The Presence

A few nights ago, I interviewed my neighbor Ken, a burly, bald software contractor for the Colonial Pipeline who favors cargo pants, polo shirts and serious boots. He looks like he could be 55, but in fact will turn 70 in February, and is almost certainly the oldest student at Georgia State University.

Although he has math and computer science degrees from Georgia Tech, Ken is working toward bachelors and  masters degrees, and a second career as a researcher in criminal justice. His GPA is 4.0.

Ken is not a church-goer, and but  he mentioned taking a drug-counseling course and the 12-step program’s belief in a higher power. "As far as I can tell," he said, referring to  needing the help of a higher power "that’s true of everything, not just for addiction."

It was just about the last thing I expected to hear from a guy who once told me "I never feel safe," and whose passion is "the tactical self-defense culture" — the legal use of deadly force for self-defense. He has  also dedicated more than 20 years to becoming a marksman with pistols, particularly the GLOCK, which puts him in the "praise God and pass the ammunition" school of theology.

Read more

Family Men

Andre Agassi, you may have read, is retiring from tennis and plans to spend more time with Steffi and the kids. Steelers coach Bill Cowher, according to a recent ESPN report, may retire after this year so that he can spend more time with his family. And Roger Clemens left the Yankees two years ago so he could spend more time with his family in Texas.

The athlete who retires so he can, all together now, "spend more time with his family" has become a cliche, a tedious and misleading one at that, and I’m wondering if anyone else is weary of reading about these delusional athletes and their Norman Rockwell fantasies. And if anyone else is as disenchanted with the sporting media which, always a sucker for an illusion (see Mark McGuire, Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds), happily traffic in these fictions.

There’s another side to this story, the one that gets far less attention.

Read more