If by ashamed you mean ‘to chuckle’, then “Yes” I am ashamed when I see your eyes notice all the piles as you enter my home.
Immediately to your right, you see what is quite possibly the most random pile. It consists of a bowling ball bag, winter gloves, hats, and ski goggles. You next notice a kitchen table and chairs that reorient the word ‘messy’. As you gather your bearings, you see that under the kitchen counter there is an overstuffed book shelf, upon which sit more books and beside which rest two stacks of even more books. Recoiling a bit, you scan left and conclude that there must be at least one child living here because there is a small chair surrounded by children’s books and a panda bear and a remote control car with two pony passengers. The 88-key electronic keyboard and its bench have items upon them, as does the adjacent Steinway B and the instructor’s stool. Somehow that piano’s bench is without pile.
(Before walking down the hallway you pretend not to notice one more bookshelf and end table too ceased their resistance long ago.)
If your visit surprised me, I may not have had a chance to close the bedroom doors. In my bedroom you won’t see a massive pile of clothes at the end of my bed, because it is under a king size comforter which H- recently managed to place on top.
(If she’s anything like me, carrying something that big and soft from her room to mine was probably a delightful chore.)
In disbelief as you roll your eyes, H-‘s room snags your attention. Though admittedly more pink-themed, her bedding is likewise piled on her bed, and at every spot where the walls meet the floor there are piles. They are either piles of books and papers, piles of junk, piles of stuffed animals, or they are piles of clothes. Piles, piles, piles.
Why? you wonder. Why so many piles? You speculate that surely one of the books has to include both teaching on the importance and the ‘how to’ of cleaning.
Well, you asked, so I’ll tell ya. For me, piles equal happiness. Here’s the mathematical proof. If I begin to clean my piles, I’ll eventually decide to clean H-‘s piles. Half-piles do not exist. It’s all or none. And therein lies the problem. You see, H- and I spend very little time together in this junked up home. But when we do, she behaves like a Tasmanian angel. Whether coloring books, stuffed animals, reading books, or dolls, she is constantly relocating everything as she plays inside. To suggest that she “put them away” as you might think, is not really an option she would understand. And I wouldn’t know how to answer her striving for obedience, though honestly inquisitive, response, “Where, Daddy?”
This entire situation is adorable to me. Just watching her play is endlessly fascinating. How is she determining what to play with and for how long? Does she get a thrill out of not having to “clean” like I do? I’ll never know.
Anyhow, the point is, when I’ve tried to clean these piles in the past, it’s unbearable. I cannot touch her toys without thinking of her and I cannot think of her without remembering, as strongly as fire remembers hot and as ice remembers cold, that she is not here. And I cannot think that, without being sad–very, very sad.
So I maintain piles and I maintain that piles equal happiness.
He listened as H- dryly read, “And what was my life like? The heat burned me in the daytime. And it was so cold at night that I froze. I couldn’t-”
“Hold up, H-,” he interrupted at last. “Remember how we are focusing on reading with gusto? This is a good place to put some gusto into how you read the story.”
Partly frustrated by his broken record, partly curious, H- watched her father. His eyes widened and as he drew in a breath, his head bent back as well. Then he snapped it forward, his open hand slapping his chest.
“And what was my life like?”
H- smiled, beginning to understand.
“The heat,” he continued, feigning to wipe sweat from his brow, “burned me in the daytime.”
H- couldn’t remove her eyes.
“And it was so cold,” he began, shivering.
They both laughed.
“Or maybe it’d be better like this,” he offered. He then looked at frost-bitten fingertips which he rubbed together furiously and blew hot breath upon.
Laughing, she joined him.
“No, you should have done-” she began; then she huddled over, shivered and said, “Brrr, I’m sooo c-c-cold. Let me pour some hot chocolate.”
His laughter almost scared her.
“I don’t think they had hot chocolate back then, H-. Remember Jacob and Laban lived a long, long time ago,” he corrected, chuckling. “But you’re getting the gusto right. Good job. Now let’s keep reading.”
H-, now seven, turned back to the sacred words and promptly struggled to locate where she left off.
“We’re looking for ‘chocolate’,” he proposed, unable to resist.
H- laughed with her voice, but her eyes seemed to say something else.
“Yes,” I am aware that I am a hypocrite. But “no,” that is not going to deter me from changing my wicked ways and speaking truth to power (that’s right, ladies, you are powerful).
I cannot remember precisely when it began for me, but if I give it a thought, it was probably when I first headed from little pink house-Lenexa to the Rocky Mountains to ski as a teenager. It may have been the drastic difference in how you appeared on the mountain versus how you appeared in the restaurants, that is, the change from puffy snow-pants to form-fitting leggings.
Or maybe it was the cheerleaders’ underskirt attire during cold-weather events. Aren’t cheerleaders the rightful leaders when it comes to fashion?
Whatever it was, as a young man I wasn’t going to say “no”–if you weren’t. More form-fitting clothing, more of the time, I said!
But now, after two or so years of all y’all–no matter how short, tall, fat, or thin–wearing nothing except leggings, I’m telling you it is time to put your pants back on.
Oh, and here’s a tip for the next time this trend surfaces: I maybe could have lasted for a few more months if you wouldn’t have started wearing leggings that have massive patches of fabric missing around your not-naughty bits.
Here’s the tru tru. I have a daughter. As you know, I cannot fight every battle and win the war. So help a brother out! She deserves better from you.
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.
But who can explain longing to my child?
The teardrop tries but fails,
For it carries many.
The silenced voice is unheard,
The pounding heart, muffled.
The knotted gut is unseen,
The lumped throat, concealed.
But who can explain longing to my child?
I could explain longing to my child,
But for it is not when I am with her.
Not sure the reason, I found myself standing in the kitchen, holding the Krusteaz Belgian waffle mix box. (H- adorably calls said mix ‘sugar’.) She was finishing her waffles at the nearby table. That’s the reason! I was putting the box back on top of the refrigerator. Beside it, I also keep the cereal and–my favorite non-perishable treat–the Nutty Bars up there. Like her ol’ man, H- too had experienced love at first sight with Little Debbie’s delectable wafers.
“But you can’t give me the peanut butter and chocolate bars for snack time,” H- declared out of the blue.
I turned to look at her. She turned to look at me.
“Oh yeah?” I asked, carefully dividing my attention between the waffle iron and H-‘s mind.
“Why can’t you have them at snack time?”
“Because some kids are allergic to peanut butter.”
“Don’t they eat lunch with you too? How can you have Nutty Bars at lunch, but not at snack time?”
“At snack time the kids sit at the same table as us and they can smell the peanut butter,” she answered steadfastly.
This smelling problem being news to me, I resumed my inquiry with, “Okay, so what do they do at lunch?”
“They sit at the peanut butter table. There are not very many of them.”
“Ha. The ‘peanut butter table?’ What’s that?”
“That’s the table where you can’t have peanut butter.”
“So the poor kids who can’t have peanut butter have to sit all by themselves?”
“No,” she corrected. “They just sit at the peanut butter table. Anyone can sit at the peanut butter table as long as they don’t have peanut butter.”
“So there is no peanut butter at the peanut butter table?” I asked.
You know, you’re walking through the grocery store and need to buy some V8, which you have coded “special drink”, for yourself and your daughter. So you’re walking through the store and as you’re about to check out you remember you need some more special drink. Terribly disappointed, you discover that their stock is out of the economy-sized jug. Like any self-respecting American man, you apply your fickle-as-a-woman’s-mood frugality to the situation and decide to just buy another brand than buy the kick-a-man-while-he’s-down regular-sized, overpriced jug. Having tried the store brand once before and finding it less than pleasing to your palette, you move on to Campbell’s tomato juice.
Days later, you find yourself studying Koine Greek in an effort to get right with God. Realizing it’s almost bedtime, and so time for a glass of that glorious act-of-vegetable-eating replacing special drink, you move to the fridge. “Ah!” you exclaim as you open it and remember you get to test what Campbell’s has to offer to the people. “Will it be bad?” you cringe. “Could it be better?” you hope. Excitement builds. Scanning the label to discover just how many servings of vegetables you’re about to ingest, you shrug off the creeping doubt that this red elixir is no equivalent to special drink. Pouring the beverage into your cup, you again fight away thoughts such as, “You know, V8 really isn’t just tomatoes, and this seems like it is just tomatoes.”
Then you sniff it. Then you stop your practiced chugging and conclude that, in fact, Campbell’s tomato juice is tomato juice, and not special at all.
Oh well. Only 16 days until the now open jug can be thrown away guilt free. 16. Guilt-filled. Days.
As I mentioned a few posts back, for most of my adult life pizza delivery always has received a nod as lucrative part-time work. As I recently developed a need for part-time work, I decided to test the theory. A shop nearby had a sign in the window, so I applied, got the job, and can formally report the rumors are true. It’s good money per hour. The trouble is Americans are trained to view dinnertime as only a three-ish hour window. That said, my new goal is to train you all to think dinnertime is all day. Wish me luck.
Only slightly changing gears, I found myself adding some pepperoni to a sandwich yesterday at home, and I realized that if I were giving the Sermon on the Mount, or perhaps it’s safer to say, if Jesus was here today and gave that sermon, he could easily have substituted the word “pepperoni” for “salt” when he declared, “You are the salt of the earth,” without losing much theological ground. Just sayin’. I can’t think of the last time I added salt to anything. But my fridge hasn’t been without a red Hormel pepperoni bag in over a year. Sandwiches, salads, burgers, and of course pizza just wouldn’t be the same without pepperoni. White gold was soooo yesterday. Red gold is where it’s at. Can I get an amen?
I wonder if it would improve waffles. Anyone able to report?
By the way, did you know that Oprah eats dinner every meal? It’s true! I swear it!
And now, from the country that ended the slave trade, a little article unafraid to put ignorant youngsters with great personalities in their place.
“Good will overcome. Trust in that.”
Lord Locksley is right yet again.
I hated Liam Neeson’s blockbuster Taken. Hated it. I hated it despite finding myself in a pool of people who loved it, people who adored it, people who worshiped it. It came out while I was still serving and both the men and women serving beside me couldn’t get enough of it. They also couldn’t keep their enthusiasm to themselves. A happy soul would volunteer they watched it on a long flight, and at least one listener would perk up with, “You saw Taken? What’d you think of it? Awesome, right? I loved it.”
I instinctively hated Taken because it is too easy. Is there any thing Neeson can’t do? No. He’s the most highly skilled and trained operative the world has ever seen. And he’s a dad. Then his virgin daughter gets kidnapped. Yes, I said virgin. His daughter is a virgin, and the whole movie rests on this one simple fact. Like a Fifty Shades of Grey for men, Taken is nothing more than fantasy of the basest kind. What wouldn’t a father with Neeson’s skills do to get his virgin daughter back? American macho men itch for a predicament like this, for a hero to cheer on, for a scenario that they can dream about happening to them. Wouldn’t it be nice if perfect, beautiful, innocent girls were being harmed? Then we could go torture and kill some people without losing sleep at night. Give me a break. Don’t believe my little theory? Ask yourself if you would’ve enjoyed the movie if the daughter had a reputation of being sexually active? Ask yourself how you would’ve felt if when given the horse for her birthday, the daughter had responded, “Aww, you shouldn’t have. I appreciate the effort, but I wanted something ‘hung like a horse’, not an actual horse.”
Yeah, yeah. I get it. I’m alone in my criticism. What else is new? I’m alone, but never without hope. For a long time I’ve waited for someone–anyone–to tell a good father-daughter story. You can imagine my excitement when, yesterday, I stumbled upon Arnold’s newest flick Maggie.
The premise? Zombies. The location? Rural Kansas. The conflict? Arnold’s late teenage daughter is infected with the dealio that turns people into zombies. But Arnold promised her mom, before she died (the mom, not the daughter) that he’d keep her (the daughter) safe.
That’s a remarkable story. The kiddo is going to become a flesh-eating zombie, and you have to kill it or it will kill you. What do you do? What will audiences cheer for? Who wins? Is it believable?
In this simple story, Arnold, the man who single-handedly inspired me and countless millions of others to exercise, essentially standing chest kicks Liam and his Taken nonsense 300-style into the pit. In effect, Arnold says, “You think traipsing around the globe killing people over your virgin daughter is love? Ha. You don’t know what love is, buddy.”
Kansans know what love is though. And I’d like to take a moment to personally thank Arnold for demonstrating this. “Thank you.”
Even before Maggie, Man of Steel did Kansans right with an amazing, old t-shirted (seriously, how do they make a t-shirt look so perfectly old?) Kevin Costner and his confident-yet-never-certain wisdom that goes against seemingly common sense which molded Clark into, well, Superman. Yahoo for Kansas.
You know that I grew up in Kansas. Kansas, which is beside Missouri–the Show Me state–must be the place then where I picked up my anti-authority, anti-utilitarianism attitude. The same attitude that Arnold and the other Kansans have in Maggie. The attitude that says, “So what if the government has mandated that infected folks have to be quarantined until they’re killed, so what if I might not be able to do what needs to be done before it’s too late and consequently the larger group is put at even more risk. So what? Who are you to tell me what to do? I only have one daughter, and I made a promise to her dead mother. There is more going on here than you and your rules.”
In the end, of course, Arnold kicks Liam’s ass. The movie is fantastic. There is actually another father-daughter sub-plot that takes the cake, but you have to see it to believe it. No spoilers here. If you secretly or overtly laughed at Taken, watch Maggie.