Unlike Surly, I spend most of my days and nights in Orange County - currently I would put myself at about 20% L.A., 70% O.C. and 10% down the rabbit hole. I am not shy about team pride. Shirts, workout clothing, hats, and my car show the love. Lately, I have noticed a trend.

About 2 months ago, I saw a guy and gal in Chipotle’s parking lot. He drove my identical car (which is not an easy thing to do) and even had the same L.A. Kings license plate frame. I had the shirt on and we chatted for a few seconds. A couple of days later, I ran into not one but two separate groups of golfers, with one person in each group wearing a Kings’ hat – one at the driving range and one between the 9th and 10th holes. Once again, I saw them, they saw me, we conferred and mused out loud about the coming season. The latter commented, “I love it, in the heart of Orange County, two Kings’ fans wearing their team colors and not a Ducks’ logo in sight.” I smiled and approved of the keen observation.

About a week after that, inside Home Depot, again wearing my Kings’ hat, and boom, another Kings fan (his hat circa silver and black era) walking the other way. I lifted my hand, he lifted his, we high-fived as we walked by each other and let out a spontaneous and simultaneous “Go Kings!” in the middle of the store – I kid you not. It was spooky karmic. Later that day, one of my dearest friends who happens to be a Ducks’ fan showed up at my house with his family for a BBQ and he was wearing…a Kings hat he bought at a game last season. I have seen him with that hat at least 3 times in the past two months. I am doing the Lord’s work with him.

Parked at the pet store. A purple Chrysler PT Cruiser with a huge L.A. Kings sticker on the rear window…a sticker that occupied the entire window. Impressive.

The next weekend, on my motorcycle, pulled into a parking lot (wearing a Kings’ shirt) and receiving a “GO KINGS! WOOO!!” from a car pulling out.

The freeway, highway, shops, stores, restaurants, all in Orange County and in many different cities. Anaheim, Yorba Linda, Fullerton, Newport, Huntington, Costa Mesa, Kings’ fans everywhere. Have I seen a single Ducks’ hat? A single Ducks’ shirt? A single Ducks’ anything? Yes. Some guy / gal / imp at my gym who has a disgusting Orange front license plate on his silver Audi. Have I seen this dude, chick or thing once wear a Ducks’ anything (so I can identify the rat) inside the gym even though his car has been parked next to mine (I may have planned that) more than once? No.

So, what is going on? The current? Tide? The seas of change? Has there been a genocide that actually changed things for the better and upgraded the general populace’s acumen & IQ? I do know this. I am having withdrawals. I haven’t had a single person in this county to direct my requisite piss, wit and vinegar for months…and chirping Bobby Ryan on Twitter is barely keeping me sane…what? Well, it went something like this:

@b_ryan9 round of golf. My treat. Pelican, south course. I win and you ask for a trade to the Kings. I lose and you remain a Duck. Deal?

@kingsofhockey handicap?

@b_ryan9 10

After trying to get Dustin Brown in this…

@DustinBrown23 Great Pic Brownie. I challenged @b_ryan9 to a round of golf, I win, he asks for a trade to the Kings. Persuade him to accept

@kingsofhockey @dustinbrown23 haha. Pass. Course is too tough to gamble my career with!

For one fleeting, insane second, I thought Bobby Ryan would actually accept. I saw the celebration on the 18th hole as I putted for an exhilarating 73, Bobby Ryan picking up his cellular phone and calling his agent (secretly thanking God), GregWyshynski getting the exclusive interview with me about the bet and historic match, Surly running around in circles screaming, “We got Bobby Ryan! We got Bobby Ryan!” for days, Dean Lombardi formally appointing me as the Kings’ Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary for life, a couple of ingrates claiming that the golf game never happened and writing that isn’t the real Bobby Ryan, and Gary Bettman uttering the word “WHAT!!??” right before his head exploded and painted the roses red.

Let’s hear it for the winds of change.