I recently moved. It’s been difficult, but it is a good thing–a great thing. I am flying again.
However, I have been struggling on the social side of life. Many of you may recall that while I wasn’t flying, I was educating myself. More than educating myself, I was learning how we know anything about anything.
When one engages in this pursuit, the pursuit of knowledge, he or she is usually surrounded by other like-minded individuals. In other words, he or she feels normal. They feel comfortable.
But when school ends, reality hits home. No one cares. People not in school simply do not care. To you all, I say, “Cool beans. Good for you.”
But the problem remains. If I walk into a church, I probably have studied biblical history, language history, and the Bible itself more than any two people present combined. If I am among a group of pilots, my military flight training sets me apart from the civilian group for sure, and my having been trained by the Air Force sets me apart from the wannabe Air Force pilots that settled for serving in a flying capacity in one of the other branches.
In short, the problem is conversations become belabored. These days I want to get in-depth on whatever subject matter is of note. I mean, I have questions, man! Soon after, though, they realize that they don’t quite carry the same fire as I do. Consequently, one of us changes the subject to avoid silence.
After much consideration, then, I have discovered the solution. Or at least the following offering is my best conversation tip when you know you are smarter than everyone in the room. (This is both for me and for some of the other smartypants I know who are noisily lurking around out there.)
Here it is: Be quiet.
Yup. Stay silent. Keep observing and keep learning. There is no rush.
Okay. That’s all, folks!
PS: Dark Phoenix was great. I think the reason it received bad press was its elevation and commendation of the virtue of “forgiveness”.
Today my pizza delivery adventures took me (on a delivery) to a hospital with an automated, high-tech, and brisk revolving door. *I think* this sign is supposed to warn parents that the unmanned, potentially lethal object (UPLO) may not “see” children as surely as it does us big people.
But I also couldn’t help notice that this sign looks like the famous scene from the Sistene Chapel–if viewed through the eyes of the pizza-loving, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Michelangelo.
Good Morning. I don’t mean to always be so somber in my posts these days, it’s just that I’ve had a lot of school work and so blogging takes the back seat. I’m excited to share that I had a theological epiphany today, and a big one at that. Or at least I think I did. We’ll see how my grade turns out. On to the funny.
First, I was reminded today how many times my honesty with women is unappreciated. Two specific cases stand out. First, back over a decade ago, I was a personal trainer/gopher at a gym. Two twenty-somethings were complaining that their diets and routines weren’t producing results. As I felt that I had wasted time on other gym members who never put to use my diet/fitness plans, I asked the pair if they really would do what I told them to do. They said yes. What I said next was said with the intent to return to ground zero, so to speak. Like the way basic training breaks everyone down only to build them back up. But in my case, I just came across mean. I said, “I’m only asking if you’re serious because it takes some time and effort for me to develop this plan. But I will, because what we know for sure is that what you’re doing right now isn’t working.”
(WARNING: Dad, this one has a curse word, but it’s okay because it’s just a record of the past). The second hilarious honesty blunder was when this crotchety old military veteran flight scheduler asked me, “Pete. Why do you think I’m so mean?” I took a breath to demonstrate that I was really going to consider my response before speaking and said, “Well, I’d say it’s because you’re surrounded by a bunch of us asshole pilots all day.” OMG. Only after I saw her reaction and realize that she wanted to know why I thought she was mean, not that she accepted her mean-ness as a conclusion and was curious how she ended up that way. So funny.
If it wasn’t for long road trips in passenger vans, I don’t think I would have ever had a friend as a kid.
Because I only made friends as a kid during long road trips in passenger vans, I don’t know how to make one as an adult.
God has to laugh a great big belly laugh when we simultaneously have a runny nose and have to drop a stinky deuce.
When a certain category of maintenance issue (usually safety of flight related) occurs within a specific make/model of aircraft, the flying community’s response is to ground (no longer fly) all aircraft of that make/model until a solution is discovered.
Viewed through this lens, Super Tuesday’s results can only require all Americans to ground themselves. Evangelicals/Christians-as-a-whole especially need to be grounded. And the only fix is to TURN OFF THE FUCKING TELEVISION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I guess this one isn’t funny except in a depressing way. My daughter’s kindergarten teacher sent an email to all parents asking if anyone had a copy of the movie “The Lorax” based on the Dr. Seuss book she could borrow. She wanted to save a buck during the Dr. Seuss section. Even giving her the benefit of the doubt that she had the children read the books first, the point of Dr. Seuss’ books was to increase literacy, not entertainment as an end. She should be ashamed, then fired, then ashamed again.
I feel like this rant proves my humility focus is going astray, but I don’t conclude so. This is wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. I don’t know how much more I will take before H- is outta there. Dr. Seuss movies during kindergarten? That’s actively contributing to the detriment of children.
Oh, and while I’m ranting, did you know that the school let’s my daughter buy food during lunch on credit? A five year old. She was so proud to tell me that she did in fact eat her sandwich on the day I didn’t give her the pretzels and cookie that she had been eating instead. She continued to tell me how she then bought a cookie because she remembered her number.
Okay. The rage is building. Time to quit. Happy Friday. (Oh, and for the record, I’m joining the group that predicts Clinton wins.)
I am slowly working on the new novel, the one filled with all the sex and violence you can handle (and desire)–and probably more–but I haven’t been writing it that often.
And obviously I haven’t been blogging much.
And I still don’t have a post for you.
But I do finally have the desire to share this video of a speech I gave at one of my beloved toastmasters competitions back in 2012 and in doing so finally pull back the curtain on my never-requested-but-just-the-same-deliberately-hidden appearance. I don’t have the hair or beard these days, but yes, the rumors are true, I am still that good looking. 😉 (for the ladies.) (Fellas: sorry, but you shouldn’t need an emoticon to calm you down.)
Oh. And Happy Birthday…Djyaa-nit.
Almost from the day I began this blog I had my suspicions about the integrity of the likes/follows my blog was getting, but last Thanksgiving was definitely the turning point. I’m sure that like many of you, I couldn’t help but notice that my posts often got a “like” plus “follow” by another blogger within moments of publishing my newest post. Blinded by the promise of fortune and fame, I would check out the culprit’s blog and see if I thought they were a discerning reader or a machine. More often than not, I allowed myself to believe they were a discerning reader and that their “like” meant that I had published something valuable.
Then came last Thanksgiving. I had been blogging fairly regularly for about one and a half years, and beginning in early 2014 it seemed that this blog was finally gaining some traction with “readers”. Letting myself succumb to the holiday spirit, I decided to write a post “thanking” all the “likers” that, in part, motivated me to keep writing. Of particular note was one particular blogger. She had tens of thousands of followers (30K+ as of today) and yet was liking my blog posts regularly. It felt so good to see that she was reading and liking my writing. I really wanted to throw some blog-love her way (and others) and so I began my thankful post with her name. Surely she would notice this, I thought. I named some thirteen other bloggers (see the post here) before moving to the names of real people that I knew were reading nearly every post–friends and family.
Guess what happened?
Not a single one of those bloggers “liked” the post.
I mentioned this to my sister and she said, “Maybe they don’t like being called out?” Maybe. But no. It soon became clear that the reason they didn’t like my post was it was Thanksgiving–a holiday. And unlike me, they didn’t get on their laptop that day. They didn’t go to their WordPress Reader and click “like” on some dude’s post in an effort to gain a follower.
Another example of this disingenuous tactic was a blogger that has since disappeared. He jumped from 1200 to 4000+ followers in no time. Yet he took the time to read (so I thought) and “like” my posts day after day after day. But I would never “follow” his blog. I’d “like” some of his posts, but it’s like I didn’t want to give him the satisfaction of following his blog, so I didn’t. Finally he wore me down. So I clicked “follow”.
Guess what happened?
You got it. No more “likes” from him.
But it looked so cool that these blogs had thousands and thousands of followers. I wanted my blog to be that cool. It wasn’t. I had been writing for a year and a half. I had published about 300 well-written, engaging, strongly/uniquely-voiced posts and had around 400 followers heading into last December. Remember, I quit my job and was determined to write two books and keep blogging Monday-Friday at this point in time. I also decided while I wasn’t working that I would use the time to gain as many followers as I could by whatever methods were available. (“If you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin'” as we said in the Air Force.) Being a doggedly determined guy who still held onto a fool’s hope that blog-followers would eventually become book-buyers, I gained 1400 followers between mid-December and late January (six weeks).
Tomorrow I will share how I did it so that you can too, not that you’ll want to. Tomorrow, I will also demonstrate unequivocally why you should learn to honestly stop caring about likes/follows. Tomorrow, I will unapologetically pull back the WordPress curtain.
When attempting to describe my sense of humor to people who are new to it, I’ve used the label “cosmic humor”. When I’ve said that, I intended to convey that even if it seems like I am laughing at rather than with a person, I’m not laughing at the person at all. I’m laughing at the cosmic situation. Sometimes people get it, other times people do not. Recently a blogger friend asserted that she didn’t think my icebreaking attempts at the gym were funny. Upon reading that, I felt bad and have wanted to try to explain why they were funny, moreover I wanted to explain how I can laugh at someone without actually making fun of them. Two days ago my brother gave me just what I needed.
I got this text from him in which he shared that he had the amusing thought of trying to deduce the origin of the “he who smelt it dealt it” phrase. After giving that problem more than a passing moment’s thought, I couldn’t help but laugh. And then it hit me that besides this unexpectedly pleasant laugh, Sam also unintentionally gave me a perfect way with which I can describe my sense of humor and offer its brilliance to you for your own application in this crazy, crazy world.
Picture with me the first time a couple of human boys heard a fart. Picture the very first time–caveboy style. I’m not talking about the purposeful farting that happens around puberty or so, but when the lads were probably four or five years old and off a ways from the tribe, just screwing around in the woods. It’d have to have been an otherwise quiet moment when all of a sudden this silly noise emanates from one of the boys. Surprising even himself, the perpetrator turns to the other boy and smiles. The other boy responds in kind with a innocent chuckle and a, “What the heck was that?” expression on his face. And then I picture the boy that didn’t fart to playfully laugh with an attitude of, “That was a really funny sound your body just made,” which would likely be followed by the hopeful command: “Do it again!”
See how the non-farter is laughing at the farter, but not really? He’s more laughing at the fact that farting occurs. It’s the slightest of distinctions, but I promise it’s there. And that’s my humor. That’s how I laugh at everything. We’re all on this human journey and these bodies we have utter words and make faces and take things serious and believe they’re important or right etc. etc. And so I laugh. I see stuff happen, especially things I do, like walking up to random women and pointing out how they can do life better, and then I laugh. I laugh with an attitude of, “What the heck was that?” and “Can you believe my body (brain included), in all its glorious wonder, just made that noise?”
And sometimes, just sometimes, the stranger laughs at the sound with me. And in that moment–that rare moment–a great friendship forms.
So lighten up, because I could use more friends. And after all, we’re all just a bunch of farters.
“Just what does he put on his eHarmony profile?”
Well, for today, I’ll tell you my response to the prompt: “The Most Influential Person In My Life Has Been.”
Leo Tolstoy–I thought I was alone until I read his books. If I have to pick someone alive, then there’s this little girl I know who has a way of turning everything old into something new.
To be clear, panties aren’t dropping like I thought they would. Big surprise.
In any case, here’s the latest example of old-to-new that makes me smile.
Once the sun gets working, Denver has been warm of late. But until they turn it on it’s chilly. So I pick up H- from school yesterday and she’s still wearing the two long sleeve shirts I picked out that morning, one thin one and one fleece. Back in the car it’s slightly warm. Like any good woman she complains. Like any good man her wish is my command. At first I turn up the air conditioning fan one click. With the resultant fan volume increase, I can’t help but visualize pricey gasoline being wastefully poured out over the pavement. Then I remember that its not actually hot out. It’s just hot in the car. So I turn off the a/c and roll down her window a bit.
Little did I know that bliss had been waiting right outside her door. Laughter and giggles ensue as she proceeds to narrate to me in detail how the wind is so strong that she can’t push her tiny hand forward. I check the side-view mirror and sure enough her small hand is tucked back as far as it can go against the door frame, barely breaking the invisible plane that demarcates inside from outside.
Next, she excitedly exclaims that Rarity’s mane and tail are blowing crazily in the wind. Turns out that the pony just finished up in the shower and needed to dry her hair.
Then I remember this little girl is around a quarter polish, so I should have seen this unmitigated joy coming. (In my defense, you never can tell how pronounced the illness will be until after puberty). You see, I grew up laughing at the following joke.
A black guy, a Mexican, and a Polack are being exiled to the desert for the rest of their lives. They each get to bring one thing in unlimited supply. The black guy picks food. The Mexican picks water. The Polack picks a car door so that he can roll down the window when it gets hot.
Like I said, old becomes new. I don’t care if the line doesn’t work. It’s true and it’s funny. I’m keeping it.
He whistled loudly as they approached the grocery store.
“What song are you whistling, Daddy?” H- begged.
“My Favorite Things,” he answered.
“Oh,” she said, not familiar with the tune.
“All aboard!” he called, signaling it was time for her to hop on the front of the cart if she was going to.
He watched and heard her begin an open mouth hum as she attempted to demonstrate her own Christmas spirit notwithstanding a deficit in whistling ability. Chuckling, he pushed the cart into the store and began searching for beautiful women whom he could make smile with the assistance of his little helper.
“I said humming to town,” H- said, laughing innocently as congestion in the baking aisle halted their progress.
“What’s that?” he asked.
H- then proceeded to hum the chorus of Santa Claus Is Coming To Town. Afterward she again giggled and said, “I said humming!”
Squinting and with a cocked head, he looked at her in disbelief and thought, “Surely she knows when she hums no one hears the words?”
“Oh yeah?” he quickly said before the moment passed.
Progressing now to the cereal aisle, another repeat of the chorus was followed by, “That time I said coming.” More humming and another laughing explanation. “I said humming again!”
“Man, I can’t believe they don’t have any corn flakes.”
“Santa is probably humming to the reindeer as they pull his sleigh,” she said thoughtfully, unconcerned with the moment’s dilemma.
“What?” he asked, rising from the crouched position where he had just verified the awful truth that he’d have to get creative to make the cookies.
“I said,” she labored, “Santa is probably humming to the reindeer.”
“A wordsmith is born,” he thought smiling, unable to hide his pride.
Venspu would have knocked but when he saw Santa at the window he decided against it. He was looking outside, his head resting on his forearm which was pressed against the glass.
“What is it, Venspu?” Santa asked, startling him.
“I can come back,” Venspu began, “it’s nothing.”
“Nothing wouldn’t have led you here tonight, not this night,” Santa said.
Santa’s back was still turned, but Venspu could see his eye’s reflection. They never lost their twinkle, no matter how tired he was. Remarkable, he thought.
“Speaking plainly, the elves are tired,” Venspu said hurriedly. “There’s six days to go. I’ve crunched the numbers. It’ll be close, but if you give them a break tonight, we’ll still be finished before the big night.”
“Think so?” Santa asked, finally turning to face his lead foreman.
“I do,” he said, careful not to betray his hope.
“And just what would the elves do with their time tonight if they didn’t work?” Santa asked.
Could he know? Venspu thought. No. There’s no way. Not this time.
Exhaling, Venspu said, “Sleep, Santa. They’d sleep.”
Santa loved the elves. He couldn’t understand why they were so ready to turn on him. He only enslaved them because he knew they would be happier working for him than facing the cold reality of the human world. Yet here was one of his finest workman, Venspu, looking him dead in the eye and lying. As a tear formed, Santa turned back to the window.
“Give them the night off,” Santa said.
“Thank you, Santa,” Venspu said, adding, “You can count on me to be sure they’re ready for work at first light.”
“Good night, Venspu. You may go,” Santa said, only too aware of the slaughter to come.