Sit By Me and drink a margarita, amigo: Back to the land of the living.

Have you ever seen the movie Stand By Me?

Darlin', darlin' stand by me.

It’s bad ass!




The 1950’s.

Stand By Me has it all.

The only problem with the movie, is that it puts me in a weird mood.

The film takes place in the last week of summer, when four friends are about to enter junior high.

I hate the end of summer.

Always have.

Always will.

Let me explain…

I was always a good student.  I always loved school.  With a mother who was the first in her family to graduate college (putting herself through nursing school), and a dad who was a math teacher for over 30 years, I was never given the option not to succeed.  Having an older sister who is the smartest person I’ve ever met being the valedictorian of her high school class, the competition to break from her shadow was always there.  I did not need much motivation to try my hardest, and I took a lot of pride in bringing home report cards littered with A’s.

I loved my teachers.  Every single one of them.  Though I probably annoyed the crap out of many, I am certain that they knew how much I appreciated their hard work.

And friends?  Forget about it!  The friends that I made all throughout elementary, high school, and college were some of the greatest people who have ever walked this Earth.

As much as I loved school, I HATED going back to school.

Hated it!


There you are.  It’s summer.  And much like Gordie LaChance and his buddies, you haven’t a care in the world.  You’re going on adventures.  Every single day… YOU PLAY!

And then it happens…

The end of July…

The beginning of August…



You start to see the ads.

Your friends start talking about it.

Your parents start bringing it up.

You start to realize that eventually you’re gonna have to go back to school.

And that is when the fun stops.

And that is when the mood sets in.

No more adventure.

No more taking the bus to the baseball card shop every day.

No more staying up late.

No more sleeping in.




Every year it was the same thing.  From the moment of my back-to-school awareness until the end of the first day of school, I was in a mood.

The mood?


I was just a bundle of nerves… and I would obsess.

What were my teachers going to be like?

Was I gonna have any friends in my classes?

Was I gonna get that girl to notice me?

I was filled to my ears with anxiety.

And the night before the first day of school was the worst.



I was so anxious, that I could not sleep… AT ALL.  I’d just have these thoughts and fears racing through my head.  I was a miserable wreck.

Having never slept the night before, on the first day of school I would always feel like a zombie.  Dragging myself from class to class.  Eyes glazed over.  And drool… There was lots of drool.

It would usually take me about a week to acclimate myself to the daily routine of school life.  And, like I said, I really came to love everything about school.

From a young age, I always admired teachers.  Having a dad who was one sure helped.  And I always kind of knew that I wanted to be one.  I figured that if you were a good student, why wouldn’t you be a teacher?  Why wouldn’t you share what you know?  Why wouldn’t you show people the tricks that worked for you?  It just made sense.

You must know, however, that there was an ulterior motive behind my pursuit of a career in education.  In retrospect, it seems silly.  But, at the time, it made all the sense in the world…

I figured that if I was always nervous about going back to school as a student, and the opposite of a student is a teacher, then going back to school as a teacher must be the best thing ever.

No more nerves.

No more anxiety.

No more sleepless nights.


I just started my ninth year of teaching this last week, and I’ve got to tell you…


I love teaching much more than I ever loved being a student, but I would never wish my back-to-school anxiety on my worst enemy…  It’s not like I have any enemies, but you know what I’m sayin’.

My back-to-school mood is so bad that I have been avoiding Stand By Me for the last nine years.  I just don’t want to be in that mood.  And that movie, as good as it is, is a trigger.

The first day with students was this last Tuesday, so of course I did not sleep a wink on Monday night.  I was a zombie.  I think I even drooled on one of my students.

It would have been nice to go straight to bed after school on Tuesday, but I had a softball game that night (we won), so I wasn’t much less of a zombie on Wednesday.

After school on Wednesday, we had a department meeting, so I was still a little drained on Thursday.

And of course I had to hit the gym after school on Thursday to train for my next half-marathon… So it wasn’t really until Friday that I started to feel normal again.

Kara is a teacher too.  She is technically back to school, but her students don’t come back until next week.  She did have some meetings to go to on Friday, so a bunch of her coworkers decided to do happy hour at El Amigo in San Jose.  She called me up to ask if I would join them.

I was all, “Okay.”

Like an old friend... El Amigo.

Happy hour at El Amigo goes until 6pm, but I wasn’t gonna make it until 6:15, so Kara got me a margarita before I got there…

The El Amigo House Margarita aged gracefully for 30 minutes.

Though most of the ice had melted, and the glass got a little sweaty, I was really stoked on this margarita.  Sometimes, margaritas can border on being too sweet or too tart.  This bad boy was neither.  In fact, it had a little richness going on.  Not a profile you would ever expect, but it was definitely appreciated.

Since I arrived so late, I was not in an appetizer type of mood.  I ordered the Plato de Carnitas…

Plato de Carnitas

Carnitas are a traditional form of pork that is marinated and slow roasted.  These thick chunks came with the traditional rice, beans, salsa, flour tortillas, and guacamole.  The Carnitas were very nice.  I used the tortillas to make my own burritos, ’cause that’s how I roll.

As far as restaurants go, El Amigo is all right.  I’ve had better Mexican food.  I’ve had worse.  What’s important here, is that it was time well spent.  Time where I could finally relax.  For that, El Amigo, I thank you.

When I got home last night, I tried to write a blog about my week, but my brain just kind of shut down.  I had something more important to do…


This morning, I woke up feeling fantastic.

It’s great to be back in the land of the living.

Stay Rad,



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4 Responses to “Sit By Me and drink a margarita, amigo: Back to the land of the living.”

  1. jonnybrandy Says:

    for the first time in my life, i am excited to go back to school (university)! great post as usual…

  2. Mike C Says:

    Just drop a couple of nervous poops– always helps me!

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