humor

A Southpaw’s Year In Review

My, but this has been quite the year, hasn’t it? I realize a post of this nature may be premature–after all, there are two weeks until 2018; but I’m a stickler for breaking the norm, so sue me.

What is there to say about 2017? In terms of development for this blog, it was an important year. So many events happened that unexpectedly shaped the type of content I write, some of them tragic, and some of them lighthearted. All the same, though, they played a part in Thoughts of A Southpaw’s evolution, and I am glad to have been able to document them for the sake of my readers, be they weekly or occasional.

You understand, much of the time–I will admit, not all of the time–this blog is meant to help you guys think or cope or laugh, or smile a little on a bad day. It’s For the People, By the People, Of the Pe–okay…I’m getting a bit too Founding Father on this thing.

Let’s run over 2017’s Top 5 most popular posts, starting with–

  1. Small Town Losses (This was a heartfelt one for me, and a lot of other people. A tribute to a great person.)
  2. Meet My Cousin: William Shakespeare (I was genuinely surprised as to how much this post blew up. I was just fooling around one day, and–well, there you go…)
  3. Prom and Punch (Another surprise, but this one, I think, had some certified funny moments…maybe…)
  4. Sunshine Comes Around (Boy, this was a hard post to write, and I can only hope it helped some people get past their own dark moments in life; so, in that, I see this as one of my most important posts.)
  5. Graduate (A happy post that attracted a lot of attention on Facebook, which, again, surprised me. Three cheers for graduation, too!)

All of those posts I feel had a significant role in forming the current Thoughts of A Southpaw, as well as what it might become in future years. They each had their own tones and messages–even though it seems like a few have no messages whatsoever–and for that, I see them as unique on this blog, reflecting the perspectives of my readers.

Perspective. That’s a big thing I’ve learned. The views and tastes of my readers influence the output of this blog. It’s one of those things that always keeps the posting interesting; it brings something new every time.

What else have I learned? Things. Stuff. Nonsense.

I am still learning how to write an effective blog post, as I believe there is no one way to write anything, and we are all constantly refining our approaches towards a project.

Here, then, to 2017, a year of great changes and introspection. May there be many more years ahead as significant as this one, and may there be many more readers to experience them.

Together, we’ll see what 2018 has to offer…

As they say, though, C’est la vie, whatever will be, will be.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

 

 

Yo, Dude…It’s Finals Time!

You heard it right, my dudes! As of next week, finals are coming to a theater near you–or me, or…whatever…Either way, they’re here, and I am mentally preparing myself to crush them all to smithereens.

Weird word, smithereens, isn’t it?

I’m only legitimately worried about Philosophy, that one thinking class; but, see, I feel like the rest will be easy, save for Math. Still, that’s a given.

College has been a fun ride so far, though. These past, what, five months have gone by in a flash, not even kidding; the last thing I remember was taking my picture on Orientation Day.

What have I learned?

Uh, lemme think about that:

  • There’s the never-park-in-college-parking-lots rule.
  • Remembering to do homework the night it’s assigned, otherwise you’re screwed.
  • Always pick the 12 inch meatball sub at lunch.

Oh, and one more…

  • Study and study and study and study

Those four things should cover such a long time span, sure. 

Yeah, but it’s been fun, more fun than I probably might have had at a community college, not dissing those who attend them, of course. I almost went to one–almost being the keyword there.

A big woo-hoo to the Community Collegiate. Seriously.

You guys are gonna be laughing at us when we have to pay shit loads of student loans.

Here’s hoping I won’t end up in those shoes, ’cause I got my own neat pair of kicks. They’re called Brooks, and, uh, they’re the biggest thing since shoelaces.

Yeah. I know. Lame. Cut me a break, willya? I am a mentally deprived individual!

Keep in mind, too, these finals can suck the brains right out of your head. Each one’s a big-ass vacuum with sharpened pencils for teeth, oh, and a brain tank, where your brains float around in copious amounts of Mountain Dew.

Might have to start wearing a tinfoil hat. Never know where those Freaky Finals’ll be next.

At least you’ll protect me, right, guys?

Ahem.

Right, guys?

Think daily,

A Southpaw

P.S: I found another friggin’ coffee picture! Credit goes to zazzle.

I Am Becoming A Caffeine Addict (Also 150th Post, Dudes! Yeah! Cheers! Cowabunga!)

Yes, you read that right. I have officially written 150 of these things, most of them bad, some of them good; but the point of this milestone, you see, is that I have been able to write 150 posts because I have such a huge follower base.

Gee, I’m pretty sure we’re near 100 followers now, in total. Crazy stuff. Wouldn’t have anticipated it a year ago, but there are those things you can never sense until they’re right on top of you, am I right? Eh?

But, to the topic of this post, quite a serious one, if I may say so:

Caffeine Addiction.

I’ve been attending CAA meetings lately. For those who aren’t familiar with the acronym, it stands for Coffee Addicts Anonymous, maybe you haven’t heard it; and, honestly, I wouldn’t blame you. It’s situated out of my parent’s basement, so…small reception, heh.

I wasn’t always addicted to coffee, no, as a kid, I hated the crap. It tasted like black licorice combined with tar–although, that may have been due to my Dad’s preference for black coffee.

I’m more of a creamer man myself. That’s right, ladies. I’m buddy-buddy with Coffee-Mate.

The addiction started off harmless, like a Daddy Long Legs, then, it…oh, it’s difficult to say…it took over my mornings, filled my stomach, and–and, it made me have to use the little boy’s room quite a few more times than usual.

Oh, man, I need a breather. I can hardly talk about it without feeling the urge.

Quick, someone grab a liter of Prune Juice!

[One hour, and one big, big, big burp, later]

All right, we’re good now. I have quenched my thirst with the worst possible drink–oh, wait, that’s orange juice, duh.

We may now proceed with open questions from the audience:

How many, uh, coffee cups do you consume a day?

Tough question, pal. I’d have to say three…dozen.

What is your favorite type of coffee?

Whatever’s in the pot, babe; and, hey, shoot me your number. We’ll get together, have coffee.

How long is it going to take you to realize no one is actually asking questions?

No comment.

What a twat that guy was, huh? I made sure he was kicked out of the auditorium, so he’s not gonna be bothering us any longer. There are just no decent people anymore, ‘cept for you guys; you guys are cool.

Like coffee. Coffee’s cool, unless it’s hot.

Use that for your next pick-up line, guys. You can credit me later–with a check for 100 grand, addressed to Thoughts of A Southpaw; but, really, it’s no biggie.

Otherwise, keep it rocking, my people.

150 posts strong, and still rolling!

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

Photo Credit: Tumblr, I believe…

 

 

 

Shutterstock

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

Yeah, Uh, I Wash Dishes Now, Guys…

You guys remember how I had a job, a legit working job? Yeah, well, that went the way of the blue suede shoe–and, if I’m gonna be honest, I am a little glad about it. The atmosphere was startlingly negative; that and the safety stuff wasn’t as strictly followed as it should have been…

But, hey, that’s what we got quitting for, right?

Wrong?

Maybe?

Either way, I’m a dishwasher now. At this little joint called Great Wolf Lodge, maybe you’ve heard of it. It’s pretty much all across the entire United States at this point, and, the way they’re headed with this place–we might have near total world domination on our hands, folks.

I have no say in how that domination crap goes, though, since I just hide out in the back of the separate kitchens and shovel dirty dishes into these monster washers, some sorta industrial machines. The load of work is easy, save for the times when everyone in the lodge decides to eat at the exact same time, as well as Closing Time.

Yes, my friends, I have to spray out the giant monster washer at the end of the night. Trust me, there are no redeeming qualities about that; except, you know–ah, pooh, I’m at a blank.

When I finish I’m covered in this disgusting sludge of onions and carrots and crusty pizza sauce, something like this:

IMG_0223

Yep. Not a pretty sight, or picture.

A perk: I get to nab leftover food sometimes. The cooks could leave out a whole tray of chocolate-caramel brownies, and us dishwashers and servers will pick off whatever we can before the supervisors come running into the kitchen.

Try hiding a mouthful of chocolate and licking crumbs off your lips when talking to one of those guys, huh? I haven’t actually had such an experience, but I can imagine it is no fun–seriously.

We also have this squeegee blade in the big kitchen that we use to slide water and gunk off the counters. Pressing it to the metal and gliding it this way and that reminds me of washing windows, and then I laugh–and the servers and cooks give me funny looks. Hey, that rhymed!

A good thing is, is I can see myself continuing in this job for the next two years, at least. Who ever knows what the future holds, sure, but I have a feeling about this place. I got them good vibrations. You get what I’m sayin, homes?

Just nod your head and smile. It’s fine if you don’t.

Kidding, man, you are so screwed.

Think daily,

A Southpaw