Day 2?

January 25, 2010. My struggle to write 500+ words a day is becoming increasingly difficult, and we’ve only reached day 2. Might as well peruse some ESPN.com headlines than rant about them, right? Write!

Barkley rips players who criticized hurt Cutler

—Well would you look at that?! Sir Charles Barkley is stepping up for Jay Cutler. The injured Bears QB received a pretty serious backlash from nation after leaving Sunday’s NFC Championship game early, but at least one former NBA-great has the current NFL-mediocre?’s back. My question is why? Why would Barkley come to his defense? Did they go on an epic craps run at the Bellagio? Did Cutler buy Barkley a lap dance at Chez Paris? Why Barkley?!

Jet’s Cromartie rips NFl, union for CBA talks

—The Jet’s cornerback opened up to the media today about how he felt regarding the Collective Bargaining Agreement and the obvious disputes between the players and owners. I know he just wanted to voice his opinion, but he really just try to get out the way of the camera. If you can’t even remember your kids names, nobody wants you involved in business negotiations.

Foot in Mouth: Welker says he regrets Ryan dig

— He probably regretted it as soon as he had said it. You never want to give a talented team like the Jets a rallying cry. Everybody on that team loves playing for Rex Ryan. Other players around the league have been dying to play for him. You don’t want to attack that guy in the media. But I am glad that Welker didn’t announce he regretted his comments until after The Jets had been eliminated. If the Jets beat the Steelers on Sunday, he probably would’ve just cracked the ol’ “They were just a foot or two ahead of the Steelers all game.”

UCONN football donor wants $3 million gift back

Roger G. Burton, the donor, is unhappy with the performance of the school’s athletic director, and he wants his money back. He wrote to Hathaway, the AD, “The primary reason Randy Edsall (former UCONN football coach) took another job is because he couldn’t work with you.” Regardless of how bad the AD might be at UCONN, you can’t just ask for a $3 million dollar gift back. It’s not like a Pizza Hut Lunch Buffet when your buddy can just get it next time. Does he want a field house back? Some jerseys or workout equipment? Surely that $3 million went to something, right?

Or maybe that’s why he wants it back. Who knows? All I know is I’m up to 450 and that’s enough for the day. Sportsmester Out!

A new dawn

It’s sad how much I haven’t been writing lately. I know there’s probably a limited number of devotees that even read this anymore, but even I’ve been getting down on myself about it. So I’m going to reallllllly try to write at least 500+ words a day or so on whatever’s going on each day  — sports world or otherwise.

—Winter break is officially over, and after over a month of “hanging out,” I can’t be happier to be at school. I was completely unproductive and started to sort of feel bad about myself as I found me doing nothing over and over each day. I also skipped out on the opportunity of a great internship (unpaid, but still I should have done it) so I could party all the time. I used holidays, a vacation, and tuition as excuses, but in the end, I just avoided it. Big mistake, but hey, we all learn from them right? Just got to grow each day.

—Today was the first day of classes for The College at Brockport. The rumors about communications majors are true, are classes are easier and more fun than yours. I’m off to another solid semester schedule with my earliest class of the week coming at a manageable 1:15 pm. SCORE!

—My first class, intro acting, looks like it’s a gem. I took it with my twin brother Shane, and other BFF “Dirt,” so I had high expectations for the class going in. But once we got there I realized the class’ true potential. The other fellas gave good energy, and there was a handful of cute girls. Basically, when your eariest class is 1:15 pm, intro to acting, with two of your best friends, and ideal class where participation is key, you get really great vibes for the class.

My second class, Advanced Media Writing, offers a course load of material on how to improve your social networking skills. Yuuuup, we communicaiotn majors spend our class hours doing the same thing you do when avoiding your final paper — perusing the internet looking a pictures on Facebook or funny videos on YouTube. Seriously, stop reading now and go sign up for some communications classes. You’ll thank me later.

—Because of the fiasco that happened between Jay Cutler & and the Broncos, I wasn’t upset to see him and the Bears lose in the NFC Championship to the Packers on Sunday. Throw in the fact that I sort of have a man-crush on Aaron Rodgers, and you got a really excited self-titled SportsMeister right here! Can’t wait to see A-Rod and the Pack take on the Steelers in the Super Bowl. I’m as hyped for that game as I’ve been in the last six years. If you could see me face right now, I’m probably making a hype-faced.

"...maybe if I twist it like, this, a little bit, it'll look like I'm more hurt?"

But G. Butler (my insensitive nickname for Bear’s QB Jay Cutler. Hint: It rhymes) received a lot of slack for leaving the game with a knee injury. His toughness was questioned nationally, until earlier today, it was revealed that he had an MCL Sprain. Ouhhhh. This is where people started to say, “Hey, maybe Butler really was hurt.”

No way! An MCL Sprain is a copout injury. I sprained my MCL in JV football and it really was fine as long as your throw a knee brace on. It was revealed this week that Tom Brady had been playing all year long with a stress fracture in his foot that will require surgery. Last season, he got surgery for a sports hernia that he had been playing with all season. The great quarterbacks play through their injuries. Basically, do you think Aaron Rodgers would have left that game? It would have taken two leg amputations to get that guy of the field. And ultimately, you know who won.

—Similar story on the other side of the NFL Conferences. The Steelers, a team led and unified by their QB Ben Roethlisberger, defeated the Jets, who behind second-year QB Mark Sanchez lost in the AFC Championship for the second straight year. The Steelers rallied around Big Ben after his suspension early in the season, and as usual, the bettwe QB won the game.

–If you think the Heat are “hot” right now, wait till the all-star break. They’ll really be “heating” up until June when they’re the “hottest” team in the NBA. Alright, alright. Obviously I’m not funny after 540+ words. Go read a 140 character tweet, much easier to get through. Until then, cya tomorrow

LeBron's been "Heating" Up! Hahahahahaha oh god I'm losin' it

Merry Christmas

I’m the laziest person of all time

 

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! God knows I won’t be writing from now until then

LeBron gets ready for return to Cleveland

The Miami Heat-Cleveland Cavaliers game on Thursday will be anything but routine for either team. It’s LeBron Jame’s first time back in Cleveland since “The Decision” that left most Cavalier hating their former King.

“LeBron James can go fuck himself,” lifelong Cavs fan Martin Gilden said. “Cleveland always sucks at sports, and just when we’re gettin’ good, he fuckin bolts it for South Beach. Fuck LeBron.”

Gilden’s opnion on King James is felt by many in Cleveland who felt betrayed when LeBron made his decision to take his talents to South Beach. But Thursday night’s game offers a chance for fans to tell him how they really feel.

“It’s going to be wild, probably out of control,” Gilden said. “Say what you want about Cleveland sports, but our fans are loyal. And you can bet that when the Heat come into town tomorrow night there’s going to be a lot of noise. There’s going to be rioting, finger pointing, garbage flying. It’s going to get creepy and weird.”

While Cavaliers fans are looking forward to a nightfall of boos and negative chants, LeBron is saying that he “won’t let the haters shake him.”

“If LeBron James let the haters shake him, then the haters won,” James said. “I can’t let the haters win. I can’t let anybody win if it’s not me. Now that I think about it, fuck the Heat. Even if they win, it’s not only me. I gotta figure something out.”

Rumors have it that some NBA teams have inside bets going on in their locker rooms about what kind of game James will have when he returns to the city that once loved him. Shaquille O’Neal expects LeBron to have a big game.

“I expect him to have a big game,” Shaq said.

The Cavaliers have warned fans that security will be beefed up and signs that are too negative will not be allowed into the Gund Arena. However, fans have formulated other plans to get back at the athlete that betrayed their city.

“I was thinking about, you know, how I can show my hatred for LeBron,” Gilden said. “And after a bunch of dumb ideas, a genius idea came to me. Unforuntately, I can’t tell you what it is. You’ll just have to tune into tomorrow night.”

 

Harry Porter review

*My review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows PT 1 which appears in the Dec. 1 edition of The Stylus

The first installment of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is an odd combination of satisfaction and disappointment. The film itself does a fine job of keeping the audience’s attention, maximizing on emotional scenes and delivering random laughs. But, fans can’t help but leave the theater feeling a bit teased knowing that the exciting conclusion is only months away.

Fans of the books will be excited, as DH is perhaps the best book-to-film adaptation of the series to date. Director David Yates did a tremendous job of capturing the essence of the book from the action-packed Weasely wedding in the beginning all the way to the madness at Malfoy manor at the end.

Also, much like the book, the slowest, most boring parts of the film came during the middle. During this time, Harry, Hermione and Ron are hiding in the woods, planning how to defeat Lord Voldemort, finding his Horcruxes and destroying them. Although a lot of people will say these scenes are great – with the tension rising between the tree and eventually reaching a boiling point – the reality is that these scenes are boring and forgettable.

Prior to the film, Potter fans were trying to predict what scenes would be included in the first installment of the Deathly Hallows, and most weren’t disappointed, as Yates picked the best parts from the first half of the seventh book. They were all executed well. It was fun to watch all of Harry’s friends take polyjuice potion to look exactly like him as they escaped from Privet drive.

Later in the movie, Harry, Hermione and Ron used the same potion to break in to the Ministry of Magic in a scene that captures the desperation and anxiety of the text perfectly. Rupert Grint (Ron) and Emma Watson (Hermione) truly owned their characters, as they have for most of the series, but once again, Daniel Radcliffe as Harry was disappointing.

The best thing about Radcliffe being Potter over the years is the unintentional, hilarious one-liners he so often delivers. DH boasted a great one at the end when Radcliffe looked up and lazily said, “I’m going to bury him. With my hands.” It’s supposed to be the big moment of the film – the emotional pay off as Harry is dealing with the loss of a friend. But instead of people crying, most in the theater were merely trying to choke back their laughter as they witnessed another botched performance from the chosen one.

Harry Potter fans know what they are getting with part one of the Deathly Hallows: an exciting story with great scenery and even greater characters. But they also know that the film concludes with a tease. The real spectacle will be in part two, with the Battle of Hogwarts. While part one was a solid watch for any Harry Potter fan and a good movie by itself, it’s just an introduction to what we’re all really waiting for.

Happy Thanksgiving

I’m thankful for everybody that has ever visited this site. I hope I update more often for you guys and I love everybody who has ever said anything to me about writing. For so long, so many people have told me I was never going to make it and writing is too ambitious. While I haven’t “made” anything yet, I know that I can. Thanks for the support and have a great Thanksgiving!

Chronicles of an Ultra-Ego

By Matt Driffill

 

**Note: This is the first short story that I’ve had the confidence to post. I hope to do more of this kind of stuff because it really is a lot of fun. This story was an assignment from my creative writing professor this semester, and he told me there didn’t have to be an ending to my short story. There is an ending to this one, but if it’s well received, I hope to continue for the next assignment. Enjoy.

 

November 10, 2010

Ben woke up with his heart racing and sweat dripping off his forehead. These nightmares are going to be the end of me, he thought as he reached for his glass of water, and took a swig. The moon shining through the window illuminated his extravagant bedroom. The light reflected off the Sony LCD TV that hung elegantly on the wall opposite the king-sized bed. The moon’s rays danced over the plush red carpet that Ben loved to sink his bare feet into.

He leaned over and checked his Blackberry: 5:04 a.m. He glanced over his shoulder and looked at his wife, Maria, sleeping so peacefully. Why can’t I do the same, he thought. Nightmares had been haunting Ben’s nights for weeks now. The bad dreams were always so drastically different with one crazy consistency: Elaine.

Elaine? I don’t know anybody named Elaine…. except that chick from Seinfeld, Ben thought.  He saw the mysterious dream woman almost every night, but she was always something different. An innocent 11-year old girl playing in the park, a seductive bartender in Brooklyn, or an elderly client falling for Ben’s charm. Always a different female, always a different scenario, but always the same name: Elaine.

Despite dealing with these dreams for weeks, he knew he couldn’t tell his wife. He assumed Maria wouldn’t take kindly to the idea of her husband’s dreams being haunted by another woman; she was always the jealous type.

September 15, 2007

“Who was that?” Maria asked, crossing her arms and leaning back from the dinner table.

“Tonya. Just an old friend from college,” Ben said biting into his chicken french. He could sense his girlfriend was unhappy about the two minute conversation that had just ended. “We took macro-economics together junior year, that’s all.”

“You seemed awfully excited to see her . . .” Maria said trailing off and looking away. “Maybe you’d like to just go sit at Tonya’s table and leave me here alone with my wine.”

“I haven’t seen her in forever,” Ben said, taking another bite into his pasta. With his mouth half full he managed, “You don’t have to be jealous.”

“You know I don’t get jealous,” Maria said leaning back into the table. “She was just very pretty, that’s all.”

“She is very pretty, beautiful even,” he paused for effect as Maria looked up from her seafood bisque. “But not my type.”

“What’s your type?” Maria asked coldly, apparently back to her concerned state.

“I don’t like a girl with just nice eyes, or great hair,” Ben began taking another bite of pasta. He had recited these lines to so many different girlfriends in his lifetime. He sets the routine in motion when he first meets them, and if they passed Ben’s rigorous character tests, he would reference their original meeting at a later time. He couldn’t possibly remember how many times the maneuver had been executed so flawlessly. However, he hadn’t used it on Maria until now — the one who he truly believed he cared the most for out of all of his former lovers.

Ben cleared his throat, “It’s not just about a smile, or legs. It’s got to be the complete package. A girl could have the most beautiful eyes in the world, but if they don’t compliment her smile or her face, than everything seems a bit off. It’s not that girls have certain physical features that I’m instantly attracted to, but the whole picture is what I like. If a girl’s features don’t play off each other then everything seems …unbalanced to a degree.” He paused to sip his wine.  “I know I’m very nitpicky about these things and am very particular about stuff that I like and dislike,”

This was the opening. He locked eyes with Maria in anticipation. He hoped this was going to work like it always had. “Do you remember what I told you when we first met two years ago?”

A violent smile immediately appeared on Maria’s face. “You said I had a balanced face,” she laughed.  “It was the most awkward compliment I’ve ever received,  but I loved it. It got my attention, that’s for sure.”

She remembered, phew, He thought. It works again…

“So, you see, you’re my type,” he said smiling. “So, for the millionth time, don’t worry about other girls,” Ben said reaching for a breadstick from the center of the table. He hated that he had to recite cheesy lines all the time, but he hated even more that he had given the same “You’re face is balanced” routine to countless other women in his life.  It was a borderline flawless pickup line that Ben had mastered, but he felt bad because of all targets it had worked on, he liked Maria the most. He didn’t want to think of her as just another girl.  “And by the way, you do get extremely jealous,” Ben said, downing the rest of his wine as a wry smile crept from the left side of his mouth.

“Shut up!” she said giggling. “How could I not get jealous though? Everywhere we go, girls stop and stare at you like you’re a movie star or something.”

“And you think it’s easy for me every time a guy does a complete 180 to stare at your ass as we pass by them?” Ben asked, diverting the attention away from him. “I never say anything about it though because I realize that I am the one with you. You should do the same.  There’s nothing to be gained from jealously.”

“More wine?” the waiter asked as he approached the table. Maria lifted her glass, but Ben interrupted the movement.

“Actually sir, may we have a bottle of Dom Perignon?” he asked

“Excellent taste sir,” the waiter said with a wink. “I’ll have that right out for you.” The waiter disappeared to grab the requested bottle.

“Champagne?” Maria asked. “What’s the occasion?”

“Oh it’s a very special occasion tonight actually,” Ben said, reaching into his pocket. Maria’s shoulder’s lifted with excitement. He pulled his cell phone out to check a text message, and could saw Maria’s body language scream, “Not a ring?!”

Ben sensed Maria’s disappointment. It’s too soon to propose, he thought to himself. Now’s not the time. Now’s not the time.

“Any night that I can spend with you is a special occasion,” Ben said putting his phone away. “But tonight’s extra special because of this…” Ben smoothly pulled out a pink coupon book from his suit coat pocket. Maria instantly recognized the coupon book from last year’s Valentine’s Day. She made the book herself and knew exactly what was in it. At the moment she realized that the two of them were in for a long, interesting night.

“Well, pour me a glass then,” Maria said. “I’m going to need it.” She faked her emotions really well, but Ben had an ability to read way past people’s words and facial expressions. He knew she wanted to get married, but he also knew that now, in this restaurant, was not the time nor place for such a proposal.

 

November 10, 2010

Ben checked his cell phone again. 6:28 a.m. Fuck it, he thought as he got out of bed carefully, trying not to disturb his wife. He made his way to the shower, but the idea of the nightmare mystery woman still haunted his thoughts.

Elaine. Why Elaine? He tried to remember over the years if there was an Elaine he had known. If he had forgotten about somebody, and the idea of her was creeping into his subconscious during the night.

That can’t be it. She looks different in every dream…

The cause for the nightmares was an issue. He didn’t know why they were happening, what was causing them, or how he could stop them. But, as a realist, Ben would have to try his best to not let something as menial as a dream dramatically affect his life.

He glanced at the mirror, then decided to linger for a moment.  He hated how narcissistic he was, but sometimes he couldn’t help but stare for a few extra moments at himself. The reflection of perfection, he told himself: His lean 6’1” frame, his perfect jaw, his deep green eyes, the definition of his muscles. He admired everything about himself, which ultimately, was his greatest flaw.

 

October 17, 2003

She was gorgeous; the best-looking girl at the party by far. She looked unfamiliar to Ben though, perhaps a freshman. The year didn’t matter to him, however; she was simply stunning. Her straight brown hair landed neatly at her shoulders. Her body, so tight and shapely swayed with the music so beautifully it was as if she composed the song herself. And even in the darkness of the room, he could see a smile etched on her face that took his breath away.

“Aaron, who is that girl,” Ben asked his friend.

“Not sure. She’s got an ass though.”

Ben nodded in agreement, but it wasn’t physical features that he was after. During his junior year he had been seeking girls with a “good demeanor” as he put it. He constantly tried to explain what that meant to the rest of his college buddies, but that usually resulted in his friends laughing at him — until he got the girl.

Ben mingled on all night. Dancing, drinking, just trying to enjoy himself. On any other night Ben would call this a great party, but tonight the unknown beauty distracted him from having any other fun.

He kept an eye on her from a distance, waiting for the right opportunity to make an introduction. I can’t believe how creepy I am being, he thought. I hope she doesn’t notice me staring.

Luckily she didn’t. She was busy with her other female friends. Laughing, drinking, and turning down guy after guy. Ben couldn’t believe she hadn’t noticed him yet. It was an entirely new feeling to the guy who was so used to getting a girl’s attention.

As he formulated his plans to sweep her off her feet, the night was dragging on, and the hours were zooming by. Ben knew he didn’t have forever to make his move. Fortune favors the bold, he told himself.

“Mike!” Ben barked over the speakers that were thundering just feet away from them.

“Yeah dude?”

“I need a favor,” he said, pulling Mike in close to whisper into is ear.

Mike leaned away. “Are you serious?” Ben nodded to assure Mike of his plans. “Aggressive. I got you. Five minutes.”

Ben prepared himself for his make-or-break moment. He filled up his beer at the keg, finished it. He filled it up again, and finished it again. Liquid courage, he said to himself, filling up his red cup for the third time. He lifted it for another swig when he heard Mike’s voice break the sound of the techno music.

Everybody at the party looked up, confused, angry, and disappointed about the stopped music.

“We’re going to slow it down for a minute because we got a special request, for a special lady,” Mike said into the wireless microphone. “Here you go my dude,” he said tossing the microphone over to Ben.

The moment he caught the mic, Eric Clapton’s “You Look Wonderful Tonight,” began playing loudly. The girls at the party screamed and broke into slow, rhythmic  dancing. The guys looked at their other guy buddies with a cliché camaraderie code of a look that said, “It’s Clapton, bro.” Everybody was into it. So far so good.

Ben, like the six times before, did what he always did. He casually mounted the coffee table in the center of the room, and rehearsed his pre-song lines.

“I don’t know what this crazy bastard is talking about,” he said as everybody looked at him. “I didn’t dedicate this song to anyone in particular, I just love it. So I’ll sing it for you anyway.”

The partygoers cheered as Ben began singing the 70’s classic. Moments like these always made him thank his mother for forcing him into choir lessons when he was younger despite his most violent of protests.

People began slow dancing, which was a plus for his performance, but not for his objective. He saw his target get approached by a gentlemen in a black hat. Ben needed to call an audible.

Normally Ben would finish the song, be applauded, and then go back to partying for the rest of the night. It was this approach that often led his targets to him.

But not tonight.

He waits for the last verse. Ben loves the feeling of being watched, and when the time comes, he knows what to do.

And then I tell her, as I turn out the light,” he sang, hopping off of the coffee table, weaving through the crowd, and approaching the girl. “I say my darlin, you were wonderful tonight,” She looked away from the guy she was just dancing with, and into Ben’s green eyes. “Ohhhhhh my darling,” he continued. “You were wonderful tonight.”

Ben could feel everybody at the party looking at him, but his green eyes were focused. The instrumentals of the end of the song blared loudly. Ben stood motionless. The whole party stood motionless. The whole world stood motionless.

He smiled, and she smiled back. Their gazes hung in the air while everybody watched the two of them like it was the New Year’s Ball in Times Square.

Ben titled his head to the side, ever so slightly. His smile pushed out just a bit more. Her smile stretched to match his happiness, and that’s when he knew.

The party erupted into cheers and applause as the song came to a close, and the two strangers embraced in a kiss that Ben would remember as the most romantic moment of his life.

“What’s your name?” Ben asked as the music transitioned back into a fast-paced hip-hop song and the party resumed.

“Tonya,” she said smiling and blushing. “What’s yours?”

Ben heard her, but couldn’t answer. The beaming smile on her face put one on his, and he could do nothing but stare at the most beautiful girl he had ever met.

 

November 10, 2010

I love mornings, Ben thought. How the coffee maker’s aroma filled the Manhattan apartment was a scent he looked forward to every day. He loved listening to the lighthearted morning news on his 52’’ HDTV in his living room as he looked through his emails on his new MacBook Pro. His material possessions reinforced his ideals that money could buy happiness.

At 28, Ben was the youngest Vice-President in SONY history, and it didn’t happen by chance. It was hard work, well-timed opportunity, and his endless stream of connections that put him in the fast lane out of the University of Pennsylvania.

You deserve all of this, he told himself. He poured himself a cup of coffee; no sugar, no cream. The clock read 7:41 a.m. Ben didn’t have to be at work until ten, but his nightmares had kept him from sleeping in. He walked over to his window, and overlooked the busy streets below. He knew he could save a fortune by living in a similar place in a different borough, but he loved the idea of being a wealthy male in Manhattan. The whole world at my fingertips.

Ben, as a product of success, wasn’t used to feeling vulnerable. And although they were just dreams, the mysterious Elaine was creeping into his thoughts during the day now; no longer were they restricted for nighttime.

He couldn’t understand the dreams, and that’s what bothered him the most. They always seemed peaceful at first, but ended in such devastating fashion. Waking up in an instant was the only way Ben ever could remember his dreams. He could feel the nightmares as harsh reality just before he woke back up to his seemingly perfect life.

He heard the shower start running. Well, since I got time, he thought. He went into the bathroom to see his wife with just a towel around her body.

“You’re up early,” Maria said, yawning just as she finished her sentence.

“Yeah, I had this horrible nightmare,” he said, looking away from her eye contact.

“Really, about what?” she asked, dropping her towel off of her body, revealing her near-perfect figure.

Ben took a step toward his wife and put his arms around her waist. He kissed her on the lips once. “I don’t want to talk about it. It was … too horrible.”

She kissed him back. “Maybe I can help you get over it. Tell me. Pleeasee,” she begged, stroking her finger down his chest.

“Fine, fine,” he said taking a deep breath. “I had a dream where I was at a Vegas strip-club, surrounded by naked girls everywhere. It was terrible. I didn’t know what to do.”

“You’re such an ass,” Maria said, turning to the shower with a smile. “For a minute I thought you were actually going to be serious, for once.”

“Ohhh you know that’s not the man you married,” he said grabbing her from behind. He kissed her on the cheek and held her for a moment.

“Did you already shower?” she asked.

“Well,” he paused. “Not with you.”

 

October 17, 2003

Tonya. Tonya. Tonya. He couldn’t get her out of his head. He didn’t understand why, either. She was gorgeous, for sure, but so were so many of the other girls he had hooked up with over the years.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do, man,” Ben said, looking to his roommate Paul.

“Is this about that girl again?” he asked. The tone of his voice indicated that he didn’t care, and one of Ben’s best skills was avoiding talking about his own problems. He knew people genuinely aren’t too interested about what his minuscule issues are, so he often just took conversations in a different direction. It kept him likeable, he thought.

“No, no, no,” he lied. “My macro-economics test. I suck at this shit.”

 

November 10, 2010

“Come on, let’s just have a skip day like we used to,” Ben said as he lay on the bed completely naked, trying to coax his wife into skipping work.

“You know I’d love to,” Maria said, as she slipped into her underwear. “But I have to be at the office by eleven, and you have to be at the office in eleven,” she said as she pointed to the alarm clock that read 9:49 a.m.

“Really? Check this out,” Ben said, grabbing the BlackBerry on his nightstand. He pressed a few buttons and lifted the smart-phone to his ear.

“Bill? Hey Bill, what’s happening? Not much over here. Listen, I’m going to be a little late today. Yeah, I’m just backed up with a few things. I can probably be in around eleven if that’s okay? Are you sure? Thanks Bill, I’ll see you then,” He said as he hung up the phone. He turned to his wife, tossed his phone over his shoulder onto the bed and said, “As easy as that.”

She stood there, just as impressed as she was annoyed. “Does anything bad ever happen to you?”

“No,” he said with an arrogant grin. “Except that one time in Cabo with your parents, the tequila, and the hot tub.” Just as he began to smile, Maria broke out into laughter.

“I can’t tell whether I love you, or hate you,” she said putting her arms around his neck.

“I think that’s how you know it is lust, actually,” he said jokingly.

“Get over yourself,” Maria said putting on a pair of Elie Tahari woman’s dress pants. “Do these look okay?” she asked, spinning for her husband.

“You look great in everything, you know that,” he said smirking. “That said, I’d go with the Vivienne Westwood’s. Make that ass pop.

April 18, 2008

The view was amazing from the top of the Eiffel Tower. It was one of those places that had become so extravagant that it was almost a cliché to say it was breath-taking. The Louvre, the surrouding gardens and ponds, the brisk Paris air; it was just one of those moments that couldn’t be captured in words, pictures, or videos, but just had to be experienced. Ben and Maria stood at the top of it, just the two of them. It was rare for the Eiffel Tower to be empty, but it heightened the intimacy of the situation right away.

Ben held her in his arms from behind as they soaked in the beautiful French neighborhoods beneath them. Ben had experienced a lifetime of fake, forced romantic moments in his life, but this moment, standing at the top of the Eiffel Tower with the women whom he loved was genuinely the most romantic. The authenticity of it couldn’t be faked.  Ben kissed Maria’s cheek as they let the silence and wonder of the moment set in.

Everything’s going according to plan, Ben thought to himself. For their first vacation as a couple, things couldn’t have gone more perfectly. His only concern was if she was thinking about the proposal again.

Ben had grown up imagining how he would propose to the one girl who he truly believed he loved. And he knew it would take place on this vacation, he knew precisely when and where he would do it, but here at the top of the Eiffel Tower — the most romantic location on earth — was too cliché, too predictable for Ben, who always liked to surprise people. He just feared how disappointed Maria would be after he didn’t pop the question in such a perfection location. But he hoped that the pain and anguish would be worth the wait for her.

“Beautiful isn’t it?” Ben whispered in her ear. Maria didn’t need to answer, the setting spoke for itself and the feeling it gave was more powerful than any words Maria could muster.

Ben could sense that the moment was becoming increasingly bittersweet for his girlfriend as every passing moment was a moment that Ben wasn’t proposing. He had to get them out of there before she brought anything up.

“Let’s go,” he said, kissing her cheek. “We’ll never have a more perfect moment than this. Let’s enjoy it.”

Ben, still holding Maria from behind could feel her emotions drop to the floor. She wanted that to be their moment, and Ben let her down. But she knew she loved him too much to say anything to him about it. “A truly perfect moment,” she said quietly, directed at the city of Paris and not to the love of her life.

Ben dropped his arms from around her and grabbed her hand to lead her to the elevator. They stopped and shared several kisses as their elevator descended back to solid ground. She wasn’t showing it by her actions or facial expressions, but Ben could tell she was upset, very upset. And he understood why, but he also understood that it was all part of his master plan.

Walking away from the tower now, in the midst of the beautiful landscape surrounding the French landmark, Ben slowed down and pulled out his cell phone.

“Who’s that?” Maria asked, stopping with Ben as he looked intently at his phone.

He laughed out loud, “I got to show you this, it’s really quite amazing,” he said, handing his phone to her. She took the phone and pressed a button to illuminate a locked text message. It was from December 2005 and it was a sent message from Ben that he had sent to his friend Steve. It read, “dude best 1st date eva. i love this girl. gonna marry her.”

Maria looked up from the phone and saw Ben on one knee in front of her with a marvelous diamond ring being presented to her.

“Maria, I know I should have done this a long time ago,” he said. She was trembling. The term speechless could never have been applied so appropriately. “But I wanted to know for sure that I found the right girl, and when I found that right girl, I wanted to make this moment as special to her as she was to me.

“Maria, will you marry me?”

She couldn’t even answer. Been got up from the ground, picked her up and swung her around in a circle before kissing her, as his fiancé, for the first time. It seemed the whole world had stopped again — and with the Eiffel tower watching happily over the two of them — Ben now had a new “most romantic moment of his life.”