Sunday, July 29, 2012

10 Years Later...

Currently, I have an overinflated ego thanks to Nate and Holly Thompson. Nate, of course for the smothering waves of compliments about my writing skills. Holly, make up your mind about the guy. I don’t think that he’s boring at all.

For full effect, download Gymnopedie No. 1 by Erik Satie from iTunes and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post. Either that, or go and dig up the very first “Now that’s what I call music” CD released in the summer of 2002. That was the background theme when I was a senior.

I had my ten-year high school reunion last night kids. Yes, I am that old, don’t patronize me. Honestly it went better than I expected. But then again, what are you expecting when you gather a group of awkward couples together in a Mexican diner? Is it supposed to be some kind of friendship séance where we all sit around the room and reminisce about all the good times that we had with each other? Come on now, you know how I feel about the circle of trust.

For the majority of the day, all we did was just sit and talk about where we are at in our lives, which directions that we’re headed, and how many more stickers that we’re going to add to the back of our Chrysler Town & Countrys. As the night grew on, the answers started to seem somewhat mundane, almost rehearsed to the point where we just wanted to hand over a pre-written 3x5 card to the uncomfortable conversationalist that shared the same English class with us back in 10th grade.

Swamp Thing: “Oh, so what are you up to these days?”

Jane or John Doe: “Oh, you know, same old. Just working over at that generic company doing very vague things. I’ve been married for I think a period of time now to this common creature seated next to me. Honestly, my life is just a repetition of work, kids, and Friday evening reruns of sitcoms. What about yourself?”

Swamp Thing: “Me? Oh, I just kill dragons for a living. I’m pretty awesome.”

Cue glazed over look from whoever didn’t hear what I just told them. Yeah, I didn’t really fit in with this group. Being single, and having only one sticker on the back of my Nissan Rogue immediately removed me from dining in the same circles as the rest of the families lingering back and forth.

I did in fact feel bad for the guests who weren’t actual alumni. You know, the confused, balding, petrified tagalongs that all have those frozen looks across their faces that six-year olds get when they’re tossed into the cauldron known as first grade. It must have been the most frustrating night of their human existence.

Swamp Thing: “Oh man, remember back in elementary school when we used to make fun of Mrs. Joyce behind her back?”

Vanessa (formerly known as Wise): “Haha, yeah! That lady was a fruitcake!”

Swamp Thing: “She sure was. Didn’t you think so?”

Vanessa’s husband: “I’ve known you for about 30 seconds. I don’t know who the Hell you’re talking about.”

Cue brief awkward silence.

Some things were just too funny to not openly LOL at. For example, the fact that there was a “popping kids out” contest that was being held between quite a few wives. Currently, the belt is owned by our former student body president, but there are a few not too far behind. There was the discussion about how everyone at some point in their lives has googled their own name. The next time you’re bored at three in the morning Tate Barfuss, you will be reading this blogpost. There was also the frustration in trying to guess what Beau Griffiths does for a living. Something for the government we’re guessing, Kristen Smart might know.

Then there were the popular kids, the “successful” kids (for full dramatic emphasis, perform actual hand gesture of quotation marks when reading the previous sentence. Go ahead, do it right now). You know who I’m talking about. The kids whose rise to fame came from athletic achievement, dashingly good looks, or an abundance of makeup. Those kids. I will admit that I found it rather amusing that they all cornered themselves to a few “select” booths to talk about the extravagant lives that they all were living while nursing another round of Dos Equis, and how they were still as awesome and cool and amazing as ever. The thing is, when it’s a decade after high school, there aren’t those same classes of distinction between people. Nobody cares if you averaged 17 points your senior year, or if Daddy did in fact by you a brand new Dodge Charger, or if you did just add yet another layer of foundation to your already caked on face. We are all living different lives.

I think the level of success is best judged by what you are accomplishing now in your life. Where you are headed, what you want to do, the experiences that will be coming to you because of the hard work that you’ve put in so far. Take Sheldon Merrill for example, the kid was the biggest loser in high school, extremely unpopular, awkward with girls. But he’s making $150,000 a year as a licensed pharmacist. So suck on that!

As the night wound down, I looked around and just enjoyed the people that decorated the restaurant. There were some that really fit well together, couples that you know fully completed one another. Rachelle Venable and her husband, Deven Garner and his wife; I thought myself and my own significant other would look great, but unfortunately I didn’t have enough time to inflate the girl for this.

It really was a night to remember, an underestimated success that I think people appreciated and will hold on to for a few more weeks. The best part of the entire night came as we all went our separate ways, went back to the sticker-covered vans, the fanta-stained car seats, the generic jobs, the lives that we all separately live. As I walked away from the party, a fellow classmate called out to me.

Jane Doe: “It’s been fun! We’ll have to do this again sometime.”

Swamp Thing: “Yep, I’ll give ya a call in another decade or so.”

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Rhett Rule

Yes, that just happened...

For full effect, download "Pleasureman" by Gunther and the Sunshine Girls, and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post.

Rather than waste time with a meandering intro riddled with sarcastic jabs at 90's music and fat penguins, I'm just going to jump right into one of the greatest memories that this past week has produced. Here is what you need to know: Me. Group of friends. Sand volleyball. Wednesday night. Paint the picture for yourself.

Wait, let me back up for just a second. Crap, I knew that I sucked at storytelling. This is totally not going the way I had originally planned. It was going to be a blog post that would be Legen-wait for it-

Never mind.

Anyway, about a year and a half ago, a former crew of friends that has now been dissolved, we'll call them the League of Extraordinary Editors, used to gather together and play sand volleyball once a week at the same courts by the LDS institute on campus. They were good times, better than mediocre times that were enjoyed by many. One of the fondest memories that evolved from our escapades was the creation of the "Rhett Rule"

You see kids, we had a very unique member of the crew. Obviously his name was Rhett, what else would possess me to throw a random guy's name at the top of this post? He wasn't the most exceptional volleyball player. In fact, my one-armed midget cousin Phil was a more fierce terror at the net. But so what, he's a great guy, and we enjoyed playing volleyball with the kid.

One evening he stepped forth to serve another ball that rarely made it over to the other side. After his first failed attempt, he called for the ball back, asking to have another shot at serving again.

The Ogling Thunder: "You can't have it back. That's not the rules. You only get to serve the ball once, that's the way volleyball goes."

Rhett: "Come on now, it doesn't matter. This is all just for fun."


For the record, if Rhett and The Ogling Thunder were to be involved in a physical altercation, Rhett would trounce the chap by his good looks alone. Plus, the fact that the Ogling Thunder had a lower percentage on successful serves than Rhett did, made this moment even classier.

Roger Winston Eddingbright the 3rd: (Said in an emphatic British accent) "How about this, a new decree shall be given. If any man or woman wishes to serve a second time, they will be a recipient of what we shall call "the Rhett Rule", which in essence is the pitiful acknowledgement that their first serve was weak and shameful. So let it be written."

All of us: (In unison) "So let it be done."

I'm pretty sure that's how the "Rhett Rule" was born. Maybe a little more tantrums by the Ogling Thunder, but that summer was all a bit hazy to me. Flash forward to last Wednesday night as I was playing in another heated game with a bunch of rag-tag friends and a few sand volleyball junkies, not a single one that was a member of the renowned League of Extraordinary Editors from 15 months prior.

A bone-thin cowboy with a sparsely bare comb-over stepped to the back of the court, a firm look on his face that he would pound his serve into the weakness of the opponent's space. Yes, my sand volleyball is that intense. After a ritualistic warm-up, he tossed the ball into the air, and completely side-swiped the rubber-bound sphere, weakly jabbing the ball a few dismal feet.

"Sideout" one of the junkies called from across the court.

"No, that's alright, we'll give him the Rhett Rule on this one." Another of the junkies said, tossing the ball back to the balding Cowboy.

Shut the curse word up. Did you just say what I think you just said? Has the dear Rhett's hallmark lasted this long, through endless days of storytelling, late nights in the sand, and oodles of douchebags removing their tank-tops to flaunt the kegs that they're toting underneath? The Rhett Rule is now an actual rule for everyone here?

The balding Cowboy: "What's the Rhett Rule?"

The junkie setter: "We'll just let you serve again. Go ahead man, second try. Be, the Rhett Rule."

The bald cowboy did, and we played on. I did my best to fight back the euphoric tears that were brewing in my eyes, for I knew that this story would be a benchmark in sand volleyball lore for years to come. The Rhett Rule would be hallowed and recognized by all weak sauce servers, and some guys that are willing to bow down to feminine standards for their insufficient strengths behind the nets (especially you, Ogling Thunder). Yes kids, I was a part of a beautiful moment that night. A moment that was worthy of a blogpost. A moment that is now,

-dary! Legen-Dary, Mosby!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The New Way to Wash Clothes

Q: What should you do if you see an epileptic having a seizure in a bathtub?

A: Throw in a load of laundry and add some soap.

Yep, I sure do have the cajones, and the experience, to post a joke like that on my blog. I think the drool that came out of my mouth constituted the rinse cycle.

That is all.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Please, Just Shut Your Mouth...

Don’t tell me that you’ve never been caught singing wildly in your car.

We all have. Just admit it.

This blogpost is inspired by a sparked conversation last night on the way home from the noodle restaurant in Zion, after a pair of unlikely candidates discussed one of the most awkward moments known to man; right up there with that morning in church when you haven’t had anything to eat, and in the dead silence before the opening prayer is said, your stomach begins growling like a beached whale. I am talking about the two and one half second instance when you are caught singing in your car.

For full effect, download “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen, and play, nay sing, at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post. Even better if you are serenading your own desires in the front seat of whatever vehicle that you own.

The topic of awkward road singing came up near the end of the evening, well after I had lost what seemed to be an unending number of points in the girl next to me’s book, meanwhile the song “Coyotes” by Don Edwards was coming to an end on my playlist. Apparently some people don’t like it when a 78-year old man howls at the moon with a guitar in the background, who would have imagined that?

By the way, did I mention that she runs a home?

As we were pulling in the last stretch, I referenced how once, on a late night returning road trip, I belted out the words to the song “Ain’t no Rest for the Wicked” by Cage the Elephant, 58 consecutive times to keep my eyes from shutting and preventing a rollover southbound on I-15.

Swamp Thing: “Except of course whenever I passed someone. At that point I reached up to my right ear lobe, faked that there was a Bluetooth device dangling from my temple, and acted out that I was on some kind of wireless phone call with someone important.”

Cue involuntary spurts of laughter from the girl seated next to me.

Everyone loves to sing (and don’t you dare tell me that you’ve never faked a phone call like that in an attempt to not be caught singing in your car). Whether it has been in choirs, during showers, or at an awful Applebee’s karaoke night on Tuesday, we all have sang before. If we sounded decent, well that’s an entirely different discussion to bring up, but the point of the matter is that in our own heads, we think that we should be warming up to go on with the Three Tenors or Adele.

It is, however, a proven fact that 83% of the known population is horrendously off-key, true story.

The thing about singing in your car is that people watch you. Everyone does. And you must admit that if you get caught screaming the chorus to Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know”, even for a split second by a 98-year old Hispanic midget, you still get that warming wave of shame all over, and begin biting a hole in your tongue in an attempt to convince them that you were not actually singing by yourself.

The chances of you actually meeting that person again? Slim to none. So what makes you care what they think? Is it going to come back and bite you in the butt at a later date?

Potential Employer: “Well, I really like our candidate, what does the rest of the committee think? Should we bring him on to the firm?”

Awkward Car Stranger: “You know, now that I think about it, I did see him attempting a piss-poor rendition of “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” in a Dodge Caliber back in 2007, I don’t think that he’s the right fit for the job.”

As the night came to an end, I stalwartly defended my stance that there is nothing wrong with quietly skipping over the first few lines in the second verse of your favorite song so that the 8-month old infant sitting in the Nissan Altima next to you won’t actually witness you singing a song. Heaven forbid this sweet child catch you mid-chorus. After all, her perception of reality is limited to binkies, blankets, and crapping her pants.

Either way, I won’t be caught dead ever singing alone in my car.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Circle of Trust

I hate the circle of trust.

That's what I've movie-mocked a family tradition that gets imposed upon a bunch of my awkward loved ones every time my aunt breaks out a seven-layer dip in group settings.

For full effect, download the cheesiest song that you can think of and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post. I'm thinking of the '98 World Cup theme song by Ricky Martin.

Every time my extended family gets together, whether it be a national holiday, a birthday party, an accidental run-in at Wal-Mart, we all sit in a circle and go around in order stating what we're thankful for, or what we enjoy about one another, or how blessed we are to have experienced Roll Back prices on those Spalding gym shorts on aisle seven.

Cue awkward moments where the little bugger inside me is begging to be let loose.

Before you judge me on this post keep in mind that I do in fact L-word my family. I really do. They are all great people who I respect and admire and enjoy spending spare time with. Unless of course that spare time gets corralled into a circle of chairs to openly express our feelings for one another in an emotional orgy held every three weeks. That's when I begin tuning out and debating whether bamboo shoots being shoved underneath my thumbnails is a better option.

Maybe it's the influence of alpha females that has spawned this tri-monthly custom. Not to discredit the pure toughness of the males buzzing around my family tree, but let's face it, women rule the world. They are the queen bees, they are the ones who use guilt tactics to get everyone lined up expressing our inner most feelings.

Robert 'Bob' Paulson: "Go ahead, Cornelius, you can cry.". (LTT)

Now sometimes these circles can be uplifting. Take for instance last night at my grandmother's 139th birthday, every one of us sat and let her know how grateful we are to have her be a part of all of our lives. That's fine, the dear woman deserved it. But when everyone is tearing up and spiritually testifying how delicious that rocky road ice cream is, well, then we have a problem.

And yes this is just another rant about how emotionally unstable I may be, not wanting to share my innermost feelings with anyone who shares my bloodline. But I am just a half-empty man, a man who despises the circle of trust and the feminine traits that take over every family gathering.

Robert 'Bob' Paulson: "We're still men."

Narrator: [slightly muffled due to Bob's enormous breasts] "Yes, we're men. Men is what we are."

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Holiday Hangover

Please turn off that very bright light, it's burning my retinas.

That's the sound that one's mental state makes once they have been involved in one of the most elaborately unplanned festivities that a group of random strangers were privy to enjoy. And although the title of this post is somewhat imposing the idea that there were alcoholic beverages used in the making of this blogpost, you should be well aware that no intoxicating liquids played a role in my withdrawal symptoms.

You should know me better than that.

The hangover itself is foreign territory to me. Based on years of second-hand observations, and two eh... Zach Galifianakis films, I am under the impression that an actual hangover is a condition in which the physical body, and mental structure suffer from extreme recovery due to very heavy partying, and/or influence of narcotics. Basically, your body is regrouping from heavy doses of Jack Daniels and methamphetamine on that late night run to Vegas.

I once had a roommate call out the validity of an actual hangover, believing that it was an old wives tale that people used to gain sympathy from others the next day at work.

Jay Markland: "I think it's all a lie man. In the years that I've been drinking, I have never gotten up the next morning and had a pounding headache, or forgot what I did the night before. I always felt just fine. And I have had some heavy nights of drinking, I'll tell ya what."

Now, to give him credit, Markland made this statement when the two of us were 18 years old. Back in the days when we were known as "young'ns" and had metabolisms and heart rates compatible to a hummingbird on steroids. Those were the times weren't they? When you could pull an all-nighter on pure Mt. Dew and go compete in the Ironman triathlon the next morning while toting a beached whale in a wagon behind you.

That young buck is in the history pages though, as I have been curled up in the fetal position for the past three hours, writing this blogpost by typing one letter at a time with a single finger. Impressive? I know. Give me some credit.

The events of yesterday's national holiday were just too much for me to handle. An entire mess of tee shots, Starburst bags, cannonballs, hiccups, Popping boba, fake laughs and double cheeseburgers that forcefully made me feel like an old man. Don't ask me what I was doing at 11:30 last night at Denny's. That's a blasphemous hour for a man my age, I know. But I didn't care. My hedonistic tendencies took over as I poured another shot of raspberry smoothie down my throat, followed by a chaser of southern-cooked hashbrowns.

And here I lay 19 hours later still plunking away with my left pinkie.

I think what compounds the matter is that our blowout festival of national independence came in the middle of the week. Who likes to showcase their unrestrained celebration tendencies on a Wednesday anyway? Curse our forefathers for not establishing their own democracy on a Friday! It's George Washington's fault that I drooled over my TPS reports all morning!

Nobody ever enjoys the day after holidays. By far, they are the most depressing moments in a child's life that get put on an infinite repeat cycle. You show me a person who says they L-word the day after Christmas and I'll show you a lying piece of meat. More than likely, that meat is probably a male. We all lie.

Honestly, this potentially diabetic lack of sugar migraine that has been pulsating through my bloodstream all day is only an indication that I, am an old man. And things are assumably going to worse further on down the road. Don't be surprised if you see a wrinkled up Grandpa, mid-coma on November 1st, or the day after Yom Kippur. Because that knucklehead will probably be me.

Burnt retinas and everything.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

A Good Walk Spoiled

The sun is getting lazy as it rolls its way down the horizon, yawning as the day is coming to an end. The coughing cart I have been sputtering around in all afternoon glides to a halt as I reach for my driver for the last time today. Somewhere in my personalized mp3 world, "Clair de Lune" comes over my earphones and provides an emphatic anthem for the 18th hole.

This sounds poetic does it not? Almost as if I should begin writing emotional haikus and pursue a career as a traveling raconteur.

Golf captivates me.
Aiming for gophers on tees.
I hate those rodents.

I have played 54 holes of golf this week, true story. Hearing that, one would assume that I am halfway decent at this luxury sport. Don't assume anything just yet. I'm no Keith Tronic or Rhinestone Cowboy by any means. I'm a lowly young student of this passion. Somewhere out there, Ashton Casper is laughing at the screen with "I-told-you-so" thoughts scattered about.

With the strike of the club, and the wind at my back I slap the ball so sincerely, with such brute force Bruce Banner might even tip his cap to.

My Boss: "Brock-Smash!"

Call it pure luck, but this may have been the best drive that I have hit in my entire brief career as a low-level golfer. The fact that it landed just 20 yards short of the green on a par four is only going to inflate my ego and give me something to brag about on a Saturday night at Maclaren's pub.

Swamp Thing: "Let me paint the picture for you. The sun was setting, my clubs were sparkling, and I hit a dandy, I tell you, a pure dandy of a tee shot."

For some reason when alpha males go about boasting their personal achievements in life, they have this cluttered impression that their crew of listeners will make note and give their credibility more value. Interestingly enough, is that no one actually does care about anything that you do in your life.

A few moments later, a daringly generous chip shot puts my ball four feet next to the pin. This is slowly scripting to be the best hole of golf that I have played in my life. The ratio between actual skill and pure luck, however, is dangerously unbalanced with the favor being in fluke's court overwhelmingly. The main chorus for "Clair de Lune" begins crescendoing up and down the scales. Don Cheadle, Scott Caan, and Elliott Gould stare into the fountain at the Bellagio.

The sun shines bright on the greens.
I line up my shot.
Curse word if I miss this putt.

For the longest time I sheltered myself with the idea that the best golfer is the person who has the highest score on the card. That's how it works in every other sport isn't it? Whatever team, individual or group has the most of something, usually wins. Therefore, with that logical frame of thinking, I was always the best golfer whenever my friends and I would hit the links.

Funny how I never really heard all of their snickering once all of the strokes were tallied up.

'This is it,' I think to myself as I step up to the withered ball I have been toting for the last three and a half hours. With this birdie of a putt, I will in fact have played my best round of golf period, capping off yet another of the best weeks of my life that my posterity will one day cherish in leather-bound books found in old storage units.

Dear Journal,

I am ****ing awesome.

Sincerely yours,

Swamp Thing

Taking two practice swings and eyeing the hole in between, I go through what I have now created as my pre-putt ritual; something that will be with me until the last time that I ever swing a club. Eyeing the ball with overzealousness, I take a long exhale. The last chords of the song are just wrapping up. Dramatically poetic for this entire moment. Bringing back the head of the putter, I tap the ball towards the goal. My Titleist 4 confidently rolls towards the hole, and just as it is reaching its destination,

It rolls out.

A good walk spoiled, he said?
Who thinks that stuff up?
Mark Twain sure cursed this damn game.