Oh the Humanity of the Humanities: A Terrible Title for a Touching Post

Oh irony of ironies. As I opened what I thought was a new notebook to take notes on the Humanities class I just started (a class that studies the intricacies of human expression, I must add) I was greeted by a very simple, and yet sublime, human expression.

“Princess Sparklel (*sparkle) Farts”.

I haven’t laughed as hard as I did in quite a while. My wife laughed also. This one won’t go on the refrigerator though.

Her Majesty deserves a place of honor. She shall be framed in the finest dollar store frame and hung prominently upon our living room wall.

Although I don’t know the period during which the piece was produced, I can comment on the context.

Recently, my son ran up to me as I sat in the bleachers watching my daughters cheer a football game. He said, in front of God and everybody, “Let’s have a farting party!” I expressed extreme distaste in regards to my participating in such an event. My son promptly jammed his hand up his shirt and produced several armpit farts. As my son continued to squelch and giggle, I adopted a somber expression and sternly spoke his name. His farting party came to a screeching halt as he prepared to receive a reprimand. “Do you know what happens after a farting party?” He slowly shook his head. “People have been farting all night and, as they begin to leave, they find themselves parting farty.” A strange smile lay upon his lips and he uttered a half-hearted final giggle before running off to find his mother.

I had hoped to raise a family of nerds. Instead, it seems I’m raising a family of bodily function aficionados. They art about farts, for crying out loud.

I guess it’s ok. Their passion inspires in me an emotion that results in one of the more pleasant bodily functions: laughter.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…engage in farting parties. Not literally, though. Use it as a metaphor for whatever strange, and less disgusting, activity your children may wish to engage in.

A don’t…part farty. Just don’t.

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Thai Tea, Anxiety and a Brush With Death: An Eye Opening Experience

I suffer from anxiety. I have mentioned this in a few previous posts. It is not something I am proud of, but it happens. My brain always knows that there is no real reason to worry, but my body refuses to believe it. I suffer from nausea and sleeplessness even as my mind goes over all the logical reasons why I should be calm and asleep. It makes no sense and frustrates me to no end. I just want to enjoy my life that presents no reason not to be absolutely ecstatic every single day. I have a wonderful, beautiful wife, three amazing children, a house, a job and more food in the fridge than is really necessary.

I love Thai iced tea. It tastes like a sweet tongue depressor. For some reason, I love this flavor. It even seems to dry my mouth out as I drink it. I don’t know why I like it so much, but I do.

Recently I’ve been plagued by severe anxiety. I don’ t know why. I started a college history class, the syllabus of which caused me to not sleep for three nights and break down in tears at work. I work in a jail and broke down in front of my captain. Thankfully, I still have a job. I dropped all my history classes and changed my major. This was right after July 4th and ever since, I’ve experienced nausea every time I’ve signed in to do some work on the English composition class I am taking. My wife thinks that I’m actually suffering from PTSD due to my Army service and the fireworks did something to me. I did dream about my son being blown up in a desert which was quite disturbing, but I still don’t want to believe that I may have some disorder related to the Army.

Until recently I was only able to acquire Thai iced tea at restaurants. Yesterday my family and I found a grocery store that stocks items imported from such places as India, Japan, China and…God be praised…Thailand. I found a bag of Thai iced tea mix and bought it. I restrained myself as long as I could because my wife had company after we got home, but I eventually broke down and brewed a cup as the ladies sat and talked.  The ingredients listed simply “green tea” and I had my doubts as to whether just green tea could taste like a Thai iced tea. After a bit of experimentation, I took a restaurant quality sip. In a fit of carnality, I gulped down the whole glass and sat on the couch, satisfied. As I listened to the world’s most amazing woman chat with her friend about trivialities, I began to feel nauseated. I assumed it was because the children would have to go back to their mom soon and I was missing them before they were gone. As the afternoon wore on, I began to experience what I thought was anxiety and assumed it was related to a rather extensive assignment due that evening. After we dropped the kids off, I was absolutely miserable. We grabbed a burger and I felt a little better after eating.

As I worked on my assignment, my distress continued to worsen. This was despite the fact that the assignment was nowhere near as taxing as I had assumed it would be.

When my throat began to constrict, I became worried for a very real reason. I threw my computer across the bed and bolted for the bathroom.

Long and disgusting story short, I soon felt much better. I finished my assignment and held my wife close as my stomach recovered from its recent severe contractions. At some point she got up and left the room. When she returned she shook me out of my semi-comatose stupor to inform me that the Thai tea mix had a label warning that it could cause cancer and birth defects.

Needless to say, we trashed the crap.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…enjoy what you enjoy, but be wary of items that list a single natural ingredient but stain your lips a garish, unnatural shade of orange.

A don’t…drink Thai tea under stressful conditions. Or perhaps any conditions. What a horrid experience.

Perfection Mis-Realized

Human tendency seems to be to meddle with perfection. We find something great and we immediately begin to formulate plans to make it better. Take, for instance, my back yard. When we first moved in, it was perfect. My house sits on 3/4 of an acre, which isn’t massive, but it is fairly huge. The house is on a small hill that slopes away to a beautiful flat meadow of lush, green grass. A large pecan tree stands to the northwest of this, shading a bit of less lush grass which gives way to a stand of bamboo in the far corner. To the north of the meadow is a raised pond planted with waterlilies. Below this, at ground level, sits another pond with waterlilies and lotus flowers. It was beautiful.

And then I decided we should drain one and fill it with sand to make a dig pit for my son. We threw up a swing set and a trampoline for good measure and I cleared off some beautiful grass for a garden. The garden is now a weed patch with a fence around it and it somehow sprouted a few vegetables. It looks like crap.

We mess with perfection. We find something nice and think “Hey, I can spruce this up a little bit.” And it ends up being crap. Either we are too ambitious and do so much stuff that the result is a cluttered mess of half-completed projects or we have no idea what we are doing and we end up turning something beautiful into an eyesore. This is the case with me, at least.

And this is the case with a certain shall-remain-unnamed chocolate sandwich cookie with mysterious white creamesque filling. These cookies have been perfect ever since I ate my first one at some tender young age I cannot quite fully recall. But I remember the cookies. And now they’ve changed. They’ve been changing and I hadn’t even realized it because I discovered the single positive change this particular cookie has made, the one which has been stuffed twice as full of the mysterious creamesque filling. I was buying some of those the other day and my laser focus was distracted for a moment by an equally addicted child asking if it would be acceptable to open the package in the car. I turned to assure him excitedly that we would most definitely be exploring the benefits of his amazing idea when I spotted the absurd abomination.

The white creamesque mystery ambrosia wonderful what-not pictured on the package adjacent to the one I wanted was a garish orange color and proclaimed to be candy corn flavored.

Why?

We have candy corn for candy corn flavor. Remaining unnamed chocolate sandwich cookies with mysterious white creamesque filling are perfect. We buy those when that is what we want. When we want candy corn flavor, we buy candy corn.

There are other abominations in the cookie world, but I am too disgusted to talk about them. The cookies were perfect. Why mess with them?

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…enjoy what you enjoy, even if it is an abomination.

A don’t…mess with something perfect. It cannot be made better and alterations take away from the original. It would be like cookie flavored pickles. We have two separate food items to fulfill both of those cravings. Eat the one you want. Exceptions are made for pregnant women or the severely depressed.

More Fishing Stories

I posted a few fishing stories last night. Remembering these events fished some older encounters up to the surface of my sea of memories. Here they are. Enjoy!

My brothers and I went fishing with our dad when we were teenagers. Dad is a singular individual, dissatisfied with relaxation. As I age, I identify with this. If I am not working in the yard, working on my course work or marketing my children’s book series (the first of which is called “How Sir Donkey Legs Became a Knight” and deals with a young boy who didn’t quite fit in until he accidentally “saved” a kingdom, and is available in paperback and ebook format from such reputable retailers as Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com. You should buy the first, become hooked and wait breathlessly until I have enough money to publish the next installment, “Sir Donkey Legs Should Not be a Knight” which deals with the young knight’s sisters’ reactions to his erroneous accolades) I am not quite happy. As I lay prostrate in a hammock, attempting to forget the cares of a menial food service job, dad was above me in a tree, sawing limbs. We eventually burned them, but there were plenty laying on the ground for easy collection. I eventually had to get up, chased from slumber by the danger of falling branches. Later we traversed the perimeter of the lake so that dad could utilize his new net. It was weighted at the edges and had a retrieval line so that the fisherman could easily pull it back. Dad tossed it elegantly off a cliff, waited too long to pull it back, and it became entangled in submerged rocks. He stated his intention to not “lose my new net” and promptly stripped to his tighty whities. He then descended the cliff face hand over hand, dove, retrieved the net, ascended. It is bad enough when a  teenaged boy sees his father in wet tighty whities. Even worse when strangers pass by and he greets them heartily in his might-as-well-be-nude attire. How horrified I still am on so many levels, these many years later.

Once upon the same occasion, I, in a fit of woodsmanly premonition, froze mid-step with my foot hovering over a heretofore unseen baby copperhead snake. The youngster was coiled, ready to strike. I remained frozen, fearing the very worst. The snake, apparently a coward, suddenly slithered toward the lake…and my father. I screamed a warning and my dad, channeling a Comanche warrior, raised his small axe above his head and stood ready. As the offending bit of nature passed him he swung the axe with full force, producing sparks that, luckily, did not result in forest fire but could have. The snake escaped off of the aforementioned cliff with its head half-attached. It slithered in rather a funny way after dad had his way with it.

Our final tale comes from a former co-worker of mine. He said he had a friend who once rested a shotgun barrel on his boot-toe. An unintentional jostle resulted in the loss of the poor man’s big toe. A few years later, my co-worker and his friend were fishing from a boat. His friend fell off the boat, sliding chest first along the hull in the strangest version of falling off a boat ever. The man emerged from the water a short time later, screaming. When they asked what was wrong the man screamed, in a family-unfriendly display of angst, “I cut my titty off!”. And when the man again boarded the boat his friends found that, indeed, his nipple was missing. As he slid bare-chested down the hull, his nipple had caught upon some bit of roughness, excising the minute appendage from its natural perch. I asked my friend if he was still in contact with this man. He replied that he talked to the one-nippled, one-big-toed individual on a very occasional basis. I then asked if the man was now any more than a living nub and inquired as to whether or not the man had been successful in obtaining life insurance. No answers were forthcoming.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…exercise caution when engaging in any endeavor. Danger and humiliation are just around the next tree or bend in the river. Or, perhaps, just over the edge of the next cliff.

A don’t…forsake the outdoors. The clear and present dangers can sometimes provide stories that keep you and your wife awake at night with unbidden giggling.

Fishing Stories

Anyone who has ever fished has a story. In most cases these are embellished accounts of the approximated size of the one that got away or exaggerated size specifications regarding the one that didn’t. In a few rare cases, a large fish is landed, photographed, boasted of.

The following stories include none of the aforementioned qualities.

I am a poor fisherman.

My first fishing foray with my children included my two year old son suddenly jumping from the bank into the water and nearly drowning. I entered the water so fast that I was wet before I hit the surface. The only thing caught that day was, surprisingly, a severe case of athletes foot on my part. My son thankfully survived with no ill effect, other than a severely swollen pull-up.

Another occasion in the same location resulted in a much surprising encounter. Have you ever fished with three young children? You have no chance to catch anything. My son was insistent on throwing every bit of equipment and paraphernalia into the water every time I turned my back to help one of the girls unstick a hook from the weeds. On one such foray, I heard a frantic rustling of leaves and assumed it was my son making another beeline toward the bank for a self-drowning experience. Turns out, it was a recently-skin-shed snake. It, in hindsight as scared as I was, slithered its stark white and loathsome body furiously toward the water. I disregarded its escaping from me, focused on the ferocity of said evacuation and scared my children by ascending the steep bank, in the opposite direction taken by the snake, mind you, screaming. My frightened youngsters fled toward the road, arms above their sweet little heads, inspired by my flight of unnecessary fright. I nearly had to tackle my son to keep him safe.

Just today my son, now six, was insistent that catching a big fish required putting an entire hot dog on his hook. I indulged him, then watched as nibble after nibble garnered no landed fish. One bite, however, was a farce. The bobber dunked furiously under the water, inspiring a mad dash on my part to assist my son in landing a real lunker. Turns out he had somehow gotten the line wrapped around his shoe…who knows how?…and had jerked the bobber trying to reach his tepid Sprite.

One final account includes my wife-type-person catching three fish, which she nobly let the children land, whilst I myself got nary a nibble. My manhood has been suspect since that fateful day. She fails to believe the tales I share, fraught with inalienable truth, that I have, at least once in my life, caught a fish. She has never seen me do it, therefore it never happened. Instead she laughs at me. She shares stories of her dad yanking too hard to set the hook and reeling in naught but a set of fish lips. Would that I could, in her presence, catch a fish. Even if it were lipless.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…fish despite your failures. Catching a fish is fun. Fishing with your children is fulfilling.

A don’t…let a fish emasculate you. Sometimes they are just too dumb to eat soggy hotdogs, plastic or stinky clay.

About A Billion Tadpoles; The Neglectful Nature of Frog Forebears

There are about a billion tadpoles in my decorative pond. Last month, we heard frogs serenade us every night. It was loud. I was worried the neighbors would call us in as a nuisance. Either they didn’t or the cops don’t care if frogs are in your yard. Anyway, we were worried at first because we saw this string in the pond that looked like a strand of carpet. Very crinkly and colorful. I thought the frogs would get tangled in it and suffocate and almost pulled it from the pond before realizing it was a massive strand of eggs.

The neglectful frog parents have since moved on. They abandoned their young as they are apparently wont to do. Now every time we look at the pond, it is literally wriggling and squirming with aquatic life. I don’t know how I feel about this. It certainly makes for some nutritive water for my tomatoes, but some of these things have swum up onto the lily pads and dried and died. I blame their neglectful, abandon-minded amphibian, certain slang for the gluteus maximus parents. How dare you leave your babies to dry to death on my lily pads?

My oldest child is a girl of 10. She says we have to live here for five years to observe the growth of these tadpoles. She says it takes five years for a tadpole to become a frog. I freely admit she is smarter than I am, even though I am currently a college student with a 4.0 gpa, and because of this, I haven’t bothered to fact-check my child. It may take five years. But if it does, those poor tadpoles are doomed. They swim up onto lily pads they can’t get off of and dry to death! I’m more than happy to be some weird frog baby surrogate parent since I didn’t have to incubate them within my body, but I can’t be out at the pond 24/7. I have to parent my actual human young.

Who are these frogs to spray their offspring into my decorations and disappear? If I knew the number to frog 911, I’d have them arrested for neglect and abandonment. Its easy to identify them by their slimy green skin and loud, disrespectful, croaking nature.

Also, these billions of tadpoles will grow into billions of frogs that, without any frog-parent-figure guidance will simply continue the cycle of croaking in a loud, off-key and peace disturbing cacophony and the spraying and abandonment of young into unauthorized water sources. They’ll decimate the tranquility of my back yard with their inconsiderate caterwauling, should they survive to adulthood.

I’ll let them live, though. Despite their irritating qualities, they fascinate my children. I begrudgingly admit that they fascinate myself and my wife as well. Let ’em be, I suppose. If nothing else, they are a part of nature that I’ll simply have to tolerate and can perhaps learn to love.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…appreciate nature for all of its quirks. Nature cannot be helped.

A don’t…take my rant as a sign that I’m anti-frog. Frogs are fine, and cannot be held to human standards. I simply dislike the idea of a billion croaking frogs. I like sleep.

“Don’t Worry About What Other People Think” – People

I worry. I worry a lot. I worry that any statement I make will be found offensive and that those offended will seek me out and attempt to harm me. I have no doubt that I am sufficiently capable of self defense. I did the whole Army year in a combat zone thing and currently work in a capacity in which physical assault on my person  is a daily probability. I have been trained, I’d simply rather not deal with defending myself. I want to watch T.V. and listen to podcasts and paint the trim on the outside of my house a garish blue in relative peace. I want to reach in amongst the proliferation of weeds I haven’t gotten around to weeding to pick my tomatoes and, when I do this, I want the only red I see to be the skin of the tomatoes. I want to live in peace.

Throughout my life, my excessive worry has been addressed by many. People say, “Don’t worry about what other people think.” The problem is, the people who have said such things to me were, themselves, people. If I’m not to care what people think, does this also apply to the people who tell me not to care about the thoughts of other people? They never bother to specify. They never say, “Don’t worry about what people other than me think, and only worry about what I think when it applies to what I think about what you should think about what other people think.” So I’ve no idea what to think. What am I supposed to think when I don’t know what to think about the thoughts of people who think I should fail to think about the implications of what other people think?

I bid you adieu…and a don’t

Adieu…think about this.

A don’t…overthink it. If you do you’ll think that you’ve gone crazy.