Tuesday, July 29, 2008

With Our Powers Combined

I can't handle the pressure of maintaining my own blog. People say "When are you going to write something new?" To which I have to say "When are you going to shut up?" Well I'm tired of telling people to shut up, so I will no longer be writing on this blog. If I have anything to say, it will be written on a blog that I will be sharing with Tanya. Visit us at

Monday, June 2, 2008

My Super Friend

My friend Jared Jones has a wife, who like many other women, has a severe fear of spiders and other creeping crawling things. Her recent reaction to a cockroach and his response to her reaction, calling it an "over-reaction," made me remember how it was he came to be so brave in the face of such a universally hated subject.
I remember the day distinctly. It was Jared's 9th birthday and the afternoon was unusually sticky for a Utah summer. We had finished playing on the slip-and-slide, and I had spent the last few minutes lightly crying to myself as I nursed a new gash on my chest, which I had received by sliding before a sufficient "rock check" could be done, and the yellow tarp declared safe.
The other boys were gathering on the back patio as Debbie (Mama Jones, as I liked to refer to her) was placing the last of the candles is the funfetti cake. Jared stood beaming over the sweet, multi colored confection (the only thing Jared loves more than a funfetti cake is two funfetti cakes).
I'm sure our rendition of "Happy Birthday" was as sweet as I remember it. Five neighborhood brothers standing around our celebrated com rad, with raised plastic cups of pink lemonade, lifting there voices in perfect five part harmony, as I accompanied on the accordion. Our voices sored through the summer air and reverberated off the neighboring houses. Spirits were lifted, hearts were healed, and somewhere in the world two Italians made love. Yes, I'm pretty sure I'm remembering that correctly.
I digress.
We had just started a round of "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow" When Jared began to gurgle and spasm. As he collapsed convulsing on the lawn a few of us ran to gather band-aids and mother's kisses, to make whatever the problem was better. We were only nine, and such medicine was not, as yet, outside the realm of belief or practice. Those of us who stayed behind continued to search for signs of the cause of Jared's quaking, but could find none.
Suddenly Jared's head stopped shaking and he laid motionless. As we stared at him, hoping for signs of life, a small insect crawled from inside his nose and rested just outside his nostril, as if to play, for the briefest of moments, a booger, but then continued down his face and into the grass, never to be seen again.
Looking back we realized that, at that age, Jared was prone to sticking miscellaneous objects up his nose. And what he had innocently mistaken as a harmless pea was actually a cockroach, a scientifically enhanced cockroach, to be precise. At that time Jared had lived next to a government testing and research center which specialized in the creation and breeding of super insects- not for any particular purpose, but just to have them.
In the weeks to follow Jared lay in bed as we, his friends, read in local papers of scientifically enhanced insects, which, after reaching super-human intelligence, organized a mass break-out of their facility, and were now on the loose in the surrounding area.
We could not be certain that the cockroach that bit Jared's brain was a super cockroach, or a Cockroach as I will from now on refer to them, but in the later days as Jared regained mobility, and full functionality of his bowels, there were obvious differences in his personality and
d amener.
He would often sit for hours in the dark eating small scraps of food left behind by his family. When found suddenly in a lighted room he would appear panicked and scramble for the nearest closet, and on one occasion tried to scurry under the refrigerator, which yielded serious consequences. He also encouraged his parents to have more children, lots more, and is a big believer in the 20-plus family. Still later, Jared could no longer tolerate the fluctuating seasons that brought on colder months, and as you know has since moved to Las Vegas, because it, as he puts it "will help to support the growth and prosperity of my family."
Besides these personality changes, and his ability to polish off a small box of doughnuts in one sitting, I have not witnessed the acquisition of any other super powers. In the end, however, I'm sure that if there were a nuclear war Jared would survive us all.
Good luck, Jared

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Hero For a Night

My brothers and I have another game tonight. I believe our record now stands at 5-2. Our win last week was the stuff of legends; you should have seen it. The other team was obviously the better, and after the first inning they were up 12 runs. Their bats were thunder-sticks and their mitts were a wall of inescapable vacuums. As you can imagine, we were quite intimidated, and all but defeated. But, just as we were about to abandon all hope, something in our defense switched on, and we were able to hold them to only three more runs the rest of the game as we continued to chip away at their gigantic lead. We sat at the bottom of the last inning 15-15 with one out. There was a man on first and third, and I was up to bat. With one out I only had to hit the ball deep enough for the man on third to tag up and make the run for home. This would seem like a very simple task to the average player, but seeing as how I stand just below average when compared to the rest of the league, I was a little skeptical as I stepped up to the plate. While standing there I became increasingly aware of the dumb things we yell from the dugout, things like "good eye" when the pitchers ball drops a foot short of the plate, and is obviously unhitable. But, we say these things to be supportive and to keep our mouths busy, not actually to congratulate our teammate for avoiding a truly crap pitch, that if swung at would bring endless ridicule.

I allowed this mindless banter to drift to the background as I focused on the pitcher. He was my enemy and I was determined to send him home contemplating quiting the game of softball forever. I didn't just want to beat him, but to crush him, humiliate him, and if possible, cause a marital rift that would tear his family apart, leading to a plunge in his work productivity, which would result in his dismissal, causing the loss of his home and friends, leaving him penniless and broken. I didn't know it then, but looking back I wanted all these things. In the end there was less drama than I would have hoped. I didn't wait for the full count, but took the very first pitch within reach. I swung with all my might, and despite separating many of the muscles in my back and pulling my groin, I sensed the ball connect with the bat in what I like to call "the sweet spot." It was magnificent. The ball sored out, out, out of the infield, landing just past the second baseman, in a place I like to call "the hole", a place where "easy outs" turn into singles, a place where mediocre ball player's dreams come true.
The crowd was uncontrollable (by crowd I mean the three supportive wives) as our man on third made an easy run home bringing the score to 16-15 and ending the game. The air was chill, the stars were out, and I glowed like a pregnant woman as I reveled in the taste of the first sports success of my life.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

I'm No Critic

I walked out of the movie theater the other day for the 2,007,283rd time. I don't even remember what I saw, now that I think of it. It wouldn't matter anyway. As far as movies are concerned, it takes little to entertain me. A little drama, a little comedy and a bit of action set to the backdrop of some futuristic or post apocalyptic waste land, is enough to keep me riveted for hours. This is not to say I don't know a legitimately good movie when I see one. I can foresee, with some accuracy, what movies the academy will be celebrating by the years end. I am also aware of which movies I can recommend to my movie connoisseur friends, and which ones I should tell them to avoid. The truth is, I enjoy many movies I know I should not. So here it is-- the top ten worst movies I love. This list will not contain such titles as Breakin' or Breakin' II (The Electric Bugaloo), Rad, or The Blues Brothers, because these movies have an intrinsic value comedically and by way of capturing the unique identity of an era.

1. Water World
2. The Postman
3. Robocop
4. Mad Max (Beyond Thunder Dome)
5. Legend
6. The Replacements ( a Keanu Reeves classic)
7. Remo Williams
8. Big Trouble in Little China

---Side note: Water World happened to come on T.V. after I started my list, and yes, I am watching it.

9. The Day After Tomorrow
10. Tango and Cash

Now, you can feed me a bunch of bull about how your favorite movie is Citizen Cain or Motorcycle Diaries or an obscure foreign film by some Russian director. But, your favorite movie is a movie you could watch any time, with a group or all by yourself. You could catch it for the 20th time on T.V. and keep it running even though you own the video or dvd.
Every body has movies they are ashamed of liking, and I want to know what they are. I don't want to know what your favorite movies are. I want to know what movies you're ashamed of liking.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Opportunity Knocks Me Out

Dear Willy Loman
In my life, I've only held two jobs that I was willing to keep for more than the summer, or the winter. or whatever the appropriate season- shoeing horses and building picture frames. Not too long ago I was "laid off" as a frame builder, which story may very well become the subject of another blog. And, as the horseshoeing season has not officially begun, I find myself once again among the unlucky and unemployed. This would not be nearly as alarming if I were 21 and single. But, as I am married, and nearing my thirties, a decade of life that should be marked by the unfathomable possibilities of success, and the hopes of settling into a rhythm and career that would allow me the rock hard stability of a professional foundation, I am faced with the terrifying prospect of interviewing for jobs that I have as much training and experience in as a high school graduate.
As I am trained for little else, applying at Michaels for a picture framing position seemed like the next logical step. My application rose straight to the top of what was no doubt an enormous stack, disappointing hundreds of picture framing hopefuls. An interview was scheduled at my soonest convenience, and the manager bent over backwards to accommodate my every whim.
The interview was flawless- a study in professional communication. Rhoda, my interviewer praised me up and down for my years of experience and for my obvious need for no further training. I would be, in her words, "an incalculable asset to the store." Now full of myself, I determined that this job and I would be the perfect marriage. I had been honing my craft for years, learning the ins and outs of frame building and picture framing so that I might arrive at this place , under these circumstances- the union of the perfect job with the perfect employee. "We would like you to start right away," she said. "That would be great," I said. "It would be wonderful if you could work the morning schedule," she added. "That would be my preference as well," I returned. "We are prepared to start you at eight dollars an hour," she said "Tpbbbbpbbbpbbbtpbbbbbbbbpbbtpbbbb," I said. Actually, I never said that last part. It was merely the sound of me filling my pants with disappointment. So, this is what I was worth. The realization was sobering, to say the least. My years of experience and training, my knowledge and skills, my apparent value to company, had all brought me to this very depressing and sadly avoidable point-- the beginning.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

What I Used to Think

Dear Abel
I've made a break through; turned a corner; leapt from the plateau, on which I have spent so many years without direction or resolve. This blog is a testament to that. Also, I recently enrolled in aviation classes to pursue a life-long goal. And, after at least 21 years of nail biting, I've called it quits.
A long study of my life has lead me to analyze the deeply-rooted beliefs I had accepted as a child, and which have corrupted my ability to function as a normal adult.
Some of my more crippling and heinous misunderstandings are as follows:

1. The monster under my bed can only grab my feet if I set them down right next to it, due to its tiny arms and lack of "Bed Monster Commitment."
2. Falling asleep is just a shorter version of dying, making the prospect of being unconscious absolutely terrifying, and giving "bedtime" the same connotation as "death sentence."
3. "Ninja Turtle" is a reasonable career decision.
4. Any child can overcome the fear of bullies or even the effects of physical handicaps through the purchasing of "fast shoes."
5. Girls are lame.
6. When watching an action movie, declaring "I'm him!", or "That's me!", in connection with movie characters, can determine the pecking order for the rest of the night, and dictates who can punch whom without recourse or retaliation.
7. My parents often drug me to get me to sleep, because I can never seem to make it past the opening credits of Saturday Night Live, no matter how hard I try.
8. The correct lyrics to Jimmy Hendrix' "Purple Haze" are "'scuse me while I kiss this guy".
9. Snakes in the sewer can swim up the pipes and bite you on your pooper.
10. Teachers are not real people, but farmed and bread for the express purpose of being cold and authoritative figures without first names. Those seen in the real world doing normal people activities are braking serious teacher rules, and should be reported.
11. All dogs are male and all cats are female, and that puppies and kittens are a direct result of a long and complicated courtship, which included dinners out and other pre-planned activities.
I can see now that a flawed seed will only produce flawed fruit, or no fruit at all. But, my corruption of yesteryear has been purged and set afire, and the soil prepared for a whole new season of sewing.
One fact I still hold to be true: Choosing your school picture background carefully can cause even the most skeptical of people to believe you really were in a space station.....made entirely of lasers.