I Eat Elephants

Let me tell you a story. It’s sort of a long short story, so grab a mug of something and settle in for a few.

Most of you know me as an online adjunct type, but once upon a time, I spent five years teaching in the loveliest village in the Plains aka Auburn University. During that time, I, like some, became a rather rabid Auburn fan. Sam was a young dog then and a Florida dog to boot, so that first winter was impossibly hard on her. She didn’t have a true lab coat (never) and so she required sweaters, t-shirts, and so forth to keep her from getting sick (yes, dogs catch colds, no it is not fun and neither is the vet bill). Anyway, among her collection of shirts was an orange shirt that said “I Eat Elephants.” If you know the SEC at all, then you know that Auburn’s biggest rival is Alabama aka the Crimson Tide aka the folks who have an elephant as a mascot. Every year, the two teams come together on a Saturday in November and play what is called “Iron Bowl.” Sam wore her shirt every Iron Bowl since I bought it for her. Last year, I put it away suspecting it would be the last wearing for that shirt.

In January, you may or may not recall that Sam collapsed on the floor and was completely motionless for almost 20 minutes. I figured we were at the end and had a long, difficult talk with her vet early the next morning. We agreed to try drugging her with pain meds because P was out of town and I absolutely would not put down a dog he loved while he was away unless I had no other choices. 72 hours after Sam started the medicine she was acting like herself. So much so that I realized it wasn’t time to do what we’d agreed to do the following Monday, so I called her vet and cancelled.

He called me back. He told me this was a temporary solution and it wasn’t going to work forever and I told him that I knew that. I understood that she wouldn’t live to see the Iron Bowl this year (he went to Auburn and his cousin was her vet in Auburn), but if we could get her a couple more quality months, then I wanted to try. And so we did.

And here we are on the eve of the Iron Bowl and the old girl is still here. Damned if she didn’t eat the elephant in the room and outlast even my most optimistic projections for her. So now, I am frantically trying to remember where I put her shirt so she can wear it with pride tomorrow as she watches her beloved Tigers take on and hopefully beat the Crimson Tide. She lived to see this game, so it had better be a good one!

War Eagle!

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What Happened Yesterday?

Some folks may have noticed that my blog disappeared yesterday. If I could have figured out a safe way to save Katie’s posts, I probably would have detonated the thing right then. Late last night the tide turned and I feel like I can bring it back online with no serious issues. This is not to say that I’m not going to back the thing up six ways from Sunday and be prepared to pull it, but I suspect I won’t pull it.

Essentially, what happened was this. I am a fan of Peter King, a Sports Illustrated writer who covers the NFL. He’s a good egg, mostly (never enough love for the Bucs, but hey, even I can’t muster that much love usually). He writes a really interesting column every week (Monday Morning Quarterback) and he’s on Twitter. He’s especially unusual on Twitter because he responds frequently to people. He’s also a Hall of Fame voter, which, as you might imagine causes him to catch rashers of shit every year right after the HOF vote. This year? No exception.

Except.

Except that two days ago someone called him a racist. A writer for another group thinks that King is the mastermind behind the HOF voters and that he is essentially a puppet master of a good ole boy network. Sigh. He’s from New England. I don’t think he’d know a good ole boy if he met one up close and personal. I’m also convinced that he doesn’t have as much power as people credit him with. He’s just more willing to share what his thinking is and some generalities about the voting process. HOF rules state that they cannot get into specifics about the process or who votes for whom.

A second person confronts King on Twitter about it, specifically calling him out as racist and Mr. King responded sarcastically about being Mr. KKK and pointing out that the selectors group is roughly the same racial make up as the pressbox at any NFL game (to wit, a small percentage of African Americans). A third person comes in and accuses him of yet more racisim. Specifically claiming that he had used the term “honky” in a tweet.

It was this person who tripped my trigger and who I asked for evidence of his claim. And then all hell broke loose. After Iasked for evidence he first suggested I was angry because I’m a King fan, but I wasn’t. I didn’t believe his claim, but wanted to see his evidence, I’m like that. He clearly went to my blog because at that point he said that if I had the time to read the Bible in 90 days, then I surely had enough time to search for his evidence.

Because I had the temerity to ask for evidence, he claimed I was harassing him (identifying me at that point as male). He then suggested that I only wanted evidence because I was interested in Mr. King. All the while, pinging me back and saying I should do the research myself etc., which, of course, anyone who knows me knows I’m going to make you provide your own evidence. You want to argue a claim, fine, give me evidence. And then it stops.

The next morning, he tweets me evidence of his claim. And two minutes later is complaining because I’m not responding quickly enough. He also made a point of saying that I should have learned how to Google. Once I confirmed my basic facts — that Woodhead is white. I asked how that is a racist comment when both parties are white? He then said that I should rethink homeschooling my children if I don’t understand how racist that is.

But in all honesty? I don’t.

He went on to send another couple of tweets about me and about how I’m obsessed with Peter King and that I’m a stalker — I’m sorry: stalkaaaa — whatever the hell difference that makes. At which point I blocked him.

But he wasn’t quite finished. He made a remark about wanting a truce now that he knows that my dog requires daily maintenance medication. And that is the point that I locked down my blog for a while. For the first time in a near decade on the Internet, I didn’t feel safe. I did feel enormous gratitude that I don’t post pictures of my kids online and that this sick individual didn’t decide to get his rocks off talking about my daughter.

Now, the really bizarre part of all of this? The supposed evidence he had? It was fake. He was trying to get attention and get Peter King to retweet him, which Peter did to prove that his claim was bogus. It doesn’t make me feel a lot better. And there’s a real queasy feeling in my stomach as I reset the blog to open and as I get ready to post this, but you know what? Idiots do not get to dictate how I run my life. I let him win yesterday and I feel sick about that.

I stand behind what I write here and what I write on Twitter. I do not make claims without providing evidence and I am not in the wrong here. Thanks for reading!