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Ear to the Ground: Days on End

by Bo McBrayer

“Ear to the Ground” is a year-round column from the stylings of Bo McBrayer blending the spice of life with fantasy football advice in the form of a dynasty trade value chart good for the next month. Join him this week as he talks value changes and offers his advice for the playoffs and early offseason.

I think about the power of words quite often. Perhaps it’s more often than the average person, with no way of knowing for certain.

Synonyms and antonyms have been my favorite since my grandma passed down her worn paperback copy of “Roget’s Thesaurus” when I was in elementary school. She always had a way with words. Her turns of phrase were nearly always deep, jovial digs at my grandpa, who would huff in irritation over his split pea soup.

Every day was a song with lyrics that we shared. Each afternoon after school was sweet tea and sketching in graphite. Our world was beautiful, even in black and white with shades of grey.

Fiercely Idyllic

We shared plenty of joyful days before Alzheimer’s stole Grandma Mary, years before we laid her to rest. Despite mounting frustration and confusion, she never lost her smile. Through night terrors and putting folded laundry in the dishwasher, her Casio keyboard would be on full blast, and she’d belt out “I Love You, Truly” and “Amazing Grace” before Grandpa would peel himself from his easy chair to plug in her headphones and close the door behind him.

More than 10 percent of Americans age 65 or older have Alzheimer’s.

She called me “Joe.” That’s my dad. Can’t blame her; I looked identical to earlier photos of him. We never knew whether it would be a lucid day of grace or a fight to get her to put socks on and get something in her stomach. Wake up in the morning, brew some coffee, and do our very best with the hand we’re dealt.

Every day was new back then, just as it is now. I lost sight of that. Black is to white as today is to tomorrow. Whatever we’re feeling right now is valid, but we need not carry it into another sunrise. The car still needs an oil change, the grass needs to be cut.

We clock in and out in a blur of overwhelming responsibilities. Life is synonymous with vigor and essence, parallel to struggle. Wouldn’t that make tranquility a better antonym than death? The dichotomy between life and death isn’t as polar as good versus bad. Permanence is a myth cemented with the rise of existential awareness.

Laugh Because It Happened

We live through memories long after our bodies are laid to rest. I think about the power of words more often when speaking to my wife and daughter. Will they remember me as a grumpy ball of stress who is irritated by inconvenience? Or will they harken fondly to the silly times when I rile up the dog just to watch it zoom around the house, and we laugh until our cheeks hurt?

Grandpa was that ball of stress most of the time… usually when Grandma and I got her Dachshund, Schatzi, going berserk. If living is labor, then tranquility is closer to happiness.

My beautiful wife met my grandparents at the very end. Grandpa had throat cancer and was breathing through a trach. Grandma was on some incredible breakthrough trial medications that let her slip away in a more pleasant cascade of senility. She still had the best quips and told the best meandering stories.

Grandma was telling my wife a story about “Joe” sneaking out late at night to hang out with his girlfriend (she used my ex’s name). About the time she lost track of where the story was headed, my grandpa pulls his trach out to let out a raspy and exasperated, “Murrrry, shut up!”

She looked that old Arkie square in the eyes, smiled affectionately while thumbing her nose, and then muttered, “asshole.” It was about then she started a new story, and he slumped back in that easy chair and shook his head.

One At a Time

My wife still recants that story often. It was just as hilarious to her that I nonchalantly told her that my grandparents hadn’t changed a bit. That was their love. Our love is similar but with a whole new set of nuanced inside jokes. Whenever a day comes along that beats us into a blithering pulp, we try our hardest to remember that a new one is on the horizon.

Scout programs are popular ways for kids to learn new skills.

So what if we forgot Cub Scout signups for the umpteenth time? There will be more chances to have good days, so why not make today one of them?

It’s so easy to lose sight of what truly matters. Wake up, brew coffee and play the cards you’re dealt. Find joy in tranquility and life in times of struggle. Laugh at yourself because it’s the one universal love language.

Grandma maintained her joie de vivre through the most crushing circumstances imaginable. Grandpa did too. It is amazing to look back and still find memories to laugh about. The funniest moments, ironically, came from the darkest days. I see them in the mirror. I catch glimpses of them in my daughter, and I chuckle because they were long gone before she arrived. They are both there, and it moves me in an indescribable way. She is stubborn and dark humor mixed with a complete lack of stage fright. She emulates me, but I’m still trying to emulate Mary Jane McBrayer. I’ll never forget that amazing grace.

Dynasty Trade Value Chart: Comers, Stayers & Goers

With as many dynasty leagues as I have (26!), it’s as if my life is subsequently running perfectly parallel to the ebbs and flows of the NFL calendar. “Families are always rising and falling in America,” according to Nathaniel Hawthorne. The players I’m trying to flip or keep to build a dynastic championship fantasy team range from rising stars to surprises at their peak.

The ones I am looking to make a trade for, hold or trade away during the playoffs and early 2023 offseason at each position are noted on a dynasty trade value chart below:

Dynasty Disposition
Position Buy Hold Sell
QB Dak Prescott (DAL) Derek Carr (LVR) Geno Smith (SEA)
RB Travis Etienne (JAX) Dameon Pierce (HOU) Tony Pollard (DAL)
WR Drake London (ATL) Brandon Aiyuk (SF) K.J. Osborn (MIN)
TE Trey McBride (ARI) Travis Kelce (KC) Dawson Knox (BUF)

My life’s mission is to amplify the flavor and spice in everything I touch. Find all my work on Twitter, @Bo_McBigTime, and check out my huge collection of decadence at BigTime FlavorCo.

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