Wednesday, November 03, 2004

"Imagine"--more like "Imagination," as in, Fairy Tale

While I'm on the topic of musicians and their warped views of reality, let me say a few words about how much I hate John Lennon's song, "Imagine." To clarify, it's more that I hate the high esteem in which the majority of the members of the music industry hold it. "Imagine" is practically Scripture to the editors of Spin or any of the wanna-be intellects posing as lyricists and singer-songwriters.

I bring this up because APerfectCircle does an original cover (if that sounds like an oxymoron, I can explain) of "Imagine" on it's new "politically-charged" album, out yesterday. The song was released a few weeks ago and has received typical APC airplay. I heard an interview with Maynard and Billy from APC on the radio Sunday nite and to hear them talk about the song selection, themes, and motives behind the album got a little under my skin.

Let me preface the following with the clarification that I am not trying to critique the song as a piece of music. The music behind the song is simple, introspective, and beautiful. It is the song as it stands as a worldview that needs to be challenged.

For those of you not familiar with the song, I will not waste time finding the lyrics and copying them here. You should take this as a sign that you need to diversify your music collection. (Plus, I said this was only going to be a few words. I'm approaching seven thousand with this sentence.)

I will skip over the obvious lines, "Imagine there's no heaven...No hell below us" and the line that reads contrary to what I know about the Beatles well-chronicled trip to the Far East: "No religion, too." Most of you, my readers, know me and my faith so I need not explain what about these lines, these "hopes" and "dreams" puts wrinkles in my forehead that is a little larger every day.

The frustration I have with "Imagine" is that so many people buy into it. I admit that it isn't hard for the undiscerning listener to be drawn in by the sweet ebb and flow of the subdued piano and especially a song seemingly calling for world peace and brotherhood in our time. These are good things, right? Isn't this just Lennon's own retread of the "Can't we all get along" themes of the 60's?

It would be fine to dismiss "Imagine" as harmless if it were just a song calling for the end of wars or civil unrest. But it's more than that. Lennon and his disciples are subscribers to a radical and harmful way of thinking by holding out for something that will never happen. They were the last of a few burnouts who believed something completely against the truth of the Bible (and what many might call rational, common sense), that is, that man is essentially good. And not only is man essentially good, says Lennonism, but we as a people can be perfected if merely placed in the right environment and rid of all causes of sin like religion, possessions, and political systems.

That's what "Imagine" is about--the utopian worldview. "Utopia" sounds like such a nice word when used in hyperbole to describe what the world would be like "if everyone just did [this]" or "if everyone just stopped [that]." But a utopian worldview is dangerous and ridiculous almost to the point of being comical.

Seekers of utopia come in all degrees of devotion, like most any organized religion. There are those, like Lennon seems to be, who dream of a globe where there is an absolutely free, unhindered exchange of cultures and goods and ideas (uninhibited sex probably makes the list, too, but that's just speculation). There are those who merely hope for the lofty goal of an end to wars and believe that we are only a few timely treaties or summits away. These are the types of people who believe that we can reason with radical Islam and terrorists hell-bent on our destruction. Utopians are most dangerous when posing as Presidential candidates with all the answers ("I have a plan...").

Yes, there is validity to the desire to have an end to all life-taking conflicts, especially wars. Yes, there is validity to the desire for free exchange of ideas and goods and ideas across cultural borders. But it is wrong and foolish to assume that we are merely to love and embrace peoples and thoughts from all over the world based on the premise that we are all moving toward perfection. It is only a matter of time, you say, until we have chased out the last remaining demons of materialism and intolerance and can begin a world of perfection. Well, I hope I'm not around to see it.

Imagine there's no heaven/It's easy if you try
No hell below us/Above us only sky
Imagine all the people/Living for today

Imagine there's no country/It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for/And no religion too
Imagine all the people/living life in peace

Imagine no possessions/I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger/A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people/Sharing all the world

You may say I'm a dreamer/But I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us/And the world will live as one


Monday, November 01, 2004

Rock 'N' Roll is from the Devil

It's widely known that people involved in the arts--the thespians, the artists, the musicians, the poets of the world--and even those involved in Hollyweird are a breed slightly to the left of center. The vegans, the tree-huggers, the left-over hippies all have an artsy flavour to them and find themselves leaning liberal on most any political issue. Whether it truly is the majority of these left-brained artists and lyricists and musicians that tend to be liberal or it only just seems to be so is something that I have no way to qualify; for now let's procede with the common assumption that practically all artsy-types are liberals, even radically so, at times.

I admit that it has only been a recent revelation on my part to the fact that the vast majority of the musician sect of the art cult is included in this group. Until only recently, I was under the assumption that all politically-charged bands were obscure Naderites or just voiced an anti-everything-government/authority voice. With almost no exception, I had no idea that rockers actually had rational political views and chose to voice them.

When I heard the news that several noteworthy bands (including Pearl Jam, Dave Matthews, REM and Bruce Springsteen, to name a few) were touring the country this election season to promote the cause of all that is anti-Bush, it actually came as a bit of a shock to me. Of the extensive and diversified lineup of bands on the Vote for Change Tour, the inclusion of Pearl Jam and REM and the Dixie Chicks made sense to me, but that any of the other bands would join in on a Tour to raise support for the Democratic party came as a surprise to me, even my dear Bruce.

I guess Bruce shouldn't have come as a surprise--in retrospect, it was more of a disappointment than a surprise. I've always taken a degree of pride in what Bruce represents. To me, the Boss is EveryMan, the hard-working, high school graduate, middle-class average Joe Tea--and from Jerseyland, no less. Such a strong affiliation with the plight of the regular guy, in my mind, makes Bruce a conservative Republican, not someone who would be introducing Kerry before 80,000 people in Wisconsin on the campaign trail. Just when you think you know a guy.

The more press these liberal rockers have been getting, playing shows in "battleground states," supporting the Dems with a portion of the proceeds, casting stones at the President between songs...is there anything a rock-loving conservative Bush-supporter to do? I have kept my eyes and ears open for news of a counter-tour supporting the GOP and the President, but it doesn't exist as far as I know. Are there conservative, Republican rockers? Do they express their views in the public forum or does the mainstream press just not give them the same coverage? If not--if the liberals are the only group that has the endorsement of the highly-informed, highly-educated, all-wise Rock Star party--then this only goes to confirm what has made it all so appealing in the first place: Rock 'N' Roll is from the Devil.


Wednesday, October 20, 2004

They Call it Riding the Gravy Train

It was surreal; it was unexpected; it was a bit of a downer. I was "driving" to work on I-80 East during "rush" hour earlier this week, when the sight of a car ahead of me snapped me out of my morning slog. Two cars ahead of me, two lanes over, was a gold, '70-something Ford Mustang putzing along in the stop-n-go. It looked an awful lot like the gold, '70-something Ford Mustang that my high school buddy, Mark Bahnuk, used to drive, so because I had nothing better to do than blur-stare at the taillights of the car in front of me, I changed lanes and hoped to catch up.

It wasn't long before we were next to each other, the Mustang and I, and to my delight I saw that it really was Mark Bahnuk's Mustang and Mark Bahnuk was driving it! I tapped my horn a few quick times to get his attention; recognition on his part came quickly, followed by smiles of surprise and little waves across the dashed white lines of the interstate.

We soon lost each other in the mess that is commuter traffic in north jersey, which left me alone with my thoughts and the faint grin lingering on my face. The smile was washed to a pensive forehead wrinkle once it settled in my mind what had just happened.

I had just passed Mark Bahnuk on I-80, both of us driving as working adults in commuter traffic. Working adults! I was in a sweatshirt, fleece, and jeans, but Bahnuk was in a shirt and tie! Shirt and tie! This is the kid whom I've never seen wear pants! Never ever! Shirt and tie! Mark Bahnuk, C.P.A. Great, just great.

It was easy to be in denial about the fact that I am so far removed from childhood (read: so far in "real world" debt that I won't be able to buy my way back into childhood until I have lost all my teeth) that I might as well start letting kids call me Mr. Pearce. It was easy to pretend I was still a kid when everyone else around me was pretending or at least resisting the pressure of time. But then my childhood buddy (Ben Eskow) became the father of a baby girl this past Sunday morning and I now know that my high school buddy sits in rush hour traffic every morning with me wearing a shirt and tie.

Shirt and tie!


Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Pee-foam Green

Great to Be a Guy Reason #174: When guys pee into a toilet with those tablets that make the water blue for 1,000 flushes they are granted the profound pleasure of watching the blue water turn green as they pee. This is because they have penes and pee standing up and can watch the whole thing. Girls only get to see the finished product because they have vaginas and pee sitting down, sometimes with their legs crossed if they are wearing a dress.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

You always remember your first

The sports section of my Sunday paper had a special centerfold this week. It was a feature on baseball gloves--a time line of the evolution of the glove, some of the new technology in baseball glovery, and a few blurbs in the right margin about noteworthy gloves in baseball history (gloves in Cooperstown and noteworthy errors committed in crucial games).

This was all eye-catching enough on it's own, but what kept me reading the entirety of the page was what made up the meat of the spread: a collection of excerpts from two dozen or so major league ballplayers describing or telling the stories behind their first baseball gloves. Being a local paper, most of the players interviewed are or were Yankees and Mets, but there was enough diversification in the roll to dispel any chance of monotony.

Tony Clark said he used his first glove from second grade and through his first few years in the majors. Mariano Rivera described the piece of cardboard he rigged up while playing as a boy in the Dominican Republic. Others told their own secrets for breaking a glove in and giving it it's shape, or just reminisced about the smells and sounds of their favourite pieces of leather. I read every story from start to finish. I could have read an entire book of such nostalgia, I'm sure, and each one would have brought me farther and farther back into the baseball glory days of my youth.

This is where I will take you now. Beware ye who fare not well on the seas of others' sentiments and sap. Ye will lose your lunch, to be sure.

My first baseball glove was received as a present from a family in our church at the time, the Heaths (young Joel had a major league thing for Crystal Heath, which is how we scored the gloves). Joel and I were probably eight and six at the time and couldn't have made any use of anything but kids' peewee imitation leather gloves. This is what we received one Sunday after church. I don't remember Joel's reaction, but I was as stoked as a Woodsman man fire and wasted no time putting the glove to use.

[Note: I use the term "glove" to describe the piece of leather one uses to catch and field baseballs. Others may say "mitt" or "catcher thingy" (what else can it be called but "mitt" or "glove?"), but I have always called it a "glove." I do not look down on those who say "mitt"--in fact, I might even admit that "mitt" has a much more romantic, old-timer tone to it, but I'm gonna stick with "glove" for the rest of this memoir.]

I wish I could remember what brand gloves they were or even which player's name was "autographed" onto the palm. I do remember that the stitching started to break after not even a few summers and it wasn't soon after that when they were neglected for new, bigger, and better gloves, winding up as chew toys for the dog (accidentally, of course--I wish I still had mine). 'Twas a sad final destiny for a baseball lover's first baseball glove, but hey, I was ten.

I remember that I was ten when my old glove was used to death and laid to rest because I remember that I was ten when I bought what I consider my first "real" glove. I use "real" in quotations because it was still a fake leather kid's glove, but I consider it my first because I used it for the whole of my childhood prime and I paid for it with my own allowance money.
The glove was a Bo Jackson model, but I can't remember the brand at the moment. I'm almost sure it was Spalding (I admit that with a cringe of embarrassment...who buys Spalding baseball gloves, anyway). It was black with tan accent leather in the webbing and stitching. Bo Jackson had "signed" the glove in gold across the palm. It took me almost half an hour to sort through the whole KMart sporting goods aisle to find the perfect glove, but when I saw the Bo glove, I knew I had found it. It had a solid web, with the black and tan leather woven together in a checkerboard pattern. It was totally sweet, I can assure you. The only fault I ever found with it was that it didn't have one of those cool holes for me to stick out my index finger. Instead, there was a strip across the back which did just as well.

I never used any special oils to break that glove in. I liked my glove stiff anyway--I hated floppy gloves and still do. I tried my best to get the glove to essentially fold closed, so I asked my parents to drive over it with the car a few times. My mom, being a girl, couldn't understand why I would want to do that to something that just cost me months of lawn mowing money. I wrapped it in rubber bands and twine and put it under a stack of the heaviest books in the house. This worked just fine.

I remember there were a few loose stitching strings that were good for chewing in the field. One in particular turned almost completely to a wet noodle if I kept it in my mouth long enough. It was a good glove for "popping" (making a popping sound if I caught it in the web just right), but it was fake leather, so it was more of a snap than a pop. Ignorance is bliss, and ignorant I was.

I have since pulled out the old Bo Jackson glove a few times, just for old times sake. I gave it to my sister when I bought the glove I have now and she used it until Joel and I bought her her first real glove. You can imagine what it was like for me to try the old glove on after Amy had used it for three or four years if you've ever let someone borrow your car for a week. When you get it back all the mirrors are adjusted differently and the seat isn't in the same position and any noise it makes sounds suspicious. This is what it is like for me to use the old Bo Jackson nowadays, which is sad, but I am glad it was still being loved.

The glove that I will, Lord-willing, take with me into adulthood and especially fatherhood is the black Rawlings I bought before my freshman season of high school baseball. As dear as it was to my heart, I realized it wouldn't do for me to try to make a good impression on Coach Pianconne if I was still toting around my snapping fake leather Spalding, even if it was the Bo Jackson whose name was once scrawled across the palm. So I spent a half hour in the baseball glove aisle of Sports Authority and came away with My Glove: a 12" black Rawlings with gold lettering and the big red Rawlings R on the back of the pocket. The only way in which I have found it lacking is that it is endorsed by a relatively uncool player named Nolan Ryan. I would have much rather had Chuck Knoblauch or Ozzie Smith written across my palm than a big dumb pitcher.

Since this was a genuine cowhide, I used the oil stuff to mold it and break it in, caring for and learning to love it in the winter days of that off season. I pounded and pounded away at that web, getting it just right. I lodged a ball in the pocket, bound it with twine and slept with it under my pillow at nite. I became one with My Glove.

All my efforts were nearly in vain when it turns out I didn't secure a spot at second base like I was hoping to that freshman year. I platooned in right field with Erik Friden and learned how to keep a scorecard on the bench, mostly. My Glove and I found our glory days as the starting second baseman for the varsity team my senior year, even turning a double play in our only opportunity that season. Any ground ball fielded these days takes me back to the old infield grass of our home field, my knees shaking at the thought of a bad hop, but my hands swift and certain in their old dance of the two-handed catch-and-throw to Lindeblad at first.

My hope is that someday it will be My Glove and I teaching my sons and/or daughters that same dance. Watching me and My Glove they will learn how to stay in front of a ground ball and how to always always always use two hands to catch a pop up or fly ball. My Glove may one day be passed on as a family heirloom if I am sure someone will care for it. For now, though, My Glove is as much a part of my life and glory days as anything could be.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

College is what you make of it
 
This is an article I recently wrote for my church's newspaper, having been asked to write about my experience at a Christian college.
 
 
When I was considering and visiting Christian schools, I did so biased by three common assumptions; it took nearly the entire four years of my college career for me to conclude that not only were these false assumptions, but in all three cases, the exact opposite is true. I will dispel each of these common assumptions below, using them as a three-point outline to this article, as any good son of a preacher man would.

First, and most prevalent of the misconceptions of Christian colleges, is the thought that because a college hires only Christian faculty and staff, it means that they are therefore a second-rate academic institution. It is sad that this is so widely believed because it reflects what so many–the world, primarily, but Christians included–believe about Christians. Somehow people have come to believe that Christians are less fit for or will be never be as successful in their professions because of their faith. They believe a Christian lawyer or businessman cannot be as "successful" because he does not dedicate himself entirely to his work, but instead serves Christ first.

This attitude carries over into how people view a Christian school. I remember how hard I found it to tell people that I was only considering Christian schools when my friends were talking of Princeton and Bucknell or popular state schools. I let myself slip into the very way of thinking that I have described above. Granted, there are some limitations to attending a small Christian school, but almost all of them are linked to financial resources, not quality of faculty. I cannot imagine a more competent and able staff of professors than the one I sat under at Geneva. Not only are the vast majority of professors decorated with doctorates, but all also profess Christ as Lord and seek to model Him in and out of the classroom–something much more valuable than anything framed and hanging in their office.

There is a second misconception that is closely tied to the first. It is the thought that attending a Christian college means a student will be less prepared for life in the "real," secular world. On the contrary, I would argue that a Christian school can prepare you much better than can a state school (note the emphasis on can, not will). The assumption is that spending four years on a Christian campus is to live life in a sterile bubble world, and that graduates from this incubator go through culture shock after graduation.

After reading a pamphlet or visiting a Christian college, it is easy to get the impression that such a place as a shelter from all things worldly and sinful. The truth is that no campus is a bubble, and in contrast to the shock theory, discussion and debate over current events and pop culture will thrive on a healthy Christian campus. Cable TV, the internet, and the weekend movie night will still give Joe and Jane Student more than their share of the "outside world." Even if a student doesn’t move far from home to go to school, the college years are still a significant time of establishing one’s own identity, comparing the life experiences of others with one’s own, and the testing of one’s most personal beliefs. A Christian college is a unique opportunity for a Christian student to have a period of transition between the safety of the nest to the wilderness of the "real" world.

The analogy can be made to training a rookie boxer to fight. Someone new to boxing needs to learn what it feels like to be punched in the face, but to train him to be a successful fighter, a coach would need to teach him defensive and offensive technique. It would do the rookie no good to have someone pound him in the head every day, teaching him to defend. A boxer needs to learn to defend and attack to be able to win the fight. A Christian school can be an effective fight coach in this way. A student will learn of the evils in the world, and he or she will take jabs to the face–hopefully much fewer than would be received at a state school. But a good Christian school will teach their students how to fight back and how to live as Christians, "in the world, but not of the world."

Third, spending any part of your academic career on a Christian campus does not mean your sanctification and spiritual growth will occur through osmosis. It may seem obvious, but it needs to be realized that not everyone who is accepted to a Christian school is a Christian and not even every Christian comes from a reformed Presbyterian background. There are just as many, if not more, bad influences and spiritual dangers for every benefit to be found. They are perhaps even more dangerous because they aren’t obvious and external (read: their residences don’t have Greek letters above them). Complacency, a judgmental spirit, pride, even a callousness to the Gospel–the list goes on. A student’s four years at college are four years that cannot be expected to be coasted through at a Christian school. The advantages are there--they are distinct, they are wonderful resources--but they need to be sought out. A student needs to take an active role in the development of his or her faith and not assume that weekly chapel and Bible survey classes will equip him or her to fight the devil. Let me say it again: do not choose a Christian school and expect to coast through your spiritual walk.

I could (and still may, someday) write pages on the choice to attend a Christian college. It can be a great decision, and I would recommend it to most anyone. If I leave the reader with anything, let it be this: College is what you make of it, regardless of your school’s statement of faith or lack thereof. There is tremendous potential to make time at a Christian college the best four years of your life, but there are dangers and it is not for everyone.

Monday, July 05, 2004

"He who finds a wife finds a good thing..."

By then I had decided I wasn’t going to leave the mountain with the ring still in my pocket, but unfortunately I still hadn’t thought up a backup plan. The intruding couple with the cloves cigarettes obviously wasn’t going anywhere, either, so we couldn’t just wait around for the lookout point to be ours alone again. I steered us to a nearby park bench.

I had tried to play it cool and stall for some time until we could have the lookout to ourselves again. I whispered, “Maybe they’re just stopping by for a quick look and they’ll leave soon. Let’s just wait and see.” Wait we did and soon saw that the cloves couple showed no signs of moving on. In fact, it seemed that they might even have plans to spend the nite. Not only did this guy show his lady friend the view of the New York City skyline to the far left, but he started pointing out the most insignificant sights imaginable. He pointed to some spotlights and started telling stories about his high school football glory days. He pointed to the town pool and started telling stories about every summer he had ever spent there. Apparently, this guy was a local and there was apparently no limit to the sights he could point out nor the stories he could tell about them. He was obviously there for the long haul. In the meantime, Becca and I played with the binocular things that you put the quarters into, waiting a few feet away for this guy to shut up and leave. We looked at the skyline and we tried to look at the moon, but we couldn’t stall enough–the cloves cigarettes couple just wasn’t going to leave.

We had kinda just stared at each other when they walked up, neither of us sure what to do. Becca would later tell me that it was at that moment that she realized what I was about to do, although in the moment she never let on. There we were on Washington Rock, caught in mid-embrace, me interrupted in mid-proposal, my left hand in my pocket, Becca wearing a smile as bright and wide as the moon, my own face torn between muted frustration and mild panic.

Two sentences away! I couldn’t believe it! I had carefully woven a seamless web of woo and had been blessed with a classic moment–the silent starlit nite, the sparkling city lights, the magic of the moon, and the sweeping ambiance of a lookout point at nite. It was all there--the ring, the girl, the boy, the magic–and it was going to happen. I had climbed the ladder and had walked to the end of the metaphorical diving board. I had taken the drop step, bent at the knees, and was ready to dive in. The mood was right, her eyes were sparkling, her smile growing wider and brighter as she began to realize why we had trudged all the way up here (I was going to ask her to marry me!) if I could just get the words out. My left hand strayed to its pocket for the ring box while my mouth poured out what my heart could not contain.

We had waited so patiently for our turn at the lookout point, and now seemingly all for naught. Keeping the lookout in view but remaining far enough away from the crowd to retain some privacy, we had enjoyed some ScottandBecca time for a while before we secured the lookout point. I had started to work the conversation toward things of romance because I had wanted to set the mood and direct the conversation so that at the moment the lookout was ours we could stroll over to the lookout point, take in the view, and become fiancés.

But the park had been crawling with cops when we found our way through the woods. My stomach bungeed to the pavement when I saw all the people still at the park and the two or three cops who were trying to move them out. We were too late. The park had closed at 9 and it was already past 9.30. Becca and I had already had a run-in with police at a state park the summer before and I didn’t want to have a repeat of “So what were you two kids doing in the woods after dark?” and “Are you here with this guy willingly, ma’am?” to ruin the nite. I didn’t have a backup plan and we were already piqued for adventure, so I led us into the park through a side entrance and waited for the coast to be clear. Despite my best efforts, there is little to thwart romance more than having to look over one’s shoulder for cops. Add that to the list of reasons not to live in the city.

It was just when Becca had reached the point where she couldn’t squeeze my arm any more tightly and just a little while after I had run out of positive spins to put on the situation when we made it through the woods, leaving the maniac drivers, the rabid deer, and what seemed to be the longest stretch of unlit pavement in North America behind us. “Here we are, my dear--Washington Rock State Park.” I had mentioned the park to her before, but she had never been. This was the second-to-last and second-best surprise I had planned for the nite. We had finally made it and I had in mind that I was going to propose to Rebecca Rose Roszel before we left.

The walk through the woods had been anything but a casual stroll. I had known the park closed at 9 and I figured there would be cops kicking people out, so I had reasoned that it would be best to park down the road a ways and then walk to the park, slip in unnoticed, and make our way to the lookout. That had all worked according to plan. It was the idea of the walk up the road to the park that had lacked foresight. Every of the dozen times I had driven by Washington Rock State Park before that nite, I had done so in the middle of the day, when the woods are not creepy and scary, the roads are well-lit, and the last thing on the minds of the drivers of all the cars that use the road is to drive recklessly and cause couples to dive off the road to avoid being hit.

“The nite is still young,” I had reminded her as we pulled out of O’Connor’s. “Why don’t we see another of the sites here in Watchung before we leave? We’ll probably never be out this way again together, you know.” She had been agreeable, so I had turned onto Washington Rock Road. I had driven most of the way up the hill and had parked the truck on a dead-end street in a new residential development a quarter mile down the hill from the park. She had put on a hoodie and we had started to walk hand-in-hand through the woods, the memory of our worst dinner to date already starting to fade.

I don’t even want to talk about dinner. Sixty bunks for a creaky old booth, a cut of inferior London Broil for me and a platter of chewy sirloin tips for her. I had been worried that it was going to put a damper on the nite and the mood wouldn’t have been right for what I had in mind later, but I had no backup plan, and it was going to have to be tonite.

“Let’s go for dinner at O’Connor’s,” I had suggested slyly. By then she had caught on that all these “suggestions” had been planned out in advance and I think she might have started to suspect that I was up to something.

There really wasn’t much to show her at the office. Everyone had already left for the nite, so the place was locked up. The grand tour of the Whitestone Associates, Inc. office building ended up being no more than a drive around the parking lot. But Becca had seemed glad to see it, regardless.

“Hey, look at this exit sign. Watchung is right here off of I-78. Did you know that?” I had toyed with her, playfully. She had rolled her eyes and seemed pleased that I didn’t intend to drive straight home. We had been in a rush to get out of Newark airport and had both been hoping for some ScottandBecca time before we found ourselves back in Hackettstown. I had that all planned out.


Holy long engagement story, Batman. This has gone on way too long. Let’s skip to the Reader’s Digest version for a quick recap and wrap-up:

Becca had spent nine days in Colorado visiting her mom. I spent those nine days shopping for an engagement ring and visiting a particular dairy farm at 4am to ask a certain Mr. Roszel for his blessing on my intended proposal to his daughter.

When the nine days were up, I picked Becca up at Newark Airport. Instead of going straight home, I decided to welcome her back to the east coast with a few surprises. I got off at the Watchung, NJ exit on the way back from Newark to show her where I work and take her to dinner at this Irish pub and steak house called O’Connor’s. I had been there for lunch once on St. Patrick’s Day and had had the best corn beef sandwich ever, but the dinner we shared that nite left much to be desired.

After dinner, I nonchalantly drove us most of the way up the Watchung “Mountain” and walked Becca to the Washington Rock State Park, where there is a view of the Manhattan skyline and beautiful (read: urban sprawl) northeast Jersey. Before we made it to the park, though, we had to walk through this dark bit of woods that is controlled by deer gangs and maniac drivers. Becca was half-afraid for her life and I was mostly afraid of the mood not being right once we reached the park.

Reach the park we did but then had to wait ten minutes before we could have the lookout to ourselves. After the dreadful walk and the long wait, we finally had Washington Rock to ourselves. We moved in, we saw the city lights, commented on the moon, the stars, the beautiful weather, yada yada. I drew her close, looked into her eyes, poured my heart out, reached for the ring, but was interrupted at the last second by another couple who came out of nowhere and figured that since it’s a public park they had just as much right to be there as we did. This is true, but it was frustrating, to say the least.

Not wanting to leave the park with the ring in my pocket, I made our way to a park bench and sat Becca down, trying to maintain the mood. Some quick-thinking and smooth-talking got me to where I felt comfortable getting off the bench and onto one knee in front of my girl. I drew out the ring, found the words to say, and asked Rebecca Rose Roszel to be my wife. She said “of course,” she threw her arms around my neck, we hugged, we kissed, and we tried to look at the ring but it was too dark.

The first time she got a good look at the ring was under the dome light of my truck when we made it back through the less-scary-this-time woods. I started telling her all that I had been doing the past nine days and she teared up when I told her about asking her dad. We made it back to Hackettstown and started the process of telling everyone our news, starting with my family and then making a whole slew of phone calls the next day.


So now you know...

...the rest of the story.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

What's a graduation cd without Vitamin C, Dave Matthews, Grateful Dead, and Green Day, you ask? The best graduation cd ever, I say...

I look very far down my holier-than-thou nose on people who squander shallow lives between this latest fad and that next big thing. Whether it be plugging into the American Idols and Survivors of the small screen or consuming the material idols of flip flops, Nalgene bottles, and whisker jeans, there are people—even the supposed best and brightest of my generation—who apparently find self-worth in being up to date on celebrity gossip and what style of distress is needed to set one apart as fashionable next season. These people, my peers, put mold on my brain after mere minutes of social interaction.

But I am diverse in my self-righteousness and this entry is not necessarily about blinded herds and the way they dress. Tonite finds my stomach turning at the thought of over-sentimentality, particularly the phony tears and empty well wishes associated with early May, graduation time.

It starts with the underclassmen trickling home after the “killer” week of “hell” they called their Finals Week, all three multiple choice exams and optional papers that it included. Still absorbed with the high school way of thought that doesn’t allow them to leave campus until they have wished everyone and everyone’s mother a great summer and reminded these same everyones to keep in touch, underclassmen strike me as irritatingly optimistic and annoyingly naïve.

Juniors get the hang of it by the end of their third year, but more often than not succumb to the tired lines of “We’re seniors!” and “Can you believe it? One more year!” as they trudge into their last real summer break.

Seniors are the demographic upon whom I will spew most of my ranting because they should know better. Four years removal from high school should have been enough time to learn that relationships ebb and fade with time or distance, and especially with a double team from both axes of a velocity graph.

Sure, we’re different now--more mature and wise beyond our years. Sure, we’ve established life-long relationships--the majority of us are engaged or close to it. This is not a call to cut all ties and start over once we turn and smile for the cameras one last time. Even I, cynic of all cynics, am looking forward to keeping in touch with the Family over the years, sending Christmas cards and making a Homecoming trek or two. I will make a short but thoughtful list of persons I'd like to keep in touch with, but no more than a dozen of the closest. If you're not sure you made the list, chances are you probably aren't so please, enough with the hugs and tears over someone you shared a chem lab cabinet with freshman year.

Pass on your books to underclassmen, pay your library fines, say thanks to the teachers that have touched your life forever, but do it without the high-pitched hug orgies, don’t promise you’ll keep in touch, and please—don’t post Vitamin C lyrics in your AIM profile.



Speaking of graduation song lyrics (the very thing that got me started on this rant), I am already near the watershed of tolerance for the "What a long, strange trip it's been"s and "Friends forever--love ya"s and "I Will Miss" lists (wait a minute...), so don't try to pass that crap on me--I see right through it.

In lieu of my second (final?) Pomp and Circumstance march, I am compiling a collection of moving-on-with-my-life/leaving-this-town-type songs to the end of the burning of these songs onto a cd. To close, I leave you with applicable excerpts from selected songs off the cd with the working title "Homeward Bound" (recommendations welcome)...


"and each town looks the same to me,
the movies and the factories
and every stranger's face i see
reminds me that i long to be
homeward bound (i wish i was)"


"tonite i'm leaving
this bullshit one-horse town
with its cowboys and indians
who only have balls
when there's a camera around"


"this town
don't feel mine
so drive me
far"


"did it on ritalin
i got me some good grades
now i work me the nite shift
where i
push and push and push til it hurts"


"at last it's finally over
couldn't take this town much longer
half dead wasn't what i planned to be
now i'm ready to be free"


"so here's the bright end of nowhere
here's the results of all our days
used to lay on the roof and drink beer
and try to count up all the ways
that you could waste away
looking back it seems so simple
but how we've done it couldn't say"


"take me to the shore
wrap me in a blind tomorrow
i won't fight no more
i won't scream
maybe we'll be washed away
maybe i just need a holiday"


"friday night they'll be dressed to kill
down at dino's bar and grill
the drink will flow and blood will spill
and if the boys want to fight, you'd better let them
that jukebox in the corner blasting out my favorite song
the nights are getting warmer, it won't be long
won't be long till summer comes
now that the boys are here again
the boys are back in town..."

Saturday, April 24, 2004

I Will Miss:
Phyllis
my corner
crosswords with Nick
Saturdays in 124
gingerbread cookies
free cable
showers with unlimited hot water
apartment comradery...hahaha
a bathroom devoid of feminine products
cherry tomatoes
"who would win in a fight..."
pre-test sex talks
my tea cabinet
impulse CD buys with textbook shopping
(almost) all things SuperFan
student discounts
the tree outside SE in the spring
Partying Hard
drives home across PA
CHRP
the view of Pittsburgh from 279
poor, sweet, naive Pittsburgh sports fans
South Park voices

I Will Not Miss:
rain/snow four times a week
jocks
a mailbox with a key
Johnston Gym
spastic, seizure-incuding overhead lights!
Steelers fans
Browns fans
hoochies
hoochies on the lawn
buying textbooks
South Park
Wednesday nite visiting hours
overhearing people complain about Steve Bandi
overhearing people complain about Humanities
overhearing people complain about trying to find a 12th credit
a kitchen drain that rarely does
labs
Brig lines
IM dependancy
going to dinner grandpass-early
a balcony without a view
sharing a bathroom with three guys
sharing a kitchen sink with Chris
monkey dishes with honey or peanut butter
Steak Nite in pits
Black History moments
“diversity,” “worldview,” “calling/vocation,” “servant leader,” etc.
John Rooke’s annual spring chastening
drives home across PA

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Remote, Chivalrousless Entry

Modern technology has improved life myriad ways. I need not waste space proving that point. I am writing to argue how a product of technology, remote keyless-entry to cars, has made life worse for men in one particular area, that of common chivalry.

This single item of technology is related to, and is destroying, one of the most basic and frequent displays of chivalry, the Boy-opening-door-for-Girl routine. Door-opening has long been a pastime of aspiring Romeos and Prince Charmings everywhere. It is a pastime that Boys cannot afford to lose.

There is obviously nothing significant in the act itself--any red-blooded feminist would tell you that Girl is perfectly capable of opening Door for Girl's self. There is even potential for Boy to use such a seemingly sweet act to satiate Boy's desire to assess Girl's assets as Girl walks in front of Boy, *ahem, ahem.* Regardless, Door Opening needs to be saved from the techies.

Oblige me the passport to your imagination and join me in acting fly-on-the-wall during Boy and Girl's first date. Boy picks up Girl at Girl's house (showing up on time, of course, but being forced to wait while Girl concludes Girl's final hour of pre-date preparation). Boy presents Girl with flowers and compliments Girl's outfit. Boy and Girl head out to Boy's car.

In the old days, Boy would walk Girl down the sidewalk to Boy's car, where Boy would gracefully let Girl's arm fall to Girl's side while Boy found Boy's key. Boy would use this key to unlock Girl's door and suavely open this door for Girl to climb in. Once in, Girl would lean over to unlock Boy's door so Boy could get in. Before long, Boy and Girl would be on Boy and Girl's way to do Boy and Girl stuff. Boy and Girl live happily ever after.

The Door-Opening ritual, if enacted correctly by both parties, is a simple exchange with no words necessary--maybe a "Thank you, darling" and a "Sure thing, Sugar Pie" in reply. The dialogue is not what communicates in this instance, but the actions.

Action One: Boy unlocks Girl's door before Boy unlocks Girl's door. This shows Boy's deference to Girl, and shows Girl that Boy thinks more highly of Girl than Boy thinks of Boy.

Action Two: Boy opens Girl's door. This is done as a courtesy to Girl, since all Boys know that Girls can open Girls' own doors and wear snappy pant suits and get Girls' own jobs and take Girls' own asses out whenever Girls want. Most Girls worth knowing know when to just say "Thank you, darling." This in itself is another communication. In opening Girl's door, Boy is showing Girl that Boy cares for Girl. Just as importantly, by allowing Boy to open Girl's door (or pay for Girl's meal or carry Girl's books), Girl is letting Boy know that Girl appreciates Boy and Boy's care.

Action Three: Girl leans over and unlocks Boy's door. This is perhaps the most important communication. This action shows Boy that Girl is willing to do Girl's part to make this a two-way exchange. By leaning all the way over to the other side of the car to unlock Boy's door, Girl is actively showing Boy Girl's gratitude and is communicating to Boy that Girl is willing to invest the effort necessary to build a relationship.

Door Opening is a simple exchange, hardly putting either Boy or Girl out, and Door Opening provides both Boy and Girl with a brief but telling look into a potential future with Girl or Boy. In a sensible world, sensible people would be content to let this sensible facet of the Old Days live on untouched by remote controls and automatic knicknacks. Yet here we find ourselves in the twenty-first century unable to escape all that is automatic and faster and convenient for convenience's sake.

Remote keyless entry is convenience at the push of a button, saving Boy and Girl the bother of using a key to unlock car doors one at time. Technology has made it so that the exact second that Boy is within spitting distance of Boy's car Boy can keylessly and effortlessly--but nay, suavelessly and silently--unlock every door of Boy's car in an instant and without a hint of communication to Girl.

What sad times are these when the trinity of Quickness, Convenience, and Efficiency take precedence over Care, Chivalry and Courtesy. I, for one, will have nothing to do with it.

"Of minor prophets and prostitutes wives"

The title of this entry is ripped off from the title of a Pedro the Lion song based on the story of Hosea, a minor prophet to Old Testament Israel. It's a song I've grown to love and it has indirectly led me to a study of the book of Hosea during my devotions. The pastor of the RP church I attend here at school has just started a series of sermons on minor prophets and how they point to Christ. In the Lord's providence, the sermon this week was the first of several he will preach on Hosea.

As you can see, the story of Hosea and the faithful love of God it proclaims have been on my mind a lot lately. Below are some thoughts I've had regarding all things Hosea. Most of them aren't original ideas.

So God called Hosea to take the prostitute Gomer as his wife. This would be a hard command to obey firstly because it was so bizarre ("God, did you say what I think You just said?"). This would also be extremely hard to obey because of who Gomer was. Gomer was prostitute of all prostitutes. She was described as a woman whom all men had seen bare and defiled. Everyone knew Gomer was a whore and for Hosea, a man of God, to take her as his wife would bring shame to Hosea, not to mention make it hard for Hosea to love her.

Making a long story short (a story worth reading in detail for yourself), Gomer was repeatedly unfaithful to Hosea, continuing in prostitution (to Hosea's knowledge) even as Hosea's wife. Hosea even had to eventually buy Gomer back from slavery.

Their marriage was to be an illustration to Israel, showing the nation their unfaithfulness to God. The Israelites so frequently "prostituted" themselves to other false gods, showing scorn to their loving Jehovah. But God was forgiving and loving to the nth degree, as they say. Hosea was to be an illustation to the people of their heavenly Father, the faithful husband to them, the adulterous OT church. Powerful illustration, indeed.

To me in the new covenant, the illustration is fulfilled and perfected in Christ. I am Gomer--I am a member of the church, the bride of Christ; my heart is unfaithful; I continue old sin patterns; I break promises to God; I am spiritually adulterous. God is Hosea--He is always faithful and always always always forgives me, takes me back, and loves me unconditionally.

Something particular that my pastor pointed out in his sermon was that as the bride of Christ, the church needs to clothed in white to be worthy of her husband, Jesus Christ. But Christians are still broken sinners and come dressed with sin-stained rags. We are hopeless.

But in the eyes of God the Father, Jesus has become Gomer for us, although without sin--Jesus was made sin for me, for the church. He was humiliated, acting as both the redeemed slave and paying the price of wrath that my sins deserve with His own sinless blood. Through His blood I stand can now stand in the white bridal garments of Christ, spotless and undefiled and redeemed! me, a common whore--REDEEMED!

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Friends don't let friends post lame away messages

to me, a lame buddy profile is like a slap in the face. a buddy profile is an expression of oneself, and for a buddy to post a lame profile is an insult to both the buddy and the reader.

as i see it, the lamest of our buddies' profiles will probably include one or more of the following (with exceptions, of course):

- a countdown to something only our buddy cares about. this countdown can be for anything under the sun, but is most likely a countdown to something personal. for any given profile reading, there is only a one-in-hardly chance of said countdown being updated to the correct number.

- our buddy's cell phone number. how considerate! our buddy who posts her cell phone number in her profile is doing us all a favour by making it possible for us to call her any and every day, to keep in touch at all times, or perhaps just to chat. she leaves her cell phone number in her profile at all times so we don't have to bother writing it down and keeping it in an accessible place for when we need it--she realizes we don't want her cell phone number that badly. we only want to have it available in her profile for just in case. whatever the reason for needing our buddy to post her cell phone number, we call all agree on what we need to do more and more often--"just cell it, baby!"

- a message from our buddy to our buddy's significant other. this will only ever be an an inside joke or a shared memory that we do not share with the happy couple.

- a quote that our buddy thinks is completely inspirational and/or absolutely encompasses his or her purpose here on earth. maybe something about true friends or something from dave matthews--he's real deep.

- song lyrics! what a great idea! yes, all hail our buddy who posts THE quintessential excerpt of song lyrics that perfectly express the feelings for that someone which he or she can't just express to that someone's face. usually ambiguous and generic, these lyrics are rarely effective for others to read as text.

- angry/depressed angst lyrics! courtesy of our buddies who are unfortunate enough to have been selected to the short list of people whom Fate has decided to torture without reprieve and without just cause. these people have no luck in love, no luck in friendship and no luck in life. let's all join together and send them a consoling message or three to let them know how obvious it is to us, too, that their straw is so much shorter than everyone else's.

- the classic end-of-the-semester rant profile/away message our college buddies post to let us know how unfair their particular professors are, and particularly to them. these buddies obviously have "a million" things to do and umpteen "freaking" papers to write, each at least "about a million pages" each. i'm just glad my professors give me at least a week's notice for most of my assignments, so i don't end up like these frazzled and frantic buddies who obviously couldn't have worked ahead and avoided the screw over.


please profile responsibly.

Friday, February 27, 2004

Gillette isn't "the best a man can get"--singleness is.

Guys try so hard and put so much effort into impressing girls. When Joe Blow finds himself in like with a girl or two (or three or more), the world is a whirling dervish of topsy-turvy and kaleidoscopic chaos. The risk, the uncertainty, the thrill of the chase, the rush of blood to the *ahem* [head] all push a guy to his best. Creativity isn't a process to be nurtured; it's a natural reaction that exudes from every pore, every away message, every one-liner, and every interaction with said girl(s). Gillette isn’t the best a man can get—singleness is. Singleness stimulates a guy’s survival of the fittest instinct and makes every endeavor an opportunity not to pass up.

When single, Joe Blow frets about his clothes and frets about making social appearances; he frets over making phone calls and frets answering the phone; he frets about smelling good and frets about looking good. Throughout, Joe frets over the need to disguise all this fretting by constantly portraying an image of cool indifference.

Granted, some guys channel this nervous energy differently. The meatheads tent to release it in the gym, the grease monkeys in the garage; the emo patsies feed the torturous process with their whiny, “soul-baring” lyrics. Regardless of the product, most every guy is pushed to some higher level of creativity in whatever he does.

The best example of this in my own experience is how hard it is for me to write away messages, profiles and blog entries anymore.

As recently as last fall, I was Joe Blow in the single state described above. The Party Hard video was alive and Arms 305 was discovering the joys of all that is jackass. Girls were walking smiles for me to charm and sweet-talk without discretion or consequence. I was single and, in my own mind at the time, “thriving.”

It was during this same fall semester, through a conversation with Peter Swift when I boasted of putting more effort and premeditation into my away messages and profiles than anyone else (Whether this is something of which to boast is debatable, but you can’t deny that you read them every day and kept coming back for more).

The point comes across that I was pushed to rise above lameass messages that the common IMer turns out on a daily basis. I refused to sink so low as to post messages explicitly complaining about the crappy Beaver Falls weather or the frustrations of the opposite sex or pity-seeking proof that my finals week was the worst ever.

I had an image to maintain and creativity to burn. Integral social tool that it is for our generation, IM profiles and away messages were two of the most obvious outlets through which to channel my creative restlessness. I certainly wasn’t getting a chance in any shear/moment diagrams from steel class.

I think I was hitting the peak of my single-state creativity just as my relationship with Becca was becoming less "grey" and more "black-and-white."

I am not trying to make Becca out to be a sucker for superior away messages—besides, I’d like to believe (and rightly so) that her saying “yes” was more a result of our friendship growing more and more intimate—there may or may not be a correlation. The point I would argue is that the start of ScottandBecca changed everything.

Being the Scott in ScottandBecca meant an instant beginning to daily peace of mind. Single life was great for film fest material and feeding hormones, but little else. Being single is a little of what I imagine menopause to be, sans the droopy breasts and hot flashes. Moods swing from the depths of despair to the apex of ecstasy, often in the same hour. Maybe that’s where the similarities end, but the idea is conveyed, I hope.

The up-and-down nature of the single life is what feeds the fire. You’re either king of the world or footstool of the female gender or both at once. In any case, you have motivation, inspiration and ample reasons to swing for the fences in whatever you do.

All this is to say:

The post-pubescent years of Joe Blow’s young life may be the most creative and most self-exploratory of his entire time on earth. If single, Joe will probably push himself to be the best he can possibly be. This is one of the strongest arguements I make to say that the TEEN-AGE YEARSof a guy's life should not be spent committed to a girlfriend.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

So I'm Pretty Sure My Girlfriend Has the Best Taste in Music of Any Girl EVER

One of the primary objectives to which I hold myself in maintaining this blog is keeping girlfriend mush to a minimum. Big part of my life as ScottandBecca is, there are few people who want to read about ScottandBecca and even fewer people who would choose to indulge in the mush that is often ScottandBecca.

However, please do let me proceed to brag about an un-mushy quality that I believe sets my girlfriend, Becca Roszel, apart as the girl with the best all-around musical taste IN THE WORLD.

She has her share of quirks with music, as most girls do. "Take My Breath Away" is one of her favourite 80s songs, she thinks the Cars were a good band, and she has a tendency to develop "rock star crushes" that aren't always easy for her boyfriend to swallow. Despite these miniscule shortcomings, I am arguing that there is not another girl in the world with a better taste in music than Becca Roszel.

First and foremost, Becca is a Classic Rock chick. She LOVES (meaning she owns one or more cds from or at least is very very familiar with the following): Pink Floyd, Steve Miller Band, Bruce Springsteen, the Stones, the Beatles, the Allman Brothers, and Van Halen. Oh yeah, she goes absolutely ga-ga about Led Zeppelin. She also LIKES (meaning when she hears a song by one of the following she turns the radio up and sings into her thumb): David Bowie, the Doors, the Who, the Cars, CCR, Queen, Joe Cocker, Steppenwolf, Bad Company, the Kinks, Styx, Rush, Boston, Jethro Tull, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Bob Seger, John Cougar Mellencamp, Deep Purple, and Frank Zappa.

Secondly, Becca is a Rock chick. She LOVES (same meaning as above): Coldplay, Pearl Jam, Counting Crows, REM, Taproot, Finger Eleven, Weezer, Stone Temple Pilots, Incubus, Cake, Our Lady Peace, Deftones, Soundgarden, Toadies, Ghoti Hook and Jimmy Eat World. She LIKES: Audioslave, Apex Theory, Chevelle, Mad at Gravity, Foo Fighters, Dashboard Confessional, Matthew Good Band, Alice in Chains, Bush, Nirvana, Oleander, Rage Against the Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Dave Matthews Band, APerfectCircle...and she's coming around to Andrew WK.

She has an affinity for music with a softer side, as well. She LOVES: Norah Jones, Sara Groves, Sarah McLachlan, Natalie Merchant, Tracy Chapman, the Cranberries, Frank Sinatra, Simon and Garfunkel, and James Taylor. She Likes: John Mayer, Dave Matthews Band, Fiona Apple, Paula Cole, and Pedro the Lion.


Not one of these lists is complete, mind you. I will probably have to update each one at least half a dozen times.

Please understand that I realize what a treasure I have in Becca. There are ways in which I don't even hold a boombox to her knowledge of Classic Rock--her dad actually used to put headphones on her little head when she was feeding as a baby. She grew big and strong on classic rock just as much as farm-fresh milk and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. It's a little intimidating to have a girlfriend who can and will correct every lyric slip-up you make (it's "radar love," not "red-eye love"..."do you do more than dance" not "do you do wanna dance," etc), but she's mostly gracious about it.

She's also been cool in that she's willing and eager to get to know my bands. There were two months over the summer when she borrowed a different cd of mine every week, listened to it and gave me her thoughts. She liked most of them (I told you...she's coming around to AWK) and some of the Rock LIKES are a result of this music swapping. I was most worried about Matthew Good. I can go so far as to say that I couldn't marry a girl who hated Matthew Good Band; he is by far my favourite lyricist and even solo is maybe my favourite band at the moment. To reject him would be to reject a significant portion of what makes me me. To my relief, she loves the tortured Canadian and all is well.

As a disclaimer, you must realize that this opinion of mine is a very biased one--I'm in love with this girl.

As evidence that my opinion is legitimate, I offer the following. Music tastes are subjective and there are few people who can be trusted to talk about good music. I am not a holier than thou indie rock kid who's opinion is obviously superior to yours because I know bands you don't know. Instead, I am an average guy who's opinion is obviously superior to yours because I've heard all the music you've heard but have listened with discretion. I realize "Hey Ya" is one of the worst popular songs ever written and can see through the overproduced ear candy that is Linkin Park. I have listened to all the music you've listened to but have listened to it better.

In light of this, I can now pronounce Rebecca Rose Roszel as the girl with the Best Taste in Music of Anyone Without a Penis in the World EVER.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

So about John farting in the elevator...

[setting the scene for the audience]

John and I were coming out of class Monday morning, 9am-ish. We were on the first floor of the Science & Engineering building, in whose confines we have spent all but a few of our waking academic hours here at Geneva College (Your life. Make it new, yeah right). We needed to get to the third floor computer lab to piss around until our Senior Design meeting later that morning, so we walked to the elevator and pressed the "^" button.

[explaining for the audience why we need to take an elevator when we are both able-bodied young men, capable of climbing a few dozen steps]

John and I have made it our goal this semester to not climb a single flight of steps when it is possible to take the elevator. We've decided that we are enacting our own Senior Privilege and will take the elevator in any scenario and without shame.

[recapping for the audience]

To recap, John and I were on the first floor of the S&E building, waiting to take the elevator to the third floor of the same building.

[continuing with the story]

The little bell rang, the door opened, and we stepped into the empty elevator, John and I. Being the boy of a man that I still am, I wasn't content with merely pressing the "3" button. I had the urge to press all the elevator buttons and did. "G" "2" and "1" followed "3" as the doors closed and we started to move.

[explaining that this is where the story gets interesting]

This is where the story gets interesting.

[continuing, again]

Just as the elevator door was closing behind us, I wondered aloud whether the elevator would go to the third floor first or stop at the second. I had pressed the "3" button first and thought that it would go all the way to the top first. John replied that he really hoped the elevator would go straight to the third floor, and as quickly as possible, because he had just farted and knew it was going to be a bomb.

Before the words had dissolved into the already confined elevator air, the elevator stopped at the second floor.

[pausing for dramatic effect]

The little bells rang, the door opened and Mrs Mills walked into the elevator with us.

[explaining that the audience doesn't need to know who Mrs Mills is to appreciate the story]

One doesn't need to know Mrs Mills or her position at Geneva College for one to appreciate the story. It might even be better if one didn't know and let one's imagination run wild. This will enhance the story. One only needs to continue reading assuming that Mrs Mills, like most everyone else with a functional sense of smell, would not want to walk into an elevator in which ass had just been ripped.

[recapping]

So John and I walked into an empty elevator, going to the third floor. I pressed a whole bunch of buttons while John ripped ass. The elevator stopped unexpectedly on the second floor and Mrs Mills walked in.

[continuing]

After joining us in the elevator, Mrs Mills noticed how many buttons were lit and asked us if we were going up or down. Trying to suppress both a laugh and a gag reflex, I answered that we were going up...eventually--I had merely gone a little "button happy." She seemed not too irate and we began traveling up, toward the third floor, thankfully.

Meanwhile, my buddy, John, my partner in crime, is backed into the corner, bursting with nervous laughter, laughing to himself and me, and in agony over the smell he has created.

Halfway to the third floor, there is no ignoring the smell. I have remained on the opposite side of the elevator this entire time, but by now am finding it difficult to breathe, let alone reply to comments Mrs Mills is making to me about "wearing down the elevator." The air is thick with the stench of John fart and we are both practically bursting with laughter as the elevator creeps towards the third floor.

[building up to a potentially dramatic conclusion]

FINALLY the little bell rings, the door opens and it's all John and I can do to hold ourselves back from tearing out of the elevator, screaming sweet sweet freedom, running away from the confines of the stank-nastiest elevator in the history of stank-nasty elevators.

[concluding]

But we didn't. Turns out that Mrs Mills was going to the computer lab, too. So our agony was drawn out as we followed her to the lab with tails between our legs and giggles still bursting from the corners of our mouths, Button Happy Boy and The Elevator Flatulator.

"Civil" Engineers, indeed.
So I'm gonna blame my two week blogging hiatus on the fact that my life has been fairly agreeable of late.

It's no secret that guys are less verbal than girls. Just spend a minute as a fly on the wall at a guys' nite out and then spend the same minute (if you can endure it) at a girl's slumber party.

Guys will talk trash during their game of nine ball and debate the validity of the fight scenes in a movie, but hardly will they connect more than a few complete sentences, using grunts and groans whenever possible.

Girls, on the other hand, are veritable divas of dialogue, even the shy ones. If there were more than a moment’s silence during a girls’ nite, someone would probably start crying or worry that everyone was secretly mad at her. Girls think it's rude to forget their friends' sisters' favourite movie. They feel pressure to make connections and include everyone in everything. Girls have room meetings in their dorms if someone forgets to clean their hair off the shower drain. Girls are funny squirrels like that.

I make this distinction because it explains how hard it is for me to keep this blog thing updated. I’m a guy--I need something to rant about. I need conflict. I need to complain about the state of my world, disenfranchised quarter-life crisis candidate that I am.

My life is fine. My life is great, even. I am a twenty-one year old white male from as solid a Christian home as one could ever ask for. The world is mine for the asking, as the Lord leads me. I am blessed beyond what I could ever ask for, never mind the fledgling career, steady girlfriend and respectable CD collection. What do I have to complain about? To borrow from Audio Adrenaline, I am in the summer of my lifetime and everything is in bloom.

It's not even that I'm too busy to spend half an hour telling the story about John farting in an elevator just as Mrs Mills was walking in. It's not even that the demands of dreaded PoliSci are too overbearing--they're not--the class is more overhyped than the Humanities program. It's not even that Becca takes up too much of my time. If anything, she pushes me to keep my blog updated.

Maybe I am too busy. Maybe this blog isn't a high enough priority. Maybe things will turn around. Maybe I'll overcome my manhood and find ways to compose entries in the happy genre. Maybe I bit off more than I can chew with this blog thing. Maybe I'll give up. Who's loss would that be?

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

"Don't cry for me...I'm already dead." - Barney Gumble

I have adopted this quote as a working mantra in the Selling Out that is my life of late. I am prepared to live with and even encourage certain levels of denial in my life, but this cancer of SellOut has grown more extensive than can be ignored. I own and use a cell phone, I own and wear "distressed" jeans, I loved "Joe Millionare", I have started a Blog. I am a Sell Out, but self-aware and unashamed, to an extent. So here, I am. Carpe Blog.