Monday, October 11, 2004

Life Changes

Flashback to 1986: The coach of the freshman baseball team at Southwest High School commented that I was the best catcher he'd ever seen at that level. I loved playing baseball and dreamed I was going to someday be a major leaguer. WRONG!! Two problems. Number one, I truly lacked anything close to the ability to play at that level (very average arm, average hitting ability at the high school level). Number two, as if it mattered after number one, I tried so hard to prove my ability my junior year that I blew out my arm, tried to play through it, and messed up my throwing motion. I was never a starter again after that.

Forward a couple of years to 1989: Ok, so I don't have a future as a baseball player. That wasn't realistic anyway. I'm going to write computer games. I love computers and computer games (that's right, I was a computer geek). I'll make millions writing hot video games that sell like crazy. So I major in computer science at The University of Texas. Problem is, I soon learn that I really don't like sequestering myself in a computer lab for several days and nights on end with little human interaction, and what there is I can't relate to at all. It's just not me. But I'm still fascinated by technology, so I stick with it. My grades reflect my lack of true passion, as I graduate with a 2.71 GPA. No job at Microsoft for me (although I thought the interview went well, I never heard from them after sending my transcript - strange).

Flash forward 10 years: So I've never written video games, much less a blockbuster that made me millions. I stuck with computers, moving through several jobs when the market was hot, watching the dot-com craze but never truly joining the fray. In June of 2002 I married my soul mate and bought a house. Two months later I went back to school to get my MBA. Two years further down the road, my wife and I are trying to have a kid through in vitro fertilization, we're attempting to get equal visitation rights to her two beautiful daughters from a previous marriage, and I'm wrapping up my MBA and looking for a career change. I still have many high hopes and dreams, and I'm as happy as I've ever been, but damn it's funny how reality will slap you around every once in a while.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Why I'm Like I Am

THUMP! Even I heard the sickening sound of the baseball smashing into my head just above my left temple. Seems our mind detaches a bit from our body at times like these, perhaps to distance from the pain. So there I was having an out-of-body experience, thinking “I gotta get up to show Dad that I’m ok”, but my body wouldn’t cooperate. I couldn’t move at all. Then my dad, the assistant coach, and several players loomed over me, all asking at once if I was ok. Course, I couldn’t move, and I found I couldn’t talk either. This scared me immensely. Just then my brain dropped back into my body, pain shot through me, and I could move and speak again. This “paralysis” lasted only about ten seconds, but I remember the feeling to this day, about twenty years later. However, I’m a little fuzzy on the rest of the details afterwards. I think I sat out of the rest of practice that day – that would certainly seem to make sense, but then again I always tried to be tough, so who knows. By the next morning, I had a fierce headache that made me wonder who’d snuck into my bedroom the night before and smacked me on the head with a hammer, and my neck was so sore that I couldn’t turn my head more than an inch in either direction without feeling that my head was ripping from my neck. My friends found this very funny, especially when they’d walk up behind me in the halls at school and yell “Todd!” at the top of their lungs, causing me to involuntarily try to whip my head around and see who was yelling and why. “AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!” I’d scream as I collapsed and curled into the fetal position on the ground rocking back and forth (slight exaggeration for effect) while they laughed uproariously. This went on for about two weeks until the pain subsided. But in the end I suffered no lasting ill effects – at least that’s what the leprechauns that live in my sock drawer tell me.