REAL MEN: TIGHE-ger TRACKS

So, finally ready to start the book I have had in my mind, for years, titled “REAL MEN

Decided to get it started and my first entry is about one of my favorite families; the Tighes. Hope you enjoy. If you have a tale of a Real Man; father, brother, son…worth telling, send me a note and we can include a chapter.

—————————————————

Philomena“Philly” Tighe died of cancer at a young age. A lovely Irish lady, Philly left behind her husband, John, and their five young sons to figure the world out (don’t worry, they all did a wonderful job of that).  My father’s family were the next door neighbors to the Tighes and they grieved with them. As years passed, my dad and mom always shared some fun and funny tales of their years living next to the Tighes on Moore Street in Lowell.

When I was 4 years old my parents packed up to build their first home. As the house was being constructed, a chimney needed to be built and bricklayer “Old”  John Tighe was the only man ever considered for the job. John was a cool, calm badass of a man and I became infatuated with his mason craft. Cigar hanging out of his mouth, John carried layer upon layer of bricks up and down a ladder, all day. I was mesmerized. So much so, I attempted to carry bricks around the yard, following John. At first, I grabbed one. Then two. Soon I thought I could carry as many bricks as my mortar-l idol, John .  And…hernia. Pain, surgery, scrotal-area scar…whatever.

It was worth it, Mr. Tighe

Flash forward 36 years.

My annual boys golf trip. Gratuitously titled “The Green Jacket“, a tradition unlike any other. Twenty-five aging married men with children drinking for a weekend and a round of golf might have accidentally broken out. October in the Live Free or Die state for 48 hours. Epic event that lasted nearly two decades. Personally, my last G.J. was 2014 as I just turned the page in to my fourth decade.

Here is why it was my last.

On the first day of our cherished tradition I had a bit of an “accident”.

Rather, another Tighe sent me to the emergency room.

This time the culprit was the youngest of their clan, my old buddy Marty. At a table set for 25 inebriated men we were having a bit of a Craic. Marty, at the head of this banquet table like a Dean Martin Roast, and I to his right, were laughing like the audience of court jesters. Then it took an unexpected turn. A playful slap on my arm from Marty quickly devolved into a more jovial tackle.

Boom.

Ass-over-tea-kettle, my noggin smashed off the nearly 100 year old hotel radiator. As I sat back up in my chair, still belly laughing, I observed the looks of despair on my mates’ faces. My cousin, Kevin, directly across from me, says in his best Boston accent, “Ah, dude, that’s gonna need stitches.”

He was right. Ambulance whisks me of to “We Almost Went to Medical School General Hospital” in East Nowhere, NH for nine badboy sutures just west of my left eye. Dr. Quinn, Almost Medicine Woman, asked me if I had been drinking to which I eloquently responded, “HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA”

No local anesthetic needed, Doc.

It was worth it, Marty.

And so, Tighe men, thank you.
Two lifelong scars but two better lifelong memories.

Real men.

Just go, Man

The world is weird right now.

Very weird.

Last I saw, our world is on standby.  School.  Work. Church. You name it.  It’s all on hold for now.  We are being told (forced?) to stay home.

Weird times.

That said….what a remarkable opportunity we have been presented. Right?.  When, if ever, in our lifetime have we had a guilt-free period to simply “be”? Yes, there is a worrisome pandemic, but I would like to believe most of us will avoid and manage this scare with a bit of resolve and practicality.

And so, why not embrace this time?

Grab a book.  Grab a board game.  Grab a loved one.

Cook that recipe you have been afraid to attempt.  Pick up that guitar you have been staring at.  Take that long walk you always have in mind (with your dog or your significant other. No judging here).  Love-the-one-you’re-with kind of vibe, kid!

Go!

Send that card to Nana.  Mix that cocktail. Scoop that ice cream!

Just go man!

Why not?

I am the biggest, sarcastic hypocrite ever, but hey…let’s give it a shot.

 

A Tale of McNuggets: I’m Loving It

McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets, by definition:

“The Chicken McNugget is a small piece of processed chicken meat that is fried in batter and flash-frozen, then shipped out and sold at McDonald’s restaurants.

McDonald’s first executive chef, René Arend, created the Chicken McNuggets recipe in 1979. “The McNuggets were so well-received that every franchise wanted them”, said Arend in a 2009 interview. “There wasn’t a system to supply enough chicken”. Supply problems were solved by 1983, and Chicken McNuggets became available nationwide.

According to McDonald’s, the nuggets come in four shapes: the bell, the bow-tie, the ball and the boot. The reason for the four different shapes is to ensure consistent cooking times for food safety. Four shapes were chosen because McDonalds states “The 4 shapes we make Chicken McNuggets in was the perfect equilibrium of dipability and fun. 3 would’ve been too few. 5 would’ve been, like, wacky.”

Blah, blah, blah.  I don’t give a crap about the invention of McNuggets nor their God-fearing nutricional UN-value.  I don’t.  And if you care to comment at this stage of this column I respectfully ask you to take your opinion to the nearest Wendy’s.

This is a story of McNugget Lore.  A love story.  A story of passion and poison.  Gluttony and greed.  It has all the elements of a Michael Douglas B-Rate thriller coupled with the spoiled-oil grease trap cooking these American legends across our great land.  McNuggets are the Broad Stripes and Bright Stars.  The Purple Mountain Magesty.  The Amber Waves of Grain. Deep fried deliciousness.

OK, you get my stance.

And now to the long overdue story….

About a year ago….we will call in ‘Ought ’18, a few of my closest and dearest were enjoying some well-deserved Friday Beers over some conversation and comradery at one of our favorite watering holes in the mighty Mill City.  In our spirited discussion, the wildly popular topic of food naturally arose.   More specific?  Fast Food.  Despite the incredible pressure and political-correct-crapness to insist this cuisine is taboo and should never grace our pallets; lets be freakin’ honest for one Millennial second.  If you are a child of the 1970s, 80s, and even 90s….you loved yourself some drive-thru.  Of course you did.  You wouldn’t be human or from the USA if you didn’t.  One thing made you happier than anything else; The HAPPY Meal.  And thence into beauty.

McDonalds, above all of the other gullet-stuffing, caloric-Titanic-disasters of the fast food chain made us all smile in a guilty but genuine glee.

As such, the gang and I all waxed poetic about the delicate decadence of the Chicken McNugget.  Oohs and Ahhs quickly turned to bravado…

“How many McNuggets could you take down?,” one member of our crew shouted.

Insane mathematical impossibilities were exclaimed.

“40!”

“No way, I can do 60!”

“I got 100 in me on an empty stomach!‘ screamed the most clearly inebriated of the clan.

Arguments, fuzzy logic and Venn diagrams even appeared within this classroom of cocktails.

And then a calm and sober voice interceded.  A leader amongst us.  The proprietor of this famed Lowellian water hole.

“Hey….I’ll buy Nuggets and let’s give it a test run.

(Collective gulps).

He continued, “I saw a deal they (McDonald’s) are running right now on special.  40 nuggets for $10.”

The crowd now silenced like the spectators at the Roman Colliseum following a Gladiator death match.

Nods and hesitant (Boston accent) “Shahs” followed his proposal.  And then, he was off like the childish Red and Yellow Clown Ronald himself.

Our bravado soon turned to healthy fear of a Weekend at BURN-ies with a side with a vomitous chicken collision.

I’d like to tell you how we had the greatest eat off since Lard Ass in the Pie Eating Contest in Stand By Me.  I’d love to brag how eating giants Joey Chestnut and Kobayashi were weak shadows of greatness compared to what we were about to take in during this stomach stuffing for annals of history.

But, I can’t.

The real legend in this story is the Fearless Leader and Procurer of the above stated magnanimous amount of McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets.

He mosied in to the nearest Mickey D’s and laid it all down…and they didn’t know how to pick it up.

Calm and confident he stated his demands….

Can I have 200 Chicken McNuggets, please?

Pimple-Face Paul on his first day at the Golden Arches nearly collapsed.

One moment, sir,” Paul choked, “I need to see my Manager.”

No problem,” our fearless faux-chicken-buying General responded.

As poor Paul raced to the back and tracked down Second Shift Manager Scotty, the hollow echoes across this grease pit began to stir.  This was happening.  The day this staff had all been preparing for since they launched this value-friendly coronary offer to the general public.  Scotty attempted to compose himself and visited the counter to confirm this unprecedented request.

(stuttering and disheveled) “Hello, sir.  Um, did my associate get that straight?  You would like 200 Chicken McNuggets?

“Yeah, that’s right,” retorted our hero.

“OoooooK, then, ” Scotty replied in a shear state of disbelief and turned to head back to the kitchen to simply digest (giggle) this magnanimous confirmation.

Reluctantly, Scotty turned back to the counter made the mistake of asking…. “Do you want that for here?  Or to go?”

And this is where this silly tale of processed meat became epic…

“I’m going to have it here.”

At this stage, every single employee, patron and bystander stood petrified in awe, amazement and fear.

And just when you thought our Champion could not make this scene any funnier, he uttered his final words before he let these Soldiers of Preservative-Filled Fortune off the hook with a laugh.

“Oh, and a small diet coke.”

History.

P.S.  I knocked back 30 nuggs without breaking a (meat) sweat later that day.

2019 Cities: Who are those guys?

Famously quoted in cinematic classic, “Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid“, “Who are those guys?

That is my sentiment toward the field of incredible amateur golfers at the 2019 Lowell City Golf Tournament.

Before I go further, you know how great the Cities are as I noted a few years back

As this nearly 100 year old tradition comes to its conclusion today, I realize I have no clue – zero – who 90% of these guys are?  Why is that?  They are kids!  Children!  It seems like only yesterday when the youngsters of this 3-day party had names like Pare, Dowd, and McGuirk (hey Chris!)

I looked at the leaderboard today and I personally know like 5 guys in the entire field.  What happened?  When did I get so old and, worse off, when did my contemporary golf buddies get so damn old that they cant even make it any more.  “You bums’ cried the 18 handicap!”

And kudos to the REALLY old guard including players like Parigian, Harrison, and Stone for continuing to fight the fight.  I salute you, but these young guns are gonna prevail.  Time and tide.  Death and taxes.  Cant’ beat the clock.  Those are the facts.

Well, while I can’t go back in time, I can recreate as it as best possible.  As I noted in a tweet I posted yesterday, “in my day” I made the most of the Cities as did my juvenile delinquent friends.

I’m 44 years old damnit, but, as Thornton Mellon so eloquently stated in Back to SchoolI will not go gentle in to that good night!

I will rage!  Rage against the dying of the light.  I will restage the City Tournament I once knew.  The 90’s man!  It was Hammer Time!  I’m grabbing a case of warm Bud Heavies, sliding them in the bushes by “Old’ Jack Hassett’s house and rage! I’m slapping on some jhorts (jean shorts), popping the collar on that size medium Polo and getting at it.  Mothers, lock up your daughters!  Frank circa 92′ is coming in hot to Mount Pleasant today for some final round revelry.  Look out!

What’s that, honey?  Oh, the need to look at tile at Loews today and cut the lawn.  That’s right.

Well, it was fun to dream for minute.

Good luck to all today – even you young punks!

The Juice is Loose…on Twitter

Grab the popcorn, folks, cause this is gonna be fun.

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Orenthal James “OJ” Simpson has joined Twitter. (ok, that was a link to my feed – just click “Follow” and we will move on)

 

To follow the REAL Juice, here it is TheRealOJ32

And faster that you can utter the phrase “If the glove don’t fit, you must….” OJ has over 600,000 followers!

Wow.  What does that say about the world?  Simple, we all want to be entertained and I have a hunch ol’ #32 will bring that to the ‘Sphere.  So far, OJ has posted three short selfie videos.  The very first one is most intriguing when he proclaims he’s “got a little getting even to do…”

And what do you mean by that does that mean, Mr. Simpson?

Also, how about the fact he makes this big announcement almost exactly 25 years to the day he was alleged (and I by alleged, we all know he did it) to have brutally murdered two people.  We see what you are doing Juice.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t take a stab (oops) at mocking this new gift granted to our social media lives.

So let join in the revelry with some early ones I have heard,…

“OJ will be using Slashtags instead of Hashtags”

“Surprised he didn’t use the handle @IDidIt”

“His first follower was the LA Police Department.”

“Sure, OJ is on Twitter but that is not gonna drag me away from Judge Ito’s Instagram”

“OJ and Twitter go together like a hunting knife and leather gloves.”

And the jokes could go one forever.  Won’t even begin the long line of Kardashian quips that could be made (yet).

So, highly suggest you give the 71 year old future Hell of Famer a follow.  Its sure to be interesting.

Personally, I prefer to remember ‘the-pre-double-murder-silly-clumsy-Naked Gun Nordberg’ OJ Simpson

 

P.S. Imagine that fact that OJ isn’t even the worst guy in this picture?

P.P.S. My Dad said “he was a nice guy” when he met him earlier this year BUT I am also pretty sure OJ gave him cancer.  Can’t prove it.

Empty your Bucket

Masters 4

BUCKET LIST (noun): a list of things that one has not done before but wants to do before dying

I think we all have our Bucket Lists; I hope you do.  That trip, adventure, goal we want to complete before the clock expires on this earthy world.  One of the very largest items in my personal bucket was a trip to The Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Georgia with my Dad, Big Frank.  Well, last April we removed this item from the bucket.

Masters 12

The trip was everything we hoped for and beyond.  He and I spent three incredible days walking the most beautiful and hallowed ground in golf lore.  Augusta National is golf heaven for the player and fan alike.

Since I was a little kid, the week of The Masters has been very special.  On this week, Dad and I carve out as much possible time together to just sit and soak it all in.  To actually walk the course, smell the perfectly manicured grass, stand just feet away from the worlds’ best players (and even drink a few very economically priced adult beverages) was everything  we dreamed it would be.

Masters 8

The moment we left those “pearly gates” of Magnolia Lane, we both insisted we needed to come back; as soon as possible.  It was 100% worth it.

And so, we booked the trip to return in 2019.

But, life got in the way; as life tends to do.  Late last year, Big Frank got diagnosed with cancer.  He would have a big battle on his hands.  Masters 2.0 for the McCabe Boys was not going to happen this year.  That said, he has a very positive prognosis and fights the good fight everyday to get back to his full health.

And so we will, per usual, enjoy another Masters from the comfort of home.

First round is less than 48 hours away.

And while I am confident Dad and I will be back in Georgia in April again, you never know?  I am just so thankful we have no regrets and got there when we could.

More so, what prompted me to pen this story today is when I learned one of the most kind, genuine and decent human beings I ever knew passed away; very unexpectedly and far too young.  He led a wonderful life, but I am sure he had some more items on his list he will never get to cross off.

Start emptying your bucket.

Rest easy, Billy.