An Ice Cream Miracle

Ahhh! It’s so friggin’ late! I might just fall asleep at the keyboard and never finish this post! Luckily, this is actually a normal time to me, since I have to wake up at 3 in the morning, every morning.

So, no biggie.

Alright, let’s get to this posting crap. Uh, okay, I know what I can talk about. Here goes.

I work in a pretty negative environment.

Let me rephrase that.

I work in a disastrously negative environment.

Yes, I sound so much more sophisticated now that I have used an adverb. Kudos to all those who spotted the improvement, and I hope all of you are proud of your being English nerds–even though, adverbs are the simple stuff.

Any who…

Construction sites are not the places most people choose to work, save for, you know, an idiot, like yours truly. They are stinky, for one, and the porta-potties are beyond disgusting–I once saw worms in someone’s–well, their…leftovers. I got the hell out of there and patted at myself for dangerous butt worms.

The workers barely communicate with each other, especially not with other crews. They just listen to their radios and chop wood and saw things and throw garbage away. Some will toss dirty glances my way, for whatever reason. I think it’s because I stink up their potties, but who can tell?

When they do talk, it’s fuck this and fuck that, and I start to wonder whether or not they know many other words than their choice term; although, hey, it’s a neat slang. I bet you could form a killer song out of all their varied combinations.

Then, there came a day, a glorious day, disregarding my being a little in the dumps. I was working in a neighborhood near a beautiful mountain range, finishing up vacuuming in a house, when I heard a cheery chime, those kind you hear at carnivals and on carousels; and so I looked out the window to see an ice cream truck slowly chugging its way up the already truck-infested street.

“Yippee!” I said. Did I really say “Yippee?” Gee, that’s kinda lame…

“Guys,” I shouted to my coworkers, “there is an ice cream truck out there! It’s so awesome! I gotta to go get some!”

Now, understand, we were working in eighty degree weather, so I had good reason to be freaking out over ice cream. It’s not often when you’re cleaning out a piss-stained toilet that you see an ice cream truck pulling up to the curb to save you from the horrible smell.

I eventually convinced my boss to let me go buy ice cream and ran out to the car to grab my wallet–but I stopped short. It turned out I was not the only customer interested in frozen happiness, as there were those grumpy forty to fifty year old construction workers waiting eagerly at the door, with dollars in hand and smiles on their sunburnt faces. The driver greeted each of them in a raspy, yet gentle, voice, and he pulled treat after treat out of his mini-fridge–waving to them as they walked back, licking ice cream and chatting to one another in engaging conversations.

I was witnessing positivity in a climate I thought entirely devoid of such a feeling. The workers were smiling at me when I ran to catch the truck before it left. These grown men stuck doing tough work and, who had, only a moment, been adrift in a funk, watched me with the eyes of children surprised at anything new or nostalgic.

Such a shift in attitude should have been impossible, but with a simple jingle and a cold cone to lick, the impossible was overridden. The mood stayed in this lull until I left the construction site. All of the workers smiling with their teeth, a jovial atmosphere unfamiliar to the location and its residents.

I bought an ice cream sandwich, but the worthwhile part was, for certain, watching the workers turn from men to children in a single minute, just because of an ice cream truck appearing at the right time.

And now I’m craving Rocky Road, so alls well that ends well, right?

Go treat yourselves, why don’t you?

Think daily,

A Southpaw

Dive.

Sorry, folks, for that Thursday mishap. Seems some of the campsites I stayed at had terrible, or no, internet connection. Tis’ the way the cookie crumbles, I suppose–or, you know, some other analogy…

Whatever. I’m back now, so consider that an extended leave. I had to take a break from all you weirdos with your constant liking of my posts and writing comments. I mean, who would want to read this stuff, right? Duh, no one. It’s boring; seriously, you could put on Citizen Kane and watch that twelve times, and still–

Ah, I’ll quit with the film bashing and move onto something more tasteful.

Summer vacation is at an end. Yes, and I admit I have bittersweet feelings in that regard. For one, I wish we could have relaxed a little bit more and pondered the curiosities of life under the sweltering sun of the South; however, I am also glad I am able to get back to regularly scheduled programming and go about my average life, writing and running and working and eating and sleeping–and all the other things normal human beings do.

Favorite part? Oh, now don’t force me to pick one out, please.

Alright, alright, you sure do drive a hard bargain.

Well, if I had to choose one, it’d probably have to be in Arkansas at that one lake, the name of which has slipped my oh so distracted mind. Doesn’t matter, though, who wants to know names these days; everyone knows it’s all about the descriptions, am I right, fellas?

At this Nameless Lake, my family and I went for a dive…off cliffs. What did you think we were gonna dive off? The Statue of Liberty? No, that’s in Las Vegas, not Arkansas, c’mon, read a book for once.

Let’s see, the heights did vary:

There was the eight footer.

There was the twelve footer.

There was the twenty-five footer.

And, oh, yes, that is all.

The eight footer. Meh. Sure, I was a little scared at first, but after a while, the act of jumping from the ledge becomes less and less nerve racking once you know you’re not going to get hurt. It sucked getting water up the nose and in the mouth, though. That stuff burns. Luckily, I had goggles on, so none of it stung my precious eyeballs.

The twelve footer was more stressful, only because, at first, we had no idea if there were rocks underneath us; and, if we had fallen onto those, well–to put it bluntly, I would likely be writing this post from the bed of a hospital in Arkansas. There were no rocks, if you hadn’t figured that out, but there was more water that went up the good ol’ nostrils.

Yippee.

Now, the twenty-five footer? Whoah, boy, if I could count how many minutes I had adrenaline pumping through my veins while standing at the edge of that extremely steep cliff, I would be counting a long time, like, I dunno, probly’ one hour, if I’m doing the maths right.

The picture is of this infamous cliff, on the side of which this beefed-out black man and his buddies were watching and sometimes laughing at us as we struggled to take the leap. They’re not in the picture, but I thought I’d tell you about them, cause’, you know, description.

I came to this cliff. I looked over the edge. I saw the water below–seemed like a hundred feet–and I almost pissed myself. No, sorry, I did not almost piss myself–that was an incorrect remembrance. The tingle in my trunks was nothing but an adrenaline high, I swear.

Yeah, I looked over the edge, gulped, and figured, okay, I’ll sit it out for a few minutes and come up with a game plan. It’s kind of hard to do that when your little cousin–the one who looks up to you–walks over and tells you that he will jump if you jump…and that you should jump right then.

Well, ah…shit.

I got reared up, and by then a crowd had gathered–by crowd, I mean a few members of family, and none of them were cheering, just staring, staring in silence. I threw down my goggles, since at that height, it would hurt to be wearing those when I broke water–whoah, that sounded kinda weird; I mean, hit water. Then I took a deep breath, held my nose, and I jumped.

The air rushed past my ears, so I heard every second of my descent; and just when I was thinking this fall would never end, I splashed into the lake and floundered around until I broke the surface, coughing out water and rubbing at my now burning eyes. My arms hurt a bit, only because I had held them straight out, and the nerves were shocked from such a fall; in fact, I ended up with some bruising on the inside of my forearms, which has recently disappeared.

My first words: “That wasn’t so bad.” I yelled it up to my family, and I repeated it to myself countless times as I swam toward the cliffs to climb back to the top. Fortunately, I didn’t have to practice rock climbing, as there was a conveniently placed platform system within one of the cliffs.

My cousin did jump after me, and so did the rest of my family, each of them successful, each of them jumping a second time. T’was a delightful experience.

I felt like a bad-ass for a little while, but then my dad told me he had jumped off a forty foot cliff at that lake back in his day, a jump which had become illegal before our coming to the campground.

So much for badassery.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

 

Vacation Hijinks

So…

Last time on Thoughts of A Southpaw–

Oooh, dramatic. Are you gonna put up some flashing lights, too? Maybe a fog machine?

No. Enough with the dramatics.

Vacation has been a thrill; in fact, one of the biggest thrills came out of a single gas station on the border of Kansas and Colorado–or somewhere around there. This gas station was no big place; hell, man, it was just a gas station…no big deal. But the bathroom…

The bathroom was filthy, but it was also darkly comedic. Allow me to clarify. Within the small stall, there was your typical baby changing station, however, instead of the word changing being complete, the “c” had been scratched off, leaving it to read as Baby hanging Station. Dark, I know, and I wished I had taken my phone with me, but it was still in our Winnebago.

Did I mention that? We’re driving all across the South in a seventies Winnebago, with classic shag carpeting, shiny plastic decals, and annoying seventies cabinets that always seem to break if you mess up one step in their opening and closure; that, and the bathroom is a pain whenever my dad takes a sharp turn on the interstate and makes me almost dive head-first into a dirty toilet bowl. Yeah, ewww, no thanks.

Another cool event at the gas station–can you guess? Bzzz. Wrong. We did not get to sit on Ronald McDonald’s lap, ’cause that’s McDonald’s, dummies. We–I should say my mom–met a famous blues guitarist by the name of Elvin Bishop.

Heard of him? We hadn’t either, until he told my mother that his band made the song “Fooled Around and Fell In Love;” in fact, Mr. Bishop wrote the darn thing! He had started the conversation by asking my mom about our Winnebago, which, he confessed, his band had used back in the good ol’ days–then, of course, it was less fun when they ended up with a tour bus, but hey, what can a seventies band do?

I admit…I did listen to that song after we climbed back into the Winnebago.

If you’re reading this, Mr. Bishop–I highly doubt it–then I must say you have musical finesse. That song was a nice turn from your regular blues, and it seemed to have worked out well for your band.

Our first campsite, too, had its perks and its oddities. We sat on a peninsula, just surrounded by this gleaming lake–really quite beautiful. My family members and I went down to the lake, swam around, pretended to shoot each other with finger guns that we splashed in the water as we pulled the triggers–yes, we also fell backwards in the water when we were shot, created a more visceral experience and all that.

There were these boats, tons of boats, and there was beer, tons of beer. Everyone with a sail or an engine was sipping on cans of Bud Lite–and I am assuming it was nice and cold, even though I have never drank a single drop of beer. Heh-Heh. Wink. Wink.

Even without drinking the beer, I felt like I had a hangover…’cause of the sunburn all across my back–and, excuse my tangent, but I’m getting really freaked out because right now there’s a giant lizard sitting in its cage and staring at me…and a cricket chirped, and he looked away…phew…oh wait, he’s still there.

Yep. Cold-blooded killer, I tell ya. What, oh, I was talking about the lizard.

Heh.

Think daily, 

A Southpaw

Summer Vacation, Dudes.

What up, my people? I’ve been akin to saying stuff like that lately; of course, it’s probably just a phase. That’s what I say about everything, and, if you’ve noticed, it’s what everyone around you seems to say whenever someone is performing an activity they don’t approve of–in this case, saying something that, perhaps, some people don’t approve of.

No idea.

Any who, I wanted to inform you all of a wonderful vacation. Yes, I have worked so hard, ground my ass into ash–heh, do you get it?–that this vacation is well-deserved, at least I hope so. Going off to Arkansas, and, I’m admitting this, I always want pronounce that as two separate words: Ar and Kansas, but someone had to go and make English much more pronounced than what I believe is the correct linguistic form.

Yeah, screw you, Shakespeare…and your writing pals, like…uh…I’m kinda at a blank–cause I bet you didn’t have any pals! HA! Take it like a thespian, you playwright! What a bugger…

I will be making stops along the way to this marvelous little paradise of Arkansas, especially one campground which looks like a carbon copy of Camp Crystal Lake, so, if I don’t make it back alive, send a search party–unless you could care less what happens to another blogger lost in the American wilderness.

Hell, if Thoreau pulled it off, why not me? I could write Walden: Revamped, or, The Story of the Woods, Again. Bestseller. Triumph. Masterpiece. Rip-off.

Eh, it’s just Kansas. If I get lost out there, I need to go back to Survivalism 101. Seriously, it’s a bunch of fields, and maybe you might run across Oz, but only if you’re near a twister…and wearing red slippers, which is weird, because it never looked like Dorothy was wearing slippers; those things were more like sparkling heels–then again, I haven’t seen the movie in, gee, eight years.

Can’t remember the other place I’m going beforehand–oh wait, yes, it’s called Marvel Resort, unfortunately not a beachside resort where you can look over years and years of superhero memorabilia; nope, it’s a friggin’ camp site in the woods, with no superheroes, mind you.

What a load of baloney, right? I go on vacation and don’t get exactly what I want. What a spoiled brat am I?

Wait, don’t answer that.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

Note: That picture’s from Arkansas.

 

Oh, America…

Ah, what the hell. Independence Day is tomorrow, and this blog will end up saying I posted this on the Fourth of July, so why not celebrate the American Spirit in the grandest  way possible?

Through song!

No, no, I won’t subject you to that horror. It’s enough of a pain on the people around me to hear this voice that the angels threw into the refuse pile to rot and grow moldy; although, I can confess that the mold has not yet set in. I am guessing it happens sometime soon, however–but what do I know?

Oh, America, you big, fat blueberry pie, you. Actually, would we be more suited to a pecan or an apple? As I understand it, blueberry is far too limiting: why, those things are dangerous! Didn’t you hear how Little Jack Horner got all bloated–it’s because he ate a bunch of blueberry pies.

What a fat-ass; seriously, kid, watch the pies! I’m pretty sure R.L Stine wrote a Goosebumps book about them, and you know how those end.

You know, we can do whatever we want to do here in America. That’s what I like about it.  You can be an old man in a wheelchair scanning the porn films in a record store–yes, I saw this, but not on Independence Day–or you could stand nude in the middle of Central Park because you’re practicing natural yoga. It is to be noted; however, if you do stand nude in the middle of Central Park–this I did not see–you are liable to be arrested, for the sake of those innocent animals trapped in the zoo, forced to watch you try on your birthday suit.

Oh, America, you nudist, pornographic nation of total independence, except for these clarifications:

  • Four Big Macs stacked on top of each other for your consumption
  • Human food for cats–yes, dogs have their own brand of greasy goodies
  • Recess for high schoolers and college students
  • Christmas EVERYDAY
  • Pets using bathrooms
  • Triple rainbows

Ahem. Point made.

  • Making invalid points

Am I giving America too much of a bad rap? I mean, if you want to me to rap even better–

No? All right. I’ll cut the crap, despite how gross that sounds.

America is a splendid country. There is much fertile land to be had here in the great plains and cities and oceans and canyons of the U.S.A, and much has been cultivated in the years since its birth, but the real question is: who was the father?

Okay, I’m sorry, won’t happen again.

America, sweet, sweet America, with your chocolate fountains and your jelly/ creme-filled/caramel/all different kinds of cereal donuts, your beauty has made my heart soar–that might also be my blood sugar rising…

I tease for fun, only for fun, dear America, and if you wish I can express to you in better words than I can write, rather what I can pour from my gut–and, no, it’s not vomit–and spew out to you in chunks–uh, I mean verses.

Oh, say, can you see, by the rising of the diabetes infested sun–

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

Manly Man–At Least I Think So

Hello, all you good citizens of the Earth and everything else in it, not including those damned irritating DMV’s or the absolutely frivolous need to pay taxes…and bills…and debts…and–uhhhh…

Ahem. I am a man.

Yes, gasp in delight, go oooh and aaah, and make sure there’s stars twinkling in your eyes. Your whole routine has done a complete 360 because of the information you have just learned. It is–well, it’s supposed to be–life changing, and perhaps a little funny, or heartbreaking or tragic…or…

I’m doing it again!

I get to buy my own cups of water now; yes, if a feeble, old man were selling paper cups of water at the entrance to Wal-Mart, I would take out my handy-dandy credit card, and I would obtain the water like no other consumer had done before–and never would again.

On a more subtle note, since I am eighteen, the world has opened up to me, except for the part about drinking; in which case, the world has slightly opened up to me, but only enough that the dust has been blown off the bars of the gates. For your information, they are still so closed I cannot fit through the gap.

And that is not an opportunity to make a fat joke! ‘Cause I’m not, really! Does 500 pounds say fat to you? I didn’t think so! Now keep your opinions to yourself, you stupid twig creature!

God, those branches–they get everywhere, and let’s just leave it at that.

Tomorrow, as a matter of fact, I think I might go watch a movie by myself, for the second time! Hell yeah, my man–that is outstanding! Einstein himself could not have come up with something so brilliant and boundary breaking! Please, take the Nobel Prize already; in fact, take them all, cause that idea is just…so…

What was I saying?

Oh, yeah, I’m a big, tough manly man. Hope you’re listening, ladies, cause this is about to get real insane, real fast. I lift marshmallow bags daily. I run from the sidewalk back to my front porch. I eat whey protein shakes for the hell of it…and because they taste nice.

See? What’d I tell you? Nothing but macho; although, I might just be living vicariously through my dogs on that second one. What? No, I don’t drink out of water bowls! Are you crazy? Just leave me alone, and let me get back to eating Milk-Bones, all right? I eat when I’m stressed!

Mmmph…these things are tasty–

Wait, no, you didn’t see anything. Quick, put up the manly defense!

Think daily,

A Southpaw

Sticking To Your Guns

So, I got into Film a few days back. You know, Film. Movies. Screenplays. Trailers. Special FX, which I used to think was an acronym for an alternate Fox TV channel. I had a desire to make a movie, to film some weird crap, and other random stuff.

Then I stepped right back out.

One thing I have always known I wanted to be is a writer. A legit pen-smith–hey, it’s the best I could come up with. The writing thing is my life; tis’ my breath, and a bunch of different Shakespearean linguistics.

We have film, and we have writing.

I could devote time to teaching myself the art of making films and directing movies, or I could continue to devote my time to pursing a career in writing, one of which I am heading towards as fast as possible. There is a decision, then–what is the answer?

Now, before all of you start shouting at the top of your lungs to tell me your viewpoints, your varied and seasoned perspectives, look at the decisions you have made in your life thus far:

Are each of them making you happy?

Are you good at what you have decided to do?

If your life were to be just that, and only that, would you be satisfied–at least for the first three days?

Writing makes me happy. It is my dream to never want to retire because I am doing what I love to do, so long as I keep up the hard work and strive to be the best, in my eyes. Plus, I’d be satisfied for the first four days before I went looking for people to watch and listen to.

Hint-Hint: We’re writers. It’s what we do.

Not much of that would be true for film, and; in thinking about it from an outsider’s point of view, why shouldn’t I want to stick to what I’m good at in the first place and become a professional in it?

I’m sure there’s tons of people out there who have followed their dreams and followed their talents, cause’ why not? We’re supposed to be better at certain things and worse at certain things. If we were one way or the other, we probably wouldn’t be human; at best, we wouldn’t be from this planet…at all.

Imagine tons of aliens walking past you everyday. The guy at the water cooler today, the one who made the burbling noises right when the cooler was doing so? Yeah, definitely a spacer.

Oh, and the guy who stole your donut off your desk this morning.

Never mind, actually, he’s just of the species Asshole.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

Photo Credit: Boris Vallejo

Dyscalculia: The Reason I Can’t Do Math

Well, I figured it out, folks.

After countless years of striving to perform well in math–that sounds weird for some reason–and busting my ass studying for tests that I end up failing the next day, despite my being an annoying optimist throughout that time, I have discovered my problem–

I have Dyslexia–shit, I mean Dyscalcium.

No!

I have Dyscalculia, which I thought was some fresh way of labeling dunces who can’t make it to Calculus without passing College Algebra. Sure described me well, eh-heh…cough.

Apparently, Calcul–some-random-crap affects a person’s ability to comprehend math equations, perhaps even the ability to recall certain formulas after the person has studied them time and time again. It also prevents them from understanding advanced concepts–they cannot get past the introduction stage.

So, say I write out the Quadratic Formula. I might be able to remember it.

But what if I write out the Hyperbola formula, fifteen times?

Still won’t be able to get it; and this is not only the Calcity-Calc disability, but a symptom of ADHD and math anxiety: not the fear that math mafia gangsters will come steal your abacus–instead, it is becoming uncontrollably nervous before a math test out of fear of, dare I say it, performance issues.

Sound like any of you people?

I had no idea of it until this day. It would have been splendid news six years ago, but, alas, the world of science is slower than molasses–I mean, how long did it take ’em to figure out what molasses was, anyway? I coulda been a better math student is all I’m saying; granted, I’m pretty much done with math for-ever, except for when I have to pay a tip and pay for gas and calculate taxes and pay my bills and…

Aaugh!

Math is EVERYWHERE! There is NOWHERE I can hide!

Somebody, shield me with a Dickens novel! No, not A Christmas Carol, it’s too small!

Is that–

Oh, thank God, I thought you were handing me–

A MATH BOOK?

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

 

This Life of Mine

Recently, I have realized how fortunate I am in this life of mine. I have a caring family, a supportive house, food, and clothes; not to mention, I have the opportunity to experience a university and become educated enough to pursue a lifestyle of my choosing.

My ultimate dream? Be a professional goddamn writer, to see my books on bookshelves; but, the truth of it is–all I want is to be happy. I care not whether I have bags o’ money running out the windowsills, or owning the largest mansion in America, even the world.

Material wealth means little to me; granted, it keeps me alive, but tis’ not my lifeblood.

I am able to think those thoughts and dream those dreams, because I live in a place of good fortune, a place where determination is my motto. I will head off to college in two months with the mindset that whatever comes out of these upcoming four years will be taking me the tiniest step closer to where I want to be in this life of mine.

And isn’t it incredible? We all have our own lives, our own motivations, the somethings no one can take from us without putting up a fight. It is will. It is will, and it is confidence. Those are our superpowers in a universe of chance, since all that happens is determined by the roll of the dice, right?

Or wrong?

Think daily,

A Southpaw

An Introvert’s View of the Bar

TV’s everywhere–that’s the way it was at this wing/burger/bar joint thingie. I think it was called Buffalo Wild Wings, or something like that; a pretty insignificant place, if you ask me. Who just eats wings? Hello! Stomach overflow equals throat posing as a sewer drain, except it all goes out, rather than in.

People must like sports, since that’s all I saw on the screens. Baseball and wrestling–two sweaty dudes growling at each other, when they could kiss and get it over with–and golf–I think–and gambling and cock fighting. Don’t worry, I’m kidding on that last one: no poor chickens have to suffer being televised while they fight for their lives and attack with their pointy, grain covered beaks.

There was also a Katy Perry advert, but who cares about that?

I got to see varieties of people; in fact, diverse would sum up the experience. Halfway through dinner, I watched this crap load of folks sit down at two different tables–and they filled both. Musta been a family reunion; that, or they’re scheduling business meetings really late nowadays.

Ah, and now we will discuss the pie chart on page 3480. Please take out your pens–

Sir?

Yes, Schreiber?  What on Earth have you done? Get that barbecue sauce off my hand-drawn graphs!

I ate quite a bit, too. For those who don’t know, window washing can slim you good. I have to’ve lost eight pounds in the span of two weeks! Talk about working overtime…

No? Didn’t get it? Me neither. Wasn’t supposed to be funny.

Heh.

Speaking of funny–

Nope. Got nothing.

Desert was mighty tasty, a delicious platter of ice cream and cheesecake balls–surprisingly, cut from actual cheesecake animals–as well as a couple cinnamon tortillas to finish it all off. Hungry yet? I hope so: that meal description was a bitch to get right.

The verdict, though? Bars, while enjoyable, are not a necessity of life, despite what Greg believes. Oh, and, uh, Greg, is the guy who slipped on those beer stains and decked his head smack dab on the tap. Ouch is what I say; and, if I were older, fill ‘er up.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

Photo Credit: Fabian Perez