Friday, October 2, 2009

Card Spotlight: 10-2-09

2007 Topps Heritage #11 - Rob Mackowiak

No matter how well you plan out life, it never quite turns out the way you intend it to. That's part of the mystery and beauty of consciousness. Being self-aware beings of intelligence, one may think that we control our own destiny. To a degree, yes, but mostly no.

Back in high school, I spent a small part of a few gym classes waxing poetic about the White Sox with a future White Sox player. I had no possible idea that Rob Mackowiak was going to be a Major League baseball player, let alone on the team we talked about. Rob played for Ozzie Guillen, a player we used to talk about almost as frequently as Frank Thomas, Bo Jackson, Jack McDowell and many others.

In those days, I thought I would grow up to have a career as a cartoonist. If I was lucky, I'd have a daily strip or work for a magazine turning in humorous depictions of current events slanted in my own unique style. I also started seriously writing lyrics and poetry at that point too. I figured that I could hook up with a talented band who were terrible in the lyrics department. At the very least, I could make a living painting portraits, which I developed a knack for during my senior year.

You know what most people can do with a Fine Arts degree? Most can spend their times flipping burgers, which my geometry teacher warned us would happen if we didn't ace his class. I squeaked by in geometry and did end up having a career in the fast food industry for awhile. My interest in the fine arts was still there, but no opportunities ever appeared.

I focused on writing. I was hoping to get into classes connected with Second City. I fell on hard times in my mid-twenties and the money and time just weren't there. My dream of being connected in some way to SNL was shattered. I turned to developing my own book projects. Several of which are still in their infancy. Some are further along than others, but none are complete. The one project that's furthest along? The humorous book. I think that half of these will be finished almost simultaneously.

While this was going on in my life, Rob made a name for himself in Pittsburgh and got sidetracked himself with a few hard times. By the time he arrived back in the Chicago area, he had forgotten me. I don't blame him one bit. We were no more than school acquaintances and a lot has happened in his life since high school. I don't remember half of the people I went to high school with myself. Some I don't even recognize by face anymore.

My association with Facebook has had an added bonus of rekindling school relationships that never were, which is probably the oddest side effect of a social network. People who wouldn't give me the time of day in school are playing beside me in games and commenting positively about items on my wall and status updates. It's very surreal!

This past week has been a week of reflection. The White Sox season is over on Sunday. They never put together a run to take a weak division. What would have been my bachelor party, last Saturday against the Tigers, turned out to be the only game they would lose in that series and the game where the Sox were "officially" eliminated. I'm kind of glad I didn't end up going. I'm not sure if attending a losing game is good luck or bad for upcoming nuptials. I know rain on the wedding day is good luck, but I think throwing a bachelor party and having the home team lose and be eliminated may be pushing the whole good luck thing.

Today would have been our wedding day, but due to some unlucky employment situations (layoffs) over the past year, we were forced to postpone the date until sometime next year. As an added bonus, most of the money we put down has been lost, due to the cancellation.

The weird thing is... I couldn't be happier right now. I'm still bummed that things aren't working according to a plan two years in the making. I have many wonderful things to be thankful for, including the fact that I still have the most wonderful fiancee. I can take solace in that. No matter how life doesn't go according to plan, there is always something to be positive about.

Every life has its ups and downs. To my knowledge, Rob hasn't played in the majors since 2008. The last I heard, he was hanging on playing for the Newark Bears. It may not be the Major Leagues, but it's still organized baseball. Sometimes the path we are led on isn't the one that we thought we wanted. Sometimes it's a blessing in disguise. If any of those things panned out, I may never have met my fiancee. We met while both working at a fast food restaurant about thirteen years ago. I would have missed out on a lot of happiness if that didn't happen.


Collective Troll said...

Wow... I am sorry to hear about your wedding being postponed, I am glad that you two are still together and happy and all. I was married 3-1/2 years ago and we had little money to spend, but friends and luck helped out and we had a pretty fantastic wedding, but it almost didn't happen. The crappy hotel we had rented for the reception burned down a month before the wedding! We ended up getting a very classy place as a replacement at no charge so it worked out. I am not on Facebook, but my older sister tells me the same thing about people... Great story my friend, I have always loved your blog and am glad you are writing. These things are good therapy when life throws you an irrestable curveball in the dirt! Take care!

capewood said...

Love blooming among the french fries. Glad you two are still together after all these years. I also worked for a time in the fast food industry. No lasting relationships though.

Steve Gierman said...

It just means that we will be even more prepared when the wedding actually happens.

She was a cashier and I was the overnight maintenance and cleaning guy. We didn't start dating until many years later, but we always kept in touch. One day, we just realized that we should be together.

Fred said...

All the best with the wedding. Sure it will be fantastic.

Steve Gierman said...

Thanks for the well wishes. It doesn't matter where the wedding is at or what the little details are, just as long as the main goal of marriage is achieved. Everything else is just a happy bonus. :)

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