life

A Journey Through College–Part 1

Dudes, I finished my first day of college today! Whoo-hoo! Are any of you excited for me–or, you know, at least, living reciprocally through my excitement? Hey, do what you folks want. I’m not here to judge…

Either way, boy, was this an interesting day. I’m not gonna go total description: there’ll be no ordered lists in this post; however, I will cover the most significant, perhaps strangest, points–

Well, we’ll start with parking. I know, I know, it sounds boring, at first, but let me explain.

When I have been traveling to the UCCS Campus after work in recent weeks, I have always been freaked out about the parking. Why? They got a friggin’ police station on the campus; yeah, cops in uniforms with non-plastic guns and everything. If I park in the wrong section, then I could get a ticket.

One memorable occasion was when I was first driving to the campus, searching for an unrestricted spot, and a police van pulled into the lane behind me. They followed me for about a mile. The whole time I was sweating and telling myself it was nothing–and thankfully, they turned into the parking garage, instead of pulling me over.

Phew!

Yes, I found parking, went to my freshman-fun-teaching class; it’s called Teaching In a Muggle World. Cue the Harry Potter jokes! I might as well say, too, Harry Potter is one of the reasons I chose to join that class, but the primary–more respectable–reason is that I want to be a high school English Literature teacher.

Any of you guys teachers? I can’t remember off the top of my head; so, if you are, please shout it out in the comments. Declare, with pride, you are, or were, teachers of some subject or other.

Muggle class was fun; although, I was bummed we didn’t just watch the Harry Potter films all day. A wasted opportunity is what I say–and I don’t say a lot in class, so…knowing that, let’s move forward.

Let’s see…there was the scavenger hunt around the entire campus, which wasn’t too bad, considering I run, a lot. I ran around with Gryffindor House–oh, yes, yours truly was sorted into Gryffindor, folks–and we asked these informative people about the different locations and their capabilities.

I remember especially when our group had to enter the library, this expansive, two-story haven of books, over which, I admit, I salivated. But the point of our visit was to collect info about study rooms, so we engaged this kindly old English Literature professor–hey!–and he talked for, say, twenty minutes of the hour given to complete the assignment.

A little preface: the library was our first location.

Now, I did appreciate the professor taking his time to explain the intricacies of the slightly complex library, and he also had that crinkly old man chuckle that makes most people smile…including me. He gave us our answers, wished us luck, and sent us on our way; what more could a guy ask for?

Lunch was burger and hot dogs–actually, who cares about lunch?

Moving on.

At the end of the day, feeling educated after a short session of Harry Potter Scene-It, I stopped outside Columbine Hall to pick up a free Sno-Cone. When I say free, I mean it was free after I had to complete a short survey. Eh, what does it matter? Got a cherry flavored Icee–uh, Sno-Cone.

So, that was it. College. A genuine experience.

It’s gonna be so simple; and I heard, the Chancellor was so impressed with my work ethic today, he’s handing me my diploma tomorrow.

Guess I’ll see you dudes on the other side.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

The Story Of Me and A Piano

There was once a piano–well, more of a decked out keyboard–and a boy who wished to play that piano. Blah-De-Blah-De-Blah. That intro’s kinda boring to me, let me retry:

In the last week or so, I have been trying my hand(s) at the piano, in the off chance that a change of mindset will trigger solutions for a problem in my second novel; however, it is also therapeutic, in a way.

Letting your fingers dance along the keys, one-two-three, three-two-one. Timing perfectly  the exact moment when you snap the pedal with your toes. It’s oddly interactive; and, I say oddly, but really, is it not crazy that a bunch of strings and keys can produce such interesting effects?

In no stretch of the imagination am I a professional. I don’t even think I qualify for a rank amateur. I’m just…playin’, man…playin’ the good songs. Sometimes, though, there are those moments: the Oh-My-God-I-Am-The-Reincarnation-Of-Beethoven moment, then the Oh-My-God-I-Totally-Suck-At-This moment.

I am working little by little on this nifty piano suite from a game known as Heavy Rain. It is a beautiful composition by the late Normand Corbeil, and, though the melody is simple to learn, the tempo and the notes are murder.

There’ll be a quarter note, quarter note, then a whole note; and then a note that looks as if a fountain pen has vomited all over the sheet music. What do they feed those guys? String Beans?

Eh-heh. I hope you got that…

Now, let’s not forget I am still learning, so these notes are slowly but surely making sense in my mind. It’s like I’m carving a new section in the Foreign Languages section of my brain, one entitled Sheet Music. The excavation is taking its time, but it is paving a path, so don’t knock me for that.

It also takes your mind off things, you know? When I’m practicing a song at the piano, much the same as writing, all of my previous worries disappear for the time, only to resurface in droves after the composition, or paragraph, has ended. Hey, you can’t beat ’em all.

Hopefully, some of you can relate to what I am saying. Music touches us in ways stronger than all other forms of art. It pierces your heart instantaneously, rather than build to a climax as in a novel; or the serenity in a beautiful painting.

It can be anything: Frightening. Exciting. Chill-Inducing. Heart-Breaking.

All of those emotions accomplished in the movement of a few keys–a few pitter patters to form a melody.

Beautiful.

What else is there to say?

I got a piano suite calling my name, what about you?

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

 

I Was A Teenage Videogamer.

The Summer of 2011:

I sit in the basement of our home at 8 o’clock in the morning–perhaps even later–and stare at the screen as I play a game on my X-Box 360. Mind you, I used to think this was the best present I had ever received on Christmas morning.

The game might be Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, or it could be Lego Star Wars. I fluctuated between those two quite a bit during that summer–and the summers following.

I care less what the game is, so long as I am playing the game and fulfilling myself.

Upstairs, on the kitchen counter, is a list of chores scrawled in blue pen. Mine range from scooping dog crap to finishing my laundry. My sibling’s chores–around the same categories. Simple chores, really; each of them, and more, can be accomplished in two hours or less.

But I am a sixth grader whose sole purpose is to shoot down baddies and collect Gold Bricks. A little known fact: when you enter into middle school, your brain goes into total shutdown. All of you can think of, all the time, is yourself and the things that make you happy; self-centrism I blame on hormones.

The chores…the chores are not finished that day.

The Summer of 2013:

I sit in the basement of our home at 10 o’ clock in the morning and stare at the screen as I  play a game on my Playstation 3. Now, I can’t quite remember if my siblings were playing with me; however, they were probably screaming at each other in cooperative computer games.

Beside me is a bag of Doritos from which I scoop a handful and stuff in my mouth. These chips are not a snack. Oh no, these chips are my lunch. My breakfast was a slim bowl of Frosted Flakes. My actual snack consists of two large Oatmeal Cream Pies that I unwrap as fast I can so I can return to shocking idiots in Infamous, or was it Infamous 2?

Upstairs, on the kitchen counter, is a list of chores scrawled in red pen. Mine range from cleaning my disgusting bathroom–as of late, I have moved into the basement bedroom–to wiping a wet rag across the baseboards of the whole house. My sibling’s chores–around the same categories, with the exception of my sister now having to finish her laundry. Simple chores, really; each of them, and more, can be accomplished in two and a half hours or less.

But I am an eighth grader whose sole purpose it is to zap electricity at baddies and gain new superpowers.

The chores…the chores are almost finished that day; yes, almost meaning thirty minutes before our parents come home from work.

The Summer of 2014:

I sit in the basement of our home at 9 o’ clock in the morning, and I turn off my Playstation 3. From there, I head to my bedroom and lace up a pair of Asics sneakers–without so much as a healthy breakfast, I leave the house and run three and a half miles.

I return at 9:40 in the morning, breathing hard; and yet still I stretch and drink copious amounts of water. My siblings are in the office and are staring at their computer screens as they team up with one another in a game of Roblox.

On the kitchen counter is a list of chores scrawled in red pen. Mine range from completing several loads of laundry to doing the dishes and cleaning the kitchen. My sibling’s chores–around the same categories, with the exception of my brother now having to finish his laundry. Simple chores, really; each of them, and more, can be accomplished in three hours or less.

And I am a freshman whose sole purpose is to ensure the list is checked off.

The chores…the chores are finished that day, and only because I nag at my brother and sister to get off their butts and start cleaning.

The Summer of 2016:

I sit in the basement of our house at 4:30 in the morning and write the next chapter in my first novel, This Sudden Apocalypse. The rest of the house is still fast asleep–it is a wonder I can be so awake without so much as a cup of coffee.

At 7:30, upstairs, on the kitchen counter, there is a list of chores scrawled in red pen.

I don’t even have to look. I know what needs to be done.

Simple chores, really; each of them can be accomplished in an hour and a half or less.

And I am a junior whose sole purpose it is to ensure the list is checked off before I have to attend Cross Country practice at the high school.

The chores…all the chores are finished that day.

The Summer of 2017:

I stand outside the office of our house at 7:30 in the evening and watch my brother fight his way through a couple matches of Mortal Kombat X; and, all the while, I am encouraging him to get that punch, or kick him there.

Then, while scrolling past other games, he sighs, puts down his controller, and says, “Actually, I think I have some important things to do right now.” And he turns off the Playstation 4 and leaves the office, the controller still warm on the desk.

I have graduated school, and he is an eighth grader.

I pat him on the back and say, “Look at you, Mr. Responsible…”

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

 

 

 

Life–Well, It’s A Cheesecake, Isn’t It?

Life–well, it’s a cheesecake, isn’t it? I’m not talking a single piece of cheesecake, no; in fact, I mean a pie of cheesecake. See, you can say you love every flavor in one of those creamy things, but we all know you’re lying. No one, no one likes all those pieces. There’s always the singularity–the missing link, if you would, that we all wish would get the hell out of Dodge, you know?

Life is interesting for me. It has been interesting for me. I work a pretty fair job in the field of manual labor. I’m a regular blue collar, sweeping brooms and wiping out toilets. It’s meh, to be truthful–and if there is one thing I have learned from this job, it is the sometimes nasty truth.

Drugs, for example, are nowhere on my to-do list. Day in and day out, I see people ravaged by constant drug use. Their faces are old, older than their age; and in their eyes is a haze that never seems to dissipate. I can see the blankness in some of their faces, and it is hard to watch at times.

These folks do this for fun, mind you; and, hell, perhaps it’s to find an escape. But, for me to know what it will do to them in the long run…it can be heartbreaking to see someone throw away their potential like that.

I speak from no experience; and, yes, I might also be speaking from a safer perspective, but I am innocent, after all.

I come from a small town where the craziest thing I have ever witnessed is a bleeding lady taken away on a stretcher after her husband’s psycho ex-girlfriend drove her motorcycle into the back of their car. Before this job, before this peek into another life, that was the craziest crap.

I have seen stuff since then. People who absolutely loathe their lives. Temper tantrums that can get way out of proportion. Worms swimming in some worker’s shit, and let me tell you, that was in two different Porta-Potties.

It is disgusting, but at the same time eye-opening. Would I have experienced this bit of life, this slice of cheesecake, if I had not taken this job? Would I be less of an innocent man than I am now? Would I even be writing this post?

The answers aren’t clear. When are they?

Life is a lot larger, a lot nastier. There are tendrils where I used to see sunshine. Adults can be total assholes, immature for that matter; or, they can be some of the best of the best.

A cheesecake? How about a loaded die? I’m serious. You don’t get to choose what happens in this world. The die is rolled–the numbers are chosen, and you either deal with the unfair, or you get out and do the best you can to force those numbers into your favor.

Win-win, or a lose-lose. No way of telling until you’re standing right in front of it. By then, too, the smell can be so bad, you aren’t sure you want to test your luck.

I say do it, but do it wisely. If you’re dumb when it comes to making those important decisions, you’re going to get landed with a nightmare, one of which you have to climb out of yourself to reach those sweet dreams.

Be smart out there, guys. It will pay off.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

 

Memories From A Strawberry Shortcake Roll

Forgive me, Dear Readers, if this post is the teeniest bit unusual. As I am writing tonight, I am working under a haze of heavy doses of Benadryl and a bunch of other weirdo drugs–just your average trip to the Emergency Room. So, knowing that, let us proceed with the post:

I was at Wal-Mart the other day with my mother; in fact, I believe it was yesterday–who can know with this scrabbled mind? We were getting food and more food…and more food, and we had made it to the checkout aisle when this little girl came into the aisle with us.

At first I thought she was lost, since she had that mystified glaze over her eyes, the type of look kids give you when they’re pondering some of the greatest mysteries of the universe. She would stick her thumb in her mouth, glance over the various impulse purchases beside us, then take out the thumb and do that little “kid stretch,” where they bend slightly backwards until it looks like they’re about to fall over; however, they always stand right side up again within a moment, a new curiosity about them. Did anyone see me, they think. Am I the focal point of attention yet?

Her mother came into the aisle a minute later, a stressed look over her face. It was the kind of face you see on a mother who is quite obviously fed up with their kid’s crazy antics. It’s like if in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, we got to see the parents’ reactions to Ferris’s antics–let me tell ya, they’d be wide-mouthed gapes and the slightest irritated wrinkles beneath the eyes.

I smiled at the little girl, who was giving me the who-the-hell-is-this-stranger look; and then, while the mother was herself perusing the impulse shelves, I glanced at their cart.

Then I saw it. The box of Little Debbie Strawberry Shortcake Rolls.

Images of the clamshell hat wearing Strawberry Shortcake from that cartoon back in the late 90’s filled my thoughts. That show was the bane of me, as well as a pleasant memory of a time revisited–but it wasn’t just the show that came out of nowhere.

In the early 2000’s, our family lived on Maelstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls, Montana. Nice area. Friendly neighbors. Happy times. I was a young kid who had no idea of what life or the world meant, so, in simple terms, inexperienced and more innocent than I am now.

What I remembered then, in that Wal-Mart aisle, were trips to the Commissary–a military-only form of Wal-Mart–with my mom and my sister. We’d go on any old day in this sweet minivan to go buy groceries and–can you guess?–boxes of Little Debbie Strawberry Shortcake Rolls.

Back then, I think Little Debbie was printing the picture of 90’s Strawberry Shortcake ; so, when we saw those boxes, we always thought of the cartoon and pleaded to our mom to buy them for us.

See, it wasn’t the taste of them that made us so eager. Trust me, as an eighteen year old who has eaten his fair share of healthy foods, Little Debbie is not always your best friend; rather, it can lead to a shitload of indigestion and a sour feeling on your tongue. We wanted the Shortcake Rolls because they reminded us of a happy time.

I admit to watching Strawberry Shortcake prance around with her little desert-named friends–and this weird dog thing that wasn’t quite a dog. There were days when my sister and I would just binge-watch the only episodes we had for hours at a time; and we loved the stuff, couldn’t get enough of it.

I knew some of the lines. She knew most of the lines.

I liked this episode. She liked that episode.

It was a varied experience for both of us, but it was enjoyable.

There in Wal-Mart, I was taking a pleasant journey down Memory Lane, and it wasn’t just the Commissary or Strawberry Shortcake, it was–Blockbuster and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figures and a brand-new game of Operation, or Chutes and Ladders.

It was being a child and having the whole world at your fingertips to mold, to build, to destroy–all of it at your whim; that, or how many tears you could muster out of your chest when you didn’t get whatever you wanted.

Let me tell you about Blockbuster, this pre-Netflix Shangri La of movies and imagination–at least, for a kid. It had movies, movies everywhere, specifically, movies I didn’t think existed.

One time I can remember strolling through the aisles on a nice Friday night, feeling like I was King of the World, and I came across a movie called A Nightmare on Elm Street. Well, of course, I looked at the back of the case, and I saw some terrifying images for a child at the age of seven. A man with a razor glove. That same razor glove rising out of a bathtub, between a girl’s legs for that matter–mind you, around then, I was enrolled in this strange Christian pre-school, where we watched Bible Veggie Tales and ate chicken tortillas all day.

I didn’t even ask my parents about Elm Street, just threw it back on the shelf and hurried back to the Disney films. Unfortunately, about a month later, when I was home alone and flipping channels on the box television in the basement, I came to a channel playing the beginning of A Nightmare on Elm Street TV show; think it’s called Freddie’s Nightmares.

I, uh–well, I saw a man, maybe good ol’ Freddie himself, getting burned alive and screaming.

Then I threw my hands up over my eyes and tried frantically to forget what I had just seen.

Ah, they were good times, though, despite how I might phrase them here.

Seeing that little girl and her personal box of Strawberry Shortcake Rolls brought out  a lot of nostalgia, and I have loved every second of reliving those many, many moments.

So, Little Girl in the Wal-Mart Aisle, if you ever read this, take pleasure in those Strawberry Shortcake Rolls and just remember that life can go faster than you think.

It has for me.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

It’s Human Nature…

Blogging, put simply, is spewing out thoughts onto an electronic page. You’re constantly puking and puking until the contents of your stomach are thrown across the Inter-web.

And, yeah, that sounds super disgusting; but don’t any of you find it interesting that, as humans, we crave intimacy? Personal this and personal that–and we need more realism!

A man dies in a car crash, and the video is uploaded to Youtube. Here, I’ll figure this one out for you. This video detailing the gruesome death of some innocent man who never wanted his death shown around the world receives one million views in under five hours.

Another man get his legs chewed off by a shark. Four million views.

What the hell is it with us humans that we can’t bear not to look at the grotesque and the downright sick events that happen in this collective culture? Are we…secret sadists hiding in a closet, or…barbarians who forgot to leave the Stone Age?

No. It’s not that simple. Humans do crave the strange and the scary; it gives us a freaky adrenaline, and it makes us consider how close we are to our own unfortunate demises.

God damn, dude. It pisses me off, for some reason; but, if I’m honest, I do the exact same things. Each of us has, inside us, a desire to witness the unusual–it’s as if a roller coaster built of corpses is being unveiled, but the tickets to see it are speedily selling out. What else is there to do than stand behind the fences and gape in awe, or horror?

Human nature…human nature…

Again and again and again and again, I hear those words. It’s human nature to want to see someone die? It’s human nature to watch massive earthquakes devastate entire cities? Why? I ask everyone, why?

I can’t say screw human nature, ’cause I’m human–at least I think so. I complain about all this stuff, and yet I have no verifiable reason to do so. I’m like a broken-winged duck floating aimlessly in the middle of a gaggle of snickering swans.

My Gosh, am I still going? Most of you are likely bored by now–driven out of your friggin’ minds from weariness. I wouldn’t blame you. It can be dry…for some.

Ah, boy, who knows, though, maybe this meant a lot to you, and maybe it was a bunch of blabber that splattered against the wrong wall; either way, it’s how I feel. It’s how I choose to express this troublesome mind of mine, when a topic of the strangest subject approaches from this forever horizon–whatever the hell that means.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

Don’t Hit Cars. It Sucks.

God, let me tell ya: a car is a precious damn thing. They’re like Faberge Eggs with wheels, especially if they’re a rare kind. You get a single scratch on a car–any car–and it can cost you somewhere between 100 to 200 dollars; and that is me just estimating.

I unfortunately did not just leave a single scratch on a car; rather, I was pulling out of the parking lot of a Baskin-Robbins, and I happened to scratch the rear end of a car with the front bumper of mine.

By the way, I dented the bumper and scratched the hell out of this guy’s paint. I cringed at seeing it, even thinking about it makes me all wiggly inside.

It was not one of my finer moments.

I do still wish, however, to point out that the parking space I was leaving was on an incline, and, there were cars blocking my view of both the left and right sides of the road, in and out of which cars were driving.

It was not a well-structured parking lot.

That is my defense. Now, I choose to plead the Fifth.

You can’t do that.

What?

You already revealed information, so…you can’t plead the Fifth.

The hell? Fine. I plead the Matrix.

No one is taking you seriously. 

Geez, dude, if a lady can plead that it was all the Matrix’s fault after she killed someone, then shouldn’t I be able to for scratching a car? The balances, man. Weigh those balances.

You can’t just use a fictional universe as an excuse.

The balances have spoken. Ah, no more–if I hear one more thing out of your imaginary little mouth, I will overrule the judge.

I’m leaving.

All right! Great! Didn’t need that dumbass anyway. I have a whole list of people just waiting to help me get through this horrific car-scratching incident. Therapists. Psychiatrists. Mechanics. Butchers. Bakers. Candlestick Makers.

UUUGGGGHHH! Why do I have to be such a terrible driver? I passed the test, does that mean nothing to you, you disgusting Automobile Gods? Okay, maybe I punched too many people in Slugbug, but, please, be reasonable!

You know what, since you don’t feel like talking, I’m gonna go punch some more people in Slugbug. Oh, and one other thing, I’ve always thought you guys were crap in comparison to the Ten-Speed Gods.

Hey, that’s an idea! I’ll just ride a bike from now on!

Ring-a-ding-ding, baby.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

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