An Offensive Gift, A False Scripture and a Moose; A Christmas at Work Worth Forgetting

Merry Christmas.

With holiday sentiments safely out of the way, let me tell you about a Christmas present I got at work. Rather, let me be vague about it and assure you that it was offensive. It was good naturedly offensive and I took no real offense at it. But I wanted to convey that I had been off put. Since I’m not saying much about the gift itself, I’ll go on at length about my response to the gift.

My response involved the fabrication of scripture. I understand that some may find this blasphemous (although I mean no disrespect to true scripture), and some may be offended merely by the mention of scriptures, religion or Jesus. If you are offended by such things, consider yourself forewarned that you may disregard this post as you see fit and hold me blameless.

Having performed my due diligence, and assuming you are still reading, I present below the full text of my response to the offensive gift:

Dear Sekrit Santuh (this is how the attached card was signed),

Thank you so much for the gift! I found it to be rather offensive. As I assume this was your intent, I applaud you on a job well done.

It wasn’t offensive in the way you might imagine, however. You see, I do not believe in Santuh. Neither do I celebrate the holiday he is associated with. I celebrate the holiday that inspired Christmas, which was originally called the Festival of Christ’s Moose.

This special day was set aside to commemorate the year that Jesus, upon his birthday, took leave of the Holy Lands and rode a moose to Anchorage. As he rode, a multitude of Inuits and Eskimos began following him saying, “Savior, teach us and lead us to salvation.” And Jesus, having pity on them, dismounted his moose and began to preach to them saying, “Blessed are the cold in heart, for they shall find warmth.”  And as he was preaching, the multitude began to grumble against him saying, “We hunger.”

And as they were grumbling, a thunderous noise was heard in the East and from behind a sparse copse of evergreen trees emerged a large, white man-like creature that walkethed upon two legs. And as the multitude hungered and cowered, the creature roared and it did beat upon its chest and did fall upon them with violent intent. And as the creature came forth to devour them, the multitude cried out to Jesus saying, “Savior, save us!”

And Jesus, having pity on them, stopped preaching and he said to his moose, “Go!” And his moose went and it plunged its antlers into the creature and killed it. And Jesus, remembering their grumbling, blessed the creature and tore it asunder and filled many baskets with the pieces and fed the multitude. And they who were once cold were filled with a warmth and it was not a physical warmth, yea, it was a warmth of the heart.

This is why most Christmas celebrations include Christmas Dinner, however, it should rightly be called Christ’s Moose’s Dinner and the main course should include Yeti steaks. Since these are very hard to come by, modern day celebrants have seen fit to do away with the truths behind the holiday and celebrate Jesus’ birth by eating turkey, a known non-cryptid.

Thanks again and may you all have a hairy Christ’s Moose.

Signature omitted

And thusly were those who offensively gifted me regaled. Much to my wife’s dismay, I also attempted to regale the children with a similar tale. They disregarded it out of hand. Smart kids.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…know that I understand the severity of creating one’s own scripture. It was a joke meant to shame my co-workers. I’ll not attempt to build a church around it or encourage others to adhere to my false tenets.

A don’t…read any truth into what I’ve concocted. The most that you can take away from it is that moose exist and it is cold in Anchorage. I’ve seen no real evidence to suggest Jesus ever even saw a moose in his Earthly incarnation.

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I Believe in Bigfoot, But Does He Believe in Me? A Question That Doesn’t Really Need to be Answered

As may or may not be evident by the photo accompanying this post, I believe in Bigfoot. I won’t say that I believe completely in his existence; instead, I believe in the idea of Bigfoot and his plausibility as a living creature.

But is the reverse true for Bigfoot, if he exists? Does Bigfoot believe in me? As far as I’m aware, Bigfoot has never seen me. I’ve certainly never seen him. If he believes in the few representatives of Humankind he may have seen, he at least believes in me by proxy and this brings me some sort of comfort.

I like to think, though, that there are fringe Bigfoots (Bigfeet? Thank you Tolkien for your Proudfoots/Proudfeet exploration. It intrigues us still today.) out there that, being more adventurous than their contemporaries, have sought out the strange sounds blasting through the woods and laid eyes upon a Human or group of humans. Perhaps these “outsider” Sasquatches lope home and grunt excitedly to their families and peers about the small, hairless, bi-pedal Sasquatchoid creatures they have seen.

Perhaps Bigfoot, too, knows the sting of being thought crazy by the majority of his society.

Maybe there are even Bigfoot Human watching groups. Perhaps it is called something like the H.uman B.eing R.esearch O.rganization or the Bigfoot grunting/howling equivalent of that. Perhaps they try to imitate the sounds of shotgun blasts or are hard at work producing the fluorescent orange colors they’ve seen during deer season. Maybe there’s some enterprising young Bigfoot developing scents he associates with people. I don’t know what they would be. Something unique that we probably can’t smell since woodsmen and hunters generally avoid scented aftershaves and colognes and such while searching for creatures to eat or study. Perhaps to Bigfoot we smell as bad as I’ve heard Bigfoot smells to people. Skunk Ape indeed. How crude and completely uncalled for.

And what if, just what if, the responses people claim to hear when they are call blasting into the night aren’t actual Bigfoot responses at all. What if these recordings people play to attract Bigfoot are something else altogether and Bigfoot, hearing these strange sounds and sometimes then seeing people, thinks these are the noises people make and is simply regurgitating what he hears in an attempt to attract us?

What if somewhere there is a Bigfoot attempting to imitate human speech and some Bigfoot researcher or frightened camper will one day hear from back in the tree line a tentative and gravelly “Hello?”

Just some food for thought. Bigfoot, whether real, imagined, hoaxed or misidentified, is a veritable buffet of such mental edibles.

And maybe he even believes in, or doubts the existence of, us.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…try to see both sides of all arguments. Some arguments, however, have two different sides from two or more distinct sub-groups. These 4 or more dimensional arguments are worth looking into from every angle.

A don’t…get caught up in the Bigfoots/Bigfeet plurality conundrum. It just isn’t really worth it. After all, rather than aruging semantics, you could be busy looking for a group of Big…well, you get where I’m going, I’m sure.

Re-purposed Costumes and Child Prodigies: A Proud Father Horrified

A couple of quick insights before we get into the meat of this post:

  1. Halloween costumes are cheaply made (the ones we buy are, anyway) and might as well be re-purposed.
  2. I am aware of the dangers of trampoline ownership and usage. We monitor the kids closely when they use it and have had no trampoline related injuries in the 2 years we’ve had it. Well, no injuries to the kids, anyway. I’ve pulled several muscles moving that ridiculous thing out of the way so I can mow under it. Oh, and also the blood blister from trying to stretch those extremely stiff springs during setup.
  3. Bicycles the size of the ones my 7 year old daughter and 5 year old son use are not equipped with kick stands. I take this to mean that the manufacturers do not expect that children that young will need the training wheels removed. What it likely means is that they’ve already spent money installing training wheels and don’t want to spend more on manufacturing and installing a kick stand.
  4. I choose to believe that my son, despite the bicycle manufacturers implied assumption, is a bike riding prodigy. I choose to believe he will be the bike riding equivalent of Beethoven and/or Mozart.

With all that said, let me explain the intent of this post. My son can ride a bike. He enjoys riding his bike to an extent that horrifies me because, the more confident he gets, the more risks he takes.

Before he learned how to turn, his risk was to get as close as possible to the trampoline before stopping. As his turning skills improved he decided he simply MUST try to ride around the lotus pond.

This caused me much consternation. I didn’t want to discourage him, however, I especially didn’t want him to fall into the stagnant, odiferous muck that inhabits the pond now that all the blossoms and leaves have fallen into the water. This stuff is very nearly alive and I rue the windy and overcast day that it finally burps up some strange, dripping, glob-like life form.

Side-note: I refuse to clean out the lotus pond in the fall because not only will the lotus grow up and hide it in the spring, but he muck makes a wonderful addition to mulch and I want it to get as mucky as possible before I scoop some out in the early spring to schlop onto the garden.

As soon as I saw him headed toward the pond, I took off running. He rides with his knees out to the side and I don’t know how to describe the sight, but he pumps his legs so fast that the sight of those knees bobbing out on the sides of his bike is very comical. So I laughed as I ran. Just as I caught up to him he executed a perfect turn mere inches from the edge of the pond.

When he stopped his bike by intentionally running into my theoretically evergreen tree I lectured him on the dangers of what he had just done, implied there would be consequences if he did it again and sent him off to ride a different route.

He was proud of his turn, though, and kept bringing it up. “Hey Daddy, did you see, I, I, did you see me I turned and didn’t splash?!”

Apparently this gave him confidence and, feeling that he had mastered the challenges of turning before riding into a pond, he decided it was time to tempt fate another way.

When he disappeared into the house, I figured he had to go to the bathroom. Instead he came back out in his Halloween costume and decided it would be fun to horrify the dogs and his sisters as he rode after them helter-skelter, cackling and crashing into obstacles he couldn’t see through the inadequate eye holes of the Halloween mask.

Here’s the moral of all this: There may be many ways to repurpose a Halloween mask. Bike helmet is not an acceptable option, even though it has the potential to be hilarious.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…allow you children a few eccentricities. They are good learning opportunities for you as well as them. While sometimes scary, they can also be hilarious.

A don’t…feel guilty if you monitor them closely when they have their “good ideas”. In most cases, they are envisioning positive outcomes that only exist in the realm of the miraculous.

 

Halloween and Trust; A Holiday We Love Incorporates a Virtue Society Needs

This Halloween I left my house at 6:30 to pick up my kids from their mom. As I drove through my neighborhood, I saw the first few early bird trick-or-treaters flitting quickly from house to house and it brought a tear to my eye. I didn’t understand exactly why until I got home with the kids and we began our own evening of candy hunting. As I watched the kids running from door to door, crossing the street on a whim, laughing and hollering about which house was next, staying just within the boundaries of what I thought to be a safe distance from me, I realized I had teared up earlier because Halloween is such a trusting holiday.

This may sound like a strange idea, but our Halloween actions truly denote a level of trust in our neighbors that I hope we never lose. We put our children in costumes and canvas neighborhoods, sometimes not even our own, in attempts to take candy from strangers in the strangers’ own territories. On any other day of the year, we’ve lost our minds! But that one night a year it is perfectly fine to throw all the rules out the window and trick-or-treat.

I worry a lot. I worry about things that most other people probably wouldn’t even consider.  When I first published my book I got back onto social media, which I had shunned for approximately two years, and I was sick to my stomach with worry that I’d somehow overly complicated my life. My wife is a saint in sinner’s clothing though, and she showed me the ridiculousness of my concerns when she stated, in a whiney sing-song voice, “Oh noooooo….I have a Faaaacebooook!” It really put the situation into perspective. The point I’m making here is that, despite my sometimes crippling worry and anxiety, I felt no concern as we walked in the middle of the street in the dark begging for treats from people we didn’t know. The few cars we saw drove so very slowly as they passed that a kid would’ve had to really try to get hit.

What about the candy?, some might ask. But in all my own trick-or-treating years and the 8 I’ve so far shared with my children, we’ve never suffered any illness other than nausea induced by over-indulgence. We’ve never found a razor blade in a caramel apple or rat poison in a candy bar. In fact, the only behavior approaching inappropriate I’ve witnessed has been on the part of my own children. Last year, the first year we handed out candy after our own trick-or-treating, my four year old son innocently enticed other children to enter our home. He is fast, reached the door before we could, and stood with his arm outstretched into the living room pleading, over and over, “Come in, guys! Come in! We have caaaaaandyyyyy!!!!” This year he and the girls stood at the door, with my wife and I close behind, and at the first hint of the sound of trick-or-treaters they bolted. Most of our visitors this year were met halfway down our driveway and had three children excitedly encouraging them to take candy from three different buckets. Most of the candy they handed out was candy my children themselves had just collected. If an adult were to act in these ways the police would surely soon be summoned. And the treats they offered would’ve lacked candy’s inherent sweetness.

In short, there are some creeps and weirdos out there who ruin Halloween for some, but they are few and far between.  And, despite the mild risk, we still dress up every year and go out with trusting hearts to bring joy to our neighbors and ourselves. I especially enjoy the smiles the elderly candy-givers display as they try to decipher my son’s over-excited babbling. Most times he is complimenting them. A few gems from this year: “I like your rocks!”, “We have that ghost!”, (in reference to an inflatable yard decoration) “You should get three ghosts!”, “Thank you for candy, you have nice pants, I like your dog!”. And a less polite offering from my picky seven year old daughter as she held aloft a bag of granola (that was delicious, by the way), and in a horrifically loud voice in close proximity to the house from which she’d received the granola, “That guy gave me food!!???!!”

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…enjoy Halloween for what it is. A display of neighborly trust that we desperately need in these times of danger and uncertainty.

A don’t…be too hard on your daughter if she’s mildly (very) rude. After all, kids have been trained by the very name of the act of trick-or-treating to expect things they consider treats. But adieu…gently advise them not to look a gift ghost in the black cavity that represents a mouth.

 

 

 

Mothman: Another Misunderstood Monster

As far as I can tell from all the Mothman stories I’ve read and that one movie I watched, Mothman, although menacing in appearance, was after nothing so substantial as our very souls.

I’ll explain. I read no accounts of disemboweled animals. No eviscerated owls or exsanguinated cattle were ever found that I know of. Simply humans. Frightened horrified humans. And what is one thing that all humans, especially suburbanites in the 50’s, have in common?

They have clothes on. Right? No one that I read about was out for a nude stroll when Mothman confronted them. They were out with their families having completely G-rated (and in the case of the teens that saw him/her/it no more than PG, it was 50’s conservative suburbia, for crying out loud). They were wearing clothes!

Moths eat clothes. Men wear clothes. Mothman was either hungry or ashamed of his nudity. He didn’t want to horrify folks. He wanted to eat their Sunday best. He didn’t want to scare them. He couldn’t help that, by nature, he was scary. He wanted to either eat or wear their clothes and he hesitated. He never killed anyone because he just couldn’t decide which clothes looked tasty and which looked fashionable and I think, deep down, he didn’t want to kill anyone anyway. Otherwise, he would’ve.

Now, about that bridge collapse and the idea that Mothman prophesied it. Perhaps he truly did. But I think, in his innocent monster way, he didn’t show up to warn people about it. I don’t think he truly realized that people were dying. I think he simply thought “CLOTHES BUFFET!” And all the carnage was lost on him because it all had this decadent stagnant water sauce on it and he didn’t even stop to think about the terror that had been wrought on the small community he’d been terrorizing. He was, after all, a monster. A hungry, naked, confused monster.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…wear clothes, even though it might attract mothman.

A don’t…stroll nude to repel him. The police are much more prevalent than mothmen and much more likely to complicate your life should they find you unclothed in public.