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Sunday, Sept. 07, 2003
Oh the anticipation.

The absolute, free-from-guilt anticipation of the opening day of football. Yeah, I know they played a game on Thursday. Thursday doesnít count. No game should be played on a Thursday unless itís Thanksgiving. It just isnít right, I tell ye.

Sunday in the fall should be one of communing with fellow miscreants over a longnecked beverage, playing the season long football pool (which, as befits being past champion from last year, I have been elevated to the status of something like a mythical wizard) and working off aggression by screaming maniacally at images from a television screen.

It just doesnít get any better than that.

Just one of lifeís little questions.

Can anyone explain to me why, in the name of all that is holy, the driver of the car in front of me never realizes that he is going uphill at a rate of speed inversely proportionate to the rate of his down hill descent?

Put another way, "Why the hell are you slowing down you dipwad?"

I happen to live in an area of the country that is not noted for mountains, so we have little to fear about winding, snaking uphill battles.

We do however have an abundance of bridges and underwater tunnels. Not surprising since weíre surrounded by deep water on three sides. You go absolutely nowhere in this area without crossing some sort of watery obstruction.

I happen to cross a very long bridge / tunnel combination every day. Inevitably, Iíll get passed on the level portion of this highway by someone who just blows the doors off of my cruise-controlled vehicle. 2 miles up the road, we dip into a tunnel and the speed merchant is reduced to a huddled mass of insecurity, but still manages to do the speed limit.

And then I start reeling them in like a giant tuna. Setting snugly on their rear bumper, banging my head against the steering wheel and screaming in Farsi.

Itís like they forget what the long skinny thing under their right foot is for. Iíve seen people actually drop down to 25 mph in a 55 zone on the tunnelís incline, then be right back up to 75 within seconds of hitting sunshine on a level surface.

Bridges arenít much better. I canít tell you how many times Iíve blithely passed some fool on the uphill portion only to see them smoke me on the other side.

I mean, was everybody born in Kansas or something?

It should be obvious to everyone that football starts in 3Ĺ hours and I have absolutely nothing to do until that time.

A company has offered to buy up the Outfoxed Crew.

They want us to stay at the City by the Sea, building pretty much everything we were promised by the Benefactor a year ago. They want to stick a round hardhat on Stu and make him a superintendent, and stick a computer under my fingers and make me a manager. They want to compensate us pretty damned handsomely for it, too.

No hammers, no saws.

I dunno, a part of me (the part that has bills to pay and mouths to feed) is saying ďHey fatboy. This is a no-brainer, isnít it now? You go with a company that has some muscle and some considerable cash and do what you do best, which is running the circus sideshow that construction usually is. And Stu gets to go back to being a superintendent, which he loves and has done well at in the past. Is there any deciding to do here, hmm?Ē

And the other part of me is Mel Gibson, in a kilt, on a chopping block, screaming out ďFreedom!Ē as the axe prepares to fall.

In the nearly 7 years since Stu and I started this thing, the one completely delightful thing about it is, indeed, the amount of freedom we have had. For those of you who have never had it, I can tell you that it is intoxicating to realize that, every day, you can do pretty much whatever you want without much fear of anything. Even the need to work hard to earn the contracts / money, to spend the additional hours, the night hours, the weekend hours. Even that is a sort of freedom because you are the one choosing to do it. Or not.

Thereís no calling in sick. If the day is right and the fish are beckoning from the lake, you go.

Thereís no ďThe VP of Marketing needs this done now, and Ethel in Accounting says your vacation request is denied, and didnít you get the company email about no sneakers and jeans?Ē

Thereís water coolers, and lots of taxes on your paycheck and dealing with the secretary who just came down with a raging case of PMS. Micromanagers. Slackers. Stuck in an office.


Being able to hang out at the Watering Hole when itís raining outside and the jobsite is shut down?

Building something with your own hands in half the time it would take to supervise some crack smoking youth with a toolbelt and an attitude?

Theyíll never take away our freedom. Then again, they just might.

I really dread having to make that choice.

But thereís always football. Where your agony and ecstasy are coveniently staged around beer commercials and there's always time for a barbecue sandwich at halftime.

All of life should be that simple.

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