Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Those were the days...

I have come to a conclusion about my life thus far. I’m getting old. Really, really old. Now for those of you who have been on the earth longer than three decades, you are probably scoffing at me being aged. But hear me out; I am serious. Being a whopping 25 years old, I am starting to get up there in the wrinkling ages. 

The other night I was sitting around with my little sister/next door neighbors kicking back, flipping through the channels, enjoying some chips and guacamole, when suddenly I had an epiphany about our relationship with one another. 

“You know, I feel kind of like Sam on ‘Clarissa Explains It All,’” I said, referring to my random intrusion into their apartment and how relaxed everything is between us. 

Their response of “Who the heck is that?” and “What show are you talking about?” totally set me back. They didn’t know what I was referring to. Not only had they never heard about the show, they thought I was making the whole thing up, claiming that long before Melissa Joan Hart was known as Sabrina the Teenage Witch, she was made famous on a Snick show. 

There’s another thing that made me feel overly mature. Neither one of them had any idea what Snick was. The Saturday night Nickelodeon kids-staying-up-late broadcasting experience was something completely foreign to them. They never heard of shows like “Salute Your Shorts,” “Are You Afraid of the Dark?,” “Ren and Stimpy,” “Aaaaahhh, Real Monsters” and my all-time favorite, “The Great Adventures of Pete and Pete.” How old am I getting here to have grown up on these shows and nobody else knows what they are?

It’s not just the television aspect that adds on to my elderly irony. The things we played with only worsen it, things like Giga Pets, Ninja Turtles, and the best invention of all time, Pogs. Pogs easily were the greatest invention to ever have been born. And I’ll tell you what, I had one heck of a collection with quite a few wicked “slammers.”

I referenced the awesomeness of Pogs the other day in my Public Speaking class, and almost all of the kids gave me blank stares back confused at what in the world I was talking about. I know that this was a fad that came out when I was in 6th grade, and the majority of these kids probably hadn't been conceived yet, but still, Pogs are infamous! Not just famous, in famous...

And when we as kids got tired of the giant Pog wars day after day, we would forecast each other’s future with a M.A.S.H. prophecy that would tell what kind of house we would live in, who our spouse was, what kind of car we would drive, and how many kids we would have. I’m still holding on to the prediction that I am going to live in a mansion, marry Krystle Bailey, drive a Porsche, and have 15 kids. Hey, it is still going to happen. 

Those were the days, I tell you, those were the days. Back when I got my very first Walkman for Christmas and when “Hey Macarena” was the single of the year. And here I am now, a boring old professor trying to reminisce about all those classic days, and the "kids" are mocking me, saying I am too old. 

If you ask me, the age they grew up in is a complete waste of time. All they do is sit around on Facebook and get on their X-Box 360 and play “Halo” while having multiple text messaging conversations with their electronic boy/girlfriends. 

All of that is too complicated and not as memorable as the age that I grew up in. Maybe I am too old, but who cares? Those were the glory days. A utopian society. The only thing I can do now is just close my eyes and dream about the days when I would lace up my light-up L.A. Gears, pop open a Fruitopia, and get ready to play night games with the rest of the kids on my street. Oh, those were the days...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The M-word

I am a pretty easygoing guy, I think. Usually anyone can talk to me just about anything, even something borderline offensive, and I can just brush it off with no problem. But I swear, if one more person in this world asks me about the M-word, I will explode. 

The M-word is something that you will rarely hear me mention on a positive note. For those who have listened to my casual rants about life, and this culture specifically, have most likely heard my negative disposition for what is known in our world, as the M-word. I know you have Paige...

Can I get an amen from the congregation? Because I know there are countless handfuls of single residents applauding the way that I feel. All of you know what I am talking about… The nauseating, wretched persecution that we as non-committed people deal with day after day after day after day is pushing me to the point where I am about to declare myself single for life and tattoo it to my forehead so I don’t get any more stupid questions.

It is ridiculous that every time I call home, every time that I start up a conversation with someone, or every time that I talk to one of my aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, sisters, brothers-in-law, best buddies, baby nieces, puppies, or imaginary friends, the first thing they want to know is when they can be expecting a new member of the family, who my next lucky prospect is, or how soon I will be asking a blind date to wed. Um, yeah, I think I’m going to wait and make sure that she is a girl first….

Even if I am just formally introduced to someone brand new, the first question I am asked (after my name) goes something like this, “So, how’s the dating life, you have any prospects?” or “When can I expect an invitation coming along in the mail, eh?” or “You look like a fine young man, how come there isn’t a nice young woman attached to your arm?” Oh, I don’t know, probably because I’m not ready to get M-worded yet, and I’m not a Siamese twin either!

It is even more ridiculous when I have been out on a date with a girl more times than one, and I pull in at night after our second or third date, and my buddies automatically assume that I’m making plans for the M-word and start asking if she is "the one." And when she can be expecting some nice big rock on her finger. Not at least until I find out what her last name is, for crying out loud! Can’t you see I didn’t go to Jared?!

And that’s just the beginning of the entourage of irritation and persecution that I and many other unwed single adults are going through in this day and age. I can’t imagine what guys who are older than me are dealing with. I’m only 25 and am almost halfway pushed to be jumping off the Udvar-Hazy building. I have a single cousin who was pushing 30 when he got tied down, an uncle who lasted until 35, and it boggles my mind to think that they lasted that long with all the bullying and discrimination pressuring them from all angles. 

Why can’t people ask us different questions dealing with our lives? Why does every single stupid non-important conversation with anyone have to start out with something about the M-word? Why can’t they ask us questions like, “How’s school going down south?” or “What are your plans for the summer?” or “What type of doughnut would you say is your favorite?” Anything besides the infuriating inquiry about our unmarried existence is better. 

It’s not that I absolutely hate the M-word and am going to start a strike against M-word couples. I’m sure the M-word is an overall wonderful thing to be a part of and is something everybody should probably have the opportunity to enjoy at least once in their lives. It’s just that with a divorce rate above 50 percent in the country, I would like to take longer than 30 seconds to decide who my lifetime companion is going to be. 

I’m sure the first question that I am going to be asked from anybody after this blog comes out is when I am going to throw away my bachelor life and settle down with a nice, sweet young woman. It’s not going to make a difference if I keep trying to put up a fight against the M-word.

I’ll probably already be engaged by the time you get done reading this.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Thanks, Dad...

So what is the secret to being a good father?

Don't ask me, I can't even find a wife yet.

As the sun sets on yet another June holiday filled with cheap ties, new drills, and breakfast In bed, all of us seemed to have taken a few moments and remembered the Dad's in our lives. The ones who would play catch in the backyard with us, teach us how to ride bikes, tell us stories late at night while tucking us in, and everything else cliche' about what defines a Father.

But it's more than just those stereotypes that makes our own Dad's who they are. We all know this. We all grew up with the unique traits and characteristics that chiseled out who our Dad's were, and are, and will be for whoever knows how long. Small things. Things that nobody else understands. Things that only relate to us. Things that make no sense in the eyes of someone else, but are perfectly clear to us. Those are the things that we are all grateful for. I know I am. My Dad was one unique guy himself. He had those things.

Things like eating a bunch of Oreo cookies, plastering them all over his mouth then turning to a crowd with a big smile on his face and saying "Is there anything in my teeth?". Or jamming out to "Honky Tonk Woman" by the Rolling Stones and then explaining to me, awkwardly that the song is about Prostitution. (We didn't jam out to that song anymore for some reason after that.) Or cheering on the Buckeyes every year. Yes, my Dad is the reason that I bleed crimson and grey.

My Dad was a great man. A great big boob if you ask me. Ironic that I give him that nickname despite the fact that I have 11 sisters, I'm just saying this because he would get emotional and break down in tears after seeing a motivational Nike commercial. Trust me, he did. On multiple occasions.

The man was a wrestler. That didn't go well with me being the 6'5" basketball junkie that I am. It didn't really bother me that he grew up getting all tangled up with other sweaty guys for hours on end, the thing that got me was the fact that this two-time Wrestling State runner-up could beat me one-on-one in my sport with a pathetic hook shot and meager three point jumper, day in and day out. I don't know what it is about never being able to beat your Dad.

He was a great man in my eyes. And always will be. It's been over six years now since depression, a sour job turn and shotgun cartridge erased him from my existence. But those memories of him will always stay strong with me. Especially when I jam out to Honky Tonk Woman and cheer on the Buckeyes.

So wherever your Dad is, thank him. I sure will.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Jogging is Satan's Form of Exercise

I know that over the years I have written a few columns regarding the many things in my life that annoy or perturb me, i.e. cinnamon bears, bottled water, the state of North Dakota. I have also written an equal number of columns about things that absolute confuse and perplex me, i.e. math, female communication, late-night chat rooms. 

However, if there is one thing that without a doubt, hands down, no questions asked, bothers and confuses me almost as much as country music being played while I’m taking a geometry quiz about the dimensions of a Rubik’s Cube, I would easily say it is the disgusting concept of jogging. 

Oh, just saying that word makes me as sick to my stomach and wanting to vomit in multiple directions as if I had heard the slightest compliment about the University of Michigan. People who in their right mind, or rather demonically possessed lunatic mind, think running is beneficial in any way shape or form are individuals who are completely from another planet or have about as much common sense as a house plant.

I am sure if you were to look up the definition in the dictionary it would say, “jogging: an absolute and complete 100 percent waste of time for individuals who have no more than 50 working brain cells stuck in their dense head and are trying to be some type of athlete,” with a picture of someone with the most horrific gut-wrenching face to give an illustration of what a runner really looks like.

Runners in general are individuals who are about as out there and goofy as Carrot Top or the creator of "Spongebob Squarepants." Why would someone think getting up at 4 a.m., in the dead of winter, at 50 degrees below, would burn off a few extra calories? Or to think that doing wind sprints in the muggy heat of August, in triple digit temperatures, with humidity coating their skin just to get an extra workout in is going to help them at all? 

It won't! Trust me, I know! I'm still fat!

Now running around town to look at scenery is one thing. But the concept of the treadmill is something twice as stupid. To just stand in place for blocks of time, running, yet not moving whatsoever, makes no sense. How boring is that?! Almost as fun as watching an episode of Gray's Anatomy. Honestly, who gets enjoyment out of running on a treadmill? I do hope that my uncle, the inventor of the treadmill, doesn’t get a hold of this blog or I’m in some serious trouble. 

Now while you’re running, the pain and agony only increases with every single step. Dry throat, sore muscles, sweat in the eyes, is there anything a runner can enjoy during the process? They say they hit some type of wall, and they only can get in better shape by bursting through that wall. How is that appealing? It makes no sense!

And how does that sound fun?

 It doesn't!

To this day I have yet to find anything good or first-rate about the concept of running. Call me a discriminator, but running just doesn’t perform any benefit besides a good solid case of shin splints. 

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The one-uppers

Every single one of us has a one-up man in our lives. A topper. An I’m-better-than-you-are-and-I’m-going-to-rub-it-in-your-face individual. They exist consistently and will never go away. Don’t know what a one-up man is? Exhibit A:

Me: I had a late night last night. Heck, I didn’t even get to bed until 2 in the morning. I just couldn’t sleep.

One-up Man: Oh yeah, well I had a late night too, and I didn’t even get to bed until 3 in the morning! I’m way more tired than you are!

Me: Dang, that’s a late night. It sucked this morning too. I had to get up at 6 to open for work.

One-up Man: Oh yeah, well I had to get up and open for MY work too! AND I had to get up at 5! So that means I went to bed later, and got up earlier too!

See my point.

We all have one-up individuals in our lives. I know. There’s one specifically that I’m referencing here. I’m not going to mention any names or anything, cough cough, but I think that those who are reading this and know who I am, might be able to know who I’m referring to. We all have them though. We all know them. If you don’t know any, then according to Dane Cook, maybe you are that one-up individual.

Now why do these different one-up personalities exist? Why are there people who have to top each others stories? Why have one-up individuals caught much bigger fish than the rest of us?

Who knows. I sure don’t.

(Right now I’m almost expecting a one-up man to interject this blog and say, ‘I do! I do! I know the answer!)

I’m sure you do…

Is it low self-esteem? Are they trying to compensate for something? Are they thinking that if they’re better than us at playing the piano, snowboarding the moguls, making country gravy, crocheting a blanket, doing Yoga, and text messaging left-handed, that makes them overall better people?

Heck, they probably think that they are better at blowing their noses

One up man: “See, see, my tissue has more boogers on it than yours does.”

They’re all out there. We know them. They exist in flocks. Chasing after us, hunting us down like predators to rub in our faces how they ran a 100-meter dash in 8.1 seconds in 112-degree heat, how they climbed Mt. Everest backward in 6 days while balancing a Russian tea set on candy cane totem poles, or how they shot a 17-point elk with a slingshot, ping pong ball, and a gummy worm.

They exist. The toppers. The one-uppers. The I’m better-than-you’s. I’ll just be waiting for someone to write a blog and then message me saying, “Have you read my blog yet? It’s amazing. It’s better than yours, and I did it with a typewriter in 20 minutes poking the keys with only two fingers.

Yeah, I know. You’re better than me.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Big Words just for show-offs

There are many things about growing up that I am not looking forward to. Along with taxes, mortgages, root canals and C-sections, adulthood appears to be a pain in the neck. One of the main things that I am a tad bit nervous about also, is the use of big words.

Yes, you read that correctly. Big words, or in adult terms, copious vocabulary, is something that confuses me beyond all belief. Apparently once you cross the border of adolescent juvenility to ripened maturity, that is when you begin to use words that are massively polysyllabic. See, there I go myself, I am turning into the substantial statement spewing monster that I am sarcastically scorning.

Big words are an intimidating terror that baffles people into a colossal state of confusion. Words like troglodyte, fantasmagoric, charlatan, or supercalifragilisticexpialodocious are such vocabulary terminology that perplex people into an annoying migraine. Words that make someone want to play tag with a porcupine, or leap frog with a unicorn.

Now why do people say such things? Such enormous expressions evolving from their mouths. Is there a reason that once you hit adulthood your language transforms into this new-fangled inventory that so confuses the youth? Do you want to know why? It’s the reason that people are trying to look smart I tell you. Saying words that nobody else can understand makes them think that they are on some kind of intelligent plateau that no one else can reach them on.

For example, I was at a recent meeting surrounded by adults who clad themselves with language and terminology that no one else could understand, all while their noses were pointed high in the sky, proud at the fact that they are speech geniuses.

Now I know that I'm not the the wisest guy out there, but I do feel that I have a fairly decent understanding of “big kids” conversations. But hold the phone Dora with this group of prudent pompous people, I was out in left field as they spoke in what sounded like a jibberish articulating extraterrestrial from one of Saturn’s moons’, one that was mumbling in German at that!

I am not the only one who feels like big words are a hairy predicament for students our age preparing to move into the adult way of life. Take for instance freshman Steve Malmberg, who said, “I think it’s so dumb when older guys (and girls) say such big things. What are they trying to do? Make all of us look stupid?”

He does have a point, and he even expresses it with such simplicity from his oral orifice.

All in all, big words are an atrocious alarm that leaves myself and such other students in a load of apprehension. You as a reader may find it somewhat ironic that littered throughout this blog are words that half of the English majors on campus can’t even pronounce let alone understand. However even more ironic is the fact that the word Hippotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia is defined as the fear of long words.

Yeah, try saying that five times fast.