Kissing an A-Game Day Good-Bye

Posted September 7, 2011 by jimhigley

I needed to find my A-Game today. Most days I’m happy if I can maneuver through the world of parenting, writing, chauffeuring and errands with a solid, respectable B-Game. And truthfully, some days get my C-Game because that’s the best I can do. But today needed all the stops pulled out. If this were college basketball, I needed to play as if a handful of NBA scouts were sitting in the stands watching me razzle and dazzle them with my well-honed talent.

I had a morning conference call scheduled at 8:00 a.m. with a guy that, in my business, was the equivalent of Simon Cowell to a group of starry-eyed singers looking for their big break on American Idol. But, before I could focus on my moment in the spotlight, there were a few other things I needed to tend to. Namely the normal morning routine of the kids.

Getting my daughter out the door and off to high school was job one. But because she is fairly independent, that only required me making sure she got up and ate something, ANYTHING, before she walked out the door. So while she was upstairs straightening her hair and nose-diving through the piles of clothes on the floor of her bedroom to find today’s outfit, I had plenty of time to empty the dishwasher, make lunch for my son, and leave a dripping mess from the kitchen sink to the bowls of our two dogs who, by the way, had been forgotten outside and were in a frenzy because they knew their breakfast of what-tastes-like-dried cardboard chips awaited them.

As my daughter ran out the back door, Fiber One bar in hand, I looked at my watch realizing I had exactly eight minutes to shower and dress before I needed to sound the trumpet for my youngest son.

Shower? Check. Shave? Skip. I decided a third-maybe it was a fourth-day of growth still gave me that rustic, relaxed look that other guys seem to pull off just fine. As I was brushing my teeth, I noticed a tube of Burt’s Bees Lip Balm in my bathroom drawer. It wasnt mine, but I remembered Santa bringing some for the kids this past Christmas. A friend had told me just last week how great this Burt’s whatever-stuff was so I slapped some on my lips in hopes that I would quit licking my chapped, dried puckers.

I now had exactly 42 minutes to wake and feed my youngest before the bus would be honking at the end of our driveway. Cocoa Puffs, cranberry juice, and a single order of my secret-recipe scrambled eggs and he was set, which gave me time to let the dogs out again, and make sure the school backpack was ready with notebooks and lunch. After a very quick back scratch for my son, not meI prodded him up the stairs to brush his teeth before the rffghrumble of the bus could be heard about a quarter-mile away.

“Have a great day! I said to him as he shuffled by me grabbing his coat and backpack mumbling something that I’m sure could be translated into Thanks dad! Love you! I’ll see you later!”

I now had 34 minutes before my call so I opted-because this was an A-Game day-to run to the drugstore and drop off a prescription for my oldest son so I could pick it up later and overnight it to him at college. That’s something an A-Game day dad would do, right?

My drugstore has a drive-thru prescription service. But I don’t like to use it. I think it’s unhealthy for the people who work there. Seriously, I wouldn’t want to be inhaling car fumes! Why should they? So, in my own little way of promoting the health of Walgreen’s workforce, I always try to do business the old-fashioned way. Face-to-face. So I ran into the drugstore and back to the prescription counter. Robin, my favorite pharmacist was there. I like Robin. She always knows me by name, gives me a big friendly smile and is happy to make small talk. So, today I returned her niceness, but tried not to be too nice or happy-like Jim Carrey in The Truman Show when he says Good morning, and in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening and good night! with that frozen, freakish, creepy look on his face.

We had a perfect A-Game day chat.

Driving home I swung by Starbucks for a cup of coffee. Again, because of my drive-thru-phobia, I opted to walk inside to order my black grande coffee. Cheri, the manager, was there so I got to have my usual little banter with her but I caught her giving me a split-second look which made me wonder a little.

Had I pushed the unshaven thing too far? Had my look moved from the ski-lift line to the unemployment line?”

Feeling just a bit self-conscience I gave her a smile as I told her to have a good one and ran out to the car as I tactually examined the stubble on my chin.

Steadying my cup of coffee in the cup holder I began my short drive home. I thought about my phone call in 14 minutes. Do I start friendly? Professionally? Professionally friendly? As I contemplated these thoughts I took the first sip of my java. And as soon as I put the cup back in its cup holder I nearly careened off the side of the road. I was sure that my eyes-or someone- had played a trick on me.

There were lip prints on the sippy-cup portion of the lid. Lip prints! Just like the ones I used to notice my mom leaving on her coffee cup. Red! Like the kind you see on the cover of a Valentines card. I contemplated the possibilities. Had Cheri given me a used cup? Was she playing a joke on me? Had I walked out of Starbucks with someone else’s Cup?

Or was that Burt’s Bees whatever-stuff more than lip balm?

I reached in the console between the two front seats and found a used Taco Bell napkin, crumbled up and still holding remnants of a half-eaten taco and carefully wiped my lips searching for the confirming evidence just like they do on CSI when they extract DNA off a murder victim who’s found lying on top of an elevator with nothing other a nine iron and a hair brush by their side.

The evidence was there. I had been in drag the last thirty-some minutes.

“Ping went my iPhone letting me know I had an e-mail as I pulled into my driveway. The e-mail was from the guy I was about to talk to. Except he was in bed. With the flu. Meeting to be rescheduled.

Of course.

It wasn’t even 8:00. This was clearly not an A-Game day. But I did learn that Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer-thats right, Lip Shimmer-lets you enjoy a refreshing watermelon flavor all day long!