A Misunderstanding at Work

IMG_4260I just got chased out of the tallest building in Memphis and yelled at by a police officer as soon as I got outside. It came as a shock, but really it’s my fault that it happened, so I guess I shouldn’t have been that surprised. I guess an explanation is probably warranted here, but give me a minute to compose myself after what I just went through, because it wasn’t easy. *Deep breath in….deep breath out. Deep breath in….deep breath out* Okay, let’s get this over with. This morning started out like a typical day, waking up to the sounds of something scratching the inside of my wall, while I say a quick thank you to my guardian angel for not letting the nuisance claw its way through the wall and kill me in my sleep. Today at work, the theme was Nerd Day Thursday, the fourth themed day in our associate appreciation week, so I started scavenging my closet searching for something, anything to wear that would make me look nerdy, which I found to be difficult, not because I don’t have anything that would be considered nerdy, but because I feel that most of what I wear to work on a daily basis makes me look like a dork, so I needed to look for something that would make me look more nerdy than usual, lest I look like I just showed up for a regular day of work.

I couldn’t really find anything extra nerdy, like a hat with a propeller or some suspenders or really short pants, so I settled on making the most of what I had, and just buttoned up my collared polo style shirt all the way to the top button. To complete the ensemble I wore the most dorky shoes that I own, crocs, but not just the regular ugly looking crocs, but the kind with the fur inside them like they’re house shoes or something. I absolutely love them. All in all the outfit wasn’t all that nerdy, but there was one more thing that I added, thanks to an idea by one of my coworkers when we were talking about what to wear the other day. She suggested I wear a sign that said “kick me” which is really the most textbook nerdy thing you can wear, so I pinned a piece of printer paper with those two words written in sharpie pen on it, to the back of my shirt, which turned out to be a disaster. It wasn’t pinned on straight so the paper got flipped up at one point and when I sat down in my car to come to work, it tried to fall back down but my back pinned it to the seat before it fell all the way down and pressed it sideways up against the seat where it stayed my entire commute. By the time I got to work it was all crinkled and wrinkled and completely unacceptable, which wouldn’t have bothered me whatsoever if I hadn’t been able to feel it through my shirt sticking up at an awkward angle. I asked Kisha to take it off of me, because as much as I willed myself to be able to reach around my back and unhook the tiny pin that was stuck through both my paper and the shirt, I just couldn’t do it.

She didn’t just take the old sign off, but decided to help me out and make me a new sign, this one written in thick black marker so it would be easily visible to everyone who caught a glimpse of my back. This one said “Kick me. I’m a nerd.” A little harsher than my sign, outright proclaiming me as a nerd, but at least I still had the most crucial part of my outfit and it was all in fun. Customers who came into the bank and caught a glimpse of my back would often snicker, and subtly ask my coworkers who had put it on my back, like they were all in on the joke of me being called a nerd, none of them actually having the heart or decency to tell me that something mean about me was written on my back. At least now I know which customers I can trust, absolutely nobody. When people stopped coming into the bank, I seized the opportunity to go out to my car to retrieve something I’d forgotten this morning. I walked out of the bank then out of the building to the parking lot, and just as I started walking towards my car, somebody burst through the doors, having chased me out of the building, call after me, “Sir! Sir!” I don’t know that anyone has ever called me sir before, so I was a little taken aback, first looking behind me expecting to see someone much more worthy of the title in the parking lot, but she was apparently talking to me. She put her hand on my shoulder, and with sad eyes told me that there was something on my back. By this point in the day I had completely forgotten that I was even wearing the sign since so much time had passed without it being mentioned, but here I was in the parking lot where I work with a good Samaritan feeling sorry for me, the nerd boy.

She told me that she would take the sign off, bless her, but I explained that it was intentional, that the bank where I worked was having a nerd themed day today and the sign was just part of my outfit. She walked away disappointedly, like she wishes I could have been bullied so she could step in and save the day. “I’m so sorry for being fine!”, I wanted to yell at her but I didn’t, I was on a mission to get something out of my car. I turned around and began walking again. “You’ve got something on your back!”, was shouted at me as I walked past three police cars that were parked to my right. I briefly explained about the themed day at the bank and it was all part of the costume, which became tiresome and unbearable to me midway through the explanation. He cracked a couple of unfunny jokes that I didn’t bother to remember. He was nice enough but I broke away as soon as I could to get what I needed from my car. One other person stopped me on my way back in to inform me about the sign, the building’s security guard, which is nice to know that he’s literally got my back, but I told my story once again and went back inside the shelter of the bank where I didn’t have to explain myself to every person I saw. Given the fact that I was worried about leaving for lunch and forgetting about it again, I asked Jalisa to take the sign off my back once and for all, so at least I won’t have to worry about explaining it to anyone else for the rest of the day. The only downside is I actually look like a dork with my normal work clothes and my fuzzy crocs on my feet, and now without the sign nobody is going to say anything to me about it and I won’t have an opportunity to explain myself. I can’t ever win.

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The Flu Shot

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Does anybody actually know if getting a flu shot actually works? I’ve gotten mine for the past few years, for no other reason than it was free, and I haven’t gotten the flu, but I don’t know whether or not that has anything to do with getting the shot or if I just have a superior top of the shelf immune system, because I don’t think that I’ve ever actually gotten the flu. I don’t think it’s genetic, because I remember family members being sick with it when I was younger. I remember my mom getting sick and having to take the medicine Tamaflu, and since her name is Tammy, it seemed an appropriate nickname for her. On the other hand, every time the topic of flu shots come up, there is inevitably a group of people who hold fast to the belief that flu shots don’t actually work, and in fact make you more susceptible to the illness. I think those people are crazy, but the truth is, I don’t really know. When I started working at Publix in 2014, it was the first time I ever remember thinking about getting a flu shot, since that was one of the perks offered up by the company, and I’m not one to let free things go unused. I don’t like shots, despite being in my mid-twenties, but I was torn, have someone stab in the arm with a needle, or let this free benefit go to waste. It was literally a last second decision, debating back in forth in my head on the day that the physician was at our store, finally deciding to do it and catching him just before he left. The shot wasn’t that bad, which is probably a good thing, since I tend to let bad experiences shape how I feel about certain things going forward, but this wasn’t one of those times, and the following year I got another flu shot, and then 2016 rolled around, and I wasn’t planning on getting one, but a trip to Walmart changed my mind completely.

It’s funny how a single trip to Walmart has the ability to influence and change your life in a way that few other things can, like before Walmart, I always looked down on store brand items, but one time my grandmother bought the Walmart brand cinnamon toast crunch, and it became my favorite cereal, and was far superior than the original name brand, or the time I went for a few groceries, and walked away with a new job having spotted the job application kiosk out of the corner of my eye as I went to the bathroom. Unfortunately the job never worked out, and I’m too old eat sugary cereal on a regular basis, but you see what I’m saying about how a single trip to this place can eerily impact the course of your life, and September of 2016, a year ago, was no different. I was walking past the pharmacy, probably to get Aleve, the only brand of medicine that seems to work on my annoyingly intense headaches that I get from time to time, and the only time I ever walk past the pharmacy unless of course I’m picking up a prescription. As I walked past, the pharmacist said hello and asked if I’d gotten my flu shot yet. I said no. The truth is I hadn’t even thought about getting a flu shot since I moved to Memphis and was no longer employed by a company that offered it for free to their employees, and I told the pharmacist as much. She asked to see my insurance card, telling me that most everyone’s insurance covered flu shots, which made my ears perk up immediately, the word free acting for me like the word “outside” does for my dogs, immediately grabbing my attention.

I obliged, handing over the card, and waited patiently while the information was being keyed into the computer to check on my credentials, half hoping I would be able to get the shot for free, the other half of me once again succumbing the voices within me telling me that needles hurt. I was covered, and since I was going to be kicked off my dad’s insurance at the end of the month, I figured the responsible thing to do was to go ahead and get the shot while I had the chance to do so for free. I sat down behind a little divider, separating me from the rest of humanity inside of the store, which I was more than okay with since there was about a twenty percent chance that the shot would sting and would start bawling uncontrollably, so privacy in this case, was a godsend. The pharmacist pulled out her necessary instruments to perform the procedure, a sanitizing alcohol wipe, a band aid, and the needle, setting them down gently on the TV tray that had become the makeshift operating table. She must have seen me wince at the sight of the needle, or maybe like a dog, pharmacists can smell fear, because she immediately started telling me about this new technology, something that made shots virtually pain free. It was a circular band aid looking thing that she stuck to my arm after it was sanitized. In the center of the circle was a see through film that the needle was supposed to be stuck through, and somehow, some way, that was supposed to eliminate the pain of the needle. I was skeptical. Unless that see through film had a very strong invisible pain killer on it that would attach itself to the end of the needle and hit your bloodstream and take effect immediately, I didn’t see it could possible stop the pain. She stuck the needle through and guess what, I was right. It wasn’t less painful, it was worse than any shot I’d ever gotten, and then, the cherry on top, a bump immediately appeared in the spot on my arm where the needle had been stuck, which wouldn’t have been so bad if it hadn’t swollen up even more overnight and become unbearably itchy by the next morning. It was horrible, but I didn’t get the flu last year, so maybe it worked.

I just got an email this morning informing me that I can get a free flu shot this year thanks to the bank I work for, but last year’s experience has me feeling a little bit hesitant. I don’t really want to go through the pain and agony of what seemed to be a clear allergic reaction to the flu shot, especially when I’m not convinced that it actually works. Right now I’m leaning heavily towards not doing it. The worst thing that can happen is I’ll get the flu. I’ve still got more than eighty hours of paid sick time that’s going to be wasted if I don’t use them by the end of this year, so maybe getting violently ill wouldn’t be such a bad thing. Maybe I’ll find out in the coming months.

The Near Collapse of Taco Tuesday

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Taco Tuesday was almost ruined before it even got started. I should probably explain. This week at work is our company’s associate  appreciation week, and every day has a different theme, like yesterday was school spirit day, so I wore a pullover from the college I got kicked out of, returned to, then dropped out of at the end of the year. Good times. Last week it was decided that today would be Taco Tuesday, and it would be a pot luck style lunch where everyone would sign up to bring something that when combined with everyone else’s items, would equate nothing short of a fiesta. The taco hamburger meat for the tacos was already accounted for, thanks to Brad and the fact that his parents have a farm in Mississippi where they slaughter their own cows, which if that doesn’t make your mouth water, I question whether or not you are even human, because to me, nothing conjures up a more delicious image in my mind, than cows being slaughtered, their blood soaking the ground while anguished moos, their last words filling the rural skies.
 
Since the meat was accounted for, as were toppings for the tacos, cheese, sour cream, taco sauce, and lettuce, I decided to go the extra mile and bring something homemade, something of better quality that can be found in any store or restaurant, at least in my humble opinion, my wife’s guacamole. Okay, I realize that signing up to bring my wife’s guacamole meant that I was actually signing up for my wife to make it, without first checking with her, and in my defense, I didn’t foresee it as being a problem, but as faithful readers of the blog know, I’m often wrong. I wrote down guacamole and salsa on the line next to my name, confident that my wife’s guacamole would be the shining star amongst the rest of the food gathered, and I maintained that fantasy, until I woke up this morning. To my wife’s credit, she took the news that I wanted her to prepare a dip for me and my coworkers in stride, agreeing to do so without the slightest hesitation, which was a relief. Not that guacamole takes a ton of time to make, but when you work five days a week, go to school the other two, and spend most nights studying, having an extra thing to do, however small, could be found irritating to most, so I’m very thankful that she agreed to it, and lucky to have her for my wife.
 
Fast forward a few days to Sunday, the day we normally do our grocery shopping. I reminded my wife again that we needed to get the salsa and the ingredients to make the guacamole, but she thought it would be better to wait until Monday, that way the produce would taste more fresh on Tuesday when I took the guacamole into work, and seeing as how she was the mastermind behind the creation, I didn’t object, trusting her expert opinion, which is how we found ourselves in Kroger on a Monday evening. I don’t know that I’ve ever come right out and said it before, but I don’t like Kroger, mostly due to the fact that no two stores are the same, which makes it a lot harder than it needs to be to find what you are looking for, an obvious inconvenience that I’m surprised nobody with decision making power has picked up on yet. We got the limes and tomatoes, but the avocados were rock hard, nowhere close to being ripe, so it was either buy some premade guacamole which would be exponentially worse than my wife’s, or go to another store, an option I also wasn’t too keen on since Monday Night Football was set to kickoff in just a few minutes, but being the lesser of two evils, we decided to stop by Walmart on the way home.
 
Walmart wasn’t too crowded, so we were in and out of the store pretty quickly, however it stung quite a bit more than I’d anticipated. The only two choices of avocados at Walmart were either big and nowhere close to being ready to eat, or really small ones that were ripe. Given that the guacamole needed to be prepared for the following day and we didn’t have the week to let the big ones ripen in a brown paper bag on top of the refrigerator, we were forced to go with the small ones, which meant we had to purchase more than the recipe called for, because they were literally the tiniest avocados I’ve ever seen, and I worked in the produce section of a grocery store for two and a half years. The avocados alone ended up costing more than ten dollars, a quick blow to the pit of my stomach as I came to the realization that I could buy several tubs of premade guacamole for the same price. That night at home, by the time I was ready for bed, a few minutes after eleven, the avocados, tomatoes, and limes were still sitting on the kitchen counter, untouched. I didn’t want to annoy my wife with endless questions about when she was going to be making the guacamole, especially since she was studying, so I kissed her goodnight and went to bed.
 
I woke up this morning, and immediately knew that something wasn’t right. Maybe it was something in the air, or the louder and more urgent scratching coming from inside of my bedroom wall (stupid rats!), but instinctively I knew that something was wrong, and when I walked into the kitchen, through eyes full of shock and horror, I realized what it was; the guacamole was not made. In retrospect I probably should have reminded my wife, or just bought the prepackaged stuff at the store, anything but this. Faces of coworkers flashed before my eyes, cries of “how could you” and “worthless” hurled in my direction, letting everyone down. I was ready to call in sick, or quit my job, anything but face the firing squad. Taco Tuesday, along with my life was ruined, but then something happened, my wife woke up and walked into the kitchen, summoned perhaps by forces of the universe or maybe she’d just followed the sound of my uncontrollable sobs, but she appeared, and then proceeded to do what she always does, and started to make the situation better. While I showered, shaved, and got ready for work, my wife went to work smashing the avocados, dicing and adding the tomatoes, and squeezing lime juice into a large Tupperware bowl, miraculously and thankfully getting it ready just in time to hand to me as I was walking out the door. Disaster averted.
 
Lunchtime arrived and the bank was filled with the smell of cooking taco meat, a more glorious smell I do not know. All of the food, some prepared with love and care from the heart, some purchased with laziness from the nearest supermarket, all looking delicious and smelling great. Despite being called Taco Tuesday, everyone seemed to choose making a plate of nachos over tacos, but taco meat was consumed by all, so it wasn’t a complete slap in the face to the originally titled day. The food was all really good, a nice break from the monotonous drudgery of my daily sandwich, a happy reminder that not all lunches have to be mediocre affair. The guacamole went over well with multiple people asking me to tell my wife that they really liked it, so I guess it’s a good thing that I put her on the spot and that she came through, because at least for those of us eating the food, it added an extra layer of flavor to the nachos. Taco Tuesday could have been a disaster, but instead, it turned out to be an above average Tuesday thanks to the added bonus of having Mexican food for lunch. We should really do this more often. IMG_4253

Things Discovered on the Road Through Arkansas

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I spent a good portion of last weekend driving through Arkansas, spending more than two hours each day, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, on the road in the natural state, my car winding through the mountains, up and down, on top of the world one minute, and cascading toward the ground the next. I get bored really easily on long car rides, whether I’m driving or not, and unfortunately last weekend was no exception, but I did at least learn some things along the way, and that’s what I would like to share with you today, so buckle your seat belts to prevent the annoyingly loud beeping reminder, and let’s get started.

Arkansas is beautiful, or at least some of it is. I guess in the back of my mind I always knew this, or heard people say this, because it is after all called the natural state, but until this past weekend I never really appreciated it. It was breathtaking when after driving up and up a winding road, the trees would clear on the side and you could see the world from up above, the quaint little town in the valley below looking like it could have been the town in a christmas movie, if only there had been snow. We passed lakes and rivers and creeks, all sparkling in the morning light, inviting us to dive into them, which would have been great if we didn’t have other places that we needed to be. We were so taken by the beauty, my wife and I, that we actually discussed, very briefly, the possibility of living there. For the record, i don’t think I would ever voluntarily move to a smaller town because I think I would get bored pretty quickly, but the views alone made it worth considering if even for only a short while.

Towns in rural Arkansas all seem to have their population printed on the sign that stands next to the highway leading through the city, and they all have crazy low numbers, like less people than my graduating class in high-school, which was only like a hundred and ten. I can’t recall ever seeing a sign while living in Memphis, Florida, or Little Rock that told the population of the city, so it struck me as kind of an odd thing to do. As mile after mile slipped by, I caught myself thinking about why these places that very few people wanted to habitats would leave their publicly advertise the low population, and I came with a couple of theories. Maybe this is a tactic to increase the population and become the next booming city that everybody wants to move to, making the land already owned by the locals skyrocket in value so they all get rich. Once a tourist rolling through town and sees the amazing views all around them, they might just start thinking about moving there to this paradise, and when they see the populations is so low, then maybe that will seal the deal, knowing that it will be nice and quiet in their neck of the woods. My second theory is the one that is probably most likely to be true; that people in these small towns are proud of where they live and are proud to be one of the few people to live there, so they see it as an honorable thing to advertise the small number of people that live there just so everyone will know they are only one out of ninety-three people that live in Ironwater, Arkansas. Think about it, people in Arkansas are already proud of things they should be embarrassed of, Mike Huckabee and the Razorbacks are two of the things that come to mind immediately, so maybe this is just another one of these things. All that really matters in life is trying to find joy as often as you can, so if the small population of your town painted on a sign gives you that, then who am I to say that it’s dumb?

I found joy driving through Arkansas, both in thinking about what reasons could possibly exist for having a small town population advertised to everyone entering the town, and in the beautiful views that stretched for miles around me, keeping things interesting as I tried to pass the time. If you’ve never been to Arkansas, I wouldn’t recommend going for a two month extended vacation or anything like that, but it would be the perfect place to go for a week or a long weekend, especially if you want to get in touch with nature. I hope to go back sometime in the near future, but instead of speeding through on my way to another destination, I will stop and truly enjoy the natural beauty that Arkansas has to offer.

Weekend Trip to Branson

IMG_4234Yesterday we got on the road about five-thirty in the morning, leaving my mom’s house in Searcy, Arkansas headed for Branson, Missouri. My brother and I both have birthdays in September, so my mom decided to give us this trip to Branson with the rest of the family. The drive was beautiful up through the mountains, the views magnificent as the world started to get light around us, and about eight, we stopped at a small town in Arkansas for breakfast. It was called Ferguson’s, a country, Cracker Barrel like place, famous for their giant cinnamon rolls. I’m not big on sweet things for breakfast, so I got two eggs over easy, with sausage and biscuits. The food was really good, the sausage patties bigger than I’ve ever had in a restaurant before, so that was pretty great, and the biscuits were soft and flaky and melted in my mouth, the buttery goodness dissolving in each bite. After eating we got back on the road again, headed for our main destination of the day, Silver Dollar City.IMG_4215

Silver Dollar City is an amusement park in Branson that I’d been to before, but not since many years ago when I was a child, so I was pretty excited to go back. We thought now that the Summer is over and kids were back in school that it wouldn’t be too crowded there. We were wrong. It was packed, so much so that we had to wait in the parking lot through several trolleys taking visitors to the entrance of the park before we finally found some empty seats. It was the second longest line we waited in the entire day. We got into the park and were swept up in the current of people and then deposited at the entrance to the first roller coaster, Thunderation. Me, my wife, and my brother Logan were the only ones who went on that ride, and it was pretty fun, albeit jerky in some places. Logan told my mom it wasn’t that bad, that there weren’t any big drops, and convinced her to ride it with him, so off they went while the rest of us stood to the side and waited to see how my mom would handle it. I was standing at the ride’s exit when the roller coaster pulled back into the stop, and my mom did not look happy. It was worse than she believed it to be, and vowed then and there to never ride another roller coaster for the rest of her life.IMG_4241

The rest of the day in the park went by quickly, with us riding as many rides as we could fit in before the park closed, my favorite being the log ride that takes you up then plummets you down into the water at breakneck speed while a huge wave of water from the impact comes up over the side of the log and gets everybody wet. We left the park at closing time, went to check into the hotel, and then went to dinner. Since it was for my and Logan’s birthday, it was left up to us to decide were we went for dinner, but since we were unfamiliar with the area and the local restaurants, we weren’t able to decide on anything, so we went across the street from the hotel to eat at The Red Barn Cafe. We walked in and the first thing that struck me was how sticky the floor was as our shoes stuck to and peeled away from the wooden floor with each step, making our entrance audibly heard. We ordered drinks and the second sign that this might not be a great experience was the fact that the waitress didn’t know who ordered what to drink, and asked us to tell her as she passed them out.

I ordered chicken fried chicken, a southern classic, which seemed like a safe bet at this restaurant that appeared to specialize in such cuisine. While we waited for the food to arrive a man who claimed to work there asked to take our pictures, so he took a full shot of the table, then one of my brother and his girlfriend, then one of me and my wife. It seemed intrusive but it didn’t take that long so we didn’t think much of it. A few minutes later he came back, presenting us with each of the pictures framed and the opportunity to purchase them for fifteen dollars each. I told him on behalf of my wife and I, that we weren’t interested in our photograph, but he insisted that we look at it and think about it, setting it on the very edge of the table, the cynic within me believing he placed it on the edge of the table so on the off chance we might knock it off, then we would have to pay for it. I moved it away from the edge. The waitress brought the food, announcing as she sat the plates down that they were out of baked potatoes, but instead of telling us this beforehand and asking what else we might have wanted, she just took the liberty of deciding for the table, and gave everyone mashed potatoes, which wasn’t a big deal for me because that’s what I ordered anyway, but it was annoying to the others who weren’t given a choice.IMG_4227

The green beans were terrible, as were the mashed potatoes, although I will say they did do a valiant effort of covering that up by dousing the potatoes in gravy to hide the fact that they were old. The waitress asked how everything was and while the rest of the table politely answered “good” I didn’t want to lie so I said “eh.” This caught her attention, so she spoke to me directly asking me if the food wasn’t good. I said it was alright, a clear over exaggeration, but she continued to press, asking “just alright?”, clearly wanting me to praise the bad food, but I stuck to my guns and said yes. She walked away. The chicken fried chicken which I had yet to try, looked good, but it did strike me as odd that there wasn’t gravy on it, the only way I’ve ever had it. As I looked around the table at the other people who had the same thing, I noticed that there was a cup of gravy on each of their plates, apparently mine had been forgotten. My grandmother let me have some of hers, and I was ready to dig in. For what it’s worth, the chicken fried chicken was good, juicy and flavorful, but it was the only thing edible on my plate. When we were done, my mom addressed the table, verbalizing what we were all thinking, that next time we come to Branson, we wouldn’t be coming back to the Red Barn Cafe. Out of ten I would rate the restaurant a one, not only because of the terrible food, but the bad service and the intrusive photographer trying to sell his cheap products to us while we were out trying to enjoy a nice family dinner.

I’m about to cross the bridge back into Memphis, the trip is over, and like most fun trips, it went by too fast. The good news is that we got season passes at Silver Dollar City yesterday and we are planning to go back later in the year, so we have that to look forward to. It was a great trip full of good memories save last night’s dinner, and I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday gift. Twenty-seven is off to a pretty good start.IMG_4235

The Pick Six-NFL Week 2

NFL-WEEK-1-4-800x415Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, it is now my favorite time of the week, time for the Pick Six. Last week I did incredible in picking NFL games, better than I’ve ever done before, so it only stands to reason, since I’m obviously continuing to improve, that I will do even better in Week 2 than I did in Week 1, so if you’re not reading the Pick Six, you are really missing out. Of course that last sentence needn’t be written because obviously the people who it was intended for are not actually reading this and therefore my I am just wasting my time in a failed attempt to deliver it. I’m very much looking forward to this Sunday’s slate of NFL games, so much so that I’m going to be getting up super early on Sunday to drive from Branson back to Memphis so that I can arrive by the time the first game kicks off and I won’t have to miss any of the action. That’s dedication, or possibly stupidity, but regardless, I can’t wait. Let’s dive in.

6. Bears/Buccaneers: Sunday at noon
I know, I know, this doesn’t seem like the most intriguing game in the world, but I think it will be one to keep your eye on for a couple of reasons. First, I think Tampa Bay has a real shot this year to take that next evolutionary step for a football team and make an impact in the playoffs, and since their game last week got postponed due to a hurricane, this will be our first look at the promising Buccaneers, although they aren’t the only ones with high hopes for the season. The bears looked pretty good against the defending NFC champion Atlanta Falcons in week 1, and I think their defense could keep them in a lot of big games, so I am interested to see how they handle this Tampa Bay team who added Desean Jackson in the offseason, making their already powerful offense even more explosive. The Bucs are a five point favorite and I’m going to take them for the win and to cover the spread. I can’t wait to see how they progress as a time as the season unfolds.

5. Vikings/Steelers: Sunday at noon
When Minnesota started last year 5-0, the best record in football, I didn’t believe it, thought it was a hoax, and ultimately I was proven right by the time the season came to a close, but when I watched their first game of the season on Monday, it instilled in me a belief that I didn’t have last year, that maybe this Vikings team is actually pretty good. Going up against the Steelers will be a good test for Minnesota to see how their defense handles the explosive one-two punch of Pittsburgh’s offense with Laveon Bell carrying the ball and Antonio Brown, one of the best wide receivers in the game making impossible catches. Pittsburgh is a four and a half point favorite at home and I’m taking them for the win and to cover the point spread, but I do think Minnesota might actually be for real this year.

4. Titans/Jaguars: Sunday at noon
Tennessee is coming off a frustrating week 1 loss to the Raiders, while Jacksonville is coming off a big week 1 win over the Texans. So the Texans aren’t that good right now, I get it, but still, the Jags have been the poster child of mediocrity and subpar play for as long as I can remember, so getting a win the first week of the season is huge. Normally the Jaguars fans are let down by this point, their hopes of actually living up to their potential completely crushed, but not now, now there is an air of optimism in Jacksonville. Maybe this will finally be their year. It won’t be, but it’s nice to dream. The Titans losing to a good Oakland team last week isn’t that big of a deal, but I think they need to improve quite a bit, on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball if they want any opportunity of making it past the first round of the playoff. Tennessee is only a one and a half point favorite, which seems odd to me, that perhaps there is something I don’t know, a reason why the odds makers have it so close. I don’t know the reasoning behind it, but I’m going with my gut in this one to pick Jacksonville to the get the home win as the underdog.

3. Eagles/Chiefs: Sunday at noon
The Chiefs looked really good in their opening game against none other than the defending Super Bowl Champion, Patriots, and looked like they could be a team that has a real chance in the playoffs this year, and the Eagles just came off a good win against divisional rival Redskins, so I’m interested to see how these two teams look in week 2. The Chiefs are four point favorites in their home opener, and I’m taking them to win the game and cover the spread, something that pleases me immensely as a diehard hater of the Philadelphia Eagles.

2. Cowboys/Broncos: Sunday at 3:25
Both teams are coming off big primetime wins in week 1 and I think this will be a battle between the Cowboys explosive offense and the Bronco’s shutdown defense. While Denver has a couple of the best receivers in the league, I don’t think they’ll be all that effective tomorrow, not because I’m super confident in the Cowboys secondary, because I’m not, yet, but because I think Trevor Simian is not a good quarterback who will struggle to get them the ball. Dallas is a point and a half favorite, and I’m taking them to get the win and cover the spread. Go Cowboys!

Packers/Falcons: Sunday at 7:30
This is easily the most interesting game of the weekend between two teams that met in the NFC championship last year. Green Bay looked good last week against a good Seattle team, while Atlanta didn’t look that good against one of the worst teams in the league last year, so needless to say, the Falcons will really need to up their game if they want to have any hope of walking away from Sunday with the victory. What I’m really looking forward to in this game is seeing how the Packers defense, which dominated the Seahawks last week, handles Matt Ryan and one of the most powerful offenses in the NFL. Atlanta is a one point favorite at home, but I don’t think they’ll get the job done tomorrow night. Packers win.

There’s your pick six. Enjoy another full day of football!

The Pick Six: College Football Week 3

The first two weeks of college football have been great. We’ve been treated to some really good matchups between top ranked teams and have already witnessed a huge upset last week with Oklahoma beating Ohio State on the road, but that being said, I think this week is going to be way less interesting than the first two. Last week, whatever genius is in charge of scheduling the games, put the best four games of the day all starting within an hour of each other on Saturday night, meaning we could really only watch one game without having to keep flipping back and forth during commercial breaks and missing a lot of what happened in the other games. It would have been much better for college football as a whole to have spread out the games over the course of the day, that way there would be an interesting game going on at all times, or perhaps even better, having moved a couple of those week 2 games to week 3, which would massively improve this sad lineup of football games tomorrow. The Pick Six is normally where I give you the six most interesting games of the day and my picks against the point spread, but this week, I’m cutting that in half, not because I’m feeling lazy or don’t have time to do six, but because as I looked through the lineup of games this morning, I really only found two matchups that I thought would be really good games, and one more that may not be that close but is of local interest where I live. The good news, for me anyway, is that I’ll be spending the day in Branson, Missouri with my family, and I won’t be subjected to the torture of trying to find interesting games to watch all day tomorrow. It’s the Week 3 Pick Six; here we go! 

3. Memphis/UCLA

When: Saturday at 11 am

Where: ABC

Why: This is the game that holds local interest for me, living here in the city of Memphis. The Tigers are not my favorite football team, but behind Alabama, they are my next favorite, the team I am always rooting for to win, even though it doesn’t mean as much to me as my favorite team. It’s a huge game for Memphis, and the one game this year I really would have liked to have gone too, but unfortunately it just so happened to fall on the weekend of our family trip, so I’ll be keeping up with the score on my phone at Silver Dollar City. UCLA is a top 25 team, and beating them would be the signature win for the Tigers this year. Do I think Memphis will get the huge upset at home? No, and I’m picking UCLA who is a six and a half point favorite to get the win and cover the spread, but for the first time this year in The Pick Six, I really hope that I’m wrong. Go Tigers!

 

2. Tennessee/Florida

When: Saturday at 2:30 pm

Where: CBS

Why: The Tennessee/Florida game has always been a fun rivalry, and while Florida leads the series all time, the Vols did get a big win over the Gators last year. I said during week 1 that Tennessee was not going to win as much as their fans expect with Butch Jones running the program, and I stand by that today, but I do think they will play a good game and keep it close. Florida is the eight point underdog, and while I think the Gators will get the win, I’m banking on Tennessee to keep it closer than that, possibly even leading late in the game before Butch Jones does something colossally stupid and loses the game for his team, which if we’re being honest, we would all love to see.

 

1. Clemson/Louisville

When: Saturday at 7 pm

Where: ABC

Why: In this primetime matchup, the best game of the week, you have the defending national champion, against the reining Heisman Trophy winner. Clemson won their first big test last week against Auburn, and while it was closer than I thought it would be, it was still a big win for them at the beginning of the season. Louisville has looked good against teams that they should’ve beaten pretty easily, their Heisman winning quarterback looking every bit as good as he did last season. Clemson is the three point favorite on the road, and my gut is telling me to take Louisville for the win, but I’m going with my head on this pick. I’ll take Clemson to win the game and cover the spread. I really think this is going to be a really close game that stays interesting down to the end, so if you don’t watch any other college games this week, make sure you tune into this one, because on the most boring day of the college football season thus far, at least we have this great matchup to end the day