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I am a waste.  I mean a drunken waste.  I mean, drunk on the illusions of grandeur for the past 30 years.  As it was brought to my attention that in a few weeks I will be reaching the next milestone in my journey towards death, the big 30.  In some way I should be celebrating, seeing that I never expected to make it past age 25- considering my torrid love affairs with substance, alcohol, cigarette, and coffee abuse. So here I am, left to reflect on what I once thought was “living”.  Was it worth it?

You’re damn right it was.  I have been on this earth for nearly 30 years now and have had the opportunity to experience and accomplish more than most men my age- I just did it in an unconventional manner.  But don’t you see??  That’s just it! I don’t follow social norms, I never have!  Some call it being reckless.  Some say I’m irrational and unmotivated.  Well, stick this in your pipe and smoke it! In my moments of reflection, I began to remember all the events that led me here and the stories that resulted.

I’ve played basketball, baseball, volleyball, and football competitively – I’ve written numerous blogs, short stories, and poems – I went to Vegas once for free because my sister won a drunken Rock, Paper, Scissors tournament that resulted in us both being on ESPN. –  It also resulted in us getting sloppy on white russians with the band Foreigner (you kids may need to google that reference) –  I once created and operated a T-shirt company called Rentees T-shirt and Design with a few close friends that proved to be a successful venture. –  I went to culinary school – I sold real estate, and did it successfully – I became an executive chef, both in the U.S. and over seas – I randomly loaded up my car and moved to Georgia for two years. (I’m from Pittsburgh)  – I married a foreign girl – I randomly moved to South Africa and lived in a thatched roof hut on the beach in a small surfing community – I was an executive chef during the World Cup in South Africa – I have worked a lot of jobs, anything from food service to chemical production to selling online beauty products.   –  I can speak enough Italian, Spanish, and Afrikaans to be dangerous  –  I can greet a guest in over nine different recognized languages, including a few African tribal languages that use “clicks”  –  I learned to play the guitar, and was in a few bands growing up  –  I once talked a Mexican man on the Vegas strip in to selling me the shirt off his back…in Spanish  –  I am known to be charismatic, extremely romantic, and intelligent  –  I have begun to learn the art of Molecular Gastronomy  –  I have picketed in front of the White House on numerous occasions –  I have painted canvas using oils, acrylics, and watercolors well enough to hang on a wall.  haha –  I made my own wine, bottled it, and drank it over a series of years.  –  I have created special menu items that are now staples in restaurants past – I have laid on the grave of a Confederate soldier while drunk on brandy and tried to feel his pain  (I also tried this with golf great Bobby Jones, but my game never got better)  –  I bought a regal once  –  I hand-fed a cheetah  –  I rode an ostrich like a bull, got thrown off, climbed back on only to be thrown off again – I ate snails and drank wine till the early morning on the streets of Oudtshoorn.  I hung out, drank, and played bongo drums with the cast of Blue Crush (yeah I wasn’t too impressed either)  –  I have loved, and will continue to love unconditionally.

Of course there are more, some of which I can’t legally publicize.  And I’m not gloating, but in those moments when you feel you should be further in life than where you are, maybe we all should take a step back and see how far we’ve actually come.  I’ve got a lot more fight in me.  My expectations are high for these next 30 years.

A big “THANK YOU” to all of you who have motivated, supported, and humored me all these years- and to those who continue to instigate my antics.