A letter to my younger self.

Dear 12-year-old Jason, 

You're not going to make it to the NBA.

Not for lack of talent. No, you're actually pretty good, but you're gonna move to New Mexico and get mixed up with the wrong crowd and then you're gonna get lazy and stop trying. 

Also, that 6-inch growth spurt you just had, that's not going to repeat itself. You're gonna top out a 5'11". So yeah, short and lazy. Not a good combo for the NBA. 

That's okay though, you're a smart kid and you'll do other cool stuff. Let me just tell you this right now, pay attention in English class. I already know what you're thinking, "dude, science is way better. I get to light stuff on fire." You're not wrong, science is super important, but when you're 27 and can't remember if you hyphenate a compound verb (you usually do) it's going to become embarrassing. So pay attention, it's important. I promise. 

High school will be challenging, not really the classes, but the experiences. You'll have a lot of trouble finding yourself. Are you a basketball player? A nerd? A skater? You'll never really find your niche so you'll always feel like you're on the outside looking in. Here's why; you're a creative type. You see the world a bit differently than most. You're always gathering information to try to see the bigger picture. You're always weaving together narratives. You're always looking, searching, hunting for more. It's actually kinda cool.

Oh, and on top of all the angst and confusion of high school, Pops is going to get sick. 

It's going to be bad. Really bad. You're going to sit next to him while he's in the hospital. You're going to watch him shiver and struggle to breathe. You'll wonder if he's going to make it. If he'll ever come home. If he'll ever shoot hoops with you again. If he'll ever give you a hard time again. 

Here's what happened, he was working several 80-100 hours weeks and somehow got a gnarly infection and went septic. Literally, his blood was poisoned with a bacteria from the infection.

He'll come home, but he won't get back to normal. He won't have the stamina he used to. His mind will be foggy and he'll become forgetful. It'll force him into early retirement. A few years later, he'll be diagnosed with Alzheimer's and every day will be worse than the last.

You'll never be the same.

But you're gonna go to college, Texas Christian University. You'll make some mistakes. You'll have fun. Probably too much. You'll make lifelong friends. Seriously, freshmen year you're going to meet someone named Tito. He seems strange at first, but stay close to him. You'll have so many crazy, random, fun times with him. Stuff like moving motorcycles to dorm rooms, building 100-gallon fish tanks, and dragging him on a snowboard through the frozen streets of Ft Worth. Oh, and while we are on the topic of college, don't even fucking pretend to think about getting student loans. They're the worst. Rob a damn bank before you get those. 

After college, you're going to wander a bit. You'll work some, let's call them less than exciting jobs and not really enjoy your life. Because like I said before, you're a creative type, and doing data entry isn't  your jam. Don't worry, it won't last long. You eventually go to graduate school. Hate to break it to you little buddy, you're a nerd.

You'll attend the University of Texas and get a Master's Degree in Advertising. After that, the world becomes your oyster. You're a copywriter now (see English class was important). At first, you move to Dallas to hone your craft. You'll learn from some of the best creative minds in the city, then you'll get transferred back to Austin to help them get their new office off the ground. Then, the timing will work out perfectly and you'll do something crazy. You'll pack up your car and drive for 4 days until you get to Seattle. Don't worry though, you're not alone. Tito is there. I told you, stay close to him. 

No, you're not going to make it to the NBA, but you're going to make it. Not like, getting rich or famous, but you're a good copywriter. Eventually, you'll become a freelance copywriter for a while and let me just say this, enjoy the ride while you can. It's a lot of work, and you'll have to hustle, but it's some of the most fun you'll ever have. 

Let me leave you with this, just trust yourself, follow your heart (even though you'll break it several times), and most of all, stay curious. 

Six-Month Review: Freelance Life

In June, I was forcibly thrusted into the freelance lifestyle. While I was 100% against it at the time, I'm only 50% against it now. Here's what I've learned so far.

Yes, this is a list. But it's a fun/educational list. Kinda like a TED talk in list form. 

  1. You've got to hustle. There's not a day when I'm not checking LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and even Craigslist to see what's out there. That doesn't necessarily mean that I'm actively looking for my next job, but I better know what the landscape is like out there when I am ready to take my next gig. 
  2. Get a recruiter. They're amazingly helpful. They make getting to the interview way easier. It's not all moonbeams and rainbows though. They can cut down on your take home a bit, but they also get you in front of the right people. Good with the bad. Right?
  3. Never say no to an interview. This is just good general advice. Conversations are free and you never know what they might lead to. Example, I was approached by my recruiters for an opportunity at T-Mobile. At first, I wanted to say no. I didn't want to drive to Bellevue, but then I remembered to never say no. It turned out being an incredible interview and led to my next opportunity to work on their new digital creative team.
  4. Act like you belong. Yes, you're a freelancer. You're charging crazy hourly rates that your friends don't understand and you can work from anywhere with an internet connection and a power outlet. So fancy. But still. Act like you belong to whatever company you're working with. No one likes it when a freelancer treats their temporary opportunity as temporary. No one cares how good you are you won't be invited back if you act like a temporary employee.
  5. Your name means something. To piggyback off my last point, when people think of Jason Cahill, I want them to think I am a good writer AND an awesome coworker. Someone they would love to have on their team. So when any copywriting opportunity comes up, they'll think, "Oh man, Jason was both good AND a joy to be around. Let's give him a call and give him this here bucket of money to work with us." At least that's what I assume those conversations are like. 

  6. Health insurance. One of the shittier parts of freelancing is buying your own health insurance. Our current administration isn't helping either. But I don't want to get political, just get used to paying upwards of $250 a month for comparable health insurance. 

  7. Know your worth. A question I get from a lot of my friends and coworkers is, "How do you decide your hourly rates?" Well, I did a shit ton of research. Based on my experience, my market, the going rate for freelancers with roughly the same qualifications. When you figure all that out, ask for more. Money is a negotiation, you can always ask for more. The worst they can say is no.  

  8. Taxes. This depends a lot on the type of freelance position you accept. Some take out the taxes for you, some don't. It just depends. However, if the company doesn't pay taxes for you a good rule is to set aside 20%. I know the tax situation right now is a bit of a mess, but 20% should keep you fed and out of trouble with the IRS. 

  9. Save for that rainy day. Since we are talking about money, you should save for that rainy day (or month). In my experience, freelance life is feast or famine. So while you're setting aside 20% for taxes, also put some away for that month that you don't quite break even. It could save you from having to ask your parents for money. And none of us want to do that. 

  10.  Ride a motorcycle. I'm out of things to say, but this is just a good way to get around town and gets rid of the headache of finding parking.

 So that's my six-month review. It's been fun and annoying all at the same time. My advice to anyone looking to make the jump into freelance is, if you can do it, do it.

It's been a fun six months. I'm looking forward to the next six. 

Give a shit.

Whenever you meet someone new, one of the first things they'll ask is always, "So what do you do?" 

I actually kinda hate this question. Because all my conversations go like this: 

Person: So, what do you do? 

Me: Oh, I'm a copywriter. 

Person: (blank stare) So... what does that mean. 

Me: Oh, um to sum it up quickly I work in advertising and branding. So, I work with the design teams to create ad/brand concepts and then I write all the words that appear in that brands advertising or marketing messages.

Person: Oh, you work in marketing! So... like, why? 

Excellent question random stranger! 

If you want to know why I love it, we'll have to go all the way back to 2007. I was a junior in High School taking AP English with the hardest teacher in school, Ms. Loretta Funk. She was renown for giving a lot of really fucking difficult assignments and being a hard ass about it. 

I did not excel in AP English. I kinda just stuck around in the middle of the pack. My grades were fine. I understood the assignments, but I really didn't care. And she could tell. 

So, one day after talking about The Scarlet Letter all period she asked me to stick around after class for a moment.

I'll let my good friend Eminem explain what I was going through in that moment, "Palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy, there's vom..."

No Eminem! I did not vomit. I was just nervous.  

Anyways, I walked up to Ms. Funk and just looked at her. I couldn't even start to speak. 

She asked me if she knew why I was asked me to stick around for a second. I was so nervous I could barely shake my head. But I managed a slight shake. 

She sat down on the edge of her teacher desk in that cool way that supposed to disarm the student. She looked me directly in the eyes. And for the longest moment in the history of the world, I was just staring into the eyes of the most fear teacher in school. I think I died. 

Then she leaned in a little and just said, "I need you to start giving a shit Jason." 

I tried nodding. I wanted to leave so my heart could start beating again. 

Then she did me the single biggest favor anyone has ever done for me. Sort of.

We were supposed to write a report about The Scarlet Letter and have it turned in the following week. As is tradition with book reports, no one was looking forward to that. 

She asked me if I had started working on that yet. 

I lied and nodded. 

She said, excellent. In addition to that book report, I was to turn in a one-page paper. I could write about anything I wanted to write about. It didn't matter, she just wanted me to give a shit about what I was working on. 

So, in addition to a book report about the Scarlet Letter, I turned in a poem. 

I wish I kept it, but I know it wasn't very good.

But in my heart, it's what I wanted to write. I got a B on the book report, and while my poem wasn't technically graded she told me she would have given me a B+ on it, but she was just happy that I gave a shit and gave it my best effort. 

So, why am I a copywriter? Because I give a shit about writing. Beacuse I like solving problems with creativity and cleverness. Because I love words. Because if I did anything else, I'd be a big ball of grumpy. 

A hypothetical conversation between me and LeBron James while in line at a Starbucks.

Disclaimer: I have never met, nor will I ever meet LeBron James. Everything in this story is made up. Probably. But I have no way to verify it. 

Jason: Woah, you're LeBron James. 

Lebron: (pulls hat a little lower on head) How.... How'd you know it was me?

J: Because you're a 6'8" person in a Starbucks in Seattle. Also, I watch basketball. Why are you all the way up here? 

L: (chuckles to self) Yeah, I guess I stand out a bit. I visit Seattle every summer after I finish playing in the NBA Finals because of a  side business I got here. 

J: What side business brought you to Seattle? Is it a something with Amazon?

L: (Shakes head) Nah man. It's fish. 

J: (perplexed) Fish? 

L: Yeah. I own a bunch of fishing boats. So I come up every summer to see our haul. Then I work with our distribution people to sell the fish to the guys in Pike Place Market. 

J: You're quite literally a fish monger.

L: Yes. Yes I am. 

J: How... and also why?

L: I'm glad you asked man. I came up to Seattle my rookie year for a game and I saw how cool Pike Place was. I grabbed my buddy Maverick and said, "Yo dude. We gotta get in on this fish game. Look at all these white people just buying up fish. We could be rich." 

J: I mean... you're in the NBA. You already rich. 

L: Yeah, but I didn't have that fish money.

J: It can't be that lucrative. 

L: It is. 

J: I don't... I don't know how to respond. 

L: It's cool man no one does. It's just a simple three step process.

  1. Catch the fish.
  2. Sell the fish. 
  3. Profit.  

And you white people don't know how much fish costs. So I can basically charge whatever I want. 

J: Well, I guess that makes sen-

L: Like what do you think the fanciest, most expensive fish is?

J: (surveying the line) Well, I don't really eat fish, but I maybe something like Swordfish? 

L: (excitedly) Swordfish?! Swordfish? You think a swordfish is the fanciest fish? (nudging the customer behind him) This motherfucker thinks swordfish are fancy. (back to me) Psh... man... those are like pigeons of the sea.

J: (to self) Shit this line is long. 

L: I'll tell you what. The real fanciest fish... (in a hushed tone) box jellyfish. 

J: (confused) What? I don't think you can really eat a box jellyfish. 

L: Exactly. The demand is so low I charge $50,000 per box jelly. Which means the people at the market sell it for $100,000. So when you go to a restaurant to buy one it's like $150,000. 

J: No one in the history of time has ever paid $150,000 for a box jellyfish at a restaurant. How would you even eat them?!

L:  Dude, that's Phil Mickelson's go to pre-round meal. And for your information, it's served in a champagne flute with a side of croutons.

J: Why the croutons?

L: It's a salad. Duh. 

Barista: What can I get you, gentlemen?

J: (to LeBron) Hold on. (to barista) I'll get a tall black coffee. 

L:  (frantically patting his pockets) Oh man, I forgot my wallet under the heated seats in my KIA K900. Can you cover me?

J: (staring a hole in LeBron) Fine. (to Barista) And whatever he wants.

L:  Thanks man. (to Barista) I'll have a grande caramel macchiato with two pumps and double foam.

Barista: Great that'll be $7.94

J: (perplexed) That's a lot of sugar dude. I thought you cut shit that out.

L: Nah man. Not when I'm on fish duty. Gotta stay perky. 

J: (grabs drinks from barista) I mean... yeah, but don't you get a sugar crash?

L: Nah, I just get another one in two hours.

J: Holy shit dude that's too much sugar.

L: Maybe for you. Alright man. Thanks for the coffee. I gotta go make some money. Or as they say in the fish business, "move some barnacles." 

J: (shouting at him as he leaves) No one says that! 

L: (pokes head back in Starbucks) Sure they do. 

Barista: Was that guy famous?

J: I think so. 


A few reasons why you should pack up everything you own and move across the country.

Not everyone has the opportunity to pick up and move to a new place. But, if you find yourself with that opportunity you should absolutely do it. Based on my own experience, it's the best thing ever. 

Here are a few reasons why:

  1. It's scary as fuck. This is 100% true but in the best possible way. I packed up everything and moved to Seattle. A city I have never stepped foot in because I thought the opportunity would lead to greener pastures. I was right. I now live in the best city in the world (3 months a year at least). 
  2. ROAD TRIP! If you're gonna do it, make it a road trip. I did it alone, but I had a fascinating book on tape that kept me entertained for the 4 days I was driving. I was able to go to beautiful places and meet beautiful people. To this very day, Bozeman Montana holds a special place in my heart because of the 15 hours I spent there.
  3. Different is good. As humans, it's really easy for us to get set in our ways. Get up at the same time, drink the same coffee, drive the same car to the same place. It's comfortable, easy, and safe. Moving across the country will mess up that routine in a very dramatic yet fun way. You'll have to learn all new streets, new restaurants, and bars, new grocery store layouts. And while that sounds daunting, I promise it's actually quite fun. 
  4. You'll find out who you really are. This. This right here is the most important reason. When you do this you are absolutely betting on yourself. It's a very rare that you get to actually see what you're really made of. Do you become more inward and driven? Do you step out of your comfort zone and shine? Do you learn a new hobby? Do you become a new person? Yes to all those. Or not. I don't know you. You're just reading this goofy thing on my website. 

I could go on and on about the benefits of moving, but 4 seems like a good enough number for now. Maybe I'll come back and add to it. Maybe I won't.

The Ultimate Guide to Unemployment

I've been laid off twice in my career so that basically makes me an expert at unemployment. Here are a few things I've found to be helpful when you find yourself unemployed. 

Be Sad, but be Civil

You've just found out that your job is "letting you go." Your mind is racing. You're thinking about your severance. You want to know how much you're going to get and when you're gonna get it. You're wondering why you have been forsaken. And you're just really fucking sad. All of that is perfectly reasonable and expected, but you have to realize that there is a human person sitting right in front of you. Often times they didn't make this decision, they're just the bearer of bad news. So be nice to that person and every person you talk to on the way out the door. Thank them for the opportunity and shake their hand. Don't burn any bridges. These people are usually the ones who help you get your next job. 

Take your time

Day one of unemployment is THE WORST. You're used to your routine and now you have all this extra free time. While you might want to jump right back into work and start leaning on your contacts and applying for jobs just wait a little while. Clean up your house. Go for a hike. Do something you normally wouldn't. As Americans, I know we rarely take the time to enjoy the world we live in. Take this time to enjoy life. Sleep in a bit longer than you usually would. Go meet new people. Relax. Everything will be okay, I promise. 


Update Your Book

I work in the creative side of advertising (that's why you're reading this on my fancy website). As a creative type, I can tell you we all need a portfolio to showcase our work. If the job you have doesn't require you to have a portfolio feel free to ignore this advice.

Okay, now that it's just us creatives, isn't our job awesome?! We really have the best job in the world. I often find myself giggling while writing because I can't believe I'm being paid for this. Anywhoo, update your book. You're going to be applying for jobs and you want to make sure you have everything in there that you've worked on. 

Budget. Budget. Budget

Oh yeah, that weird money thing. You really have to figure out how you're going to financially survive for the next few months. If you're lucky enough your company gave you some sort of severance package, which usually can help out with your expenses. My advice is to go on unemployment. The stigma kinda sucks, but they'll literally pay you to find a job. And (at least in Texas) you can collect unemployment while collecting your severance because they don't count severance as income. So there, you just got a raise. You're welcome. 

Finding a job is your new job

Yup. You don't have to spend 8+ hours a day looking for work, but this is a good way to frame it mentally. If you make finding a job your job you'll spend more time doing it, you'll research new opportunities, you'll reach out to your contacts and connections, you'll scour LinkedIn and other job boards and you'll just all around be better at it. 

Netflix can be your friend, but not your best friend

It's usually around day 5 or 6 that you are just sick of not having anything to do, so you decide to hop on Netflix and see if you can distract yourself for a few hours. That's fine, but don't fall into the Netflix trap. It will ruin your productivity and probably make you even sadder. There are only so many times you can binge watch Parks and Rec before it becomes a cry for help. 

Keep your mind & body active

This is some muy importante advice. It's so easy to just fall into a rut of feeling sorry for yourself and rewatching David Spade movies.

Keep your mind active by writing, drawing, learning a new language (see what I did there), reading books and challenging yourself to think differently. If you don't want to do any of those things you can easily keep your mind active by keeping your body active. Run, bike, hike, climb, do yoga, swim, kayak, etc etc etc. Keeping your mind and body active will help you stay positive. Having a positive attitude is probably the best thing you can do when looking for a new job. 

Keep Your Chin Up

I know the sentence before this one literally says, "have a positive attitude," but it's so friggin importante (hey I did it again) I thought I should reframe and repeat. You're going to hear no way more times than you hear yes. Don't be discouraged by the amount of times you've heard no. Keep your chin up and keep moving forward. 

Say Thank You

Whether you're asking a friend to help you out or you're replying to an email where someone told you that the job was taken, say thank you. It's a nice thing to say, people like hearing it, and most of all, it makes you look nice. So thank people for their time and consideration. Nothing bad has ever happened by saying thank you.*

*I didn't fact check this, but surely it's right. Right?

Put on Pants

Even if it's the only thing you do that day, put on a pair of pants. Mentally speaking, it prepares you for the day ahead. It means you're going to get something done. Pants are a powerful tool in your arsenal, use them wisely. 

I sincerely hope none of you reading this ever have to deal with being laid off, but if you do, I hope you find this helpful. 

My life sucks, but that's okay.

2016 is a fickle bitch. 

It started harmless enough. I was in the Washington DC area and lovin' it. 

I got to move into a new apartment in Dallas. It was nice enough. Then I got notice I was being transferred to Austin!

So, then I moved from Dallas to Austin (while this is a good thing it still sucked having to pack up and move again).

Now, here's where everything starts to suck. My dog was shot. Yes someone pointed a gun at and shot my dog. He survived thanks to the amazing surgeon at the Heart of Texas Vet Clinic. Seriously, those guys are amazing. While he did survive I am stuck with the $2,000 in medical bills. 

And now when I'm only a few hundred dollars away from paying those bills off, I get laid off. 

So, now I've got to figure out my next step. Do I stay in Austin, do I move back to Dallas or somewhere else in the world?

I'm not sure what my next move is, but I'm going to enjoy my time off. I might take the opportunity to become a yoga teacher, or a bartender (two wildly different options, I know). Or I might just troll the internet and try to find a job somewhere. 

I love my career, I just want to get back to it. 

Learn Something New

This is a story about how I learned to love something I never in a bajillion years thought I would learn. And like every great story, it's about a girl. 

I've always been told, in order to get a job interview or a job, you have to have an interesting hobby outside of advertising. The jury is split on whether or not it should be related to your craft or not. Some people told me to write more (hey, look what I'm doing now), and some people told me to do weird shit that has nothing to do with advertising, but could still be considered an art form. 

So, after asking several different creative professionals in advertising no one had given me a clear answer on what my hobby should be. I was getting really sick and tired of people telling me different stuff, so I stopped asking peoples opinions and I asked myself, "what do you want to do?" 

The problem was, I had no idea. The only thing I knew was that I was in graduate school to learn how to be a copywriter. 

I didn't go on some great vision quest to find my inner self. I went swimming. 

You know what they say, you always find something when you're not looking for it? Well, that happened to me at the pool. I was swimming with a couple of friends, drinking wine, enjoying the summer in Austin, and out to the pool walked this girl (yes, the aforementioned girl). She had a couple of tattoos (I'm a sucker for tattoos) and introduced herself to us. I'll be honest, I was too busy looking at her tattoos to hear her name. She was apparently the roommate of one of people at the pool with us. Which I took as a good thing because that meant I would hopefully see her again. 

A week or so later, I ran into this girl again, this time she had just gotten back from a run and I was heading out for one(we lived across the street from one another, so we ran into each other often). She said we should go running together sometime, and I agreed. 

Turns out, this chick likes to do everything, run, hike, bike, rock climb, kayak, wakeboard, snowboard, and most importantly ride horses. 

I had varying degrees of experience with everything she liked to do except ride horses. My only experience with a horse is when I was 11 and I tried to feed one and it bit my fingers and wouldn't let go. Let me be clear, I did not like, respect, appreciate or even see the transportational benefits of horses. 

So this girl and I would do everything we could together, and then she would go off and ride horses while I played a video game or did homework or read or something. 

Then one day it hit me like a ton of bricks, LEARNING HOW TO RIDE HORSES COULD BE ME THING. IT COULD BE MY CONVERSATIONAL TOPIC IN INTERVIEWS. IT COULD BE WHAT SETS ME APART. "What do you mean, this copywriter knows how to ride a horse? This isn't the old west, this information is mind blowing! HIRE HIM IMMEDIATELY." (This is what I think creative directors sound like when reviewing resumes). 

So, the next time we ran into each other and I asked if I could come out to the farm with her one day, and maybe get on a horse. 

She said no. 

I would like to say I was crushed, but I was a little bit more relieved. I was a city boy, I had no business on a farm. 

But (there's always a but) a few weeks had passed and someone had borrowed her car and she needed to get to the farm. So, who did she ask for a ride down there? None other than her good activity buddy who happened to live across the street. I happily obliged and we went down to the farm. Being clever, I wore my boots. My $200 Cole Haan boots, but they were the only pair I own (Cole Haan makes and excellent boot. I still own these boots, and they're fucking awesome). She mocked me for my footwear choice. 

I was excited, I thought this was my moment to finally learn how to ride a horse. I was incorrect. I wore my boots for no reason! You see, you don't just get on a horses back and start getting a lesson. You have to learn how to act around horses before they will trust you enough to even really get close enough to them to get on their back. 

So, for the next 6 months I would go down to the farm with her 2-3 times a week (how I did this on top of grad school and working 30-40 hours a week is beyond me) and learned horse stuff. What the different gear was called, the difference between western and english, the different breeds of horses, and the 7 different colors of brown (seriously, there are at least 7 different colors that are just some shade of brown, but white horses don't exist because they are actually grey. I don't get it). 

After those 6 months I was allowed on a horse. It was a terribly foreign experience to me. Imagine getting in a car, but instead of getting in you sit on top, and instead of a steering wheel there is a rope, and the car will get tired and throw you off if you don't ask it to do something properly. I was in over my head, but at least when I died I would know all the gear that I was using upon my death. 

It took a long time. A lot of beer bribes, and a lot of patience, and even more offers to drive her to the farm but low and behold. I learned how to ride a horse. 

I did more than that though, I learned a lot about myself in the process. I learned how to control my emotions when I failed over and over and over and over again. I learned how to push myself to limits I didn't know existed (yeah, some of those months were cold and I still drove out to the farm and got on the horse). I learned how to control my body language for effectively. I learned that goats will fuck your shit up no matter how secure your fence is (don't believe me? buy a goat). But most of all, I learned something new. 

I'm still not done learning how to ride horses, and that fact actively excites me. I get to learn new stuff. And it's awesome. 

So, if you've gotten anything out of this long, and ridiculous story, it's that I think everyone should have a hobby outside of their jobs. However, I think it should be something new. Something you've never thought you would learn how to do. Something where you can learn something about yourself in the process, because only then do you grow as a person. 

Now, I'm off to my yodeling lesson. 




Sunday in the Shop

Sundays are the best day. Well, that's at least what Mitchell thought. Sundays were the only day that he had completely 100% to himself, and there was only one thing Mitchell liked to do on Sundays, work in his motorcycle shop. 

This Sunday was no different than any other. Early morning run, he didn't even let the rain stop him. Then a big breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausage, french toast, bagels and orange juice. Then after cleaning up the dishes he heads into his shop. Mitchell found a 1975 Honda CB750 on craigslist for just over $800. He knew it would need a bit of work to restore it to its glory days, but what's the point of owing a motorcycle shop if you can't work on your own bikes. 

While this Sunday was certainly no different than the last Sunday or even the Sunday prior, this was the first Sunday in which Mitchell was going to get to ride the Honda CB750 from craigslist. He has cleaned the carbs, replaced the exhaust manifold, installed new electrical components  and even repainted the tank. The only thing left he needed to do was change the oil and he could hit the road. 

He paused for a brief moment to revel in his work. 5 consecutive Sundays have been spent working on this Motorcycle. 5 consecutive weeks he has finished breakfast and walked to the shop to strip, scrub, flush or do god knows what to this motorcycle. 

The bite of excitement from being able to ride a new motorcycle was more than Mitchell could bear. He quickly finished the oil change so he could get ready to ride. He pulled on his leather jacket, slapped his elbows and shoulders to make sure the armor pieces were in place. He then pulled on his gloves. They were the right kind of tight, the kind of tight that makes you feel slightly more powerful for some reason. He then flexed his fingers and grabbed his helmet. 

After throwing his leg over the motorcycle and getting settled on the saddle, he took out the key and turned on the ignition, pulled in the clutch and pressed his favorite button, start. The motorcycle roared to life creating an almost deafening echo within the small shop. Wrenches rattled, bolts shimmied and screws fell to the floor around the thundering motorcycle.

Mitchell pulled on his helmet and pulled out of the garage into the rain the enjoy the final ride of the season.

Burger King and Alzheimer's

My dad has always been my idol. He was an orthopedic surgeon, and when I was growing up I wanted to be exactly like him (that's to this day I still what a Xiphoid Process is, seriously, google it, it's a thing). 

He was the smartest person I've ever met in my entire life. He had 3 post graduate degrees, and he would have earned a few more had he not had 6 sons to raise and a few dogs to raise. He was basically the biggest badass to ever wear a pocket protector. 

Being the youngest of the 6, I almost idolized my father. It was probably unhealthy, but what else was I supposed to do? Growing up was pretty normal, basketball games in the front yard (I always won, expect once. Seriously I was 38-1 against him), talking about girls and getting ready for college. Everything was great until my junior year in high school. 

We had gone on several college tours and I had decided I wanted to go to TCU. I was excited to become a horned frog. Until one spring day, everything changed. I had just gotten out of school and I was heading to Arby's, and my mom called. She said my Dad was in the hospital. Which didn't phase me at first because he was a doctor and he was always in the hospital. Then she informed me that he was not AT the hospital he was IN the hospital, and I needed to go get his pajamas. 

At this point I was confused, but I did as my mother told and got his pajamas. Once I arrived at the hospital I will never forget what I saw. My superhero father was laying in a hospital bed, shaking, struggling to breath, telling nurses what to do (I guess you can never remove the doctor from the man, right?). It was like I was in a movie, people were rushing around me as I just stood there, frozen.

I couldn't move. I wanted to move. I wanted to run over to him and grab his hand and tell him everything will be okay, but that would have been a lie, and I don't lie to my father.

He had a septic infection, which normally isn't a big deal, but in a 60+ year old man who works over a 100 hours a month, it's a really big deal. 

Every day for a month I went to visit him in the hospital and talk to him and bring him an Italian Chicken Sandwich from Burger King (it was seriously the only thing he wanted). After that month he was released from the hospital, and I thought everything was going to go back to normal. I was wrong. 

He came home physically, but his mind never returned. He couldn't remember things, he was glassy eyed at times and was never truly in the moment. It was different. 

Recently he was diagnosed with early onset alzheimer's. The death scare that changed my life seven years ago is going to continue to change my life over the next decade, until he doesn't remember who I am. 

I don't look forward to that day.

Nothing will ever be the same again.