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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Hookup horrors of Valentine's Days past
By Shannon Van Sickler and David Norrie
Published February 8, 2008
This Valentine's Day will be a happy one, spent with my lovely husband, no doubt enjoying good wine and food and too much chocolate.
But romance pre-husband was not always a walk in the park, so I think it's important to reflect on those times. You know, Dave, to keep it real and in perspective. To remember the bumpy road that got me here.
And you'd better share, too! It's only fair.
So what was my worst dating mistake/pitfall? Well, it was in college, of course. And it was the post-breakup hookup.
We all know hooking up with an ex, particularly someone you dated for a long time, is just asking for trouble, right?
But there I was at my favorite Irish pub near the UF campus in Gainesville, finishing off the first pint of hard cider, and who walks in but Mr. I Need Space?
A couple of his own pints in, and suddenly he didn't need so much space. And of course, my judgment was clouded with Hornsby's.
It was surreal, really, because the more we talked, flirted, more than flirted, the practical voice in the back of my head screamed "No! No! No!"
But hey, I was young, probably still felt some affection for him. You know how it is.
But see, the awkwardness and regret of the next day is just not worth whatever preceded it. It opens up all kinds of bad feelings, and as I recall it took weeks to get past the weird feelings.
Mistakes like that make me more relieved than ever to be way past the breakup-hookup stage of life.
Okay, Dave. Your turn. Dish. And don't worry, we'll forgive whatever transgression you reveal.
Shannon, asking me to describe a romantic pitfall would be the equivalent of asking Keith Richards to talk about that time he got wasted.
See, I was a late bloomer, thanks to a strict Catholic upbringing, two years of braces and a body that made Screech look like Adonis.
So when my grill was corrected and my torso caught up with the size of my head, it was like Augustus Gloop being led to the river of chocolate. My first taste came by way of a huge crush on a girl named Sloan.
Our school was doing a Valentine's Day fundraiser for charity with a computer match-making event. I talked the teacher in charge of the thing into giving me Sloan's answers on the questionnaire for me to copy. And wouldn't you know, come V-Day, I was the most compatible guy on her list of top 10 matches.
We hit it off and dated for a year. But like Augustus and his chocolate and Keith and his you-know-what, I didn't know how to leave well enough alone. I indulged, parting ways with Sloan for another girl and thus setting a trend of bad decision-making for years to come.
I'm not alone. We all have regrets, and the fact is, we all want somebody who "does it for us," right?
But if love is blind, why is it my buddy who saw Stevie Wonder recently described Mrs. Wonder(ful) as being just "bangin"?
Lessons learned, though. Like many of my fellow men, I too often fell for the beauty or the booty in lieu of the potential "Mrs. Norrie."
You know, the one who has her stuff together. This is a fact I'm reminded of quite often by good friends like you, Shannon.
And if My Cherie Amour is out there, I have no problem being Signed, Sealed, Delivered after years of being just a Part-Time Lover.