Innocence Still Matters.

I’ve been upset about my innocence for a long time–you know, that look in your eyes that just screams inexperienced and optimistic; you haven’t hit the harsh realities of life yet, and instead you’re going along as if everything is doodlie-doo, happy times.

Now, I’m not saying I dislike that I’m innocent, only I am, in a way, aren’t I? Perhaps I’m really tired of people underestimating me, seeing me as a kid who doesn’t know what life is, when, truly, life is what you make of it.

Sure, sounds cliche, but it does have relevance. Life is never the same for anyone; there’s always going to be differences, just as there are no people exactly alike. My life so far has been life. These past eighteen years were not spent in a vacuum, and there is no Real World, once you leave school.

C’mon, people, the world is the world. Known that since friggin’ Galileo’s time, and even beyond then…yeah….

I am innocent. I will not deny it. But am I the lesser for it? No. Do I not have as full a grasp on life as others? Sure. When you’re eighteen, you don’t typically know much; however, you still know enough to be–well, you, and, hell, that’s all you have to be.

No one’s making the rules here.

You are you, and there’s not much to change that.

It seems, though, if someone has not gone through the ringer at least a few times, has not accomplished the necessary requirements attributed to being an adult, then they, or their voices, are not worth the time of day.

Take kids, for example, the people we want to keep innocent in this world–but, that’s it, isn’t it? No one wants to listen to kids, to see what insights they have to offer; and, in doing so, they are missing out on valuable perspectives that could well change the world.

Innocence, and age, for that matter, shouldn’t be this restricting factor, or an inquiring face to turn away; no, are you kidding? Both of them have importance–both of them are crucial to understanding what the hell all us humans are trying to accomplish in these lives of ours.

Everyone matters, not only a few, because to limit is to inhibit further knowledge.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

 

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I Scared Kids On Halloween…

Yes, I know what you’re all thinking. I am such a heartless Scrooge, or, you know, whatever they call the equivalent of Ebenezer Scrooge on Halloween night. Has that ever been a thing?

Wouldn’t you know it, though? It was my first time scaring people on Halloween, rather than choosing to tread the streets in search of king-sized candy bars and gummy Krabby Patties.

I had not originally planned to scare anyone; in fact, the only thing I had really planned was sitting on the porch and looking creepy–if you got a good look at the canvas mask on my head, then you’ll know that it is no beautiful spectacle.

It was an accident that I scared anyone. See, I was sitting on the porch, candy bowl lying on my gloved hands–one kid pointed out the illusion didn’t work if my bare hands were visible–and attempting to master a Robot Pose, one of absolute stillness, no breathing, either.

These three girls, otherwise known as my first victims, came running up the steps, and they were quite the sight. One was a princess, another an astronaut, I think, and the last was dressed as Spider-Man–hey, why not?

They approached the porch warily, still wondering whether or not I was an animatronic; and eventually, they all decided I was a fake, a dummy set out to hold the candy.

Spider-Man said, “If that thing jumps out at me, I am going to die.”

Of course, where I had at first decided not to do anything, hearing Spider-Man tempted me.

Now, you’re all thinking, jeez, what a major asshole; he wants to scare kids?

In my defense, I did not know how badly I was going to scare them.

A little preface:

Before these girls appeared, a trio of middle schoolers had come to trick or treat; and, my God, were these middle schoolers mean: not mean in the general sense, but, you know, mean. They thought me an animatronic at first sight, and one of them stepped on my bare foot to see how I would react.

Yeah. Little jerk.

While grabbing their candy, the middle schoolers asked me how much candy they could have. I gave no answer, as it would have ruined the illusion; and so, one answered with, “oh, infinite amount?” and scooped a handful of candy into his freaking pillow case.

Uh-huh.

I started holding up two fingers to other trick-or-treaters to signify how much candy was allowed. Each time it was a slow movement, since I had to move my hand from underneath the bowl and raise my arm, two fingers pointing–but, I gotta say, the slowness did not inhibit the amount of fear I instilled into those girls.

They were reaching into the candy bowl, heads bowed, when I moved my hand and held up the two fingers. Spider-Man grabbed a Reese’s PB cup, glanced out of the corner of her eye, and screamed–well, to be fair, the three girls all screamed at the same time and ran from the porch, without so much as taking their candy with them.

Their parents on the street laughed at their distress, asking them if they got their candy, while I laughed quietly beneath my mask.

The parents persuaded the girls to go back and get candy–thankfully, my mom came outside and calmed each of them down with three pieces of candy.

Boy, was that experience both exhilarating and tragic.

Tragic, because I probably scarred those little girls.

Exhilarating, because I probably gave those little girls a genuine Halloween experience.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

It’s Halloween Again! Yes!

So, folks, this is going to be a quick post, only because in a number of minutes I will have to stand guard on my front porch and deal out candy to the brave little kiddies who dare step up the sidewalk.

I will be silent.

I will be still.

I will be terrifying.

I will…probably be cold; thankfully, though, I have a sweatshirt on beneath this orange suit.

Whaddya say? Pretty sweet get-up, or what? My mom made the mask–feels creepy.

Those other two are my brother and sister, yes, and how truly adorable they are in their odd costumes, eh? It’s a sort of tradition to take a picture of all of us dressed up; and my God, I cannot express enough how much I love this holiday!

So, that said, I wish all of you a Happy Halloween and hope it will be as scary, or, as pleasant, as you want it to be.

Get out there and Trick Or Treat, people! Time is a-wastin!

Still, remember to have fun, huh? Don’t get too fat off candy either.

I know I might.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

Love?

Jesus, well, this is late, isn’t it? Sorry, folks, was busy with stuff. Can you blame me?

Oh, boy, what are we writing about tonight? College? Work? Nah–I’m kind of getting tired of those things; instead, let’s talk about something that’s been on my mind for a while.

Love.

Fun topic, you could say, even an intelligent topic.

God, what do I say about love? That it can hurt? That it strikes you when you least expect it?

To say those things would be, I think, to state the obvious. Hell yes, it can hurt. Love can rip you apart twelve thousand times, and still be able to pack enough of a punch to send you groaning back to the beginning; however, that’s not to say it can’t also feel great, feel fulfilling.

I had an experience with love once, true as it could be, I suppose. It was that kind of love that brings you to an understanding of yourself, of what you want most out of life–it brought me peace and conflict and heartbreak, all in the same roll of the dice.

See, I didn’t love this girl at first; no, it progressed over time, like all things do. My first impression of her was–well, how do I explain it? uh, impressed and, at the same time, intimidated. Funny how those two can parallel one another, yet still be relevant to a whole.

Yeah, the love didn’t come into play until I got to know the girl, what kind of a person she was–how she inspired me to do better, to be better. By then, I was, as they say, head over feet, or did I screw that up?

She became a person I looked forward to seeing everyday, the someone we all strive to impress by being the best of ourselves, when, really, we probably look like a fool chicken flapping his feathers in the wind of his own turmoil.

I worked at it harder than I have most things in my life; and, in so doing, I do believe I grew into a better person. Out of all the mess, the craziness, I look back on now, there is at least that consolation: I changed, not into someone else entirely, but into myself.

As you can see, to say this love switched a couple things around in me is a bit of an understatement. It did bring me out of a self-contained shell, for a while; and it did open me up to new opportunities in socializing, and life in general. I’ve even gone so far as to talk about it, briefly, in a few posts.

‘Course, if you read those, it will be immediately obvious how deep I was within those waters; at times, I misjudged the deepness, fell short of the ledge on which to hoist myself out of the whirlpool, and I swirled, it seemed, endlessly.

The whirlpool didn’t come about until the latter stages, when I noticed the cracks in the walls I had spent months building, so I could sit back and revel in such a fascinating discovery: love? an event I had thought impossible for me? how could a girl feel the same for me?

The answer, then, was that she did not feel the same way.

I remember how angry I was, and how selfish I thought myself to be. This new world of emotions had opened wide its door, all of its contents spilling over me; what else was there to do but roll around in them and feel sick, right?

Wrong.

I told myself: whatever you think about yourself now is nothing compared to what you truly are. To deny yourself the truth of you, would be to deny all that you have accomplished, all that you have lost, all that you have done, in this life so far.

It helped, a little, but what struck out to me was…how my feelings never changed.

You’d think there’d be differences in mindset, but, I honestly believe that there are sometimes those certain people of whom, when you see them for the first time, or the thirtieth, your impression of them is never altered.

Maybe that’s poetic.

Maybe it’s bullshit.

Truth is, I can’t answer any of those questions. I don’t understand the tiniest piece of it.

So, can I claim to have loved someone if those feelings are yet buried?

The world is a confusing place, my friends.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

When Should You Stop Trick Or Treating?

Is there a finite rule to this? If so, I have never heard of it; in fact, I think of it as more of a guideline than a rule.

That’s what people always say, isn’t it?

Well, I mean, they’re not wrong. Not saying that

Ah, trick or treating, what a fun way to spend the spookiest night of the year. You run yourself ragged chasing down rumors of king-sized candy bars, give yourself a stomachache, and close out the night puking in the toilet.

No? Is that not what you guys do?

Huh.

Though I have spent my life on the safe “treat” side of the equation, I confess an admiration to those who dare to “trick,” and possibly be the fodder for the chainsaw-wielding maniac living just a few blocks off Sanity Avenue. Yeah. Throw your toilet paper. Your ass’ll be regretting it later.

The biggest argument here, I think, is whether or not there comes a time when trick or treating is restricted to those of a certain age. Is it 15, or 23? Nine, perhaps six? Are we inhumane enough to deny a bubbly five year old the pleasures of receiving a nutritious Nature Valley bar on their first Halloween?

My fellow people, I do believe we all know the answer to this question.

And if any of would care to share it, I would love to hear. Seriously. I have no idea.

I have stopped trick or treating as of last year. Why? ‘Cause I walk around enough as is, what with being a dishwasher all weekend, and walking three miles to and from classes on the UCCS campus. My legs are friggin tired, dudes. All I want to do is watch Stranger Things and eat candy in my kickin’ Halloween costume.

So, that said, there is no bias on this side. I am slowly progressing into the Boring-Adults Who-Don’t-Want-To-Go-To-The-Door-With-Their-Siblings-On-Halloween stage of my life; yes, I know, how dreadfully tragic.

Personally, though, from the standpoint of someone who has experienced the thrill of the hunt, I do not think there should be any age limits on trick or treaters, elder or toddler.

We only have one life on this world, so why not spend it doing what you love?

Get out there and break a leg–for some of you older individuals, be careful; I don’t know, dress up as Robo-Cop, or something, get some bionic knees–and remember, it’s all in the journey…

…Unless your journey is comprised of four and a half miles of gravel road.

Then you can say screw it and join me on the couch.

I’ll even save you a bowl of candy.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

P.S: Probably gonna drop to one post a week, due to the stress of college and work and my third novel, so…yeah. Peace out.

 

 

The Return of the Halloween Stereotypes!

Yo, yo, yo, everybody! I couldn’t stay away from you guys for long without feeling lonely…

Hey, didya know tomorrow’s Friday the 13th? Didya also know I can’t write a post on Friday the 13th because I’m working all night? Yep. Making money sucks.

Any who, just like last year, I hereby present to you the infamous Halloween Stereotypes:

The Halloween Music Fanatic: Just as there are White Christmas fans, so are there Monster Mash fans. These weirdos listen to loops of I Was A Teenage Frankenstein in one ear, while, in the other ear, they are jamming out to Nightmare On My Street–a classic by the Fresh Prince.

Identifiable by these traits:

  • Vacant stares
  • Are constantly humming creepy tunes
  • Hang orange and black lights as their haunted jukebox plays
  • Headphones–lots of headphones

The Candy Thief: What’s that you say? Why, yes, this does apply to parents; but they deserve their own list of stereotypes. These miscreants steal bite sized goodies out from under your green painted nose–then, they eat it in front of you! MUAAAAAHHHHAAAA!

Identifiable by these traits:

  • Briefcases in which to stow their stash
  • Sunglasses–at night
  • Sucky costumes
  • Rampant acne
  • Compulsive drooling

The Store Wh–I mean–

The Store Bore: Ever known one of those people who loves to go to Wal-Mart in October to see the Halloween section? How about a person who visits the costly costume stores working out of rented Circuit Cities? At least a few, right? Or not–hell, even I fall into this category.

Identifiable by these traits:

  • Drains the gas every weekend
  • Has money which burns literal holes in their pockets
  • Becomes bored within fifteen minutes of visiting their favorite store
  • Wants to buy the animatronics way out of their price range

Well, that’s six so far, only twenty-five left to go…

Heh. That’s a lot.

I wonder if I’m that creative?

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

 

 

Flying With the Drunk Butterflies

As of late, I have been stressed.

This is all thanks to college and work and my third novel–not to mention, the amount of people telling me I need to be social, and the tumultuous roller coaster ride of becoming an effective adult.

Hang on…let me take a breath…

Okay.

I admit that I’m not as good at managing it sometimes, but I suppose everyone can have their imperfections…at least I hope so. If not, then I’ve been a friggin’ android all my life; yeah, get to referencing some Blade Runner, a movie I haven’t seen yet…

Yay?

What’s made it easier? Well, butterflies, of course–the Cinderella of the Ugly Step Moths.

Now you’re thinking:

Butterflies. Duh! Who would not have thought of them?

Answer: Normal People, otherwise known as, Not The Weirdo Talking About Blade Runner and Butterflies.

Other-Otherwise, not you guys, ’cause if you were normal, you would have switched off your computer or tablet or phone the minute this post popped up in your feed.

OtherOther-Otherwise, we’re all weirdos.

Yay?

Right, butterflies. They’ve appeared in swarms recently. Dunno whether it’s the cold weather, or that the Moths have finally struck down Butterfly City in a great and terrible flap of their mildewed wings.

I don’t mind the swarms; in fact, I rather love how the butterflies seem to swarm me in my “downer” moments, brightening me instantaneously!

On the college campus, during the mile and a quarter walk from class to my car, these butterflies float from flower to flower, springing to the air as I pass beside them. They flutter up to my face, say hello–maybe prepare to take a little butterfly poopsie on my glasses–and are gone before I can blink three times…or is it four?

When I run through the fields behind our neighborhood, it’s as if the butterflies are practicing a chorus line. A voice races to mind, “Presenting, for one night only, The Winged Rockettes–ah, damn, they already copyrighted that.

I almost apologize for screwing with their routines, but then I remember the butterflies are the ones screwing with my routine. But is it purposeful? Or are the butterflies drunk out of their minds on sweet, sweet nectar?

Right now, I’m imagining Dennis the Menace as a moth, and the Cranky Old Man as a walking butterfly. Gee, the things your mind’ll create, am I right, guys? What? No, I’m far from drunk, just buzzed is all…

To the point of this wayward post: amid their flighty antics, the butterflies are inadvertently bringing relief to this ofttimes treadmill of a life. Not to sound weird, but their swarms seem to suck out all the negativity and stress from my mind, and kick their dark asses to the curb.

Maybe the butterflies will enroll in WWE after Broadway?

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

 

 

 

What Has Become Of The World?

I woke up late today. Had gotten in at 11:00 the night before, exhausted from work; and so I slept until about 9:00.

When I woke up, the first thing I did was reach for my phone, which was lying beside my bed, and I looked at the screen to see a News update. The tagline that caught my attention was–Worst Mass Shooting in U.S History.

I studied it. Las Vegas? Monterey Bay? Why would someone want attack Las Vegas?

So, confused, I went upstairs and switched on the news; of course, the events were breaking on every local and national news channel. The information piled up, and the overall feeling I received was grim.

50 or more people killed, and at least 500 more injured. One shooter, aiming from a window on the 32nd floor.

A thought came to me: University of Texas.

That tragedy happened before I was born, but I knew enough about it to draw eerie parallels between both of these incidents.

I thought, “What if this guy’s like Charles Whitman? What if his life just went to complete shit, and all he could think to do was take out his frustrations on these hundreds of innocent lives?”

What if?

For close to thirty minutes, I watched the live coverage, listening to the reports of the concert goers, most of them barely able to talk; and when they were, it was through tears.

A report that hit me was from a woman who claimed she had had a feeling that something was going to happen at the concert.

How dark must our society have become that when we attend these large public events, one of our primary fears is, “What if there’s a shooter?” or “What if I, or someone I know, dies here tonight?”

Fear is now unfortunately an integral aspect of living life.

I mean, hell, I go to some concerts, even circuses, and I just get this ominous feeling.

However, just because we’re afraid doesn’t mean we have to let the fear win.

I think, as humans, we can overcome anything. We’ve survived God knows how many horrors this world has thrown our way–and yet…we always find a way to come out on top and persevere.

We are Americans, after all. That’s gotta count for something.

The best remedy to any tragedy, I think, is to let it out–let your emotions, your griefs, be heard, because as long as that sadness–that total obliteration of knowing what’s going to happen next–is pent up inside you, then it will never stop haunting you.

To those affected by the events in Las Vegas, the previous night might not ever stop being as real as it is to you right now, and that’s okay–so long as you yourself are okay, and are persevering amid darkness.

Stay strong, America.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

 

Middle Schoolers Can Write! Seriously, People!

What’s up, my people?

Sorry, was that too out-of-the-gate?

Here, tell you what, I’ll call you folks from now on. Just folks. I promise.

All right, so, guys, I gotta tell you about this sweet class I got going at college. Yes, as you might have been able to divulge from the title, it does involve middle schoolers and stories. Good to practice those reading skills whenever you can.

Further information:

I am scheduled to teach a single sixth grade class, with a partner, for a whole hour. We’re required to construct a lesson plan, and, you know, all the other blah-de-bloo. It is to be presented on November 1st, the day after Halloween.

Lucky us…

Kids, hey, we need you to pay attention! Oh my God, I think–

No…

They’re psyched out on crap loads of candy! Run for cover! 

Well, barring any unforeseen candy psychoses, I think we’ll be all right…for a little while.

Anyways, back to the point of the post, which is sixth graders writing stories.

Personally, I’m in love with the concept, but maybe that’s just ’cause I’m a writer. I dunno.

Some of the more memorable bits of these students’ writings were:

  1. A story beginning with “It was a dark and snowy night.”
    • Golly, what a classic!
    • And they changed stormy to snowy.
  2. A story about Santa crashing through a kid’s bedroom wall, and not apologizing.
    • Christmas Genius at its best, my friends.
  3. A story about a witch going to the grocery store.
    • I mean…hey, a hag’s gotta eat.
    • Props for creativity.
  4. Not a story, but one student telling me all about how he loved playing Dungeons and Dragons with his uncle.
    • He was also quite polite and shook my hand; told me he was making his own board game with his best friend.

That is just the beginning–kidding, that’s actually the end.

Those four things are the only events that took place in the hour and a half I spent at this middle school. Other than that, I sat on the ground and stared at a wall and talked to myself about how Kraft Mac and Cheese is a disgusting choice of food.

Wait, you guys aren’t actually that gullible, right?

Right?

‘Cause I was totally lying about the Kraft Mac and Cheese.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

Creepy.

I try to run as often as I can. Sometimes that may be only once or twice a week, perhaps every other week; still, though, I try my darnedest, and I suppose that’s what counts.

I went on a run today. Three miles. Average. Felt pretty good, healthy.

It’s been getting to be damn hard, though, if I’m gonna be honest. The will of wanting to run–well, it has its ups and downs; most of the time, I am forcing myself to do the deed. Makes it sound like an illegal act, or something, when, in all actuality, running helps keep me sane.

I saw a dead rabbit while running. Its fur was matted with water splashed up from passing cars; and it just lay there, eyes empty, tiny mouth agape. Looked like a ruined washcloth with shriveled paws.

This rabbit was on the side of the road, an empty, empty road. Must have been fresh, since the birds hadn’t taken their pickings yet; but I gotta say, I–I didn’t like seeing the emptiness in its eyes.

It wasn’t petrified–how could it be scared for its life when it was likely taken within a few seconds? It was…just…dead. That’s one of the scariest things to see in life, you know, something that’s had its life snipped at the seam–in an instant.

Blammo. And nothing left.

Didn’t help there were crows watching me from roofs, groups of them circling high in the sky. I remember one large crow, its head appearing as if shrouded beneath this black shawl, talons scratching at the fence post on which it roosted. It stared at me as I passed the dead rabbit. Those beady button eyes stared directly at me; and the rest of the crow made no movement at all. The thing sat hunched there, brooding; hell, maybe it was waiting to swoop across and gut its newfound meal.

I don’t know.

But I didn’t like it.

Birds were everywhere when I walked back home, a flock in one tree, three or more crows perched on roof after roof; and, looking around, all I could see were the birds with their noise and their silence.

Felt like Christmastime, all the lights out upon the houses, twinkling, buzzing; and not a footprint to be seen on snowy streets, nor a fracture of firelight from within one of the houses encroached in shadow, only the winged predators dragging their talons across roof tiles.

I would say it was reminiscent of Hitchcock, but what I can gather mentally from that experience is–

Is that it felt creepy.

Think daily,

A Southpaw