Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Things I Have Done For Which I Should Rightly Be Ashamed

1. When confronted with an unfamiliar or otherwise off-putting food at the dinner table, I would smuggle said menu item from the table in my underwear and deposit it in the toilet, backyard, under my parents bed, or in my dad's golf bag. That's right, my underwear. I do not recall ever having been caught, although my sister was once nabbed attempting a similar caper when she miscalculated the number of oranges that could be successfully flushed down the toilet.

2. Growing up, our neighborhood grocery store sold tomatoes labeled with traffic cone orange stickers that said, "JUMBO SIZE." My sister and I carefully peeled multiple of these stickers from the aforementioned tomatoes and surreptitiously stuck them to my mother's bottom. We thought we were hilarious until my mother found the stickers - but not after having walked through the entire grocery store - and began to cry. My heart broke.

3. In third grade I excused myself to the restroom. Our classrooms were arranged so that two rooms shared a small corridor between them in which a girl's and boy's restroom was located. Once inside, curiosity and God-knows-what took hold of me and I decided to shit in the urinal. I cannot tell you why I decided to shit in the urinal, but I did. Log laid and damage done, I went to wipe and realized there was no toilet paper. Instead of requesting toilet paper and risk being found out, I went about the rest of the day with what I have since heard called, "A muddy bottom." Before too long, the teachers whose rooms shared the restrooms were informed of the urinal intruder and started trying to identify the perpetrator. I kept my cool, did not crack, angelically denied any knowledge of the foul deed, and made it to the end of the day undetected.

4. I stole dirty magazines from one grandfather and took them to the house of my other grandfather. My two grandfathers could not be more different. In the car with my mother and sister, packed, and on our way out of town to begin a four hour drive home, I realized I had left the aforementioned dirty magazines under the day bed in my grandparent's sun room. I tried to tell my mother I had forgotten something but, in a hurry to get home, she dismissed my worries and said we would have whatever it was I had forgotten mailed to us. Seeing no way out, I confessed what, exactly, the forgotten items were. I like to think an image of my grandmother walking into the post office of the tiny, tiny West Texas town in which my grandparents lived to mail her daughter-in-law two old Hustler magazines briefly flashed through my mother's mind. Moments later, back in front of my grandparents house, my sister and I were sent in to retrieve the illicit periodicals from beneath the day bed. At some point, I wondered aloud to my mother whether we could just go home and blame it on my older cousin Mike. My mom eventually sold me out to Mike and everyone in my family enjoyed a hearty laugh at my expense the next Christmas. Perhaps this was just considering the JUMBO SIZE incident.

5. I spit on a kid in sixth grade. Again, I can't tell you why, I just did. Sixth graders can be cruel and it pains me to admit that I was not immune from such behavior. We were on the bus. I got caught. I had to endure a tongue lashing from my blind middle school principle. As a sign of how far gone I was in the sixth grade, it took all of the self control I could muster to not stare at the massive magnifying glass on her desk. I may have stifled a chuckle.

6. I once shot a toad with a BB gun. I almost cried as I watched what I perceived to be panic spread across his face. He took more than two hours to die.

7. Not learning my lesson that animals and BB guns do not mix, my best friend and I would shoot the LONGHORN BULL that lived in the pasture behind his house to get him to charge us. I had to take an IQ test in a post graduate educational psychology class and, remembering this, wondered if perhaps there had been some mistake in the scoring.

8. Drunk, heart broken, and in college, I called my ex and left the shockingly original message, "Fuck you" on her answering machine. The next day I had to call back and apologize. As a note to any drunk, heart broken college males: Drunk dialing is not the way to try and win back an ex.

9. Feeling that a youthful, immature engagement was deteriorating, I logged on to my ex fiancee's email account to search for proof of my doubt. Thus began a painful, spiraling demolition of a five year relationship. As a note to any post college, heart broken or otherwise panicked males: In any relationship, if you search for a reason to doubt, you will find a reason to doubt.

10. I left the really bad stuff off this list. I mean, come on! There is such a thing as too much disclosure.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Fighting It

How do you know when you hate your job or just something else about your life?

I ask because I'm at a bit of a crossroads but am somewhat stuck with concern to which direction I want to travel. I think it would be rather easy to decide if my job was the root of my discontent if I had a "bad" job. I mean, if I woke up every morning and had to lance boils or sanitize Port-O-Johns or clean geriatric genitals, then it might be an easier question to answer, but I have a "good" job. It's secure, serves the Greater Good, pays well (I just got a raise in fact), and looks good on a resume. But I feel like I'm furiously spinning my wheels. In fact, I feel like I have stomped the accelerator to the floor, am enveloped in the acrid smoke of burnt rubber, and am trying to ignore the fact that sparks are starting to fly from exposed rims.

There are those bench mark ages in people's lives by which they measure what they have accomplished against what they had envisioned they would accomplish. I'm coming up on thirty. I know it's a sign of my youth that I think of thirty as old, but damn. Thirty? Thirty years of life experience, education, relationships, chances to contribute, life-changing moments, and here I am at 2:30AM writing on a blog wondering what the hell I am going to do with my life.

I think the thing that irks me the most is that I feel like I'm waiting for something to happen. It would be nice if my own personal Yoda would knock on my door and, in some bizarre syntax, tell me, "Direction in this you should go." Or if the embodiment of all my romantic leanings would approach me on the street, smile, and say, "Hi, I'm perfect for you. Let's get hitched." It doesn't really work that way, does it? And logically, I know you have to make your own way but sometimes I feel like my job gets in the way of those clear, determined moments when you stand up against the inertia of whatever has come before and slice into what you want to come after.

Right now I feel like a passenger in a plane taking off under bad weather. It's cold and gray and everything has the salty filth of winter on it. As cliche as it seems, finally being given the go ahead (or taking the go ahead), speeding down a runway, blowing the mist from my windows, and knifing through the clouds in my head sounds like pure, liberating joy.

But I don't even feel like I've packed my bags yet.