It's in the vault, Me Myself and Ty, Sports

Braves New World

The handshake was unwieldly, which was just how I had planned it.

How do you say hello to someone you’ve never met, but talked to, at times daily – hourly, even. But still, you’ve never met.

You can’t hug. You can’t not acknowledge each other either. Let’s take it to a new level and force a handshake on her. It’s a problem that seems to be something more common in our new era of online dating and networking and “friends” of “friends.”

She banged her knuckles on the door which she had opened for me. I remember damning the fact that the door was weighted to swing back closed. If not for that, I thought, the handshake would have gone better.

Still, she let me in. Thank god my faux paux hadn’t ended it all on the far end of an eight-hour trip.

I met her dogs and feigned excitement.

Yes, I loved them. They were amazing, and a great distraction from how nervous I felt standing in her apartment, but I would have gladly traded my meeting with them for some time to truly study her.

She, after all, was what I had traveled to see.

I loved the dogs from the start, but it was still a chore to keep my eyes off her. I had never seen her, apart from photos online, one in my coworker’s office and in my dreams.

There were girls I had never spoken to that I had spent more time ogling, but I knew she was different. She was a good girl. And she wasn’t interested.

I figured I could steal glances at her during the game, since baseball is truly the ultimate first date destination. No conversation if you want. Light enough to see the other party. Enough people around to see you to eliminate any pressure to make out and miss the game.

In other words, way classier than a movie. Plus it allowed for conversations in between innings, in between outs, in between strikes.

But the silence was difficult. Should I be talking? Should we be studying the game? Is she having fun? God she’s beautiful. That shirt. The back says “Nice Catch” and of course it’s baseball T-shirt humor, but those gathered there probably think she’s my catch, since she’s sitting next to me and occasionally speaking to me.

Sure we haven’t made any physical contact since that incredibly awkward handshake that I forced on her, but people must think we’re at least familiar. Even if I feel like she’s way too pretty for anyone to think we’re together.

The tomahawks were the key. I put one in her hand, insisting that she take part in the mob mentality of chopping the foam objects in unison.

Truthfully I didn’t give a damn. I just wanted an opportunity to steal some of her attention away from the game.

Yes, she’s a sports fan, but I want her to be a fan of me. I’m an attention whore and have no problem being shameless and going after it.

The chop began without me once and she touched my left arm with one hand while chopping me with the foam extension of the other.

This was the first indication I had that she liked me.

Let’s seize on it.

Continue reading

It's in the vault, Me Myself and Ty

The Miracle(s) of Saint Patrick

In the year of our lord, twenty hundred and twelve, on March the 17th eve…

I was, as usual, at my hometown pub in downtown Goldsboro. My cousin was heading back to California the next day and we hadn’t had any time out together, so I was showing her what I do most nights.

We had a few beers and there was live music, but it didn’t truly become Saint Patrick’s Day until one of my friends came by and wanted to play pool. For more on that, read this.

To make that long story short, they took my ID in exchange for the cue ball and I proceeded to leave it behind the bar. My ID, that is. The cue ball I left on the table.

Fast forward to 11 a.m. on Saint Patrick’s Day. Continue reading

Eh?, It's in the vault, Me Myself and Ty, Sports

I’m not good at pool, Eh?

We had just been herded inside from the patio and out of the crisp Toronto air. We crowded into the bar and lounge area, all of us forced to carry our conversations, spoken in half a dozen different languages, inside where a billiard table stood, taking up valuable standing and drinking room.

I was in a frenzy at this point, spinning in two different directions like a planet on two axes. Beers were only $4. They were delicious, but therein lied the problem: too many of them were sitting around unattended. There is a rule about alcohol within my circle of friends – it should never be wasted. I don’t think I’ll ever consider myself to be too old to finish off empties and actually approach the job with a point of pride – I feel like I’m the best at it.

After I had palmed two Canadian pints I hadn’t myself paid for, Kelly asked who was going to play pool with her. Deep down I knew it was me who would play her, as if the dice had already been cast and my number had come up. It was quite evident to me that no one else wanted to play, but she would be insatiable. Sometimes those things are just apparent.

Plus I knew it was time to lose again. Continue reading

It's in the vault, Journalism, Me Myself and Ty

It’s in the vault: The Dec. 23 Incident

As far as “It’s in the vault” stories go, I feel like this was an instant classic. Enjoy.


I’m outside Gary’s apartment and it’s cold. There’s vomit on the ground beneath the light pole and I’m stumbling toward the door.

In the moment, I can’t help but think I’m in a dream. I channel Inception and realize I can’t remember how I got to where I am now, but I’m too cold for it to be a dream. It feels too real. Continue reading

It's in the vault, Me Myself and Ty

It’s in the Vault: D.C. al fine

One of the reasons I ended up in journalism (yes, ended up in) has a lot to do with story telling.

I love telling stories. My stories, other people’s stories…the whole lot, but one of the things I do the most is retell stories.

There are certain events in my life that I talk about like they were yesterday. And I’ve been talking about them like they were yesterday since they WERE yesterday. Take a second to figure out what I meant by that.

That! Is what I have decided to use my “It’s in the Vault” category for: To retell those stories that have stood the test of time.

It’s so I never forget the details I now know. It’s so you digital friends can get to know some details about my life before computers. And it’s so I can reconnect with those who, unbeknownst to them, have been characters in stories I’ve told to virtually every friend, girlfriend, waitress or rando who listened.

It may matter to only a handful of readers, or even one, or probably none! But these stories will be digitized to Alzheimer-proof my memories one way or another.

Let’s get started:

Back in 7th grade, being in the Junior Beta Club was the shit. Yeah, there was no Beta Club in high school (we had the National Honors Society) but the JBC was an elite group of middle school’s hottest and smartest. In that crop was a future Miss North Carolina contestant, a future editor-in-chief of a 12,000-circulation newspaper and a future NCPA award-winner.

Okay, those last two were me, but that’s because the JBC, as awesome as it was, had about 100 people in it from our 7th and 8th grades (a total of maaaaybe 250 students).

But the spring field trip to Washington, D.C. made the Beta Club the coolest club on campus. Continue reading

It's in the vault, Me Myself and Ty

It’s in the vault: Academic fraud

In yet another example of me stealing ideas from one of my favorite blogs (Though I would prefer mine evoke Seinfeld imagery), here’s a poem that I found in the front of a notebook from my senior year of high school. I would date it March 2006.

Visitors to the “About” portion of this blog may have noticed a comment (two actually) from one of my favorite teachers ever, Mrs. Green.

In it, she mentions that she has a Ty Johnson original work about a student-teacher. Well, I found it in its original, pencil-print form:

A textbook tool of the queerest sort,
Phony past a fault and stubborn more.
You are impressed by all and know nothing,
Of knowledge or self, Agree with everyone.
Your anxiety shows your ignorance fully and leaves,
no indications of knowledge beyond sense
to breathe, and speak. Speak not so I may
imagine you gone to the diamond, Come
back cynicism! For I long to be
challenged again, He murders
poetry! and dances in the ruins of art,
with a sterile mind.

The student-teacher in question was a baseball player, hence the diamond reference. Mrs. Green was always very cynical, hence her being homaged by cynicism itself.

I have nothing else to say except that reading this poem today caused me to laugh hysterically and run to the computer to transcribe it and share it with you.