doesn’t scare anyone off. I’m not a typical jock who only writes about the game winning shot and that stupid stuff. Anyways, my story starts in my sophomore year of high school. I went to Notre Dame my freshman year and it was alright but I wanted out. So, my parents convinced me to go to Xavier, another prep school. They thought I would excel academically. All that summer I prepared for soccer tryouts. because honestly, my main goal at the time was to play soccer in college. Okay yeah i was a jock. That summer I was certain I would not only make the team but, win the starting goalkeeper spot. I worked my tail off that summer and during my freshman year I allowed only three goals the entire season, including a streak of nine games that were all shutouts. It was my turn. My hard work would finally pay off.

False. Listen everyone, if anything is for certain in my life it is that nothing is for certain. So naturally, I got cut from the team. And not just cut. I was embarrassed. See, the team had another Matt Esposito on the team. So, when I heard “Matt Esposito,” I was pumped. Yours truly was on the squad! Psyche. It was the other Matt that made the team. Needless to say I spent the rest of the car ride home in tears (I’m a frequent cryer if you all did not know.) My dad was wicked pissed. He wanted to drop the coach. What was I going to do now? Where was I going to go for school? I was so mad at that coach; I cannot describe to you how much I wanted to confront him. I think for the first time in my life I wanted to hurt another human being. I hated him. 

I ended up going to my public school, and I killed it. Best thing that ever happened to me. My first year there I started and almost made my all conference team. My junior year I broke my collar bone (proof that everything in my life takes a left turn out of now where.) Recap: Had to transfer because I got cut. Once I was doing good, I broke my collar bone.

Choice: Either hate life and the coach who cut me or outshine everybody

I decided to outshine everybody. For my senior year I worked my tail off again. Made the all-conference team with one of my best friends. Boom. And do you know what got me there? Every day I trained, every day I did wind sprints by myself at Woodhouse field, every time Mike Sheehan ripped shots at me, every pull up, crunch, and push up I thought of that coach who cut me. I thought of the idiot who broke my collar bone during a preseason game. I turned hate into fuel. I did not eliminate hate. That’s just impossible. We are human beings and are going to get mad at things and hate them. That’s natural. I did something else though.

I transformed hate into something positive. 

It became my drive, my reason for greatness, my fuel.

Second part:

I had done it. I won the personal awards as well as got the team to the playoffs for the first time in a while. I left a positive impression as a player and a leader. Also, I made some bonds on that team that still stand today. I ended up going to Suffolk University to play soccer. At Suffolk I eventually became the starter. Fortunately for me, I helped the team get to the championship game. This game happened to be fifteen minutes from my home. Everyone who supported to me was there and we won. It was awesome. I went from being cut to winning a championship game as a freshman. 

So what did I do next?

I found an old email address to the Xavier coach that cut me. I wrote him a little email. Nothing malicious. It was a thank you. I thanked him for being my fuel. He gave me the drive to do some great things. Recently I just got an email from a certain job that said I would not be interviewed for their position. A position that I felt qualified for. Normally I would delete those emails but, I kept this one. Next year, when I am at some prestigious grad school getting a duel degree in law and history, I am going to write another thank you letter. Because at the end of the day, according to someone, I did not work hard enough to get that job. And there is no one to blame but me. So I should be appreciative of someone keeping it real with me and letting me know that I need to work even harder to get the things I want. 

Lesson: Turn hatred into fuel. Do not forget to thank the people who told you that you weren’t good enough, for you may not realize it now but they are effecting your life for the better.

For the doubters, check out the picture below. I’m the goofy blonde with the long flow putting up the #1 signImage  

Yours,                                                                                                                                      PHA

 

Reflection

It seems like just yesterday I transferred to the best college ever. Yeah, time really went by fast over on Thompson Ave…and New Res, then New Res again. I’m going to be leaving the people I love. I’m going to be leaving a place I called home for the last 3 years. I have no job lined up. I have no idea what I want to do in life. 

Scary part over:

Time goes by too fast. That’s just a fact. So here’s what I do to make things slow down and  make sure I don’t take one minute for granted. By the way, the goal isn’t to make the fun last as long as it can. The goal is to realize when everything in your life is perfect.

Things I do to make everything slow down:

1. Every night I think of things I’m thankful for

That may seem stupid but I guarantee you will go to bed smiling. Which consequently guarantees you will wake up smiling. Its a good way to stay grounded, try it out.

2. Every night I text my mom goodnight and tell her I love her

This too may seem insignificant. But it lets me know that I have someone somewhere that is responsible for the good times I am able to have. Its my way of telling her I love her and not a day passes where I don’t think about how much she sacrificed for me to be where I am at

3. Every Friday (weather permitting) I take the seashell path back to my car after I’m out of class

This gives me 15 minutes where I have absolutely nothing to worry about. I put on whatever jam I’m feeling that day and take in the view. And if the song is hot, I may even do a version of the Espy 2-Step while i’m swagwalking. For these 15 minutes, it is impossible for me to be stressed.

4. Once a week I say “Everything is perfect”

Because it is. Yeah I have no job lined up. Yeah, I have a month left on the best place on Earth. And yeah, at least a handful of people in my family are always battling some bizarre illness or cancer or something. Oh and my Dad is dead. But seriously, everything is perfect. I have the best friends this side of the world. I have the best family ever. I have my health. I have a chance to slaughter the classroom on my academic grind and then go out Thursday. Where else in the world can you get drunk 3 nights a week with your best friends, and present a thesis at an Honors Fraternity banquet at the same time? Plus, I got a girl I’ve got my eye on. Yeah I would say everything is perfect. And if i can say it, then so can you.

5. Every time I go home I visit my father’s grave

Hopefully this applies to none of you. But here is why I do it: Whenever I go there it reminds me of two things.

1. Where I’ve been. This is what I’ve been through. This is my story. Seeing that grave reminds me of the man I have become. At the same time it reminds me of the painful journey it took for me to get there. Consider it a physical reminder of how precious life is.

2. Life is so precious because we do not know the future. Seeing my dad lets me know that it is okay not to know what the future holds for us. No one does. My dad was the smartest man I knew and even he could have predicted what happened to him. That calms me down. Its reassuring to know that we are just as lost in this world as the person next to us. Our lack of predestination is an opportunity. An opportunity to take everything in stride and show everyone what we’re made of. Take advantage of uncertainty. It will bring you surprise and adventure.

Find your way to appreciate where you’ve been. Find your way to accept that you have no idea what the future has in store for you. Come to peace with that and it will do wonders for you

Lesson: Take time to realize how awesome you are. This time in our life will surely pass. Which is alright. But it is solely your responsibility to recognize how blessed you truly are. So slow down, it will open your eyes and calm your sprirt.

Yours,

                                                                                                                                                                                   PHA

For my women

For all women who need a pick me up

I found this on the interweb:

“For you lovely woman: take my soul abuse it

                                                       over do it

                                                 know its uses

                                           leave no excuses

                             Make every moment music

                Make me never feel low and stupid

 But most of all my dear, just come home to it”

For my girls, my sisters and mom, read this and know that someone out there appreciates you

That is all, its Darty season so I’m keeping this short

Later meats

December 12, 2009

What a terrible day outside. This snow sucks more than the last day of vacation. So, I thought I would give you all another story

Story time brought to you by: Sip N Dip

Pt.I  So the last conversation I ever had with my father came on a Saturday. He drove me to a soccer game in Fairfield and watched me play, one of his favorite things to do. Then on the drive back home we stopped at Five Guys. After most of my games he would take me to places he called “Greasy Spoons,” which were just grimey diners that had awesome food. For some reason he knew every little diner in just about every remote place in Connecticut. Anyways, we went to Five Guys, my first time going there. We talked the whole way there while we listened to the UConn men’s basketball game on the radio. Everything about this day was my favorite thing to do. Soccer with my Dad, gross restaurant with my Dad, UConn with my Dad, talking to my Dad.

Pt.II After we ate burgers at Five Guys, we hopped back in the car and headed home from Milford. This is when my Dad and I had a conversation I will never forget. We started talking like we usually do. We talked about stupid things, but also could talk about heavy stuff as well. My old man starting talking and said “Ya know, if there is one thing I regret, it’s that I didn’t meet your Mom ten years earlier and have you guys (Em and Chris) ten years earlier too.” You see, my Dad had me when he was 40. Not old, but not particularly young. He wanted more time with us, with me.

I had always wish he had me earlier too, for the same reason.

Pt.III That would be the last conversation I ever had with my Dad. The next morning he had a heart attack and slipped into a coma for about 4 weeks until he passed of complications. His heart attack was unexpected, my father was in great shape. On my last real day with my Dad we did everything we love. Everything that we had so much fun doing ever since I was a little boy. It was all packed into one day. He expressed his only regret to me hours before it manifested itself.

Pt.IV I beat myself up about this conversation for weeks. Was somebody trying to tell me something? Should I have seen the signs? Of course not. But those questions haunted me for a long time.

Lesson: If I was allowed to say one thing to my Dad, I would say “I Love you Dad.” Within those four words he would know I appreciated every moment I spent with him. Every soccer game, every trip to Home Depot, every trip delivering wedding cakes for Pete, every pinewood derby, every stupid errand he made me go on with him, every single moment I ever spend by his side.

That Saturday I never told my Dad that I loved him. Never told him how much I cherished every dirty diner we went to. Never told him how comforting it was to know that my Dad was rooting me on during my games. Never even told him how much I liked talking to him.

Never told him he was my hero, my best friend.

Tell your parents you love them every day, plain and simple, they could be gone tomororow

…you’ll regret it the rest of your life if you don’t

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Live with love                                                                                                                    PHA

 

 

 

The Old Man and the Time I Got Yelled at for Throwing Rocks

Today’s a beautiful day and reminds me of the time my mom and sisters came down for my birthday. 

Story Time brought to you by Cumberland Farms:

So for my 20th birthday my mom and sister Em came down to take me and my friends out to lunch. We all went to Aiden’s and had a good time. After lunch we were looking for some stuff to do in Bristol. I took my family and my friends for a walk by the water. My mom and Em were chillin by the water and my friends and I were exploring under the pier like some 4th graders. Which is fitting because some of us only have a 3rd grade reading level and collectively we aren’t smarter than a 4th grader. Anyways, yours truly decided to skip rocks across the water. P.S girls, every man’s dream is to have a good woman by his side, drink beers while skipping rocks, and listening to old school Eminem. We’re simple creatures. 

Wait Espy, where does this story get interesting?

I’m glad you asked. So I’m merely skipping rocks across the water. And occasionally throwing a big rock into the water because for some reason dudes like seeing things make big splashes. Ask you guy friends and find out how remarkably accurate that is. Now this older gentlemen, probable around 80 years old, came strolling by with his wife. He went up to and started scolding me for throwing rocks. His rationale: “Hey Son, those rocks are there for a reason! Don’t throw those rocks and act your age or I’ll call the cops!” Now I know I have a tendency for exaggeration but that is actually what this old man said. I got yelled at for throwing rocks.

Now personally, I am not that confrontational. But this guy had it coming. I was not going to let this grumpy old man yell at me in front of my friends in family, especially over throwing rocks. THROWING ROCKS. So I got in his face and we exchanged words. I told him to call the cops and see what they would say when you told them I was throwing rocks. We went back and forth for a minute and then my mom walked over. The old Scrooge saw Mama Espo coming over and immediately shut up. My mom is a saint but her mean face would make Mike Tyson bake muffins. The old man walked away and I thought that team Espo had won the day.

False. I caught an earful from my mom, and deservedly so. She said that I should have just ignored the man and let him walk away. Which is what I should have done. But there are two lessons here, and maybe three

1. Pick your battles

I embarrassed myself in front of my friends and family by getting into a stupid fight with some old man who has one foot out the door and the other on a banana peel. I should have let him go on his way and carry on with his depressing life.

2. Do not end up like this old man

This guy’s biggest concern that day was making sure a young kid did not throw rocks into the water. When you demeanor is one of anger and maliciousness, then reevaluate your life. DO NOT END UP OLD AND MEAN LIKE THIS OLD, MEAN MAN. Everyone has a story, so I should not judge this guy. But my story has some sad moments too, and if i can wake up happy each day than so can anyone else, even this grumpy sin.

3. Now a lot of people will disagree with me on this one

I totally understand the respect your elders thing. I just think that saying needs to be changed. Why should we respect someone just because they lived long? Because they are older than us? By that logic, should we disrespect people younger than us? Respect is earned, no matter of what age. We should be mindful of our elders; pull out chairs, open doors, let them have the seat on the bus etc…But how can someone expect me to respect an old man who yelled at me because his grumpy life had gotten so bad that he had to take it out on a young man for merely skipping rocks? I feel sorry for this man; sorry his life came to this. 

Wrap Up: Know when to be confrontational and more importantly, when not to

                Do anything necessary to live a life that ensures happiness when you’re old

                Take a second to think of the people you respect and why

live with love                                                                                                                                                                 PHA

Limiting

Sorry for the wait, but yours truly was in the Bahamas for Spring Break

Which consequently brings me into my next topic: The word “No.”

“No.”

Say it too much and life passes you by. And by your choice. Which is haunting.

Say it too little and life has slipped from you.

“No” can give you grip, or send you into a free fall. But enough with the philosophical intricacy. Story Time:

Example 1:  This will be very direct. Yesterday two of my good friends JP and Ryan went to the Newport parade for St. Patty’s day. I drove them in at about noon and headed back to my house. Ryan and Jip asked me about a dozen times if I wanted to go with them. They tried wicked hard to persuade me to drink some festive beers with them in a city packed with drunken college students. What’s not to like? That’s my environment after all. Here’s what held me back, why I said no. 1. I had just dropped a ton of money in the Bahamas for spring break. My wallet turned into Justin Timberlake and cried me a river it was hurtin so bad. 2. I was a little run down from partying in the Bahamas for 5 days straight. The 8 pounds of emergenc-c I took is proof. 3. I ground myself and come back to reality after one of the best experiences of my life.

Now let me debunk these reasons and their legitimacy:

1. One of the best lessons my father taught me was “You make money to spend money.” Now don’t get me wrong, the guy was frugal. His cheap ways must of found their way into my DNA. I picked up a Bahamian penny I saw in the street, which I can’t use in America (Case and Point.) Anyways, my dad had such a good sense of when something was worth the money. He saved enough to help put me through college. At the same time, he was the first to take care of me and friends if we all went to a Sox game together. I call this beauty financial balance. So, I should have spent the money in Newport. I have my entire life to make money. But I do not have my entire life to live life with my fellow college peers.

2. Everyone was hurting bad when we left the Bahamas. Everyone. I wanted to literally pay a mom at the airport to just hold me and rub my back. But at the end of the day, we just needed rest. And water. Much water. Ryan asked me if I wanted to go have a blast in Newport and I told him I needed an “off day.” For my basketball heads, this would be a Coachs DNP:REST. “But wait, I have Sunday to recover, just go one more day Spo”- The thought that didn’t cross my mind. What’s one more day of savagery to a college student in decent shape with a good head on his shoulders? Boom, Reason 2 debunked.

3. The Bahamas was spring break just like how you picture it. No, MTV was not there but everyone still had a blast. We all had been looking forward to this since this summer when we signed up. Money well spent. Actually, better than money well spent. This was arguably the time of my life. My friends and I created life long memories. We saw Ryan in ways we have never seen him before. Peanut actually turned into a male stripper at a bar. I got in front of over 100 people onstage and did something fun for y’all. The list goes on. But, I needed to come back to earth. In the words of Eminem “Back to reality, oh there goes gravity.” Only problem is, the day to return to earth was the same day of the parade. To put it frankly, I should have stayed in orbit a little longer. This parade should have been the icing on the cake for this trip.

“NO” limited me. Limited an experience with my friends that I cannot get back. Limited a chance to spend a beautiful day in Newport. Limited memories that I can’t recreate.

This is how that word can be limiting. Now I am not saying to say yes to everything. This isn’t that sub par Jim  Carey movie. If you say yes to everything you’ll probably end up in a crack den watching old westerns in your underwear. You’ll end up a subplot on the next True Detective. But, consider the consequences. And if the decision is hard then do what my friends and I do. We have a “Take a Chance” card. When you want one of your boys to roll with you to a bar, and he is hesitant, then pull this out on him. If you need a friend to skip class and watch opening day with you, use the card. Use This:Image

So here’s the point. NO can be limiting. Sometime you need limits. Other times you don’t. 

Find your balance, it will let you reach every corner of happiness this world has to offer you

As always, live with love                                                                                              PHA

All shapes and sizes

I’m back like I left somethin. Seriously though I wanted to share something really important with you all.

Oh and this is a sad story but it’ll be worth it.

So I have some wonderful cousins who unfortunately lost their father a few years back in 2012. I’ll spare you the majority of the details, for their privacy. What you should know however,is that their father, an incredible and caring police officer, got into a car accident during duty. He passed after multiple years of being hospitalized. His two children were all too young when their father got into his accident. The youngest (Nick) was just an infant, and Drew was only a few years older. They hardly knew their dad and would essentially never get the chance to. Which is truly a shame, for he was an inspiration to all. His smile was contagious, his dedication to family and work was unparalleled; a man whose name will be forever associated with what a person should be like. Although he is an inspiration to all that knew him, there is someone else in his family who is a direct role model to me.

Drew and I have both lost our fathers. A dreadful commonality. I remember saying the eulogy for his father and thinking, “Drew and Nick do not deserve this. What do I tell them that can possibly prepare them for the challenges that lie ahead?” I watched Nick cry at his father’s burial and he hardly knew the hero that was his dad. I have prayed every night for their peace and happiness. Perhaps it paid off.

Fast forward to this summer. I lived in Bristol, close to Newport. My Mom and sisters decided to spend a weekend in Newport with our cousins. Drew, Nick and their lovely mother would have a chance to get away with some close family for a little. One night we went to dinner at the Red Parrot and had a blast. So what do 5 adults, a teenager and a middle schooler do after dinner in Newport? Hit up the arcade of course. We all had a great time, especially Nick. But Drew said something to me that I will never forget. He had lost track of where his mom was. So Drew turned to Nick and said, “Nick, where’s mom, I want her to play this game with us and have some fun. Oh and lets try and get ice cream later she’ll like that.”

Reasons that is awesome and inspiring.

1. No one has taught Drew how to take care of his mother. There is no class on caring for widows (trust me I have looked.) His care for his mom is heartfelt and genuine.  It is pure. You could tell this was natural to Drew. He doesn’t have to remind himself that his mother may be grieving and worrying about her family’s well being. He just does it. Instinctual.

2. Drew is a teenager. When I was a teenager I was only worried about myself…and girls and soccer. It was not until college that I started to find the joy that comes with caring for others. This kid is way ahead of the game. His soul is smart and sacrificial, nurturing and understanding.

Wrap up: Many will say that his father is a hero, and they are certainly not wrong. I believe the same too, for it is simply true. But Drew is just as much as a hero, Nick too. The maturity they have shown for their age and situation is incomparable. Despite their tragic loss, they are quick to smile. They prioritize their family over anything else, which is something that we all could do more of, especially me.

I think their dad would be proud to know that Drew and Nick are two of my heroes. 

I think my dad would be proud to know that I can recognize that inspiration comes from anywhere, all shapes and sizes, all ages. 

But most of all, I think that Drew and Nick will be O.K in this world, they have never shown me reason to believe otherwise

And that, my friends, is inspirational.

As always, live with love                                                                                                   PHA

When to be stupid

1. The arrow (and my leg)

Me and Matt Alcebo were best friends growing up. I mean we were literally inseparable. One day, when we were both about 12 years old, we came face to face with destiny. Here is an outline of the events on that fateful day

A) I found a metal tip arrow in my attic B) Matt coincidentally found a bow in his garage the day before 

I told Matt of the arrow discovery. Words did not need to be said. I biked to his house in a minute. This was going to be the best day ever. I walked into his house and instantly Matt grabbed the arrow. First sign that this kid was the devil in disguise. Anyways, Matt told me to go on his porch and he would meet me out there in a second. Well, I went onto the porch, assuming my best friend with the bow and arrow could do me no harm. Matt came out onto his porch with the arrow ready to be fired. I mean this kid meant business and had a nasty look in his eye. I check to see if the gate off the porch was locked. It was. Freakin kid planned this from the get. I had no where to run. “Matt, don’t do this, no….no.” My plea was ignored. And then it happened…he let go or the arrow. 

It stuck in my leg for a second or two and then fell out. My best friend was dying from laughter. He just shot me with an arrow and absolutely lost it. A little blood later and some applied rubbing alcohol and I was ok, just fine. No damage done. But I actually got shot with an arrow at 12 years old by a Cuban-American devil preteen  best friend.

2. The flick

My cousins and I are one big family. Consequently, they are all my age. I have two sisters. My cousins are 3 boys and 1 girl. So we each have a brother or sister when we are together. Everything matches up perfectly. When I was younger I spent a ton of time with my boy cousins (Max, Teddy and Justin.) I always wanted a brother and they were so very close. Every summer our families would rent a house in Outer Banks and spend the week together. This time down all the boys decided to ride down together in one car. Here’s where the story turns south.

My cousins and I are notorious trouble makers when we are together. Small scale and Large scale. One time in Canada Justin accidentally almost sent my cousin Max into a state of comatose because he threw a giant rock into the water. Problem was Max happened to be in the way (Large Scale.) One Christmas my cousins and I decorated a gingerbread house. We turned it into a prison for Taliban terrorists and had a cut out of Osama getting killed by sharks in a pool, Merry Christmas (Small scale.) Anyways back to the story.

My dad pulled over to the side of the road to fix the luggage bag on the top of our car because it was coming undone. He stepped onto the side of the minivan to do it. My dear cousin Teddy was sitting right near where my dad was standing. To paint a picture, lets just say my old man’s “delicates” were right next to Teddy. Almost in his face, one would say. This just so happened to be a time when my cousins were obsessed with sac-tapping. My cousin Justin dared Teddy to give my dad a tap. I chimed in next. Max chimed in after me. After minutes of persuading, Teddy did it. It happened, The Flick. Teddy just hit his uncle in the sac. And let me tell you, he went down hard…hard. My dad couldn’t drive the rest of the way. I remember him saying to my mom, “Rob, I can’t drive, you gotta drive.” My cousins all got reamed out by their dad and by beloved Uncle Ted. He was trying not to laugh the whole time. I can still hear Teddy apologizing to my Dad for hitting him in the balls.

3. The Green Shower:

Tom and I wanted to do something special for our friend Colin’s 21st. We had all just gotten back to school and were in stupid mode. Anyways, me and Tom decided to go to Walmart before Colin’s party. Walmart always had good stuff. Wrong. Walmart is the official breeding ground for cheap trouble. Tom and I were walking around when Tom spotted super soakers. Boom. Wait a minute, did I just….ya i just had an idea. I told Tom to follow me to the paint aisle. Yup, we were going to have a paint party. The only paint they had though was gloss finishing and spray paint. Naturally we grabbed the spray paint. We got back to the dorm, stripped down to our boxers and went to the shower with the spray paint. Oh yeah, we were going to get this green spray paint into the super soakers. 

See we didn’t quite get the concept of compressed paint. We stripped down to our boxers because we expected a little explosion, but nothing too big. I came up with the idea to stab the spray paint can with a screwdriver. I tried it twice and then realized this might be the dumbest thing I have ever been a part of. Tom never came to that realization. Tom called me a choice word and grabbed the screwdriver. He proceeded to viciously stab the spray paint can until it happened. The can exploded. 

Green. Paint. Everywhere. Tom ran out of the shower with his hands covering his eyes yelliing “Help me! Help me! I’m blind.” I was laughing so hard I started dry-heaving. My first instinct. Close the shower curtain so the paint doesn’t get everywhere. Tom was washing spray paint out of his eyes. Ryan Abs was laughing so hard he was actually bawling his eyes out. Next we went to CVS covered in green paint. Tom asked the dude what kind of rubbing alcohol would remove this. For 2 months Tom had green on him. Funniest moment of my life. RWU actually wanted to kick us out of school but our RA saved us. She said we were malicious vandalizers but just plain stupid. 

Lesson: Be stupid when you’re young. Its expected and you’ll get away with it. And it makes for the best time/memories of your life

short and sweet, enjoy your Thursday my fellow bar rats (check the photo of the shower)

Live with love                                                                                                                                                               PHA

Image

Using

Some people are incredible and need to be recognized for it, most of these people are your friends

Last summer I had the privilege of living in Bristol with one of my best friends. We both had an 8 to 4 job and got the chance to chill everyday. But we lived on different floors so when we just wanted to be alone we could do that. The beach was right down the road and the bars were a 15 minute summer walk away. Sounds perfect if you ask me. Now that you have the setting, let me tell you the story.

Story time (brought to you by Cardis Furniture)

Tuesday nights were big last summer. Aiden’s would have karaoke night and blue moons were only $2.50. Yup! All of my friends from Roger who were working and living in Bristol would come out. Pretty awesome time every time. So one Tuesday me and one of my best friends, Lorenzo (who also goes by Lenardo, Lenard, Laredo and a slew of other names) went to Aiden’s, naturally. We obviously had a great time, how could you not with all this greatness that is summer in Bristol. Laredo and I were feelin pretty nice and I left the bar a little early because I had to work the next morning. I was finishing up some Ramen when Lenard burst through my door looking to keep this party rollin. Typical Lorenzo, one of the reasons I love the guy. This story is wicked boring so far sorry, but I’ll get to the important part.

Important part: Lorenzo wanted to stay up and keep slugging brews but I told him that I wanted to go to bed. He teased me a little, calling me a girl a stuff like that. Harmless, typical bro stuff, nothing malicious or mean, light-hearted, purely joking around… So naturally I took offense to it. I repeatedly kept yelling at Zo, ” I just want to go to bed!” I freaked on him for absolutely no reason. All he wanted was to take advantage of this wonderful summer night with a lifelong friend. I saw it as him annoying me and keeping me from getting my 8 hours. Which in hindsight is overrated. You have your entire life to sleep, be awake as long as you can when you are young. Anyways, I freaked on him, went into my room, slammed the door and went to bed.

Why Lorenzo is awesome and should be recognized for it:

Any regular person would have been like “Spo was bein a total dick right there…I’m out forget this kid.” Not Lorenz. He knew something was off; I never freak out at all and to freak out over a friend trying to have some more fun is just stupid. He recognized I wasn’t being me, it was almost instinctual, which speaks loads about the kind of person he is. So what did he do? Laredo gave me 5 minutes to cool off then knocked on my door. At first I didn’t answer but he’s one persistent Puerto Rican. Eventually I answered. He looked me square in the eyes and asked me what was really wrong, why did I freak on him. A true friend always asks the tough questions, remember that.

The Response: I immediately broke down. When I left for Bristol that summer I had one of the worst moments of my life. I had to say goodbye to my mom, it was my first summer away from home. For her, the summer was her chance to have her son back for months on end. It was her time to have me, and my time to have my mom. Me leaving for Bristol was affirmation that I am growing up and won’t always be home for her. I have left for school many a time, and my mom looks a little sad but nothing drastic. This time however, she cried and cried. And I cried too. My sister Chris was at cooking school and my other sister was living in West Hartford. My mom was alone. I cried the whole car ride to Bristol. How could I do leave my mom alone? That question is one that haunts me and will haunt me in the future again, I know it. And that sucks. I never talked to anyone about it really. I am a silent introvert, which is the worst type. So, Lorenzo asked me what was bothering me. I just began bawling my eyes out. I told him how I left my mother, a widow, alone. It was eating me up. He grabbed me around the shoulders an didn’t say much. See, Lorenzo knew that it was my time to talk, and more importantly, his time to simply listen. Which he is incredibly good at. I just cried and cried, letting him know how mad I was at myself for leaving my mom. With all modesty, I appear strong to certain people. A breakdown like this is a rarity. And my boy handled it perfectly.

Recap:

1. I freaked on one of my best friends                                                                                       2. He didn’t give up on me when he should have, and had the sense to talk to me about it   3. He stayed with me through a time of hysteria, a rare breakdown for ya boy

Lesson: Lorenzo is the bomb. He is but seriously, the lesson is that your best friends always know when something is wrong. Its almost instinctual, but not quite. Its a skill acquired through mutual respect and genuine care for another person. So instead of holding things in, talk to your friends. Odds are they already know something is bothering you, so just talk. If not you’ll blow up on your friend and look like a super jerk. Lucky for me, I got a dude who knew me well enough to know something was wrong. So, talk to your friends when something is wrong. That’s what they are there for. Use them, they want you to.

Speaking of friends, I have some wrongs to right…so do that to.

Sending Positive your way

P.S Guys, never be afraid to cry or tell people you cry. That’s just dumb. The measure of a man is the what he will do to keep his loved ones happy, as well as himself. Tears have nothing to do with manliness.

February 8, 2014                                                                                                              PHA

For the ones you love (Ballin on burgers)

College, where most of us are broke. Either that or we are cheap as hell with our little money.

Its all good though: Here’s why (Story Time brought to you by W.B. Mason)

Joe is one of my best friends. I’ve known the dude since I was in kindergarten and we have been through just about everything together. He has helped me through the hardest parts of my life, and when the time comes, I’ll do the same for him. And he knows that, which may be the very definition of best friends. Regardless, now that you know that Joe is one of my favorite people, let us let the story unfold.

Last August Joe, a somewhat rowdy/always looking for a good time/ enthusiast was finally turning 21. We thought we would never see the day. So, once I got off the clock I bolted to the Providence Train Station and caught the next commuter rail to Boston. See I  was meeting him at our other best friend Jake’s place in the North End. Oh, it was about to be on. I got there and immediately the celebrations began. Pay attention to the money I spent during this one night. And keep in mind that I am the cheapest person along the Eastern Seaboard.

$25 for a 30 rack for Joe                                                                                                         $30 on hamburgers (explanation will follow)                                                                       $60 for cover charges

$45 on celebratory drinks

$10 on a cab ride 

I’m no rainman but that’s like $170 right? Relax, people who know me best. I did not freak out over this absurd amount of money. Not one tiny bit. Reasoning for my non freak-out:

Joe is one of the best people I know and a best friend. Simple as that. For him, and god help me if he reads this, money is not an option. He has earned more that a 30 rack. More than 30 bucks on hamburgers (the girl at the burger place was a certified dime, so me and Joe had to go back 3 times just to talk to her). He is worth more to me than 60 on covers for Boston bars. More that 45 on beers and shots. And more than 10 on a cab ride. Oh and I spend the 10 on a cab because the 45 on drinks contributed to us losing Joe in Boston. Classic.

Lesson: Ball out on the ones you love. Money shouldn’t prevent you from having the time of your life and throwing you best friend a birthday extravaganza that he wholeheartedly deserves. Now I know some of you will be thinking “Wait Spo, money shouldn’t buy you happiness. This is messed up.” Stop it (Ditka voice). That’s not what I’m saying and if you think so then you missed the point. The point is that for that night, money wasn’t an option. Joe is worth way more to me than 170 bucks. He was there for me multiple times when my life looked pretty dark. He sat by my depressed self the day I found out my father was going to die. He was there to ask the hard questions that no one else would. So dammit, if I can do anything to make sure Joe had the best 21 ever, I will. Even if that means ballin out on burgers. He has earned my love and respect as a genuine guy and friend. As cheap as I am, money ain’t a thang when it comes to Joe, and the same goes for all my best friends. They know this too.

Joe’s 21st was one of the best nights of our lives, and there is no amount of money that I wouldn’t spend to always have that memory and moment. 

(excuse the arrogance but I’m wicked proud of that last sentence, it totally represents the lesson I am trying to teach)

Don’t be scared to let you friends know how much they mean to you!

And as always, Live with Love

February 4, 2014                                                                                                 PHA