BREAKING NEWS: Local Man Did Something

You may have been wondering about my vaugebook post about going confidently in the direction of your dreams being stressful from a few weeks ago. Well, I took a major step toward a dream today. As you may or may not know, I’ve been searching for a way to use my creativity for professional means for several months now. In pursuit of this goal, I put in my notice at Barnes & Noble.

My last day will be June 21st. You’ll notice significantly higher numbers of birds singing, and higher levels of sunshine. Maybe, wear a hat that day. Not to disparage my time there; I truly learned a lot. However, what was beginning to feel like career doldrums was really me not setting my sails to the right winds.

What am I going to do now? Good question. At the present time, I’ll become the Taz of job applications while continuing to forge the many irons Danni and I have in the fire. Hopefully, I’ll be saying more funny things soon (not about cleaning up bathroom atrocities) but my focus will be on saying professional things for a bit.

With that being said, if you have any tips for someone looking for a writer, photographer, web manager, social media marketer, commercial jingle songsmith, or burgeoning goofball in the Fargo area, send me a message. My family and I appreciate it. I may even write you a limerick.

Thank you for your love and encouragement.

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On my ill-ness

My nose runs and my throat tickles,

My brain swims and my eye trickles.

 

I don’t feel well and I don’t think good.

I want to write a post, but don’t think I could.

 

I started a story, then had to quit,

my knees shaking as I try not to –

 

Flit to another idea.

 

I need to sleep, I need some Zzz’s.

I submit this poem, now if you please…

 

– Forgive the slant rhyme,

Poor meter,

Bad structure –

 

Turn of the light as you leave.

Babies on a Plane

I took my young daughter on a plane recently, and I was surprised by a few things. The first was the airline’s treatment of my child. When getting my ticket, I had to list her as an, “Infant in Arms,” which makes me think of a baby military.  This process included writing her name, and birth date, and NOTHING ELSE! I didn’t need to provide a birth certificate, any sort of hospital records, nothing. Nothing at all. I could have brought, literally (and I mean literally) any baby on that plane. I’m trying to figure out if there is a way to make money from this, but so far all my ideas involve me being a truly terrible person.

The next thing is that when we left the hospital with our little bundle, we were required to have a car seat. They wouldn’t let us leave with the baby (in a car) without one.  Planes, on the other hand, you can (again, literally) hold the baby in your arms. Car going 65mph 2 feet off the ground? That baby is gonna need a special, rear-facing seat with a five-point harness, only to be used in the back seat of the car. Plane going 500mph at 30,000 feet? NBD, you can just hold it, or something. Heck, even your drink has a special spot on the tray so it doesn’t slide around.

One thing you cannot hold during landing or take-off, on the other hand, is a laptop. In fact, your laptop needs to be stowed, in a bag, either under your seat or in the overhead bin.

“Uh, excuse me sir?”

“Yes?”

“I’m afraid you’ll need to stow your laptop before take-off”

“Oh, this isn’t a 5lb laptop, it’s my 25lb child.”

“I’m so sorry to bother you, I thought you were holding something important, like a computer.”

I was also surprised that people didn’t hiss and boo as I walked through the airplane. I was fully expecting that, at some point during the flight, for someone to turn around and say something awful to my child and I like,

“Stupid baby, why does your stupid baby make so much stupid noise?! I’m trying to watch 13 Going on 30 on my iPhone for the millionth time and your stupid baby is really taking me out of the movie!”

Or

“Your damn diaper baby keeps crying! Why is your diaper baby so damn annoying. I didn’t bring any headphones on this plane because I want to annoy the person next to me with bland conversation and I can’t do that with your friggin’ diaper baby crying!”

I even spent time coming up with responses. All of them level headed, and on-point.

“FYOU, YOU STUPID JERK!”

And

“OH YEAH?! Spits on face.”

Luckily, I didn’t need to bust out any of these. To the contrary, a few people on flights helped entertain my baby by waving, clapping, and making funny faces. These people helped remind me that, in the mountain of shit that is modern air-travel, a few people are not garbage. Thank you, fellow humans. Thank you.

Sword in a Knife Fight

I don’t get how double edged sword means something good and bad. The phrase implies that you’ll cut your opponent with one edge and cut yourself with the other, but I don’t think that’s how swords work. Granted, I’ve never used a sword, let alone, compared the qualities of single v. double edged ones, but I have seen a lot of movies.

I have a scar on the pointer finger of my left hand that I got from mismanaging a banana situation. I had two bananas hanging from a banana hook and I wanted to eat one, but somehow let the last one remain on the hanger. Now, if I simply pulled the bananas apart, neither one would have enough stem to hang on a hook. I decided that I would cut the stem off of one, that way there would be a little stem-hook so the other one could hang.

For some moronic reason, I did this with the bananas still on the hanger. My knife sliced through the stem and right into my finger. Side note: the saying, you never cut yourself with a sharp knife, is more about being responsible with your equipment, and properly maintaining it, than the actual ability of a knife to cut a human. This was a very sharp knife.

I have something good and something bad. Good things: one banana to eat, and one banana that can hang. Bad things: a deeply cut finger, and two bloody bananas. It would seem then, that my single blade knife has become a double edged sword. I consider this an upgrade.  Now, I think I’ll go slay some dragon fruit.

 

Do I Still Pay Full Price, Then?

My first job was cooking at Perkins. It was pretty terrible. I was 16 and worked way longer and later than the law allowed. I worked with people who frequently did drugs…at work. But there was one thing we always did: prepare the food.

“No crap, Einstein. That’s sort of implied with your title, cook, huh?”

We’ll there’s where you’re wrong. I recently had a run-in with some food that required an additional step before eating. The Wife, Baby, and I were at Bubba Gump Shrimp (yeah, we fancy) and I ordered… the shrimp plate? … something like that. Anyway, I like shrimp, but don’t eat it much.

Our food arrives, and I begin eating. If you’re a frequent eater of sea-bugs, you probably can see where this is going. After a few minutes, the Wife mentions the basket in the center of the table for shells.

“What shells?” I reply.

“The shrimp. They have shells on them. You’re supposed to take the shells off first.”

silence

“Have you been eating the shells?”

“Yeah.”

“Didn’t you think that was weird?”

“I thought they were crunchy.”

“They have feet on them.”

“Yeah, so do cows and chickens. I eat a lot of things with feet. Pig’s feet are delicacies in a lot of places.”

And this brings me to my complaint; why was I supposed to take part in the preparation of my food? Correct me if I’m wrong, but I pay the cook to make the meal. If I order a cheeseburger, and I’m brought an un-cut bun, a cooked patty, and a plate of toppings, my response would be, “What in the f- is this?” However, everyone turns and drools when a plate of fajitas sizzles its was across a Mexican restaurant. Why can I, in the same restaurant, order a salad as a meal or get the salad bar and do all the f-ing work myself?

I like cooking. The Wife and I are pretty good at it, too. That doesn’t mean that we go to Fridays thinking, “We’re gonna show these little s-o-b’s how to make some wanton tacos, damnit!” No, I want the cook to cook, and I want my only obligation to be opening my mouth, jamming it with fried f-ing cheese, and getting the squirts 20 minutes after I get home.

Finale

I may be the only person that feels sad when they think about the series finale of Wings. Well, I suppose the actors probably felt sad. I dunno. Anyway, as a kid, I felt like I was watching people leave on the last day of camp. I couldn’t tell you what happened, or even any of the character’s names, but I remember that feeling so vividly. To this day, I dislike the ends of sitcoms. Not even just the finales, I typically stop watching when the story arc is on it’s downward swing.

I think it’s because I become invested in the characters, as any fan of a show does, and don’t want to end the relationship with them. A good TV show gets you to understand these characters like you know them in real life. They have motives, they have dreams, plans futures, failings, flaws.

And we get to talk about them.

Constantly.

And not even feel bad about it!

Unlike real life, though, I don’t need to watch the finale. Ross will always be chasing Rachael. Fonzie never gets on that motorcycle. Mel Gibson never guest stars on the Simpsons. I can stay where I want to stay, see the story I want to see, and never reach an ending.

This may sound unhealthy. You may be thinking, “Well that’s life, buddy. Things end. Get over it.” That’s the thing; things in life do end. There’s often nothing we can do about it but watch something we had grown to love come to an end while a clip-show wrap-up runs through our head in slow-mo to Time of Your Life or whatever kids are crying about these days. We just have to go through it.

I know that the bitter makes the sweet, and you need to see a story through, but life throws enough endings at us as it is. For me, Bob Hope will always be dreaming.

 

So You Speak German, Then?

Why is it okay to be a nazi when grammar is involved?

“I really don’t care what the affect is, here.”
“Actually, it’s effect in this situation.”
“What?”
“You meant to say effect instead of affect. Sorry, I’m kind of a grammar nazi.”

I know I slept in history class, but I don’t recall the nazi’s walking up to folks and saying, “Um, I think you meant to say christian. Sorry, I’m kind of a nazi.” That didn’t happen. You’re not a grammar nazi; you’re a stickler for grammar at best, an ass at worst.

Also, isn’t it a massive slap in the face to all the people who really fought/were under captivity by actual nazi’s to just tag that word on to stuff? I know, Seinfeld had the Soup nazi episode, but you know what? You’re not Jerry f-ing Seinfeld. Make one of the best sitcoms of all-time, then you can throw around nazi.

Now, I’m not saying that people should just run around, saying words with little regard to their meaning. I’m saying the opposite of that. Nazi has a meaning, and you’re using it wrong.

On a serious note…

I don’t watch the relatively recent string of comedy/dramas about young parents. Not that I think they’re bad, (truth be told, I haven’t seen more than the commercials) it’s just that I don’t want them. 

I feel that a show like that has no purpose. Parents know how tough being a new parent is and people who aren’t parents don’t care. I think the only reason someone would watch a show like that is for validation (a normal desire); seeking affirmation for the hardships they’re undergoing and a soothing voice to express their frustrations with humorous scenarios and slightly outlandish premises. 
I know how tough it is being a new parent. I know, and I have a damn good baby. I have been fortunate enough to have a perfectly healthy baby girl who smiles and waves when I come home, and giggles when I tickle her. But still, I know. 
I also know how having a child changed your life in ways you wouldn’t expect. Your life gains a seriousness and purpose you’d previously been uninterested in. Actions have consequences and your life is now guiding that of another. 
Beginning a new project in a time as tumoltous as this is difficult, and maybe a little foolish. I do not, however regret it. 
I began writing last year largely as a reaction to growing unsatisfaction with my job at that time. A quarter life crisis (maybe too strong a term) caused me to look for a way to live off of something I enjoyed, not just was decent at. I dove in, sending a few query letters to magazines and reading up about different ways to be a successful writer. I soon received a positive response from a regional magazine, and am happy to say that it has led to an article soon to be published (I’ll link to it when it is).
Then my writing needed to take a pause. There simply wasn’t room for it in the life of this young father. Perhaps, if I had started writing sooner I would’ve been able to support my small family with it, or at least had better habits in place. But as it was, I was forced to set it aside. 
It made me feel fickle, and a bit weak to stop. It was embarrassing to start something so public only to seemingly end so soon afterward. A few folks asked when I would post again, or why I stopped. I didn’t have a clear answer. 
I’m writing again, though. I’m still working a full time job, but a change of job positions now lets me write my own schedule, allowing my wife and I to get routine in our lives. Things are smoothing out. 
I don’t regret starting writing when I did because it was the only time I would, or could, start something like this. I don’t regret taking a break because people made me feel that my writing was something worth missing (some of it, anyway). I do not doubt that I will take missteps as I try to use my creativity for work. I have more projects rolling around in my head and many, most even, will be fruitless. That’s learning, I suppose. 
I thank you for taking the time to read this. Thanks to those of you who read my old posts, and thanks to those of you who asked when there would be more. And thank you for supporting me as I try to find my voice. 
I’d like to end with the parable of the twins. Twins are separated at birth. One is taken to Mexico and he’s named Juan, the other is taken to Iraq and he’s named Amal. The biological parents decide they want to arrange a meeting for these two twins some years later, so they invite both of the twins to meet them in France. The plane with Juan arrives and there is much hugging. However, when the plan with Amal lands, he isn’t on it. 
Distressed, everyon begins speculating on what happened to Amal. The father quietly ponders this for a moment, then says, “Now, now. If you’ve sen Juan, you’ve seen Amal.”