Thursday, August 14, 2008



I try to keep my complaining to a minimum. It seems that with the onslaught of the blogosphere, all writers have become just a school of piranhas floating about the internet. But, one day, I was eating out, and I ordered this salad, and it was just horrid. I mean, awful. Everything that did not belong on lettuce was thrown into this recipe. It was the Elton John of salads. If the conflict in the Middle East could have been symbolized in a serving of tossed veggies, this would have been it.
Anyway, I realized, then and there, that (A) weird salads really annoy me, and (B) there are quite a few things that just bug the be-whoozits out of me. Thus, having already descended into my entirely-annoyed state, I sat down and made a list of everything that bothers me. Call me easily irritated, perpetully pestered, or what have you. I need to get this off my chest (and this will be followed up by a list of things that I really like, I promise, so that I am not a hypocritic piranha). If I leave anything off the list, it's because I wasn't particularly bothered by it at the time of this essay's conception.

1. Beauracracies.
2. People surrounding me who don't have any goals or aspirations.
3. People surrounding me who have goals or aspirations that are obviously and blatantly unrealistic, but you can't say anything to them because they'll shrivel down into a human tumbleweed and blow away with the wind.
4. Mediocrity (in the words of my father, "If you're going to suck, be the suckiest.")
5. Music Videos. I'm sorry, but I just can't see what's going on.
6. Linebackers who tackle the running back after a 3-yd. gain, then celebrate like they just cured cancer or ended the war on terror or something.
7. People who go golfing with me for their very first time, and birdie the first hole. Ooh! That makes me mad.
8. Sopranoes who think everything is funny except for that joke you just made about them.
9. The Boils of Pride (this might not make sense, but just picture someone who is covered in boils, and if anyone bumps them, it causes them excruciating pain. Some people are like this, only they aren't literally covered in boils. They're just easily offended.)
10. Bad poetry that is posing as good poetry.
11. Guns in general (unless that makes you mad at me, in which case, see number 9 again).
12. Canned fruit.
13. People who use the phrases (pardon my keyboard) "Shut up!" and "S*e*w You!" and "I'm pi**ed off!"
14. Any question thrown in my direction before I have been awake for an hour. This one makes me really grumpy just writing it....
15. Old people in my college classes that contribute too much and visibly annoy the professor.
16. Awkward jokes at the beginning of speeches. Just roll right into the meat of it, man! No one wants to hear about lawyers or BYU football or what you thought when your Bishop called you.
17. Single girls who don't want to talk to me just because they're single and don't want to give off "that vibe."
18. "That vibe."
19. The Ruination of the Sacred Hymns. They're golden the way they're written. No need to add a drum track/machine gun vibrato/oft'-arpeggio-ed piano part to them.
20. Writers who think that any good writing has to "deal with issues the people aren't ready to hear, man." If I want to hear good writing, I'm going to watch Sesame Street, thank you very much.
21. Socks that have more holes in them than a Chinese newspaper.
22. Faucets that, upon being turned on, spray past the lip of the sink and soak the entire front of your pants, thus enabling those people who struggle in developing original humor to make comments like "Hey! You wet your pants!" Yes, thank you.
23. People who struggle in developing original humor (i.e. - "You started shaving? Boy, I could just put some milk on that and let the cat lick it off!", or "I'd tell you, but I'd have to kill you.", or pretty much any quote from a Monty Python movie).
24. English/Political Science majors who think that society would greatly benefit from a study of themselves.
25. Missed free throws. Dangit, c'mon!
26. That girl in class who does all the homework and has the best grade and aces the test but couldn't tell you anything about what it means.
27. Contrived spontenaity and forced randomization.
28. Trying to spell spontenaity...naety...tanaeitey....
29. People who think that music is only good if the lyrics are good.
30. People who think that music is only good if the music is good.
31. People who think that music is only good if Neil Diamond sings it.
32. The fact that I have to number this list. I'm so obsessive sometimes.
33. People who can't hear a question asked without answering it, even if it isn't directed at them.
34. The Talented-But-Tactless.
35. Being stuck in a vehicle that only plays late-90's pop music. It's like being stranded in the desert with a bag of Tootsie Rolls.
36. That angry older guy that shows up for the pick-up basketball game and calls fouls on every drive, then gets in a fight with someone.
37. Being the only person in the room who knows who Gary Hart is.
38. Bees. They know what they did.
39. Bands like (I'm sorry!) Journey, Boston, Kansas, Styx, Rush. They're not bad, they're not great. See number 4. And, if you don't agree with me, read number 9 again.
40. Being the lone manatee in a sea of dolphins.
41. Paper-cuts.
And, finally, number 42..........I don't really know. But I'm sure I'll wake up at 3:00 A.M. this morning screaming, "AAAGGGHHH!!! I forgot to put______on the list!!! I absolutely hate that....."
Feel free to add on to this list. I would love to hear your opinions, unless I disagree with them, in which case I will haughtily glance over them and fail to reply.
Boy, do I feel better.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Luckiest

I've been reluctant to post anything on the same blog as a writer as talented as Kory, but I wanted to write down some events that happened this week and perhaps bring a smile to someone's face.

Tuesday began as any other Tuesday would, with me stumbling around in a sleepy daze as I attempted to wake and get my sorry self off to work. My stomach wasn't feeling too great, but I ignored that and went to work. When you're a college student two things matter: girls and money. You can't have one without the other.

Work progressed as well as I could have hoped. Things have been pretty busy lately due to a vacancy in our department. Busy is definitely good, because the busier I am, the more commission I make. (See above).

I finished work and took off to take care of a couple errands. I had to run up to campus to meet with an advisor, and also needed to go to Layton to pick up a tux for a very good friend's wedding.

Now would be a good time to describe my truck. I drive a big, noisy, blue 1979 Chevy Pickup. It has a shell and a carpet kit, and more personality than Lucille Ball. Decades of dents and rust make Chuck, as we affectionately call him (Chuck the Big Blue Truck, a name I gave him when I was but three), truly unique. You can hear me coming from a mile away. Chuck has been a part of our family since I was a small child, and is full of memories of camp outs and road trips to California.

This was a day where almost nothing went as planned. I met with my advisor as planned, but that's where the good times ended. I forgot my wallet, and was thereby rendered a nobody by the system and was unable to buy books, register a few more credits, and several other things I needed to do. A man with no cards has no identity and no way to pay for things.

I took off in a rush for Layton. I had been in the day previously to make some last minute adjustments, so they didn't request my I.D. I grabbed my tux as quickly as possible (never trust a salesman in a lavender shirt). Yoink! I dragged my nauseous hiney out of there.

The further I drove on the way home, the sicker I got. I figured it was a race between me and my stomach. The prize: a nice bed and a glass of Alka-Seltzer.

If you've read this far, you deserve some sort of medal. Unfortunately, being a little short on medals at the moment, all you're going to get is the best part of the story.

As I was fighting back my own noxious fumes, I finally saw the last major milestone on my journey: the North Ogden Exit. I pressed down the gas, eager to win my prize. Chuck didn't respond to my coaxing. I pressed the gas down further, no response. I had just filled up. I noticed my temperature gauge was having the equivalent of a thermometer's seizure. Up. Down. Up. Down. Suddenly, my cab filled with smoke. No seeing. No breathing. Only coughing and hoping I could pull over.

I pulled over, all the while holding my breath, and dove out the passenger's side. 100 degrees. Sick stomach. I'm on the shoulder of I-15 within sight of my exit. Chuck is billowing smoke. I try to open the hood, but pull back yiping. I decide not to touch the hood for a while. Next, I call my mom, as any good son would. She agrees to come rescue me, as any mother would.

By this time, my stomach has decided to have a barmitzfa. I stand there looking stupidly at the cars passing, hoping one of them will be some good Samaritan who knows more about cars than I do. (Which isn't hard). My stomach decides to give me a little more grief, and I lean on Chuck to rest with my head down.

This is about the time the Highway Patrolman shows up. We agree that it's probably a bad idea to open the hood for fear of feeding the flames. He radios the firemen with a "Possible Number that Justin won't remember because he's too delirious." We stand and wait, and I feel like a Jack-in-the-Box that is almost ready to blow.

Fire truck arrives (followed shortly by my concerned mother), and they make the new guy (who has a sticker that says "The Boy Wonder" on his helmet) dress in full gear and open the hood. Smoke is abundant, but no flames are to be seen. The older fireman obviously has mechanical experience, and he quickly sees the problem: my heater core got a hole in it and started leaking water. No water in the radiator is apparently a bad thing.

They go and grab a water line from the truck (Cool!) and begin satisfying Chuck's thirst. This is about the time that my stomach has had enough, and I go a few steps away and unload my three previous meals onto the side of the freeway. Yes, I see carrots, and salad . . .

"Are you alright?"

"I've been better"

The kind firemen give me a bottle of water, instruct me to try and start the engine. It starts, but Chuck isn't the same. He seems sluggish. Or slothish. Slowish. He doesn't want to start, much less go anywhere. Our friendship has enough juice left for one last trip, and he makes it off the freeway. A few blocks later he gives up and won't start for anything.

Now my stomach. Let's give him a name, shall we? Gunther decides that he's not thirsty and would rather water the dead lawn at the abandoned house where Chuck broke down. Heaving on all fours is not how I had planned to spend my day. We call a tow truck, and I say goodbye to Chuck, hoping he'll be alright. My mom takes me home and I sleep for 16 hours, waking up in time to go to work and attend my friend's wedding.

This post turned out to be a lot longer than I intended, so I'll cut down the next part. The next day my dad's car broke down, and we quickly realized how much we rely on these vehicles. I spent quite a bit of time wallowing in self pity and trying to figure out how the heck I'm going to afford a car. I thought about how unlucky we were! Only one car between three drivers! How are we going to work this out? Then a man came in to work requesting that a memoriam be placed in the paper. His mother and one year old son died last year in a car accident. I get news of a person I don't even know having a swimming accident and being paralyzed from the neck down. Shattered dreams, ruined hopes. I realize: I am pretty lucky.

Friday, August 1, 2008



It’s hard being both Ambitious and Meek,
Striving for Success and Humility.
It seems of Av’rice and Pride some men reek,
But others are downtrodden too eas’ly.
What matters most? Power and Achievement?
Forcing one’s name into respected lofts?
Getting one’s way like a fair-haired infant,
Demanding Attention and bursting oft’?
Or is it better a step-stone to be,
Supporting teeming masses on the back?
Allowing others in spotlights their glee,
Like Hephaestus, hamm’ring while Zeus attacks.
Recognition is heftily prized,
But for what do I want to be recognized?



I can promise,
You’re not a wimp
If you’ve been feeling void of free time.
Completing vital tasks
Seems impossible.
Oh, the bleak irony.
There are so many
Absolutely necessary things
That are naught.
How does one so plagued
With to-do lists
Combat this age-old frustration?
I recommend a healthy dose
Of some good old
Procrastination feels right
Because it’s secretly
Suck it down like warm root beer,
Left on the picnic table
From hours past.
Watch prior anxieties
Scatter off
As leaves ‘neath a lawnmower.
Take some time to waste some time.
There’s much to gain
From losing precious hours.
Meet responsibilities,
Of course,
And do enough to see success.
At least,
Your own interpretation of success,
Which only you know.
But there’s more value
In value-less activities
Than people think.
And doesn’t it always seem
That those hurried least
Are happiest most?