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Sunday, October 30, 2005

World Island Theory revisited.

My dad and I went hometeaching today. After I had said the closing prayer, (which usually includes the only multi-word sentences I speak during hometeaching) Bro. Robinson said that I need to enunciate better. I responded with a few grunting noises and an overly-slurred excuse. He was not amused. But I guess I wouldn't be either if I had both knees replaced. I wonder if he's getting cynical at all yet. Nah.

I believe that I was once called a "silent appendage" in dealing with my hometeaching skills. It's not my fault really. My dad always goes on about some theory he has about how the battle of Armageddon is going to start, or how the world economy is going to fail pretty soon or whatever. I, of course, have to sit and listen to his rantings at every house to which we go. But I have mastered his theories pretty well so I can step in from time to time and remind him of things he didn't explain or left out.

"...and if you thought that was bad, wait 'til you hear this..." says my dad.

I interrupt, "Wait, Dad, you forgot about the part where society falls apart and half the population of America is incinerated while the other half has to endure starvation and terrible diseases and hopes for an early death."

"Oh yes, this will be much worse than the bubonic plague, literally." he goes on.

The family does seem to be very engrossed by my father's "lesson." But I think they were just being polite. I mean, not blinking while having their eyes that wide for so long couldn't have been comfortable. They were laying it on a little thick clenching the armrests of their chairs like that. And the violent shaking. Please.

"You're not fooling anyone," I say to the boy of a family we're teaching as I administer eyedrops to him for the third time this hometeaching session.

This probably isn't the best time to say it, but I don't understand what the whole hype about being politically knowledgeable is all about. Call me old fashioned, but I affectionately believe in the old traditions of hard work, sacrifice, loving one's country, and the weakness of the individual. I just don't understand all these people who watch and read the news, and then just sit around complaining about it. How come you have to know about everything going on with politics, anyway? There are so many better things you could learn about. Paint a painting, sing a song, or dance a dance. Seriously guys, the politics thing, it's over. The fad is winding down. It seemed like a good idea, but it just didn't pan out.

Yesterday I found myself at the dollar theater, sitting in a car-racing arcade game seat with Erp in the seat next to me. We missed the movie by ten minutes and decided to wait for the next movie. It didn't start for two hours. I was actually having some fun pretending to play the game I was at, and striking up conversations with tiny bilingual girls. It was awesome.
I only mention it because these are the times when I despise politics the most. Erp, you're a great guy.

Anyway, I just felt I needed to post something, even if it's this unfocused, uncouched, and unsofa-ed crap. Don't worry, I have some thought-provoking stuff coming up soon, I promise.

Ah, who am I kidding anyway? I have no new ideas for posts.
Are you happy now?

Monday, October 17, 2005

This cow's mad about you.

After two years of hassling, whining, and ruckus-causing, I've finally squeezed my way into student government. Yes, that's right, I'm a senator, the lowest form of student government. The thing that surprised me the most was just how easy it was to become a senator. I mean, before, I spent hours working on posters and coming up with clever, if somewhat offensive and controversial posters. Well, only a few people found them to be clever, and Kylen was the only one who found them to be offensive. But even after all that tireless work and enduring through primary elections, I lose by a landslide to Jared. Jared...How I loathe him. But that's all in the past now. I got what I want. And that is to hold a student government position without having to do any real work. Excuse my redundance.

It does kind of upset me that they don't really ask me to do anything. I mean, c'mon, I'm able, I'm willing. I may not have the grace or ogling skills of Taylor Killian, but I'd at least feign doing a good job.

My thoughts turn to the first real assignment I was given as a senator. The BBQ at lunch. It was the senior senators' job to organize it all. The dominoes had almost all fit into place. I could tell that no one wanted me involved, but I was a senator, fair and square. They tried to give me a stand-on-the-sideline sort of job like bring the buns or supply the gas. My suppressed repartee knew no bounds. But then, to their dismay, we discovered that only those with a food handlers permit could cook the food. And, haha, I happened to be one of the few who had sat through the 2 hour power point presentation to become qualified to prepare food for large crowds of people.

The day of the barbeque came and I was as excited as ever. They gave me the smallest and least-powerful of the three grills, but who cares? A grill is a grill. Or at least a glorified hotplate. I crammed 4 burgers and about 8 hotdogs on my grill and began to wait. I saw a bunch of pink wads of apron and decided that I was definitely one of those eligible to where the honorable accesory.

The lunch bells rang and kids began to make their way outside to our setup. It was great. The kids started to get a little unruly for having to wait, so I threw a few hotdogs at them to settle them down. One of the hotdogs hit the sidewalk and left a small dent in it. Sidewalks just aren't made like they used to be I guess. I made a few adjustments the ice started melting off the hotdogs on the grill in no time. I decided that the first burger done would have to be tasted by myself to ensure it's quality. It was certainly up to par, and I can definitely verify that the next 2 or 3 burgers were as well.

Some of the kids began to complain of severe stomach pains for having no food. This was very irritating. I mean, I was slaving away at the grill for their benefit and they couldn't show a single ounce of respect in return. Little did we know that my indignation was to be ratified about an hour later, when the real stomach pains started to set in. Poetic justice at its finest.

On several occasions I had to lecture the kids on the importance of being patient. Grease-coated spatula in hand, I made sure to drive every point with a flick of my wrist. I could tell I had a real effect on them from their sharp screams of agreement and their rush to find cold water and soak various parts of their bodies. Satisfied with their response, I checked on the meat and re-greased my spatula for the next group of bodies.

Many of the complaints were that the burgers weren't cooking fast enough. I assured the kids that I was under direct orders that I give no person an underdone burger. One kid became extremely bothersome.

"Look, I've been waiting here for over an hour. That burger is done," he said.

I check the burger.

"Nope, it's still got a little grey in the middle."

"You're a terrible chef. Most of those burgers are ash."

This was pushing it too far. I don't mind people degrading my standing as a chef, but poking fun at my ash, that's just too much.

"You don't like how I run my grill?" I ask. "Well, how about this? NO BURGER FOR YOU!"

I use my spatula to direct him to the back of the line and I can tell that he gets the point as he screams and covers his eyes in shame.

"And let that be a lesson to the rest of you!" I scream while waving my arms violently. Several other people scream and cover their faces as well.

As the crowd finally dispersed, I had a feeling of accomplishment. I had done what I was assigned to do. I could tell that the "upper class" student government was very pleased with my work as well. They even went so far as to try to retire me from ever helping them again. What an honor. Those guys are so nice.

The meat was all gone, and now was time to clean up. My grill was really greasy and I had nothing with which to clean it. Then I remembered the apron I was wearing. I quickly pulled it off and began to scrub vigorously at the grill. I had the grill looking good as new and placed the soiled apron on the table.

"Has anyone seen my aprons?" asks Jared.

I run. Fast.

"They're not mine," he continues.

I'm almost out of sight.

"I had to give my wallet as collateral!"

I finally get around the corner of the school before I burst out laughing. Yeah, I'm evil. What's it to ya?

I'm a Senator, aren't I?

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Is that a talk in your pocket?

I woke up at about 6:55 pm. It wasn't my usual jolting-out-of-bed wake up. It was one of those where you wake up with your eyes still closed. I opened the eye that wasn't smashed into the pillow and saw slightly out-of-focus the time. I remembered that at 7:00 I was supposed to go to some guy's house whom I had never met and discuss a talk I'm supposed to give to introduce a song the choir is singing two sundays from now. I got out of bed, and put on a song that was roughly the length of time I had before I needed to leave.

"Golden Retriever" by Super Furry Animals. It was such a good song that I decided to listen to it twice.

7:05. I leave. I'm supposed to be at the guy's address -5 minutes from now. Lousy space/time continuum. I get to the street his house is supposedly on, but as I find the place where his house should be, all I see is Tanner Gregory's house, and then a big empty lot next to it. I drove back and forth on this street several times, looking in disgust at the non-existent house.

It's 7:15. I see Jessica Barry drive down this street and park not too far from the impression of one of my flawlessly repeated three-point turns. I see her walk toward a house on the other side of the street. I read the numbers of the house. 1123. My thoughts turned to the unfortunate postal worker assigned to this area. It would be very confusing to have to deliver mail to a house and an empty lot with the same address. I calmly parked my van after another three-point turn and began to follow her to the front door. Smooth, as always.

The guy (whose name is Bro. Packard, I later found out) let us in with a bow. Impressed with his hospitality, I decided I wouldn't embarrass him by mentioning the dog attached to his arm. He showed us in to some seats where a girl was already sitting. Jessica introduced herself very friendly-like to her, so of course I had to as well.

"I'matt," I said. I always have trouble keeping the m's separated in that sentence and still sounding normal.

It looked like she didn't hear me, or just didn't understand what I had said. I looked across the room and shuffled over to the only unpadded seat in the room and looked at my suddenly quarrelsome hands. We sat silently for a few minutes until the doorbell rang. It was Josh Larkin. He's my tennis partner.

"Hey Josh," I said with a welcoming smile.

No response.

He's probably still mad about last week's game, I thought. I don't see how he could still be sore about it though. It wasn't even all my fault. I mean, you'd think he'd learn to hit the ball back or even dodge out of the way after a few times. And besides, the doctors said that the bruising will go away within a few weeks. Some people just can't let things go, I guess.

Now I remember where I've seen Bro. Packard before. About a year ago I was part of a group that was supposed to make a stake movie and present it to the stake at some big meeting. I remember at one point being alone in Kody's basement with him:

"So, are you an actor?" he asked.

"Kinda," I responded.

"Do you think I've seen you in any plays?"

"Um, I've done a few, but I'm more of a free-lance actor."

"Oh, interesting."

At this time, Kody, Nate, and Adam came back into the room.

"So Mark here tells me that he's had a little experience in acting," said Bro. Packard.

Nate began "Oh, Matt. He's more of just a stunt man. I don't even know why he's here."

And the meeting went on like that.

I hoped Bro. Packard hadn't remembered any of that. But then again, I hoped I wouldn't remember any of that either.

My flashback was interrupted by Bro. Packard reading off who wasn't there yet. I was pretty bored until he got to a certain name.

"...David Ridge..." he read.

My eyes lit up. DAVE! But then,

"Oh, David called and said he can't make it tonight."

I turned my attention to the aforementioned dog. It was no longer connected to Bro. Packard's arm, but rather sitting between my legs. I began scratching behind its ears. It didn't really respond at all for a while. How long am I going to have to do this?, I wondered as I scratched harder. The dog abruptly fell over hard onto the wood floor. I saw its chest deflate and prayed that it would fill up again. I couldn't deal with killing an innocent animal. Not again. The dog lay there for several moments not moving at all. I looked around at everyone else in the room as if to say, "You all saw it. It came at me with a knife." Just as I began thinking out the detail on how I would dispose of the body, I was interrupted by a strange noise. I looked down at the dog and it had begun breathing again. Thank goodness. Then I realised that the sound was coming from the dog. It was snoring. Really snoring. And pretty loudly at that. The dog lay there snoring like that for the entire meeting.

The meeting was just to make sure we all knew how to use the topical guide and stuff. At one point, Bro. Packard asked me to read the piece I would be introducing entitled "Joy in the Morning." I began reading.

"There will be joy in the morning. Joy in the morning. There will be joy, joy, joy in the morning. Joy, joy, joy, joy, joy. There will be joy in the morning..."

And it went on like that. And that's just one of the four-parts I had to read. I looked up in the middle of my reading and looked helplessly at Bro. Packard. He just smiled and gestured for me to keep reading. Ugh. I finished reading what seemed hours later (I don't know the exact time because Bro. Packard had cleverly taken all the clocks from the room before we arrived) and looked up. Even the dog looked sleepier than when I had begun.

I went home very dissatisfied. I had to write some boring talk, I probably killed the man's dog, and worst of all, I had to do all of this without the reassurance of Dave by my side.

But who knows? Maybe there will be joy in the morning. After all, people die in their sleep all the time.