Monday, September 28, 2009

"The Secret" or "A Clever Way to Say 'I Know Something You Don't Know' to Your Girlfriend"

"The Secret"

The Secret wells up,
in my breast as i sit.

I grow weary.

It threatens to spill forth from my lips,
lo, I champ at the bit,

of secrecy.

Lost to Tyler it shall be,
Forevermore, forevermore.

The End

A Stifled Genius

I had a few days of free time this summer (seven months of unemployment) so, I figured I'd take the opportunity to introduce my cousin, Thomas, to the finer things Atlanta has to offer. We set apart a few days for him to spend at the Duderanch with me, solo, and I set about planning our activities.

You know I love activities.

I sent Pledge Slocumb a packing list, rented a small Mitsubishi convertible, and we were off. Initially I planned to let him use my bed while I slept on the couch; thinking that a "servant spirit" may be the better part of valor under the circumstances.

Unfortunately for him, he came complete with sleeping bag and ended up on the couch in short order. I felt a tiny bit bad about parking his narrow butt in the living room, but I harkened back to all the times Dad made me sleep on the floor in situations where there actually was an extra bed handy, and I felt a little bit better. Plus, it was for his own good anyway; my bedroom can be very scary at night - I periodically have to sleep with my head all the way under the covers myself.

I intended to talk a bit more about Camp BabyJimmy (now an annual event), but the topic of scary bedrooms has distracted me so, though the following is somewhat unrelated; I want you to know that sweaty heat-buildup from undercover-sleeping led to my invention of the "Monster Snorkel" as a kid.

Do you remember how you always felt safe if you got all the way under the covers, and cinched them down tight around you? Well, I did at least; but it gets hot under there and I've always been a man in search of a solution - so, voila! The Monster Snorkel was born. Basically, we're talking about a snorkel that lets you breathe cool air while under the covers hiding from monsters.

It worked fairly well, but tended to lead to hyperventilation for some reason. My limited grasp of medical concepts prevented me from fully investigating that phenomenon, but the device was short-lived.

"Um. Why do you keep your Dad's scuba snorkel under your pillow? Does he know you have this?" Mom asked one day during the torturous sheet-changing exercise I was forced to endure quarterly.

I explained.

She was not amused, and due to her stunning lack of vision - the patented Monster Snorkel did not lead to great fortune as I had hoped. Instead I spent several sweaty, miserable, July nights clutching my Red Ryder and gasping for breath under three cinched-down blankets without my snorkel until, finally, I got so miserable I threw the covers off, shut my eyes tight, swept the muzzle of my BBgun around threateningly and hollered "COME AND GET ME" in defiance of any lurking haints.

The door to my room cracked open; razorthin shaft of light illuminating my tightly-clenched fruit-of-the-looms, and I heard Mom whisper "Please don't tell anyone we're related," before softly closing the door.

It was another case of genius stifled in its infancy if you ask me.

It may not sound like childhood trauma to you, but all I know is - I wish I had a dollar for every time I saw genius trampled under the cloven hoof of complacency.

Its a good thing Beethoven's parents weren't standing at the top of the stairs shouting "HEY WOULD YOU QUIT BANGING ON THAT THING?" or the world would be a much darker place today......sort of like a roomfull of monsters and no Monster Snorkel.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Usher For Hire

As a brief follow-up on my discussion of Beau’s engagement I’d like to point out that I’ve been invited to usher; an honor which is fine by me because ushering relieves me of speaking or excessive standing responsibilities. Plus, as you well know - ushering is a high-responsibility position, fit for only a chosen few.

As Head-Usher, I also get to move around a lot; something I consider absolutely necessary to my mental state. I’m going to move around a lot anyway though, so you’re better off with me shaking and fidgeting down the aisle before the service rather than toe-tapping, chewing, biting, twitching, and walling my eyes around up on stage right in front of God, your unity candle, and everybody else.

An invitation to participate in that holy ceremony is important on alot of levels, some you may not have considered. For instance: I knew Matt Dunn and I were fast friends when he came into my room one morning at 5AM (mostly naked, and apparently itchy), stood in the doorway scratching himself against the doorframe, and loudly announced: “Hey man. You up? Just thought I’d let you know: you don’t have to be in my wedding.”

Let me just say: I was flattered to have been extended that courtesy.

All things considered, if one DOES have to be IN the wedding, the question becomes one of importance. I, for one, consider my Usherial duties sacrosanct, but I also sense that the usher’s role in a wedding is vastly underrated by your average wedding-goer. Most people think the pastor, co-ordinator, or bride is the Weddding Festivies CEO, in general, but they’re not – it’s the ushers who run the show.

We're like the Rothschilds of the wedding day - nobody seems to notice, but we basically own your soul for 32-64 minutes. Ushers have nearly all the power. Consider, if you will, the havoc that your average wedding-usher can wreak on the population:

Bridal guests on the right, guests of the groom on the right?
What if I don’t feel like it?

Women left to forlornly waver down the aisle unsupported?
Perhaps I had to take a phone call!

Divorced partners seated comfortably together?
God loves reconciliation and I am but his lowly agent.

You may not go on an alcohol-laced three-day bender right before your wedding.
But I might.

What if I prefer to have all single women 20-45 seated in a certain location? What are you going to do about it, Bridezilla?

Most importantly: what if I need to sing? What then???
Once you’re sequestered, locked away from view in your bonds of white and lace – the party is all mine, and WhiteLady: sometimes I just have to sing out!



I sing because I’m happy, and I am happiest when I usher, but its still alot of work. And lately - I've been under alot of pre-wedding stress.

To quote our univerally-celebrated mascot, Usher Raymond: "I've been working so hard, I'm about to have a Mariah Carey. "

Monday, September 21, 2009

Eavesdropping Finally Pays Off

Last week at dinner Dad told our new(est) roommate, Chalrton M. Bouchemeyer, his legendary "I-fed-my-thumb-into-my-tablesaw" story, to great critical acclaim. CB, having recently cut his thumb in an impressive manner, was so enthralled with Dad's maiming story, that he took it with him to work the next day and passed it on to a friend. Shortly thereafter he sent me the following email transmission:

Get this: I’m at work this morning and one of the guys asks me how my hurt thumb is doing. I told him it hurts worse to change the bandage than it actually did to cut it, which segued nicely into the story your dad told me about his table saw accident.

So, I’m telling him about that when all of a sudden we hear this loud THUMP from the next cube over. We both look over and this girl we work with has fallen out of her chair, head first onto the floor. Nobody knows what is going on, so we rush over and try to talk to her and help her back into her chair. I send someone for ice water and try to ask her what is wrong but she is completely out of it, slumped over on her desk and staring vacantly at the floor. This goes on for about 5 minutes - her eyes are open, she is pale and sweating and can’t speak at all. I’m thinking she is having a seizure or a stroke, but I’m trying not to let on so that the entire office doesn’t panic, but pretty soon I’m getting nervous because she is totally not there mentally. I mean - she's completely out of it.

We are on the verge of calling the ER when suddenly she starts to come around and says, “Sorry, I overheard that story. I think I fainted. What’s going on?” And just like that - she was back to normal. It was like nothing ever happened, except that now I'm all sweaty and about to pass out myself.

The long and short of it is simply this: your dad’s second-hand story almost caused third-party hospitalization.

I’m still a little freaked out about her passing out, but you gotta admit that is pretty impressive. Now I’m looking at my bandage and thinking “Maybe one day little buddy, you can be just like Jim Ewing’s thumb.”