Tag Archives: coming of age

Unexpected

SO apparently, the creator of the Slinky® was incredible wealthy at a young age and then left his wife and 6 children for a cult.

Those of you that know me know that I’ve grown tired of zingers and one-liners due to their overuse, but, I must admit that this opener was undeniable.

This morning, on my walk home from work, I was very tired. I got to my street for the homestretch and I could feel the cotton sheets caressing my face in my subconscious. Just then, a white man walked up to me.

 “You look like you’re dressed for an interview!”, the man said, quite jovially.

“I’m actually on my way home from work.” I wasn’t trying to show that I really wanted to go because he’d went out of his way to come and talk to me.

His name is Bob Swaim, and I had no idea how big a deal he was until I Googled him a second ago.

Bob is about 5’10”, white haired, bushy eyebrowed dude who falls somewhere in between typical Central Pennsylvanian and Southern Gentleman, aesthetically. Bob disclosed to me that he was a bike collector (see link above) and was in town for PSU’s Ag Progress Days. After suggesting that I check that out, he asked me questions about my job and I told him I was a night auditor. 

“I bet you have all sorts of stories then, huh?” He let out a sincere chuckle. “I have a friend who’s a funeral director and he wrote a blog about it. It’s hilarious! He’s got a couple stories of his own.”

His friend’s name is Caleb Wilde and his blog is here, if you wanted to check it out. Looks interesting to me.

Bob went on talking to me and asking me questions and alluding to the fact that he thought I was a business student. As tired as I was, I found myself sort of warming up to this strange man. He’d engage me in something that seemed so alien but felt so right – a face to face conversation with a stranger.

We got to a point in the conversation where we were talking about where I’d come from, and he took particular interest in my background, asking me about my interest in communications media.

“So, is that like TV and radio stuff? I guess it’s everything, haha!”, Bob said.

“Actually I’m moreso interested in audio engineering. This hotel gig is more transitional.”, I replied.

The next part rocked me.

“That’s good. It’s better to struggle for a long time and then be successful. If you don’t struggle a while, you won’t have any foundation.”

My interest was piqued. Where did that come from?, I thought. I’ve been having a rough week and struggle was really weighing me down. This is why I love old people. No offense, Bob, I think you’re awesome.

“Say you were given a couple million dollars right now, Vince. It would probably ruin your life.” I was still listening. “That’s just like the guy who invented the Slinky. He was about 28 years old when he got rich off of that thing. He ended up leaving his wife and six kids for a cult. Crazy, right?” Indeed it was. 

“It’s really better to struggle all your life and THEN be successful. If you gain success too early, you won’t be grounded. It was nice meeting you, Vince! Have a good one.”

He walked away. Maybe he knew, maybe he didn’t, but he encouraged me so much this morning. It’s funny/sad that this man striking up a friendly conversation with me is odd. I’m really glad I opened up to it though. God truly used him, with tact and precision, simply to encourage me to continue to go through what I am going through. I’m amazed.

To quote my awesome roomate, Mike Swanson:

“You act surprised, but you shouldn’t be.”

I hear you, God.

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Hear My Voice

Hear me
whimper
at the thought that I can BE something…

Listen
for the air that stands before
my blank stare and
behind my goals…

Know that what you see is a lie
and far-from-the-truth is what is
common to sight…

Reluctance tries to kill me
everyday
clawing with sloth-like precision
but I’ve since decided to move more quickly
however, my choice betrays,
infiltrating my activity and freezing
it with the coldness that is life

But indecision won’t choke me any longer.
And the fight against a second mind gets bloody this time.
Someone has to die and, essentially, that is the goal on both sides.

Understanding that, this is inherently understood: silver does no good buried in the ground except for someone who had not earned it to find it.

I am charged to brandish my worth, attack my goals and make them bleed glory.

My mother and father did well to name me conqueror, clearly their insight was from foresight.

Hear me
roar in what I am…

Listen
for the air that briskly seperates betwixt; before me and behind my goals.

Sheesh.

I’m conflicted.

I signed up for a website today. It’s one of the websites dedicated to helping folks get free from addiction. My addiction is pornography.

I figured I would give it a shot, so I signed up and started the lesson. The first lesson talked about motivation/what your motivation should be for getting free from porn should be.

The answer: God’s glory, nothing else.

Here’s the conflict:

The teaching today made the point that if you wanna get free for ANY personal reason at all, that God won’t help you get free because God wants glory. I agree that God wants and deserves glory. I also agree that I am a Christian. While being a Christian doesn’t guarantee that that person will want God to get glory, I do want God to get glory, but I also don’t want to walk around feeling guilty and downtrodden and ashamed anymore, either. According to the teaching so far, if I want not to feel those things and my focus is not on God, then God WON’T help me.

Now, maybe I’m taking it wrong. I’m pretty sure some if you will tell me I’m taking it wrong. I’m already braced for that. My issue is that I reached out to get help and now I feel like crappy even more for doing that.

I can only attribute that to my heart being black as coal because of all the filth I let into it and every thought or feeling that expresses that it feels askew to me will point back to said black heart.

I must be more immature than I realize. Either that, or too much of a coward to challenge what I was taught today.

I need to stop thinking before I lose it.

Back On Track

Ok, back on track now.

In early January of this year, I moved to State College, PA. I found two jobs; one serving at a Cracker Barrel and the other working as an assistant cook at a daycare. I’m currently living in the attic of a friend of a friends’ house for $300/month. I found a better job as a server in a 5 star restaurant. I plan on moving out of the attic in early May. God was really gracious to me as I stepped out and took the risks to get to where I am today and He still continues to be.

I have a love interest, but she wouldn’t want me to write about her just yet. Now you know though.

Like I Was Saying

My blog, as a whole, has been very erratic. It was consistent at first, like most human ventures (who am I kidding?). Now, though, my blog has the consistency of a tub of water filled with apples. Macbooks, to be exact. This has been the way my life has gone for the most part. I thought about putting “Sadly,” in front of that last sentence, but…no. I’m not sad about my life moving and progressing the way it has.

Isn’t is funny how we treat people like they’re low-lifes when they admit things about themselves like “I’m inconsistent”, as if consistency in human development is normal? What will it take for us to embrace the fact that everyone is broken somewhere? In the Bible, there is mention of us being all parts of a body. I’ve always thought of that concept in terms of us being functional body parts that make up one person. Let’s say a hand is detached from the body it belongs to, but is still functional. It can still do the things a hand can do, although limited, because it’s probably just sitting on a desk or the floor somewhere. I doubt seriously that it will take on any Addams family-esque powers and develop its own walking system, so that’s out. If the body that the hand belongs to shuns it and makes it feel bad for not performing at its full potential, it’s doubly stupid. One, hands work better on arms. Two, the body is obviously missing a hand, so why waste time being unimpressed with what the hand can do on its own?

Show love instead. The hand and the body can help each other. Even if the hand wants to marry another hand. It’s still a hand. It still belongs to the body. Maybe, when a hand is placed in proper conditions and designated habitat, it’ll realize how it was supposed to work all this time. It’s only frame of reference is being bloody and on the ground trying to figure out how it was/what it was/who it was and more all alone.

I had no intention of talking about that. I’ll be back later though. Feels good to write again.

An Old Western Bathroom Remodeling Adventure

Today was an interesting day. This should be entertaining, get you favorite snack ready! (As long as it’s not a danger to your health, in which case you should call poison control)<——–whaaaaaattttt?!?!??!?

Well, lemme go back to last night first.

I got kicked out of my house, rrreeeaaaaallllyyyy embarrassing. But ’tis what ’tis.

Ok, now that that’s out-of-the-way, on to the interesting part!

I was working on a construction job with my cousin. My cousin is quite the craftsmen. He has honed his skills in the areas of plumbing and sheet rock amongst other things. He’s really good at it, too. In just jobs I’ve done with him, we’ve replaced toilets, repaired toilets, replaced a floor, cleared out a clogged water line, re-joisted a ceiling stripped walls and today we replaced an entire sink/cabinet in a bathroom. I like working with me cousin because:

1. He’s very skilled at almost anything he takes the time to figure out construction-wise

and

2. We have unbelievable chemistry.

We’ve been doing things together since I was a kid; he’d take me under his wing with whatever pre-teen/teenage adventure he’d embark on a given day. He was one of very few shining spots in my childhood, now that I am very intently thinking about it. He was my first big brother figure.

As I’ve grown older our relationship has changed very drastically, but we always remained close. He’s a very loyal man, the type of person you could center a family around really. He’s also very rough on the edges, due to his upbringing, which, if I had the liberty to, I’d share with you. (That was a lot of commas). Inside though, he has such a big heart, almost child-like at times and it shows the most when he’s being creative. We used to combine our imaginations to think up really cool games, altered realities and jokes all the time as kids. You know what….we still kinda do that when we get together now. Today, we’re gonna get a very awesome glimpse of that. His name is Barry, and you’re about to fall in love with this guy. Or at least like him a lot.

Barry: *sweeping up debris, abruptly stops what he’s doing and pops up*

“You know what? I wish we were living in an old Western!”

Me: “What!? Okay, cool!”

B: “I’d probably be in a bar, drinking, surrounded by chicks…you know….”*makes the drinking-surrounded-by-chicks-face*

Me: “I’d probably be the piano dude, you know, with a huge, dirty tip glass….just playin’ some old tunes.”

From there, he proceeded to describe a scene where a few outlaws come into the bar we’re in and threaten me, asking if I know where his character is. One problem, we didn’t have names yet!

Barry: “Your name is Minister Pistols!” (which alludes to my devout Christian-ness) “You know you gotta KILL people, right? HAHAHAHAHA!”

Me: “I guess I would have to, it is the old West! HA! I’d have matching .357’s with gold handles and diamond encrusted crosses! You know what your name is gonna be?”

B: “What.”

Me:”Blackjack!”

B:”What? Haahahaha, why?”

Me: “Because all of your gunfights are over in exactly 21 shots! And you always shoot last!”

B: ” I respect that. You being a minister and all, you probably only get in my gunfights, you know, because you’re family.”

Me: “Naturally! You know I’m not really about that gun-slinging life! I’m just at work and you happen to be there starting trouble! Hahahahah!”

After a few more gunfights and caulk fill-ins, we decided that we had to come up with epic deaths. I decided that I would die preaching, duh! Years later, I started a church in Houston (the town that we had run in our younger years) and was converting my former enemies and their families to Christ. One fateful Sunday, the son of my first gun victim burst into a service and shot me dead, at the end of a sermon saying, “To live is Christ, to die is gain!”

Barry’s character, Blackjack, was already on the way to defend me, because he got word of my attacker long before word got to me, On his way to me, he got stopped 3 towns out by our rival gang, The Wasteland Scorpions! There were seven of them and one of him. The battle ensued, guns blazing (1,2,3,4,5) dust flying from boot spurs (6,7,8,9) obscenities spat (10,11)….the scene cuts to his father giving him shooting advice as a youngster…”squeeze the trigger, don’t pull it! (12,13,14,15)….”steady aim, son, hold your breath!”…(16,17)….Blackjack’s son, Little Deuce, was hiding behind an old, broken wagon, fiddling with bullets to put in his 2-shot .22 caliber pistol (18!) Blackjack surveys the area quickly and sees 4 men down. “QUICK, TO THE LEFT BOY! Don’t miss!”…echoes of his father’s voice….one bullet goes through two men! (19!) A stray shot whizzes past his ear ZZZZZZurm! (20!)

He returns fire with pinpoint accuracy, whispering his trademark….”Blackjack…”

The bullet explodes from the barrel of his rusty Colt .45 and enters the last Scorpion, dead between the eyes!

(21)………

…….(22!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Blackjack feels a burning sensation in his heart, like a punch from a titan, it spun him halfway and brought him to one knee……he spotted the shooter, nestled on a roof with a measly hunter’s rifle….

“Bust.”

There was still one bullet in Blackjack’s gun. With his last bit of strength, he squeezes the trigger and hits the scrawny bastard in the gut….and then falls….to his death…..the screen fades….but Blackjack arm rises right before a fade to black…..

To be continued….

So, basically my point is my family is really creative. We seem to all have really amazing imaginations….I didn’t even tell you half of what we came up with!

P.S. we’re gonna write up a pilot and send it to every major network in the galaxy! (Seriously, though, so don’t steal it or we will fight in court…..with rusty pistols!)