The Cage

A ball is passed to an older man, clad in a white jersey, who is streaking down off to my right. The orange sphere bounces off his stick as he seems unsure of what to do next. Is he going to turn and fire? Wait…he’s right-handed and can’t shoot from this angle. Another man, a younger dude also representing Team White is coming to my left, probably looking for a pass to put this home. I shift slightly and get into the crouch position, the mid-point of either a stand-up save or a butterfly pad block. The mental preparation for either decision begins. Am I going down early or should I charge out and head him off at the pass? Where’s my defense?

The man in white rears back to fire but it’s a decoy as he passes to a less-than-sure skater 20 feet to his right. The area in front of me is clogged with bodies. I can’t see the god damn puck! Clear out! Shit! My leg pad is loose. The puck finds its way to another skater who is at my 9’o’clock. There’s no way he can get that shot. He fires on in my direction and I protect my left goal post like a mother bear protects her newborns. The ball ricochets off my leg pad like a pinball toward the stick of another opponent. I slide over knowing that he’s going to put a shot on net, probably low. I am right this time and I catch the puck in the midsection, covering up until the enemy heads down to the other end of the court. I pass to a teammate and the offense takes over. I regain my vertical base, catch a breath and get ready for the next attack. It’s still 1-0 and at least 30 minutes will pass until the first game is over. They’re not scoring on me tonight.

Welcome to the Dame School gym in Concord, New Hampshire. It’s 7:18 pm and this is Tuesday night roller hockey.

A little over a year ago, our old PR Director kept talking about going to play hockey on Tuesdays. Most of us paid little mind to it and never bothered to ask about it. But he was persistent and other co-workers were starting to get into it. The crew was all people I knew, most of which I was surprised about. I couldn’t skate, which apparently wasn’t a worry because they needed a goalie. The only hockey experience I’ve had other than working in it was a sixth-grade afterschool league in South Paris, Maine. (I was a deadly assassin from the left wing.) However, this group was mostly made up of 35-and-older guys who all wanted to have a little fun once a week out of the house. I finally took the challenge and suited up for my first game in May of 2005. Almost a year later, I’m the goalie defending the ‘Cookie Monster’ painted side of the court, part of the nuance of playing in a cramped elementary school gym.

We play three or four games and go to five goals per game. There are no penalties in our three-on-three battles. We have colorful characters with names like Teddy, Conrad and the Green Machine. We are from varying backgrounds, some fathers, some young and most old. One of our cars was actually broken into a few months ago and there was laughter as a result. There are novice skaters and good skaters, bumps and bruises that come with the territory of learning. People fall down, people yell in anguish of a missed opportunity and sometimes, people argue due to a mix of all of the above. At the end of it all, we unlace the stinky pads, drink some water or Gatorade and say our goodbyes for the week, heading back to whatever existence awaits on the other side of the gym doors.

While it’s meant to be fun, the Josh Nason that emerges between the hours of 7-10 pm is one that none of my readers has probably ever seen. The joking, the one-liners, the easy-going attitude all dissipate. In their place is intensity, anger and aggression. I get the rush of feeling like a competitive athlete, something I’ve really never experienced before. It’s a transformation that some of my friends cannot understand as I am, at times, unapproachable after a loss. For this three hours, it’s my responsibility to protect a 4×6 melding of plastic and twine. Sometimes, the rage comes when I let in a stupid goal. Other times, it’s when one of my teammates makes a shit-ass pass that leads to a 2-on-none breakaway. It begins when I first arrive and stretch out to when I arrive home after the 20-minute drive home. Decompression is often found at the bottom of a beer bottle or two. Best of all, the experience is amazingly addicting.

This Tuesday, the fever gets turned up a notch. The man who I admire every week for his amazing saves – known as ‘Perk’ – is going to put on some skates this week and play out of net, the first time this has happened with me at the other end. My opponent, however, will be the man I recruited to play net in my absence, our P.A. guy Sean. He’s an old-school goaler and has also caught the fever as well. When I’m not playing, I’m always worrying about being Wally Pipp-ed by this newbie. Tuesday will be my chance to reinforce my position on the goalie food chain. It’s time to lay the smackdown and show the boys what I really do. I have never been more psyched up to play a game before in my life.

Wednesday morning? The fever builds again.

The Bed Request, Myspace and more

Dude, it’s been a month since I’ve posted and I really don’t feel like getting into the whole career/life situation, so let’s talk about everything!

-So from time to time, random thoughts pop into my head. I was walking up the stairs tonight and a story that a friend of mine told me about a line they used on a girl once popped in. It’s a pretty funny situation that I guarantee you’ve either tried or heard of. The best way to explain it: “The Bed Request.”

Scenario: A house party happens. Great time with lots of booze, friends, girls and music. Shenanigans occur, but it’s all good. Your giraffe is a-ok and your collection of Spawn figurines has remained intact, other than that clown guy you don’t like anyway. Best of all, it’s your place and you don’t have to drive anywhere. A few people are passing out, including a female you know, either from earlier that night or a previous meeting. You are seeing double at this point and know that at 3:30 am, it’s probably good to call it a night because do you really need another PBR tallboy? (side note: how many beers have been wasted by the late-night last call? 10,000 a month? A/B, Miller or Coors should market mini-beers: “For when you really don’t need a full one and will waste most of it anyway.”)

Back to the story: you like this girl to the point you want her to sleep in your bed. She’s the lucky one, right? Man, she should be honored!! She’s passed out or very sleepy on your couch. What do you do? Offer her the Holiday Inn treatment of course! This is the point where guys’ rationale becomes similar to that of a baboon or wooden entertainment center. Here’s some good ones that I’ve heard, seen or used myself back in the day in order to secure female companionship back in your room:

‘Hey…I’ve got a warm bed upstairs.” – Uh huh. Apparently, she is unaware that your house is going to turn into an igloo the minute you go to bed. Ask for a blanket? No way! The only place you’ll find a cozy place to drunkenly sleep is next to you, padre! I’ve seen this one crash and burn in person as I was covertly ‘sleeping’ as one of my friends tried this on a female friend of ours. I literally had to bite my lip to not break up laughing.

Side note: why doesn’t this ever happen the other way around with girls trying this move on passed out guys? Because all most girls would have to say is, “Do you…” and we’d be under the sheets, undressed and pretending to sleep within 43 seconds. Men can suddenly turn into The Flash at the drop of panties…I mean hat! I’d love to hear a reverse ‘bed request’ story from any ladies that have heard of this. Identities will be kept confidential for the sake of comedy.

“Yeah, that couch is not that comfortable, so I’m just trying to look out for you.” – If we were really looking out for you, we’d offer you the bed solo and we would sleep on the couch. But hey, we’re not the ones miles away from home, so why would we put ourselves out? This one really hinges on how bad this couch/seat is. Sometimes, I wonder if a planted cat-piss infested two seater with springs coming out would be a perfect detour for her to come on to your so-called Bed and Breakfast setup you have created. The right sell job can make your couch seem like sleeping on a piece of cement with nails sticking out. Hey, we’re the good guys right?

“You sure you want to sleep there?” – Yeah, reel her in by making her question what she could encounter otherwise. Talking about break-ins, wolves or other roommates is especially effective. Then again, if she really didn’t want to sleep there, she either would have found a bed or not stayed.

“You sure?” – Yeah, asshole. They’re sure.

Pure begging/pleading – Just not a good situation. Some guys just won’t take no and will mix some or all of the quotes above in order to gain this girl’s trust. That just gets pathetic. (Save the begging for when she gets into the room, fellas!) Back in the day, I used the one line-and-out approach and then bounced. Even a drunk fraternity guy has his pride. But I always, always, always closed with the line of all lines which must be said in any of the above situations:

“If you change your mind, the door’s always open.” Because you never know and it’s only hospitable to at least extend the offer throughout the night should your freezing, dangerous and amazingly uncomfortable sleeping arrangement become too much for her.

Again, things that pop in my gray matter from time-to-time.

-At this point, I think I’ve heard enough Brokeback Mountain jokes that I might be considering going gay. (By the way, I’m not. I do like manicures, Broadway shows and buying wicker furniture, but I am not gay. Just kidding by the way…on the manicures, etc.)

ANYHOO, it seems this movie has become subject matter for a) guys wanting to give other guys shit or b) as the film that women want to use as the balance for all of the ‘guy’ movies they are forced to attend with thier fellas. At poker tonight, I heard a few “Yeah, there’s NOOOO wayyyy I’m seeing that. I told her forget it!” If I can ask though, why not? It’s a frickin’ movie that supposed to be really good and might enlighten you on a different part of this big world we live in. I’m not going to get into the whole argument of ‘Do you think it’s going to make you gay’ debate, because it’s been rehashed over and over again. However, I do get this feeling of males being mentally threatened that they might actually like the movie and therefore, become more tolerant of other ways of thinking or have a hard-on for bass-and-drum dance music and shiny shirts.

Here’s what I’ll do. I’ll watch it for you guys and let you know what I think, right from a red-blooded American straight guy. I am so non-threatened by Brokeback Mountain that I’m throwing myself on the tracks for y’all. Believe me, if there’s one person that will save you from wasting your time and give you more time building a giant Plinko board, it’s this fella right here. So for now, tell your ladies to ease up and let Mr. Nason help you out. And yes, I’m going to build a Plinko board too.

That doesn’t make me gay though, right?


Some of you that have visited my apartment knows I have neighbors all around and one whose door is literally three feet away from mine. Some of you also know that I have never met my neighbors. I barely even see anyone that lives in the building, much less the person across the hall. All I know is that my next door neighbor is an older dude that seems to have a lot of random younger hippie friends that get together a few times a week to listen to Fleetwood Mac and smoke cigars. And no, I don’t live next to Jason Rathbun.

It’s kind of nice because if I get a bit noisy over here, I don’t feel bad for the dude next door. I don’t feel obligated to check in and be social and also don’t have to worry about the drop-in visit. All I know is someone is there and that’s ok. I did almost have a chance meeting this week as I walking into the building behind someone I thought was ‘the dude.’ But after seven months of constructing the perfect distance, I couldn’t risk the face-to-face. I actually cut through to an alternate route and went in the back door to avoid him. Keep in mind, he has never done anything bad to me. I sometimes wonder how I have any friends ……

But now, I think the guy is moving out and am somewhat excited at the possiblity of someone else coming in, somewhat worried it could be someone that will actually complain about noise, etc. It’s a trade-off, but the possibility of a wacky Kramer type or a really attractive neighbor is too much to pass up. There was no real reason to tell you any of that, but you’re still reading, so I win again.

Several Clyde-isms are starting to catch on with some of my co-workers, which is leading me to believe ‘The Blonde Theory’ movie is going to work. As a refresher, it’s a film loosely based on the life and times of Clyde and Josh King, circa the UMaine-Orono years of 1996-1999. Your Clyde-ism for month: when looking for a convenience store one day, Clyde became especially frustrated when he couldn’t find one anywhere. How did he vent his frustration? By saying the classic line: “What the f**k! This is more like an inconvenience!” Hilarity ensued!

Mix me two Worthwhiles (or is that nevermores)! Sorry, inside Clyde-ism. See the movie for clarification.

Alright kids…enough with those f**kin’ sneakers with those mini-wheels in the heels! Jeezus, I can’t go to a mall anymore without thinking some kid has turned into a demon and can suddenly glide across a floor by picking up his heel a bit. I don’t get it – was walking that difficult? Is simulated rolling that much better?

Other pop culture stuff, lightning-round style because I know you have other things to do:

-Crash: I just saw this movie Saturday night and was really impressed at how it held up to the buzz. Long story short, it’s a movie about race relations in Los Angeles. It didn’t really make me think any differently afterward, but was a cool story. I’d recommend it, unless you’re really excited to see the ‘Larry The Cable Guy: Health Inspector’ movie instead. In that case, I would recommend trying out skydiving without a parachute. (Sadly, I think some of my readers are really excited for that movie.)

-Beer Pong: I played a three-overtime game of Beer Pong/Beirut on Friday night, filled with drama, comebacks and more emotion than Adam Morrison and Gonzaga blowing a double-digit lead with less than five minutes to go in the NCAA Tournament. Reason 3,212 why I think a Beer Network would work. If people will watch poker on the tube, they will watch a game of ‘Asshole.’ I guarantee you this. Socialengro muchachos!!!

-V For Vendetta – I drove down with some friends to check out my first movie in an IMAX theater. Wow…insane. The movie was pretty good for your standard ‘take the government down and blow some stuff up along the way’ fare. You have got to see a movie on an IMAX though if you’re around one. For the same price as a normal movie, you get a massive screen, sounds that erupts from beneath you and an experience that is pretty amazing when you consider that most theaters are less-than-fit for the true Hollywood experience. Between IMAX and stadium theaters, I don’t understand why anyone settles for less when it comes to going out to the movies.

-Korn/Mudvayne/10 Years: The first of my three concerts in eight days I just finished up last night. In the revamped Central Maine Civic Center (now called Le Colisee which is freakin’ amazing compared to what it used to look like), it was a good show if you like hard rock music. Korn is one of those love ’em or hate ’em bands and this show renewed my faith in why I started liking them to begin with. Mudvayne was really good too.

-Nickelback/Trapt/Chevelle: I caught a lot of shit in the office for not ‘getting into’ the show and dancing, etc. First, I’m not a go-crazy at shows type of guy. I love going to concerts to watch and listen and acting out (while great for others) just takes away from my experience unless I feel compelled to do so. Green Day? Like Nick Cannon, I was wildin’ out. N-back? Not so much. I like some of their songs and their setlist was very good, but they don’t emotionally compell me one way or another. To me, they’re very similar to Three Doors Down: popular, mainstream but not ready to take their concert-goers to another level with putting on an amazing performance. This includes proper use of lights, pyro, videoboard, crowd prompts, etc. Professionals get paid to set this stuff up, so I’m unsure of why someone would think, “Hey, let’s show pictures of buildings when they sing ‘Someday!’ Awesome!” Chevelle was ok (much better this past summer when they headlined the Hampton Beach (NH) Ballroom) and Trapt was much better than expected. I’m really digging their latest song, ‘Waiting.’

-Coldplay: Wow, what a show! Great set, great crowd energy, amazing light setup and videoboard…this is what shows are supposed to be about. A really impressive 90-minute show I would recommend to those that even like a few of their songs. Plus, if you take a girl that really likes them, you won’t be hitting your head with a brick afterward with what you just spent hard-earned cash on: a win-win! I also set a Nason record for most people in my apartment at once with 13, set during my unofficial pre-party. Log it, dude.

Finally, I have jumped on the MySpace bandwagon and haven’t looked back! I’ve found out about my high school reunion, connected with old friends and made some new ones along the way. I would highly suggest you set yourself up a page. It takes like 10 minutes and you’d be amazed at what you’ll find. You can hit me up at

thanks for reading,

p.s. Did I use too many exclamation points?