I spent a good portion of my twenties hanging around in smokey barrooms. Places with pool tables, blues on the jukebox, and more Harleys than cars in the parking lot. I didn’t go for the booze but for the companionship. Places where everybody knew my name and the bartenders knew my drink. Think Cheers, not Leaving Las Vegas. I made a lot of good friends and once even made it to Vegas playing 9-ball.
Those days seem a long time ago now. Early mornings, a longer drive home and a decrease in expendable income have all conspired against me. They’ve made me boring.
I do my best to keep some of the friendships active. I stop by for a few pops and an hour or so of catching up. A few Sundays during football season I’ll swing by the Sports Bar I used to frequent. These are the nights and afternoons where my new reality becomes painfully apparent. It turns out that I have very little to talk about besides my children.
We DVR most of our television so I’m always a few weeks behind the current episodes. We don’t make it to the movies much and I have a hard time staying up late enough after the kids go to bed to rent many. I’ve always considered myself right of center politically but lately what I see on my Facebook feed has me wondering if I haven’t turned into liberal tree-hugging hippie in my old age. It makes me try and avoid talking about current events.
It makes me even more grateful for sports. Besides the excitement of a game like last night, where the outcome is undetermined until the very last play, I will always have something to talk about. At any given moment there are people drinking beer and watching a sporting event or sports news on a television somewhere, waiting for my brilliant observations. We may not all root for the same team or agree on what Tom Brady actually does with his balls, but the discussions will always be civilized. It really makes me wonder what other people talk about.
So that’s what I have nowadays. My kids or sports. What do you want to talk about?