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Better Know a Commenter: 1040X

A sit-down with the tax man.

Royals Review's own angling accountant
Royals Review's own angling accountant

First off, I'd like to commend you on the photo.

Sorry about showing so much leg. At least the picture tastefully omits my sandal-clad feet, though.

While we're all much more than just being Royals fans, it is the tie that binds us. What brought you to the Royals' front stoop knocking on the door to be let in? Perhaps more importantly, why did you stay?

I was born a Royals fan. Growing up, it seemed like to me it was one thing everybody talked about, how the Royals had one of the best third baseman of all time, a very competitive team year in and year out--it seemed like sportscasters flipped out on the Royals for not making the playoffs. My interest in the the team and the sport waned around 1993-94. George Brett retired and the next year was the strike. I didn't really start getting interested in them again until 2003.

I tuned out around the same time as you. For me, it was largely a byproduct of teenage pretension, a period in which I basically stopped paying attention to all major sports for shamefully inane reasons. Do you think it was the Royals' irrelevance that led to you tuning out, or was it something more? Was it the quasi-competitiveness of the '03 Royals that brought you back? If so, what in God's name made you stay through the next decade of pointless baseball?

I would say it was some combination of the reasons mentioned above, both the Royals' irrelevance and inane reasons.

The 2003 season created a sort of spark that caused my fandom to smolder. Over the next few seasons of futility, I watched a few games on TV here and there with middling interest. After a while, I grew tired of the inane conversations about what the team needed to do to improve that pervaded sports radio, local news, and barroom chat and finally turned to the internet. If it wasn't for Royals Review, Royales with Cheese and Royals Authority, I imagine apathy would have extinguished my fandom a long time ago.

Standard dating profile questions: Age? 39 Sex? Male Height? 5'10" Hair color? Bald Marital status? Married Kids?Two boys, 8 and 2

While many choose not to define themselves by their job, what do you do to make ends meet? For how long have you been plying that trade?

Public Accountant, mostly prepare tax returns. I've been doing that for about thirteen years.

Is accounting what you always figured you would do, or did you have other plans? Is this where you intend to stay?

I didn't really know what I wanted to do when I started college, but I was interested in agriculture, so I chose Animal Science as my major. I noticed that it seemed like most of the students with that degree went back to work on their families' farms and those that weren't in that situation tended to end up riding pens at a feedlot. That was my perception anyway. I changed my major to Agribusiness, and one of the required classes was an accounting one. I had a great professor that made the class interesting, and it just made sense to me. I changed my major a third and final time to accounting the next year. The silver lining is that with all of the agriculture classes I took, I didn't have to get a masters degree to reach the number of hours I needed to sit for the CPA exam.

Where do you live now, and where did you grow up?

A suburb of Kansas City on the Kansas side. The same town, though I did live in Hays, KS for about ten years for college and while my wife finished up her Bachelors and Masters Degrees.

I presume the schooling occurred at Fort Hays State? What was it like moving from a major metropolitan area to an isolated town of about 20,000 people? Was the change of pace to your liking or were you glad to get back to a city?

The Fighting Tigers! It really wasn't that weird for me. I liked living in Hays. It had pretty much everything you would need in town within walking distance or a short drive. Sometimes, you might need to travel to Salina or Wichita for something. It was kind of shock moving back to the Greater Kansas City Metropolitan Area, though. The traffic during rush hour took some getting used. Also, people here look at you funny when you finger wave to someone as you pass them on a dirt road.

What is your educational background/area of study?

Bachelors in Business Administration in Accounting, Minor in Agriculture

Did you and the wife meet at college? What's the better half like?

She is from the same small town as me, though I didn't meet her until I was in college and she was a senior in high school. Strangely enough, her best friend in high school and mine were siblings. She is a wonderful person. She used to give me a lot of grief about spending so much time watching a horrendous baseball team, but totally plunged onto the bandwagon during the playoffs. It was her idea to go to the parade. She also bought me so much Royals gear for my birthday and Christmas that I can wear a different Royals shirt everyday of the week for two weeks.

Does the extent of your Royals memorabilia stop mostly at apparel, or do you have a bunch of knick-knacks, curios, and Royals-related oddities? Do you have any other things you collect?

Mostly just clothes. I have the Sunday newspaper from after they won the most recent World Series, a couple of special edition magazines from the last two World Series appearances, and a Royals yearbook from 1987 that was a real downer until their recent success. I have a 2015 World Series Pennant to match the 1985 one I used have in my old bedroom. I've got some baseballs that were signed by Paul Splittorff and Amos Otis somewhere. Dad was really excited when he gave me those, and I was like, "Who the heck are they?"

What pastimes did you and your wife take part in before children? How have the kids changed your lives? What do y'all do for family activities?

We used to hang out with friends more often, doing really wild and crazy stuff like play board games or watch movies. We were pretty hip. Before we had children, if I was forced to watch a play or a music rehearsal I would be bored to death, the kids were all terrible. After I had kids, when I go to one of those, I can't help but tear up. They worked so hard for so long on that one line or that one song. I feel proud for them. My youngest likes to play Avengers; he is Captain America, and I am also Captain America. We each have shields, and we bash them against each other until I tackle him and tickle him. Stuffed animals envelop him in a group hug. The oldest likes to play Minecraft and watch YouTube videos of people playing Minecraft. Sometimes we play Mario Maker, and we each try to design the craziest world. In the summer, we all spend most evenings at the pool after supper. Sometimes I can actually talk to other grownups.

What was your childhood like? Was it the typical suburban upbringing depicted on The Wonder Years or Veronica Mars? What did your parents do? Where did you fall in the sibling hierarchy?

Wonder Years. We grew up outside of the city limits and until they built a couple of housing editions on either end of our street the closest neighbor with a kid around mine or my younger brother's age lived about two miles away. Except for when we had sleepovers, we had to make due with playing with each other: riding bikes, baseball, TMNT, Star Wars or Transformers. We watched a lot of movies on VHS, and old reruns on TV, too. My dad was a welder at a steel plant, until he moved on to a job at a gas company when I was in high school. Mom stayed at home until we were both in school, then got a job as a receptionist at a title company. She eventually moved on to working in billing at a hospital.

So in your move back the the Kansas City area, did you opt for going back to something more akin to your quieter youth, or are you living more centrally? Other than traffic, how have you liked your decision?

We bought a house in a housing addition. There are a lot of youths for our kids to play with. This time of year it is pretty quiet. When spring breaks, the adults all chip in and rent a core aerator. That marks the official end of the hibernation. After that, the kids all gather outside, eyes blinking at the sunshine, and play together outside while the adults watch over them and chat.

Do you find that since you've had children it's harder to talk to adults in the wild?

Not really. I am more of an introvert by nature, but I found that kids are a great conversation starter. When we are out, people will stop and comment about how cute they are. Also, if you don't know what to say to someone you just met, you can tell them about the time your kid did/said something cute.

With the understanding that obviously baseball and the Royals are an area of interest for you, what other hobbies and interests do you have?

Fishing, reading, spending time with the family, watching movies and television shows.

What do you fish for? Do you have a favorite place to hit up? What's the biggest fish you've caught?

Pretty much anything, but when I go by myself, I usually fish for bass. Leavenworth County Fishing Lake is the closest, so I usually go there, sometimes Lonestar Lake. When I go with my father-in-law we go to Clinton Lake. The largest fish I ever caught was a twelve-pound channel cat, but I've caught several largemouth bass over five pounds and one six-pound walleye. My wife had to attend a microbiologist seminar in Clearwater, Florida one time. I occupied myself by fishing off the pier and going on a couple of all-day deep-sea fishing charters. That was a fun week for me.

Who are your filmmakers or showrunners that you gravitate toward? What talent will you follow to the ends of the Earth?

I don't know. I guess I try to concentrate on movies that I am pretty sure will be good, like ones on Roger Ebert's list of great movies, or ones that are rated 3+ stars by my cable company. As for television shows, I guess just ones that people gush over. I am currently in Season 3 of The Wire, and after that is over I plan on checking out Deadwood.

What's the best thing you've read in recent memory? Describe it as though you were trying to convince someone else that they should read it.

Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthy. I don't think any description I could make would do it justice, I would just include that one sentence from it about the legion of horribles here:

A legion of horribles, hundreds in number, half naked or clad in costumes attic or biblical or wardrobed out of a fevered dream with the skins of animals and silk finery and pieces of uniform still tracked with the blood of prior owners, coats of slain dragoons, frogged and braided cavalry jackets, one in a stovepipe hat and one with an umbrella and one in white stockings and a bloodstained wedding veil and some in headgear or cranefeathers or rawhide helmets that bore the horns of bull or buffalo and one in a pigeontailed coat worn backwards and otherwise naked and one in the armor of a Spanish conquistador, the breastplate and pauldrons deeply dented with old blows of mace or sabre done in another country by men whose very bones were dust and many with their braids spliced up with the hair of other beasts until they trailed upon the ground and their horses' ears and tails worked with bits of brightly colored cloth and one whose horse's whole head was painted crimson red and all the horsemen's faces gaudy and grotesque with daubings like a company of mounted clowns, death hilarious, all howling in a barbarous tongue and riding down upon them like a horde from a hell more horrible yet than the brimstone land of Christian reckoning, screeching and yammering and clothed in smoke like those vaporous beings in regions beyond right knowing where the eye wanders and the lip jerks and drools.

Do your reading proclivities always fall towards the bleak but literary, or do you mix it up?

I have been pretty much just been reading books that are on some kind of list of great books. Right now I am struggling through Moby Dick. Ishmael is one verbose motherfucker. I just about lost it when he was telling the story about the time he told the story of the Town-Ho.

Having never been required to read Moby Dick for school, I bought the book as an adult but have always been leery about starting it. Is it worth the hassle?

I am about halfway through the book. There are some really great chapters--especially The Sermon, then The Quarter-Deck and Sunset. There are also some really trying ones. They've only been on one whale hunt so far and lots of exposition on all matter of things. If I ever finish it, I will let you know what I think, if you want.

Please do. Are there any books you've read in the canon that struck you as particularly underwhelming given their acclaim?

I didn't really care for The Great Gatsby or The Catcher in the Rye. Also, I never finished The Count of Monte Cristo.

Are you much for traveling, or are you more of a homebody?

I am more of a homebody, though I would like to travel more someday. I kind of live vicariously through Anthony Bourdain right now.

Do you have a short list of places you intend to visit when the opportunity finally presents itself?

I have heard tales of this far away land, somewhere out East. An ancient city of baseball lore built upon the banks of a grand river. That long ago, the ancient ones built a great temple to the gods that left that land and traveled West. It is in the form of a gate left perpetually open in the hope that those gods will someday return. None ever have. I have heard about the wonderful baseball fans there, how they are all very knowledgeable and wise. It sounds like a place I might want to see. I might have to pack some food, though because I hear that they only serve pizza on crackers and deep-fry their ravioli. One day I think I might travel there to see the free zoo. I also hear that they have a great science museum.

We all have a long list of stupid shit that we've done. What's the dumbest thing you've done?

Turned down a job a pretty good private company that would have probably paid more because I was happy with the public accounting firm I was working for and I thought it would be boring to work on one company's taxes all the time. The next year I was laid off from the CPA firm because of the downturn in the economy.

Describe yourself in three sentences or less.

Just an average working stiff on the cusp of middle age who happens to like the Royals.

What Royals Reviewer would you be most interested to meet in person? Why?