Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Way I See Brushes With Death

Pete and Repeat are in a boat. Pete falls out. Who's left?

.....Pete and Repeat are in a boat....

ALRIGHT! Enough hilarious jokes. This post is serious!

This week, I tell you about my recent brush with death and how I, Cole Cook, was able to escape it's cold clutches to tell the tale.

So the other day I was cutting bagels and cut my thumb.

Before we get any deeper into this epic tale of bravery, I should give you guys a touch of backstory. When I was 10, I closed a swiss army knife on my finger while trying to whittle an incense holder out of a piece of driftwood (that's the hippy-est thing I've ever said). I limped upstairs (I don't know why I was limping), almost passed out, and my brother and uncle laughed at me. When I was in high school, I went with my sister to give blood. I almost passed out again and my little sister laughed at me.

So flash forward to Tuesday night. I'm in my kitchen. I'm not wearing a shirt. I've got one bagel in the toaster and I'm cutting a second one while singing along with Alanis Morissette. Basically - I'm being a badass.

Then, approximately 15 seconds after thinking, "I probably shouldn't be cutting towards my hand." I cut into my left thumb. I throw the knife in the sink, stomp my foot, scream "FUCK!", put my thumb in my mouth, and start jumping around my apartment.

It's the worst cut in the history of the world. I can see the bone. I don't have a thumb anymore. I'm gonna die. I wish I would have visited Machu Picchu. My brother can have my Xbox One. Someone clear my browser history.

Against all odds, and to the surprise of the global medical community, I'm able to make it to the bathroom (hold the applause for the end, please). It's at this point that I start talking to myself.

"Alright Cookie. We're okay. It's okay. It's just a cut. We're gonna be fine. You taste blood, but that's okay. There's no pain in my hand. We're okay. Breathe, baby. Breathe. Gotta take a look at it. We gotta see what's going on, brother."

Reminder: I am talking TO MYSELF. Who the fuck is "we"? Why am I talking to myself as if I'm talking to another person? Why do I use pet names with myself? All of these questions are important and worth asking, and I have an answer to exactly none of them.

I unlock my jaws, and spit out a mouthful of red before looking down. What used to be a perfectly useful thumb is now a faucet of blood. I grab a fistful of Charmin and wrap my thumb up, closing my fingers around it. I don't have band-aids in my apartment, and I suddenly remember being in CVS a couple weeks ago and thinking, "Why would I need bandaids?" Well... in case you cut your fucking thumb open, Cole.

Now my thumb is "bandaged" and I'm okay. I have survived. Then, on the walk from the bathroom to the living room (which is about 7 feet since I live in New York), this happens:

Step 1: I think about how much blood I just saw.
Step 2: My entire body gets hot.
Step 3: My eyes lose focus and start trying to focus on EVERYTHING. It's like when you click on someone's face when you're taking a picture, and your iPhone focuses on four different things before settling on the face. It's like that - but without the settling part.
Step 4: I close my eyes, cause obviously that will help.
Step 5: All sense of balance leaves me. Just gone.
Step 6: Hands on your knees! Hands on your knees! (Like the song. Get it?)
Step 7: I start to breath like I'm in a Lamaze Class.
Step 8: I get through it. I'm okay. I'm not gonna think about my hand.
Step 9: I look down at my thumb. (I don't know why I did this)
Step 10: I'm in the fetal position, on the floor.

For those of you that are just joining the story (which should be no one, just scroll up and read the first couple paragraphs), I am on the floor, I am bleeding, I am half naked, I have Charmin Ultrasoft wrapped around my thumb, and I can't open my eyes.

Anyone wanna date me? No? Alriiiiiiiiight.

There's a certain type of feeling that accompanies being curled up, on the floor, shirtless, bleeding, disoriented and still listening to Alanis Morissette. That feeling is shame. Shame with a nice helping of helplessness and a side of emasculation.

So I just lay on the floor, cradling my thumb. Nothing else to do but wait this out, let the feeling pass.  Slowly, the world stops spinning (actually, the world keeps spinning, my head just stops spinning), and I make it to a seated position. I get my feet under me, finally find a fucking shirt, and start making my way to CVS.

In any other city in the world, a guy cradling his hand wrapped in bloody toilet paper is alarming. In New York, people don't even notice. I walk (I think I was walking, but I was probably stumbling) three city blocks with the world's worst first aid on my hand, and no one even looks at me.

I get to CVS (where STILL no one cares that I have a blood-soaked wad of toilet paper on my hand) and ditch the Charmin for a band aid. By this time, the bleeding has already stopped, and I get my first good look at the cut - it's about a centimeter long and clean, not deep at all - it's gonna heal in about two days. Band aid on, I'm ready to take on the world again.

However, instead of doing that, I buy four quarts of Ben & Jerry's ice cream (American Dream, Red Velvet, Cookie Dough, and Chocolate Fudge Brownie, for those who are interested) and go home to watch Netflix.

I think you would all agree that I deserve it.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Way I See Online Dating

Welcome to the second posting of The Way I See It! For those of you that tuned in last week, congrats on making it back, give yourself a gold star. For those of you that weren't here last week - what the fuck was so important that you couldn't read my stupid blog? What? Do you have a job or something?

This week, we're talking about online dating. Online dating is very similar to pooping in the sense that everybody does it, everyone knows that everybody does it, and no one talks about it with members of the opposite sex.

Online dating used to be sites like eHarmony and Places where people looked through profiles and tried to find someone they responded to in the hopes that they would be able to build a relationship with that person. It was supposed to be for people that were too busy to date, or too old for the bar scene, or just liked eating ice cream while emailing strangers. These sites (according to their commercials) were for people looking for love.

*Quick Aside: "Looking for Love" is absurd. What do you mean you're looking for it? Is it hiding from you? People don't look for any other feelings. I've never heard anyone say that they're looking for curiosity. Also, it's a bit ironic that the only way to find love is to find someone who's also looking it. Because if you find someone who has already found love, who knows where it is, that person can no longer help you. If you still don't think it's completely ridiculous, ask yourself this question: If you were on a first date, and your date tells you that they're looking for love, how fast do you ask for the check? It's like looking for Jesus - it's fine to be doing it, but PLEASE don't talk to me about it, cause you sound insane.*

Lets get back on track.

That's what online dating used to be (if you're over 50, maybe it still is). But if you have an iPhone, and you like sex or judging people, you probably know about Tinder and it's slightly less sketchy cousin, OKCupid. There are two main difference between these two and Match & eHarmony. 1. They're primarily used as apps on smartphones. 2. They're primarily for young people.

So what does this mean for online dating as a whole? Well, it means it's gone from a place where people can "look for love," to a place where people can "find sex." Do you see the difference? It's slight, and if you want, you can go back and reread this paragraph and join us back here once you understand.

First off- I know this is gonna rub some people the wrong way; they're online and they're not just looking for someone to hook up with. My point is not that the users of these sites only want sex, rather, that these sites promote a forum where sex is all that matters. You didn't match with someone on Tinder cause you guys both like Harry Potter books, or because you both speak French. No, you're matched with someone because you like they way their picture looked. This doesn't mean that after you get matched, you can't find out that you have a lot in common and dance off into the sunset together. I'm simply reminding you that it all started because she wears the shit out of that tank top.

Still, that's not the biggest problem with online dating; women have been dealing with men who only want to sleep with them for hundreds of years, that's not a 21st century problem. The main problem is that the people on these sites think they're better than everyone else on the site. Across the board. Almost every person I've ever talked to about being on OKC or Tinder talks about it as if they're doing everyone else on there a favor. People talk about the fact that they're on Tinder like it's a mistake. As if your phone was stolen and the thief set up a profile and now you just use it every day as a joke. And if you do happen to meet someone promising, you make up anything besides the truth when people ask where you guys met. I'd rather tell people I met a women while the two of us were in jail then say that we met online.

I'll meet a woman online and a small part of me thinks I'm more interesting than her because I don't have to be dating online. I can meet people in the real world. I can go to Starbucks and start a conversation with a pretty girl and ask her to dinner - I'm only online cause it's fun. Well Cole, don't you think it's possible that the same thing applies to the pretty girl you just "met"? No! Of course not! Every other person who's on OKC is a sad sack that needs pity, and if this date doesn't work out, they may just cash it in, move into an old Victorian house, adopt 15 cats and start knitting!

The silly part is that when I meet someone online, I know that they're thinking the same thing about me. I've been on dates and have had women literally say, "You're actually totally normal." As if they accepted the date and went out with me, all the while thinking I was probably some horrible troll creature.

This is what I like to call, "The Great Dating Hypocrisy",  and it started way before online dating. I've been to bars (the old fashioned way of finding a one night stand) and met women who say that they don't like people at bars. .....YOU'RE AT A BAR! You're here, right now, sitting at a bar. How could you possibly not like people who are doing the exact same thing that you're doing? I'd always hear something about how they're only here because their friends are, or that this is the first time they've been out in months, or something else that makes very little sense and could easily apply to any other living person in the building.

That's The Great Dating Hypocrisy: people simply don't hold other people to the same standards to which they hold themselves. And it's even more prominent in online dating. The connotation of "online dating" is that it's for weird people that are somehow broken and can't find dates in the real world. But everyone is online. If you are single, why wouldn't you join a dating site? They're free and all you're doing is giving yourself more of a chance to find someone. You may have to sift through a few profiles before finding someone remotely interesting, and you'll probably have to deal with a lot of people who are terrible (like a lot, a lot), but you could also find one person that makes the whole thing worth it.

That gorgeous chick you saw walking by while you waited for the bus? She may be on Tinder. The guy who helped a little kid after he slipped and fell? He might have a profile on OKC. At this point, if you're not online, I think you're shooting yourself in the dating foot. Is it a place for people to find someone to sleep with? Absolutely. But any one of those matches could also be just the person that you're looking for. Look at it this way - you're both online, so you know you have at least one thing in common.

Online dating is both the wave of the future and still the scariest way to meet anyone, ever. It's full of people who think they shouldn't be there, but also desperately want to meet someone, because the only thing worse than looking for dates online is not finding any. So make sure you have good profile pictures, talk about what you think makes you interesting, and don't take it too seriously - you will definitely end up with some amazing stories about horrible dates, and maybe (just maybe) someone who you actually respond to. I don't know about you, but I'd wade through hundreds of profiles of nonsense to come across one person that was actually worth my time - it only takes about 5 minutes while I'm in line for Chipotle, anyway.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Way I See It

Welcome to "The Way I See It." I'm only 25 years old and this is already my third blog! Yes, I realize that having three blogs by 25 is about as impressive as having 3 donuts by noon - but that's not gonna dampen my enthusiasm.

"Dugout Chatter" is no more - it has been overhauled and will now be "The Way I See It." Honestly, "TWISI" (I love acronyms) won't be that much different than "DC" (told you).  The main difference is that I am no longer writing as an employee of a company, and as such, I have the freedom to write about whatever I want, and to say whatever I want to about it. To that end - I'm not a huge fan of Samsung phones. How's THAT for taking a stand? In your face, Samsung. #PushingTheEnvelope

Before I continue, a little about the author (me): I retired from professional baseball in January and moved to Manhattan in April (I'll take Quarter Life Crisis for 200, Alex). I now make a living coaching, writing and bartending. There was a plan to go back to school and finish my degree, but I did not get into NYU and apparently that's a prerequisite for every class at the university. So now I'm in NYC trying my hand at writing, stand-up comedy, improv and whatever else seems interesting.

So why should you read what I write? Why come here and spend 10 minutes reading what I have to say? Truth is, I really have no idea. Here's what I HOPE: I hope you come to my page because you think I'm funny. Maybe you think my ideas are interesting, maybe you have too much free time, maybe you like reading but hate books, maybe you were searching for Alicia Keys' brother (also named Cole Cook) and now you're here, and you're still waiting for me to start talking about growing up with Alicia (sorry, I don't know her).

I'll be posting once a week, sharing my views about things like online dating, one-way streets, dogs, strippers, sharing the sidewalk, bad tattoos, good sex, jump rope, and whatever else comes to mind. The main differences I hope to implement in this go-round is to share more of my life. This blog will be a way for people to get a peek inside my head and inside my life.

Will there be cursing? Fuck yes. Will it be gratuitous? I hope not. Will there be posts about baseball? Sure, I have a couple good stories to tell. Will it be offensive? It will never be my intention to offend anyone, but accidents happen and people are touchy. Do I already have an idea for a post about the success of Radio Disney in the early 2000's? No. No, I do not.

So here it is - I'm creating (yet another) platform for my writing. I hope you guys read it (mostly because if no one is reading this, it's weird that I keep addressing the audience in these parentheticals), and moreover - I hope you share it. I hope you write me with comments, or heckles, or a subject you'd like my views on. Thank you for stopping by, and I'll have more for you guys next week.


Also - if you're wondering about the second blog I made, please go check out It's a simple, little blog that my Mother (who is a much better writer than I am - and I started together. She and I have always been fascinated by what we overhear people saying, so we started a blog to compile some of the best quotes we hear. If you're still curious and you haven't clicked on the link above, stop using the internet. If you aren't curious, go the page anyway and stop being stubborn - it's a good time.