I need a life closer


I need a life closer.

…Just someone who can get warm as I’m struggling in the sixth or seventh with a couple men on and I can’t find my spots.

I need a guy with a funky beard and tatted sleeves that resemble a fireworks box and frizzy hair and his hat on crooked with a snarl and a mean walk-up tune, maybe something by Bad Company or Metallica or Beck because he’s quirky and cool.

I need him to come in and get the job done and do it with an attitude. Sure, I’m the starter in my life and I take pride in my five-day-a-week innings-eating dirge, but once in awhile, say, a Tuesday afternoon when nothing seems to be getting done, I need a little help from the bullpen.

I need my own personal Kenny Powers to come in and shock the world, to throw high heat and twirl on the mound, to spit in the face of deadlines and laugh in the face of workaday complacency.

I need a guy who pushes his brim low over his eyes when I leave runners on the corners with no outs. I need a goateed man with tobacco splinters gripping to the gap in his eyeteeth to give me a nod and say, you’ve done your work, now I got this.

I get the win, he gets the save and we both go home happy.

Here’s when I make the call to the life closer bullpen:

Completion of mundane projects at work: Normally, I’m pretty OK at this but recently I’ve been slipping. Rather, something else gets piled on and I forget or the project otherwise fades. That is, until there’s some kind of management meeting and the project comes up and I have to make something up that sounds maybe sort of true but everyone can tell is just worklies like, “We’re getting ready for the marketing team to review it” because everyone knows the marketing team doesn’t do anything and nothing is their responsibility. So the room turns heavy with awkward throat clears and the smell of half-hour-ago lunch and eventually we move on. My life closer not only completes worthless projects but remembers to throw in enough changes to the PowerPoint deck to make it look like his own.

Grocery shopping: A pretty menial request for my life closer but crucial because food is sometimes key to survival. All my life closer has to do is take the grocery list I forward him and purchase the items on it. For some reason, by the time I get into the grocery store, it’s the end of the day, post work, post workout and I’m gassed. It’s all I can do to grab some too-green bananas and a handful of Clif bars, some bottled water for no reason and something stupid like chocolate-covered cherries and be on my way.

Meeting coworkers for drinks: See above for being worn down in the middle innings of a workweek and having not enough zip on my fastball or break on my change-up to be able to fake it at happy hour. Instead, it’s just me kind of nodding off into my drink, wondering how old the server girl really is and whether I could get into her pants. Not like hook-up get into her pants …seeing if I could literally fit one leg into her tiny, black babydoll pants. My life closer would be the life of the post-work party. He’d order the second round when there are mere foam sips from the first rounds of others. And he’d beat the clock, getting all the happy hour-priced apps in just before deadline. My life closer is clutch.

• Asking for a raise: I asked for a raise the other day and it was a total disaster. I walked them full and then gave up a bases-clearing triple. It wasn’t like I was nervous going in. I knew what I wanted, I calculated what I should earn based on the salaries of my direct reports as well as those of my counterparts in other departments. I even ran comps in the area. So instead of laying it out there like a man who deserved his first bump in pay since the Bush administration, I just kind of wilted in the chair when asked why I “deserved” a raise. I don’t know. Why do I deserve to be a son? Why do I deserve a Round Table all-you-can-eat lunch buffet for under eight bucks once a week? Why do I deserve a girlfriend? I don’t know. Because I played JV hoops? Because I actually went and got a full physical for the first time in a decade last month? Because even when I get assigned to the middle seat in coach I don’t complain, nor do I wing out and try to take up both arm rests? Because I actually remembered both my niece and nephew’s birthday on time this year? Because I don’t smoke? I don’t know why I deserve a raise. Probably because I’m American, I guess. My life closer would have answers to questions like this. He’d pound his fist on the desk and say, “Same reason you deserve to be my boss” and get up and walk out, because that’s how it’s done.

• Weekends: My life closer needs to step in on weekends, period. I’ve got a whole list of things for him to get up and do early around the house. From dishes to mowing the lawn. From fixing creaky doors to finding out what’s making the heater smell up the house when it goes on. From rain gutters to oil changes. Weekend life closer could spend about six hours a day on Saturday and Sunday with his shirt off in the backyard solving all my immediate problems with a multi-tool and a radio tuned to AM sportstalk. Then weekend life closer can motivate for that long mountain bike with a couple of his buddies, or even try a nine-mile trail run on for size not because he’s training for something but just because. Weekend life closer then gets the spoils, a big date night out including two rounds of aps, a couple fancy cocktails made by that mixologist-guy over there who never made it out of junior college but grew a mustache instead. Weekend life closer runs into people downtown and says stuff like “Hey, what are you doing RIGHT NOW?” not, “Yeah, we should maybe get together sometime.” Weekend life closer orders up Fireball when everyone else is deciding whether they’re OK to drive. That’s right, weekend life closer decides Friday at post-week wrap drinks he’s going to be enjoying an apres-ski beer this time tomorrow afternoon. Instead of going home, taking Die Hard 2 of his DVD shelf and watching the first twenty minutes before passing out, he packs his car and goes.

…It’s the top of the seventh and there are no outs and I just walked the pitcher to get to the top of the order on a Friday morning. I have two projects to complete before noon, meetings through lunch and I’m supposed to get out early enough to drive two hours and meet my parents for dinner at five.

Cue ‘Wherever I may roam’ for you life closer.

The ball is yours.