muggsy bogues and other lies brothers tell

I don’t blame my brothers for the many lies they told me as a kid. In fact, I’m impressed by their creativity. I don’t think I was particularly gullible when I was young. I prefer to think I just really trusted my big brothers. They are four and six years older than me so there’s a certain amount of worldly experience and knowledge they’ll always have ahead of me. As a kid, I trusted that to a fault.

The house that was my first home had a playroom. The playroom had an original Nintendo. The boxy gray one with the gloriously simple controllers. They used to let me play Super Mario Brothers with them. Correction: I thought they let me play Super Mario Brothers with them. Mario was the game to beat in the early 90s. Really, why would my brothers want their annoying little sister making that more difficult than it already was? So they’d hand me a controller, set the game on one player, and tell me I was controlling the mushrooms. The mushrooms: the computer controlled bad guys who were trying to kill Mario. I wish I was making this up because I don’t think it says much for my intelligence (although I was 5 or 6 at the time). I remember being confused when I’d hit A and the mushroom wouldn’t jump, but I never got frustrated enough to stop playing. I can’t be mad about this now, because it was kind of genius. I had the joy of thinking my brothers wanted me to play with them. They had the satisfaction of knowing I wasn’t going to ruin their game.

I could probably tell you a thousand other lies my brothers told me when I was a kid. There was a short period when I thought that maybe I really had been a happy meal prize and they really had wanted the toy instead.

There were several instances when one or both of them convinced me our dog liked to be ridden and I just needed to hold her collar a little tighter. “It’s safe! It’s fun!”

There were plenty of times when they pushed me to ask for something they wanted because I was the baby and it would work. Actually, this one wasn’t really a lie… it’s just good business.

I don’t mean to call my brothers liars. I just mean they were talented little sister manipulators. Like I said, I don’t blame them.

Before this goes any further you need to know something about me: I was a Muggsy Bogues superfan as a child. I thought the little guy wearing the #1 for the Charlotte Hornets was worthy of his number. He was the greatest (for what it’s worth, Muggsy is the Hornets’ career leader in minutes played, assists, and steals… but I digress). I get the irony of my Muggsy passion now. I’m 6’1″ and my childhood basketball hero is 5’3″ and weighed in somewhere around 140. At the time, I was somewhere around 50 lbs and whatever height is just an inch or two above average for a 6 year old. When I played basketball it was with my older, taller brothers. I was a little kid among giants. I got Muggsy. I understood his struggle. I admired his skill. And I was six, so I thought he had a really cool name. His name… is what ultimately got me.

For Christmas 1993 I asked for twin cabbage patch dolls. Apparently that wasn’t actually a thing at the time. I don’t know where I got the idea that it was. Lucky for my parents all cabbage patch dolls (the baby ones) pretty much looked the same. They just grabbed a couple in different colored outfits and gave them to me as twins. I didn’t know the difference. I was happy.

Sometime Christmas day, around the first changing of the doll diapers, I noticed a signature on each of their butts. That is, apparently, a thing cabbage patch dolls just have. It’s weird, but whatever. When I discovered it I was old enough to know the blue writing said someone’s name, but too young to read cursive.

“Can you read this to me?” I asked my brothers.

I trusted I’d get an honest answer from the 6th grader. Or the 4th grader, who was pretty new to cursive, would try to help me figure it out. They saw a signature and an opportunity.

“Muggsy Bogues” my brother said. I swear. Almost immediately he told me it read “Muggsy Bogues”.

Forget that the signature clearly began with an X. It didn’t matter. I wouldn’t learn cursive for another two years and they knew it.

Honestly, I don’t know that I’ve ever been as excited about anything as I was the day I found out Muggsy Bogues had, for some unknown reason, signed the left butt cheek of each of my cabbage patch dolls. I told everyone. I mean everyone. I took those dolls up and down the street. I let those dolls sit at the base of our basketball goal while I practiced my granny shots. I was inspired. I didn’t question why Muggsy would take the time to sign my dolls. I just understood it to be true.

When school came back around I took those dolls to show and tell. I’m pretty sure that’s where the whole thing started to fall apart. Some mean kid tried to ruin my fun, telling me there’s no way Muggsy signed those dolls. I guess I questioned it a little. I probably wondered for a few minutes about why Muggsy would’ve signed them anyway, but I believed that more than I believed my brothers would just make something like that up. The truth is I never really stopped believing it until third grade when I learned how to read and write in cursive.

Xavier Roberts. That’s the real name on the butts. Roberts was an art student who created the cabbage patch dolls that swept the 80s and 90s. I guess that’s pretty cool. You could argue he’s #1 in doll making, which is… a lot less exciting than basketball. I’m told the dolls with his signature are worth something now. I looked them up on ebay and found I could get around $125 for mine (if I had any idea where they were). Maybe I’ll dig them out of an attic someday and make a little cash. I just can’t help but wonder how much more I could get if they just said “Muggsy Bogues”.

just getting angry

***DISCLAIMER: This post does not reflect how I feel about my job. I love my job. I love the people at my job. I am only angry with my internal clock for being so darn stubborn while I’m on this morning shift***


It’s only the third day of this thing and I’m already worried about coming up with interesting things to write. I’m struggling to come up with something funny or insightful. That’s my personal challenge. I’ve always worried that whatever I say is not important unless it makes someone laugh or think. That is a ridiculous standard to set. I’m definitely not always funny, and I’m certainly not smart enough to always be insightful. So I’ll consider this post – me, tapping into the courage of having nothing noteworthy to say and still saying something.

Over the past few weeks I’ve discovered the worst version of myself and in that I’ve learned something really important. I’m not going to go into great detail. If you’re wondering, I think the recipe to find your worst self is to just deprive her of adequate amounts of sleep for weeks on end. That’s where I am now and it’s made me a little afraid of me. I’m afraid of the girl who wakes up to her 2:30 AM alarm with thoughts of pure hatred. Senior year of high school I was voted “most likely to brighten your day”. Now at 2:30 AM on most days I’m just glad the only other creature I have to interact with is my dog, because it’s impossible to hate her.

I’m afraid of the girl who hasn’t cried in at least two weeks because crying is kind of my thing. I cry often. I cry tears of joy at sappy hallmark commercials. I cry to let off steam. I cry sad tears when I should be angry, because I’ve never been good at angry. I’ve never been good at it, until now. If I had to say the best gift I’ve gotten from my experience on the morning shift, it’d be anger. I’ve found a way to tap into anger – an emotion I’ve never understood. For most of my life I’ve reserved the bulk of my anger for UNC basketball games. I’ll yell, curse, yell some more during the course of a game. I’ve never been able to access that strength of emotion outside the realm of college basketball. I don’t get angry at people when they do me wrong. I get sad. I don’t get angry at drivers who cut me off in traffic, I assume they’re in a much bigger hurry than I am.

I’ve never been able to tap into anger until now. I guess some of this comes from being a woman. Good lord, the older I get the more I notice things that come with being raised female. We’re taught gentler emotions, for better or worse. I’m kind of in love with my new ability to just be angry. I’ve learned how to actually get fired up over things that should make me mad. I’m understanding, for the first time, the strength that can come with anger. It’s not wallowing in self-pity. It’s not wanting to hurt anyone around me. It’s knowing that it is simply okay sometimes to not smile and pretend everything is great.

It’s acceptable to get fired up over some things.

And if you can harness anger into passion, it’s probably more than acceptable. I’d bet it’s beneficial.

totally, completely, absolutely irrational fears

I have a theory that most people fall into one of two categories when it comes to fears: there are people who seem to be afraid of almost everything, their fears are obvious; then there are people who appear fearless but are actually quietly afraid of things that matter. It’s just a theory, really. I’m also fairly sure we move between categories over the course of life. For what it’s worth, I tend to fall into category one with the hope that I am slowly moving toward category two. I’ve always been terrified of scary movies. I absolutely hate haunted houses. I’m so jumpy that my college roommates made a game out of scaring me (there are youtube videos to prove it — and No. I’m not linking to them. No way. No how)

Halloween is getting close. People are putting up creepy decorations. Some are slipping into stupid, scary costumes. On college campuses nationwide girls are figuring out how to make recent pop culture references “sexy” — I don’t even want to try to guess how many people will dress like Miley from the VMAs, Sexy Sharknado, or the Government Shutdown. Actually, good luck making that one sexy. I’d kind of like to see the attempt.

Look, I didn’t set out to assault Halloween in this post. These things happen. I haven’t really enjoyed the holiday since adults stopped giving me free candy just because I was dressed like Pocahontas. Plus the annual resurgence of Scream masks on store shelves is just a reminder that I’m a big ol’ baby when it comes to scary things. Don’t believe me? Good. I’ve made up an extensive list of irrational things I have been or am still afraid of. Maybe you’ll read the list and think “oh yeah, me too” or maybe you’ll read it and think “Whoa. Elizabeth is nuts and I’m glad that I seem far less insane by comparison.” Whatever the case, here it goes…

1) The gator under my bed – When I was a kid I was convinced there was a very large and aggressive alligator living under my bed. I have no idea where this came from. I’m not sure why my little mind chose a gator instead of your run-of-the-mill monster. I also never figured out how the Alligator moved from our house on Joel Court to my second home a couple of miles away without anyone noticing. All I know is that for several, several of my early years of life I felt it necessary to leap into my bed from an unreasonable distance just so the gator wouldn’t get me. It just occurred to me that this may have boosted my future track & field jumping career. So for that I say – Thanks, mysterious lurking gator. I’d also like to note that this fear eventually evolved into a concern that a ghostly and anorexic looking Mischa Barton was going to reach out and grab my ankle because I saw ‘The Sixth Sense’ and could never shake her creepy pale face after that. And if I’m being really honest — occasionally a sudden twinge of fear still makes me leap onto my bed… or maybe I’m just practicing in case I ever get the chance to jump competitively again.

2) Kidnappers – You read this one and thought “oh, that’s not crazy” and now I’m laughing because… well, just give me a second. What is it about being on top of your bed that makes you think you’re invincible? Once I leapt out of the gator/Mischa Barton’s reach I was convinced nothing could get me. Nothing except for kidnappers, but I had a solution for that. For the first 10 or so years of my life (emphasis on the “or so”) I was convinced that I needed to be completely covered in a sheet in case kidnappers came in. I would sleep with a sheet covering everything but my eyes and nose. Why? Isn’t it obvious? Everyone knows your average kidnapper would just take a quick look around a room, not notice the little body outline under the sheet and think “well, no one’s here. I guess I’ll check the next house.”

3) The Dark – Okay, in my defense, this one is pretty normal. I think most people who are (were) afraid of the dark will tell you it’s not the actual lights being off. It’s what could be lurking in the darkness. Let’s be honest for a moment, we’re all a little afraid of the dark… right?

4) Couches that don’t back up to walls – And back to crazy town. I don’t like to sit on couches that don’t back up to walls. I saw ‘Scream’ when I was way too young (8, maybe 9) and I’m not sure I’ll ever outgrow this fear. I won’t ever make a scene at someone’s home about sitting on a couch that’s just out there in the middle of a room, but you should know that I will be extra alert while I’m there. It’s really just practical. If your couch doesn’t back up to a wall, then someone can hide behind it and kill you while you’re just sitting there enjoying a movie. Think about it… and maybe rearrange your living room.

5) Garages – While we’re on the subject of ‘Scream’ we’re going to have to have a talk about garages. If you haven’t seen that movie, there’s a gruesome death involving a garage door. The scene begins with a girl going to get a drink out of the garage refrigerator and ends with…… ***SPOILER ALERT*** (is that necessary for a 17 year old movie?) …….her death. She closes the refrigerator door to find the murderer in that creepy smiling mask. He chases her around the garage and… well, you know how it ends. Plus, of all the places in your home, where do you keep the most deadly tools? The garage. It’s a room full of things to kill people with: shovels; axes; hammers. I’m not even sure how to wrap this one up, except to say that I’m glad my mom and dad will finally know why I always sprint up the garage stairs after I go down to grab a beer (hi mom & dad!)

6) Basements – You’ve already read five other ridiculous things that scare me. Are you really surprised that creepy rooms UNDERGROUND freak me out? My parents have a well-lit basement with a door to the backyard and I still don’t like to be down there alone. No matter the basement. No matter the access to the outside. There’s always a room that has no windows and is literally 100% underground. That’s the room where you die, okay? Stay vigilant, people. Honestly, I’m just glad I’m here to warn you.

There you go. That is the composite list of things that put me into category one. Those are the irrational fears that distract me from the things I should actually be afraid of: rape; war; human trafficking. I do worry about those things. I think about them all the time. I see horrible stories all day long at work. I worry about those things, but they don’t make me jumpy. I’ve lived in a pretty protected world. The real world terrors don’t have a tangible effect on my daily life. Those are the things a person really starts to worry about when she becomes a parent, I think. They are the things that scare moms and dads who are bringing up a young person in a legitimately terrifying world. For now I’m still operating with the fears of one of the kids. Most days I still let my parents worry about the bigger things.

a new countdown

I have exactly one more month to be 25. This shouldn’t really be that significant. Nothing special happens at 26. It’s been 8 years since I became old enough to vote. It’s been 5 years since I became old enough to legally drink in America. I don’t get any special insurance breaks or the ability to rent a car without a co-signer.

There’s nothing very significant about 26 except that it






I know it’s not actually old. The weird thing is I don’t think of 40, 45, 50 as old. It’s just that 26 is where I am and I’m not sure how I’ve gotten here so fast. That makes me feel old. I can’t believe I’ve been out of college almost as long as I was in. I can’t believe I’m closer to my 10 year high school reunion than I am to actual high school. I can’t figure out why most days I still feel like a teenager. Nothing about passing time makes any sense to me… or most of you, probably.

The year I turned 9 my birthday came about a month early. My parents put me in the car and drove me from Cary, NC halfway to the coast. It was dark by the time we stopped in front of a ratty looking home surrounded by farmland. About twenty minutes later we were inside the home and I was holding the tiny white puppy that would become my best friend for the next 8 years.


The year I turned 13 I had mono. I’d started counting down to my birthday at 90 days. Somewhere around 30 I got very sick. I missed nearly every day of school until the week of my birthday when I absolutely insisted I was healthy enough to go back. I didn’t want to miss all the colorful signs and balloons on my locker — because that’s how middle school girls celebrated each others’ birthdays in 2000.


When I turned 18 I somehow ended up with four different cakes from various groups of friends. That was easily my most delicious birthday ever.


I was the first of my college buddies to turn 21. A couple of my older friends drove down to Charleston to help me celebrate. We went out to bars I’d never been allowed in before. We had a blast, though when I count the celebrations of 21 I count February, March, April, and August as each of my college roommates joined the party.


There’s something about birthdays that I love very much and it’s not the gifts.


I say all of that to really say — I’ve always been a person who puts way too much emphasis on her birthday. I usually celebrate for an entire month. I’ve been absurdly blessed with a family and friends who feed into my birthday obsession. I’ve counted down every year and no one has ever beaten me up for it. I’m just not used to not being incredibly excited about the new number and I don’t know how to celebrate that.


So I’m trying something new. I want to take this blogging thing a little more seriously than I have. Some of you have seen, read, or skipped past these links I’ve posted on Facebook or Twitter. I don’t blame anyone for skipping over them. It’s not that I believe I’m particularly eloquent or talented. It’s not that I think I have anything of real importance to say. I just want to push myself to actually say something (however narcissistic that may be). For every day of this last month of 25 I will write something here. There’s no end goal except to prove to myself that I can work up the guts to post something publicly every day — good or bad.

For my 26th birthday I’m going to give myself the gift of just letting the words get out there. An entire month of celebrating my word vomit…and myself – so I guess some things haven’t changed.




 Not sure which birthday this is. I’d guess 5. I’m the bossy one in the middle with a semi-bowl cut (My mom is going to hate that I called it a bowl cut).



a particularly embarrassing photo of me turning 19.


When I turned 24 my best friend came all the way to Mississippi and did this to my ratty apartment while I was at work. I cried. I hated so much about that year and this made me happy enough to cry.


working saturday

It’s a gray, rainy Saturday morning. I’m at work. I am voluntarily at work. Right now I’m sitting in a dark, windowless room wondering why I’m here. I know why I’m here, really. It’s just that, for now, all I am actually doing is surveying my motives and the contents of the space around me. In front of me there are two filing cabinets. I couldn’t even begin to guess what kind of paperwork is inside them. I’m not going to look. There’s an empty window frame that suggests the room I’m in was once used for storage and never fully cleaned. There’s a bright blue chair, like one you’d find in a middle school classroom. Honestly, it looks more comfortable than the chair I’m sitting in. I’m trading.

Yeah. That’s better.

To my right is a desk nearly identical to the one I’m using, although messier. The reporter who uses it has been on vacation all week. There are post-its (mostly friendly notes I’ve written during her Monday-Tuesday “weekends”) and small piles of paper. Next to her keyboard is a stack of three Jason Isbell CDs I left for her. We went to a local show of his together last week and she loved his music. When she gets back from vacation this afternoon those will be one of the first things she notices on her desk.

The phone right beside me keeps ringing. It’s set on a soft volume, but all of the calls for the main newsroom are routed into here as well. Twice now I’ve almost answered, instinctively.

Twice now I’ve also tried to get started on what I’m here to do. I’m working on writing and editing packages. Most days I am crazy about my job as a producer. I love being tuned in to what is happening in my world. I love that I spend most of my day reading and writing. I just want to know more about journalism. I don’t want to be complacent. I want to keep learning. I want to spend some time out of the office, meeting people, hearing stories first hand.

I’ve been producing for just shy of three years. It’s a cool job. It has its frustrations like any job. And it has its rewards. Oh man, the rewards. There’s next to nothing like the feeling of covering big breaking news and doing it well. Finishing breaking news coverage feels, to me, almost exactly like the moment you cross the 400m finish line and begin to slow your steps. You’re done. You’ve made it. And somehow, even if it’s not true, you believe the world is a little better for it. Okay, that’s usually not true. That’s just me inflating the importance of what I do, but I suspect we’re all guilty of some of that.

So I’m here. On my way in to work I ordered “whatever you call your tallest coffee – black” from the Starbucks Drive-Thru. I listened to the GD Satellite radio station. I debated whether to turn my windshield wipers up a notch or just continue squinting through the mist. I took a sip of coffee and felt like I was back in college, heading in to work at CTV to edit packages on what should be a weekend day off. I remembered why I did it then. I hated those times when I was alone in the office trying to just get a story finished. I hated them until they ended. I worked my ass off during my time at CTV and I’m not shy in saying so. I did it because I had goals that I desperately wanted to achieve. The same sentiment has me here this morning, drinking what is apparently called a “venti” coffee and trying to get started on some writing that will hopefully take me even further in my career than I’ve come in the past three years.

After several paragraphs of procrastination I’ve once again traded chairs and I’m just going to make myself get started.

trash talk

In hindsight, the last text may have been too much. Accusing my brother, who’s a special forces marine with war zone experience, of being afraid to race me in a turkey trot may have been too strong. It’s just, it was the third message and I’d gotten no response. In my defense, he’s the one who has stoked my competitive nature all these years. He’s the one who never let me win at anything just because I was the girl.

He’s also the one person I am fairly certain can beat me at every athletic feat. The dude’s a personal trainer who doesn’t even own a car because he runs or bikes to work – postal service style – rain, sleet, snow, or hail. One time he was hit by a car while riding his bike to work. He flipped over the hood of the car, picked up his busted bike and ran the rest of the way to work carrying it.




Yet, somehow a tiny part of me believes there’s a chance I could beat him in a race. Forget the fact that I had to google 8k to find out that it’s just under five miles.

Or maybe I just love to trash talk. That’s actually a lot more likely.

Anyway, for some ungodly reason, I’ve now accused him of being scared to race me. I may have told him he’d be better off to stay at home and watch the Macy’s parade. Why? Because it’ll work. There are five kids in our family and no two are more alike than us. Nothing motivates the two of us like someone saying we can’t do something well. We’re competition junkies with a serious dependence on adrenaline and an inability to just sit still.

I’ve learned just about everything I know about sports from him. He taught me how to throw a spiral. He makes fun of my terrible left-handed dribble,. He still never lets me win and he definitely doesn’t believe in handicapping. He never has and I think that’s why I actually believe I have a chance.

We’ve only raced each other once before. He had home court advantage and he was wearing shorts that were shorter than mine. I don’t think those made him faster, but if you think I didn’t make jokes about them all day then you really don’t know me. The course was awful for me. It was in the foothills of North Carolina where he lives and trains. I, at the time, was a college sprinter living in good ol’ FLAT Charleston. I wanted to die. I wanted to quit. I wanted to punch him in the face for convincing me to sign up. I ran anyway and managed a PR. He won. I beat myself, which is really all you can ask as a runner, but he won.

I don’t remember my time anymore – I’ve PR’d again since. I couldn’t tell you anything about the course except there was one uphill neighborhood street where I considered just stopping to chill in some stranger’s backyard. I don’t even know which medical charity the run was backing – I’ve lost the t-shirt. All I know is the first person to hug me at the finish line was that bastard in the shorty-shorts who’s probably going to beat me this year on thanksgiving day on my home turf.

stadium sunrise

I could’ve slept for two more hours, at least. I don’t know what made me set a pre-dawn alarm on my day off. When I get in my mind that I want to do something, I do it. It’s a consequence of being the youngest child and incredibly stubborn, I suppose. Last night I wanted to see a sunrise, so the alarm was set. I woke up, put on some shoes, fed and walked the dog and headed to my nearest high school to watch the everyday miracle that starts in the East.

There’s a time between dawn and the actual sunrise when the sky is bright enough that you think you may have missed the pink and orange show. Everything looks like daylight, but the sun hasn’t actually reappeared yet. That’s what was happening when I reached the top of the stadium and found a spot to lean on the railing. I had my phone out, ready to snap a dozen photos to post into the internet abyss. Then, on instinct, I took one photo and put the phone away. A picture wouldn’t do any of it justice, and I’m more of a words person anyway. I vowed to not look at twitter or instagram until I’d seen what I came here to see. It disgusts me that this is even a bargain I have to make with myself, but I’m a product of the 21st century and that’s just how it goes.

For several minutes the clouds looked like dying embers. Their edges had that glow you see when you’ve been by the fire pit all night and you’re just waiting for it to cool down enough to be left alone. I watched as the glow spread across the entire top of a massive cloud that seemed like it might put up a Pacquiao-caliber fight against what I came here to see. I was getting impatient. That’s my nature. I knew what I wanted. I knew it wouldn’t look much different than it has in the past. I knew it could happen faster.

I looked down at two gatorade bottles that now held dip spit. Disgusted, I kicked them down the row of bleachers a bit and looked back up at the sky. I don’t know what about the discarded paraphernalia of southern teenage boys made me decide to go back to what I was doing, but I’m pretty sure I just needed to see something beautiful again to get the brown spit water image out of my head.

The sky was turning pink and purple at this point. I realized then that I’d been here before. (I also realized that I can’t just sit and stare at something without my mind wandering, but that’s a different story.) I’d been in this stadium at dawn. I was a teenager myself, maybe 16? I was waiting for my race to start. I sat, nervously, somewhere on those same bleachers staring into the woods trying to map out how difficult that course would be. I was in that same spot at the same time of day with a completely different purpose.

The rays began slicing through what seriously must have been one of the largest clouds I’ve ever seen. I felt the late September, early morning chill and pulled my hood on and my sleeves down over my hands. It was reaching that breaking point between the overnight cool and the sun’s first moment to reach through and warm the Earth. That may be my favorite moment of any day. I’ve always been a sunrise person. There’s something about the optimism of a sunrise. I think my insistence that sunrises are better also has something to do with being from the East Coast. The sunrise belongs to the East Coast.

The moment just before it finally happens is one of anticipation. I’m no stranger to anticipation. I, like most people, know that anticipation can often be one of the better parts of things. Anticipation before a big game, when opening a present on Christmas morning, in a loving moment with a significant other. Those few seconds just before the sun finally breaks through are the most optimistic of the entire day. It’s fleeting, but it comes every single day — the moment when you know exactly what is happening next, but you just can’t wait to see how it plays this time.

The sun joined my day, already in progress. I felt it’s warmth. I watched it rise a little higher. I took another photo or two. I packed up the sweatshirt and water I’d brought. I kicked the gatorade dip spit bottles a little further down the line and headed to the track for some sprints. I could’ve slept for at least a couple more hours this morning, but I’m glad I didn’t.

the big win

I don’t believe in luck. I never have. I’ll occasionally drop a “good luck” to a friend ahead of a big event, but that’s not what I really mean. It’s a colloquial well-wish. It’s just a thing we say.

Not believing in luck is more controversial than I realized before the first time I actually said it out loud to a group of people. It did not go over well. I have one friend who still argues with me about it to this day. People, in general, need to believe there’s an outside force deciding which elements of their lives go well and which do not. It’s human nature. But I don’t believe in luck. I believe in odds. I believe in statistics. I believe in math. I hate math with every fiber of my being, but I know it to be real and true.

I’ve only played the lottery three times in my life: the night before I turned 19 when I realized I hadn’t yet made use of my 18 year old ability to buy a scratch-off ticket; now twice in newsrooms with coworkers who thought we may as well all go in and try to win it together.

It’s fun to play. It’s nice to spend those hours between buying the ticket and hearing the chosen numbers thinking about how you’d spend the money. My co-worker emailed us all to let us know the winnings would come out to something above $30 million a piece if we win. I’m a relatively poor 25 year old with outlandish medical bills and a car to pay off. $30 million… would be nice.

Then there’s the odds. The figures will keep changing up until the late night drawing. The numbers that spell out, clear as day, the fact that we’re probably not going to win. We work in journalism. We see the coverage of these big drawings more closely than just about anyone else. How many times have we written or read the stories about the upcoming record-sized powerball pot? How many times have we seen those odds in a script, then seen them change before the next newscast? We’re not dumb. We’re not dense. We just want to think, despite what we see every time,”hey, it could happen.”

Like I said, I don’t believe in luck. I do believe the odds, no matter how crazy, are better than if you don’t even throw your name into the hat. So that’s why today, for the third time in my life, I threw my $2 toward a ticket and I don’t need any luck to figure out how this whole thing’s going to end.

Here’s to the big win, wherever it ends up.


I’m not bold enough to call myself a writer. I’ve never really been published, save for a few internet articles and a national poetry contest in high school. I’m not a writer. I’m a person who writes a lot. I don’t even think I have a strong enough grasp on the english language to call myself a real writer.

I only do this because I don’t know how not to do it. I can’t imagine going to sleep at night with all these things bouncing around in my head. It’s not that I think I have great things to say. It’s just that I have to get them down. My bedroom is a wasteland of journals filled with things that have happened, things I wish would happen, or things that I hope I’ll never think of again. There’s a drawer full of notebooks in my room that I hope will miraculously burst into flames if I ever die an untimely death. I can’t handle the idea of anyone reading the composite crap I’ve dreamed up over the years.

I write about tragedies because I don’t know how anyone else gets through those things.

I recently wrote a post about my brother that may have been a solid example of oversharing. For more than half my life he’s battled drug addiction. It’s plagued my family. It altered my teenage years. It changed me, for better or worse. Maybe it’s not okay to put that down in words for the public to see, but it’s the only way I know how to cope. It’s his struggle, but it’s mine as well.

I write about the joys. The victories in life. Babies being born. Friends getting married. Driving on my own for the first time. Finishing college. Moving from Mississippi back to South Carolina. Memories we’ve made together. If you’ve made me laugh or feel good, there’s a good chance the story is saved on paper somewhere. There’s not a good chance I could find it, because none of this is organized. My filing system is as haphazard as the mechanics of my brain.

Someone recently asked me how I am so clever. Clever is entirely too kind of a word for it. I responded with “It’s not that I’m clever, I think I’m insane.” God forbid I take a compliment, but it’s just that the longer I live the more I feel like there’s not a whole lot of people out there like me. There’s not many of us who have to sit down every day and pound out our thoughts on a blog page or lined paper just so we can process it all.

I think normal people can just think about these things and move on. I don’t know how they do it, but I wish I did. It’d be a hell of a lot easier than spilling my guts all over a keyboard then scrapping the whole thing because it’s just not good enough. But I’ll keep doing it. I’ll keep doing it because, since I got my first diary in 1994, writing has been the only thing I’ve known to keep me going.

i almost ran over my friends… or something

Ten of my friends were piled behind my car with their hands on the bumper and trunk, ready to push. I was white knuckling the steering wheel and pressing both the brake and clutch to the floor. My friend Leigh sitting shotgun telling me  “you can do this” while tears poured down my face. I can still see the scrunched up look she gave me when I yelled “I’m not interested in killing most of my friends tonight!” 

I was barely 18 and the shiny black Volkswagen Cabrio had been mine for just a few months. It was stick shift. I told my parents I didn’t want stick shift. Like a bratty teenager, I found a reason to be unhappy with the awesome car they bought me. I whined while my dad patiently taught me how to drive it. In my defense, it’s not easy to learn manual in the mountains of North Carolina. It still amazes me that he didn’t just leave me out on a mountain road that day before returning the car to the dealer.

I pretty much had it down by the first day of school. 

That’s a lie.

I didn’t. 

On the first day I stalled out on the hill that used to mark the entrance to the Daniel High School student parking lot. You don’t want to stall out during the morning rush to school in front of everyone, but sometimes you do and then you pick up and move on with your life despite the humiliation.

By the time Thanksgiving break rolled around, I definitely had it figured out. I was basically a pro. I was teaching my friends how to drive in local parking lots like some sort of stick shift scholar. I knew it all. Until I didn’t.

That Friday we all piled on Andy’s living room floor to watch the live action movie version of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I’ll admit it’s probably a god-awful movie if you didn’t grow up wrapping ties around your head and pretending to be Michelangelo. Regardless, that’s where we were when I found out just what I didn’t know about driving stick. 

The movie ended. We had some laughs about the early 90s special effects that went into making Splinter come to life. We thanked Andy for having us over and headed out the door to our cars. Mine was gone. It wasn’t where I parked it. The discovery went a little something like this:

Me: “Hey, where’d y’all put my car?”

Them: “What are you talking about?”

Me: “Hilarious, but really, where is my car?”

Them: “We were all inside with you. What could we have possibly done to your car.”

Them: “Wait, is that your car?”

There she was. Off the side of the bottom of the driveway. Possibly smashed into a tree. I couldn’t tell from where I was, but I knew it was her. She was easily identifiable by the shape of the darkened headlights staring back at us.

“Jesus Christ! What happened?”   

Three minutes later I was in the driver’s seat crushing the clutch and the brake. Almost a dozen of my closest friends were lined up and ready to push. All I had to do was convince my right foot to move from brake to gas. That was all I had to do and yet I couldn’t think of anything except the horrific scene I’d leave behind when my car rolled backwards over all of them. I was imagining the moment I’d climb out of the driver’s seat to survey their lifeless bodies. I was thinking about all the calls I’d have to make to police, to parents. 

Why had I put on my seatbelt? We hadn’t even technically left Andy’s yard. My tiny car was resting on a giant stump, not smashed into a tree but saved by a stump halfway down the steep slope of his lawn. My friends were grabbing taillights and volunteering their lives (so I thought)… and I’d put on my seatbelt.

Most of the moments inside the car are a blur to me now. I know I yelled several variations of “I can’t do it!” while Leigh remained calm. A total role reversal for the two of us, and I’m sure she’d agree. I don’t remember the exact moment I managed to finally shift my right foot over the few inches necessary to just get out of there. I do remember the sound of my friends screaming as mud flew up in their faces. Once I shifted the whole ordeal was over in less than a minute. My car and I were back on the driveway without a scratch. My friends were covered in red mud, but completely unharmed and mostly still laughing.

I don’t even have the car anymore. I drove her for five years before trading her to a Chevy salesman in Mississippi in a deal I regret to this day. I hope she’s serving someone else well. I hope some teenage girl is cruising around with the top down singing ‘Me & Bobby McGee’ at the top of her lungs. I hope her new driver is an optimist who looks up at cloudy skies and figures she can make it all the way home with the top down before the rain starts. I hope she’ll drive that little cabrio to the top of a parking garage with her friends where they’ll turn up the music and dance above their city. I hope, more than anything, when she parks her on a hill she’ll know not to rely solely on the emergency brake.