Saturday, January 18, 2014

Here comes the Misery!

This year, the poorly thought out slogan of the Edmonton hockey club is "Here come the Oilers!"  Here they come, alright.  And there they go, straight down.  Down, down.

Pronger kissed this city goodbye and the good times fell asleep.  We wake up every few years to believe that the dream is over, only to see that it's a trick, and the nightmare, it seems, will never, ever end.  Freddie Kruger is real and he lives under your TV.

The team began the tumble down the mountain in 2006.  It rolled down, through FA pickups and the revolving door of gritty something or others.  Joffery Lupul, Peter Sykora, and Eric Cole came and went.  Sheldon Souray was not quite "Oiler" enough.  Dany Heatley just couldn't bring himself to do it.  The list goes on and on.  Band aids on a gushing hemorrhage.

The team rolled all the way down the mountain and passed through the Valley of the Shadow of Death down a dark hole.  And it just keeps on tumbling down into the depths of what just might be H.E. double hockey sticks.

The flames are hot.  The agony seemingly never ending.

Where are we?
What happened?
Game 5.   Pisani.

It truly seems like a dream.  That team had a kid on it named Hemsky, who is now the veteran that everyone is hoping will be traded away for... anything... anything but his no heart attitude.

Kevin Lowe is now a dirty word.  I wonder what he's thinking right now.  When your job is to develop a good hockey team, what goes through your mind when you have not done your job for 7 years?

Tambellini seemed like he was purposely trying to ruin this team into top draft picks.  He took great pride when his shining moment arrived every year for 3 years in a row.  He smiled his sweaty smile and announced to the world how proud he was to select Taylor Hall.  How much of an honour it was for him to select RNH.  How special it was to select the Russian.  What an amazing feeling it was to be the worst team in hockey for almost a decade.  The laughing stock of the league.

The jokes about the Oilers continued on for years until it got boring; boring and sad.  The Oilers have been so bad that making jokes about them seems to be insensitive.  Like joking around with a child, only to have that child unexpectedly cry.  

"Oops, sorry kid.  I didn't mean to make you cry.  Things will turn around.  You've got a good bunch of young players there.  Just stop crying, will ya'?"

Jeff Petry is useless.  He plays 25 minutes a night, but he also makes mistakes, so apparently he's useless.  Lets trade him away so our top pairing can be Ference and Belov.  Now there, my friends, is a pair of #1 guys.  Let's roll with them.  Roll down into Hell.  

"Good riddance, Jeff.  We don't have any other NHL defensemen to play top minutes, so it's your fault."

The Oilers are broken and battered.  It isn't so much that they are this low.  Reality sets in when we realize that we thought "rock bottom" was 3 years ago.  We have talent now, but the results are as bad, if not worse than before.  Have we hit the bottom yet?  Maybe not.

Maybe they'll sign 32 year old Hiller in the off season and re-up the blue line for one more go at it.  If Hiller doesn't work, MacT and the boys will probably scratch their heads and try again with someone with more experience or grit... some goalie with the magical ability to make the defence in front of him play much, much better.

This team, the 2013-2014 Edmonton Oilers will toe-drag/drop pass/coast/drown their way through the rest of their 30 games.  The management might keep things mildly interesting by trading a few people for a few other people.  How many goalies can they dress this year?

This year I paid for Satellite so that I could watch the Oilers.

Even though I swore that I wouldn't give the NHL a dime for a long, long time, I bought my kid a $40 Oiler jersey because he asked for one for Christmas.  My boy is 6.  He's still too young to realize that the Oilers have been horrible his entire life.  I would like him to get into loving hockey, but what kind of messed up message does the Oiler organization serve up to a kid his age?

At his school, the teachers tell the kids to wear their Oilers stuff the day after they win.  I am waiting for the morning where I have to tell Miles that they lost again and he starts crying because he wants to wear his jersey.

It's gone generational now, Oilers.  What can be done?  What can we do with this misery?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

My people.

I realized that my hair was thinning when I was in high school.  It's been a long 14 years.  At first I was worried about it.  I was in high school, which seemed too early for me to lose my hair.

At 20 I got married, tricking my wife into marrying me despite the fact that I would never have luscious hair for her to tousle.  I think that she liked me despite that fact.  Maybe it was my sense of humour.

Why do I bring all this up?  Well, I want to be clear that I am comfortable with the way that I look.  I shave what's left like Mr. Clean and go about my day.  My Grandpa was a great man.  My father is a great man.  No big deal.

Now, on with it.

Recently I was hosting at the camp/retreat centre where I work.  I was at the desk when a woman in her 30's came to the desk to ask for the Internet password.  As I double checked the password from a piece of paper behind the desk the woman decided to give me more information.  She said, "Yeah, someone thought they knew it, so they game me a password.  They said that if it didn't work I should ask you.  They said I should ask the Bald Guy."

Now I want to repeat things.  I can be annoyed about this without being upset about being bald.  The reason I am writing this is not to say that I am a sad little bald teddy bear and I want to crawl into a hole with all of the bald people and die.  No, I have a great life, a great family, and pretty great health as well.

I am writing because what's the deal with people pointing out Bald people all of the time?  I know its a very distinguishable feature, but that alone does not seem valid.  Am I supposed to chuckle at her little quip?  Is she including me in the joke?  Does she want the password or not.

Let me make my point:

"They said I should ask the bald guy."

"They said I should ask the guy with the big nose."

"They said I should ask the fat woman."

"They said I should ask the cripple with the crutches."

"They said I should ask the short girl."

"They said I should ask the chunky girl."

"They said I should ask the guy with really bad acne."

"They said I should ask the Asian."

A distinguishable feature is usually something that you shouldn't point out.  Why on Earth is it okay to distinguish bald people in this way?

Why couldn't I have just been "The guy behind the counter"?  The weekend's guest were all women.  It was a women's retreat!  They could have just said "get the password from the guy" period.

It all reminds me of this.

***Language warning***

If there's one thing you can say is that the bald community is pretty easy going when it comes to all of the hate crimes that we suffer through.  Larry and I both rant not because we are insecure with our baldness.  Rarely will we even bring it up.  We won't ask for special parking spots or tax breaks or anything.  We just find it strange that people are able to be so oblivious in situations where they are clearly carrying out such blatant hate crimes.

Thus is the cross that I carry... not being bald, but having to put up with people pointing it out to me all of the time.