Monthly Archives: September 2012

Time Marches On

I am a time traveler.

As with all awesome super-human powers, time traveling has rules.  First, I’m not supposed to talk about it.  This rule however was conceived before the invention of my blog.  So I think you can understand why I have decided to side step this rule.  Secondly, I don’t actually have the ability to pick and choose where and when I will appear in time.  If that were the case I would have gone all “back-to-future” on you and picked myself up a sports almanac from the future.  No, I can’t jump forward or backward through time, but rather I was born with the ability to change the rate at which I travel through time.

A long time ago back in the early 1970’s, I witnessed a bunch of people traveling through time at the rate of one second per second and I thought to myself, “Sure.  That looks like the right pace for my existence.  I think I will travel at that rate too.”  My days would last 86,400 seconds each and they would actually feel like exactly 86,400 seconds.

Somewhere around the age of five I discovered how to manipulate the rate of time.  As I got a bit older, sometimes I would mess with the knobs and dials that control the rate at which I traveled time.  There was a period of my life where I slowed my progression through time down to a rate that made the summers seem to last forever.  I don’t remember the exact settings, but I think I was traveling somewhere near the one-quarter second per second rate.  It’s really difficult to maintain that rate these days, but when I was a kid I was a very talented time traveler.

Something happened since I had children.  I can’t seem to keep control of my time traveling anymore.  Somewhere about seven years ago I messed up the control panel so badly and I can’t seem to get it adjusted properly anymore.  I started traveling through time at a rate that is simply too fast.  My months go by so quickly that sometimes I lose track.  Didn’t we just celebrate New Year’s Day?  I can’t even remember traveling though the spring season at all.  I’m so out of control, that I’m about to blink and it will be Christmas time.

I am desperately trying to regain control of my time traveling rate, but I fear that I will be increasing the rate at which I am progressing through time even more as I get older.  I’ve spoken to other time travelers.  As they age, they too have been faced with a broken system that causes this increased rate of travel.

I do however have a working theory—a plan to remedy my broken time traveling ability.  If, as a child, I was able to slow time down, I think there is the possibility of slowing time down so much so that it will actually go negative.  I think this can in fact be achieved.  I’m looking into it.  Until I complete the work needed to flush out this theory and put it into practice, I’m also taking the time to memorize all of the final scores of every major sporting event over the last twenty years.  I am hoping that it will come in handy soon.  Soon (as in last decade).

Buy my books yesterday.

Real Downer

Someone asked me the other day if I could recall a time of overwhelming sadness in my life.  At first, this type of question seemed like a total downer.  But looking ahead in the conversation, I can see where this topic was heading.  It was suppose to be the kind of a question that will have you thinking about your current state of mind and ultimately have you counting your blessings.

I played along and joined in on the conversation.  It was great.

Buy my books!

Wait a minute.  It just dawned on me that you might want to hear about a great sadness in my life.

That’s kind of morbid.  Don’t you think?  So if you are still reading, you should ask yourself a different question.  Why am I intrigued by other people’s sadness?  Or maybe—What is wrong with my head?

Alright freaks (all those that trudged forward after my above written ridicule), the following is a moment in time when I found myself overwhelmed with a great sadness.

The other evening I was getting myself a bowl of cereal.  I believe it was Lucky Charms.  I was hungry and looking for a quick snack before bedtime.  I filled the bowl with just the right amount of cereal, retrieved a spoon from the silverware drawer, and opened the refrigerator.  I was disappointed to see that the amount of milk remaining in the jug was probably not going to fill the bowl to an adequate level.  Although disappointed, I was armed with the knowledge that there were additional jugs of milk in our second refrigerator located in the basement.

I journeyed to the basement to retrieve the next gallon of milk, carried it up the stairs, and removed the little plastic safety seal.  That safety seal was put in place for my protection.  It warms my heart to think that there are people out there who care about me that have never even met me.  Thanks safety seal placement people!

I placed the new jug of milk off to the side and returned to the nearly empty jug of milk.  I popped the lid and began to pour.  And that is when it happened.  The amount of milk that was remaining in the jug turned out to be the exact amount required by my standards of cereal to milk ratios.  The bowl stood there in front of me, shining like the perfection that it was.  The second jug of milk was not necessary whatsoever!

I suppose the irony should have put a smile on my face—Lucky Charms, the perfect amount of milk.  Nope, not then.  The irony was lost with my new found sense of depression.

I didn’t need to go to the basement for milk at all!  There was plenty right there in front of me.  I wasted my precious time and energy traveling all the way to the basement and back for nothing.  I retrieved a gallon of milk from the basement, and for what?  Nothing.  Useless.  I could have use what was readily available to me, waited until the morning, and had one of my boys do the dirty work of tromping downstairs and back.  I could have been enjoying this late night snack a full minute earlier.  An entire minute!  The wasted time was cutting into my sleep time.  Now I’ll be waking up just a bit more tired than I should be.  A tear slid down my check and hit the countertop right next to my bowl.  I put the new milk jug back in the…

…sorry.  I have to stop here.  I had some jokes lined up to close this entry, but I’m just too depressed re-living this tragic event.

Buy my books (if you even feel like it anymore).

Fashion Statement

I have a lousy memory.  I do, however, remember the day I learned that I was a fashion misfit.

I have very little childhood memories.  I’m not happy about this since I believe that I had a pretty good childhood.  It would be nice to have the memories to back up this claim.  My brain seems to have only a few short scenes from the past randomly saved off as time went by for me.  I remember nothing at all from fifth grade and back.  I remember having a few conversations with a few teachers from the middle school years.  I remember only a handful of moments from high school.  College is a blur, but that might not be my memory’s fault.

I remember a particular moment in time that has stuck with me for no good obvious reason.  The brain is an odd mysterious thing.  Somewhere back in high school (the late 1980’s for me), I was hanging out with some friends at a high school basketball game.  There was Ellen, Patty, Brent, and Mark.  It was a warm night and I was wearing shorts and a tee-shirt.  Actually, it didn’t matter what the temperature was because I was going to wear shorts until somewhere near mid-winter.  I also had on my favorite pair of high-top sneakers and a pair of tube socks.  The tube socks had three stripes, as a good pair of tube socks should.

The way I would wear my socks was exactly how I thought everyone should:  hike them up!  Tube socks were made to be worn pulled all the way up, right?  I learned my sock style from watching professional basketball in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.  Go ahead and do a Google image search.  I’ll wait.

You see?  Socks were up.  I’m sorry, what’s that?  Your auto-correct feature accidentally searched images for “tube snakes”.  Oh, you probably should be more careful.  There are some things that are really difficult to un-see.

So let’s get back to the high school basketball game.  Ellen comes up behind me and with the speed of a ninja leans over and pushes my socks into a scrunched pile of fabric at my ankles.  She then reports to me, “Socks are down in the late 80’s”.  Since she was a girl, and I was an awkward teenage boy, I conceded the point and have taken her fashion advice seriously ever since that night.  My socks have been pushed down into a scrunched pile ever since.

Fast forward to the year 2012.  My sons both wear their socks all the way up.  They are younger than I was on the night I learned that I was not a walking billboard fashion statement.  And they insist that the socks should be pulled all the way up.  I’ve tried to warn them.  Ellen would be so disappointed.  They either wear them all the way up or the wear ankle socks that you can’t pull up.  I’ve seen their friends hike their socks up too.

They might be right.  Maybe socks are back up in the 2010’s.

A recent Facebook poll that I set up should help clear up this issue.  Please help me and my boys out by visiting with your Facebook account:

Thank you for your vote.  I need to make sure that my boys are not the fashion misfit that their father was (and still is).

Buy my books.

(Hey, more than one book?  Yes, I wrote one for the pre-schoolers!)

Don’t Be Mad

It finally happened.  I pissed someone off while writing my blog for entertaining purposes.

I’ve been at this blogging thing for a hand full of months now.  I started somewhere in June and have accumulated over 4000 views, over 500 likes, over 200 followers, and six e-mail subscribers  (come on people, let me send some spam to your e-mail inbox).  My blog seems to be a popular little concept and my shoulder hurts from patting myself on the back.  I think I heard my rotator cuff tear.  No worries, I’ll type the rest of this with just one hand.

If you add all those up, you’ll get over 4706.  And you’ll get the math problem wrong for adding up items that are not in the same category.  With any luck you’ll receive a passing grade based on partial credit by the time you reach the end of this entry.  Keep trying, you’ll catch on and be a mathematical whiz in no time.

So on September 21st I received the following one liner from someone who remained anonymous by using the name “Someone”.

“Someone:  You should be put down for writing this.  I hope your children get hit by a car while crossing the street.”

Wow!  That’s harsh.

This comment was sent to me pertaining to a blog entry I wrote back in early July.  You can read it here for yourself.  The article was an attempt at humor (like almost all of my articles) in which the voices in my head starting yelling at me while I was observing my world.

At the time of me writing this entry (the one you are reading right now), there have been two positive hey-that’s-funny comments attached to the “offensive” article and nine bloggers “liked” it.

I wrote that over two months ago.  This means that you have to dig through my blog archive in order to find it.  Or you have to actually search for the topic specifically.  Perhaps this person was wading through my archive before stumbling upon the entry that caused them mental peril.  I’m guessing that the offended person searched through my archive and read at least two other stories from my voices in my head.  I suspect that “Someone” would not enjoy my articles no matter what the subject.

“Well, those two articles were not funny, but I’ll bet the next one will make me smile.”  Click.  “Oh, now I’m completely pissed off.”

And who says “put down” when referring to a human?  Maybe that is some sort of legal mumbo jumbo to ensure deniable plausibility.  “I didn’t murder him.  I simply put him down.  He was getting heavy and I was growing tired of carrying him around.”

I went back and reread the entry twice.  Not a single bird was hurt during the writing of that entry.  In fact, through humor, I was suggesting that we humans work together in harmony (like that old Coke commercial) to train these creatures to stay off the streets.  Sort of.  Ok, at the end of the article I did suggest that hunting of these animals should be increased at the northern border of my country.  But, as implied in all hunting, the carcasses should be used to feed the needy and hungry.  How about a nice Christmas goose on your table this year?

Pertaining to Someone’s comment that wishes harm upon my children, I’ll say it again: Wow!  I’m raising good, caring boys and I am a loving father and husband.  To wish them harm because I don’t care for a particular type of bird is kind of crazy-go-nuts.  I don’t care for a whole bunch of insects, perhaps we should go after my neighbor’s children too.

Perhaps when I taught my boys street safety rules so long ago, I should have gone about it differently.

“Now boys, when crossing the street don’t bother to look both ways.  Just hiss like you’re completely irritated with the cars existence and then start walking.”

So my question for “Someone” is this:  Do you own a car?  How many ants, spiders, and caterpillars do you “put down” every time you go for a drive?   I wish all of your toenails would fall off.  No wait, I think that would be a good thing.  See here.  Ah, never mind.  Just live your life in peace and may God bless you.

I read the response from “Someone” to my family—including my boys.  One of my sons loves to read my blog and is always looking over my shoulder when I’m typing.  My wife and I have always treated them like actual real live members of this world.  He said, “Dad, you should write a response to that for your next blog entry.”

I said, “The last thing I want is a PETA war on my blog.”

He said, “Do you know how much publicity that will get you?”

Ah, the wisdom of twelve year old (who also knows how to look both ways when crossing the street).

My son says, “Buy my book or I’ll hit you with my car!

Rah Rah Rah

Throughout the ages, individuals that participate and excel in sports have always been completely dedicated to their training and preparation.  A good coach will not only push their athletes into top physical form, but will ensure that the athlete’s mind is also focused like a laser on the challenge ahead.

My boys are currently participating in the cross-country program of their school.  They have a good coach.  He pushes them hard during practices to build their stamina, but he also sets their mind right just before a big race.

“You have to focus on your passing.  Put all of the trash in your head aside.  Anything negative that affected your day is now irrelevant.  Focus one hundred percent of your mind on getting the next pass.  Unless you are in first place, your mind shall be focused on the very next pass!”

Hollywood has shown us some inspiring coaches.  There have been many scenes depicting a coach’s rally of his football team.  That plot and story line has been ingrained in our minds about four billion times over now.  It’s time to move on Hollywood.  Find a new plot already.

I have a niece that is into the sport of “cheering”.  She is about twelve years old and is thoroughly enjoying cheerleading.  I was wondering how the coaches of a cheerleading team prepare their squad for the big game.  What does a cheerleading coach say to their team to motivate them to motivate a crowd?  How do you motivate the motivators?

“Alright you screaming bunch of girls, I want to see total focus out there today.  I want to see each and every one of you delivering the cheer of your life.  I want your voices to carry to the top of the bleachers.  I want smiles plastered ear to ear on each and every one of your faces.  I want to be able to look out into that crowd and see the both the young and the old smiling, clapping, and cheering along with us like they don’t have a care in the world!”

In some sports, the participants will play through a nagging injury.  I don’t think these people are heroes, but if their coach are relying on them and he calls them into the play, they do it.  They run in and give it their all.  What happens when a cheerleader is jolted with bad news just before a big game?  No different than a football player with a sore elbow, or a cross-country runner with sore legs, a cheerleader will just have to set that pain aside and push through and deliver the well rehearsed game plan.

“Coach, I am really depressed today.  My dog was run over by a car.  He was flattened like a pancake.  He died just hours ago.”

“Suck it up little missy.  This is homecoming—the biggest game of the year!  Now put a smile on the face and let’s get out there and cheer with everything you have.”

What if your team is cheering against a team with a dog for a mascot?  For example, there are a lot of teams with the “bull dog” mascot.

“Rah Rah!  Push them back!  Push them back!  Crush those dogs!”

The smile on the cheerleader begins to falter, until she reaches deep and remembers that her fellow cheerleaders are counting on her.  The crowd needs her!  She is a well trained cheering machine!  She cracks out a new smile even bigger than before.  Dedication!  Performance!

And with the biggest of smiles on her face she screams, “Pound those dogs into the ground!”

And the crowd goes wild!

At the next sporting event that you attend, look for the cheerleader masking her pain of the day.  Which one of them is cheering with a heavy burden weighing on their heart?  If their coach was doing their job right, you won’t be able to tell which cheerleader just arrived from a funeral.

Rah Rah! Buy my book!  It’s not too expensive.  Just have a look!
(a cheerleader, I am not)

Devastating Error

Something happened yesterday that profoundly impacted my world.

I wasn’t looking for trouble.  In fact, it was quite the opposite.  My only goal was to be helpful.  I carry myself through this world with a simple credo:  be helpful and leave people with a smile.  That is why I am astonished that I could be responsible for something so significantly horrendous.  Even now as I reflect upon the events leading up to this tragedy, I’m overwhelmed that I could have been so careless.  Where was my mind?  I can only blame myself, as there were no other people involved.

I missed the utensil basket and dropped a spoon into bottom of the dishwasher.

Unthinkable.  I just stood there, dumb-founded, frozen in that leaning over position watching in slow-motion as my hand released the spoon.  It wasn’t even close.  It missed the basket by more than a few inches and then started to bounce around the plates.  In that instant a million thoughts rang through my head as the spoon cascaded downward belting out a beautiful chorus of wind chime songs.  I remained frozen.  I didn’t even attempt to reach out to it.  I just watched its fateful journey downward.  My mind moved to a series of wishful thoughts—the happy endings that I knew were simply not feasible.  Only tragedy could be the ending to this journey.  Oh precious spoon, please settle down across the rack.  I’m begging you.  Don’t fall through.

It fell through as the final chime rang out and the silence began.

How did I let this happen?  My heart sunk as a realized that I now had big questions weighing down on my shoulders.  These important questions will define who I am as a husband, a father, a caring member of society.  Where do I go from here?  How do I recover from this devastating situation?  What actions can I take to right such a wrong?

And then like a light shining down from the stars, the answer that I was longing for washed over me.  The correct course of action filled my thoughts.  The warmth of knowing how to carry on and remedy this scenario filled my insides.

I’ll blame my children.

I closed the dishwasher door and walked away.

Buy my book and blame it on my children.

Do you smell that?

My boys are both running cross-country for their school team.  Since they are only fourteen months apart in age, they landed on the same team this year—the seventh and eighth grade team.  Our school district is insanely large.  Each of their classes has over one thousand children.  It’s a wild amount of organized chaos.  The cross-country team this year has about sixty boys on it.  More organized chaos.

Since the team practices immediately after the school day, it works out conveniently for me to pick up them up on my way home from work.  A problem arises when the weather is hot.  No, it’s not a problem with how well they did in the heat during practice.  No, that doesn’t bother me in the slightest as I pull up to greet them in my perfectly air-conditioned vehicle.  What really troubles me is when two really stinky children get into your car and it’s too hot outside to roll down the windows.  I cling to the possibility that I can somehow fix the situation.  I roll down all the windows except for my own window hoping that my magical pocket of cold air will hold its position surrounding me with all of its goodness.  It doesn’t work that way.  The evil boy stench infiltrates my area and I am forced to open the last window and let the heat bake me.  I drive the rest of the way home with my nose hanging out the window like a dog.

My boy’s summary of today’s cross country practice is the epic story of the dead fish.  Apparently during their run most of the boys got to lay their eyes upon a big dead fish lying next to the path that they were traveling.  The description coming from my boys was vivid and extremely descriptive.  “It was half eaten and had a ton of maggots crawling in and out of it.”  I’m really glad to be on the receiving end of this news worthy story (so much so that I thought you too should enjoy it too).  They continued with the same excitement that I wished they would have for math and science.  “There was bird crap all around it.  And its head was barely attached.  I saw it first and told everyone to come see it.”

Then my other son objected.  “No, I was there first.”

“No, you were behind me.”

“No I wasn’t.  I saw you coming after I was already looking at the dead fish!”

Hey, hold everything.  Stop, stop, stop.  Are my boys really participating in the I-saw-the-dead-fish-first argument?  Who wins at this debate like this?   What positive outcome results in proving your point?  I put a stop to the argument by pointing out how crazy dumb it sounded.  There is no value in being the one who saw a dead fish first.  None.  But the voices in my head could hear what could have been the next couple of lines.

“There is no way you saw the dead fish first.  I have always been best at spotting dead animals from a distance.  I’ve been doing it for almost seven years now.”

“No way!  I spotted my first dead animal at the age of four years old.  Also, Deer Hunter magazine voted me ‘best dead animal spotter of the year’ for the last four consecutive years!  In a row!”

“But I want to be the first dead fish spotter this time!  You were the dead fish spotter last time!”

You have to pick your battles in life.  There are no winners with this one.  I think it was a lose-lose situation.  Actually, it was a lose-lose-lose situation if you include the dead fish too.

Buy my not stinky book.