Recently, I began training to become a gibbering idiot. The first step has been smiling at everyone I encounter. To smile continuously and without hope of compensation is a heartbreaking task. The reason for taking on a smile, or at least a gassy sort of smirk, is that humanity has grown sour and dark. Smiling at strangers is my sincere way of saying “May your issues be resolved quickly and your urge to harm me minimal.” The task of taking on a bright and cheerful countenance for friends and strangers alike has been difficult. As my dad once reminded me “Boy, we ain’t very huggy people.” In that regard, we certainly aren’t a smiling bunch. I am choosing to break that mold, as moldy as it is.
People don’t like students of the gibbering idiot way, those knights of an older republic in which calm and serene dignity won battles. Making eye contact with strangers is dangerous in itself, so to smile and allow them to go on their way with respect is tantamount to starting a fight. In other words, smile at strangers because it blows their minds. The secret behind the smile is that light in my eyes. The weird light that does not mark me as an idiot at all, but as someone who is crunching numbers and figuring out how best to make your life better. If that makes me an idiot, good. The idea of equal opportunity grinning isn’t easy to enact. Often when I’m cut off, or crowded by people, the urge is to catch up with them and ask if their life was improved by being a turd on legs. To smile and move on with a kind word is hard to pull off with dignity and aplomb. It probably makes me look like a moron, but I know that If I keep smiling people may examine turdhood as a lifestyle choice and renounce it. Maybe. 🙂
I’ve had writer’s block for several days. When this happens I return to the basics, things that make sense to me. Lots of “science food” is consumed during these literary droughts. Science food is the kind of culinary delight that consumers can’t screw up during preparation, because it’s too perfectly designed. I ate quite a bit of Cool-Whip, which really is a perfectly engineered edible product. The marriage of hydrogenated oil, corn syrup and flavoring agents. Frankly, I’d smoke the stuff (and I probably could, it’s so well designed). Cool Whip even stays whipped at room temperature for a disturbingly long time.
Over the years I’ve made sickening amounts of real whipped cream out of nothing more than cream, a bit of sugar and some vanilla. Every once in a while, I’ll throw in a packet of Dr. Oetker’s stabilizer in if the whipped cream has to hold up for a lengthy period of time. There is something to be said for Cool Whip, though, even if you are firm believer in truth, justice and real whipped cream. In no way does Cool Whip resemble the original model. It’s the Christina Hendricks of dessert products. Sorry, but I was sick last weekend and ended up watching old episodes of Mad Men. Real whipped cream has curves and peaks and a hint of sweetness. Cool Whip is sexy in an exaggerated way. The stuff just hits you over the head. After eating Cool Whip I can walk into a room and have people ask “Good grief, have you been into the whipped topping, man?” Yeah, it’s because I don’t drink much, although several times I did work out something called Booze Whip. There was a great combination: fermented grain beverages and hydrogenated vegetable oil. It just ain’t a party ’till somebody gets a bowl of Cool Whip tipsy. Makes you forget all about writer’s block.
A few months back I wrote a blog post offering some reasons for not getting naked, climbing into a fire truck and running over strangers (Naked, posted 2/25/12). Any time you can include a naked individual driving a stolen fire truck, Angelina Jolie and the end times in one tidy little blog, it’s a fun day. This week, most of the major papers and Time magazine picked up on a story from Miami involving a naked individual gnawing the face off of another equally unclothed person near a freeway on-ramp. The man, who could not be swayed from his cannibalistic ritual until fatally shot, was said to be under the influence of Bath Salts. This is a horrible, despicable story and the victim is barely alive as of this writing, but I did want to comment on the whole idea of calling whatever form of LSD/household cleaners the assailant was taking “Bath Salts.” Is there any reason for calling a powerful hallucinogenic agent “Bath Salts”?
When I think of bath salts, I’m reminded of some miserable housewife (of a bygone era. Miserability is really unfashionable these days) throwing up her hands and begging Calgon to take her away. Bath Salts seemed like a nice, quaint product. Of course, as kids we were told not to ingest any bathing products. “Don’t drinkMr. Bubble! For Heavens sake, child! You’ll hear colors!” Why even take a chance on imbibing a substance named after a tub time relaxant? What’s with the zombie apocalypse craze, anyway? Why are people getting naked and biting strangers? Is it because of TV shows like The Walking Dead? If Mad Men gets too popular, are people going to put on wool knit suits and hit secretaries with umbrellas? Are we going to become a nation in which Once Upon ATime is so popular that people dress as Pinocchio and lie to each other for fun? Oh, joy! Siri? Remind me to dress as Pinocchio on Saturday night!
(A very recycled Spatula post from December of 2010)
New Haven, Connecticut– Over the past few months, scenes of young people rioting over rising university tuition
costs and austerity measures have become a familiar sight in Europe. What is less widely recognized is the bubbling undercurrent of discontent among college students in the United States. American undergraduates, however, are not
disgruntled over the high cost of their education or the sluggish economic conditions in their home country. What is troubling U.S. students is the growing cost prohibitive nature of getting a fruitcake fix. The dessert, generally found on growing wild on forest floors, is one of the few legal and safe ways of loosening up for students, but the price of a buzz has been steadily rising. At several universities, including Yale, students have taken to the streets to demand a return to the cheap easy fruitcake high of yesteryear. What started as a rumor at California schools during the 1960′s has
now become a revered tradition on campuses all over the United States. A 15 year aged fruitcake can be eaten and is said to produce feelings of peace, fulfillment and the desire to simply eat more fruitcake. The problems for students seeking a fruitcake high started earlier this year when mail order houses specializing in the harvesting and aging of fruitcake sharply increased prices due to renewed demand and scarcity of wild fruitcake. Compounding the problem has been a reduction in the number of specially trained fruitcake sniffing pigs who go into the forest seeking the dessert with
their snouts. Students, unable to afford the delicacy any longer, are banding together around the country and causing mass disturbances in order to send a message to companies like Harry and David, who own a monopoly on fruitcake. In one protest that turned violent, University of Florida students threw their pants en masse into a bonfire as a show of solidarity against the fruitcake cabal. Meanwhile, Georgetown University students mobbed President Obama’s motorcade, lobbing coffee cake at the car as the first couple looked on in terror. Fruitcake got it’s therapeutic
and medicinal reputation after American soldiers during the 1940′s leaked information that they’d participated at the injections of hundreds of detainees with the dessert after World War II. Area 52 in New Mexico, in fact, is suspected as a large-scale fruitcake experimentation area for the Army, and rumored to have the highest re-enlistment rate of any duty station in the armed forces.
This morning I was still functioning in selfish mode. There was work to consider, but also thoughts of races to be run next summer and what charities to run them for. The blah, blah, blah of self. Two hours into the day my wife texted me, mentioning that our daughter was home sick today. Normally, I don’t answer texts and emails at work. Most days, it’s proper to let my thigh keep buzzing and let the mystery be. Today, I got the message. From the phone attached to my thigh all the way through my thick, selfish skull. I came home and sat with my ten-year old this morning. Learning to do for others is a lifelong process and today was one of those days in life.
What I’ve figured out along the road of parenthood is that kids are pretty simple. Not simple-minded. Oh, not by a long shot. My daughter keeps losing her allowance, because she talks juust like me. Nope, single minded is a better term for my child. Kids need simplicity, though. I used to over- complicate days spent with my daughter. The old me would have had us making snow cookies, or going to some restaurant across town. She was sick today, though and appreciated simplicity. We watched Brady Bunch and Full House reruns and played Wii games. When she was hungry, we ate. I felt guilty at first. A seemingly normal Thursday turned into one making fun of early 70’s skirt lengths (ala Brady) and Uncle Jessie’s Hair (that would be Full House), along with watching the snowflakes swirl by the windows. My daughter loves school and has missed enough for a lifetime due to illness, so she didn’t want to be home either. We ended up bonding over a seemingly “nothing” day.
My wife once asked if I’d ever want to be a house husband. This conversation took place at the beginning of the rah-rah 2000’s, but even then I realized that homebound would never be my thing. Still, every once in a while a father (and a daughter, for that matter) need to step back and recover from the world of…the world. Not complicated, definitely not rocket surgery. Just life as it happens.
I went back to work today after nasty bout with food poisoning. The details are too detailed, but I can say that I will try to eat healthier, more nutritious meals. The illness stemmed from “dining” at a sandwich shop whose owners pride themselves on the speed with which they produce subs, but not so much on what really goes into the product. All my life, I’ve reveled in owning a cast iron stomach, but the Porkinator did me in (and judging by it’s name…duh). Vegetables, are no better. Unwashed havens of death, veggies are. You’d be better off eating from the men’s room floors at the Cleveland Greyhound depot than you would trying to live the healthy, balanced dietary life. In fact, I have, but there isn’t any reason to kiss and tell. Where is the Jolly Green Giant when you need him? We need more imaginary Madison Avenue advertising creations to benevolently watch over humanity and protect us from food borne danger.
Yesterday was Earth Day, and I didn’t have much time to think about careers in the nutritional super hero field (what, with all the puking and crying “Lord, kill me now”). Today, however is a blessed new day for the world, and I feel no shame in filling out an application to be the Jolly Green Giant. I have some of the qualifications down. Sewing a ginormous leafy loin covering skirt should be no problem. I got straight B’s in Home Economics. My complexion is seriously green, which is possibly a lingering effect of the Porkinator. The 85-foot tall height requirement is a kind of tough to break through. How does one become 85 feet tall? I’ll have to ask the folks at the Green Giant vegetable company. How many bags of frozen peas does a person have to eat to get that tall? Never mind the kind of genetic mutation loaded into the peas to induce such spectacular growth. Where in the blazes does an 85-foot behemoth of advertising genius sleep? Standing up? Oh, and what about all of that natural, jolly green fertilizer? God forbid old boy ever gets food poisoning. Every time the folks hear “Ho, Ho, Ho” they’d better run. On second thought, maybe I’ll just be careful about the food I put into my body and leave the work of Jolly Green Giant-ing to the advertising mutants. Ho Ho Ho.
Like many failed bloggers, I aspire to be a novelist. Some persistent voice in my mind shouts at me to write as if my life depends on it. No, I’m not actually hearing voices and the persistent encouragement may be the result of too much Sudafed (mmm…cold medicine). Every now and then one of the creative mash-ups that appear on these pages shows promise. A reader from Argentina mentioned that I’m funny (looking). During my college days, I imagined myself as a poet. One girl I gave original poetry to stopped taking my pizza order long enough to go and show my work to her manager. Sure, I’m banned from Pizza Hut in every state (except Alabama), but that just prompted me to learn to make pizza. While mowing the lawn, I thought of a list of life experiences that would be beneficial to my future career as a novelist. The neighbors were kind enough to give the mower back after it propelled itself through their roses. Qualifications:
I’ve previously worked naked (not in the film industry. I was a dish washer).
Good with titles. For instance, if the novel involved lawn care, I’d call it 5o Shades of Brown.
knowledgeable about romancelove cheeses of the world.
Formerly a dashing man of international intrigue. Well, I’ve been to Canada.
Great at putting words together in a way that simultaneously inspires rage and boredom.
I enjoy books. My favorite is the comic book version of Burn Baby Burn.
Wrote speeches for previous President George W. Bush. Needless to say, he never used them. Who can tell the difference, though?
Have flair for describing gritty, realistic life situations. Once such situation might involve a dark, stormy night on which my dog went pee in my shoe. Then again, maybe not.
I write in the same way I speak. Oh, wait. Neither of those are strong selling points. I may have to return to washing dishes.
One of the wonderful things my wife did when we got married was that she made me stop dating. Okay, I honestly wanted to stop. I love Lori more than any other person on earth. Thank God for not having to go through the sham ritual of courtship anymore, though. I was never any good at relationships. Or personal interaction. Or speaking to people without gibbering and flapping my arms. Flirting was impossible. I just never got it. Maybe it was because everything I tried to say came out in 452 word bursts. Some people have a gift for nonchalant flirtation, some only manage to catch fire from zipper friction, because they wear cheap pants. I don’t flirt. There are times when I make the vain attempt at speaking casually and end up paying for it (and having to purchase new pants when the old ones burn up).
I went for a haircut. This is always a mistake, because hair stylists often are the best at making therapeutic small talk. They know nearly everything, because they’ve heard nearly every story conceivable. Once in the chair, I began to babble about how my hair always ends up looking like that of Sopranos tough guy Pauly Walnuts. The side wings just say I should put on a jogging suit and a Members Only jacket. The patient stylist asked me lots of questions about myself and I babbled. And babbled some more. The problem, I noticed after returning home, was that one side of my head is cut differently than the other. This always happens when I try to be funny and light. The rule before each trip out of the house should be: “continue to be a jerk, Andrew.” This is not my first brush with small talk induced failure. A few years before meeting Lori, I tried to practice being fun and flirty at a blood drive. When asked to choose between an older, veteran Red Cross associate to draw my blood, or a cute girl, I went for small talk and jokes. Unfortunately, practice outweighs pretty. I have veins that show like the Mississippi River on a map, but she missed on a half-dozen attempts. Signaling for the seasoned vet and another guy my age, nurse vampire had the three of them sit on my arm in an attempt to get blood from the part of my ulna the needle was bent and wedged into. My arm should hurt as much as it did that night every time that I think about trying to be friendly. It’s good to be married to a beautiful woman who doesn’t pay attention to my dumb attempts at small talk. Hopefully, she won’t ask about my weird haircut.
Sometimes, while trolling around for free internet content, you actually find articles that are helpful. Yeah, I know. The folks at Time Magazine don’t give away much of their prized current material, but I managed to learn something while trying to get past an article about Indianapolis, Indiana being named America’s most sexually satisfied city. Of course the citizens of Indy are satisfied. They have nothing else to keep them busy. “What should we do today? Should we go get pork sandwiches? Naw. Let’s go to bed.” Now you know why Civil War re-enactors around Indianapolis just lie down on the battlefield. Anyway, I didn’t stop to give that article a lot of consideration. What got me was a series of pieces dating back to 2009 on the subject of over-parenting. The article questioned the behavior of today’s dreaded helicopter parents, of which I’m definitely one. Unless I prevail over medical science (and common sense), it is likely that my daughter is the only child I’ll ever parent. With that in mind, I watch over her normal childhood trials and tribulations with a keen, hawk-eyed sense of foreboding. I just want what’s best for my child, even if it means repeating to every future date of hers the line uttered by Mel, the father in Clueless:
Anything happens to my daughter, I got a .45 and a shovel, I doubt anybody would miss you.
Sadly, I know that one of the key’s to my daughter’s success is letting her make her own mistakes. Here are some personal mistakes I experienced in order that she never has to:
If you don’t know how to properly operate a ginormous car, don’t drive it through a religious revival where strangers just got filled with the Holy Spirit.
Don’t tell a blind date that you knew right away who they were from across a crowded room, but decided not to come over and introduce yourself, because you were hoping you were wrong.
You can live on stale Halloween candy and cheap beer for months on end, but the results generally aren’t pretty.
Try not to throw away your life plans to follow a rock band around the country. Even if it’s Hootie and the Blowfish.
If you love someone, tell them so. Life is short, the universe is funny. Don’t make the mistake of silence.
Mostly Teachable takes things all the way to the end of history and says “Farewell. Sorta” to life on earth as we know it. Thanks for listening to the poddy, we’ll be back Friday afternoon for the M.T. Christmas Special ( if weather and cataclysmic destruction don’t get in the way). Subscribe for free to the every back episode of the podcast on iTunes, and receive the satisfaction of being able to use one more app on your phone or p.c.
I hold a bizarre hatred for Sunday nights. Each one is the end of a dream, the last glowing embers of a weekend that may ( or may not have) been the greatest ever. Try as I might, there just isn’t any way to extend time. I find myself each Sunday evening, parked on the end of the couch, glancing at the wall clock and remarking that it must be wrong. “10:23? Nah. I must have set it too far ahead.” Friday afternoon always holds so much hope, but Sunday night is like going through the wardrobe into the Narnia that is a new week. If, as Douglas Adams put it, Sunday afternoon is the long dark tea time of the soul, then the evening of the day is the end of tea altogether. Never mind the soul.
Eventually, I sleep it all off and wake up to start a new week. The dream begins anew. The hope that I can get to spend time with my family, sit for a few minutes and talk, and enjoy the strange, sweet blessing of sleeping in. The embers are stoked and kindled back into a fire that burns true. I can plan for the next time I have away from work and dream about a little time to do the things that make up my personality. In the meantime, I’ll work as hard as I can and put away pennies for weekends to come. This is a good life, despite the creeping presence of Sunday nights. Being able to work all week to get to that point is proof of how good life really is.
My 10-year-old daughter Anna brought home a permission slip this week asking me to sign off on her enrollment in family life classes at school. I wondered what in the world she needed to take a family life course for. She knows how life works in her household. She’s expected to complete all of her homework, treat others with respect, watch Spongebob without repeating anything he says, and…oh, sweet Lord! Family Life. AKA, “How to keep Anna from creating a family of her own until at least the time she’s completed her doctorate in astrophysics.” By calling early sex education courses Family Life, the schools have tried to break it to parents gently that their babies are maturing rapidly. This year the classes take place in the cocoon of the elementary school, but next year the kids will have a field trip to South Bend, Indiana for further study. Something to do with either corn reproduction or Notre Dame football. As long as both aren’t involved, I guess that signing the permission slip will be okay. Maybe.
Growing up, I don’t recall having to have a slip signed permitting me to take sex education courses. Permission slips were meant for really dangerous subjects. I had to have permission to take driver’s ed. My dad dragged his feet for several years about signing that slip. With good reason, too. No sane citizen should sign off on having a high school kid drive two tons of steel and glass over flower beds and through the marble lobbies of downtown hotels. Sex? Well, there was no parental permission given to learn how exactly to make a baby. Plenty of my friends had already done so and professed to how easy the process was. I didn’t feel as a teenager that I needed a class for sex. The knowledge that I gleaned from several neighborhood girls, my mom’s copies of Psychology Today and After School Specials with Helen Hunt and Scott Baio gave me what I felt was a well-rounded education. The actual classes were a bit of a shock. My sex ed class (or health, as they termed it. Health, as in “don’t use somebody else’s gym towel, or you’ll go blind.”) was taught by a former Soviet scientist. She’d designed truth serum in her former homeland. Mother Russia would bark commands at us and boy, did we do what she said. She started the semester by handing out crude anatomical sketches resembling eggplants with arms and legs. Sort of like the Operation man, only not as pleasant. “Draw the ovaries!” Mother Russia would shout, and I’d quickly approximate organs. On my girl eggplant, the one with odd thoracic radar beacons, I drew a hat. Surely, the over-ease must be on top of her head? What did I care about all of these details? These weren’t the eggplants of my dreams! I felt that I could draw a more complete woman from my study of Sports Illustrated and my imagination. This talk of “fall-open” tubes seemed frivolous. Oh, but then we moved on to venereal diseases. You didn’t get STD’s back in the day. No, VD was the great black death. Every instruction against catching gonorrhea or syphilis was punctuated with
…and you’ll die!
as in “Hang around with neighborhood girls while reading psychology magazines pilfered from mom… and you’ll die!” Sometimes, even as a reasonably educated adult, I still fear the hand of lingering death from old school diseases. Death was always right around the corner. Driving was a lot easier. I got my license after taking the driver’s test just five times. My education about women, eggplants and reproductive “health” continues to this day.
Each day I write my blog, but sometimes I forget about it. There are times when I need to be reminded that the writing is fun and can be taken away as easily it was started. Last night was an old school migraine night. One of those nights when I couldn’t possibly write a blog post. I couldn’t write a check to the Grim Reaper so that he’d take me away. At one point during the evening I got off of my face and out of the bed long enough to say something to my wife. She was watching American Idol, which apparently is a program about Nikki Minaj. The Minaj Mahol was telling some hapless singer about her waffle eating habits. Nikki wasn’t just drunk, she was f-unk. The migraine, along with AI, pierced my eyeballs and sent me back between tossing my own waffles and the bed.
Somewhere in the early hours of morning, long about two o’clock in the morning, I woke up with slightly less of a headache. The headache was momentarily kicking my butt rather than my head (although, they’re eerily similar). The first thing I thought about was writing this weird little blog. Then I fell back asleep. When I got up for the day, the thought of putting some electronic ink down was still with me, though. I kind of missed putting the blog together on a day when I couldn’t do it. Making up Mostly Teachable as I go along is cathartic. Writing the blog is a way of scribbling out the good and bad events of each day and making sense out of them. Sometimes the blog works, many times it doesn’t. Quality and quantity are beside the point. Writing is fun for me, because it’s a way of sorting out life. Nasty migraines, obnoxious reality singing show judges and the rest of life.
The tiny, non-starter irritations in life are always the ones I get stuck on. The other morning, I awoke and turned on the TV in time to see some unctuous spokes-models wandering through a wheat field touting the virtues of a brand of breakfast cereal. The beautiful people rattled and prattled for thirty seconds about this wonderful, natural sort of cereal. The food is supposedly natural because it’s shaped like something once found in nature and healthy because of some purported relationship with the earth. Blah, Blah, Blah. Never mind that the product is doused in malt syrup and makes its own gravy when covered in milk. The commercials used to employ a preachy testimonial from some world-famous chef, but models meandering through wheat fields dreamily expounding on the blessings of cereal must have seemed more relatable to advertising executives. Poor, hunky, famous chef. He’s probably gone back to slinging oatmeal in a hotel dungeon somewhere.
There isn’t much natural about breakfast cereal. If there was, we’d all be eating bowls of fertilizer (“All the best to you each morning!”). Rice grains impregnated with superheated air, rolled oats covered in sugar and stuck together with dyed and dried cranberries. I actually enjoy the completely unnatural. Peanut Butter Cap’n Crunch. At least when I eat PBCC, I know that it’s not even an imitation of real food, the same as I know that it hasn’t travelled with actual pirates.
Arrr…we’ll forgo the booty and take the peanut butter crap food with us. Sure beats cow manure…
I’d love to make a new kind of cereal that embodies the all-American breakfast. Coffee, cigarettes and resentment. The new breakfast treat might be called Smoldering Java Anger Flakes. The advertising would feature combat boot wearing lunchroom cooks wandering through Walmart shouting the virtues of eating compost. Every box would feature a hairnet at the bottom as a sort of prize. You know, I might change course and start eating some of that unctuous, whole grain cereal. It might regenerate the brain cells killed off by years of Cap’n Crunch.
Blogging for me Writing is all about the content, the nuance, the meaning of what the author is trying to say. In the case of this particular blog, I try to get at least some of that right. So, when friends who read this regularly started to mention that the audio player was hinky and not functional, I got motivated to blow up the blog with the bath water. This new…thing has a better player for the podcast episodes, plus some different features and menus. The thing is, if I’m committed to putting up a new, decidedly weird post each day, the place I post them better be cool. Hence this new work in progress. The best is yet to come ( or some related cliché).
This is a response to Michelle W.'s Daily prompt question for 2/12/13 at The Daily post. In this podcast, I talk about how my blog came by it's name, how I became (Mostly) Teachable and the nature of the blog.
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This is an audio podcast response to Michelle W.’s Daily prompt question for 2/12/13 at The Daily post. In this podcast, I talk about how my blog came by it’s name, how I became (Mostly) Teachable and the nature of the blog. Below is a link to Michelle’s original piece:
Yesterday I posted a bit of verbal nonsense about what its like to find ways to kindle (and rekindle) romance in the midst of marriage. My wife didn’t really let me off the hook. She hasn’t heard the podcast yet (shhh). Date nights are a wonderful, cherished occasion rarely enjoyed during our workaday lives. The times we get to go out and have a laugh (or three) are a relief and a reminder of the days when we were going out. In those days, I either cut out early for home, or pretended that I didn’t notice her father’s quizzical looks if I was still hanging out when he was going off to bed. Nowadays, Lori and I both enjoy our laughs, check on our daughter and then fall asleep, because the sheer excitement of being alone together wears us out.
This week, I helped put together nearly 400 date night kits. Despite my caveman ways (“I’m a simple caveman. I don’t understand your modern romance), I try to help out with encouraging and helping local married couples. We put in three suggested dates, along with a lot of incentives to try local restaurants. The idea seems both absurd and novel at the same time. Many couples, when they find out what’s included in the date night boxes, ask why they need any such motivation. The argument we get is that they’re already married, so there really isn’t any need for our box of goodies. What gets forgotten in the business of being married, and the business of raising kids while working, is that we need to make time to date our spouses. After all, we didn’t marry each other and forfeit our souls. Sometimes, it takes a box full of funny sounding, old-fashioned suggestions to remind us that being alone with our marriage partners was (and is) fun. We live and breathe every moment in support of our families, yet often forget to communicate with our own partners. I’m a little proud of having worked on the date night kits. We distributed, by the Grace of God, nearly 300 of them today. Older couples told us things like “We’ve been married 45 years, and it’s been a long time since we dated.” Which is exactly the point. The idea of the date isn’t just time alone. It’s about time alone together.
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This is podcast episode 19(ish). In this week’s episode, I goof on all things Valentine’s day including gift buying, romance and sex. This podcast also snapshots a little bit more about depression. For information on “stuff” heard on the podcast, please feel free to ask away. Also, check out our car and travel friendly i-tunes podcast (which is absolutely free).
I can’t wrap my brain around the idea of being reincarnated. Earth is a nice place to visit, but returning to it repeatedly in various forms seems like a buzzkill. To be reincarnated is like watching a rerun of a show you were mildly amused by over and over again. Sure, you might notice little details that were missed the first time around (“Ooh! Colors!), but essentially the show will always be a repeat. Heaven is a much simpler concept, which is imperative for the feeble-minded man such as myself. I love God and accept His gift of Grace for all of eternity. He will then allow me to live in his home forever. The streets are gold, the music is soothing and I’ll have forgotten the things about all of my loved ones that were so annoying. To be reincarnated is to work. Work is nice, at least in theory. Having to do it over many lifetimes is a hard road. I’m not a really good person. Certainly not good enough to be reincarnated as anyone cool. More than likely, I’ll come back as Alex Rodriguez’ left butt cheek and will be repeatedly stabbed with a hypodermic needle for years. With any luck, I won’t return as some sort of infected monkey, Lindsey Lohan, a doorknob , or some combination of the three. Yep, that will be me. A body carrying the spirit of monkeypox Lohanknob.
We are born. We die. Then we aren’t. At least not on earth. Part of the joy of living is knowing that one day we won’t have to exist amongst the problems of earth. No more worrying about money, laundry, or money laundering. Our spirits won’t be crushed any longer by bad relationships, or left to wonder when the bottom is going to fall out of good ones. I believe my spirit will go on in the heavenly realm. My body won’t be a concern any longer, though. The addled brain that inhabits my repeatedly cracked skull will no longer plague me with stupid questions. I’ll be one with God and His universe. Though there will no longer be a need to, I’ll kick back and enjoy shaky jokes and way too many Cokes. Heaven is real and I can’t wait to be united with God there.
There is a part of me that revels in simplicity. There are only a handful of possessions in life that I care about, and the concern for them is mostly sentimental. In a 9″ x 6″ box that sits atop my dresser rest most of my so-called “important” things. The box means a lot, because my wife’s grandparents gave matching ones to all of the men in the family one Christmas. Inside are photos of my wife Lori from when we were dating, baby pictures of our daughter Anna and assorted ones of my nephews. There are watches that Lori gave me, including one from St. Thomas, as well as the Beatles watch my parents gave me when I turned 17. Near the top is the first Valentine’s card Anna ever made for me. Rounding out the assortment are “attaboys” from various jobs, including a 5-year anniversary pen from my present job and lots of lapel pins. The one featuring the World Trade Center buildings still means a lot to me, and every time I wear it the fear is that the pin will get lost. Alas, things are just things. I try to keep the main thing the main thing and care more about people than stuff and trifling bits of material. All that said, I do have one oddly emotional attachment to a possession though, and that is my raggedy old automobile. The car is so me, and I am so that car.
This morning I was summoned away from work to run an errand in my old Honda CR-V. There are a number or recurring characters that appear at Mostly Teachable. Lori, Anna, and our dog Grace are the most notable. The Honda appeared in these pages long before any of them did, however. According to the car’s birth certificate, it will turn 15 in March. Nevertheless, I’m still running errands in the car, which is fine by me. Last night, I drove my wife’s sensible automobile of a more recent vintage across town and nearly bit the farm (or some applicable cliché). As I almost slammed into the back of a stopped car while skidding on a snow-covered street, I really thought very highly of my old Honda. This morning, driving my fussy Honda around town and feeling the car adjust to the road conditions, I felt slightly more reassured. Sure, the Honda doesn’t have creature comforts. It takes 20 minutes for the interior to warm up, but I don’t need to be warm. The back hatch doesn’t close, which isn’t a big issue. If I happen start hauling immigrants across the border, I’ll spring for duct tape to keep the hatch closed. There are unidentified smells and never-mind stains, but I don’t drive the Honda for looks. Bumper stickers cover most of life’s inadequacies and that goes double for my car. So, happy Valentine’s day old, clunky friend. I’ll always keep your grill ornament on my dresser. I’m just a little sentimental that way.