Ake's Pains debuted in the University of Akron Buchtelite in September of 1977. The school's reputation as an institute of higher learning has still not recovered. Ake's Pains returns after a brief 32 year hiatus. It's back, baby!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

We Are Family – I Guess

This blog post is unique because it is the first time someone has actually requested that I blog about them.  People usually do not want me to blog about them (even if I give them a pseudonym) and my former co-worker Erin would often start out his stories with: “Now Don, this is not bloggable”.

But my cousin Susan requested that I blog about her (and our family), therefore I will grant her wish.  I’m doing this because Susan is family and family is very important to me, which is the essence of this post.

I am an only child of an only child. This means that not only don’t I have any siblings, I don’t have aunts, uncles or cousins on my father’s side of the family. My mother had three siblings and so I do have 10 first-cousins. However that side of the family was never close due to some issues.  We were never all together as a family except maybe a funeral or two.  Three of the cousins moved to California in the early 70’s which further disconnected us.

This introduction is not written to solicit any pity.  I married into one of the greatest families imaginable (they are comparable to the Walton’s) and my extended family on my father’s side includes me in some fantastic get-togethers twice a year.  No, I am explaining the situation so you might understand the significance to me of the event I am about to describe.  While you may have experienced close family interactions thousands of times in your life, I had the opportunity recently to truly experience this for the first time in over 40 years.

My cousin Diane was visiting her father in Ohio and this gave the Roush family cousins an opportunity for a mini-reunion.  Similar to a meeting of mafia clans, all four families were represented. There was Filly Diane (the horse farmer), Patty Ohio (to differentiate from cousin Patty California), The Twins (Susie and Vickie) and Donnie Akron (the city kid).  And at this meeting it is “Donnie”. 
Da family
Only certain people are permitted to call me Donnie, but this group qualifies.

My cousins communicated like they had been best friends all their lives.  It’s like they were speaking their own special language, like it was coded in their DNA. It was amazing to watch. Conversations moved rapidly from subject to subject because it only took a few words to communicate numerous thoughts and feelings.  It was like the words were in a zip file that was exchanged, downloaded and processed instantaneously.  Once I learned how to play this game, I joined in and it was a wonderful experience.

Then we sat around and exchanged old, sometimes embarrassing, stories about each other.  I felt like a politician saying: “While I do not remember the incident in question, I cannot deny that I may have engaged in this behavior.”

While reconnecting with my cousins was a great experience, I’m just not sure that I am related to these people at all.  I just don’t see much family resemblance.  For example, here are some traits that I was able to identify from this encounter.

1.   These People Are Weird

My cousins are a very strange breed.  They think weird things, they make bizarre statements.   I mean they are really out there.  I’m not talking just standard strange; I’m talking nutsy coo-coo here. And that was before the wine starting flowing. They border on insane.

Of course no one has ever accused me of being that weird, have they?  Okay, no one has accused me of being that weird today. Er …all right, I guess I may have to concede this one.

2.   These People Talk Too Much

They talk a mile a minute. Just yap, yap, yap, endlessly. You have to listen fast just to try to keep up.  Of course people never say that about me, because I’m usually dominating the conversation …  Well, it’s a good thing these people don’t write blogs or they would go on and on about the most mundane things in their lives, expecting people to actually care about their off-beat musings. I can’t even image what that would even be like.

3.   These People Don’t Care What Other People Think Of Them

This is who they are and you better get used to it.  It’s the attitude of: “You must adapt to me, because I’m sure as hell not going to adapt to you”.  While this sounds very bold, it doesn’t get you too far in the corporate world.  But I assure you that I possess none of this attitude whatsoever and that my failure to reach my career potential was caused totally by wearing the wrong style of underpants all these years.

4.   These People Don’t Take Life Too Seriously

My cousins have a warped sense of humor. It’s twisted, bent and bat shit crazy.  They are a bunch of loons.  One photo from the gathering features two of my cousins flipping the bird.  They are doing it because they are nuts.  They are not close to being bad-ass, they are in fact good-ass. (Since I am referring to my cousins it is important to point out that I am not using the term “good-ass” in a West Virginia type of way)  Now you know this doesn’t apply at all to me.  I am serious, reserved, and well-refined.

5.   These People Have A Superiority Complex

It doesn’t matter who you are, what you do, or what you have. I’m sorry, at the end of the day you still are not a Roush.  We even have a coat of arms.  Yes go ahead and gasp, I am part of a family that possesses a coat of arms! We are Roush and unfortunately you are not.  Fortunately, I do not personally have this superiority complex, because let’s face it, I’m better than that.

All I can say is this cousin reunion was the highlight of my summer. It was an incredibly wonderful time.  My cousins are great people and I Iove them dearly, even though I am nothing like them.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Jennifer Lawrence’s Nude Photos Do Not Include Me

In response to media reports regarding the hacked and subsequently leaked nude photos and videos of Jennifer Lawrence, it is the appropriate time for me to issue an official statement.

Despite what is being reported by TMZ, Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, The Weather Channel and others, I am not the person seen with Ms. Lawrence is several of the photographs. I categorically deny ever engaging in the shenanigans displayed in the pictures and especially the video.

I must point out that Ms. Lawrence has also strongly denied having similar contact with me. It is somewhat disturbing that Ms. Lawrence has not denied being with any of the younger, buffer, better haired, men in some of the photos, just me.

I admit that the guy in the leaked materials bears a striking resemblance to me; but I assure you it is a case of mistaken identity.   I also acknowledge that the person in the photos has a distinct birthmark on a personal part of his body and that TMZ is reporting that I have a similar birthmark.  But this evidence comes from an old schoolmate Ronnie Majors, who says he remembers the alleged birthmark from the showers after junior high gym class.

An acquaintance? Maybe, I guess.
I may have met Ms. Lawrence one time, I mean I do get around, but frankly I just don’t recall the encounter.  I know she has admitted meeting me, but I’m not surprised knowing the impression I tend to make on people.  I really don’t know Ms. Lawrence and that is why I am referring to her as “Ms. Lawrence” and not “Jennie-poo” like the guy in the video, who purely coincidently sounds a lot like me.  Also, nothing should be concluded from Ms. Lawrence referring to the guy as “Bloggerstud”.  I think this is a total misrepresentation of the audio. The guy may be German and she may be using a Germanic reference, like blugerstad or something like that.   

Somehow Access Hollywood got hold of my cell phone contact list.  I do admit there is a Jennifer Lawrence on that list. She happens to be my dental hygienist who just coincidentally has the same name as the famous actress.  I do realize there were a significant number of texts exchanged between me and this Ms. Gardner (who I have called “Jenny” on several occasions, but again never, ever, Jennie-poo).  The reason for all the texting is Ms. Lawrence is a true dental professional and she was just checking to make sure I was flossing and taking proper care of my teeth.  In addition, any uses of the word “oral” in these texts were in reference to oral health.  Also any references to “getting drilled” and “filling cavities” were strictly dentistry related.

You should also ignore the statements from my attorney claiming that I am owed royalties if these photos or videos are used for commercial purposes.  He is speaking in the language of “legalese” which no one really understands.  How would I expect to get any money from this when it is definitely not me in these photos?

Finally, please disregard the threats issued to me by Jennie-, I mean Ms. Lawrence’s current and former boyfriends, and she has had a bunch of them. You would think she would be a little more selective, don’t you know?  I think these guys are just trying to be macho and they see no risk in threatening an older, distinguished, gentleman like me.  Chris Martin of Coldplay has threatened to shove his guitar up my “c clef”.  I don’t know if that is possible, but I am selling my front row seats to the Coldplay concert next month.  I don’t even remember who may or may not have given me those choice tickets.   

So the one thing to remember is that once again I am totally innocent of anything anyone accuses me of, at any time.  You may now resume believing anything else you may read on the Internet.   

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Reflections From A Beach I Love

(Warning: This is another rare “serious” Ake’s Pains. Normal programming will resume soon)

As soon as my feet hit the sand early Sunday morning, I immediately felt rejuvenated. The beach beckoned to me.  This is Treasure Island, Florida and it is my beach.  The sands may be whiter at Clearwater, the sunsets more awesome at Sarasota and the sunrise breathtaking at Sanibel, but I feel more at peace at Treasure Island than any other place on earth.  I literally love this beach. If this beach were a woman, I would …. okay, you get the idea.

But for a long time my affection for this place had been tainted.  Five years earlier I had returned home from a wonderful vacation at Treasure Island and the next day I was unexpectedly removed from my job of 16 years.  Except that it wasn’t unexpected.  During my last walk on this beach in 2009, my subconscious was able to explain to me in great detail why my job was in danger.  The last thought I had was: “Well that might be true, but I can’t do anything about it now, so I’m not going to worry about it.”

Thirty hours later I had much greater respect for my subconscious and for this beach where I can relax so thoroughly that my mind can reveal things previously unknown.  Unfortunately, I associated the job loss with that vacation because they both happened in the same week. 

But now I was back on that same beach, five years later, and felt that I had finally made it back, back to where I was before the personal chaos erupted.  It had taken a long time to get here, but now it felt oh so good.

My version of paradise 

Now here again at Treasure Island, it was time once again to shut the brain off. This is not an easy, nor pleasant thing for me to do. It is like powering down a large, complicated, overactive, machine for maintenance (no brag, just fact).  It doesn’t turn off easily or quietly.  My brain doesn’t like this. It reminds me that it may be needed if a problem suddenly arises that requires solving.  It also worries about how long it will take to restart when vacation ends.  My subconscious on the other hand is smoking a cigar and sipping a drink, knowing that it will be able to speak freely for a few days.

It wasn’t until the last day of vacation, and the last morning walk on the beach, that my subconscious was able to explain it all to me.   I wasn’t “back” to where I was five years ago, I was so much further ahead.  When you take a detour, you don’t end up where you started. You get to where you need to be, you just take a different road to get there.  When forced to endure, you develop survival skills and resources which remain long after the trauma has ended.

For so long I focused on what I had lost. But it’s not about what you lost; it’s ultimately about what you still have. Because what you still have is way more important than what you lost. What remains is what you have to rely on to move forward. At some point, the past has to really become the past.   And the past, in the long run, is insignificant.

So now I face a new challenge; an opportunity to accomplish something that would bring me great joy.  Five years ago I would have laughed hysterically at the notion that I would be at this point today.  And five years ago, I would not have taken this challenge on because I would have been afraid to fail.  But after you have been knocked down repeatedly, you don’t even think about getting back up, you do it instinctively.

Wasn't really impressed hearing my goal!
The last hundred yards on the beach walk this time were spent audibly (only the gulls were out this early) repeating the three-word goal that I want to accomplish. What a contrast to five years ago.

The road to success will be a tough one, but it looks strangely similar to the road I’ve just conquered. So you might say I’ve just spend the last five years preparing for this challenge.  But I notice that God has removed some of the barriers that have always tripped me up in the past.  Only one obstacle remains.  Time to turn the power back on.