humor

Our Second Anniversary–A Few Words.

How is everyone tonight? Maybe you’re a bit average, and maybe you’re above average: excellent or enthusiastic or terrific, all those fancy words that lost their meaning the tenth time they were used.

I am doing well; in fact, this long hiatus has done me some good. I am nearly finished with the first draft of my third novel, Society, At Large, and I have got to tell you, it’s one hell of a book. I’m proud of it, as I hope many others will be after publication.

Sophomore year of college, too. Who’d have figured? Comes up so fast, life does, as I’m sure many of you know. Done many things. Met many people. Written many words. Thought about–I’ve thought about quite a bit, much of it good, some of it obsessive.

I’ve learned about the current politics of the U.S.A. Y’know, Donald Trump and Kim-Jong Un; my, that was one historical meeting, wasn’t it? Politics, to me, are so interesting because, with politics, there’s never a clear answer to anything. There’s dozens of factors to consider, people to talk to, and tasks to delegate before making a decision. I question why anyone in their right mind would want to involve themselves in that crazy world seemingly separate from our own.

I’ve noticed they appear everywhere, politics do, especially at college. You can be sitting in the lunchroom, chowing down on a pizza, and hear someone discoursing on the pros and cons of America’s economical situation. I dunno much about the economy, still learning about it; however, I have my friend Adam Smith to help me out. He has one book, but I’ve heard it’s a killer.

What’s my point here? Am I attempting to sketch out the previous events of my life in uncoordinated fashion? Am I reaching for some truth I can’t ever find in life, but which I hunt down so ruthlessly in words? Is EVERYTHING for the sake of, what, a few views and likes? Put it like that, and it makes it sound like a social scam, a ruse I’m putting up for no known reason. Deception is a word that comes to mind, but–

I don’t know.

I don’t know why I do this, why I continue to do it. Call it energy or life blood, either way, it’s not a matter easily settled in a couple short discussions. At the tip of my tongue every time, it feels like, escaping me, and I never find out the truth. It’s always gone before I reach it.

Thoughts of A Southpaw’s 2-Year Anniversary was at the beginning of this month. I missed it, but I’m making up for it now. This anniversary somehow means more to me than the first. I can’t imagine why it would, but as I said, the truth escapes me when I need it most.

This year was interesting. It was fun, and it was sad. It was exciting, and it was depressing. I discovered many things about myself I wouldn’t have, had I not taken a break. There’s so much I want to say and do, make some change in the world, and writing makes feel like I can accomplish all of that and more.

People can talk about empty promises and holding themselves accountable, and they can be absolutely bullshitting everyone. Only I know if I’m doing that, and I don’t think I am. Writing is my power, and I’m learning how to wield it as I grow older. Above all, I see writing as a tool that when used in capable hands, can make ripples in the waters of the world, be they of good or disastrous intent. It depends solely on the person holding the pen.

Perhaps the truth will always escape me. It’ll scurry away whenever I’m close to catching it, and despite my best attempts to stop, I’ll keep going. We all desire some truth, some ideal we hold ourselves to. Don’t be ashamed of it; rather, be proud of your drive and intellect, your spirit and action. Grab it by its collar and shout in its ear, “I’m coming for you!” Feel it shrivel at your will. Whatever power it holds over you is no greater than the power within yourself, that power you control, that you display.

It’s taken me some time to figure that out for myself, and I can only hope it doesn’t take as long for you.

Years will come, and they will go, but time will always remain within your power.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

Photo Credit: Emily Lotka

People Are Strange

I finished reading Catcher in the Rye, and I gotta say it’s an odd book, a quirky tale. Holden Caulfield is by no means your average teenager, but he is not an alien, either; so many people hate Holden, y’know, something I don’t understand.

The argument, I believe, is that the only people who can relate to him are mentally unstable. Okay, so Mark David Chapman reads it, then, what, people are blaming the book? Isn’t that a fallacy, or at the least, one of those conclusions people create that make no friggin’ sense?

I liked it. I really did. I liked that goddamn book.

See, look, now I’m speaking like Holden Caulfield: it’s a spiral, I tell you, and it keeps going downwards. Pretty soon, I’ll be wearing a deer hunter cap and chain smoking cigarettes.

People are strange, though, y’know. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from that book, it’s that people are strange. There’s no logic to it–you can try computing an equation all you want, and nothing’ll come of it but a tired mathematician. Call someone else for that, by the way, ’cause I suck at Math.

There’s strange people at work. at the store, at the intersection right before you turn onto your street. They’re everywhere, man; a bunch of weirdos doing their best to give off an aura of normalcy.

The other day, I saw one in Wal-Mart, word of honor! He had on this bulky cloak and a purple scarf; I also think he was wearing sunglasses…at night. Ah, of course, it didn’t register at first, but now I realize he was an avid Corey Hart fan. Nevermind, dude wasn’t strange, just misunderstood. Then again, I doubt 80’s rock was understood even when it was popular.

You can disagree with me if you want, and I’d like that, truly. You go ahead and think Sunglasses Man was strange, I’m not judging, only writing a blog post about the whole thing.

Yeah, he was strange, but not as strange as Holden. That’s where I think Catcher in the Rye is most effective–its depiction of the ultimate, angsty teen has yet to be rivaled. Could you argue James Dean got close in Rebel Without A Cause? Sure, but ask yourself: would there be a James Dean without a Holden Caulfield?

I dunno, haven’t studied enough of that stuff. Gimme an answer, and I’ll praise you.

Let’s think a moment now. We’ve established people are strange, but we don’t know which people. Is there a certain minority devoted to strange folk? is it why we have all these cults? or is it what we’re denying–we’re all strange in our own freaky way?

Gee, interesting concept, huh? It’s like none of us are the exact same, because that would be super boring.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

Photo Cred: Wired Reader

AAAHH! I’m Almost A High School Graduate!

I have a calendar in my bedroom. It’s this giant–well, not giant–calendar, I suppose, that  has all my favorite little due dates and events written all across the days; and they are numbered.

I was looking at this calendar yesterday, flipping forward through time to the month of May and thinking about what I wanted for my birthday when, out of nowhere, it hit me: I am going to graduate high school a week after my birthday, on May 27th!

“Oh, Mamma mia,” I said–then I passed out on the floor.

Correction: I did not pass out. Rather, I screamed in my brain–or my brain screamed in me?–and went to finish that darn math homework that I had been putting off for three days. So, yes, I did freak out. Everyone freaks out. But that’s okay. It’s only high school, after all.

Only high school?

I have to find a college!

I have to buy a house! Or an extremely cheap apartment with a dirtbag for a landlord!

I have to cook! And not Hot Pockets or Pop-Tarts!

I have to be a man!

How does that work, by the way? Do I grow a rug on my chest the night after graduation and find myself speaking like Christopher Reeves in Superman? Is my dad gonna leave a pair of boots outside my door with a note reading, “Son, it is time for these boots to be filled?”

High school is slowly slipping away…I think I might cry, tear up a little. I’m being taken willingly away from this minefield of social cliques where, if you have a wayward opinion, you’ll get the shit kicked out of you and be forced to eat it on a silver platter; where the food is–okay, the food is allright. Oh, sob, sob, tear; waterfalls from my eyeballs. Tell my principal to save a spot for me in the lunchroom for when I–oh, wait, I won’t be coming back.

At least in college, or, hopefully in college, there will be freedom and excellent food and magnificent teachers and Shetland ponies…and four quartz diamonds and…a pool shaped like a brain and filled with money?

Sorry, I was reading from the wrong script.

Someone traded me for Impossible Fantasies For When You’re Totally Broke.

Yay, college?

Think daily,

A Southpaw

I’M BA-AAACK! SOUND THE ALARMS!

Greetings, dear People, I have at last returned to this pleasant planet Earth. Been a while, hasn’t it? I dare say, it’s been almost two months; now that’s far too long to be away.

Just so’s you know, I’ve been busy. Not like I went off the radar and ate raw fish in the woods–trust me, the raw chicken’s way better. No, no, I have had college and two novels and work and life and a bunch of stupid excuses no one wants to hear.

Either way, here I am. If you could see me, I’m smiling. Or am I? Wait, am I?

Now I am.

What have I done? Well, lots. I got money, assignments, grades; somewhere along the line, I think I picked up a bit of self-esteem? I dunno. Things happen so much around here, it’s hard to keep up with the tiny details.

I went bowling…if anyone cares…

It was in this real seedy joint, Summit Entertainment–well, okay, not seedy in the day, but at nighttime–

Went with a few coworkers, chatted, encountered a guy who hung out in the girls’ bathroom to give out his number. Typical bowling cliches; I’m serious, nothing special.

I got third place, yes, me, Mr. I-Can’t-Catch-A-Damn-Football-To-Save-My…Or-Someone–Else’s-Life. No trophy, no kiss, nothing–and, y’know, I was looking forward to getting a plushie. Nope. Just me and a few sympathetic claps. Oh, there was one “You go, man,” but that might’ve been the weird deejay.

Wait, he left before then, didn’t he? Went to the bathroom, I think.

Now, Laser Tag was a different story. I didn’t get third place. I got eighth. Also, I almost ended up in a fight with these two linebacker-sized dudes ’cause one of my coworkers decided to flip them off.

To be honest, though, I’d have mopped the floor with them. Of course, we’d have to pass the mop off to one another; you can’t expect to mop an entire building without some teamwork.

I suck at Laser Tag, anyway. Always trying to act like I’m in an action movie, then some forty year old guy gets my chest, and–yeah, no, that’s depressing enough.

Making myself cry here. Didn’t know this was going to be such an emotional experience. Let’s bring it in, guys. C’mon, team hug, okay, not too close, no–ouch, you’re stepping on my foot!

Can cross Bad Idea #10 off the list now.

Ah, who am I kidding? All my ideas are bad! Everyone gather around the bonfire! Gonna burn this mother down!

No, we’re not. You can take off your Angry Mob costumes.

What we are doing is reconnecting, right? Heh…get it, ’cause connections and Angry Mobs, eh?

I have no idea what I’m saying.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

P.S: Feels nice to write that again.

 

Image Credit: Golda

 

From the Standpoint of A Teen…

What’s up, everybody?

I haven’t seen you guys the past few weeks, been hectic with college starting back again. I got papers and more papers. Not to mention, I’m also working on two of my novels, trying to salvage enough time to accomplish all of it.

I’ve been good, y’know, being eighteen, getting used to Life; although, I’ve been getting used to it since I came into this world. It’s not as if once you leave high school, you’re initiated into this Adults-Only Section–and no, I’m not talking about the place where they store the dirty movies.

That ticks me off. Not the dirty movies, just the adults who forget what it’s like to be young, to have a fresh view of the world. I’m talking about the adults who patronize those on the fringes of adulthood: this teeter totter that rocks perilously over either side of an angst-filled abyss.

We don’t have a friggin’ map. People don’t provide one for us, and most of the time, we have to cut our own path through the jungle. Machetes are not provided. Also, water evaporates fairly quickly.

Guess I let it get to me sometimes, which is not so bad as it is disheartening. I think it’d be better if we all shook hands and congratulated one another on our accomplishments–but the world can’t always be so black and white.

We have different perspectives for a reason, yeah? For one, we’d be super bored without them. Imagine having a conversation with someone about Lord of the Rings, and for some reason, the other guy is as big a fan as you are, which should be impossible, ’cause you’re number one, right?

That’s to say we’re all a number one in one area of our lives. Least, I like to think so. Maybe you’re number one at pool or darts; hell, give hockey a shot, and you might end up in the NHL.

Chances, man, take ’em, but don’t get me started on how many times I’ve missed out on publication opportunities because I’ve forgotten the deadline. Yeah, I’m working on that part, getting better, though; y’know, learning from failure.

I know for a fact that the majority of my followers are adults, so, if you’re reading this, lemme plead to you from the standpoint of a teen:

  • We’re not all lazy, and if we are…we’ll work on it, got eighty more years, anyhow.
  •  Getting a job is not as easy as it used to be, but we’ll bust our asses until we find one.
  • Lastly, do you remember when you were our age?

Yeah, yeah, I get it’s called a generation gap, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it; and besides, the best way to get past a gap is to build a bridge.

A metaphorical one, of course.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

 

What’s Next, Then?

So, heh, got a funny story for you folks.

Okay, now get this–

I work three nights in a row as a dishwasher at Great Wolf Lodge; wait, that’s not the funny part, don’t laugh yet.

I work those three nights, and now that I’m on break I choose to work several more nights, ’cause why not? As of now, then, I am working Friday through Monday next week, which means I miss New Year’s Eve and Day. Well, I sort of miss the day, since I’m at home in the morning, but whatever…

You guys aren’t laughing. Did you miss the punchline? Was I not clear enough?

Alright, alright, I’ll say it again. Wait, what? You’re bored of it now?

Fine. I’ll move on.

What are we moving on to, though? I’ve been asking myself that question for a while, tossing it back and forth in my head; if you were wondering, no, I haven’t found an answer yet, so stop bugging me.

I’ll be working on my novel or washing dishes or lying in bed, staring at my gray ceiling; and the questions will creep in unwanted: What’s Next? Is There A Point To It All? Am I Spinning Fruitlessly In A Circle While Life Slips By Me?

I like to think those aren’t true, but, gee, what is or isn’t true nowadays? Our own perception of truth is clouded because we’re surrounded by so many falsehoods. One minute we’re learning about the Emancipation Proclamation, and the next we hear Abraham Lincoln was abducted by aliens at seven years old.

I mean, c’mon, people, everyone knows the Emancipation Proclamation was totally faked.

Just like the Moon Landing.

What I’m trying to say is that if we can’t count on the legitimacy of all this external stimuli, then what’s to stop us from misconstruing the truths and lies about ourselves?

People insult me; they say I’m gay, but I know I like girls and I’m just getting confused.

Well, what do you think? The only way to be sure is to confront the question yourself; those others have no justification in claiming one thing over another.

I feel like I’m swimming in a fucking abyss, tidal waves crashing over me so much I can barely breathe. But I tell myself I’m fine.

Are you? Don’t jump to conclusions. The worst thing that could happen is that you end up believing in the wrong answer…which you don’t want. Look in a mirror and ask yourself honestly if you’re fine. Again, the truth can only come from you.

This bleak and dismal stuff can get depressing, but I think it’s a fair topic. There’s too many times I find myself stuck in a dull mood because my future is unclear; although, let’s be honest, folks, who the hell has a notion of how their life is gonna turn out?

From our first step to our last breath, we’re all a little mystified, aren’t we?

Don’t know about you, but I am. Ahead is sometimes foggy, and the past, oh, the past, is always so visible; God, if I tallied how many times I looked back on the past in nostalgia, or as in most cases, for fulfillment, I’d be at a thousand…maybe two thousand, and a quarter.

The present is a tricky dude. It’s satisfying for a few seconds, then it descends into oh-no-how-did-I-not-predict-this and I-thought-I-could-see-the-friggin-future-darn-it.

Yeah. Tricky. Slick. Slicky.

By the way, that’s tricky and slick combined. Just saying.

Still, the best we can do to combat it is to hold fast to the handlebars and not fall off the ride; since, even though it gets bumpy, there are occasionally a bunch of flashing lights and stage performers to entertain us during its slow parts. Then you gotta deal with the lines at the end, as well as the parking lots–

Sorry. Got off topic there; then again, I believe I’ve said all that needs to be said.

Guess there’s nothing left than to wish you all a Happy New Year’s, and to hope you keep an optimistic outlook on your futures, too.

It can be difficult, but it’s worth it.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

 

This One Stressful Day

Ever have those times when you have to stop and wonder how you got into a certain situation? It’s not what I’d call a moment of reflection, nor a Oh-my-God, how did this happen situation; it’s more of a what the hell did I do to bring me here of all places?

I had a time like that. Yeah, it was today; in fact, it’s still fresh in my mind, like a tray of cinnamon rolls fresh from the oven.

See, it started with my brother asking me if I had used his bathroom. ‘Course, why would I use his, when I have my own, right? So, my answer’s no. He doesn’t like that for an answer, and he goes storming off down the hall, raging about his toilet flooding the bathroom, swimming crap included.

For all those who just lost their appetite, allow me to let you know I am eating ice cream, so if anyone is losing anything, it’s me–then again, I could still be happily eating while writing this; all bets are off.

I sigh, look back at Netflix, since I am a lazy college kid on break, who only works three days a week; yes, yes, I’ve heard all the criticisms. Then I realize I’m an adult, and as an adult, I have to deal with said swimming crap.

“Josh,” I call, “show me this bathroom.”

I’m expecting turds hanging ten on toilet waves, a piss monster rising from the shower, but I do not have these expectations fulfilled. Rather, I see a sticky floor with food crumbles scattered all over the tiles, and it stinks, too, which makes it worse.

My brother and I then grab the bleach and pour it all across the floor. This makes an even worse smell, but by now, who honestly cares? I emerge from the bleached bathroom, unscathed, save for a burning sensation on my shins; as it turned out, some of the bleach had sprayed onto my skin.

What luck.

I look at the bottle of bleach, read the warning about getting the stuff on your skin, and   I groan. Apparently, if it got on your skin, you had to spray the affected area(s) with water for fifteen to twenty minutes.

So I tell my brother to leave the bathroom alone and enter my own shower, fully dressed, and take down the shower head and spray my shins for fifteen minutes.

About then, I start wondering what the hell did I do to bring me here of all places? It’s 1:00 in the afternoon, and here I am standing in a shower, washing my legs free of bleach, while toilet water slowly sinks its way through to the kitchen ceiling.

Life. I swear I don’t even attempt to understand it sometimes.

I ended up burn free, and the bathroom was left alone; however, our house now reeks of bleach.

Hooray for toilet problems.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

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…