Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Mike Bohn: Man of Steel

Does anyone remember a game called "The Comeback"? It was January 3, 1993. The Houston Oilers (later Tennessee Oilers, later Tennessee Titans, consistently mediocre) against the Buffalo Bills who lost like 17 Super Bowls in a row. Strangely enough, that's eactly 17 more times than my beloved Detroit Lions have been to the Super Bowl. Yes, I know they're really bad. I get it.

For some reason, I was over at my grandparents' house in Brighton watching said game in the den. I think it's called the den. Maybe it's the dining room. Can dining rooms have TVs? If so, it was the dining room. If not, it was the den. It's the room between the kitchen and the family room where those of us without children were often relegated for Christmas dinner. Which, for some strange scheduling reason was why I was there. A week after Christmas. My memory isn't what it used to be, although I distinctly remember the time I was playing softball in my grandparents' backyard later that very year and running face first into the flagpole, which felt exactly what you think it would feel like.

My younger brother was, for some reason, a HUGE Buffalo Bills fan, even though they had lost the previous three Super Bowls, and (at the risk of spoiling this story) would go on to lose their fourth of the aforementioned 17 consecutive Super Bowls shortly after the events of January 3, 1993. Me, my brother, and my Uncle Mike were watching this game together.

Houston took a massive lead. And, with every successive score, Uncle Mike would let out a bellow that rang, "Houston Oilllleerrrrs!" Now, to my knowledge, Uncle Mike was never a huge Houston Oilers fan. He never lived in Texas. He liked the Detroit Lions more than I do, which is saying something. I think, however, that he liked to push people's buttons (especially my brother's) because a.) it's so easy, and b.) it's so fun. If there were ever any doubt that Mike Bohn and I are related, I think I just closed the door on those very doubts.

Houston scored. "Houston Oilllleerrrrs!"

Houston scored again. "Houston Oilllleerrrrs!"

Houston scored again. And again. And again. "Houston Oilllleerrrrs!"

Then Buffalo pulled off the greatest comeback in NFL history. And I don't mean that in a flippant way. I mean, they literally pulled off the greatest comeback in NFL history. They were down by 32 points and came back to win. That's like me going to the bar and having the next 10 girls that walk in tell me that I remind them of Ryan Gossling or Kevin Costner circa 1991. Is it possible? Sure, it's possible. But it's not very likely.

As the game, which went into overtime, ended on field goal by Steve Christie, I recall my Uncle Mike being quiet. Which, if you happen to know my Uncle Mike know that that's as rare as the aforementioned thing where the women tell me I look like Ryan Gossling or Kevin Costner circa 1991. My brother couldn't have been happier.

Uncle Mike, you were an incredibly hard work. You worked in the steel industry for longer than I've been alive and I was born during the Carter administration. You were right far more often than you were wrong. And, in typical Bohn fashion, you were able to admit that you were wrong but didn't like to do so. Like me. I'm almost never wrong. Except for when I am. You were infectious and your integrity was beyond measure. You lived a life above reproach. You, Uncle Mike, were truly a Man of Steel.

You will be missed but I will see you again soon. Until then, keep rooting for the Houston Oilers (for some unexplicable reason).

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Dear Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen of the Federal Government,

Dear Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen of the Federal Government,

I write this to you at 4:30 in the morning the day after you have effectively "shutdown" as everyone seems to be calling it. I also write this to you the day after I completed my monthly reconciliation for work. I'm not going to go into the details of what that entails (I'm 99% sure that would violate one of the policies in our HR handbook) and this is relevant for a few reasons which I will get into momentarily.

First, I must express my extreme disgust at you shutting yourself down. It's childish. I live a thousand miles away from the vast majority of you but I can see when a bunch of babies are acting like a bunch of babies. Get over yourselves, go back to work and fix this. You have two jobs to do: come up with a budget and make laws. That's it.

Whenever I do monthly reconciliation for work, I am told that it must  be done that day. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. If I end up at work until 10:00pm that night (after arriving in the 6 o'clock hour that morning) then I end up at work until 10:00pm. Do you know why? Because it's something that must be done or, potentially, my job is on the line. I don't have the luxury of getting it done later. I've never missed the deadline. And, yes, that is something that I am quite proud of. I am surrounded by a great team of people who have arranged their schedule in order to help with this monthly reconciliation. And we prepare. Boy, do we prepare. We start preparing weeks in advance for this project and we prepare so far in advance so that when issues come up on the deadline we are most prepared.

My point here is this: Why haven't you prepared? You knew that a shutdown was looming. You knew that if you didn't get your job done that TENS OF THOUSANDS of people would be placed on unpaid furlough and several federal government agencies would close down or operate on significantly smaller budgets until an undetermined point in time.

For the most part, the federal government shutdown won't effect me. I can't think of an instance where the I (personally) will need the VHA, for example. My experience of the federal government shut down should be going home from work, walking in the back door of my house, sitting on my couch and watching Netflix. Except for now, I might not get to do that.

You see, I recently made an offer on a house. Yes, buying a home. The American Dream and whatnot. However, I did not have the 20% saved up for the traditional mortgage loan so, like so many other first time buyers, I opted for an FHA loan allowing me to place a significantly smaller amount as a downpayment. I have been working feverishly over the past year or so to save up for this downpayment. Many late nights, early mornings (my alarm is programmed to go off at 5:13 every weekday morning but I'm usually up before then like I am right now), and weekends worked in order to save up the requisite thousands so that I can walk into a place one day and write "mine" on the wall and not have a single person tell me I can't.

No one helped me manage my budget for this. I am not receiving a single cent as a gift from anyone for a downpayment. No cosigners. I'm not married so it's not like I have a wife that's going to help me out with this either. It's because I've put in long hours because this is what I want.

What effects me, though, is that in order to get this FHA loan, I (or, rather, the mortgage company that I am working with) need to be given what's called an "FHA number". But since the Department of Housing and Urban Development is largely shutdown because the lot of you are acting like a bunch or dumb dummies, I can't get this number. If you want to piss off and alienate a registered voter, you have managed to do it.

I know you don't care about me. I know you don't. You don't care about three trillion dollars, so why would you care about my paltry whatever-it-is I am going to be borrowing that is largely dependent upon you getting your shit together? You clearly don't care about money as the vast majority of you decision and budget makers will continue to receive your paychecks. I've heard of a couple of you asking that the CAO withhold your pay during this shutdown -- whether this is genuine, a hoax, or simply a ploy by the requestor to drum up future support and votes I am not sure. I'd like to believe that it's genuine but there's nothing to me that indicates that it is.

I am scheduled to close on my home in the next few weeks. The home that I saved for. The home that I budgeted for. The home that I have worked so hard for. The home in which I plan on buying a really obnoxiously big TV and hanging it on the wall so that I can watch hockey all winter long. The home in which I plan on getting a dog for (I've never had my own dog and I'm really pumped about it, by the way) and watching it run around the backyard. The home in which I, one day, plan to start a family in but being 33 and dating is proving to be a difficult and tricky thing and a rant for another time altogether.

Right now, every single one of those things is on hold. And it's all your fault.

As I wrap this up, because it's about time for me to get out of bed and get ready for work (where, rest assured, I do my job much better than any of you seem to be able to do), I must reiterate my extreme disappointment. If you're looking for someone real that you've affected with your utter and gross incompetence, you need look no further.

It's 5:09 by my watch. Which means I've finished this with 4 minutes left to spare. I made my deadline.

Get your shit together,

Stephen P Bohn

Monday, September 16, 2013

I could drink a case of you and I would still be on my feet

The last woman that said she loved me was in love with me. That was last summer. That was July. I think it was July. Like I could forget it was July. I knew why I started dating her and knew why I stopped dating her. It's because she fell in love with me after dating me for two months. I'm deliberate. I'm consistently slow. I hate change. Unless it's the changing of seasons because I get to drink beers that I haven't gotten to drink since the last time this season rolled around. Like this pint of Oktoberfest in front of me now. Like I could forget that it's not yet October. 

There was always a fight. There was always a "Why don't you?"  There was always a "Yeah but." There were all these things that I didn't understand. 

Fall rolled around. We had seen each other in passing  in the few months that passed and said hello but not much more. She started seeing someone else and I tried seeing someone else who I liked much more than she liked me. Our first dates ended up being in the same place on the same night which is something out of a bad movie or a bad book. And there's no bad writing allowed except for when bad writing occurs. What do you say when that happens? "This is my date. Date, this woman has seen me naked."  Do you say that? No. You pull your hood over your head and invent an exit. At least that's what I did. 

That date was the last date that I had with her by the way. It lasted 4 days. She told me she was sorry about her heart when I dropped her off the last time that saw her and I haven't seen her since. I'll never see her again unless I'm in an airport in London and it's 2028 when I'm traveling for work and she's traveling with her impossibly beautiful (as yet non-existent) children and her impossibly handsome (also as yet non-existent) husband. Because that's the way the knife works. 

Fall passed and winter settled in. New Year's Eve. At home and some drunk woman kissed me on the mouth in the kitchen but she didn't remember it the next time I saw her. January became February and that became mid February and that became Valentine's Day. The woman from last summer asked me about getting her flowers for Valentine's Day. She asked me to get her flowers. She asked me. I didn't. 

March. The Ides of March. Midnight. She got in a car, headed out-of-state, and eloped. She got married. 29 days after she asked me to give her flowers. 

I got on a plane the next morning and flew to the Midwest. She and her husband were expecting their first child. I drank my way through the week, unsure if I had or had not dodged a bullet. Or, rather, a cannonball. I convinced myself that I had. I knew I had. 

Other men had seen her naked. Another man since me had seen her naked. 

Spring became summer. I went on a few dates. One of them asserted that I was only interested in sleeping with her even though I had never slept with her. One of them tasted like cigarettes. One of them said, "I don't know about dating you but I could introduce you to some friends."  She was tall and very pretty and had an enthusiastic outlook on life. Almost can't believe that was the end of that.  I haven't heard from any of them since. 

Last week, the woman from last summer gave birth to a daughter. She and her husband announced it to the world. In love with me last summer to married, stepmother to three, and mother to one. Naked in my bed on a Monday night or any night that she and I wanted for that matter to domestica in 14 months.  

I wonder what her life is like now. 3 am feedings and singing songs about how beautiful life must be. Elton John's "Your Song". Or Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World." I don't know what mothers sing to their daughters. I wonder if the girl of 4 days from last fall ever thinks about calling me (she hasn't in several months which is a shame).  I wonder if Cigarette Mouth is going to see me out one night in East Nashville and say "hello." I wonder if the girl who thought I was only trying to sleep with her is sleeping someone else. I wonder why that tall pretty girl never called me to introduce her to her friends like she said she was going to.

I'm going to two weddings in two weekends next month. And I'm going alone to both of them. Mother, 4 Days, Cigarette Mouth, Sleeping, and Tall Pretty all would have been good dates 14, 10, 4, 3, or 2 months ago. But they're not. 

I wonder what it's like to not have to worry about having a date for a wedding. 

I wonder what another beer tonight would do. Probably not much. One pint of Oktoberfest doesn't matter. I'm living dangerously by having this second one. I'm living dangerously. I'm half an hour from going to bed alone on a Monday. I've been typing this with my thumbs for an hour now. [I could drink a case of you and I would still be on my feet.]

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Yeezus is a dying tractor

The last time I bought a record was December of 2011. Josh and I rode up to Grimey's. He was on his motorcycle, I was on my scooter. I didn't have a motorcycle yet. I bought a Tom Waits record and a Thrice record: "Bad as Me"and "Major/Minor" respectively. I used to buy records all of the time. Well, I used to buy CDs all of the time. Boxes and boxes and boxes of them. They're in my attic. If anyone wants the Pearl Jam discography, let me know.

I listen to the Thrice record much more than the Tom Waits record although the way Tom works "Auld Lang Syne" into "New Year's Eve" at the end of his record is musically genius. I remember leaving a New Year's Eve party shortly after the clock struck twelve and drove around listening to that song for about 45 minutes about two weeks after I bought the record. I later read an article on some terrible music blog about what the song you listen to on New Year's Eve says about you. "The New Year" by Death Cab for Cutie was on that list. So was "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve" by nearly everyone ever but mostly by Ella Fitzgerald. "A Long December" by Counting Crows -- which isn't really a song about a new year at all but was about a girl getting hit by a car -- was also on there. Anyway, some writer called Tom's song, "perfect for the sad bastard." I think I listened to it about 9 times that night.

Here's the thing about Tom Waits: he comes up with these utterly manic moments. Actually, most of his songs where he doesn't play keys (either piano or accordion) sound like a tractor dying. There's this awful crunch. Maybe the tractor ran over some cinder blocks. Maybe like the time Johnny Cash drove his tractor into the lake in Hendersonville. Whatever the death of a tractor sounds like to you, that's what Tom Waits does with his more aggressive songs. And that's what Kanye West did a few months ago but with a more expensive tractor.

I don't buy the Kanye-West-as-a-badass image for even a split second. Unless selling out plain white tshirts at $120 a pop makes one a badass these days. Maybe a badass marketer. Maybe a badass salesman. But not a real badass. He probably doesn't know anything about fascia and soffit repair or about riding an old motorcycle. Selling expensive tshirts, though. He's got that down. So it is with some trepidation that I lavish praise on Yeezus. It's an album full of contradictions.

Sonically, it's so far ahead of anything that I've heard this year. It's like Kanye listened to Tom's "Bad As Me" record and said, "Imagine what this album would feel like with a budget." And that's what he did. Put on a pair of headphones, turn this shit up to 11 and prove me wrong. But as prodigious as the backing on tracks like "Hold My Liquor" and "Black Skinhead" sound (they're both borderline virtuoso) his lyrics stall time and time and time again. Like that dying tractor.

Am I really to believe Kanye's plight about having to "pick the cotton [him]self" he laments in "New Slaves"? I hope not. Actually, if he picked the cotton himself for those $120 tshirts he's selling, then they might be worth it. Am I to believe that God actually co-wrote "I Am A God"? Am I supposed to be able to tell the difference between him whining about the not getting croissants delivered to his table fast enough ("I Am A God") and what actually approaches, well, genuine badassery (all of "On Sight")?

And then there's "Blood on the Leaves" which samples Nina Simone's "Strange Fruit. Easily the most conflicted track on this record. There are a handful of artists who've tried something like this before (Greg Dulli, I'm looking squarely at you here). Two verses of what appears to be genuine longing for someone. Two verses of  love gone wrong. Three verses of drugs. And then a verse about instagram replete with mentions of not one but two hashtags. All with the phrase "swinging in the summer breeze" repetitively droning through the background. "Blood on the Leaves" ends and I think "Does he love this woman? What could have happened if she wouldn't have run naked through the lobby? Drugs killed whatever they could have been. I need to check my instagram feed real quicklike. Oh... That's a cute baby. You get one of those little heart thingies. I like your picture of the sunset. Can I write a snarky comment on your photo of your really cute sister and hope that she sees it because dating at 33 is a weird thing to be doing?" And before I know it, I've stopped paying attention to whatever Kanye was spewing about but I'm still bobbing my head in time with the rhythm.

So what to make of this record? I've digested it for two months now and while I marvel at it being sonically astute, lyrically it makes about as much sense as Johnny Cash driving his tractor into the lake. It's art. I get it. But at the end of the day all you have is a dead tractor.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Keep Climbing, Delta. And maybe throw me some sky miles along the way.

I flew down to Costa Rica 8 days ago and my luggage was lost (or as Delta Airlines put it "delayed"). They sent me a customer service survey and specifically asked me if I had any additional comments. Here is the feedback that I sent them. And, yes, I already received the automated email reply...

I have been flying on Delta flights for the last 26 years and this is by far the worst experience I have ever had with your airline. The first time I flew, I was 6 years old and headed down to Florida with my family. I got one of those pins with the wings on them and even got to visit the pilots in the cockpit whereupon I was made an honorary captain for the flight. THAT was a good experience. My "delayed" bag experience from my recent trip to Costa Rica, not so much. 

I wouldn't call myself much of an athlete (stay with me in this). I try to run a few nights a week and have completed two half marathons. I'm more built for comfort than I am for speed but that being said if you put a nearly unobtainable goal such as free beer at the end of a race or giving me 39 minutes to make an international connection at Hartsfield airport in Atlanta, you better believe I'm going to do all that I can to reach said goal, as foolish as it may sound. Well, the years of running paid off because I was able to run through the nightmare that is Hartsfield and catch my flight to Costa Rica with about 90 seconds to spare. All because my flight out of Nashville was delayed for no real good reason. 

Upon arriving in San Jose, my bag was nowhere to be found. But I was greeted by a customer service agent who informed me of the situation, assured me that the bag would be delivered that night to anyplace I would be staying, and to call the customer service number in case I had any issues. My bag was not delivered that night, no one answered the customer service phone number I was given, and the only contact that I was able to make with anyone to help get this resolved was through twitter (marking only the second time in my life I have ever found it to be useful). The person answering my twitter inquiries was very nice but was basically full of shit like the rest of your customer service team. I provided the name and location of my hotel and was promised that my bag would be dropped off that night. I knew it had made it to San Jose because I used the luggage tracker. 

I went to bed hopeful and smelling like Dove women's deodorant because of the free toiletry bag you gave me (recommendation: put a fresh pair of socks in those puppies going forward). I speak just enough Spanish (much to my surprise) to inform the hotel's night clerk that my luggage would be arriving that night via courier and asked if they would hold it for me until I stumbled down the stairs to the front desk the following morning. 

The Costa Rican suns appears very early in the morning sky so when the hallway started to illuminate, I awoke, and (just like I promised) stumbled down the stairs to the front desk only to find no luggage of mine. I headed back up to my room and called the customer service number which still wasn't working. My friends woke up a bit later and we decided to make our way back to the airport so that I could actually talk with someone. 

Have you ever been to the San Jose airport? It's quite nice but finding where the lost luggage section is a nightmare. Two information desks, a security screening, rapid fire questions being asked of me in Spanish which had by and large gone unused since I got that B- in Professora Smith's Spanish 103 class in college, and a very confused look on a customer service reps face when I tried to tell her that someone was supposed to come bring my luggage but I think it came out as someone was supposed to eat my luggage ("comir" and "come" are awfully close and I may have jumped back and forth between English and Spanish on that exchange). 

I was lead through the bowels of the airport which was actually pretty fun to another customer service desk and a gentleman who spoke fluent English (you guys were about 1 for 9 on the customer service thing in case you were keeping track). He had me wait at the desk, turned around, disappeared for a few seconds into a broom closet and produced my bag. LORD, IT WAS A MIRACLE!  I then asked the customer service rep if the bag had been scheduled for delivery before I picked it up and he just looked at me and said "No."  So... 1 for 10?

I still plan on flying with you, Delta. The cheapest direct daily flights to and from Michigan (where I travel to and from the most) and all those sky miles that I get from my bank are hard to pass up. But if you want to make it up to me aside from having me fill out an online form which, I'm confident, will be followed up with an automated reply thanking me for my time might I suggest the following:
- Free sky miles. However many you'd like to credit my account with would be great. 
- Free food and drinks on my next 10 Delta flights. I'd much rather have this than a first class upgrade. 
- Another one of those pins with the wings on them. It would let everyone on the flight know how important I am. 
- Visit to the cockpit on my next flight. I know there's probably some FAA regulation that outlaws the cockpit visits nowadays but I figured it would be worth asking. 
- In lieu of a cockpit visit, free flying lessons. Not only would that be fun for me but think of all the women I could impress! 

I hope this feedback has been useful and I'm sure I'll be flying Delta again sometime soon. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

One Last Time

I moved to Nashville several years ago. I didn't move here with the intention or desire to ever try to "make it" in the music world. I'm not even sure what that means anymore. I have some friends who have reached various levels of financial and emotional success in the music industry in this town. And, yes, it is an industry. Some incredibly talented friends of mine put out this record last year. Some other incredibly talented friends of mine put out this record a few weeks ago. Another incredibly talented friend of mine released this song a few months ago and is going to be huge by this time next year. I mean HUGE.

But you know what I care about someone being huge? Nothing at all. That's not to say that I don't wish all the success in the world for my friends. I do. I want them to play and play and write and record and play and record and tour and see the world and play and write and play some more. And I want them all to make a decent living while they're doing it. I know I'm not musically talented enough to do that. I know I don't have the drive to do that. I know that I never moved to Music City, USA, with the intent to do any of those things. What I did do, however, was several years ago, fall into something (because really that's all it is... falling into something) that some people liked. This was a band called death comesto matteson.

I remember the first show that I played with the band. It was at Wall Street in Murfreesboro and I remember throwing up in the alley before the show behind the venue because I was that nervous. I remember the first show that I played in Nashville when we opened for Bob Nanna (he of Hey Mercedes and Braid (!) 'fame') when my amp stopped working with a song and a half left in our set and trying to plug in to our keyboard player's AUX input with mixed results just so I could finish the songs. I remember hearing from a girl one night while playing a show when she was dating me only to find out that she was drunk and making out with someone else that very night. I remember getting into a shoving match someone asshole after his set but before ours because he thought I was hitting on his girlfriend. I wasn't hitting on her, by the way. I remember the pure absolutely unadulterated joy of the first time that I ever heard a song of ours on the radio. Sure, it was college radio, but it didn't matter to me. I remember the sinking feeling of playing the last show in New York City and the 20something hour ride back to Nashville when I knew that I wouldn't be playing these songs ever again. I remember all this and so much more.

We all have and, to a finer point, had different expectations of what we want out of something that we create. Some of us wanted to take the world by storm. Some of us wanted to change the world. Some of us just wanted to meet (read: make out) with girls. I was in the latter of the three groups mentioned. And you know, by that measurement, I was a success.

I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir with this post.

During the final days of death comesto matteson, I knew I would never play those songs again. I stopped talking about the band after I stopped playing in the band. I still have no idea how much of an impact the band had. Some people around town still come up to me and ask me "Hey... didn't you used to play guitar for Peter Matteson?" My answer is always a sheepish "yes". Being the narcissist that I am, I googled the band name. Someone once wrote that the band was "the founding fathers of the Nashville indie rock scene". I'm not sure if I was flattered or just felt old when I read that. I suppose I should take that as a compliment.

I never made any money off of being in the band. I didn't mean to. Remember? The girls and the making out? If anything, I lost money. But I didn't care because I was a success. I'm not sure if I am contractually obligated to help pay back Speak Music Media because of the thousands of unsold copies of CDs (remember those) that are hanging out at Billy White's house. I'm sure I'll never make any money off of whatever records end up selling. I just checked amazon.com and the "Ship of Fools or Ship on Fire" LP is up about 400,000 spots from the last time I checked. If it rises another 400,000 spots, I'm gonna be rich. I mean I'm gonna have as least as much money as Adele. And Taylor Swift. Combined.

I thought that Peter, Joe, Wayne, Mike and I were done being friends. Fate has a funny way of circling around and kicking my ass. And here we are, 5 years later. Peter, Joe, Wayne, and (to a lesser degree) Mike (who, last I knew, lived in Texas) are friends once again. Joe and Wayne are still full steam ahead with The Protomen. Peter is still wicked talented and is making a living writing and recording. Mike and his wife have a couple of kids but I'm not sure if he is playing music anymore. Every once in a while, I get prodded into doing something musically although Andy Smith and I are eventually going to get the Warfield drone recordings going -- he's got a wife and kid and a job and I work, well, all the time... But back to the point of this paragraph and really the point of this entry...

Yes, death comesto Matteson is doing a reunion show. No, we don't have a date set for it. Yes, I would love to see you there. No, my feelings won't be hurt if you think I'm a shitty guitar player. Yes, Peter, Joe, Wayne, and I are all on board to this. Yes, we really are friends again despite our wildly different views on music, art, the world, life, and everything in between. No, I have no animosity in my heart towards any of those dudes. Yes, if you would like to sit with me and talk about the band sometime, I am finally comfortable enough to talk about it. No, I still have no idea what the band meant to anyone outside of it. Yes, I finally realize what the band meant to me.

In the meantime, if you would like any of the music that the band released, you can get it here. Remember, I'm not making any money off of any of these.

Here we are. One last show. A little older. Maybe a few BPMs slower. One last time. Leave the money on the nightstand on your way out.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Of course I have a date for Valentine's Day. It's February 14th.

By the time that all 3 of you read this, it will be February 1st. Which means that you have less than 2 weeks to do one or more of the following things:
1.) Find a boyfriend / girlfriend so that you can spend Valentine's Day with them -- Might I suggest reservations at Chez White Castle?
2.) If you already have a boyfriend / girlfriend, spending all of your dollars on a gift from A Village of Flowers. Contrary to the picture on the site, yes, I did used to work there. And, on the exceedingly rare occasion, still do.
3.) Saying to yourself "Oh, yeah... This is the day that something happened... Didn't a bunch of people die in Chicago or Rome or something?"

Yes, it's that time of year when I forgo [I spelled that right on the first try, thank you very much, 2nd glass of whiskey tonight] all attitude regarding Single Awareness Day Valentine's Day and try to do something nice for a woman who may otherwise not have anything nice done for her that day. Here are the rules. Because what fun is a contest if you can't talk about the rules?

Great... Another list. Don't care. More whiskey!!!

Rule 1.) You can't have a boyfriend. This includes some dude you're making out with / sleeping with / cooking dinner for on a regular basis / whatever constitutes [did not spell that right on the first try something something whiskey] a relationship these days.

Rule 2.) I will deliver said flowers to you wearing a shirt and tie. And fancy pants. Because, as luck would have it, Thursdays are Fancy Pants Thursdays for me at work.

Rule 3.) If you want a Chippendale thing without the shirt, I can probably accommodate you.

Rule 4.) MUST be in the Nashville area. I work in Smyrna so if you live in Murfreesboro, I'm not gonna crunch numbers all day, drive to Nashville, pick up the flowers, and then drive back down to Murfreesboro. Unless of course, you can come up with a really good florist in Murfreesboro and then I guess that would be ok. If you live in California, then you're definitely out.

Rule 5.) I will pick a winner AT RANDOM on Monday, February 11th. This will give me ample time to order the flowers.

Basically that's it.

I'm only doing this because I think it would be nice to make one other person not feel like total crap on a day that is inadvertently designed to make people like me feel like total crap. I have no ulterior motive. And, if you were to ask any lady that I've ever purchased flowers for, they will attest that I can pick out some good ones. Even though you get to pick them out in this contest. Thing. Is my whiskey all gone?

Email / comment / tweet / facebook / whatever if you'd like. I also promise not to announce the winner on any sort of dumdamn social media. Unless you want me to.