the pun is greater then the pain

This morning, the universe decided I was going to make friends with a ditch and two strangers. Because I live in the mountains, snowy roads are not usually not an issue for me. I am pretty comfortable driving in icy conditions. Still, shit happens. While I was on my way down to the highway this morning, some idiot came barreling up the road taking up nearly all two lanes.  This forced me to swerve out of the way and ultimately make me end  up in  a ditch. Unfortunately, the snowplow had piled up the equivalent of three feet of snow into the ditch.  This made it impossible for me to free myself from the snowbank.

I sat there for a few seconds debating on the best possible course of action. Despite putting sand under my wheels for traction and switching into 4 wheel drive, I was still a sitting duck. I was pretty annoyed at myself for being stuck in this situation. Although it was not my fault, the feeling of helplessness irritated me.

Despite the frustration, I came to realize being in this situation restored faith in humanity. It felt good to know that almost everyone who passed me on their way down the mountain stopped and asked if they could assist me and made sure I was okay. Some people offered to wait with me while help came, others offered me a ride back to my house. Eventually one of my neighbors drove by and offered to pull me out with his massive truck and toe ropes.  I graciously accepted and it did not take much time to get my own little truck free with the proper equipment.  He and his wife were some of the most relaxed people I have ever met. This was probably a very good thing given my state of annoyed frustration.

After my little blue truck was free, I decided to give up on the day and simply head back home. The young couple teased me and gave me a hard time about skipping school since they had “just freed me so I could continue my important education,” before they departed.

The ironic part about all of this is the fact it is senior ditch day at my high school. This is the day where my entire graduating class decides to take a self proclaimed day off, despite the dismay of administration. If I had simply stayed home and had a relaxing morning, rather then trying to accomplish things, this would ever of happened. Between the time I had attempted to get myself out of the sticky situation and the time when help finally arrived, I had a very dorky and humorous realization.  I was sitting in a DITCH, on senior DITCH DAY. The pun, no matter how stupid or lame, had just made my entire day. I was literally sitting there in my truck unable to stop laughing. I am really glad no one drove up at that moment because they probably would have debated calling an ambulance just in case of head trauma.

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Crowds are Scary.

Usually I try to  avoid large social events. As many of my close friends are aware… I much prefer a small  and cozy group of friends. Not only are small gatherings more personal, but there is a psychological phenomenon where people tend to lose themselves mentally in crowds. They forget their humanity, morality, and they lose their distinctive personalities. I’m not sure about other people, but this tends to scare me a little bit.

While I was at a basketball game tonight, I had a bit too much time to reflect upon this fact. As many of us may remember, High School sporting events are a species of their own. Unlike other students, I have a unique perspective at sporting events. I am not on the court or in the stands. I am the person on the sidelines reporting on and photographing the event. Being a journalist allowed me access and perceive an event from whole new angle. My press pass pretty much grants me access to any  event. At the event, I am allowed to sit anywhere I wish (within reason.) It is a pretty sweet deal.

Still, I need to have some proof that I was actually doing work for the publication… rather then mooching off all the perks.  I went to go retrieve a memory card I had left in my truck. I stuck a little board at the base of the door to keep it fro shutting and locking me out. Unfortunately the memory card was not there. To make matters worse, upon trying to return into the building through the door I had exited, I found it locked… Someone had removed my little safety measure.

For a minuet I stood there, unsure what to do. My options were limited. Either wait for someone to see me outside and let me in, or walk around the entire building in the dark and freezing temperatures.  I decided to wait. Eventually someone did decide to walk by the door. We made eye contact, but before she had a chance to let me in she was quickly distracted by her friends. Withing seconds she forgot about helping me out.

While I was waiting outside for someone to let me back in, I reflected on the beginning of the game. This huge rivalry between schools seemed like an excuse for students to act like complete jerks to their fellow teenagers.  One school has a pretty famous reputation for being wealthy. At one point during the game, students whipped out dollar bills and began to throw them around as if teasing the kids from the other school. I still fail to see what this has to do with basketball. Still, I am positive that individually no student would do that on their own. It was an action of the crowd, not an individual.

Despite the flaws of the idea of a rivalry, they can be pretty entertaining. Using the same stereotype of rich and poor, it was a year ago when kids from the “wealthy school” showed up in suit jackets while kids from the other high school’s student government spread word for everyone to dress like hobos as a school spirit activity.  From my perspective of a journalist, this was nothing short of entertaining to write about.  The irony of this rivalry is that the economic status of both towns are pretty consistent.

Although large crowds can be entertaining to watch, I prefer not to take part. This is mostly because I hate the idea of being judged by the actions of a group I have no say in. I like to think that when I take a controversial stand, it will be on purpose for something which actually matters.

The Little Lithuanian

While I was quietly sitting in advanced art today, minding my own business, my peaceful day was awkwardly interrupted by the new Lithuanian foreign exchange student at my school.  It takes a decent amount of effort to pull me out of my under-caffeinated trance in my first class of the day, but she somehow managed it.

The class was dead silent until out the blue she started laughing hysterically. Some brave sole tapped her on the shoulder to ask what was so funny. She then proceed to embark on a solid twenty minuet rant about about Kim Kardashian’s Ass…. The entire class sat in horror at the words which were not- so-elegantly flowing from her mouth. Many awkward glances were exchanged before, out of the grace of God, something happened to quickly end her rant.

She was sitting by a sink when the pipes randomly started to make creaking noises, before breaking. Water began to spray from under the sink, soaking her backpack and feet. She quickly shut up and jumped out of the wet crossfire. Although it may have been mean of me, I had difficulty controlling my laughter and eventually lost the battle to curb it.

Still, this incident alone was not enough get on my nerves. Another incident happened at lunch one day. For the first time in about four days, I dedicated to say on campus for lunch. I was chatting with my friends as we sat on our little bar stools. My fiend’s bag was sitting on the floor when the exchange student decided to mosey over and pick it up before my eyes. I was watching it because she was in the restroom. Without a word or explanation, the girl began to rummage through it. I sat there in surprise before mouthing the words “WTF” aloud. She proceeded to pull everything out as I went to grab the bag. I asked her what she thought she was doing…  “I am looking for food, my lunch is a little boring today,” she said in her odd little foreign accent. I would have had sympathy for the girl if she had been hungry, maybe a refugee from a hard life back home. I do not know her background. But, she had a lunch box stuffed full of perfectly good food! There was clearly no need to steal  lunches.

Dumbfounded, I wasn’t quite sure to say in reply. I don’t care what country you are from. Rummaging through strangers bags’ isn’t exactly a social norm.

I usually make it a point to befriend foreign exchange students. It is difficult to adapt to  a new country, a new culture, a new language. I even have plenty of friends who could be considered pretty eccentric. This girls isn’t exactly easy to get along with. Still, the future may hold a reasonable explication for her behavior.

a very freaky observation about Facebook

Social Media… It is a very loaded topic. In a way, it has become a digital civilization. People who use Facebook as a main source of information  are the reason that I fear for a new generation of young adults.

They say gossip spreads like wildfire. On sites like Facebook things are transferred almost immediately. The problem is that things said to the public from friends and followers are entirely hearsay.

Today, I leaned that a former classmate had passed away. How, you might wonder? I found out not through a friend, or even a real person, but rather his status. Scrolling through my newsfeed I came across a post that was created to inform “friends” that his life ended in 2015. The status was as cold and emotionless as a gravestone. It did not state anything about his life, but rather just gave a date of death. It is almost as if social media is becoming less about connecting with others and more about creating an online data base of a timeline of someones life. I took a minuet to consider how easy it would be to fake your death through a simple click of a status update. In a matter of minuets, 800 plus people could easily believe me to be dead.

Of course he will be dearly missed by friends, family, and an entire community. Posts on his wall still stream in from mourning classmates and friends… posts which will never be seen by the deceased. Although the owner of the Facebook account has passed on, his online presence still manages to linger. Still the disturbing fact is that some grieving friend or family member felt the need to update his final “status.”  There is something eerie about how this was top priority right after his death.

More and more I am starting to respect my friends who  took a stand and refused to cave into this social trend of Facebook. Either by coincidence or a connection, they seem to be more compassionate and make face to face interactions so much more meaningful. Still, my community has lost a friend, and will take time to recover from such a loss.

organized chaos

As a few of my followers might know, I not only run a blog but a newsroom as well. My job as Editor In Chief is to create organization among the chaos. The last time I left my staff alone for two days, they started to riot and throw a rebellion before nearly setting a few computers on fire.

My decision to become a journalist was partially due to the fact the media allows you to cut through all types of cliques to find a common purpose. On my staff this phenomenon is particularly true. Every single person brings a new dynamic to the group. The single trait which unites us unanimously is our eccentricity and ambition. Upon first sight, there have never been a group of young adults more diverse.

But upon closer inspection it becomes clear we couldn’t be closer. If anything, we are so close that we cause mental damage to any onlookers that dare enter our newsroom. The last outsider that decided to sit in on one of our meetings needed therapy. I’m not kidding….

Still, we should be given an award for diversity of political views and backgrounds. One staff member happens to amazing with technology but has difficulty with social interaction. The girl next to him happens to be the future captain of the cheer team. At the desk across the room lies the state champion rodeo queen. Next to her is a nationally ranked  photographer, also a member of the White House Press Corps. Our resident satire writer can go weeks without speaking a single word. Yet, when he does speak, the words which flow from his mouth are enough to move mountains with their impact (or shock factor really).

As you can imagine, the diversity in the newsroom leads to plenty of chaos and a decent amount of entertainment. Since my staff is like family. Its literally quite possible I spend more time with these weirdos then my own family. Because we are so familiar with each other, filters in conversation are rarely used.  Today as I walked into the  lab, my opinions editor had taken the liberty of starting a lively conversation about baby sloths and bi-gender Asians (supplemented with pictures broadcast on the overhead) right before we transitioned into coverage about the recent challenges to freedom of press. For a full functioning newsroom, I can’t exactly say that we pull off “serious” very well.

To be entirely honest, the humor of sticoms like the “Big Bang Theory” are dull compared to the shenanigans my staff and I embark upon.

People are weird.

People are entertaining, plain and simple. Out of my many hobbies and projects people watching is simply one of my favorite.  There is rarely something more interesting then sitting in a public place and surveying all that goes on around you.

While waiting for my  ride today, I decided to go and grab a drink at a nearby Starbucks. Sitting in my little corner clutching my hot Creme Brulee Mocha, I glanced around to lock sight on a (honestly quite attractive… but probably gay) teenager.

His hipster glasses, which  framed his sharp jawline, sat crooked  on his face. His black hair looked slick with gel.  The look on his face told onlookers that he was completely enthralled in his book. To my amusement he was reading Alice in Wonderland. It was the exact same Barnes and Nobles- classic literature edition which I have sitting next to me on my desk at this very moment. Tell me, what strait man reads Alice in Wonderland in publicon purpose? He was pretty fruity if you ask me, not that there is anything wrong with that of course! Unfortunately, just not my type.

Across the room, a group of overly giggly teenage girls worked collectively on a psychology project. Their matching infinity scarves, UGG Boots, and serious use of the word “yolo” helped me to place them in early high school.

At the table next to me, sat the most adorable old couple I have ever seen. They were holding hands as they looked out the window at the busy street.  I overheard them reminisce back to their honeymoon in Florida. I guessed it may have been their wedding anniversary. As the  couple got up to leave, the elderly man leaned over to his wife whispering a few phrases. Although most of it was too quiet for me to hear, I managed to catch him say to her “… and you are just as beautiful as the day we married.” There, at that moment…in that specific Starbucks, my heart melted into a little puddle of mushy cuteness overload. Although I am usually able to keep quiet as I eavesdrop, a little bit of the “AWWW” that echoed around my head must have escaped my lips.  The couple turned in my direction and shot me an extremely sassy look that said, ” Yeah. We are the cutest old couple you’ve ever seen, huh?” It was literally a scene from your favorite romantic comedy.

I may not know where my future will take me, but at the end of the day (after the youthful side of me has had its fun) I aspire to have a relationship like that couple. Although you might think people watching is purely about others, you might be surprised how much deep shit you dig up about yourself in the end.

Case of the missing goldfish

Poor Squishy. You’d think it would be a difficult feat to lose a goldfish. Goldfish shouldn’t disappear out of mid air. Still, that is exactly how I managed to lose my pet goldfish. Instead of having a proper toilet bowl burial, he vanished even before I was able to bring him home and let him live out  his long life… staring blankly into my blue bedroom wall.

My story starts on a Friday during my Senior year of high school. The brisk chill of teen spirit and rebellion rushed down the hallways as the temptation of freedom neared, since winter break was almost upon us.

My lovely brunette friend was sweet enough to bring her friends a surprise Christmas present that day.  As I closed my eyes she placed a small container in my hand, it felt like a jar. Curious, I opened my eyes to see that the jar contained a shimmery little goldfish. At lunch my friends joked( ironically) that I would be the first to kill mine. My friends had such strong faith in me. Dawww shucks guy, thank you.

Later that day I headed to gym class where my poor little Squishy would go MIA.  I set  him on a ledge by the athletic office to keep him out of the dodge ball crossfire. They say if you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball. I assumed that this would also work for mason jars full of goldfish, but I decided not to test the theory.

When I went to go fetch him  after class, he had disappeared. To my astonishment, he was no where to be seen.  I automatically broke down on my knees and began to loudly weep, mourning the brave fish who was taken from me.. never to be seen again. That’s what people are supposed to do right? …..hysterically mourn their lost pet fish in public? Totally.

Although I have never totally gotten over the loss of my dear pet fish, I learned many life lessons out of this experience. Fish are a lot like kids in the sense that….

1)  I should never have any

2) Both should not be left unattended in public.