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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.

~Stranger

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Strange Confessions: A Conclusion to a Realization Trilogy

Strange Confessions: I would probably never go to my High School reunion. But, I would definitely go to an elementary reunion, although I’d probably be the only one there.

The graduating class of 1983 from St. Vincent’s elementary school was the best group of friends one could ever have at that age. Perhaps it was my position or perception, but it seemed as though we were all friends. More than any other class that I could observe. There were no bullies, no outcasts, no snots. It was like being in one big family!

As I know and observe the world now, I know the last two sentences can’t be true. So, I believe that because I had cool older siblings and that I was fun, adventurous, and accepting that I had a lot more perspective on people than others might have. I could play baseball, football, foursquare, and I was an ace dodger at dodge-ball, so, I could relate to those who could play better than me; which was a majority. I could play D&D, hang out in a tree just to talk, climb through the prickery bushes, chalk up the black top, and hang out on the hills or bleachers, (whichever the case may be). I was involved in scandal, (see previous Strange Confessions), cheating (look forward to future Strange Confessions), skipping class, breaking machinery, going behind forbidden doors, and staying up late looking for trouble. I could eat anywhere I wanted during lunch, with the smart guys, jocks, girls, or outside with the semi-rejects. I was invited to all the parties, whether they be the cool kids or not, which of course I might have seen that everyone was invited, or just didn’t see who was really missing. Sure there was the occasional kid who didn’t particularly show a kind face to me, but I could hang with the kids they were with, so I was never extremely bothered by them. Most of the bullies who affected me were in other grades or older kids in my neighborhood. I got along with all.

In short, I was best friends with all these people. I miss them and would love to see them all again and talk and find out what they are doing and where they ended up and how they saw the past and how it affected them. Alas, the times I have gotten together with old friends have been less than pleasant or … fun.

In many ways I have not grown up. It’s a fact I hold with a rather nostalgic affinity. I really don’t ever want to let it go. I suppose that to really grow up means you changed beyond who you were and now seek more … oh I don’t know, adult(?). I want to examine this further, because there is some disconnect with friends I had and relation now. As I typed that last sentence I understand. It’s not that I still hold on to not being a grown up, it’s that people… really… change. Hmmmm… Well anyway, the not growing up part is being able to see a friend in anyone whether they may seek the same pursuits or not, have the same ideas or not, or are in the same “class” or not. We look at children and you can just walk up and be friends with another in mere moments. Mayhaps this is the key to understanding this. Even though I was not happy with my last Strange Confession, it has led me to this understanding. I should group these last three into the “Discovery” Strange Confession. Oh how I enjoy the “ah-hah” moments.

Back to the story. As I’ve shared before I had a facebook breakdown several months ago, where I got rid of a lot of people in order to renew my understanding. In doing this I came back with a new attitude and had the idea that I would accept anybody’s request, as long as there was mutual, and seek out old friends. I have, rather trepidatiously, asked friends from elementary and high school to be “friends” on that one site. I haven’t really had any kind of contact with them since we contacted again. To me that is very strange, isn’t it? I mean, you knew me back then and were connected again, okay, let’s leave it at that. In an effort to show my unification and a bit of humor (perhaps), I posted a video link of Neil Diamond’s “Hello” and said to all my new/old friends here’s to you. Only two people “liked” this and those were people I have been friends with since I’ve been on that one site. It’s fine. I really don’t care. Then there was this one girl who showed up in my suggested friends lists, who was connected to all the St. Vincent and Judge people, and she recently sent a request. I barely knew her, but I did remember her. She went to Judge, and she was friends with this girl who liked me. I know: weird, huh? It surprised me a lot too, and I really didn’t know what to do. She seemed to detect my lack of experience with a girl more than just a friend. It was short-lived after a dance. Anyway, I accepted this girl’s request and posted that I was surprised she remembered me and I was glad to connect. That is odd, is it not? All these people who I really knew, I can’t say a thing. Then one I didn’t really know, I post on her wall. She gracefully responded, “Of course I remember you.” It was nice to have a little back a forth. She told me about old friends and I was thankful to know. She said she would invite me to some Judge page. I told her that would be awkward, since I didn’t graduate from there. I hope that some day I can find the courage to really communicate with these old friends but I don’t see that day. We’ve changed. *gasp*

I’ve said before that this writing is something I am going to continue. I hope to try my hand soon at fiction again. But I am just comfortable doing this for now. I have many people who tell me they are reading but never say anything. That’s fine I suppose, but it would be nice to hear from more than just the standard four or five. Not that there is anything standard about them. Anytime I know someone has slogged through what I wrote, to reveal myself more, it is such a special connection for me. Thank you all. I hope your world has grown through reading. I recently asked people on that one site to send me their blogs, so that I could follow and read their musings. There was one response, and that was for other people’s blog. I know I’m not the only one who shares, it’s just difficult to find them, especially ones I really know. My blog has recently surpassed ten followers, and I’ve had one comment from someone I haven’t met face to face. I’d say that’s pretty cool.

Here’s to more writing, cheers!

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~Stranger

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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