Sunday, March 14, 2010

Random thoughts

Sometimes, random funny thoughts pop into my head. Well, actually, all the time. Like today, for instance. I was just watching TV, waiting on a load of laundry. Apparently Sunday afternoon is when other people do their laundry too, because every commercial that came on was for a laundry or fabric product of some kind.

I got to thinking, What's with the background music in the Febreeze commercials? Imagine being the singer who got called in for that. "Now,we've got this goofy little beat cued up, and all you're going to sing is "bada da dadada dada DA..."

I don't even remember what was going on in the commercial, because the music was so distracting. Even worse, it got stuck in my head.

My cable remote has a guide feature, to show a grid of all the channels and what's on. I ran across a listing that said "Jimmy Swagga". I was disappointed to learn that this was not the greatest rapper MC name in history, but a lazy abbreviation for "Jimmy Swaggart", a televangelist.

These are the kinds of strange things that I think about.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

It is time!

You know that baboon in the Disney movie "The Lion King", who says "It
is TIME!"? Well, I have this strange feeling that such a moment is coming for me. I don’t know when or where, but I FEEL it. I feel it in a way I’ve never felt before. Will it
happen at WWU Alum/Fiji Islander weekend this year? I do not know, but I know God sent me to college up there in the first place to meet some of the best friends I’ve ever made and probably ever will make in my lifetime…and together we're gonna figure
some shit out. I've had this weird premonition in dreams lately...that ...something big will happen. Birnam wood to Dunsinane, paper to fire, Wile E. Coyote to rocket, rum to Coke, Moses to Mount Sinai, Mexican to taco, etc. Something is going to come together. Minds, ideas, and plans are going to come together.
Austin, Texas is a great city. I consider myself lucky to live in it. But I’ve had a rough time here. I have family here who have supported me and helped me out in ways I can never repay them for. I’ve met a lot of cool people. But I’ve had a lot of bad experiences too. I can’t for the life of me find a job that allows me to use my unique talents. By unique, I mean weird. For a city that boasts the slogan “Keep Austin Weird”, there sure aren’t many profitable outlets for weirdness. Jobs I do manage to snag are usually temporary, and they pay me just enough to get by, or in a lot of cases NOT enough to get by. They are either pleasant but don’t pay enough, or pay enough but are sheer torture.
I had a conversation with my dad on the phone after my car accident a couple of weeks ago. He asked me “Are you still smiling”? He always tells me that… “keep smiling”. He’s told me that since I was a kid, almost as long as he’s called me by a nickname I’ve never understood and never will, “Binky”. But he had never posed it to me as a QUESTION before. “ARE you STILL smiling?” I thought about that question for a second…and I realized that no, I’m not. I feel as though I’ve been living in constant worry for the last two years, the very state of mind that everyone from Jesus to psychologists to Bob Marley tell us all NOT to be in.
I am known by most as a cheerful person. I keep my head up, and I don’t give up. But in the comic strip that I draw, “Bill and Buster”, the title characters have evolved into reflections of two sides of myself. Bill, the side of me that overthinks everything, and worries too much, and Buster, the carefree, spontaneous and impulsive side. I once read a great quote that describes me well. I’ll paraphrase because I do not know the original author or context: “I’m really good at solving other peoples’ problems, it’s my own that I have trouble with.” I’ve been too much like Bill lately.
Another quote that gets thrown around a lot is “The night is darkest just before the dawn”. Well, I can’t think of any time darker than now. The country I live in is in turmoil, my life is worrisome and lonely, it seems like I am living in a world that just won’t cheer up.
Well, here’s the deal, World. You’ve gotten to me. You’ve dragged me down. But you know what? Long ago, I thought about who I wanted to be and what I wanted to do. I wanted to be someone who could use my God-given talents, no matter how unusual they are, to make other people happy. Not to PLEASE everyone, not to make everyone agree with me, but to help them, as my dad says, to “keep smiling”.
I’m done with worrying. I’m done trying to solve everyone else’s problems. I need to focus on ME, and I need to take these strange dreams I’ve been having seriously. I’ve got some money, some good friends, and some talent. Before I grow old and have the option to regret lost opportunities, I need to harness the power of those resources. It is TIME.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Death Be Not Proud. Death Be Hilarious!


It’s not a pleasant thing to think about. None of us, young or old, want to think about our expiration date. It could be tomorrow, it could be 80 years from now. We don’t know. All we have is the faith that our belief in God will grant our souls eternal life, and in the meantime, we make the best of our time on Earth.

But this post is not about religion. It’s not about how to live life, either. It’s about unpleasant ways to end it all, or have it all ended for you. My current job involves vital records…public information archived by the State of Texas, and amended when necessary. When a person is born, it is recorded. When a person dies, it is similarly documented. The information for these events is readily available to the public, but very few people ever get to see the big picture.

I do.

Birth certificates, for all practical purposes, are boring. Another baby born…big deal. Every human being is born, and rarely is there anything unique about it. Everybody pops out of their mothers’ womb and exits the vagina the same way their fathers’ sperm came in. That’s biology. That’s life. That’s the way God made things. Every creature on Earth is born, and every creature on Earth dies.

But HOW do they die?

Most die of natural causes at an old age. Heart problems, cancer, and various vital organ failures are not pretty, but once a person gets past age 80, they’re pretty much par for the course.

Many people die much earlier. Here comes the funny part.

Accidents happen, but the deadly ones are usually preventable.

Take, for instance, a man who met his end by opening the door of a moving vehicle to retrieve his baseball cap. He was the driver! Needless to say, his official cause of death was listed as “Impact with pavement.’

Another death listed as a vehicle accident was given this brief explanation: “Motorcycle vs. tree.” The tree, presumably, emerged victorious.

Metal workers need to be careful on the job. The explanation for one occupational demise said: “Fell in vat of molten aluminum”. I’m not sure what they did for the funeral on that guy…did they have to shine him up for the open-casket viewing?

A young child’s death was listed as an accidental poisoning: “Fell in bucket of Pine Sol.”

One man was burned to death. The description for that one could only happen in Texas: “Allegedly burning cactus, clothes caught fire.”

Thousands of people die from drug use and abuse. In the unfortunate case of one individual, smuggling them was deadly as well. Cause of death: “Accidental Recreational Drug Ovedose”. Explanation: Ingested balloon containing cocaine.

Murder is bad any way you look at it. But if you’re caught in the act, as one man was, expect to join your victim in the hereafter. A Mexican man died of “multiple gunshot wounds”. Explanation: “Shot to death by military police while murdering his wife.”

Suicides happen all the time, but in some cases they don’t go according to plan. One person’s cause of death was listed as “Severe head trauma”, and the explanation was as follows: “Apparent suicide attempt: died upon impact with floor after rope broke.”

One fellow met his end from a gunshot, but not from a murder or suicide. Instead, his death was listed as accidental, explained as “gunshot wound to nose”. Careful when you’re cleaning those guns, folks…always keep the muzzle pointed in a SAFE direction!

Drinkers: when the bartender cuts you off, take their word for it. Otherwise, you might wind up like the guy who died of “Acute ethanol intoxication”.

And finally (for now), it must be noted that the wording of some death explanations is at times redundant, and typos are common.

One such listing was a double-whammy of an unfortunate name and a redundant wording: Bambi Dick died of “Accidental death, apparently in accident.”

A routine vehicular accident isn’t funny in and of itself. But if it happens on a “Pubic highway” (Note the absence of the “L”), well, that just gives it a whole new meaning!

As long as people keep dying in unusual or humorous ways, this post is sure to become the first in a series. Stay tuned!