PTBN Learns Jeff #1
Things Jeff Loves/Hates?
Jeff on Things???
I don’t know. maybe I don’t need a title…
If you have listened to the “Jeff Learns Wrestling” podcast (and frankly, why wouldn’t you?) you know that I have seen some hard times the past few months. Chief among my woes is the end of my four-year relationship, which at times I was sure was one of the top five or ten best love stories in history, both actual and literary. So what happened? How did I lose my fiancé? How does someone, with absolute certainty, agree to spend the rest of her life with me one day, then decide she never wanted to see me again the next? The answer lies within my very complicated relationship with that which makes up the entirety of existence: things.
The days and weeks following the breakup were defined by tormenting moments of solitary thought and exasperating conversations with loved ones. One particular conversation will go down as my most memorable, as I was ranting and raving about the situation at my sister’s house. I came to an abrupt conclusion from all the fights we had had: “I just hate everything… I guess that’s the main problem”. To which my sister very calmly and matter-of-factly replied, “Yes”.
Quite a revelation. I got dumped because my fiancé thinks I hate everything. Who wants to spend their life with someone like that? My sister isn’t about to stop hanging out with me, but that’s what makes relationships different. My sister will always be my sister, no matter how big of a douche I am. But to have a successful relationship, regardless of the person, you have to work hard. Really, really hard. And such is my failure, because with regard to my perceived hatred of everything, from even those closest to me, the sad fact is this: IT”S NOT TRUE!!!!
I love lots of things. And you can all take me at my word by listening to my podcasts. I love Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, Josh Richer, wrestling (maybe… the jury is still out on that one), talking about those things, laughing, making people laugh, and many more things. This is why I am here, to talk about things. Things I love and things I hate, and how my feelings toward any particular thing are constantly evolving and confusing to people who know me. My high school biology teacher once caught me napping in class, so he slammed on my desk and asked me to explain the cellular wall of a plant cell, which I did with perfect eloquence. His comment was among the wisest description of me ever made: “Machado, you are a paradox”. He was such a good teacher I went to a college with an awesome biology program… and then I realized I hated biology.
This column will therefore be my attempt to solve The Jeff Paradox (trademark pending). I’m here to talk about things. Anything and everything. They tell you in school a noun is a person, place, or thing. I always thought that was dumb, since people and places are also things. When people say I hate everything, they think I hate people. Also not true. In fact, the thing I love second most in the world is people (we will get to the number one thing in a later piece. Probably…). Not specific people, I mean I only truly love a small number of people with names and faces and whatnot… I mean the idea of people. The phenomenon of a race of animals with conscious thought, who can love each other, and entertain each other, and make fun of each other.
Since I am not an expert on any one particular thing, for example, I know a lot about movies and TV and literature, but not as much as say, JT knows about wrestling. My expertise will simply have to be self analysis; they say to be an expert in something in takes 10,000 hours of practice, and I have spent that times a million obsessing over anything and everything relating to me inside my head. OK intro over, let’s talk about golf.
Before we get to golf I have to interrupt with a dream I just had before I forget it. I hate when people talk about their dreams but I love talking about my dreams. I was half Luke Skywalker and half me. I was moving through some underground lair searching for what must have been the Emperor and I slayed three beasts: a lion (cut its head off), a spider (strangled with its own web) and a Tremors-like worm (set it on fire). I got to the Emperor and he kept shape-shifting and it was clear his magic was far beyond mine, but we just kept sword-fighting, unable to land any blows, and I wondered when the lightning bolt to the face was coming. (During all of this terror, I never felt afraid. And every nightmare I have had over the past decade or so, I’ve never felt afraid. This is both reassuring of my usefulness in a crisis, and deeply troubling, because generally, the lack of fear denotes some kind of broken personality issues. But anyway… ) Eventually I said “OK, timeout. Can we call this a draw? I mean it’s been like five solid minutes already and enough is enough” to which he replied “OK. It’s a draw”. So he led me to the exit which was lined with guards and desk secretaries, and I hugged everyone on the way out like I just completed the ninja warrior course or something. When I got to the surface, it was 1950something. I thought this was cool, not seeming to mind that nobody I knew was around, nor considering how I had time-traveled or whether I could ever get back. I walked into a restaurant (because, as I was about to wake up, I was hungry) and the meals on the tables consisted of a fried chicken, Twinkies, and a pack of Camel cigarettes, and there was a sign in the window that read “Daily Special: 75 cents”. The moral of the story is I hate how expensive cigarettes are now.
The U.S. Open was last weekend. There is no greater perennial disappointment in sports than the U.S. Open. The Masters is always great, the British Open is pretty cool, even if the competition sucks it’s fun to see the gloomy, rainy landscape. The PGA isn’t a real thing. It’s just another tournament and the term “grand slam” is too cool not to use, so here you go, here’s a fourth one. But the U.S. Open is supposed to be the big one. Father’s Day weekend, the democratic nature of qualification, the hardest courses, it has all the ingredients for high drama. So why does it suck? Only boring guys win it.
Look, I’m not going to sit here and cry about Tiger Woods. Just because he is one of my top five athletes of all time, and watching him dominate during his peak gave me hope that there was some greater purpose and meaning to life, and the hope of him winning again at 42 would validate my own potential assent to prosperity after 30. No pressure, Tiger. But if he’s not going to be at the top, who am I supposed to route for? I hate Jordan Spieth. I hate Rory McIlroy. And goddammit I hate Brooks Koepka! I blame Tiger for him. Tiger made real athletes start playing golf as kids when they should be knocking each other out on the football field. Koepka should be a linebacker. Linebackers don’t have to do 15 minute press conferences every day because nobody wants to hear how confident they are. And no human being should be able to hit a golf ball 400 yards. I am a strong advocate of wooden rackets in tennis and wooden woods in golf (stay tuned for the article: I love/hate technology).
To answer my own question: I’m rooting for the fat guys. Patrick Reed won the Masters. I can get behind this guy. He is currently not speaking to his parents because they didn’t want him to get married to his hot wife. I always hated Phil Mickelson, being a Tiger guy. But they are friends now which means I can make room for both. Going into the tournament, I thought it would be cool for Reed to go back-to-back or for Mickelson to win his first Open and complete the career grand slam (see how cool that sounds? It means you’re better than anybody else who may have won four random tournaments that you haven’t won). Instead we got Koepka versus the most boring figure in sports since Pete Sampras: Dustin Johnson.
Let’s go back to the fat guys for a second. I think people like them because they’re fat. People love John Daly. I understand the struggle, having gained 30 pounds since being hit by a car. I’ve only been in shape once in my life and that was when I first became a mailman, when the shock of walking 15 miles a day took hold of my sub-30-year-old metabolism for two glorious years. But these guys are rich, on TV, and paid to play a sport! How are they fat?! Seriously. If I could pay for a chef and trainer, I would be Brad Pitt in Fight Club level ripped. I guess the answer is why do they need to bother, I mean they got hot women to marry them anyway. But if I were them, I would be motivated to get in shape because of the constant realization that these women only married me because I’m good at golf. 10s don’t marry 3s. It just doesn’t happen. But, like Annie says in Bull Durham, “this world wasn’t made for people cursed with self awareness”.
Dustin Johnson holed a bunker shot, to extend his lead in the U.S. Open, and tapped the sand out of his cleats and raised a hand to the crowd. How is this possible. How does someone put in all the work he must have put in to become this good at a sport, and show so little emotion? He’s like a giant squinty-eyed robot. The main reason I can’t root for him, and I can’t believe nobody talks about this, is that his huge package is always out there for the whole world to see. Now that I’ve mentioned this you won’t be able to look at him again and see anything else, so you’re welcome. He’s like seven feet tall and wears tight pants made out of some soft sweatpants-like material. It looks like a sack of potatoes, as in, more than one potato. If I were gifted in this way, I would not be able to hit golf balls all day. Talent is wasted on the wrong people, I swear to God.
Robots win the U.S. Open because if you have feelings, and creativity, the course eventually causes you to lose your shit. Most people lose it internally, and just keep shooting bogeys, then try not to blame the course in the post-round interview while deliberately blaming the course. Except Mickelson, of course, who swatted a moving ball that was about to run off the green. He is getting a ton of criticism for that, which naturally means I loved it, and I now like him that much more. I hate “respect for the game”. These guys need a philosophy coach. All they care about is par, and there’s no such thing as par. There is only what the other guy shoots. Zach Johnson clearly doesn’t understand what Einstein was talking about with Relativity, and that’s why he’ll never win the U.S. Open.
Congrats to Brooks Koepka. I’m sure he celebrated with some standup sex, which I’ve never had the arm strength to pull off. Tough break for DJ, but at least his wife is happy. (Have you figured out what the thing I love most is yet?) Maybe he can win the PGA Championship, whatever the hell that is. A “major” is a “major” I guess.
Maybe Tiger can try WWE? He did train with the Navy SEALs…