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2018: In The Rearview Mirror

(originally written 12/30/18)

(note: this blog will contain no references to loony bins, knives, shrinks, or hospitals, though there is one pill reference. I feel I've done those topics to dea--uh, done those topics enough.)

When I reflect on the year 2018, I'll likely remember it as the year I basically let myself go physically.
I was hanging in there til about June. Still walked whenever I could. Still hooped once or twice per week. Still rode the bike regularly. Was still overweight, but at least I was in half-decent condition.

Until the backaches hit.
It had been a few years since the ol' spine had caused me any problems, but it didn't take too well to the newfound bulk I was asking it to lug around this year. The result? Shorter basketball sessions, which gradually diminished to zero basketball sessions. I've hooped three times since the end of June, and the body that could last 30 straight minutes of full court hoops 18 months ago wouldn't even survive three minutes right now.

It'd be easy to blame my physical troubles on age, but as my buddy Vu correctly explained, there are people twice my age gettin' it done—38 really isn't that old.

Not helping matters: in 2018, my ex moved from San Jose to Los Banos, meaning long drives to pick up my kid. And on those long drives, I'd often consume convenient-but-unhealthy meals to stay alert. (But it's a really nice house and neighborhood, I must say, even if nobody gives out Halloween candy.)

In 2018, I rediscovered PlayStation baseball. It had been nearly a decade since I played it regularly, but thanks to Paul's generosity I'm once again on a mission to take the virtual Giants to the World Series. That mission currently sits at 10 straight losses and a 36-42 record...but I remain optimistic.
Speaking of Paul, possibly the best three hours of 2018 came in August when half my visit was spent goofing around with his three-year-old booger Layla. As I’ve always said, there’s no better feeling than when a child loves you, cuz they can’t fake that s---.
(Later that night, my knees allowed me to actually trampoline. Without breaking any knees OR trampolines!)

In June, after the Golden State Warriors won their third title in four years, I downed about 60 Zoloft and finally attended their championship parade in person, along with Josie and my cousin Ricardo. Ultimately it was slightly disappointing since our viewing spot was partially obscured by an NBC3 Bay Area van slightly smaller than Atlantis, but we did witness a few elevated Warriors behaving like inebriated children, so there's that.

In October, I became sort of a step-grandpa—one of my ex's daughters gave birth to little P.J., leaving me to wonder how I'd have been addressed were his granny and I still a union. "Grampa Joe?" Uh, no offense kid, but hell to the naw.

Also in October, the mom of my friend Fleazoe (aka Munky Munky) passed away far too young. I'm still in disbelief. She was always nice to me, even gave me rides home for a time back in high school. S--- ain't fair.

In August, I absorbed some of the loudest screaming man has ever produced when Josie was stung on the foot by a bee. As revenge for hurting my child, I didn't give him his stinger back. Heh, heh, heh.

In July, I met and shook the hand of A’s broadcaster Ken Korach, who I’ve long been a fan of. He probably took me for a babbling special-needs weirdo, but he was kind enough to sign my copy of his book anyway. Class guy, Hall of Fame-worthy IMHO.

If you read my 2017: ITRVM blog, you may remember one of my goals for that year—getting back in touch with movies and popular music, crappy as most of it may be. This year? I didn't even try to keep up. As a result, I recognized exactly two songs in DJ Earworm's annual Top 25 mashup.
In 2018, I realized I can't stand one of Josie's friends and banished him from our lives. That may sound harsh, but remember: you haven't MET him or his idiot family. And while I'm at it, the neighbor's crappy beast-dog still didn't die despite my intense and pointed wishing. Before you call me a monster, remember: YOU HAVEN'T MET HIM.

In 2018 my Niners sucked, my Giants sucked slightly less, and so far this year my Warriors have disappointed. That doesn't mean it was a lost sports year—the Dodgers lost the World Series. AGAIN. Proving how much they stink and that all the awful rumors—that I spread—about them are probably true.

In 2018, I powered up my friendship with the Bonilla family. Ryan, was great being in regular contact again. I love your kids too, even the unborn one.

Late in 2018, my mom became the unintentional semi-owner of a stray cat that hung around her parking lot and charmed meals out of her (and at least two neighbors). Before long, "Cottonfluff" was inviting herself inside my mom's place—Josie and I grew fond of the kitty as well, and we all successfully worked to find her a permanent indoor home. 

(I'm told that jealous feral cats showed up the next night and bitched my mom out, because with Cottonfluff gone they can't steal her food. Oh, well, screw them.)

Speaking of pets, in June I realized I could no longer handle the responsibility of goldfish care after our oldest, Floppy, died due to my negligence. Though it sucked to do so, I donated my remaining fish to the local aquarium, where at least I know they’ll get cared for properly.


Perhaps the best decisions I made all year were to give up Reddit and the Rob, Arnie and Dawn show. To summarize, they left me feeling unwarranted contempt for society. And that's no way to live; the crapbags and injustice in the world may dominate the headlines, but I know from personal 2018 experience how warm the human heart can be, and how far kindness can reach.

Bless you all for that, friends and fams. You kept me going through a tough time. I owe you my best going forward.

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