Out of the Wilderness

Stories from an unmarried guy navigating through dates, owning a couple of dogs, being a brother, son, and friend, and looking for adventures along the way.


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Suicide in the wake of Robin Williams’ death

The recent death of Robin Williams has not seemed to spark as much debate as it should about suicide. But before I get into my thoughts on it, I want to say that losing anyone that is loved and provided happiness to people is a tragedy and loss that tops all other losses. Whether the death is expected or a surprise, it’s the worse part of being human and knowing we all have an expiration date. Even with the young kid in Ferguson, Missouri, you can say what you want about his behavior, what he was or wasn’t doing before being killed, but he was someone’s son. Someone’s friend. So for those reasons, it’s not wrong to feel sad about his death. Whether it was justified or not, I suppose it’ll be up to a court to decide if the police officer was acting within his rights as a defender and protector of the public. I have my opinions but getting back to the Robin Williams thing, I’m torn in half about it. It’s extremely sad that he, or anyone, felt that their only option, their best option, was to die. I can’t wrap my head around that sort of decision. Of course, there are scenarios where it could make more sense. Being held captive, being tortured or treated inhumanely, or giving your life so someone else can live. But I’d venture to say Robin wasn’t in a scenario like that. 

What I’d like to see more in the media is, not so much a condemning, but a clear message that suicide is extremely selfish. It won’t make you more loved. People will miss you, yes, but think about what you’re doing to them. By escaping your own demons, you’re heaping a great amount of pain on to the few people you love. I can’t think of anything more selfish. 

The news coverage of Robin’s death concerned me more than I expected, but my worry had nothing to do with Robin. It was in the wake of his death that so much love was displayed for him. Now let’s say someone struggling with feelings of being unloved and unwanted watches how the masses come out to praise Robin for the good he’s done. Celebrities, regular people, all come out of the woodwork to say how much they loved him. So what’s this person who’s feeling unloved going to think about taking their own life? “Wow, if I die, people will love me.” I sincerely hope that line of thinking won’t happen but it makes sense to me. 

What I’d like to say to that person is this: suicide is the most cowardly, selfish, laziest, inhumane thing you can do, not to mention painful and dangerous. It shouldn’t even be the last option on your list. Don’t be like Robin in his death. If anything, be like him in his life. Care for other people, make them laugh, and love them more than you love yourself. That’s where Robin fell short. He didn’t realize taking the easy way out made it hard for everyone else. 

-Out of the Wilderness


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Top 5 Kenny Chesney Music Videos

Kenny Chesney’s come a long way since this:
kennychesneyAlthough one could argue that mullets (no, that’s not a shadow you see, it’s a mullet) were once considered cool. Just like rat tails and fanny packs, one of which I still wear today. I’ll let you guess.

rat tail haircut

rat tail haircut.

Hint: it rhymes with shmanny shmack, but I digress. This is not about me or the convenience of having a 5th pocket! It’s about the best Kenny Chesney music videos in all the land. So before I reveal too much about how cool I was in junior high, or how rico suave I am now, here are Kenny’s Top 5 music videos.

Video 5: Come Over. For me the song might forever be ruined by the parody “Comb Over,” but just looking at the video itself, it’s amazing. Shot in Miami with a boat that I drool over, Kenny Chesney steers the vessel to a seaside residence and well, you can probably guess what happens in Miami late at night with a scantily clad woman. But all I can think about is that boat.

Video 4: The Boys of Fall. Maybe it’s because I’m obsessed with football in all it’s forms (college, NFL, fantasy), but this video makes me want to throw the pigskin clear over those mountains right there. I love that he includes clips of Dan Marino (the Dolphins were my team when I was growing up) and Neon Deion Sanders (a favorite Seminole). From top to bottom, this is a good one. Just don’t go to the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame in downtown Nashville too often, you’ll get sick of the song/video on repeat. all. day.

Video 3: I Go Back. If the first 45 seconds don’t suck you right in, then you’re a yankee! Down here in the south, it’s football, family, and faith… sometimes in that order. From the way the audio clips are weaved creating a sense of nostalgia to the crisp, engaging style of edit, this is a great video.

Video 2: Who You’d Be Today. This one hits the heart. Mostly because I’m a softy (yes, one of my favorite movies is The Notebook). This video reminds me how much I love my family and friends, and if it doesn’t do the same for you, then you’re a yankee!

Video 1: There’s no question this is the best video of all time. When martians are digging around the rubble of downtown Nashville in the year 2538, I hope they find a VHS copy of this video and feel really bad about destroying our earth! The video is like a “salt life” sticker for your eyes. Actually, salt life stickers are for your eyes, but let’s say those stickers are a book mark and this video is the novel… all about why we love falling in love, why we love the beach, and how those two sometimes go hand in hand.


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Squirrel- it’s what’s for dinner!

Rocks fly. Dust rises like an early morning prayer. The chase is on. Squirrels on high alert rest easy realizing it’s just a frisbee Asia’s chasing. Clutching it with surprising strength, she clasps the toy in her mouth and returns for either 1. an epic tug-o-war or, 2. another toss.

Of course, if squirrels do have the courage to tread where dogs may roam, it could be to their own peril. Then it won’t just be dust rising like an early morning prayer, it’ll be cute little squirrel prayers. “Dear God, I know you brought me into this world, but please don’t let these dogs take me out!” Do they remember what happened to old man Charlie squirrel when he went out for some acorns? Details are a bit fuzzy but the facts are this: Homeowner came home to find a mutilated squirrel in the yard, and neither Asia or her sister Piper had a good alibi. An educated guess is that Blue Eyes Rising (Asia’s Native American name) chased it down and Little Big Ear (Piper) did the dirty work.

Piper: Uhhh, Asia you look like a donkey.

Perhaps they heard the legend of the rabbit babies that had to escape their rabbit home before they became Piper’s afternoon snack? That’s not folklore, folks. The dogs’ owner found one remaining baby bunny huddled against the brick of the house. Typically what happens inside the gates stays inside the gates, but you know the neighborhood… talk is cheap when the story is good. So these little animals take it on the run when these four-legged freaks are out. “Get to the speedwagon! The ladies are runnin’ wild!” is what they probably say. But it’s actually just Asia chasing that frisbee mentioned earlier, and Piper trotting to the fence for a pat on the head from neighbor Joyce.

So squirrels and rabbits of East Ridge, if you’re reading this, Piper and Asia want to be your friends. So come by and be their dinn– errr, friend– some time!


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A controversial play at the plate, you decide!

The summer season of softball has me taking the mound for the CMT Swingers. I usually play outfield but I’ve really enjoyed pitching, and didn’t know I would like it so much. I’ve even worked on a knuckle ball. Whether the knuckle helps at all is up for debate because a few batters had solid hits off of it. But I’ve also struck out a few that surprised me. Another “trick” I like to do is pitch the ball quickly when the batter gets in the box. My philosophy as a pitcher and a batter is when you’re in the batter’s box, you’re in the game. But a lot of times the batter will stand in the box, get their feet set, look down as they wave the bat around a bit. Then the moment they look towards the mound for the first pitch, it’s falling over the plate for a strike. Boom, got ‘em! I like it when I can get a strike called. So in the game I played recently, one of the batters commented to the plate umpire about the pitch coming before he was ready. I overheard the umpire say that it’s legal, but it’s dirty. His reply stuck with me the rest of the game because there are a few things I know about myself when it comes to sports: 1. I love competing. 2. I want the ball and 3. I hate cheating.

So when the umpire said the quick pitch was “dirty,” I was immediately affected. Whether it was called a strike or not, it felt like a strike against my character, and directly opposed to the aforementioned thing I hate (cheating). I didn’t do it again the rest of the game.

We lost.

I’m not saying the two are related, but looking back, I think after the umpires comment I loosened my grip and lost the mental control I had over the batters. It proved true in the last inning when we were winning 9-7 and I walked 2 of their worst batters. The next guy up to bat became the winning run.

Could the controversy for me be playing to win vs. playing so people like me?

Is it no holds barred vs. having class?

Kind vs. competition?

These things I will wrestle with for the next few days because this coming Wednesday? It’s playoffs. My spirit and body will give 110% on the field, but it’s my mind that needs to be made up by then.


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Wild manta rays off Florida coast

The “Salt Life” stickers I often see are a good reminder of how much I love the ocean. We all need a little salt water therapy now and again, right? I recently spent time on the coast and I’m always amazed by what I see there. This particualar trip, it was this:

I can’t think of anything better than paddleboarding in the bay and seeing wild manta rays cruising by. I’ve been going to this beach since I was zero days old and now, 35 years later, I still get to experience a first. Awesome. I hope when I die and go to Heaven my room has an ocean view… or better yet, it’s at St. Teresa Beach, Florida.

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