***EDITOR'S NOTE: The following post is authored by Trev (@Hegelbon) from Philadelphia Phillies SB Nation site The Good Phight. It was originally posted on his blog and is now being shared here with his permission. You may remember Trev from his credentialed coverage of the 2015 NFL Draft from Chicago or the times he's contributed to BGN on other occasions. Enjoy.***
I. Emmanuel Acho wakes up, sure that the alarm is wrong. It can’t be 5:15 already. Maybe he should stop waking up so early. He should get that jog in though, and it’s always nice when he can make a proper breakfast. You know what, though, he thinks, not today.
II. "Me amo corriendo" Nelson Agholor repeats back to the computer. When the Rosetta Stone app dings an incorrect chime, he reminds himself of Doctor Korin’s relaxation exercises, takes a deep breath, and tries again. In the distance, a coffee pot beeps that it is finished brewing.
III. "Speak to a manager," Seyi Ajirotutu repeats into the phone. "Your call is very important to us," the voice responds over the hold music on the Geico help hotline, "and will be answered in the order in which it was received." Seyi feels some frustration, but also, somewhere deep down, he believes the voice means it.
IV. "Eggs and bacon!" Beau Allen yells at the top of his lungs, to no one in particular. Outside, a bird chirps, and the idyllic mountain cabin absorbs the big man’s powerful voice. "EEEEEEEGGGGGS ANNNNND BAAAACONNNNN" he repeats.
V. Kiko Alonso wakes up, alarm blaring. "Was that 20 minutes?" he wonders aloud. He checks his phone. It was 25 minutes. He’s getting closer. "This sleep thing better be worth it. I mean, DaVinci did it, so it’s gotta be." He realizes he’s talking out loud again and sighs quietly, shifting to his feet.
VI. "Hey, hope you have a great day too!!" Josh Andrews responds to the SEPTA employee as he gets off at his stop. He means it, and he begins to wonder how often people actually mean it when they say stuff like that. Probably not a lot, he decides. He begins to wonder what this might mean before noticing that eggs are on sale at Giant. Nice.
VII. Miles Austin leans back from his laptop, another stirring defense of small liberal arts education written on the screen. He reads the entirety of the document, smiles in satisfaction, highlights the whole thing, and deletes it, as he has done to the several hundred before it.
VIII. Brandon Bair has spent most of his life trying to come up with a good anagram for his name. It never really seems to fit, not in the way that Alec Guiness can spell Genuine Class. Come to think of it, that’s the only one he knows; isn’t that a Simpsons joke? Does the anagram even work? Nevertheless, he takes a breath and thinks again: Nab A Rid Born? Close.
IX. "Face it, Allen," Chad calls from the bottom floor, "it’s not going to work!" Allen Barbre grimaces and calls back down, a hint of anger in his voice. "I know it’s a weird trick, but I really do think it’s going to improve my credit score!" Chad never had any imagination, anyway.
X. On a long dirt road, no where in particular, Kenjon Barner is running as fast as he can, but without any clear hurry. A pickup truck ambles up beside him. "Help you mister?" the driver calls to Barner. "Way I see it, friend," Barner smiles, not breaking stride, "only one can help a person is hisself."
XI. Connor Barwin looks directly in the mirror and says, seriously, "A hot dog ain’t a sandwich, Cocheese." No. No, it doesn’t feel natural. Again. "A hot dog is a sandwich, kemosabe, and CHVRCHES told me so." There, that was the right one. His Raybans were already in his hand.
XII. "One more burger and fries for EJ Biggers," EJ Biggers says. "It’s his sixth day of narrating his entire life," he continues, "and EJ is getting more comfortable by the minute. What exciting adventures await him?" He smiles and looks around the McDonalds. It’s empty, but the cashiers must have heard. So that at least.
XIII. Sam Bradford flexes his knee. Good as gold. The knee can flex again, and hey, not everyone would’ve bet that way a year ago. Old knee-bendin Sam is back. He can play football on that knee! He can bend on that knee and propose to his best girl. He can kneel to pick up his child. He can also go get a smoothie. Or a milkshake. Maybe he can walk to Delaware for a milkshake. They’re good there, he thinks he heard. He wonders if the concussion is affecting him yet.
XIV. "It’s actually not weird at all," Bryan Braman explains to the salesperson at the Lexus Superstore. "People think it is, but y and i are pretty much etymologically similar, so it’s not so crazy to swap them out. I’m like any Brian you’ve met. That’s Brian with an "i" haha – see you can’t even hear the difference!"
XV. "Trey! TREEEEY! TREEEEEEEEEEEYYYYYYYYYY!!!!" From the ground you couldn’t see Trey Burton, but you’d guess that’s him in the hammock 30 feet up, anyway. "BURRRRRRRRRRRRRton" the hammock continues.
XVI. Nolan Carroll still sometimes wonders if the Royale with Cheese would have tasted different in France. They use different meat, right? Tarantino would have to know that. Right?
XVII. What Brent Celek likes best about the Kia Optima is how sensible it is. It’s sensible – it’s not flashy or exciting, but it gets you where you need to go. And it has space. He thinks it has space; he tries to remember the commercial. The only thing he can pull up are roads, hills, wide spaces, and a warning not to try this unless you’re a professional on a closed course. The wind starts to whistle a bit.
XVIII. "You might say my life is PRETTY exciting" Riley Cooper explains to the reporter walking with him, "so strap in. We’re goin to Wendy’s." As he starts the car, he asks quickly, "What rag you writing for again?" The reporter for the North Penn High Herald coughs slightly.
XIX. She sighs as he goes into it again. Jerome is her son, but Mrs. Couplin is getting bored of the routine. She’d never tell him, of course not – she wants her boy to know she’s proud of him. But if she has to hear about "how messed up the city was" in Detroit one more time, or read one more pamphlet on class consciousness, she’ll scream.
XX. Fletcher Cox spoons out the flour into the half cup measure, leveling off with a knife. That’s so you don’t pack it in too badly, keeps the flour fluffy. He read that somewhere or someone told him or something. Weird that the flour would be like that but not the sugar or the yeast or anything. He’s halfway toward thinking of a reason for that when the alarm dings – the croissants are done!
XXI. "You know you’ll great a get deal at Nissan Ford in Kensington!" Vinny Curry smiles at the camera and gives a big thumbs up. He turns to the crew, and they’re all sighing and groaning. Maybe he should have done the machine gun thing, maybe that would’ve been better.
XXII. Jon Dorenbos stands in front of the open fridge. Why, he wonders, when he wants a banana are there no bananas. He makes enough money to buy bananas; heck his wife does too. It’s not that, it’s that when the bananas are there, no one wants them. He tries to call up that feeling…no, no. He’s going to have to get a banana.
XXIII. Zach Ertz leans over his menu and wiggles his fingers, looking pointedly up at his date. "Which," he says the waiter, "would you say is your fanciest appetizer?" He cocks one eyebrow.
XXIV. Being home alone on a Friday night is actually good, Najee Goode thinks. For instance, he thinks to himself, no one is around to make the stupid "Goode…like you!" pun. That’s a real plus. That kind of makes up for everything else. The wind blows outside, and he starts to wonder if it’ll rain this weekend; he likes that too.
XXV. One last card…perfect. Brandon Graham had always wondered if it would be fun to build these playing card castles. It’s really fun. It’s really really fun. He turns to the room full of people there for his pre-Thanksgiving party. "Guys," he smiles, "this is so fun."
XXVI. "If we believe that’s true," Taylor Hart continues, "then we have to accept that what Heidegger meant by Dasein was individually determined, and despite the implications of the late work on technology, I’m simply not willing to go there." He stops, interrupting the video response from his anonymous Yale lecture course. "Please, before you go and mention the fascistic quality of volk, I’d remind you to reread last class’s notes."
XXVII. Tanner Hawkinson is fairly sure his name is remarkable in one way or another. It sounds a bit like "Hawk’s son" and the part with "Tanner" makes him sound like some sort of old timey blacksmith or something. It’s cool, definitely top 20 percentile in names. He sips his coke. Seems like more people should know me, he thinks.
XXVIII. The cat curls up right next to Josh Huff and he sighs a little as he blocks the attack on his screen and slashes back with his sword. The cat slowly kneads into the couch and settles in. As Josh mashes the A button, watching the enemy’s life bar drop, he notices his lap is cold.
XXIX. Malcolm Jenkins sits in traffic, drumming the steering wheel. No music plays. He whistles along anyway, grooving from side to side and nodding to his fellow motorists. The sun seems like it might never move again.
XXX. "Lane Johnson does everything at 100 miles per hour," Lane Johnson explains to the mirror, and, also, to a second reflected Lane Johnson. Wow, Lane Johnson thinks, this Lane Johnson guy seems like a real straight shooter.
XXXI. "Mister, can you kick that over a house?" Donnie Jones sighs. He just wants one day off, but you don’t sign up to be a punter if you want an easy schedule. "Sure kid," he says with a smile at least half genuine, "hand me that pumpkin and we’ll give it a go."
XXXII. Jason Kelce studies the breakfast menu carefully. "So," he says to his waitress, "I can order the Lumberjack Special and get 8 eggs, 3 pancakes and a pound of bacon. I totally get that. But can I also get another side of bacon with it?" The waitress looks to the kitchen, as if for help; Jason smiles up at her, waiting patiently.
XXXIII. Dennis Kelly clicks excitedly to the next episode of Criminal Minds on Netflix. They caught the killer that time, he thinks, but what if they’re not fast enough next time!? He is literally on the edge of his seat as the credit sequence begins.
XXXIV. Mychal Kendricks sips his coffee. Nothing like that first sip. He lets his mind drift. Would he have been happy if he’d married Jenny and inherited her father’s farm, instead of going to Cal? Would he have always wondered what could have been? Is there any world where that isn’t the case? He finds his mind shifting to Jenny’s brother Earl and his red F150 as he takes another sip.
XXXV. Thad Lewis closes the tabs on his browser, carefully trying to remember what each one was. The computer is going to restart in 15 minutes for updates, and somehow it seems so unfair. He wonders, wistfully, if he’ll remember to read the Jacobin article on university unionizing efforts. He closes his eyes and it feels like oblivion.
XXXVI. "Do you think I could bull rush a tree?" Bennie Logan asks his friend, over a stack of pancakes. "Like if the QB had a tree protecting him, could I get to him?" "I think I kind of reject the whole premise of the question," his friend replies. "Yeah," Bennie says taking another syrupy bite, "but could I?"
XXXVII. Chris Maragos has a whole pick up routine based around how special teams are deeply undervalued as a part of the three phases of the NFL game. He thinks it would probably work on the cute barista behind the counter this afternoon. But, she looks busy and tired; he just smiles and takes his muffin and large coffee and hikes his collar to the cold.
XXXVIII. Ryan Mathews should, he acknowledges, have a chip on his shoulder about the fact that no one ever spells his name right. But every time someone gets it wrong, he likes to pretend he’s undercover as super spy Ryan Matthews. "Leave the Cholula" he says to himself out loud, putting on a rakish accent, "Ryan Matthews considers danger to be the best spice."
XXXIX. Jordan Matthews sits in the car, waiting. The air’s blowing hot and the engine seems to be running fine. And now he has a garage; isn’t a garage supposed to mean you don’t have to do this? Dangerous thoughts. He pushes them back and leans back to enjoy the full 10 minutes of car warm up.
XL. "Higher," Byron Maxwell says to his barber, "I need my hair to be higher." "B-Byron, that’s a serious risk," the barber begins, but Maxwell cuts him off. "I need it to ascend to mock the very face of God."
XLI. Demarco Murray is almost sure that there’s no shame in admiring your muscles in the mirror every morning, checking their symmetry, and feeling them under your fingers for imperfections. Still, he sets a note in his calendar for an extra session of prayer this afternoon.
XLII. "Will sir be taking a digestif this morning?" the tuxedoed butler asks, leaning close to Jason Peters’ ear. "No Johnson," Peters says, untucking the massive napkin from his collar, "I believe I’ll take my constitutional." "Very good sir," the butler, Johnson, says, "I’ll alert Craggs and we shall have the dogs ready." Peters smiles, as he passes massive portraiture and baroque filigree, fitting in as if he himself was an artifact manufactured for the manse.
XLIII. Did she just make eye contact? Was it weird that I was looking in that direction? Ed Reynolds isn’t entirely sure; he has never worked out the etiquette of where to look on the train. Has anyone? he wonders. Is there maybe a book I can read about this? Is…is there an accepted code? He shifts his eyes again, sure he just harassed another commuter.
XLIV. "Hey baby, it’s Denzel." Denzel Rice lowers his voice, trying to sound like, well, like the other Denzel. This is a bit he’s done a lot, and he hopes it doesn’t get old, but man. Come on who doesn’t like Denzel? He realizes he’s left six seconds of dead air on the message.
XLV. "It’s ironic as a nickname," Eric Rowe says, "because I actually am very much against the death penalty." The assembly of third graders stare back at him, nonplussed. "My nickname is Death Rowe." Someone coughs.
XLVI. DeMeco Ryans slams down on the button just when the light hits the jackpot. Nope, just missed – three tickets. "Gotta hit that button just a second early, Meco," he chastens himself. He looks up at the giant DeMeco Ryans doll. 10,000 tickets…but I will free you my brother.
XLVII. Mark Sanchez looks at the old magazines and press clippings. Was this him? Was he ever this famous? It doesn’t seem real. Unexpectedly, he feels some shame over it. He wants to tell the past him to have some perspective; he wants to warn him. It will all be gone soon. Foolish impossibilities, he decides, as he stands up to take a stroll around his mansion.
XLVIII. Marcus Smith looks up at the menu, crinkling his brow. "So wait…the best value is the mega combo? But what if I just want popcorn without a drink? No, no, that’s dumb, remember what Coach Kelly said, it’s about hydration. So…the combo comes with…wait what again?" The cashier sighs as the line gets longer. Marcus has already missed the start of his film.
XLIX. Darren Sproles runs at full speed into his kitchen, jogging in place in front of his wife. "Hey what do we have for lunch?" She looks in the fridge. "Leftovers, I guess?" Sproles shakes his head too quickly somehow, "Leftovers are for losers!" He sprints through the screen door.
L. "Hey buddy, you want me to kick that pumpkin over the house?!" Caleb Sturgis asks a small child. The kid looks up him and shuffles his feet. "Ah, uh, that’s okay mister," he says, "but have you seen Mr. Jones around?" Caleb deflates, angrily grumbling and walking away.
LI. Cedric Thornton punches in the ingredients on the Wawa hoagie screen carefully. He heard from someone that you used to be able to talk to the people behind the counter, but now they wouldn’t. He wonders if he should try. He realizes, with some surprise, that he’s already done with his order; time to get a Tastykake.
LII. Walter Thurmond is almost sure he has some opinions about millenials. But he’s not entirely sure what participation trophies or selfies are. They sound bad, of course, but he just can’t quite wrap his head around what they are. They should talk about that more, for people like him. He hefts the axe and splits yet another log.
LIII. "IOWA!!!!" Matt Tobin exclaims to a group of tourists speaking confused French in Center City. "IOWA BABYYYYYYY" he yells over top of his Gingerbread Latte. "GOOOOOO HAWKEYES!"
LIV. Julian Vandervelde stares at his TV. There is football on, he’s sure. But he’s just so tired. Is it wrong to go to bed a couple hours after waking up? Didn’t Ben Franklin say that was bad? Ben Franklin also died a long time ago, he reasoned, and probably didn’t know what a germ was. He closes his eyes.
LV. Andrew Gardner is, yes, gardening. Indoor, of course, it’s too cold to do it outside. And nothing weird like bonsai trees or weed or whatever. He just likes to grow fresh herbs under a sun-lamp. He doesn’t see why this would be ironic, and whenever anyone suggests as much, he distances himself a little more. Plants, he reminds himself, never say the wrong thing.
LVI. Jordan Hicks googles himself for the fifth time today. It used to be more fun when he was able to see his weird facebook-related results or some old clipping from high school. Now he has to jump to page ten to get anything interesting. Still, a routine is a routine.
LVII. "The only thing you have to lose is your fear!" Travis Long says to the four people who showed up to his motivational seminar on how to make money on short-selling futures stock at the Airport Ramada. As they mill out of the room, no one stopping by the merch table, he reminds himself that failure only happens when you allow it. He sits and checks his stock portfolio.
LVIII. "Is this the newest one?" David Molk asks the salesperson. "Because my nephew wants the newest one and I gotta be honest, I don’t know anything about these things, haha." The salesperson at the Home Depot looks a little confused. "Sir," she says, "lawnmowers don’t really work that way." David Molk smiles, nods, and waits.
LIX. Cody Parkey stares out the window at the pumpkins across the street. He narrows his eyes as he continues his rehab routine. "Soon," he mutters. "Soon."
LX. "JaCorey Shepherd rejects your demands," JaCorey Shepherd says. "Please insert a disc or choose another option," the TV continues to read. "JaCorey Shepherd is made of sterner stuff," he says again, "try your worst."
LXI. "I’m Brett Boyko," Brett Boyko says to the camera, "And I’m here to buy your car!" The ad execs look at each other, confused. Outside, a bird calls briefly, and Brett Boyko considers the fleeting nature of song.
LXII. Malcolm Bunche wonders if he’s a real adult if he doesn’t like coffee. Of course, he reasons, it’s not about what you like or not. It’s about who you are. Still, he thinks, sipping his Kid’s Moo ChocoRiffic Milk, there was something there.
LXIII. Randall Evans clicks the mouse twice. "You know," his dad says, "I read that you don’t need to do that anymore. Usually single click is fine." Randall sighs and counts to ten silently. "That’s interesting, dad," he says, instead of "You will never understand computers the way I will you fossil." His dad beams.
LXIV. "Throw me the rock!" Jonathan Krause yells from the side of a basketball court in South Philly. The players just kind of look at him, confounded, and continue to play. "Hmm," Jonathan says, walking away. "Hmm."
LXV. Freddie Martino sits at the bar, enjoying a beer. Sometimes he wonders if there’s a superfan somewhere who’ll know him. Probably not, he knows that. But it’s extra lonely somehow. This can’t be how normal people feel, right? Like they barely exist? And wait, isn’t he a normal person? The bartender smiles and asks if he wants another. He nods.
LXVI. Stephen Morris has never truly existed, outside of theory. We only can understand Stephen Morris in terms of horizons. The ideal vision of Stephen Morris is dialectically impossible.
LXVII. "You guys could call me ‘Chris Pants’ like ‘Joey Pants’" Chris Pantale says to his group of friends. "It doesn’t really work that way," one friend chimes in. "Yeah sorry dude," another says, "but you’re Tiny Dancer forever."
LXVIII. Travis Raciti finishes his fifth chicken wing. "Is that the record, dude? Check the record book?" The bartender sighs and looks. "Nope, not yet." "Well, you know what that means," Travis says, "one more wing, my man!"
LXIX. Deontae Skinner stops, feeling like something has ended somewhere. He gets this feeling sometimes, and searches his whole mind to try and find the bit that’s troubling him. But most times, he comes up empty. Today’s no different: just a feeling. Nothing’s changed, and maybe nothing ever does. A car honks behind him, knocking him out of his reverie, and he starts to jog again, still a bit unnerved, but less and less by the second.