Monday, July 29, 2013

The Dating Anecdotes Vol. 2

The actress Judy Tenuta once posed the morbid question: “Have you ever dated someone because you were too lazy to commit suicide?” Well, hopefully the idea of dating someone is not that gut-wrenchingly terrible, but oft times the whole charade of dating can be depressing and just plain nauseating. In the meantime, or until we find our sparkling counterpoint in life, hopefully we can find some hilarity in our string of lesser paramours.

Here are a few reasons we should consider celibacy or perhaps polygamy:

1. When I was 16 years old, new to dating and enthralled with driving a motor vehicle I found myself in the beginning of a youthful courtship. We went out a few times, and had just experienced our first semi-public kiss together. One special night I was taking her home for the night when tragedy struck. I was driving down a dirt road to her isolated house in the country, so far all was well. We stopped a few feet in front of her porch where conversation ensued and shortly thereafter a kiss that was French in its nature. My pubescent enthusiasm overshadowed my ability to remember one key thing: Put your car in park if you are going to start kissing. Because you will inevitably let your foot off the brake, and not notice the slow rolling of the car. And then you will surely run into the porch with your beautiful 93’ Camry. Well, in accordance with Murphy’s Law, the crash awakened my date’s grandparents who rushed out in their nightwear to see what the problem was. Grandma was distraught and confused, but grandpa was savvy. He took me aside and said, “I’m sure you were just caught in my granddaughter’s eyes.” He wasn’t too far off. Needless to say, my 15 year old sweetheart was mortified and never really recovered from that incident. But it taught me a priceless lesson on brake management.

2. A few years ago I got a girls number in the most classy way you could imagine, at Wal-Mart. If this was a warning sign, I certainly ignored it. She was cool, artsy and from the East coast. I asked her out and she accepted with no small amount of pep. She suggested we go to this café on improv night. Not exactly my cup of chamomile but I was happy to go. As we arrived and sat down, I noticed that she knew the people we were sitting next to. This is very common in a college town, so I thought nothing of it. Within a few minutes I looked over and she was holding hands with the bloke to her left. I am no expert on dating etiquette, but this seemed like a major faux pas. So I decided at the first convenience I would suggest we leave. But she beat me to it. After the first intermission she notified me that she would not need a ride home. Goody. Now I could save 8 cents on gas. That was the last time I picked up a girl in the school supplies section.

3. A little over a year ago I got my waitresses’ number at a Chinese restaurant. She was simple and cute, I liked it. A few days later she came over to my apartment to hang out. We just watched a movie and talked for a while. It got to be pretty late, when without any sort of vacillation of thought she asked if she could light a cigarette. The fact that she was a smoker was well disguised by the perfume and copious amounts of gum she chomped on. But her mask of good hygiene and innocence was immediately removed when she demanded a smoking break. I assured her that I would not permit such an invidious practice in my apartment, so she said, “fine I will just go smoke on the porch.” Classy move. Our relationship blossomed and died all on that smoky night.

Now for a few phenomenal excuses for not going on a date

1. One time I had a date with a girl scheduled for 7:00 p.m. I called her at about 6:45 to see where I should pick her up. She answered the phone and said, “Well I’m at the gym.” I am no stickler for punctuality so I said, “ok, wanna just call me when you get home?” She said, “Well I just got here.” Sometimes personal fitness is really all that matters.
2. “I just don’t feel like going out.” I doubt she would have said that to Brad Pitt.
3. I once asked out a girl, was on my way to pick her up when I receive a text that said, “I decided I don’t want to go out tonight.”

Top things you do not say while kissing someone:

1. I have pneumonia
2. I am engaged (I wish these were different girls)
3. Do you even like me?
4. I am going to go brush my teeth

Thursday, July 11, 2013

South Dakota & Spontaneity Part. 1

My friends and I recently decided it was extremely necessary to leave the state of Utah in search of diversion and vacation. We aren’t fond of the drink and we rarely gamble, so our possible destination points were endless. Being that it was the 4th of July weekend we were filled with an inordinate amount of patriotism and jubilee. This joy and whimsy we were imbued with led us to the decision to travel to Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota. We figured it was only 11 hours away, and you have to see it at some point right? So we made plans to leave around 11:00 p.m. on the 4th after the fireworks and related festivities. The day of, we started telling people of our capricious plan to visit the Black Hills and were met with no small amounts of laughter and sarcastic remarks on the supposedly boring and pointless nature of the journey we were about to undertake. Even many who had visited Mt. Rushmore in all its glory opined that it was cool to see, but not worth the 11 hour drive through Wyoming to look at a mountain for 10 minutes, then leave.

We had 5 best friends together and were not about to let the poor attitude of others deflate our elation. So at around 1:30 a.m. we entered the car and commenced our trip to South Dakota. We got about a mile away and decided we needed to consume food immediately. We headed to Sonic, ate mediocre food and took an Instagram with our delicious drinks to commemorate the genesis of our journey.

The drive through the night and into the morning was long and bereft of any gorgeous vistas or exceptional landmarks, but somehow we managed to have an amazing time. The point of this post is twofold: I wish to document the fun trip I had with my friends, but more importantly I wish to explain how easy it is to enjoy any moment in life. We could have had a very boring trip full of complaints and regret, but we had an epic vacation full of spontaneity and poignant memories. I believe two things. I believe that personnel will always trump geography. And I believe that every experience can be wonderful and enjoyable if we only allow it to be. This post will be replete with obvious clichés; but who does not need the occasional reminder on how to follow the Latin instructions carpe diem?

Our driving immediately commenced with loud music interspersed with colorful dialogue and crafty opportunities for photographs. Our laughter and consumption of caffeine fueled us all the way to Green River, Wyoming, our first stop.

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Thursday, July 4, 2013


Well, ole Johnny boy was a couple days off, but semantics aside, he truly foresaw how America would remember such a prodigious moment in history. To coincide with the awesome fate of a nascent nation, the fourth day of July has had throughout history some fantastic and almost cosmic patriotic parallelisms. Just to name a few: Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, the only signers of the Declaration of Independence to later become U.S. Presidents both left this earth on July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration. Although not a signer of the Declaration of Independence, but another Founding Father who became a President, James Monroe, perished on July 4, 1831, thus becoming the third President in a row who died on this iconic day. Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President, was born on July 4, 1872, and, so far, is the only U.S. President to have been born on Independence Day.

The Roman constitutionalist Cicero said over two-thousand years ago that, “Those of us who don’t walk around with a sense of history look at the world like a child.” Well, unfortunately that is how my paradigm of this majestic day used to be. I was looking at the gaudy festivities of the 4th with an ignorant and uneducated oculus. I now appreciate the silly activities associated with this magnificent day.

My faith very much dictates the way I view the past, present and future. I believe many men have been inspired from on high to make political, military and social decisions that have resulted in the nation and world we have today. I believe that George Washington was inspired in his endeavors, as I believe were dozens of men that opted to demur the ways of the Mother Nation (Great Britain) in hopes of a better future. With all this patriotic perfection floating through our brains, I wish to take the reader through one last literary hoop.

I am not an especially political human being. I stay educated on policies and political maneuvering, but have never believed that one party or one politician is the panacea for all of our nation’s problems. The reason I love the 4th of July is because it is all American. American T-shirts (well probably made in Bangladesh), American treats, American parades, American rednecks, American pride. So why not reflect a moment on how we are often acting very un-American when we incessantly complain about bipartisanism, or make ridiculous memes demonizing our President. A citizen whose research and political education is limited to talk-radio cannot impeach a president. Just a reminder. So why not support our President and get involved in local politics if you are that eager for change? If you love America so much that you will spend an entire night sleeping on a curbside in hopes of having the best view of a parade, stop bashing the men and women that are actually involved in government, whether you agree with them or not. I guess this time of year makes me a little politically introspective as the New Year makes me goal-oriented and Christmas makes me more Christ like. So, let us stop casting stones at politicians. Let us cease to make a menace out of a man we do not know. Let us start improving America by improving ourselves, then by ameliorating those around us, and the ripples will equate to a better country and better world. Zig Ziglar said it so profoundly when he stated that, “Building a better you is the first step to building a better America.” And let us not forget what the womanizing Bostonian President JFK said: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”God bless America.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Avoiding The Vice of Vanity

I was asked by an ecclesiastical leader to give a lesson on vanity, and where our priorities really lie in life. I don’t think I was especially qualified in this subject matter, but as always I found that the teacher is often the greatest beneficiary. I also found that my lesson plan was full of far more gems and platitudinous statements than I had time to share. Also, my audience was under 25 people. So, I decided to expound a little bit here, for we all have bouts with pride and vanity.

Stephen LaMarche defines vanity as the excessive belief in one’s own abilities or attractiveness to others. I personally am a huge advocate of personal confidence. I think it is important to believe in yourself and to seek to be attractive to the opposite sex. The tricky part is avoiding the excess, being extremely confident without engaging in obsession. Essentially the question is, how can we fastidiously maintain the perfect mustache without thinking that our debonair facial hair is the reason we are awesome, and perhaps better than others? Or adversely, how can someone painstakingly care for their skin with expensive oils and lotions without assuming their soft and luscious skin is the reason for the putative greatness? I think in one form or another we all struggle with this. Clearly humility is the anecdote, but this is does not make it an easy solution, just a simple one. C.S. Lewis so wisely posited that, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” There is nothing wrong with caring about our appearance or how others view us. We just want to be cautious, so that we do not fall into the same trap as Narcissus.

Narcisuss is a figure in Greek mythology, and the origin of the word narcissism- the fixation with oneself. Let us recount the tragic story of the beautiful Narcisuss. He was a hunter well known for his aesthetic appeal and pride. It was even said that he disdained those who loved him. The goddess Nemesis saw that Narcisuss was exceptionally proud and lured him to a pool where he saw his own reflection in the water and fell in love with it, not realizing it was nearly an image. Unable to leave the beauty of his own reflection, poor narcissistic Narcisuss perished. Much can be learned from the absurd vainglory of this individual. Obviously none of us are going to be so enthralled with our own image in a mirror that we fall in love with what we see, and refuse to leave the bathroom. Although what a great opportunity for some selfies. But at times we don’t act all that different from our troubled Narcissus.
With the advent of various social media it is very easy to become obsessed with how good we apparently look. If we wake up, put on a pair of skinny jeans and come to the realization that we look amazing, there are a dozen ways to share your prodigious beauty with others. You can post a picture of yourself on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, then maybe post a small video of yourself on Vine or Youtube, then send out some mass Snapchats and possibly send a slew of selfies to unsuspecting texters. And why do we do this? Because we become obsessed with ourselves and with the opinion of others. We become so wrapped up in people validating how attractive or how successful we are.

I personally love photographs and social media. And I don’t think there is anything wrong with feeling like a boss and flaunting it a little bit from time to time. I just think we need to be careful, so that we do not become slaves to ourselves. There are so many things in this world that just will not matter at the end of days. A girl in the Sunday school class I taught made an excellent point as to what really is important. She reminded us that one day we will stand before God at the judgment seat, and others we came across in this life will stand as witnesses against us for better or for worse. She said, do you really want someone saying, “Well I don’t know how important her family was to her, or how kind she was, but she sure always looked pretty.” What we think is so crucial to our existence truly is often very secondary and trivial in the grand scheme of things. I think looking good, staying fit, and being well liked are moderately important. But what really matters to me is my family, my relationships and my faith, things that well carry on with me into the vast eternities. C.S. Lewis said that, “Christianity, if false, if of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.” So let us not waste our days pining over things of moderate importance. Let us obsess with and yearn for things of infinite importance.