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I am a thoughtful guy. I have been told that once in a while. My best friend from high school told me this. One of my best friends now thinks it chuckle worthy how much I ponder motivations, reasons, transitions, life. And in the immortal words of Paul McCartney, “What’s wrong with that? I’d like to know. ‘Cause here I go… again!”

I’m feeling like I’m in the middle of a transition point: It has been a little over four and a half years since we moved from Salt Lake City, and I believe those of whom I would call friend are truly beginning to forget me. No worries, I’m not bitter or anything, just pointing out the normal path of these sorts of things. I still see their stuff on that one site and I occasionally like or comment on posts and vice-versa them to me. This is not the way a hearty relationship keeps afloat, yes? Alas, things are winding down from that initial transition to a new place. I have been in West Plains long enough to finally figure out a large, parochial, baptist church is not a good fit for me and my family. We have been with another group of believers for almost a year now and I believe the mists of our comings and goings in the many buildings of our former gathering is dwindled to the point that people might not recognize the auras of our former selves lurking in the corners. We had no one come and visit us seeking the how’s and why’s of our departure, and there is fewer occasions of having to explain to people where we have been when running into them at some store or the library. The biggest shock of late is that one of my best friends, someone who was there with me from the beginning of being here in West Plains, has transitioned to Florida. He worked for the large church and because of shrinking congregational numbers, was laid-off. Thankfully he now has a job with Wycliffe, unfortunately our relationship faded the last couple of years because of hard circumstances that still remain unresolved. Praise God that all will be made right in heaven. The other jolt came from hearing that the pastor there had been voted out. I am saddened, but I understand that God is working in this whole situation to heal and grow those who need it. I pray that all involved will see His hand in all this, even when it is still sharp and stingy. Interestingly enough, it is hard to see that these sort of things happen because of what a friend calls pastoritis. It has been a couple of years since I’ve seen the construct of the modern society within the church, is doomed to a cyclical pattern of growth, loss, blame, transition, and hopefully growth again. Some never recover from the transition point here because they look for some man to have all the answers for their problem in the first place, when it should be each other we fall upon, and mostly God who bears the brunt of our sorrows. It is also interesting that I keep reading in 1 Corinthians about how the church there regarded the leaders as one of the most important things to follow, or be “of”. Put a man on a pedestal, seek the answers from him and he will always fail you. I love this man and I am sorry that he now finds himself in this situation of our making, of this Western church society we have built. Pray for that church that they would not seek the answers they need in a man, but find it already there, within themselves, that it is God who dwells in them.

We just got back from an eleven day “vacation.” I say vacation, with the quotes, because I don’t see the vacations we take as equal to what I normally see spoken of or pictured on that one site. Not that I compare. It’s just that I’ve always had in my mind the idea of a vacation as taking off in a jet plane, not seeing anyone you know, or thinking about work, and staying for several long, careless days at the beach, or camping in a National Park, or staying on a cruise ship, or visiting another country, or a high interest amusement park or site of historical significance. It seems that people posting on that one site have much more opportunity or availability or just plain cash to make those things happen. Also, I don’t want you to think I am unsatisfied with how our time off usually goes. It is visiting friends or family, hanging out or hanging in, going to places we are eager to go because of cheap clothes or good eats or cooling off, but always a place where we know someone.

Getting back to my point: our vacation consisted of visiting three kinds of family; family we chose, family of my wife’s, and family of mine; in that order. We went to Kansas City to be with some friends of almost 20 years, to eat and shop at the thrift stores and used book sellers. We then proceeded to Yankton, South Dakota, where my wife’s uncle is the interim pastor at a church that voted out their pastor, who then quickly went down the street, opened and new church and dragged a third of the congregation with them. (The pastor I refer to above has already sought to sell his home here, which I believe is a good choice, a hard choice, but the right choice.) There are a lot of broken people because of this and (for the sake of making it easier, I’ll call him “my uncle”) my uncle believes God has developed him for such a time as this; for over 45 years! I intended to rest and take it easy there but for some reason I was troubled and restless there. More of the family joined us from Denver, whom we haven’t seen for three years, and the husband is an active sort who likes to do lots of things, and I joined him in his endeavors, but that isn’t what made me troubled. I started to feel the pull of work, and the tension associated from being away, the dread of going back. This part of this last 4.5 years of transition has been the transitioniest. I can truly say that the defining aspect of this position in regards to point-of-contacts and managers, has been change, and never really for the better. The final stop of our tour was Des Moines, IA where my brother, his wife and family reside. My mom flew in from Salt Lake to see our kids in addition to his: it was a win-win for her. I really had a good time with my brother and his family and my Mom, but thoughts of transition began to invade my thoughts and made me more irritable than usual. I drank a little too much, which was probably a horrible choice on my part because of some transitions happening with my brother. I didn’t get drunk, but I had some of the hard stuff, and relaxed… perhaps, too much. I enjoy the tasty beverage when “vacationing” but this wasn’t the time or place. Some would definitely tell me otherwise, but I know, between me and God, that I was wrong.

On the way home, an 8 hour drive, I began to think and pray about my situation here in West Plains. I no longer want to be discontented with my work. I want to minister where God wants me. I have a calling to be creative and I want to get more organized when it comes to assigning myself a task to create, as well as to sell myself when the time comes. I thought of many different things I could do to fix my failures, uplift the listlessness of work, and create on the way. Many things that came to mind were practical, but impossible unless I invite Him to change me to make it a habit within me. I cannot go through this transition alone. I see my friend doing many things, but I don’t hear about God in a specific area he introduced me to (I will write about that another time). I see my uncle and diving into was God has involved him for the last 45 years. I see my brother desperately needing Christ, apart from the hour or so he may or may not encounter Him on Sundays. I see my former pastor being forced into figuring out God’s will for his life after it seemed that this town could be a place for life. I see a friend thankful to be released from a difficult position, that he was so content to be in, and hope and pray that all works well for Him, especially in the character building God may have for him now. I know I can’t do this alone, and I am so afraid, because I have jumped before in the past, in the wrong direction, but I have learned a lot. Does God have something for me 45 years in the making? Or am I to be content with the character building of the last 5? Transitions are happening all around me, all around us, every day, in every corner of the world, and He has His hand in every part of it. Am I to let go of the idea that I am His comic/cosmic relief, or see a God who truly sees me as I am and what I need? I am glad to have our Tuesday night fellowship group and look forward to sharing this time with them. I look forward to God possessing me and my life transitioning to a life of constant prayer, and hope and trust in Him. I will ever praise Him, ever praise Him.

In the course of the next few months, I will be transitioning away from that one site. I will be posting all my favorite posts and stuff from the “Stranger in Rebellion” Facebook site, then deleting my account. I have also found some old journals that I am going to transfer here. If you are a regular reader and appreciate my character on that one site, please let me know if there are some reasons I should consider not getting away from it, I would like to know and am not fully convinced, but I am transitioning in that way. This is a much better format for me in where I am going, so I hope you might follow me here if you don’t want to be forever away. Thank you, o constant reader, and fellow transitionist, hope to see you soon.


I’m a Lover, Not a Fighter

Strange Confessions: I have never been in a fight, be it wrestling, pushing or fisticuffs with another human of the male persuasion that was not my brother or a best friend and I messing around. That is not to say I haven’t had the opportunity to take someone to the mattresses, I just chose some reason to get out of a mess myself or another has tried to get me into. Why fight, when you can love? Well, my experience in that area was sadly lacking as well. I mean, the Foreigner song, “I Want To Know What Love Is” made me weep in my little fourteen year face as I lay awake at night despairing of my lack of deeply emotional connections with the opposite sex. Teenagery really leaves a mark on you, in ways of thinking that everything else seemed so important. I look at the area of my life as a way to connect with these young rowdys nowadays: Connecting with the remembrances of the past helps us to bond with the future.

Anyways… back to the wars that could have been: The first time someone gave me the go ahead and try it nod, was when my best friend and I were wandering the tough streets of suburban Murray, Utah. Some young and most likely orphan toughs got in our path, challenging us with looks and upturned chin thrusts. I was giddy inside with nervous tension. We had run into these feral mongrels previously, but never equally teamed. Their threats were met swiftly and surely with a head-lock from my taller and more sure of himself best buddy, Greg. They ran off, pants sagging, ears severely boxed, crying for their mommies, who they had forgotten they lost in their moment of humiliation. Greg was the coolest. We were bestest for what seemed a time that would never end. I’m currently friends with Greg on that one site, but he never does anything on it. He has gone on to be one awesome adult: featured in Forbes and Business Weekly, making a mountain of moolah being the Vice President or Chief Financial Officer of one up-and-coming company or another, working his way up the ladder of incredible responsibility that I so sorely missed because I acted slowly. I decided to hide behind this future financial guru when the ruffians attacked, which was probably my loss. Oh well, no regrets. I have my wife, my daughters, and a forever future no one can take away.

Second time I was challenged was when I was a Freshman at Judge Memorial Catholic High School. Ah yes, I see your confusion. There would never be a challenge that would result in a fight at a Catholic High School. But, I am here to set you straight. Conflict and yes, sometimes fights would happen in Catholic schools almost as much as in those, gasp, public schools. Nuns and priests were scary, but they were not omnipresent. They couldn’t slap your hands with rulers and/or pointers when you were getting out of line all the time, and I was challenged with nary a religious authority figure in sight on this ominous day. It was a dude named Tom. Tom was someone I went to St. Vincent’s with and he was okay back in those times although he did have a pasty white complexion, light grey eyes, the lightest, thinnest blonde hair you ever did see on a boy, which had the craziest cow-lick in the class. Now, Tom may have been made fun of a bit in St. Vincent’s but I never did commence the teasing, but I may have stood in the background thinking it was a bit funny, grinning my stupid little grin, being happy it wasn’t me. Tom may have been a bit of a rival for my best friends regards, so I stood with those who took the opportunity to harass him. As a young lad, I never defended the tormented for I was a scrawny one, but my participation in said tormentation of Tom brings me a shame that I wish I could go back and fix. As high school began, I had to show myself as one who could fit in, and humor was my option of choice to promote the coolness that I knew was inside me. On the back steps outside of the Freshman hall I saw Tom as an available point of mockery. Easy, yes, but what a little snit I was. Not recalling my words, which really were hesitant because of the unsurety of myself since hiding behind future financial man, I just tried to show myself as someone clever. Tom challenged me: several times, to a battle of hands and face. I laughed and joked it off. Cowardly little weasel I was, and not even giving it up for love. Good thing I failed out of Judge, just to avoid any further humiliation at the hands of myself. But, as you know I give myself plenty of chances for self-humiliation.

Hiding. Laughing it off. Those were the tools of my avoidance. I used them well.

As I entered into the world of my pre-adultness that was retail, new challenges awaited me. Around this time I had several people tell me that they hated me when they first met me, but then they got to know me, and then they finally saw the real me, and liked it. I believe that may be the case now, only that is something you don’t tell people when you are a real adult. You either avoid or you force yourself to pretend you like. They pretend to like you so long that they forget that they should be trying to know you, and relationships get stagnant. In the retail world I may have run into one of my most famous potential enemies. He was from Brazil. He didn’t speak English goodly. He worked in my same department. We didn’t talk, but the time we did he was very aggressive, angry even. I didn’t understand him, but could read human nature well enough to see I didn’t agree with his vision of what I was supposed to be. Eventually I got out of him that he didn’t like me and wanted to beat me up. I couldn’t understand why and tried to get it out of him. He wouldn’t work it out. He told me there was no chance for us to resolve whatever it was that made me rub him wrong. I said I wasn’t going to fight him. He gave me an angry look and stalked off. I was genuinely frightened. What was wrong with me? How did I spark such anger in our foreign friend? Most of all, how was I going to get out of someone messing up my dapper aspect? I don’t know how I got out of this, but this fine Brazilian gentleman disappeared like mist. Was it all a dream? My face was safe once again.

There was this show my wife watched that I hated: Judging Amy. I would be sitting with her while she viewed the stories. I caught on that the relationships the people in this program were so utterly complicated it hurt to listen. I complained to her about that it wasn’t real. People wouldn’t hold on to something that was almost always so impossible to work through. I understand that these complications were a week to week sort of deal, and it may have kept the viewers hooked. It was tiring slogging through these weekly gorgefests of saturated difficulties among humans. I think I may have wanted to watch an hour of dogs barking at each other than watch this regularly. Thankfully my wife and my relationship is easy… well, not easy, just not full of drama, like the show. One show I do remember, was this one dude’s wife was going to pottery classes, where sexy French-man was the instructor, and he was making the moves on wife. Arguments ensued between husband and wife regarding his banality and lack of passion when it came to fighting for their relationship. Wife soon agreed to sexy French-man’s offer of private pottery perusing to perfection. Husband discovers said encounters and storms Frenchy’s apartment door, pounding furiously, determinedly and surely. Husband’s clenched fist greets sexy French face as door runs agape. Wife’s eyes glitter amorously at husband’s new found ferocity for feeling the force of his love for wife. Ah! Relationship difficulty cured by angry husband’s closed fist. Husband and wife: a thing worth fighting for.

For a while I wondered if my wife wondered about my lack of forcefulness when it came to fist meeting face. But, I hope she knows that I would give it my all in defending what we have; even if it came to me wrestling aggressor to the ground and sitting on threat until “Uncle” was cried.


Strange Confessions: More On My Friend, The Satanist, The Facebook Strumpet

Strange Confessions: I couldn’t stand looking at my old friend’s stupid facebook posts anymore, and this last one had to be answered to.

So here was his post:

“I have a guardian demon.
Last night, I was SPEEDING on the freeway, TEXTING while driving, and changing lanes (often), WITHOUT SIGNALING- all this, and the guy that did the usual Utah-speed-up-no-you-can’t-pass-me-even-on-the-freeway thing got pulled over, by the UHP that I didn’t even know was there…
So I sped home, texting, and changed lanes again, for the hell of it- and I removed my seat belt. If only I had some trash to discard out of the window!
>:- )>”

So, I had to call him on this one, right? I mean what kind of idiot posts this stuff anyway. Okay, okay, calm down. He was my best friend and all from High School, and I love him and stuff, and I realize that he says things just so his friends can like his stuff and he can get cool comments that agree with him. If you remember me telling you on a previous “Strange Confession” about how I use to egg him on, to get him to argue with me; well this was just too much. So as I examine our friendship we had, I realize he was a Satanist all along. Their major ideology is that they are their own god, and if anyone gets in their way, they are to destroy them. So facebook is the perfect launching point for his brand of self worship. Not that Christians don’t fall prey to this as well, but that is another story. So, I let it burble for a bit and wait to see what some of his other friends will say. RT, for me, is an examination of cultural heritage within the realm of self-centeredness merged with technology; he is very interesting to me to examine. But I get angry at him, I think because of how close I came to be like him.

Then, his friends started to reply. Most just thought he was so funny and rebellious for his actions, some even taking on a tone of mild shock, yet still praising him for his “evil” ways. There was one though that I agreed with and I actually “liked”. He said, “You drive like an ****ole.”

Then I had to get my two-cents in. I said:

“I have this book I’m writing, it’s vignettes on this modern life, and I would like permission to use this status if you could. This chapter I’m currently writing is called “I’m a spoiled brat teenager trapped in an old man’s body. Help me! I may kill myself and others!” Could I use this status?”

Of course I cracked myself up. I thought is was a pretty good reply; equal parts common sense, smart alecness, and condemnation, and smart too. Well, the one friend of RTs “liked” this reply and so I believed his reply was serious too. (Sometimes you never know.)

Eventually RT came up with this response:

“That’s a coincidence! I’m writing a book too, called “Confessions of A Guy Who got Married and Found God”, I’ve already used your FB statuses without permission, but you can come over and raid the fridge, just like in the old days! Deal?”

That was it? Really RT? That is the best you could come up with? I believe he was trying to be insulting and reveal me to his friends my position as a “religious” type, who I assume are of the Satanic persuasion as well as him. I somehow thinks he thinks I get upset when he brings up the eating of food at his house while growing up. I ate at his house, because there was no food at our house and his mom made awesome meatballs and spare-ribs, so of course I was going to eat it. Anyway, I think his idea is that I zinged him and he was trying to get me back.

I know I needed to respond, (maybe not), and I did:

“That sounds more tame than your usual stuff. Just don’t write it while you drive.”

What I didn’t tack on the end was, “Idiot” which I really wanted to. He writes a kind of H.P. Lovecraft fan-fiction and I just wanted to let him know how stupid his actions were. I don’t want to turn this into some trite “I said, he said” sort of thing, but there you go.

I see RT as all that I was headed to. Self-centered so much to the point that everyone else is wrong no matter how wrong you are. Again, this was something he always upheld when we were young: he was never wrong. A lifetime Satanist. That my friends is what we all are, that is if we don’t find God, or more to correctly point out the error in RT’s statement, that God finds us. I find his whole life so shallow and sad. I’m sure he enjoys it… perhaps… maybe. When we come to people we have to come to them as if they were all hostile to God, because we were once. I truly pray for RT. He is, as I would say in my own mind, hopeless for God to find him. But, nothing is impossible with God. He may very well be in God’s sights as we speak.


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Strange Confessions: 3 Cigarettes, The Conclusion

Strange Confessions: 3 cigarettes, conclusion.

While hanging out with my friend in the summer of ’85, I smoked a few cigarettes. It was not much. As I said before, I probably don’t need more than two hands to count them. I believe part of the reason I did this was to fit in. If you’ve known me for some time, and have had conversations with me about my past, you’ll know I am the anti-popular-reasoner, but there have been some exceptions, which will be subjects of other Strange Confessions.

So it was me, my friend, and this other guy who was a friend of my friend. Hmm, this would be easier if I could address them with names. We’ll call my friend Mack, and his friend Punk. So we are out there, behind The Store, you know The Store right? It was this junky little grocery store down 6200 S. off of Highland Drive, but now it is a fine foods market & deli. You know the kind: independent little places that were lucky enough to be in a location that had great growth and can completely change its identity to cater to those with a higher taste for more expensive goods. Not to mention that Rich’s Bagels was right across the street. What? You mean to tell me you never had an asiago cheese bagel from Rich’s? Go get one,… like now! Oh, and don’t forget the savory cream cheese, you know, with sun-dried tomato, scallion, herb or jalapeño.

Anyway, Mack and Punk and I were standing back behind The Store, (there was no fence there then. There is now, I checked on Google maps) smoking our cigarettes, talking about Pink Floyd or AC/DC or some punk band that Mack was starting to get into. I wasn’t really inhaling, just kind of taking it into my mouth and blowing it out. I was accused a time or two that I wasn’t doing it right, by seasoned observers of course, possibly by Punk on this day or some other time by someone else. That isn’t the point of this story anyhow. What was, was the way I “ashed” my cigarette. So you’re smoking away and knocking off the length of ash that grows at the end of your cigarette. I found this part particularly cool, holding the filter between your index and middle finger, and flicking the mouth part with your thumb so the ash gets knocked to the ground. Incidentally, I’ve always despised the fact that being a smoker is an automatic license to litter wherever and whenever you darn well please! Watching people throw their cigarettes out their car window, or seeing all the cigarette butts piled near building entrances or even mountain trails makes me want to crash into them or kick someone in the head… I know, just relax, nothing to get THAT excited about. So, I get near the end of my cigarette and I’m ashing away, when suddenly my whole “cherry” escapes from its paper lining and falls, *gulp* unconsumed to the ground. The “cherry” is the red-hot burning part of the cigarette and you don’t ash it when you get near the end, because it will do just that: fall out. Punk starts laughing at me, calling me a noob. Wait, we didn’t call each other noobs back then, but if we did I’m sure Punk would have called me just that. There I am standing there, no more cherry in my cig, no more ash to ash, just some doofus with a stained filter betwixt his fingers, and a bigger doofus laughing at him.

I never saw myself becoming a regular smoker up to this point, just doing it with friends or whatever. I suppose no one really sees himself becoming a smoker, then one day, bam, you’re a smoker. But, that day I saw smoking as one of the most stupid habits ever! I thank God for Punk and his idiotic guffawing at my ineptitude at killing myself ever so slowly, for he made me realize how dumb it was to follow the crowd down the path of least resistance; an attitude that has stuck with me, for the most part, all my life.


Strange Confessions: 3 Cigarettes, Part 2

Strange Confessions: My friend and I loved to fool a crowd… with cigarettes.

My parents both smoked when I was younger and in school we use to take these health/habit questionnaires, and it showed that 3 of the 4 of us, my brother and sisters, would smoke when we were older. I always hated cigarettes, I thought they were foul and disgusting and I always got a headache being around them. I believe my oldest sister thought the same. I’m not sure of my younger sister, although I believe she never took it up. Yet my brother did for a while. and, I’m proud of him: he stopped sometime around getting married.

Although my disgust for them was huge the opportunity for comedy overrode the disgust for a time. Which leads me to the second story. One of my friends in High School smoked and I would get all up in his face occasionally about it. We had decided it would be funny if we pretended not to know each other in a public place, such as a crowded bus stop… well anyway here is the story:

I think this guy probably died after this toke.

I think this guy probably died after this toke.

My friend was sitting at a crowded bus stop downtown, kicking back, enjoying his cigarette. I came up sat down beside him and started going into my rant about how horrible it was to smoke. “It makes your breath stink, yellows your teeth and fingers, the smoke not only hinders your immune system to fight common colds, but it gets everywhere. It’s in your clothes, in your hair, in the air. It offends people. It makes others sick, having to breathe in your stupid habit. It costs money that you could be using for good. Your taking minutes, days, years off your life every time you light one of those up. You start it with a fire, breathe this burning coal down into your lungs, where you need oxygen and you’re actually depleting your ability to get oxygen into your body.” I said this loudly enough for everyone else to hear, making large gestures with my arms to get peoples attention. My friend would just sit there listening, staring and smoking his stick. When I was apparently done he would take a big drag, look over at me, offer me the cigarette and ask, “So do you want a drag?” I paused for effect and said, “Sure.” Then I take it and smoke it. I wasn’t able to see anybody’s reaction to our little play, but I just imagined the shock and horror in their faces. We just had to keep ours straight.


Strange Confessions: My Friend: The Satanist… The Facebook Strumpet

Strange Confessions: My best friend from High School is a Facebook Strumpet.

I use the word strumpet because it sounds a little more delicate than the word I really want to use, and, in keeping with the General audience material I’d like to maintain with this blog, we’re going with the cutesy. Please don’t look up the word if you don’t know it, perhaps my description will lead you to the idea I have of what a “Facebook Strumpet” actually might be. And who knows? Perhaps “strumpet” is quite a bit more derogatory, more racy, than the other term I had in mind. I have also decided not to post these thoughts congruently on my Facebook blog of the same name, which I often do, for I will be going into various other Facebook behaviors that drive me completely “antelope boffin” and thus may offend many of the “friends” I have on Facebook. I use the phrase “antelope boffin” because I could have used many other terms for the word “insane”, and in keeping with the creativity of this blog, and the General audience material I’d like to maintain, I did not use the term I wanted to, describing a flying rodent mammal and stuff that may come from it; granted the stuff the term describes has many good uses, the phrase itself could be deemed offensive to some. Anyway, “antelope boffin” is so cute and creative, I had to use it. You may also notice that I am using the actual name of the site, “Facebook”, as my usual moniker for it is: “that one site”. The reason I use the phrase “that one site” is because I hate saying “Facebook” in normal conversations or essays or any other way we use it, because it has invaded our culture so much so we can’t relate to each other without using it or saying you saw something on it or referring a friend to look at something on it, or whatever the gronk you want to say on it. I use the word “gronk” in the last sentence because I didn’t want to say the word I really wanted to there because I want to… Oh, never mind. You get the point. This is an entry dealing specifically with Facebook, so I’m going to say it. There. Facebook. I said it. In your face! Oops. Sorry, I hope I didn’t offend you by saying, “In your face!” I suppose I could go back and delete it, but it’s too far back now. I better just let it hang there and hope you didn’t notice the exclamation point I used, which could be considered offensive by some.

Facebook drives me antelope boffin in many ways. There are the people who are always wishing their kids “Happy Birthday” as a status. Saying things like, “Twelve years ago today I said, ‘hello’ to my little Roy. It was such a joy to see you come into the world, and boff all over us from the get-go. We’ll never forget.” Or a spouse saying on their status, “You said ‘I do’ when I came down the aisle twenty-four years ago, but the most memorable part, is that you are still here, even through all the boffing.” Or someone saying this, “Seven years ago today my dad went to a better place, even though I miss him I still get along without him.” Now, I am really not saying any of this is wrong per se… but what did we do before this? Before this Facebook status fulfillment of wishes and exposés of memorable moments? Has it all come down to some sappy Apple commercial, where we’re all typing love notes and good wishes and sorrowful sentiments while were sitting right next to the person? Is that what we did before? Did we turn to the table next to us at the restaurant and say to someone we might know, “I just want to wish my husband a happy anniversary,” as they look at us with confusion, then awkwardly say, “Ummm…. Congratulations.?” As our actual husbands, sitting next to us, asks the waiter to send a telegram to two-hundred and thirty of our best acquaintances about how awesome the steak and shrimp looks on our third anniversary. “Oh, and do you have a camera that will make this food look all old and weird? That’d be so boss!” says he. These are just some of the things I ponder as I look at Facebook. How did we get people to wish us a happy birthday. Well, the only people to wish us or our kids a happy birthday before Facebook, were those that actually cared. Holy crumpets! What a concept! People who really, actually cared just remembered or asked when your birthday was, then sent a card or brought over beers and celebrated just with you? Well nowadays, saying Happy Birthday on Facebook just about covers it. Hey, hey! I am not the kind who remembers or cares, I may be just as bad as a non-rememberer was back in the eighties. My nieces and nephews get no cards from me. Do I feel bad? Gronk! Yes I do! But I would feel worse if I didn’t get them anything and then thought that I could cover it because their mother just wished them Happy Birthday on Facebook, so I can get a comment in saying, “Oh, tell them Happy Birthday from Uncle Jerkface!”

Aaaanyyyywaaay… had to just be said. Now back to my best friend…

I am quite ashamed of my former best friends behavior now, because the way he is, is not the worldview we had as younger people. We were independent thinkers, who thought alike,… sometimes. What we did think alike about was that we could have cared less about what people thought about who we were or what we were doing. One of the things that I did that impressed (I believe I called him RT in former Strange Confessions) RT into thinking that we could become friends, was that when riding the bus home from school I would sing along to a certain song very loudly with headphones on, especially the screaming parts.

I would see the popular girls glare at me and it was hilarious. Other kids would look on in surprise that I was so brash, so stupid… Maybe they just admired my gall. I just thought it was funny. I tend to think obnoxious things are funny, if for short, brazen periods. I’d look around to see the reactions of other students and RT would be grinning at me knowingly, nodding his head in the way he probably still does. We rode together all the time after that and became good friends. Bonding in our disgust of the way most everyone else was: snotty, prudish, cocky. We made friends with some others who were shy or totally outside the normal realm of High School cliché. We had our own little island of misfit toys.

So this is the behavior he engages in on Facebook now: He changes his profile picture multiple times a week seemingly to gain likes and comments on a certain look he is going for. When we were growing up, RT showed signs of premature balding, while I, had the thickest mass of the most beautiful black locks you could imagine. I suppose a more insecure person could get jealous of my gorgeous hair, but not RT, he was as secure as they come. Well now he shaves his head completely, and when I last saw him or talked to him, he said that people say he looks like Anton LaVey, a man RT admires. For you see, RT has become a Satanist. When I found out he was one I looked up what that meant. In most cases it doesn’t mean they wear robes, walk through dark forests, and kill things in honor of satan… at least in RT’s case it doesn’t. But he comes from the understanding that there is no God and no satan, it’s just you. You are the focus of your life, if anyone gets in your way, destroy them. I don’t think, in most cases, that means kill, but perhaps it just means ruin them, get them out of your life, make them not matter in anything you do or are. I’ve seen him comment to others, “Hail self!” He talks about being on the throne and worshipping self. That is what he has done. He has made a shrine to himself on Facebook, and at the same time sells himself to it and to others. People “like” the pictures he posts of himself. They call him a “bada**”. They say he looks so awesome. They can’t get over how “baaaad” he looks. RT sucks it all in and spouts it back out. He says, “Yeah, I’m a bada**… I’ll kick your a**… I’m a Satanist…” all this stuff, just off his pictures. I mean seriously? Is this my friend I had all those years ago? A photo comment fisher? A like stalker? Only has people around that agrees with him? Of course he can’t stand it if you disagree with him. When we were younger it was a joke to me, to get him mad at me and I thought it was so funny to see his jaw working, tensing up, clenching, because I said something he disagrees with. Now he’s gotten rid of all those who disagree. I believe I am only friends with him on Facebook because of our past. I really don’t know why I keep him as a friend. It’s so disagreeable to see his posts. I can’t believe he has become… a Facebook Strumpet.

Anton LaVey: If he was still around, he'd be a Facebook Strumpet too.

Anton LaVey: If he was still around, he’d be a Facebook Strumpet too.

“What a world, what a world!” I cry out as I am dashed with a dose of technical reality, and it burns, and it burns as I shrink, green steam shooting out of my eyeballs.

This is in no way to say that I don’t desire people to notice me on Facebook, for it is nice to be noticed, is it not? I would say that I am still friends with RT because I love him. And God loves him. And I may be the only Christian that he knows, even though we don’t interact much anymore. But he just wants what we all want: a little love, a little attention, a little credit.


Strange Confessions: A Realization Occurs

Strange Confessions: My best friend from High School and I signed up at the Salt Lake Community College so we could take classes together, and when we took the English placement essay test, I was placed in the remedial, and he, the advanced.

Writing, or more specifically making up stories was one of the things I always enjoyed doing. I would tell my little sister bedtime stories that was stream of consciousness style, much like my singing and poetry is now, er… then, like… forever. There were lots of times that I thought I could have been a writer. But, like so many things I dreamed of in my life I never thought I could be good enough. What? Where did that come from? How did I always believe that? My parents weren’t necessarily discouraging, but I never really remember them encouraging me to do whatever I wanted to do. I see movies where the child is discouraged because he failed at something and the parent gives a little speech and tells them they can do anything they set their mind to. I never got that speech, and I failed… a lot. I don’t want to blame my parents for my lack of direction in my life, but there is something to it, perhaps. The time I remember wanting to be a veterinarian was the only time I remember getting some type of encouragement. We’d go to the zoo and some monkey would respond to my face and my mom would oooh and ahhh, and tell me how good I was with animals. I thought, “Yeah, I am good with animals.” I could be a veterinarian. But, somewhere along the way, I lost interest. As always. There is a saying, “Jack of all trades, master of none.” That’s me, although more like, “Jack of much useless knowledge, master of none.”

Whoa, whoa, whoa! We’re getting way off subject here. This is a Strange Confession about me and my best high school buddie, let’s call him RT. Well, I was the reader of the both of us, and he was the music guy. I was the hiker, he was the dragged along. I was the eater, he sometimes ate food. Although it may seem like I’m pointing out the differences here, which I guess I am, we were very similar. We were both very sarcastic. We both enjoyed heavy metal. We both enjoyed sci-fi and horror films. I’m trying to think of more similarities, but I can’t really. In fact some of our similarities eventually became the things which may have started to divide us.

You can’t expect best friends to be exactly alike in all ways. But there is a point here. I wanted to create, in the form of stories, and he wanted to do music. He is still very much into music and he actually has a self published book out, in the style of H.P. Lovecraft. I am proud of being a friend of someone who has remained true to his beliefs, enjoyments, and talents. Although I completely disagree with his beliefs and enjoyments now. He is the friend that I have talked about in previous Strange Confessions that is openly hostile to anyone that has a religious belief, especially Christian. When I first became Christian, I asked him what he thought of it and he told me that he always thought I’d take a path like that. It makes me think now what he meant by that. We were both raised Catholic and we both were in various ways rebellious against the whole system. We would eat, much to the chagrin of his mother, pepperoni on Fridays during lent (gasp). If you didn’t know, you can’t eat meat on the Fridays leading up to lent. I think he might have seen it when we were forced to take religious classes together, for those Catholic children who weren’t going to a Catholic school. I think I remember his saying something about that.

Either way, we had grown very distant after I had met my future wife. The last, largest amount of time we spent together was a couple of years before I got married. We took a trip to Houston, Texas, where his brother lived. We drove up to Waco too, where my brother lived then. We also spent a few nights in a beach house on Galveston Island. During the drive to Waco, I drove him completely insane by playing the only They Might Be Giants tape I had. He was very patient with me, and he was one of the few people who I don’t enjoy teasing. So it wasn’t on purpose that I did this, it’s just that I couldn’t stand what he listened to. It made me depressed. He listened/listens to death metal and the like. To me it’s just noise and screaming, and just depressing. We just about killed each other in the beach house. Our only salvation was walking on the beach at night. The ocean was warm down there and I just enjoy walking beaches, as far as I can. We went to places he wanted to go; metal record shops and such. We went where I wanted; places where I could eat something. But this vacation was the bells ringing the eventual doom of our relationship. We were really growing apart. It was a dreary realization. I knew that friends grew apart when one finds the love of his life and the other takes the single path, not, perhaps, by choices of his own. But it was inevitable. I still like RT and wish that we could sit together and talk about old times………. Perhaps that is my problem. *Realization occurs* None of my best friends really want to dwell in the past. I find the discovery of who I became through the experiences I had to be the best remembrances of me. … Is that why I like writing this? Is that why it is so rare to have more than three friends like these writings? and rarely comment? Do I need to change? I feel an inexpressible hollowness. Do they just humor me?

Who cares?! I enjoy writing and remembering. Perhaps that is a quality desirable in me. I enjoy it. …. No, no, no. Here it is. It wasn’t the experiences, it was the relationships. I am so scared of people rejecting me that I touch and feel them out, or I just bear all to make possible the rejection they could have for me quicker. “If you want a relationship with me,” I say, “then by golly I’m going to show you who I am. So that if you reject me it can be quick.” I don’t bear this facebook thing easily, but I’m trying. If you aren’t ready for who I am just leave. I’d rather you go now then lead me on and say it’s too much later, or be fake and just accept and go right on by me day in and day out.

That’s me. I’m open. So what? Like it or lump it. What does that mean anyway? (Here’s the part where I turn the serious stuff back into comedy so I can blame you when you leave.) I mean: “lump it”? That’s so confoundingly disturbing I have to see a cat in pajamas right now.

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There that’s better.
Bye, bye for now!

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