Did You Find a Pair of Glasses I Lost?

Did You Find a Pair of Glasses I Lost?

This is the 100% true story about the time I could not find my glasses. And no, they weren’t on my forehead like this image shows. Give me a break. How stupid do you think I am? (Don’t answer.)

This is the 100% true story about the time I could not find my glasses. And no, they weren’t on my forehead like this image shows. Give me a break. How stupid do you think I am? (Don’t answer.)

(Sadly, the following story is completely true.) As I age, I routinely am reminded that my body – and my brain – are slowing declining. I will never again grace the cover of People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive issue, and I’m pretty, were I to have my IQ re-evaluated, it would no longer be anywhere near 250.

Not long ago, I was looking at a small, furry rodent nibbling at something in a park – a type of critter we’ve all seen before. Small with brown stripes and an adorable button nose, kind of like a squirrel but browner and smaller. For the life of me, I could not think of the name. A total brain freeze. Then the next day, sitting with my wife on the couch, it hit me and reflexively, I blurted out CHIPMUNK! Naturally, my wife was startled, and more than a little confused, as that has never been one of my pet names for her.

Last month, I walked into our garage to retrieve something. But by the time I got there and turned on the light, I had no recollection of why I went there in the first place. And then there was the time last week, when I logged into Netflix on my computer and it asked for my password. Something I have done a thousand times. But in that instant I had another deer-in-the-headlights moment, completely blanking out as to my password.

What makes this even crazier is that my password for every website is the same: SmellyButt#1776. And just moments ago, I have this vivid memory of having shared my universal password with anyone reading this article. So, enjoy my Netflix account, everybody, I guess.

What was I thinking? Clearly, I wasn’t. And that brings me to the point of this article. It’s about what happened the other day. Consider the following Exhibit A in the case that I must be losing my mind.

Ever since I turned 45, I have worn glasses. All the time – except when I’m sleeping, and even then, sometimes I go to bed and forget to take them off. I entered the local IGA grocery store, wearing my glasses and, of course, wearing a mask due to Covid. (At least I remembered to wear a mask this time.)

As often happens when I wear a mask, my glasses began to fog up. So I pushed my glasses onto my forehead so I could see, and I continued with my shopping. After about 20 minutes of shopping, I placed my hand to my forehead. That’s when I noticed, oh crap! My glasses were no longer on my forehead. So, I retraced my steps from the previous 20 minutes, reversing the path I had taken, as best as my faulty memory could recall.

I should add that my glasses’ frames are clear, so they would easily disappear into the floor, making them a particularly vulnerable target for any shopping cart or shoe. After 30 minutes of searching high and low (but mostly low, since I assumed they were on the floor and not on the top shelf of the candy aisle), I gave up. They were nowhere to be found.

I went up to one of the cashiers and asked if anyone had turned in a pair of glasses. “I do have a pair of glasses, sir. Could these be yours?” he asked. But, even without my glasses, I could immediately tell they were not mine, as mine had clear frames and the ones he showed me were pink, with what looked to be a Hello Kitty design. “Thanks anyway, but no, those aren’t mine. I guess I will keep looking.”

Then another friendly young cashier chimed in. “Could you describe them? Do they look anything like the pair you’re currently wearing?”

I felt my face. There they were. I had been wearing them the entire time. At some point, I must have absentmindedly pulled my glasses down to inspect a package and forgot to push them back onto my forehead. I turned red with embarrassment and immediately proceeded to issue a loud public announcement for all around me to hear, “Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to bring your attention to the biggest idiot in the entire store – That would be ME!” (I actually said it. What’s more, no one refuted it.)

What happened to me came eerily close to a children’s story I told to my then-toddler daughter Rachel, who loved wearing her furry white winter hat everywhere. (No, this is not my daughter. Rachel was way cuter.)

What happened to me came eerily close to a children’s story I told to my then-toddler daughter Rachel, who loved wearing her furry white winter hat everywhere. (No, this is not my daughter. Rachel was way cuter.)

What makes this story even more ironic is that when my two daughters were young, I often made up bedtime stories for them. My favorite such story was one I told my daughter Rachel when she was just three years old called Rachel and Her Missing White Hat. The story I wove was about Rachel’s favorite white winter hat that she loved so much she wore it everywhere.

But one day she could not find it and, as I yarned in my meandering story, she looked everywhere:  throughout the house, all over her school, at the farm, and yes, even the grocery store. She could not find her favorite hat anywhere, I would tell her – UNTIL she finally looked in the mirror, and, voila! It had been on her head the entire time.

So, there I was, in the grocery store, literally re-enacting the very children’s story I had told to my toddler at bedtime countless times.

They say that as you get older, you start to revert to your childhood. I didn’t realize they meant it quite so literally.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

PS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook.

Subscribe to my new View from the Bleachers YouTube Channel and request notifications to see my latest videos.

© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2021.

Judge Tim’s Court is Now in Session

Judge Tim’s Court is Now in Session

I’m excited to announce my latest career move: Replacing Judge Judy, who recently stepped down from The People’s Court. Pray to God you don’t have to appear before me. I’m a ruthless judge. I have a lot of scores to settle and a very long memory.

I’m excited to announce my latest career move: Replacing Judge Judy, who recently stepped down from The People’s Court. Pray to God you don’t have to appear before me. I’m a ruthless judge. I have a lot of scores to settle and a very long memory.

Recently, I decided to retire from my four-decades-long career in sales management. As you know, I’m not one to boast about my many lofty career achievements. but I humbly admit that I was extremely gifted at building and leading successful, high-performing sales organizations (if you ignore the input of my former bosses or any of my sales reps or HR Directors who had to deal with the litany of complaints they received from my sales reps and bosses).

I was preparing to retire to a simpler life of afternoon naps and watching reruns of Modern Family, when I read some shocking news. I learned that after 25 years and 12,500 episodes, Judge Judith Sheindlin, better known as Judge Judy, recently decided to call it quits. She would soon bang her last gavel on the long-running hit daytime show, The People’s Court.

I began to wonder anxiously: Who would fill the tremendous void left by Judge Judy’s departure? Would America start to descend into lawlessness, violence, and debauchery? More importantly,  What would I do to fill my time between 4 and 5pm on weekdays?

Then it hit me. Of course! Call off the search for the next Judge Judy. Because there was one person uniquely qualified to take her place. And that person was staring back at me in the mirror. I would be the natural jurist to fill Judge Judy’s shoes (unless she wore high heels, in which case, having to wear pumps would be a deal breaker).

What are my credentials, you ask? Too many to count. I went to Ohio State University’s law school, where I finished in the top 99% of my class. I also took three years of Latin in high school, and I remembered that judges use tons of obscure Latin phrases in their decisions, like Quid Pro Quo and Res Judicata. I have no idea what either of these mean, but that’s never stopped me from using them in the past.

During law school, I had a part-time job as a conciliation mediator working for the Small Claims Court of the Franklin County, Ohio Municipal Court System and my job was to attempt to persuade complainants to settle their claims out of court. I did a phenomenal job. In fact, I had the highest case settlement record in the court’s history. And there is no way my supervisor would dispute my claim because that was 40 years ago, and I’m pretty sure he died a while back.

Another reason I’m the logical successor to JJ is because I was in my high school’s theatrical production of Inherit the Wind, a play about the famous Scopes Monkey Trial. I was cast in the role of Matthew Harrison Brady, the prosecutor in the trial.

Again, pardon me if I sound immodest, but my performance was Oscar-worthy. My drama teacher Art Green said about my performance, and I quote, “Tim’s performance was at times erratic, and I don’t think he quite grasped the motivation of his character. He felt the need to hog the spotlight every chance he got. Tim would be a natural, um…lighting crew assistant.” 

Stop, Mr. Green. Stop! You’re giving me a swelled head! But perhaps most importantly, The People’s Court wouldn’t even have to buy me a judge’s robe, because I already have one (as proven by the photo above), which I bought for a Halloween party in 1994. It still fits me – if I don’t have a big meal before trial.

So, now that we’ve agreed I’m the obvious choice, you can start calling me Judge Tim – once my official judicial confirmation is approved by the U.S. Senate. I’ve got some, let’s just say, “embarrassing dirt” on Senate Majority Leader Schumer, so my confirmation is pretty much assured.

Here is a small sampling of the cases I plan to hear, as soon as I can locate my gavel (which I stole from the set of Inherit the Wind in high school, but please don’t tell the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee):

The case against Mary Spivey, who, in my freshman year at UVa, agreed to go out on a date with me when we were matched by a computer date matching service, only to have our first (and last) date end after 30 minutes, when an irate guy interrupted our date to inform me that, unbeknownst to me, he and Mary were engaged (true). Judge Tim doesn’t get mad. He gets even. Mary, I’ve ordered UVa’s registrar to update your final college transcript and change your impressive 3.9 GPA to a shameful 1.9. And just like that, your grandkids will lose all respect for you.

Why am I so sure I’ll be selected as the next judge on The People’s Court? Because I played the prosecutor in my high school’s production of Inherit the Wind. That’s me on the right as Matthew Harrison Brady. At left, my classmate, Arman Williams, who bore a vague resemblance to Spencer Tracy. Amazing makeup jobs, if you ask me.

Why am I so sure I’ll be selected as the next judge on The People’s Court? Because I played the prosecutor in my high school’s production of Inherit the Wind. That’s me on the right as Matthew Harrison Brady. At left, my classmate, Arman Williams, who bore a vague resemblance to Spencer Tracy. Amazing makeup jobs, if you ask me.

The case against my three college dormmates who pranked me one time by putting up deeply embarrassing posters of me all over campus. Sure, I laughed and pretended it was hilarious. Maybe you will all be in stitches when you see the punishment I’ll be doling out to you. Hope you like Mexican prisons.

The case against that Nazi storm trooper cop who issued me a ticket for going three miles an hour UNDER the speed limit. Kneel before me when you enter my courtroom, you pathetic little man, and hand me your badge.

The case against my neighbor for borrowing my weed whacker and never returning it. No wait, now I remember. Actually, I borrowed it from HIM, and then I lost it. Okay, I’ll go easy on him, I guess.

And finally, the case against Donald Trump for having taken years off my life, causing me to scream at my TV on a daily basis for the past six years, and raising my blood pressure to dangerous levels. Donald, Judge Tim would be happy to build that wall you keep ranting about, you petulant man child. But that won’t be necessary. I’ve already made all the arrangements. Your beautiful, insurmountable wall is waiting for you – at Sing Sing Correctional Facility.

It appears I’m going to have a full docket, I must say. I assure you, I will be a fair judge, committed to justice. And I will only accept cash bribes if I have a particularly large credit card bill coming due that month.

Wait a minute. I just read that Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer might step down in the upcoming year. Maybe I should turn down The People’s Court gig and put my name in for Breyer’s job. After all, these guys only work 26 weeks a year and they only hear cases on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. Talk about a cushy gig. Yeah, given my marginal work ethic these days, that job sounds more up my alley.

Court adjourned!

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

PS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook.

Subscribe to my new View from the Bleachers YouTube Channel and request notifications to see my latest videos.© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2022

Surviving Christmas Dinner with Relatives

Surviving Christmas Dinner with Relatives

It’s Christmas dinner, a time of giving thanks and sharing good food and stories with your family, and occasionally with some quirky relatives who make things, well, let’s just say, interesting.

It’s Christmas dinner, a time of giving thanks and sharing good food and stories with your family, and occasionally with some quirky relatives who make things, well, let’s just say, interesting.

The weather is getting colder. The hours of daylight are rapidly waning. And Costco has inflatable eight-foot Snow Globes on sale (although in full disclosure, these went on sale in early September). The holiday season is officially upon us.

An important tradition is the family Christmas dinner with loved ones, and, sometimes with not-so-loved ones, by which I mean your cranky, Fox News-watching, conspiracy-theory-loving Uncle Howard, who announces three days before Christmas that he’ll be joining you for the feast, even though you didn’t actually invite him.

Unfortunately, all too often the sumptuous Christmas repast can be accompanied by heightened tensions as we struggle to avoid getting sucked into a heated argument with relatives who are oblivious of their behavior. If you’re anxious about the impending arrival of Uncle Howard, who will most likely be carrying a half-consumed case of Budweiser, don’t despair. It’s going to be okay. You’ll get through this in one piece, I promise.

When Uncle Howard makes his grand entrance two hours late with Carlotta, his latest practically-prepubescent fling, on his arm, be sure to greet them with a polite hug. Try to ignore their matching red MAGA hats – and the large tabby cat draped around Carlotta’s neck. You might want to lock Otto, your schnauzer, in the basement, lest his very strong prey instinct kick in and he chase the kitty around everyone’s feet.

Remember, above all else, DO NOT BRING UP POLITICS! When Howard snipes, “So, who did you vote for, for president in 2020,?” just smile, say, “There was an election in 2020? Who knew?” and quickly change the subject.

When all are seated around the festive table, take this opportunity to fan the flames of familial bonding by sharing how your wife has helped you to become a better husband. Well done. You could not possibly have guessed that Howard would use words of harmonious wedded bliss to torch his ex: “Speaking of wives, my ex totally cleaned me out in the divorce. And now she wants my house. Over my dead body…” Okay, maybe you should have foreseen that one. Time to change the subject – again.

I recommend football. What balding senior citizen with a hot young girlfriend doesn’t like to brag about his knowledge of sports. So, you open with, “Hey, looks like another rebuilding year for the Seahawks, eh?” Who knew Howard’s comeback would be, “Nah, pro football has been ruined for me – ever since all those Negroes showed their hatred for America by refusing to stand for our National Anthem.” I know what you’re thinking – did he just say “Negroes?” Bite your tongue.

Okay, so talking sports was a bad idea. You need to find an innocuous topic that no one can argue about. Ah…the weather. Conversation doesn’t get blander than that. You causally mention, “I hear we may get six inches of snow today. Looks like we might have a white Christmas after all.” But to your dismay, Uncle H storms back, “Gonna snow? See, I told you snowflakes that global warming is a hoax. All this hysteria about climate change is just liberal propaganda. I know because Sean Hannity says so.”

Okay, I’ll admit, I didn’t see that one coming either. Still, it’ll be fine. Deep breaths. Deep, deep breaths. Just then, the doorbell rings. Who could that be? To your great surprise, it’s your cousin Claire with her new wife, Monica. “Hey, Couz! We happened to be in the neighborhood and thought we’d stop by. Are we too late for chow?” What could possibly go wrong now?

As the gracious host you are, you welcome your unexpected guests to join in the gaiety. Out of left field – or rather, far right field – Howard walks up to Monica, smiles and remarks, “Howdy, girls. You know, 90% of lesbians are witches. You’re both gonna burn in Hell. But in the meantime, Merry Christmas. Or do you not celebrate the birth of our savior?” Looking back at you, he smirks, adding, “Or am I required to say, ‘Happy Holidays’ so I don’t offend all your liberal friends’ feelings in their communist War on Christmas?”

One thing that can create some anxiety at Christmas is the arrival of the unexpected relative who’s far more delighted to see you than you are to see them. No worries. What could possibly go wrong?

One thing that can create some anxiety at Christmas is the arrival of the unexpected relative who’s far more delighted to see you than you are to see them. No worries. What could possibly go wrong?

Somehow you are able to corral everybody back to the dinner table, making last-minute strategic seating alterations. Calm seems to have returned.

You gather everyone in your gaze and suggest each person share what they’re grateful for at this special time of year. You set an excellent example by observing, “I am thankful for my family, our good health, and our lovely home. We are so blessed.” Nice try. Then Uncle Howard chimes in, “I’m thankful Carlotta is way hotter than my nasty ex-wife. And I’m thankful to God for choosing Donald Trump to be our greatest president ever. And once his Supreme Court proves the election was stolen, he’ll lock up Biden, Obama, and Hillary.”

Things quickly unravel. Everybody starts shouting. Claire angrily hurls a dinner roll that hits Howard smack in the eye. Monica accidentally steps on Carlotta’s cat, who lets out a blood-curdling MEEOOOOWW!!!!. This sets off a barking frenzy by Otto, which startles Grandma, who jumps up from her wheelchair, accidentally knocking over the candelabra, which sets the tablecloth on fire. That activates the sprinkler system, completely ruining your wife’s new dress and expensive coiffure.

Baby Sally starts wailing, which further terrifies the cat, which suddenly hurls itself through the kitchen window, followed by Otto, who you did not know could leap that high. All of which amuses your kids to no end, as they laugh hysterically.

Claire screams something about Howard being a disgusting racist pig, to which Howard yells back, “At least I won’t burn in hell for being a commie lesbian!” Christmas with the relatives has descended into total pandemonium. When the smoke alarm starts trilling, you merely shake your head as you realize your apple pie in the oven is now toast.

Let’s face it. Despite your best efforts, your family Christmas dinner has  turned into a Chernobyl-level meltdown. And that’s not even counting the 150 stitches the cat and dog needed for their acrobatics, smashing through the kitchen window. To avoid another disaster next holiday, I suggest you seriously consider entering the Witness Protection Program, so none of your relatives can locate your address. Sure, that may sound drastic. But it’s either that or listening to Uncle Howard’s tirade at the next family gathering about how the COVID pandemic was a Chinese hoax, and the vaccine is a nefarious plot by Anthony Fauci to kill conservatives with micro-chips.

Good luck. I hear Montana is a nice place to start a new life.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

PS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook.

© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2021

[Photos are stills from the 1989 film National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.]

My Lame Utah National Parks Vacation

My Lame Utah National Parks Vacation

These are the “Mighty Five” national parks of Utah. We recently visited all of them and hiked…. and hiked… and hiked… and hiked…. You get the picture. This is my expert review of these five highly over-rated parks.

These are the “Mighty Five” national parks of Utah. We recently visited all of them and hiked…. and hiked… and hiked… and hiked…. You get the picture. This is my expert review of these five highly over-rated parks.

I don’t want to sound negative, but my recent two-week vacation visiting all five of Utah’s national parks was, well, disappointing. I was utterly unimpressed. Utah contains five national parks that they call The Mighty Five: Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon and Zion – or as I prefer to call them, The Forget ‘Em Five.

My wife and I went with two other very nice couples. They all seemed to have a great time. But I can only conclude that it’s because they never get out much. What sad, pathetic lives they must lead. I sure hope they’re not subscribers to this blog.

Here’s what we did: We hiked – I mean, EVERY SINGLE DAY – for hours at a time. Every day, out of the hotel by 7:30am to start trudging over rocks and in between trees, in search of well, rocks and trees.

Over the course of a three-hour hike, one gets a bit parched. And yet not a single one of the “Mighty Five” had a Starbucks – I know this for a fact, because I asked hikers coming from the other direction “How far to the Starbucks” and every one of them looked at me like I was deranged.

Here is my takeaway review of the five national parks:

Arches National Park: If you like reddish-brown rocks and a handful of crumbling arches, then you’ve come to the right place. But seriously, you might want to see a doctor first, because, what’s wrong with you? And the arches are not even that good – with several of them revealing large chunks where part of the arch has given way. And they don’t even let you jump on them or ride your scooter across them.

Canyonlands National Park: Lots more of those reddish-brown rocks, which my artiste wife was constantly correcting me by saying “they’re actually the color of burnt sienna.” Thanks, sweetie. This place also has no shortage of rather large crevices, which once again my wife constantly pointed out were more appropriately known as “canyons.” Whatever. Same difference.

If you like seeing a giant hole in the ground, then be sure to check out… The GRAND CANYON INSTEAD. Because, honestly, this place totally copies the Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon that we know of today was formed roughly seventy million years ago – a full ten million years before the formation of Utah’s Canyonlands. So, they had TEN MILLION years to come up with something unique and different. But no, they just had to plagiarize another national park. Talk about mailing it in.

Capitol Reef National Park: If you’d like to visit a landscape that feels like the surface of Mars, but with Big Horn Sheep, this park might be to your liking. But if you ask me, don’t waste your time – unless you have a Big Horn Sheep fetish, in which case, I don’t want to know about it.

Thinking of going to Canyonland, Arches or Bryce? Save your money and go to Disney World instead. Take the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad ride (seen here). The scenery is the same, plus your train goes through a splash zone. A much better value.

Thinking of going to Canyonland, Arches or Bryce? Save your money and go to Disney World instead. Take the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad ride (seen here). The scenery is the same, plus your train goes through a splash zone. A much better value.

Oh sure, Capitol Ree’s environs look other-worldly, much like Mars. But I saw the Matt Damon movie, The Martian three times, so I think I know what the surface of Mars looks like. (It looks like Capitol Reef.) So, this park is just copying the look and feel of that movie. I hope Matt Damon sues you for millions.

Bryce Canyon National Park: This park is filled with a unique rock formation called “Hoodoos.” The hoodoos all had the same color: Orange. Bright flaming orange. Here’s an idea – why not try adding ANY OTHER COLOR BESIDES ORANGE? Perhaps a pinch of purple or mauve?

The rock formations reminded me of the Terra Cotta Army of Xi’an, China. Only the Xi’an exhibit has far more places to sit down and signs explaining what you’re looking at. My advice? Check out the China exhibit instead.

Zion National Park: This was the last of the five parks we saw. Like the other four, this place was another one-trick pony, with canyons, switchback trails, and crumbling rock formations. (Okay, so technically, that would make it a three-trick pony.)

The food selection at Zion, like most of the parks, was extremely limited. All it offered were Big Horn Sheep, Mule Deer, and chipmunks – which you have to kill and prepare yourself. And let me tell you, the chipmunks were disappointingly gamey.

There, I just saved you five thousand dollars in airfare, hotels, meals, and Smokey the Bear stuffed animals for your kids. No need to thank me.

In all of these parks, which range in altitude from 4,000 to 8,000 feet – the trails all have two things in common: First, they often are right at the edge of a daunting sheer cliff with a 2,000 footdrop-off straight down. And second, there are virtually no railings anywhere. Apparently the National Park Service has concluded that if someone’s enough of an idiot to take a selfie perched on the ledge of one of their precarious cliffs, they deserve what’s coming to them.

When the group wanted a break from hiking – which for me was after about 15 minutes – we took some side trips to investigate dinosaur tracks and pictographs. The dinosaur tracks turned out to be giant paw prints left from some 65 to 125 million years ago. If you looked really closely, you could almost make out ambiguous blobular impressions in the rock that looked nothing like dinosaur prints. What am I missing here? The high point of my dinosaur tracks exploration was when our rental car got stuck in the mud, and I had to push us out. So, yeah, I guess that’s a story I can embellish and tell my grandkids someday about how I save our car and its five passengers from sliding off a 2,000 foot cliff.

Pictographs are ancient paintings in the rock made between 1,000 and 2,000 years ago. Most of the ones we saw looked like space aliens or antelopes painted in reddish brown, I mean burnt sienna, on the sides of cliffs. If you ask me, these drawings are basically just primitive graffiti. Those ancients really had a good PR machine, I guess.

Zion has one cool trail called Angel’s Canyon, which is so treacherous that every year a couple of idiot hikers fall off the cliffside trail to their death. So, I have to give Zion style points for that. Pretty intense.

Zion has one cool trail called Angel’s Canyon, which is so treacherous that every year a couple of idiot hikers fall off the cliffside trail to their death. So, I have to give Zion style points for that. Pretty intense.

I don’t get the whole national parks allure. I guess if you’re into meandering through some of the most stunning scenery you’ll ever find on our planet, then sure, go ahead and check out Utah’s national parks. But it’s just not my sort of thing. That’s because there are no benches for resting, very few signs, and good luck finding an espresso bar – or even a snack machine – anywhere along the trail.

I’d have to say my favorite place we hiked during our tour of Utah’s national parks was our final night – when we reached Vegas. There Michele and I made one final trek – down the famous Vegas Strip to see the Bellagio’s towering fountains, as we listened to them roar to the sound of classical music. Ah, so mesmerizing – and not a canyon or ancient volcano to be seen. The volcano’s two doors down at the Mirage.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

PS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook.

Subscribe to my new View from the Bleachers YouTube Channel and request notifications to see my latest videos.

© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2021

The Burden of Being a Good Sport

The Burden of Being a Good Sport

If you look up “Good Sport” in the dictionary, it should simply show a photo of me getting hit with a cream pie, then smiling afterwards and saying, “Man, you guys got me. Well played.” It’s a part of my quirky personality and the reason my kids refuse to be seen with me.

If you look up “Good Sport” in the dictionary, it should simply show a photo of me getting hit with a cream pie, then smiling afterwards and saying, “Man, you guys got me. Well played.” It’s a part of my quirky personality and the reason my kids refuse to be seen with me.

I’m not the most handsome man in the world, nor the smartest, nor the most successful at business. But there is one area where I shine: I’m a good sport. I can take a practical joke in stride, laugh it off, and not seek revenge (most of the time).

Throughout my entire adult life, friends and co-workers have delighted in pulling practical jokes on me or otherwise looking for ways to thrust me into embarrassing situations. They know I‘ll laugh along with everyone else at my very public humiliation. I really don’t really mind. I believe that they’d never attempt these stunts if they didn’t like me. Or maybe they viewed me as an easy mark. Yeah, now that I process this further, the latter explanation is starting to make a lot more sense to me.

Ladies and gentlemen: the stories you are about to hear are true. Only the names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent.

In my freshman year at UVa, my dormmates signed me up for a computer dating event without my knowledge. I was understandably mystified to receive a letter that I had a date scheduled for Friday evening, since my social calendar was wide open from September through the end of Spring semester. I donned a suit and tie and went to the dance to meet my mystery match.

30 minutes into our first (and this may surprise you, our LAST) date, this guy storms in, gets in my face, and shouts, “That’s my fiancé, buddy. This date is over.” Apparently, the two were indeed engaged and thought it would be fun to see who they each got matched up with. Lucky me. I just wish I had had the presence of mind to have a snappy comeback like, “Hey buddy, she may be your fiancé but tonight she’s MY date. So take a number.” Several hilarious snappy comebacks would come to mind after our aborted date. But I didn’t say anything in the moment because, um, I was a good sport.

I was pretty OCD about grades in college, and often pulled all-nighters to cram for final exams. After one such ordeal, I came back to the apartment and collapsed on the couch. I was dead to the world when my roommates (Larry, Assad, and Bill) hovered over me and clapped loudly. As I came to in a fright, they snapped a photo. Ok, ha ha.

Well, two weeks later, I find Larry, Assad, and Bill huddled around our 13” black & white TV. They appeared rivetted. I asked what was so newsworthy on this lame cable channel at 3pm on a Thursday. Bill answered with earnest, “Tim, you gotta check this out. This station has some fantastic programming.” Intrigued, I peered over his shoulder as every 10 seconds a new screen would appear announcing local matters of no import. “These guys need to get a life,” I mused.

I always wanted to be on television – just not looking like this. Maybe some Hollywood agent would catch this program and offer me a comic gig with Jim Carrey.

I always wanted to be on television – just not looking like this. Maybe some Hollywood agent would catch this program and offer me a comic gig with Jim Carrey.

Then came a series of birthday announcements featuring images of adorable young children with messages like, “Happy Birthday, Melody Bishop, age 7” and “Birthday Wishes to Amy Johnson, age 5” followed by… “Happy Birthday, Timmy Jones, age 20.”

Staring back at me was the photo my roomies had taken after my all-nighter. I looked like a crazed serial killer, eyes maniacal, pointing at my next victim. The guys at the station evidently loved the photo because they continued to air my birthday message for three weeks. But I laughed because that’s what good sports do.

College was truly a training ground for me in becoming a really good sport. One morning while heading to classes, I noticed a giant 3’ x 2’ poster plastered to our mailboxes, with another extremely unflattering photo of ME!  Beneath my visage was a disquieting headline:

COME HEAR TIM “BARFY” JONES LECTURE STUDENTS AND FACULTY ON ICE CANDLES AND SNOW PICNICS AND THEIR EFFECT ON THE OUTER COSMOS. Tuesday night, 7pm at Wilson Hall.

My roomies were pranking me again – and they were just getting started. At my first class – a 300-seat lecture hall – this same giant poster was plastered on all the walls and even on the professor’s lectern. Same thing for my next class, and  the next… you get the point. Even the hallways were covered with this same mortifying poster. I vividly remember sitting behind two girls who were staring at the poster commenting, “This guy looks like a dork. What a freak show!” Well played, roomies.

In grad school, my girlfriend pulled a most unexpected prank for my birthday. She came to my apartment, handed me a rabbit, shouted “Happy Birthday!” and walked away. I thought, “Somebunny’s pulling my leg,” only it wasn’t a joke. The rabbit really was her birthday gift. (Rabbit cage, food and $600 in subsequent vet’s bills not included.) My relationship with this rabbit would continue three years longer than that with my soon-to-be ex-girlfriend.

This is exactly how I felt each time I had to dunk myself in the icy cold fountain, for a worthy cause. Great fun. And I found my subsequent pneumonia to be hysterical.

This is exactly how I felt each time I had to dunk myself in the icy cold fountain, for a worthy cause. Great fun. And I found my subsequent pneumonia to be hysterical.

My reputation for being a good sport followed me into the working world. During a United Way fundraising campaign, my boss signed me up for the “Dollars for Dunking” event. Every time someone donated $100, I would take a plunge into an outdoor fountain – in January – in a suit and tie. Let me just say, fundraising records were broken that day.

But nothing will quite match my ultimate indignity – the time my (formerly) dear friend Mark volunteered me to assist a street magician with his act. The fellow needed a sucker for his grand finale, which sadly wasn’t to make me disappear. That would have been a far less humiliating outcome.

As the performer scanned the crowd of 500, Mark thrust my hand high and shouted, “Tim will do it!”. What ensued was nothing short of a stripping of my dignity – and apparel. I was helpless as this street performer coaxed me into removing first my shoes, then socks, shirt, undershirt, pants…until all that remained to cover my nearly naked body were my tighty-whities. The crowd went wild, chanting, “Take it off, Tim.”  To find out whether I ultimately succumbed to their wild pleas, you’ll just have to read the full story here.

Being a good sport has defined my nature throughout life. I really have not minded all the embarrassment – and occasional humiliation – inflicted by supposed friends and obviously jealous co-workers. After all, it just means they like me…. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

PS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook.

Subscribe to my new View from the Bleachers YouTube Channel and request notifications to see my latest videos.

© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2021. Edited by Betsy Jones.