Here I am, blogging again!
Hooray! Did you miss me?
And guess what? I'm blogging from my school computer! The one that's in the classroom where I teach. Ooooooo... I'm so sneaky. I hope I don't get caught.
The students are stabbing the walls with machetes, and chewing on the fluorescent light bulbs, and I think one of the really rambunctious ones just got pregnant (right now!). I should probably be "managing the classroom" but... eh... whatever.
Ha ha ha. Just kidding.
School doesn't start until Monday.
I'm pretty sure though that the secret school computer people can see everything I do online. I wonder if I’ll get in trouble for using this computer for non-educational purposes. Ha ha ha.
Ha ha ha. I live dangerously!!!
Getting ready for school has been crazy so far. I'm under-prepared and nervous.
Hey, the health care bill and the cap and trade bill are postponed until after the August recess! Hooray! But they still might pass eventually. Bug your public officials and tell them that the cap and trade bill and the health care bill are swiffer-liffer quiff! Celebrate our democracy by getting involved in the political process. Democracy: Use it or lose it!
By the way, have you heard about this "Cash for Clunkers" program? Ha ha ha. Oh man, there's our tax dollars at work again.
It's a government program funded by the latest stimulus package where people trade in their old cars that get less than 18 miles per gallon for different cars that get more than 18 mpg. When they make the trade, they get 3000 bucks or something. (Maybe some of my figures are wrong.)
(By the way, I was wondering what happened to the old gas-guzzling cars that get traded in. I thought that if car dealerships were smart, they would re-sell them, but the law is, if they participate in Cash for Clunkers, they have to destroy the engine of the old car. So with each transaction, the government is losing $3,000 by giving it to the consumer, plus they’re destroying wealth in America- they're destroying a valuable engine. And many of the cars will be scrapped altogether- not just the engine.)
Well, the program was supposed to last until November, but the billion dollars set aside for the program (from the latest stimulus package) ran out in about a week! Ha ha ha.
But have no fear, economically-minded car-consumer! The government picked 2 billion dollars from their magic money tree, so now the program should last a lot longer and we’ll enter a brave new green economy, right?
Ha ha ha.
That's the way the government works sometimes. They tend to handle money worse than the private sector does.
I should know. I work for the government, actually. The government cuts me checks. I’m a teacher at a public school.
And I can see that I handle my own money better than the government handles their money.
I see the funding madness happening already.
For example, voters in Florence (Arizona, not Italy) approved a "technology bond" a few years ago, where their schools got a bunch of money for technology. They voted on it before Arizona's budget tanked. But, the way I understand it, even though the economy is quiff, neither the state government nor Florence School District can divert the funds from technology to teacher salaries or anything. The money was allocated to technology and technology only.
Now, every student at the brand new Poston Butte High School in San Tan Valley (but in the Florence School District) gets a laptop computer.
Gaaahhh!!! A “free” laptop for every student.
Can you imagine how much money that costs? But class sizes in the Florence school district are huge, as they are all over Arizona. And Florence might have to reduce teacher salaries. And last year they had to RIF some teachers. (RIF = reduction in force = pink-slipped = laid off = they don’t have their jobs anymore.) Maybe they hired them back. Maybe they didn’t. I don’t know.
A less drastic but similar thing has happened in the school district that I work for. Every classroom in the whole district has a SmartBoard, which I think cost about $3,000 - $ 5,000 each.
(SmartBoards are these giant touch-screen boards that are kind of like a projector and kind of like a giant computer screen that can do a lot of tricks. They’re nice, but SmartBoards aren’t necessary. But we’re encouraged to use them. In fact, in our SmartBoard training, our trainer said something like, “We hope you get to the point where you’re dependent on SmartBoards, and you feel as though you can’t teach without it.” During the training, I couldn’t help but thinking about Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology by Neil Postman. It also reminds me of Taskstream. I whined about Taskstream on my blog before.)
But at the particular Middle School where I work, even though there’s a SmartBoard in every room, there's no money for drama textbooks, no money for afterschool busses, (no afterschool busses means no after school activities) no money to hire more teachers to get the class sizes down, and the principal told us to really watch the number of paper copies we make, because the budget is tight this year.
It seems a little crazy.
I don’t mean to criticize the people who make the money-spending decisions, though. Maybe I would have done the same thing were I in their place. I don’t want to be a disgruntled teacher mad at the system already. I just started!
In related news, I was watching Fox News last night, and I saw a report on a teacher conference for CTE teachers. (CTE stands for Career and Technology Education, I think.) They had some big wasteful conference at a lavish convention center where the teachers were supposed to attend a bunch of classes to help them teach better. Instead, the CTE teachers just sat by the pool for hours and hours and hours and got drunk. They were probably drinking coffee and smoking big cigars. (Quick! Name that song lyric reference!)
All on the tax-payer’s dime…
I'm suspicious about the CTE stuff, and the madness of government funding. When I was an intern at Sedona Red Rock High School in the fall of 2007, I learned how the drama teacher there got extra funding from the government by disguising her drama classes as CTE classes. She had to change the titles of the classes from something normal like "Drama" or "Theatre" to "On-Air Talent Development" or "Technical Production Management" and career-sounding things like that. She had to change her syllabi, too, to show the right government agency that she was teaching bon a fide CTE classes. But really, the classes were just normal drama classes. And a lot of times the classes sat around and did nothing. The Sedona high school did put on a good play, though. I remember that.
The same kind of wasteful spending can happen with teacher unions. Last year, a California teachers union donated $1 million to the No on Prop. 8 campaign. Several members of the teachers union disagreed with that controversial use of funds, but the money was spent nonetheless. That actually prevented me from joining the teacher’s union here. Plus joining the union meant getting an extra $550 taken out of my salary.
Maybe the general principle is that individuals who are spending their own money on themselves know how to spend their money better than leaders of groups do.
I just thought of an allegory.
A large group of people are trying to buy a pizza together, all contributing to the price of the pizza. Some of them hate anchovies, some of them love anchovies, some are strictly Jewish so they can’t eat ham, some are allergic to mushrooms, some are vegetarian, and etc. But for some crazy reason they insist on pooling their money together to buy one big pizza. They all chip in, get the pizza, and eat it, even though they are compromising their dietary preferences. They miserably swallow the pizza down with ugly faces.
That’s pretty much communism.
Everybody buying their own custom-made pizza slice is pretty much capitalism- people making their own decisions about what to do with their own private property.
Now one place where my general principle doesn’t hold up is at church. (My general principle about individuals spending their own money on themselves working better than groups spending money. Though, to be honest, it’s not really my general principle, it’s Milton Friedman’s.)
I give 10% of my income to the LDS church, and Church officials decide how to spend it. But I trust that church officials spend it well, because I trust that they are called of God.
I hope you don’t think that I talk about money too much. I’ve noticed that I do tend to talk about it a lot on this blog, but I’m not obsessed with chasing after cars and mansions and etc., (after all, I’m a teacher) but I’m interested in what money represents, and what money does to people, and how it moves around among our society. Because money equals power.
Well class, what have we learned?
We’ve learned that in a fallen world, in a post-Garden-of-Eden world, the right to have private property for all people is essential to liberty and individual autonomy. We’ve also learned that if people want different types of pizza, then they should each buy their own different types of pizza with their own money, dag-nabbit! (Subtle hint for my roommate: Keep your hands off of my side of the kitchen cabinet!)
Ha ha ha.
(I enjoy writing about this stuff on Telemoonfa Time, I really do, because I can’t teach it to my students or else I’ll get fired for indoctrinating them with conservative propaganda.)
Take care and I’ll see you later.
Friday, July 31, 2009
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
I’m moving in two days! My wife and I are moving from Flagstaff to the Greater Phoenix area.
And I’m going to be away from a computer for at least a few weeks, so it’s time for me to take a little break from Telemoonfa Time. When I do get a computer with the Internet again, I might be really busy with my career as a high school English and drama teacher, so I might not be able to blog as prolifically as I have been lately.
I’m really excited for that job to start, by the way. I’ve been sitting around the house doing nothing for too long, since July started, and in June I just had one really easy online class, so I didn’t do much in June either. I’m also ready to stop paying attention to the news. Right now I read at least a little news everyday, and somehow the news seems to be getting old.
Also, my wife is due on September 10th, so pretty soon I’ll be a father. Hooray! I’m looking forward being a Dad and being entrusted with a little life. I think I'll be an OK father. Hopefully having a child will give my life a little more meaning that it has now. Because right now I just do whatever I want around the house and I’ve been feeling lazy and unproductive and selfish, but when I have a child, well- I think it will be nice.
Goodbye for a little while, thanks for reading, and best of luck to you.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
I really like bumperstickers because they’re so short and stuff and I like ‘em and stuff. Look! I thought up four more...
My Dog is a Bodacious Barker at Bow-Wow Academy
Overpopulation will eventually work itself out
Ha ha ha Look at all the funny things
Well-behaved women make Jesus smile
Novels of dragons and heroes and crooks,
Books about gardening and trades of all kinds,
Great for refining and teaching young minds.
These volumes of knowledge, worth more than fine gold,
Provide education and should never grow mold;
They should be opened often by parent and child
(Without books we might turn ferocious and wild).
But as much as my heart loves to sit down and read
Books about spaceships or a knight with his steed,
I must tell you, my friends, and tell you it square,
No secular books can ever compare
With one so amazing, so sacred, so good,
That teaches the difference between shouldn’t and should
I speak of the Bible, the Testament Old, the Testament New
I’d love to share some of its teachings with you.
I’ll start with the prophets, all those great men,
Whose stories I’ve read again and again.
It starts with old Adam, the father of all,
Who partook of some fruit and caused a great fall.
It tells about Noah, that brave patriarch,
Who, though people taunted, still built the ark.
It talks about Abraham, so faithful and true,
How always God’s will he endeavored to do.
It tells us how Moses did part the Red Sea
Providing a path for God’s people to flee.
It speaks of Joshua’s battle at Jericho
How all the loud trumpets the people did blow.
It talks about Samson with very long hair
Who conquered a lion with hands that were bare.
It talks about David, a hero, merely a boy-
I think that a sling was his favorite toy.
It talks about Solomon, a king with a staff
Who wisely almost cut a baby in half.
It tells of Elijah and the priests of Baal
How only upon the true God you must call.
It tells us of Daniel in the dark lions’ den
But still he would never be caught in a sin.
The Testament of Old tells a thousand more stories
Of prophets and kingdoms, their lives and their glories.
All of these characters have lessons for you,
But did they have faults? Of course that is true!
David was lustful and Samson got drunk,
Solomon worshipped idols and other such junk.
But thank Father for granting the New Testament,
Where we learn about Jesus and the life he has spent
Teaching and preaching and helping the poor,
Spreading good news to each soul and each door.
Unlike the old prophets, and unlike all men,
The Savior Jesus Christ never did one tiny sin.
I wish now to tell you, I wish to proclaim
All of his glory and honor and fame.
I’ll tell his life story, I’ll start with his birth
I’ll tell of his teachings and travels on earth.
It starts in a stable, during the night,
Where after a long and strenuous plight,
Joseph and Mary and animals too
First saw the Savior of me and of you.
The Christ child grew in spirit and size
Until he became incredibly wise
And when he was grown he was baptized by John
Then went to the desert the very next dawn
To be tempted of Satan, the father of lies
The devil was sneaky- was that a surprise?
But Christ knew his tricks. He knew Satan’s heart
And loudly proclaimed, “Satan, depart!”
Then Jesus went preaching to every man
“Repent for God’s Kingdom is nigh and at hand”
He preached on the mountains, he preached on the street
He taught everyone he happened to meet
His doctrine is holy, His teachings are pure
Christ spoke the truth, of this I am sure
But more than just words he gave freely to you
He gave up his life, and performed miracles, too.
He fed five thousand people with only five loaves of bread,
And two little fishes. “Eat and be filled,” Jesus Christ said.
Once when a storm raged in the Sea of Galilee.
The apostles in the boat wished they could flee,
Then Jesus arose, and commanded, “Peace, be still.”
And the lightening and waves obeyed the Lord’s will!
He healed a sick leper and the dead he has raised
For all this and much more his name shall be praised.
So please read the Bible. I promise it’s great.
It will gladden your heart and improve your fate.
It will teach you about God and his mysterious ways
And grant unto you wisdom through all of your days.
Here I walk alone in the park. Look at me walk. Walk, walk walk. I’m ditching school. I’m at the park. I thought there would be ducks to feed, but there’s not. I would have fed the ducks if there were ducks around, but, look, there are no animals at all. No animals anywhere. Only me, Travis, a boy in the park alone when he should be at school. Just wait until my mother finds out that I didn’t go to school today. I’d like to see her face when she finds out. She’ll never expect it, and then she’ll find out about me, and then her face will look unusual. When she finds out I didn’t go to school, her face will take the form of an expression it does not normally take. There I was at the bus stop, just a few minutes ago. Waiting at the bus stop, looking down the road, waiting for the bus to come. Looking at my watch, looking down the road. Tapping my foot, like this. There I was, at the bus stop. And I just started walking. I walked across the street, through the trees, with branches and leaves all swishing, and then I found this park. Ahh, look, a trash can. (He throws books into a trash can) Goodbye math. Goodbye English. Goodbye science. Goodbye goodbye goodbye. I wonder what my teachers will look like when they find out I threw away my school books. “You put them in a trash can at the park? You naughty boy, you.” “Yes, ma’am, I threw my books away.” What will my teachers’ faces look like? Will they be concerned faces? Will they be faces with a disapproving expression? I wish it was nighttime. I wish I was in the middle of a thickness of darkness, without the sun, or the moon, or even the stars to give their light. I wish I was wearing a trench coat. I wish I had a flashlight in this hand, and a pistol in this hand. Yeah. And then I wish I had enemies, enemies who were lurking in the nighttime, behind trees, in the sewers, behind buildings, lurking, enemies who wore masks, and the fog would shroud us, and we would fight. Why hasn’t that happened to me yet? Why haven’t I battled enemies in a dark mist? I’ve lived for a while now. 17 years. How is it that I’ve never found myself alone under moonlight, sneaking around fighting enemies, or tiptoeing around finding clues? I know why. Mom doesn’t let me have guns. I bet she wouldn’t even get me a trench coat or a flashlight. I’ll bet she wouldn’t give me those things if I asked for those things for Christmas. But if I did have enemies, real enemies, thirsty for my blood, and if it came down to just me and my enemies in the dark, and we all had guns and daggers, and we were fighting in the night, with the fog and the night and the dark all around us, and death nearby, Mother wouldn’t let it happen. She’d put a stop to it. But mother’s not here. Mother? Mother? Answer me now or I’ll assume you’re not here. OK. Mother’s not here. Here I am walking in the park and mother’s not here and I want a trenchcoat, a flashlight, and a pistol. (He yawns.) I’m getting very sleepy all of a sudden. Yes, very tired. This doesn’t feel like any ordinary sleep- this is a spell, a spell from my enemies. But the oncoming sleep feels good as it’s coming on. It will feel even better when it has entirely taken over. I’ll give in to the slumber. Here I go taking a nice nap in this nice park.
I Bowser, King of the Koopas, Master of the Eighth Mushroom Kingdom, have traversed thousands of miles in exhausting pursuit of the fabled Golden Orb of Ultimate Power. Gaining possession of the ancient relic has been my solitary passion for ages, for he who holds the Golden Orb of Ultimate Power has the natural energy forces of outer space at his command, and with that energy I would rule all Eight Realms of the Mushroom Kingdom. But I couldn’t find the orb. It was so hard! So I took a breather, ate one of them little spiky guys who spit fire, and then I decided to kidnap Princess Peach! How ya doin’ Peachy?
Awful! I’m dreadfully chained up in these horrid chains!
That’s right because I chained you up!
Oh no. Hey, you- Rawr!
I disdainfully think you’re just atrociously awful!
You got that right. I’m bad. Look at me. Rawr. I’m bad.
Who are you?
I am Bowser, King of the Koopas, Master of the Eighth-
Oh wait, stop, I heard that already. I get it, you’re Bowser.
That’s right I’m Bowser! Rawr!
Why are so truly very frightening?
Oh, Okay. Also, I seem to be on a curiously raised platform with lava all around it, and I’m wondering how this platform has stayed so stable for so long, with all the excruciatingly scorching lava flowing all around it. I mean, wouldn’t the lava melt away the leg posts?
Shut up! Or else I’ll throw you into a volcano! Rawr! Because I really do have a volcano! Rawr! Now I’m going to go rip the wings off of those little turtle things, just for fun, because I like torturing things. Rawr! And then I’m going to eat the wings! Because I’m bad! Because I’m Bowser!
(BOWSER exits. PEACH sings)
Away, away, in the golden land
Where the sun beams brightly on the chocolate sand
There lives my hero Mario
He jumps so high and has an adorable nose
Mario lives inside of my heart
But in actuality we’re actually apart
If only my love could hear this song
And though the chains I’m bound with are strong
My love would eat a glowing red flower
And blast my chains with fiery power
And then we’d be free to escape this lair
And then the kingdom would be bequeathed to my care
Mario could be the king, if he wanted to,
And I’d be his lady ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh
But soft, my song must cease, for Bowser approaches!
Boy them little turtle wings is sure tasty. Yum yum, I like to eat them with just a little bit of lava.
You’re ever so cruel!
Get used to it, baby. Look I have this atomic bomb that will destroy us all. All I have to do is drop it and then it will explode.
(BOWSER drops the bomb and everything explodes.)
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Guess what I’m gonna talk about?
Global warming again! Ha ha ha ha ha ha !!!
I don’t care that you’re tired of the topic, readers! I don’t care. I’m tired of the topic, too, we all are, but it’s just not going away! This cap and trade thing, you see, in the United States Senate right now, it could really really do really really bad things for America (not to mention the WORLD!).
Of course I don’t have anything new to add to the conversation, really… what do I know about the way the climate works? What do I know about how the government works? I’m not a global warming scientist- I majored in English and drama at college, and I’m just an AMERICAN PATRIOT WHO LOVES AMERICA!!!
Why can’t we power more of our country with nuclear energy?
Nuclear power works and it does not create CO2 at all, and 80% of France uses nuclear power, so this climate change bill should be focused on getting more nuclear power up and running in the USA, but there must be some money-making conspiracy preventing nuclear power from being created. I don’t buy the reasons the proponents have given for why nuclear power isn’t that great.
Obama put in his FY2010 budget that recently passed that the federal government would make about 640 billion dollars from this cap and trade thing, with an asterisk that says, “It will probably make more.” So, essentially this cap and trade bill is a tax, it’s a way to generate money for the federal government. (here’s a good article about it: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123655590609066021.html ) But they don’t call it a tax because people don’t like the sound of “new taxes,” but they call the cap and trade legislation “a bipartisan innovative solution for making polluters pay for polluting, while encouraging the dawn of a new green economy.” That’s rhetoric, don’t you see? That’s rhetoric used well.
It’s frustrating that this whole cap and trade bill is founded on stopping human-caused global warming, which is not real. Is there any other justification for this type of legislation? I’ve heard it said, “Well, even if global warming isn’t real, which it absolutely is real, but just to humor the wacko skeptics, let’s just say that even if global warming weren’t real, this bill would still 1) help to develop alternative energy, 2) create new jobs, and 3) reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
I refute all three of those claims.
Point 1- it will help develop alternative energy. First, inventors have more often than not come from the private sector. Technological innovations and great works of art usually come from private individuals and companies, not from people receiving a government grant. (Of course there are things like going to the moon realistically that require government sponsorship, but think about the toilet, the flashlight, the computer, the cell phone, the automobile, the train, the airplane- were those things invented by government workers? No. They were they invented by curious men working in their tool sheds and basements and garages and large back yards. Or they were invented and refined by the research and development departments of private businesses. Then private businessmen and businesswomen and investors got the inventions manufactured and distributed.
So, we don’t need government funding to help us develop new forms of alternative energy. All we need government to do is uphold the rule of law and enforce laws that keep the free market working.
Point 2- they say that even if global warming isn’t real, the cap and trade bill will create new jobs. It may create a few green jobs building windmills and solar panels and such, but it will destroy more jobs than it will create. Get this: there’s even a provision in the bill to give unemployment compensation for 3 years to people who lose their jobs because of this bill. So the bill itself recognizes that lots of people are going to be put out of work. Economists have agreed that if this bill passes, many blue-collar manufacturing jobs will be shipped overseas. Small farms and small sawmills and such will either have to increase the price of their products and pass off their new costs to consumers, or they’ll just go out of business.
Point 3- they say that even if global warming isn’t real, the cap and trade bill will reduce our dependence on foreign oil. No, I don’t think it will do that. Even though the price of oil and gas and coal will increase, all that “dirty energy” will still be cheaper, more reliable and more readily available than solar and wind power.
I’m upset about the cap and trade bill, officially titled American Clean Energy and Security act of 2009, if you can’t tell. It makes me even madder than the stimulus bill that recently passed, because at least the stimulus bill was based on a real problem. The cap and trade bill makes me even madder than the bailout of Detroit that George W. Bush recently did. (See, I’m not just blaming Obama and the Democrats. George W. Bush did plenty to grow the size of the federal government, and I don’t like that. http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=081216215816.8g97981o&show_article=1 Oh, except I agree with more military spending.)
For those of you who are still human-caused global warming believers, here’s a good website: http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/greenhouse_data.html and here’s another good website www.wattsupwiththat.com
And remember those genetically modified insects that excrete crude oil? http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article4133668.ece Why do all the legions of scientists who study global warming get grant after grant after grant, while there’s bugs that excrete crude oil that we could be breeding and harnessing? Why aren’t people making synthetic oil from those bugs?
Honestly, I’m a little afraid that even if a new kind of energy were discovered that was cheaper and more efficient and environmentally friendly than anything we’ve ever come up with before, it would be shut down by the government, or maybe by big business, or maybe by the powerful environmental lobbyist groups.
I remember when I was in high school, I learned about the scientist Nikola Tesla, and supposedly he invented a machine that could give free energy to the whole earth, and supposedly either the government or the energy companies shut him down. I don’t know if that’s real or not, but it seems believable. More believable than global warming.
Write or call your senators and tell them to vote no on the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009.
Remember when I made matzo balls? Well, the first time I made them I thought they were disgusting, so I left them in the fridge for a while, and tried not to look at them. But when they were in there so long that I thought they would start growing mold soon, I determined to finally eat them.
I ate them.
They were still kind of gross, but somehow they weren’t as gross as they were before. Some food is like that, you know- it’s better as leftovers.
Then a few days ago I decided to give matzo balls another shot, (I had a lot more matzo meal mixture in the box) and this time I decided to take the recommendation off the back of the box and simmer the matzo balls in chicken soup before I ate them. I also got better at rolling the mixture into smooth balls, and I used a little bit more butter than I was supposed to, and all I have to say is
They were really good!
They had a neat taste, you know? A really neat taste.
And I ate the whole thing and I was so full. Mmmmm…
Matzo balls are kind of like dumplings. They’re kind of like wet warm gooey spherical crackers with chicken flavor in them. Doesn’t that sound good?
By the way, my downstairs neighbor has recently got into bonsai trees. See the two little ones down there in the picture? Bonsai trees are so neat! I used to have one for a while but I chopped too much of it off, and I strangled it with a metal wire when I was trying to get it to grow in a certain direction, and maybe I overfed it with MiracleGrow or overwatered it or something, but I do remember having fun with my bonsai tree for a little while.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Help! I’m addicted to C-Span!
I think I have a little bit of an obsessive personality.
I get obsessed with one topic and think it’s the most important thing in the world. Right now this cap-and-trade bill being debated in the Senate is driving me crazy and I wish with all my wishes that our U.S. Senators would vote against it.
I watched “The Great Global Warming Swindle” on Google Videos and I’ve also been reading a little bit of http://www.wattsupwiththat.com/ , and I also read the chapter on Enviro-Statism in Liberty and Tyranny by Mark R. Levin, which talks about global warming. All that stuff makes me think that human caused global warming isn’t real. And I used to think that maybe the perpetrators of global warming might be well-intentioned scientists who genuinely cared about the health of future generations. But now I think that it’s so big, and there’s so much money involved, that there are bad people behind it. Bad people. BAD PEOPLE.
I also visited the GreenPeace website, (and it was psychotic) and I watched more than half of An Inconvenient Truth (and it was also psychotic). I wanted to hear the other side of the story.
And WOW, you know, when you listen to the other side, it sounds pretty good. It reminds me of this brilliant sentence from Chapter 5 of the brilliant novel, Animal Farm by the brilliant George Orwell: “The animals listened first to Napolean, then to Snowball, and could not make up their minds which was right; indeed, they always found themselves in agreement with the one who was speaking at the moment.”
That’s how I feel sometimes. I listen to Obama speak about how important the cap and trade bill and universal health care is, and after a while I start to agree with him. Then I listen to Mitt Romney, and then I agree with Mitt Romney again. It’s hard to know who’s telling the truth.
If global warming is a hoax, it’s the biggest hoax with the farthest-reaching consequences I’ve ever heard about in my lifetime. It blows my mind how big this global warming thing is. How many people are involved in the conspiracy, from politics, from acadamia, from the media, the entertainment industry? And how many people think it’s a conspiracy? One thing about pathological liars is that they start to believe their own lies eventually. Does Al Gore believe what he’s saying? How could he live with himself if he knows he’s lying? If he knows that he’s lying, then he’s a very very very bad man, and he should be ashamed of himself.
The global warming hoax is so big that all the serious presidential candidates last election didn’t dare deny it, because they were fearful of the political backlash.
(One thing I love about Sarah Palin, by the way, is that she doesn’t believe in human-caused global warming. Sarah Palin is really cool, and the people who make fun of her tend to make fun of her in really shallow ways. They mock her accent, they mock her Christianity, and I think there are some extreme liberals who hate her because she played basketball in high school, who hate her because she was in a beauty contest, who hate her because she hunts animals, and who hate her because she did not abort her baby with Downs Syndrome. Liberal city folk just don’t get Sarah Palin. But I digress.)
But the scale of the Global Warming Scam is mind-blowingly huge. It’s so much bigger than Madoff’s recent crime. I almost feel crazy for not believing in climate change, because so many people accept it as fact. The social pressure to accept global warming is enormous, too. Schools all over the country have shown “An Inconvenient Truth” to their students. How many times do teachers say, “I decided to put the handout on half sheets of paper, so I could save trees and polar bears.” I HEARD THAT EVERY SINGLE DAY I WENT TO SCHOOL!!! (OK, I’m exaggerating just a little.)
But you know what I mean, you often hear people say stuff like, “Reusable bottles are so much nicer to our climate than disposable bottles are. Let’s help Mother Earth by drinking out of the same bottle more than once!”
And the “going green” thing is everywhere. There are recycle signs everywhere.
And sometimes I leave the light on when I leave the house… not for my plants or anything, but just to show them that I don’t like the world! Ha ha ha
Ha ha ha
I don’t like the world. Oooo… leaving the lights on when I leave the house… it’s soooo bad! I like it.
Ha ha ha.
Why don’t you come and stop me, GOVERNMENT?!!! Come forcibly turn my lights off, but you better be ready for a fight! And no I will not get the new twisty light bulbs, just because I feel like it I have a saying in my home: TWISTY LIGHT BULBS MAKE TWISTY MINDS…
but that’s what you want, isn’t it, Al Gore? You want my mind to be all twisted up. You want my brain to be occupied with greenness, so that I don’t think about the real problems in the world. You’re replacing Christian morality with environmentalism, and I don’t like it. “Dirty energy” is the new sin and “clean energy” is the new virtue. Well, if leaving my old fashioned spherical light bulbs burning through the night is sinful, then call me demonic.
Ha ha ha, there they go, my beautiful light bulbs, burning is that old-fashioned, wasteful way… ha ha ha… I can just feel the CO2 in the air thickening… I can sense the polar bears icy habitat melting, those white furry beasts of the north swim and swim and swim, and they never find a home… bwah ha ha ha!
I am so mean!
But seriously, folks, TV ads, teachers telling you about global warming, billboards, advertisements, politicians telling you about it… stuff like that adds up in our brain until people start feeling guilty about their personal carbon footprint and develop serious psychological disorders.
Denying global warming is like Jim Carrey finally realizing that his whole life was a TV show in that one movie, I think it was the Truman Show. Denying global warming is like Keanu Reeves taking a pill and figuring out the Matrix. Denying global warming is like Plato’s myth of the cave, where you realize that you are not looking at reality, but at shadows on a cave wall, and the real reality is outside the cave, where the real sun shines in its majesty.
Global warming skeptics are derided, and fearful of being labeled as either a loony or as an Earth-killer. But global warming alarmists are awarded with fame and prestige and Nobel Prizes for saying stuff like, “If we don’t reduce our carbon emissions this very second, we’re gonna explode automatically right now! I can’t believe I’m still alive and talking because any second now POP goes the Planet!!!”
The truth is, environmentalists don’t want America to have power!!! If they really wanted more people to have affordable electricity, they would let us build nuclear power plants, or they would let us drill on our own soil for oil. Why can’t we drill on our own soil? I don’t get it. And why can’t we build more nuclear power plants? I don’t get it. France is run off of 80% nuclear power, and they’ve figured out a way to deal safely with the toxic waste that it creates, and the only way nuclear technology will slip into the hands of rogue states like Iran is if we sell it to them, or if our national security crumbles.
Wind and solar power just aren’t as good as the energy we already have. They aren’t as reliable. They don’t work as well.
I think the biggest way that global warming alarmists win their argument by saying over and over and over, “Global Warming is caused by humans and we need more government regulations and more taxes to fix it. The argument is over. Everyone agrees.”
“Global Warming is caused by humans and we need more government regulations and more taxes to fix it. The argument is over. Everyone agrees.”
“Global Warming is caused by humans and we need more government regulations and more taxes to fix it. The argument is over. Everyone agrees.”
“Global Warming is caused by humans and we need more government regulations and more taxes to fix it. The argument is over. Everyone agrees.”
“Global Warming is caused by humans and we need more government regulations and more taxes to fix it. The argument is over. Everyone agrees.”
“Global Warming is caused by humans and we need more government regulations and more taxes to fix it. The argument is over. Everyone agrees.”
See, after hearing that over and over, don’t you think global warming is a little more plausible? That’s what they do. And that’s what Hitler did!!!!!!
Why can’t we develop more nuclear power?
I recently saw a power company commercial about developing new types of alternative energy, and it was like, “We’re working together to invest in clean coal and wind and solar and hydrogen fuel cells and all these other wonderful green energy sources…” But you know what it left out of the list? Nuclear power!
Perhaps one of the biggest ways that nuclear power is fought against is by ignoring it. Listen to the Democrats arguing for the new cap and trade bill. The only time they discuss nuclear power is when the Republicans bring it up, and then the Democrats always talk about how expensive nuclear power is, and how dangerous it is, and how nuclear technology might fall into the wrong hands, and other negative stuff like that. And then they usually say,
“Oh yeah, nuclear, that’s still on the drawing board… nuclear power is just a way for us to diversify our energy portfolio in our new green economy… it’s a tool in our toolbox… it’s one of many cards we hold in our royal flush of this clean energy revolution, it’s like a pawn in a game of chess, a pawn that we don’t want to use very much because it’s stuck in front of another piece and it can’t move around, you see… nuclear power is like the petal of a beautiful flower, and why would we want to ignore all the other breathtaking petals? I don’t know why you’re so consumed with this one little petal that really is lagging behind all the other petals… but remember that flowers are a limited resource with the way climate change is going… the bottom line that we all have to realize quickly is that we shouldn’t worry about nuclear power for now… it will take decades, perhaps, to build another nuclear power plant, and it’s so hard to build, have you ever tried to build one? My oh my, they’re very expensive and you have to put all the intricate parts together just right or the whole thing goes ka-blooey and you’ve got toxic gooey mess that covers quadruple the size of New Jersey. Think about all those working class constituents, covered in nuclear goo. How are they going to provide for their families in a vibrant, robust, sustainable way if they’ve got nuclear goo all over them? Nuclear technology is just very testy, don’t you see? I get the heebie-jeebies whenever I hear about nuclear energy, and I can’t put my finger on it… I don’t think it’s much of a mistake that Matt Groening has the blubbering Homer Simpson manning the safety of a nuclear power plant- Nuclear power plants tend to attract those types of buffoons. And Mr. Burns, well, he’s the quintessential owner of a nuclear power plant- conniving, greedy, living in castles, releasing hounds… Do we really want to attract seedy characters like Mr. Burns to the Good Ship America? Because that’s what nuclear power will do. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable row-row-rowing my America-Boat merrily down the Green Stream of Prosperity if I’m rowing alongside an icky Nuclear Power CEO with nuclear ooze all over him. No, the real up-and-coming scientists and investors, the ones who smile when the future comes, the ones who really have our children in their minds and in their hearts, they’re the ones who are working with other non-nuclear things, with clean energy. So let’s just stop talking about that n-word. In this country we can’t even decide how many syllables it has, and America is divided enough as it is. I’m here to unify, not divide. Clearly if you’re looking for a nonpartisan source of energy without the chains of a long history of mispronunciation, nuclear is not that source of energy. How are you going to communicate your ideas to “We the people” if “We the people” aren’t speaking the same language as “They the lawmakers”? Think of the cost of translators and bureaucracy required to engage in that sort of dialogue, the very sort of bureaucracy you so often criticize… like I said, nuclear power gives me the willies, it’s a barrel of monkeys without the fun, it’s Pandora’s Box with the Ebola virus and vipers and banshees inside of it, and you can see by my body language, and the body language of my esteemed colleagues here, that we don’t like nuclear power, and that’s all there is to it. Plain and simple. There’s a definite consensus on that, let’s just be straight up and tell it like it is, a consensus that everyone agrees is an actual consensus. Even you agree with that consensus. I’m frowning. Don’t you see? I’m frowning. Nuclear power makes me frown. My face loses some of its shine whenever the nuclear topic is broached… but we’ll probably work on that later, and now if you’ll please direct your attention to this scientist, he’ll tell you all about how great wind energy is!”
Congratulations to Newt Gingrich and John Boehner and a lot of other global warming skeptics who have stood up to Al Gore and Democrats that are trying to pass the scary climate change / global warming / cap and trade bill. Newt is a pretty cool guy. One of the best things he said is, "We did not create the transcontinental railroad by punishing stagecoaches." He said that to illustrate that taxing "dirty energy" like oil and gas and coal to death is not the way to get "clean energy" developed.
I've watched Henry Waxman quite a bit lately, and boy is he really annoying. And it strikes me as funny that all the politicians from California that I know of are really quiffert. Arnold is quiff, Nancy Pelosi is quiff, Barbara Boxer is quiff, Henry Waxman is quiff, and Dianne Feinstein is quiff. Are there any politicians from California that aren't quiff these days?
I love practically everything about Buzz Aldrin. Well, all I know about him is these four things:
1. He went to the moon.
2. His name is Buzz.
3) He punched a guy who said he never went to the moon. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOo6aHSY8hU&feature=player_embedded
4) He’s a global warming skeptic.
Monday, July 6, 2009
The day before yesterday, on Independence Day, my wife and I went to a tea party! It was so fun!
Now, we didn’t go to the type of tea party you might be thinking about. There were no old English ladies extending their pinkies as they politely sipped tea. Nobody ate crumpets and nobody discussed the merits of Victorian-style décor. It wasn’t that kind of tea party.
It was a TEA (taxed enough already) party. It’s for fiscal conservatives, you know, people who are upset about the bailouts, the stimulus bill that passed recently, the climate change bill that passed in the House of Representatives about a week ago, and the Universal Health Care bill that Obama has in the works.
I was a little worried that there were going to be some crazy gun nuts there, or ultra-conservative wackos, or maybe some extreme libertarian or anarchist people there.
But when I got there (in front of Flagstaff city hall) and saw what was going on, my fears were alleviated. It was a really peaceful demonstration. There was one guy who wore a T-shirt that said "9/11 was an inside job" but the most radical thing about him was his T-shirt. He was really quiet. Mostly there were hard workers, people in cowboy hats, and lots of senior citizens.
Another thing the tea party attendees did to make the demonstration seem not so radical is say the Pledge of Allegiance. I thought that was a nice touch. Saying the Pledge of Allegiance lets people know that we're not violent, and we're not in opposition to our government. We're just patriots exercising our First Amendment rights to speak freely and to assemble peacefully.
I don’t know how much the tea party really accomplished. I don’t know how much it caused legislators to change their ways. But a lot of people driving by honked and waved in support of us, and we were raising awareness, so that was cool. There was a reporter from the Flagstaff newspaper there, taking pictures, so hopefully they’ll do a positive write-up in the paper about the tea party.
The first wave of tea parties happened in cities across the country on April 15th. Maybe you heard about them in the news. I wanted to go to the first tea party in Flagstaff, where I live, but I was in a communist literature class at the time, learning about how great Marxism is.
The tea party the day before yesterday lasted an hour, from noon to 1 pm, in front of city hall, and the weather was great. There were about 250 people there. There were 4 speakers who talked through a megaphone to the crowd.
The first guy was the sheriff of Coconino County, Arizona, for a really long time, and he talked about how the country was changing and how we’re headed towards socialism and stuff, and how that’s really bad.
The second speaker was a small business owner in Flagstaff who talked about how she had to budget really well in the recession, and she asked, “Why is it that when American citizens are tightening their belts, government writes itself a blank check? They should be cutting back in tight times, just like we are!” She made great points.
The last person was a lady who had voted for Barack Obama, but now she wishes she hadn’t and she’s frustrated with reckless government spending. She said she was in New York City on 9/11, and she talked about how wasteful and stupid the government was for photographing Air Force One around NYC recently.
The fourth speaker was billed as a “constitutional scholar,” and he spoke for the longest time. He had gone to law school, and he had taught government and history at a high school in Globe, Arizona, and he talked mostly about how the lawmakers really ought to read the bills before they sign them. He talked about how our representatives and senators are supposed to represent our desires, and he feels like most people want lower taxes, smaller government, and an environment where small business and large business can prosper. I can’t remember his name, but he said that he was going to run to be an Arizona representative of District 1. He’s hoping to replace Ann Kirkpatrick.
My wife and I didn’t bring any signs, and we didn’t yell at all, but we just wanted to be there to add to the numbers and get more politically active. (OK, it was mostly my idea. I was the one who heard about the tea party and wanted to go, but my wife agrees with me pretty much politically, and we vote virtually identically, because we discuss the propositions and candidates and usually come to an agreement on what’s best.)
We saw a lot of funny and cool posters there. Here’s what some of them said:
Keep your hands off my piggy bank!
I see debt people.
Read the bill.
Madoff billions, Obama trillions
Obama, thanks for the change- that’s all I’ve got left.
Just Say no to socialism
Born free, taxed to death
Don’t spread the wealth; spread my work ethic
Don’t Stimulate … Liberate
Give us liberty; not debt
HONK if I’m paying your mortgage
Next Time, Read the Bill Before You Sign It, Stupid
Obama: Commander and Thief
Reduce your government footprint
TEA = Taxed Enough Already
Universal health care make me SICK
Socialism smells like B.O.
I bet a lot of those people at the tea party got their poster ideas from this website or a website like it:
Here were a few funny slogans on the website that I didn’t see on July 4th:
Socialists Don’t Need no Stinkin’ Budget
GOD Only Requires 10%
And my favorite slogan is…
Oh … Now I See … Change Means Socialism
Overall, the tea party was great, and I like the tea party movement.
Hey, I’m part of a movement! Oh it’s so exciting! I hope the tea party movement generates hope and change I can believe in.
I don’t know if there will be another tea party anytime soon, but if there is, and my schedule is free, I’ll attend.
Friday, July 3, 2009
Here are some news articles and some of my thoughts about them.
This first one is an article about a reality TV game show where a bunch of atheists have to hang around a Christian priest, a imam, a rabbi, and a Buddhist monk for a long time. If any of the atheists convert, they win a trip to a holy place. If they turn Christian, they go to the Vatican; if they turn Muslim, they go to Mecca; if they turn Buddhist, they go to Tibet; if they turn Jewish, they go to Jerusalem. Pretty cool, huh? I’d like to watch that show. Some may say a show like that would cheapen religion, but I say I’d rather have a show like that than Temptation Island or Paris Hilton’s My New BFF.
This second one is about how scientists are trying to figure out a way to genetically modify cows so they don’t burp anymore, so they don’t release methane that contributes to global warming. Ha ha ha. Them crazy scientists.
I read this other one where some scientists were trying to see if pigeons could be art critics or something. Like, the scientists had a bunch of pigeons looking at art and then they watched their behavior. Ha ha ha. Them crazy scientists.
This last one is a feel-good story about American volunteers doing health checkups and giving free surgeries that are needed to poor people in other countries. They got this gigantic boat and filled it with doctors and nurses and medical supplies and they visited a bunch of little islands around Central America. A lot of Latter Day Saints contributed financially and with their time.
America and Mormonism rock!
This is the type of cultural imperialism motivated by love that I advocated when I wrote in a previous post:
But I kind of have the opinion that America has a moral obligation to peacefully spread democracy and capitalism and Christianity throughout the world. That’s a bold statement, but it’s what I believe. I believe that Americans should spread these wonderful things not with an attitude of pride or superiority, but out of a sincere desire for the happiness of the human family.
I hope you are doing well and I’ll see you later.
Uh-oh. I think I'm having My Political Identity Crisis, Part 2: Revenge of the Indecision!!!
OK, so I know it’s waaaayyy too early to talk about the 2012 elections, and conservatives ought to be concerned with getting more seats in the House and the Senate in 2010, but so what ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha !!!
let’s talk about 2012 anyway!!!
Word ‘round the campfire is that Sarah Palin won’t run for a second term as the Governor of Alaska. Hmmm… what will she do with all her free time? Maybe she’ll run for President of the U.S. of A.....
I’ll bet she will!
Go Sarah Palin!
She's a moose-hunting beauty queen!
She’s a pit-bull with lipstick!
She’s a hockey mom!
She's a maverick!
She’s a Christian! (Not just luke-warm Christian, either, like Barack Obama is. No, she's ultra-Christian! Sarah Palin was Pentecostal for a while, and Pentecostals are hardcore!)
I like her accent!
She has five kids, and she’s a loving mother.
Really. I’m not being sarcastic. I really like Sarah Palin. I really really do. Really really really.
The media has been ala-swiffern to her, though, and now I think that a lot of people have the general impression that she’s ditzy. But she’s smart! And she’s principled. It's not Sarah that's alawhutiest-woo, it's the media that's alawhutiest-woopert stoopert alaswiffern dun!
Maybe she should be a Senator, or a Representative, though, and not try to be the President.
Anyway, now I have to decide who should I vote for: Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, or Sarah Palin. Because they’ll probably all run in 2012.
Um, I think I’ll vote for Romney.
Oh, and remember when I said maybe I like Ron Paul a lot now, maybe more than I like Mitt Romney? Well, I changed my mind, and now my loyalty is back with Mitt Romney.
I think I’m becoming politically active! I sent this message to my two Arizona Senators, Senators McCain and Kyl:
I am a resident of Arizona and I am very concerned about the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, which you will be voting on soon. I fear that the passage of this bill will result in more wasteful government spending, higher energy prices, and the relocation of American manufacturing to foreign countries. I fear that although the bill would create more “green” jobs and more government jobs, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 would lead to the elimination of more jobs than it would create. With higher taxes on manufacturing companies and higher unemployment, it will only cause the current economic recession to drag on longer. Also, the very science of global warming is being disputed, so I think that taking such drastic measures as spending hundreds of billions of tax-payer money is inappropriate. Please vote no on this climate change bill and do all you can to stop this bill from becoming law. Thank you for your time.
And then I found out that Ann Kirkpatrick, the representative for District 1 of Arizona, a Democrat, voted no on the bill. Woo-hoo! Great job, Ann! I thought she might vote yes because she’s a Democrat and because she represents the most liberal part of the state, but to my happy surprise she voted no. Bless her heart.
So I wrote her this thank-you note:
Thank you for voting no on the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009. I think you made the right choice. Unfortunately, a lot of your fellow Representatives did not. Hopefully that bill can be stopped in the Senate. Thank you very much.
(I voted against Kirkpatrick last November, by the way. I voted for her Republican opponent, Sydney Hay. Sydney Hay wears cowboy hats all the time and I heard her speak at a rodeo :) )
I spent a lot of time watching House Minority Leader John Boehner debating against the climate change bill on You-Tube. Boehner is a brilliant man. I don’t know how that bill passed in the U.S. House of Representatives. I wonder if the Representatives who voted yes on it were accepting bribes.
One of my problems with the bill was its length. The bill was 1500 pages long, nobody read it all, and 300 pages were added at 3 a.m. the day it was voted on.
It gives Congress the power to spend hundreds of billions of dollars to fight global warming, even though human caused global warming isn’t real. It will jack up the price of energy, and so it will especially hurt the class of people liberal politicians are often so concerned about, “the working poor”. It will move a lot of manufacturing jobs overseas, because factories won’t want to spend a lot of their money on carbon credits.
blah blah blah the bill was so dumb blah blah blah
I think if the bill passes in the Senate, then Congress is going to borrow the billions and billions of dollars needed to enforce the new regulations. The government doesn’t actually have the money up front, so they’re going to have to pay interest, so after all is said and done, it will probably cost over a trillion dollars of taxpayer money.
Now, I do care about the environment. I really do. I’m all for research and development in alternative energy. (I don’t understand why we don’t use more nuclear energy. Nuclear energy is clean energy.) But, from what I understand, wind and solar power are just not as cost-effective as coal and nuclear power.
And global warming isn’t real!!!
I wonder how long it will take before people realize that human caused global warming isn’t really happening. A decade? Two decades? More and more CO2 is being emitted every year, partly because China and India are becoming more and more industrialized, and yet the average temperature of the Earth is not increasing, like Al Gore said it would. The evidence is slowly mounting against global warming. And I wonder how long it will take before most people realize that either a lot of well-intentioned scientists were wrong, or that the whole global warming thing was a huge moneymaking scam.
Have you noticed that they’ve stopped calling it “global warming” and started calling it “climate change”?
Hmmm… Why did they do that?
Is it because the Earth isn’t actually warming? Does Al Gore and Co. want us to forget that the Earth is supposed to be getting warmer as more CO2 is put into the atmosphere? Do they want us to think that SUV-driving humans are hurting the planet in some way, whether it causes the Earth to get hotter or cooler or whatever?
Perhaps in a decade or so, Al Gore will say, “OK, so we were wrong about one tiny little thing- carbon emissions actually causes the Earth’s temperature to decrease, really really slowly, but CO2 is still really bad for the planet, and we need to tax oil and gas companies in order for Mother Earth to be happy. Don't you care about polar bears?”
And what’s up with the hole in the ozone layer?
Is that still a crisis? Remember that? I remember when I was in middle school, everybody was freaked out about the hole in the ozone layer above Antarctica. Girls were supposed to stop using hairspray and switch to mousse. (Probably the most environmentally-friendly option was for girls to get dreadlocks. Everyone knows that dreadlocks are best for the environment.)
The media said that CFCs made the hole in the ozone layer bigger, and that was really bad for some reason. I don’t remember why.
Oh, I think they (environmentalists, quiffert politicians, liberals, scientists accepting bribes, etc.) said that eventually the ozone hole would get bigger and bigger until it swallowed the whole Earth and then the Sun’s rays would fry us all to death.
Uh-oh! What will happen when the hole in the ozone layer and global warming happen at the same time? We’re all doomed!
In other news, tomorrow, I’m going to a Tea Party! I missed the last one on April 15th, because I was in my communist literature class at the time.
Conservatives of Flagstaff, Unite!
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Hello, how are you doing?
I'm doing fine.
I’ve decided to put my first novel, Mickey on Friday on Telemoonfa Time. I just barely finished it today. I don’t want to try to get it published. I know that by putting it on this blog, anybody could steal it and put their name on it and try to publish it, but I don’t care. That probably won’t happen, but even if it does, oh well. I just want to call it finished and self-publish it via this blog and move on to other things.
Mickey on Friday is my first novel. I want to write more books, and I want them to be better than this one. I think this one is pretty cool, though.
I’d like feedback, if you have any. Leave feedback in the comments. Don’t hold back your impressions of the book, but be a little sensitive to my feelings. Be honest, but nice. Where did you get bored? What didn’t make sense? What characters did you like? Which ones didn’t you like? What parts of the novel did you think were quiffert, and which parts did you think were cool? Any other thoughts, comments, ideas and etc. are of course welcome.
I might do a revision of it.
Oh, and as with everything on Telemoonfa Time, don't feel like you have to read and/or comment on my first novel. I don't want reading this blog to feel like doing homework.
Oh, and Mickey on Friday is intended for adolescent audiences.
Without further ado, enjoy.
Mickey on Friday
“Magma Man could totally beat up Mr. Meteoroid!” Jeremy yelled at me. We were sitting on the school bus on a Monday afternoon, riding back to our neighborhood. We were freshmen, and we were happy.
“No way,” I said. “Mr. Meteoroid’s entire muscular system is made out of space-rock! He can’t be affected by heat damage!”
“Except for lava,” Jeremy said. “Come on, Mickey, there’s no way Mr. Meteoroid could withstand lava.” Jeremy was a good friend of mine, my best friend actually, but he had a way of talking about comic books that could get annoying. He thought he knew everything.
“Yes he could!”
“No he couldn’t. Remember in Magma Force issue number 217, Magma Man was-”
We were interrupted by crying.
“Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry,” a brown-haired girl across the aisle said. She had her arm around another girl who was sobbing. They were both middle-schoolers.
“I can’t believe this! I hate him!” The sobbing girl had her head in her arms and was clutching a cell phone. “I can’t believe he would dump me through a freaking text message!” The crying girl pressed a few buttons on her cell phone, then slammed it shut.
The brown-haired girl tried to be comforting. “I know, sweetheart, I’m so sorry.” Then she looked over at Jeremy and I and scowled. “What are you two looking at? Why don’t you mind your own business?”
Jeremy and I looked away as the girls across the aisle kept crying and talking. A hush fell over the bus. Everyone was quiet out of respect for the recently dumped. Or maybe they were just nosy and wanted to conveniently overhear juicy breakup details. Either way, the girls lowered their voices, and it wasn’t too long before the rest of the bus started their normal noise making again.
Then Jeremy asked me a question.
“Mickey, have you ever had a girlfriend?”
I froze. What kind of question was that? I looked around to see if anybody else was listening in, waiting to hear my answer. Nobody was. Jeremy and I had been friends since elementary school, and we had never talked about girls or relationships or anything like that. We always stuck to safe topics, like homework or comic books or TV. We never talked about love. And why did he have to bring it up here, on the bus?
“Mickey, have you ever had a girlfriend?” Jeremy asked me again.
“No,” I said. I felt ashamed. There was a pause. “Have you?”
Jeremy looked away, and I looked out the window, my cheek leaning against the glass. I adjusted the backpack at my feet and watched the familiar buildings go by. We passed some fast food restaurants, a supermarket, some other buildings, and then we got to our neighborhood. I recognized all these houses. I’ve seen them go by on bus trips ever since I was in kindergarten.
I looked up at the bus driver while Jeremy was rummaging through his backpack. I’ve known the bus driver for a long time. His name is Manny, and he’s been driving this bus for as long as I can remember. Manny’s an old Mexican guy who usually looks old and tired, like he’s lived a really long life. But he’s a friendly old man. Whenever anybody gets on the bus he always looks them right in the eyes, smiles, and simply says, “Hello. It’s good to see you.” And when you get off the bus, he always says, “Goodbye. See you later.” He never says anything else. Those are the only two things he ever says. “Hello. It’s good to see you,” and “Goodbye. See you later.” I think that’s all he says because his English is bad. Some students say that Manny’s an illegal immigrant, but I don’t know about that.
So there Jeremy and I are, sitting next to each other, not talking. We hardly ever had awkward silences, but that was one of them.
I didn’t mind that I never had a girlfriend. Lots of people don’t get girlfriends until they’re juniors or seniors in high school. But it was pretty much the rule that if you didn’t have a girlfriend before you graduated, you were a loser.
It was Jeremy’s stop, so he quickly said goodbye to me, and I said goodbye to him, and he got off the bus. Two blocks later Manny stopped the bus again, and I walked to the front of the bus.
“Bye Manny.” I said.
“Goodbye. See you later,” Manny said to me as I went down the two steps and on to the asphalt. I walked by a few houses, got to my doorway, and looked around. Nobody was there. I picked up a fake rock, opened a little camouflaged compartment, and got the house key out. Stepping inside my house, I put my backpack down, and decided to eat popcorn. Mom was still at work.
Cooking popcorn in the microwave is tricky. Leave it in too long, and it’s burnt. Don’t leave it in long enough and you’ve got a bunch of un-popped kernels in your buttery paper bag. But this time I did a pretty good job. I ripped open the bag, got a fistful of steaming popcorn, and stuffed it into my mouth. Why did Jeremy have to point out that I had never had a girlfriend? I sat on the couch, picked up the remote control from the coffee table, and pointed it at the black, silent screen. As I was about to push the power button, I stopped. Suddenly I didn’t feel like watching TV. I put some popcorn in my mouth and chewed.
I was still on the couch when Mom came home.
“Hey pumpkin,” she said. I was 14 and she still called me pumpkin. I guess that was her one way of sounding sweet.
“How was school?”
“I brought dinner,” Mom said. She set a box of pizza on the kitchen table, put her keys on a little hook on the wall, and started taking off her high-heeled shoes.
“How was work?”
“Did you sell any houses?” I asked. Mom was a real estate agent.
“Not today,” she said quietly. She came over close to the couch where I was lying. The empty popcorn bag was on the floor and the TV was off. I must have looked depressed, because she asked me, “Are you OK?”
“Why isn’t the TV on?”
“I don’t know.” I really didn’t know. We always kept the TV on. “I guess I just didn’t feel like watching it.”
“Hmmm… well we can’t keep it off for too long. My show’s on in about…” she got her sparkly pink cell phone out of her pocket to look at the time. Her fingernails matched her phone. “twenty minutes. Hey, you want some pizza? It’s got mushrooms and ham and bell peppers and, uh…” she took a bite out of a slice. “other yummy stuff.”
“Aren’t you on a diet?”
“Yeah. Oh, you know, sort of.”
Mom took another big chomp. She looked sadder than usual. I don’t know why I brought up the dieting subject. Mom’s always mad about how much she weighs, even though she’s really not that fat. I’d call her medium. But talking about dieting with my Mom never goes well. Talking with her about dieting is almost as bad as talking with her about dating. Not that we’ve ever had an intelligent, mature conversation about dating. It’s more like Mom whines about men when she’s drunk, and I try to ignore her without being too mean.
I got up, headed to my room, and shut the door behind me. In a few minutes, I heard the TV come on, and Mom was giggling with someone on the phone.
The next day I was sitting in English, listening to Mrs. Kortchek blabber on about metaphors for the fifth time. I usually like English, because Jeremy’s in there, and because it’s not as boring as math. Mrs. Kortchek was standing behind her lectern, the way she always does. I think she’s the only high school teacher in the whole universe who uses a lectern. She must stand behind it because it makes her look more intimidating. I don’t blame her, though. She’s short and gray-haired. She needs all the help she can get looking tough.
Mrs. Kortchek pointed to the chalkboard with a long pointer-stick. “Here’s an example of a metaphor, ‘His heart was a stone.’ Hearts can’t really be stones. That’s ridiculous. And remember, class, that a metaphor is a comparison between two things.” She kept blabbering on about metaphors while I zoned out.
I already knew what metaphors were. We went over them every year. Who really cares about metaphors anyway? The only thing on my mind was women. Actually, “women” weren’t on my mind; a woman was on my mind. One woman. The woman sitting in the desk right in front of me, within reach, Sarah Brighton.
I use the term “woman” without hesitation. Because even though Sarah’s really a teenager, only fourteen or fifteen years old, like all us freshmen are, she looks and acts like a woman. Just like a full-blown woman. No, not even the word “woman” does her justice. Sarah Brighton is a queen, and I am her lowly servant. She’s polite, she’s smart, she’s gorgeous, she’s perfect.
She’s also Randall’s girlfriend.
This particular Tuesday her blonde hair was done up in a lavish swirl, a swirl that was held in place by a plastic hair clip in the shape of a pink butterfly. Here and there little pearls decorated her hairdo. I stared at her hair and the back of her head for a good while, and then let my eyes drift down to the back of her neck. What a beautiful neck! So smooth and pink. I inhaled, and smelled what must have been the fragrance of perfume or scented lotion. It smelled like strawberries. Or maybe it was Sarah’s natural scent. I soaked in the aroma again, and then my eyes went down to her upper back, where the top of her shirt began. Her skin just above the lacy collar of her blouse was unblemished, pure and young. How I wanted to feel it!
Finally, the back of the chair she was sitting in jutted into my view, blocking my eyes from the remainder of Sarah Brighton’s back. The rest of her body was left to my imagination.
This was the way I saw Sarah most, when I sat behind her in English class. Her hair, her neck, her upper back. Of course, I saw her now and then when she was walking around campus, and sometimes I saw her at lunchtime, but I never got up the nerve to talk to her. It’s not like we were in any of the same clubs or sports or anything. And we had different groups of friends; we never really had a reason to talk. Plus, Randall doesn’t let other guys get too close to her. So I merely sat quietly behind her in English class, looked at her, and enjoyed her while I could, in these fleeting English classes.
“Mickey! Hello! Earth to Mickey!” Mrs. Kortchek was glaring at me. “What is your answer Mr. Marshall?”
“I don’t know,” I stuttered. Wow, I hadn’t even noticed that the lights were out and the class was looking at an overhead transparency. “I uh… I didn’t understand the question. Sorry.”
“The question is, which one of these sentences contains a metaphor?”
I quickly scanned the sentences. “The last one.”
“Good. Try to answer quicker next time.”
The first time I ever met Sarah Brighton was way back in third grade. “Met” isn’t really the right word. That makes it sound like Sarah and I are equals, just meeting each other and having brunch or something. Maybe I should say that I “encountered” Sarah, or I that “had a vision” of Sarah.
Anyway, it was back in third grade, during recess, and Jeremy and I were playing with toy cars in a sandbox. It was a bright spring day, before Arizona got scorching hot. I remember the carefree attitude of elementary school, the birds flying overhead, and the fresh smell of grass and sand had Jeremy and I blissful.
“Vroom vroom! Police officer reporting sir, what’s the problem?” Jeremy moved a little toy police car through the sand.
“Help me! Help me! The cave just collapsed on me!” I called, holding a red convertible buried in the sand. I poked a little hole in the sand with my free hand, and sand from the top of the little mountain started falling.
“Oh no- now the cave is falling on me, too!” Jeremy said, “I’ve got to go get backup.” He moved the little police car over to an ambulance sitting on the wooden railing on the edge of the sandbox. “We got a situation 92 emergency over here! I repeat, a situation 92 emergency!” Jeremy started to move the police car and the ambulance back to the sand cave when a giant shoe came out of nowhere, smashing our sand city.
The shoe belonged to Randall. (Yes, this was the same Randall who is now Sarah Brighton’s boyfriend. It’s a long story.)
“Oh no!” Your city is being attacked by a monster- me!” Randall yelled. “Sorry nerds, it looks like your sissy sand castle is smashed into little itty-bitty bits!” Then Randall started kicking sand into our faces.
“Randall, cut it out! That’s not fair!” I said, trying to be brave.
“So what? Life isn’t fair!” Then he kicked more sand into my face, but I closed my eyes and turned my head. But Jeremy got some sand in his eyes, and he started to cry.
Randall turned to Jeremy. “Aww… is the little baby crying?” Randall said in a whiny baby voice. “Here, let me make it all better.” He picked up a fistful of sand and was about to shove it into Jeremy’s face when all three of us in the sandbox heard-
“Put that sand down!”
We looked up and saw a girl standing just outside the sandbox. A jump rope trailed from her right hand like a whip.
“I said put that sand down!” The girl, who acted very much like a woman, was dressed in white tennis shoes, a pink skirt, and a white T-shirt with a picture of a butterfly on it. Her long blonde hair was in a ponytail, which was tied with a white ribbon that flapped gently in the breeze like a flag.
The anger left Randall’s face. “Who are you?”
“I’m a girl,” she said matter-of-factly. “I’m a new girl.”
None of us knew who she was, or why exactly she commanded our attention, but we all knew she was beautiful. OK, maybe way back in third grade we really didn’t know what beautiful was, but somehow I knew that she wasn’t just a girl, she was a woman- a woman who commanded the respect of males everywhere.
“Never bother these boys again,” she looked right into Randall’s eyes and pointed at him. “Let them play in the sandbox as long as they like. After they’re done, then you can play in the sandbox. Understood?”
Randall stood there like a monkey looking at a human for the first time.
“I said is that understood?”
”Yeah. I mean, Yes, it is understood, ma’am.”
“Good.” The girl turned, her pink skirt twirling, and started jump roping away.
“Wait.” I was so overcome with the singularity of the whole situation that I
could hardly get any words out. I called again, “Wait, please!”
She turned to look at me. I looked at her, and when her eyes met mine, she seemed to look straight through my skin and into my soul. I nearly collapsed. Awestruck, yet wanting to know more, I attempted to speak with her. I knew her time was precious, because women like her always have important things to do, but I had to know the name of my rescuer. “Please, lady, please, tell me your name.”
The woman peered deeper into my eyes. “Sarah,” she said. “Sarah Brighton.” I thought she gave me a slight smile, but I couldn’t be sure. She twirled, and then she was gone.
“Mickey!” I was back in English class and Mrs. Kortchek was yelling at me. I must have zoned out again.
“Do you understand the assignment?”
“Yeah… yes, I do.” I tapped a finger to my head. “It’s all up here.” Really I had no idea what happened in that whole period, except that Sarah Brighton had been sitting in front of me.
When the bell rang, all the students rushed into the hallway. I did too, but I slowed down to get one more look at Sarah. Sarah and Randall came out of the English classroom together, holding hands.
I walked off alone.
Next period was gym. I went into the locker room, changed into a pair of gray shorts and a plain black T-shirt, and went out to the basketball court for attendance. I saw my friend, Heber, and stood next to him.
Every class period I try to find a friend. Not like a best friend, but just somebody I can stand next to, or be a study partner with. I’m not co-dependant or anything; I just don’t want to look like a loner.
Because if you’re by yourself for too long, eating alone in the cafeteria, for example, you might get bored; you might start playing with your food. Maybe you’ll take the top bun off you hamburger, to reveal the greasy canvas of a beef patty, make a pair of eyeballs out of pickles, a mouth out of a French fry, and maybe you’ll give your new hamburger friend a wavy mustard hairdo. You might imagine that it’s asking you a question. All you have to do is answer your hamburger’s question while a teacher happens to pass by and then- BAM! You’re dragged into the counselor’s office; he straps a gigantic magnet to your head, and starts asking you about how you treat animals.
I want to avoid the counselor’s office, so that’s why I stood next to Heber. The whole class was lined up on the basketball court boundary while Mr. Bullham took attendance.
“Ready for gym?” I asked Heber.
“Ready for death?” Heber had a morbid sense of humor.
After attendance, Mr. Bullham blew his whistle and yelled at us, and we all began jogging around the basketball court. Being whistled at kind of made me feel like a dog, but such is gym class, and such is life.
“Move it! Let’s go!” Mr. Bullham boomed. “Those calories aren’t going to burn themselves!”
Gym class was always the same routine: attendance, jogging while Mr. Bullham whistles and yells, and then some humiliating sport. Whether it was basketball or football or soccer or dodge ball, it was all pretty much the same. The small and the weak were terrified while the more athletic kids were sticking out their chests, grunting, laughing, or tackling. Gym class was practically a time when bullies could get good grades for beating up nerds.
I was jogging slower than I could have, but I was staying behind most of the class to jog with Heber, who was puffing along miserably. Heber always had a rough time in gym. First of all, he had no depth perception, so he was bad at throwing things at a target, and second, he was fat.
“What did you do last night?” I asked Heber.
“Played video games?”
“Congratulations. You get a cookie. I made it out of my dog’s brains.” Heber let out a half-chuckle, between gasps for air. I was thinking about Heber’s mental health when out of nowhere a beefy shoulder rammed into my back. I stumbled and nearly fell, but I regained my balance and kept jogging. I knew who it was without even looking.
“Oh, sorry gentlemen, I didn’t see you there.” It was Randall. “I guess I should pay better attention next time.” He laughed and sprinted ahead while Heber and I kept plunking along. My back throbbed with pain. Yes, it was the same Randall from the sandbox in third grade. And yes, it was the same Randall who had somehow conned Sarah Brighton into dating him.
Mr. Bullham blew a series of three short, sharp whistles to signal us to stop jogging. Mr. Bullham put his hand under his T-shirt and scratched, revealing a glimpse of a bulging hairy stomach. He waited for the class to gather around him. “Alright, everybody! Come on over here! I got something to say.”
Mr. Bullham stopped scratching his stomach and started pointing at us. “Listen up. Every day after school from now on, I’m going to keep the weight room open for anybody who wants to use it. It’s called open weight room or whatever. If you go to open weight room you can ride the after-school activity bus home.” Mr. Bullham looked at Randall. “Now you can get bulked up for the ladies, right Randall?”
“I already got a lady, coach.” Randall said proudly. Randall always called Mr. Bullham ‘coach’ becasue Randall was on the freshman football team that Mr. Bullham coached.
“Oh yeah, that’s right, you’re with that Brighton girl, aren’t you?”
“Yes sir.” Randall folded his arms and smirked.
I wanted to punch Randall. I wanted to punch Mr. Bullham, too.
“Well, Sarah, she’s a looker, alright.” Mr. Bullham belched. “Excuse me! Wooo! I must of drank too much beer! Root beer, that is. OK, so, for any of you guys who want to catch up with Mr. Love Machine linebacker, here, you can come on in after school and pump some iron. And for the ladies,” he looked over at a group of pudgy girls near the back, “I bet you all want to firm up those thighs and tummies so you can look good in one of them bikinis! Spring Break’s right around the corner!” Mr. Bullham looked at the males in the group again. “But let me tell you, guys, you’re going to have a tough time competing with Randall. Hey Randall, how much are you benching these days?”
“Just broke 200 last night, coach.”
“Woo-hoo! 200! Alright! Did you hear that, class? Randall can bench press 200 pounds! Woo-ee! Isn’t that something? Hey, Randall, why don’t you flex for the class? We wanna see them guns!”
“All right, coach,” Randall rolled up his right shirtsleeve, raised his arm and flexed. “Anybody wanna feel it?”
A girl in the middle of the group jumped up and wiggled her hand in the air. “I’ll feel it!” She pushed her way through the crowd of sweaty students and touched Randall’s bicep. First she poked it with her index finger, and then she ran her open palm up and down Randall’s entire arm.
“Ooooh.” She said. She grabbed his bicep with both hands and squeezed as hard as she could. “Dang, this thing’s like a rock!” She let go, stepped back looked at Randall’s arm in awe. “Can I feel the other one?”
“Sure.” Randal raised his left arm, made a fist, and pulled up the sleeve of his T-shirt. Another girl slipped in and caressed Randall’s right arm. “Hey girls, just don’t tell Sarah I let you feel my muscles, alright?”
Mr. Bullham blew his whistle. “All right, good job Randall! Ok, now, everybody go get a basketball. It’s basketball time! Woo-hoo!”
Everybody scattered in confusion while Mr. Bullham kept blowing his whistle and yelling things like, “Hey, cut that out!” and “Let’s see some hustle!” Some ran off to get basketballs, some went to the bathroom, and some people started shouting at each other about which team they were on. Heber and I didn’t move.
Then I had an idea. “Hey Heber, follow me. And don’t say anything.”
Heber followed me as I walked, as inconspicuously as possible, to the drinking fountain. I took a drink, and then looked around to find Mr. Bullham. He was on the other side of the gym, with his back toward me, feeling Randall’s biceps. I quietly slipped out a door into the lobby, and Heber followed me. We took a few quick steps past a trophy case, and then we went through a set of double doors, which led to the outside. The warm afternoon greeted us with its big beautiful sky. I looked back at Heber and said, “We’re free!”
Heber looked at me in disbelief. “This is crazy. What are we doing? Hey, Mickey, this is crazy. You’re crazy. We’re outside, and we’re supposed to be inside.”
“I know. Are you scared?”
“No. But… it’s like, I don’t know what to do with myself! It’s like I’m an Swayson Elf and I just busted out of the Torken jewel-factory.” Heber was walking around in circles, flapping his arms around. “It’s crazy!” Heber pulled out an imaginary wand and pointed it at a cactus. “Ala-spalacken!”
I didn’t know what Heber was talking about, but it was probably video game stuff. I grabbed Heber by the arm and started pulling him with me. “Come on. Let’s get out of here.” We walked by a brick building, towards the faculty parking lot, and then we saw the desert across the street. We walked through the parking lot, passed the fake green lawns of the high school, and went towards the beautiful desert.
“Uh… Mickey, we’re breaking about 5,000 rules right now.”
“I don’t care. Don’t worry about it. Use your magic power!”
“You know nothing of my magic power.” Heber said.
We looked both ways and ran across the street. We walked into the desert a little ways, and then stopped behind a big palo verde tree, where nobody from campus could see us.
Wow, I was really ditching! I could get detention for this. I had never done anything like this before. I had always been a well-behaved student. But something big was happening in my life right now. Something really big, and I couldn’t describe it.
Out of nowhere, I started screaming at Heber.
“I’m in love with Sarah Brighton, OK? Heber, did you hear that?”
Heber looked a little scared.
“I’m in love with Sarah and I’m in hate with Randall! I mean, who does that guy think he is, anyway? Strutting around all the time, letting those girls rub his arms all over? Did you see that? It’s just ridiculous! I can’t stand it! I don’t know why I have to sit by the sidelines and witness all the injustice in the world. Because that’s what it is Heber, it’s injustice, and in America, citizens are free! I’m supposed to be free, Heber. I’m supposed to pursue my own happiness and my destiny and right now I am not happy!”
I picked up a small rock and threw it as hard as I could at a tree. I sat on the ground, took off one of my shoes, and started beating it violently against the earth. My shoe started making a little hole in the ground, and I was covered in dust. I looked at Heber again. “Listen to me, Heber, you and I are very very very cool people. Did you know that? I sincerely believe that you are a cool guy. You know? And I am too! I don’t think sports are important, I don’t think school dances are that cool, but I know that you’re cool. I mean, I know I don’t know you really well. But surely you must realize that you and me are not on the top of the metaphorical food chain? The popularity totem pole? People don’t think we’re cool, OK? But we are cool, and I’m not at all concerned with what people think about us.” I took a few quick breaths. “I want to get a chick, Heber, I want to get a chick. OK, and, I mean… don’t you want to get a chick?”
“Uh… yeah.” Heber said.
“Of course you do!” I exploded back. “You’re a good man, Heber, you deserve a nice woman. I shouldn’t call them ‘chicks’. I should call them ‘women’. Or ‘girls’, whatever the case may be. Anyway, I want a woman, that’s what I’m trying to say. Anyway, but, I’m not going to settle for just any woman. Oh no. I’m going after Sarah Brighton!” I stood up and started wiggling my shoe in Heber’s face. “Do you hear? I’m going after Sarah! That’s right! You can go after whoever you like, as long as it’s not Sarah, because… because…”
I was at a loss. For a moment I couldn’t think of why I should deserve Sarah more than Heber should deserve her. We were both pretty cool guys. I sat down and bashed my shoe into the ground again. A cactus needle worked it’s way into my gym shorts and poked my thigh.
Then it came to me. Suddenly I knew why I deserved Sarah more than Heber did. I looked back at Heber. “Because I love her more than you do! Plain and simple. My love is bigger and greater than your love. OK? I will tell her of my love and she won’t be able to resist it. I am not water! OK! I do not take the shape of the container I am put in. I am a man- I make containers and I break containers. And I don’t even use containers if I don’t feel like using containers, you know what I mean? Heber, do you understand what I’m saying?”
“I think so,” said Heber.
“OK, then repeat everything I said back to me, because I forgot a lot of it.”
I paced back and forth and kicked up dust while Heber struggled to tell me what I had just told him. “Umm... you said a lot of stuff right now, Mickey. And you said it really fast, and honestly I’m a little frightened of you, but some of what you said is: you’re in love with Sarah, you hate Randall, and you’re ready to do something about it. You’re gonna go out there and get her. And you also said stuff about America and containers and-”
“That’s right,” I interrupted. “This is America and I have the right to be happy and I’m not happy without Sarah. That’s it. I’m not happy without her, so I’m going to pursue her because I am a man! OK. Today is the day that I start my quest- my holy quest, after Sarah, and after love.”
Heber’s faced brightened up. He waved an imaginary sword with one hand and picked up a handful of dirt with the other. “I also am pursuing a woman!” He sliced an invisible enemy and grunted as he threw his handful of dirt at a cactus.
“You are? Heber, that’s wonderful! Who?”
“Julia Hatchet.” His eyes were fixed on something in the air in front of him.
“Julia Hatchet? Who’s that?” I asked.
“Hast thou not heard of Julia Hatchet? She is a sorceress, and she is the fairest of all the maidens of the sun.”
That outburst was just what I needed. A few minutes in the sun, the freedom of the desert, and I was a new man. I was calm again.
Heber and I went back to the gym, where everybody was running around in basketball chaos, and some students asked us where we had been for the last fifteen minutes. I made something up about Heber having trouble with the padlock on his locker. We both joined some students who weren’t actually playing a game of basketball; they were just talking and casually throwing free throws now and then. See, when Mr. Bullham says, “It’s basketball time,” he doesn’t really care what you do as long as he sees students throwing basketballs and running around now and then. As for calling fouls and settling disputes, Mr. Bullham has a very hands-off approach. He doesn’t interfere if there isn’t any blood.
The rest of the class passed quickly. I was just happy that I didn’t have another confrontation with Randall.
I was calm again, but I wasn’t so calm that I lost sight of my goal. I meant what I had said to Heber earlier, out there in the desert across from the school. I was going to win the affections of Sarah. Now, I wasn’t going to run madly around campus, find Sarah and spew out love-crazed nonsense at her; I was going to act normal. So normal, in fact, that no passer-by would be able to detect what I had on my mind.
After gym class, I went into the hallway and saw Jeremy.
“Hey Jeremy,” I said.
“Hey Mickey.” We leaned up against the white brick wall. We had a few minutes before we had to get to our next class. I was wondering if I should tell him about my feelings for Sarah. We hadn’t brought up the love subject since the bus ride yesterday afternoon. Jeremy was my best friend, so I thought that I should open up to him. I sort of wanted to talk with him about more important things than comic books, TV, or homework. I was thinking of a good way to bring up the subject when Jeremy said, “So do you know what your poem is going to be about?”
“The English class poem. Remember, our homework?” Jeremy stared at me.
“Oh yeah. I mean, no.” That sounded dumb. “I remember that there was an assignment, but I don’t remember what the assignment was. I was kind of daydreaming in English about… well, I was thinking about… I missed the assignment.”
“Don’t worry, it’s not that hard. All you have to do is write a poem and read it out loud to the class tomorrow. The poem can be about anything you want, and it can rhyme, if you want. See, none of that matters. All that matters is that it has to have at least one simile and one metaphor.” Jeremy put his hands in his pockets. “I think my poem’s going to be about what we were talking about on the bus yesterday, about Mr. Meteoroid and Magma Man fighting.”
“That sounds cool.” Really I didn’t think it sounded cool at all.
“My poem will probably end up sounding really nerdy, but I don’t care.” Jeremy said as he shrugged his shoulders. “I think it’ll be cool.” Jeremy took his hands out of his pockets and shifted his backpack, which was wedged between his back and the wall.
We stood there leaning against the wall, watching the students pass us as they were heading to their next class or to wherever they were going. A group of three tough-looking seniors walked by. They held their chins up, swayed their arms a lot, and didn’t say anything. The tallest one was between the two others, and he looked like the toughest of the three. He was scanning the hallway, as if he was daring anybody to challenge him to a fight.
Some laughing girls passed by. They were linked in each other’s arms at the elbows, and they leaned forward when they walked. From what I caught of their conversation, they were gossiping about someone.
Finally a boyfriend and girlfriend walked by, holding hands. They looked happy.
“What were you daydreaming about?” Jeremy asked me.
“You said you were daydreaming in English class. What were you daydreaming about?”
“Oh, I…I can’t even remember. It was probably about comic books or something.” I shifted my weight from one foot to the other and looked at my watch. Jeremy looked away from me, and from the corner of my eye, I thought I saw him smiling.
“I think I know what you were daydreaming about, Mickey.”
A knot tied in my stomach. I didn’t mind talking about this subject to a nutcase like Heber, but Jeremy was a different story. I looked at Jeremy. “What?” I asked.
I didn’t say anything.
“And not just any girl. You were drooling over Sarah Brighton.” He said it smugly, as if he knew he was right. Of course, he was right. I had spent so many English classes staring at Sarah’s hair, neck, upper back, and shoulders. I blushed and looked away.
“How’d you know?” I said.
“Come on, it’s kind of hard not to notice. You stare at her every day. It’s like you’re stalking her or you’re a pervert or something.”
I looked at Jeremy in disbelief. “What? You don’t know what you’re talking about. You have no idea what you’re talking about, OK?” I was practically yelling at him. I surprised myself. I had never yelled at Jeremy before. I lowered my voice and started again. “I’m sorry. Look, I didn’t mean to yell, but,” I looked around to see if anybody was in earshot. “But don’t call me a pervert. I like, Sarah, OK? That’s it. I like her. It’s normal, OK?”
“Hey, that’s cool. I’m just saying, it’s too bad there’s nothing you can do about it. Sarah is Randall’s girlfriend. She might as well wear a sign on her boobs that says, ‘Property of Randall. No trespassing. Violators will be pulverized.’”
“I know. You’re right.” I let out a deep breath. “Well, now you know a little more about me.” I bent down to re-tie my shoelace. It wasn’t undone, but the knot was getting loose, and I like my shoelaces tight, so I untied it and then re-tied it.
The next and final period of the day was science. We watched a movie about Mars. Mars is a pretty boring subject to me. Or at least at this time it seemed boring to me, because Mars had nothing to do with Sarah Brighton. But the dramatic voice-over guy tried to make Mars as exciting as possible.
“Mars. The mysterious red planet. One marked by beauty, yet fraught with rage.” It sounded like a movie trailer. “The spherical orb known to mankind as Mars is constantly spinning, twirling, whirling, like a top- yet not like a top, for this celestial body, unlike a child’s toy, will never fall. It cannot fall. For in space, there is no up, and there is no down. There is only blackness. There is only space.”
Watching a movie gave me a chance to relax, sit quietly in the dark and think about Sarah and my plans to woo her. Thank goodness we weren’t doing any experiments today. In my altered mental state, I couldn’t be trusted to handle a Bunsen burner or a dissecting knife.
I took out a piece of paper from my folder and started writing. Hmmm… what do girls like? What do they want? More importantly, what do they want out of a boyfriend? I wrote and wrote and wrote. I scribbled down a few options for winning Sarah and humiliating Randall, crossed out the ridiculous ones, and then simply wrote about my love for Sarah.
Somewhere in the middle of science class, I looked down at my paper and saw that it was filled with doodles of flowers, butterflies, and hearts. Funny, I didn’t even remember drawing those girly things. I must have been daydreaming again.
Twenty minutes left of class. I tried to draw a picture of Sarah, but I soon became frustrated. Representing her beauty on a piece of lined notebook paper in a science class was impossible. But I thought that even a skilled painter, with unlimited time and art supplies, couldn’t capture the beauty, grace and soul of Sarah Brighton.
The science teacher looked up from her crossword puzzle and smiled at me. Poor ignorant teacher. She had no idea what I was thinking about. The science teacher probably thought I was taking notes on the movie. She thought I was fascinated by Mars.
The bell rang. Science class was over, and I was free for the afternoon. Normally at this time I would go to the bus and go home, but today I had other plans. I walked a different way, heading towards the gym.
I went into the locker room, found my locker, undid my combination lock, and sat on a concrete bench painted blue. Nobody was around. I was untying my shoelaces when Mr. Bullham walked by. He stopped and came towards me.
“Mickey?” Mr. Bullham held a football in one hand, and twirled a set of keys with the other. “Mickey Marshall? Is that you?” He let out a big laugh that shook his belly. “Hot dog, it’s Mickey Marshall! Never thought I’d see you here outside of gym class. This ain’t where the chess club meets, you know.” He laughed again.
“I know. But you said in gym earlier that the weight room would be open after school today, right?” I asked.
“That’s right, it sure is.” Mr. Bullham clapped his hands together loudly. “Alright, way to go! Mickey Marshall’s staying after to pump some iron!” His voice boomed throughout the entire locker room. “I tell you, Mickey, all you gotta do is lift weights for two, maybe three months, and I’m telling you, the girls won’t be able to keep they’re hands off you. Yee-haw!”
I don’t know why he had to talk so loud. He was right in front of me. He clapped and laughed again. “Hey, Mickey, watch me catch this football.” Mr. Bullham tossed the football he had been holding, sending it spinning through the air a few feet ahead of him. He stuck his tongue out, watched the football, ran ahead, and caught it. “Woo-hoo! Touchdown!” Then he jogged off, shouting stuff about football.
As I watched him go, it occurred to me that Mr. Bullham and I were very different people.
I continued undressing, and just when I got down to my underwear, I heard a couple of guys come in to the locker room. Their shoes smacked noisily against the floor as they walked, and their voices echoed off the concrete walls. One of them was bragging about how big his truck was. “I’m telling you guys, this thing is huge. It’s red, and it’s got flames on it, and it’s just big. I’ll show it to you sometime.” He talked very loudly. What was it about the gym that made people talk so loud?
I tried to make myself disappear. Luckily, those guys didn’t come near where I was changing. They just passed by and ignored me. Not that I’m afraid of those muscular guys talking about their big trucks, it’s just that… it’s just that… well, OK, maybe I am a little afraid of them.
More and more guys came into the locker room, some guys who shoved each other around and laughed, some guys who were on the football team, and some guys who looked like bodybuilders. I finished changing into my gray shorts and my black T-shirt and walked towards the weight room. Nobody was in there. I must have been early.
When I stepped inside the weight room, I realized that I had never been there before. It’s funny, you would think that after almost a whole school year at Roosevelt High, I would have at least set foot inside the weight room, maybe on a guided tour or something. But no, I had never gotten around to seeing the weight room; the place was foreign to me.
An array of strange mechanical contraptions was spread before me. I knew what some of the things were. I’ve seen a bench-pressing thing before. What are those things called? Maybe it’s just called a bench press. But there were some machines with levers and pins and pulleys and pads in strange places- I had no idea what I was supposed to do with them.
But the strangest part about the whole weight room was the mirrors. Every wall, from floor to ceiling, was covered with mirrors. I turned around in a circle, and on every wall I saw my reflection. I walked up to one of the mirrored walls to get a closer look at myself.
I was scrawny, but I wasn’t without hope. I looked back at the door I had come through and around the weight room to see if anybody else had come in yet, but I was still alone. I looked at myself in the mirror again, right into the reflection of my eyes, and said out loud, “You’re going to get in to shape, Mickey Marshall, and you’re going to get Sarah Brighton.”
I walked over to a rack filled with dumbbells of various sizes. I thought I would start somewhere in the middle, so I tried to pick up one of the mid-sized dumbbells. I grabbed it by the handle and tried to pull, but the thing didn’t budge. I tried again with both hands, but the dumbbell just wasn’t moving. Hmm. Somebody must have pulled a prank and bolted that dumbbell down to the rack.
I moved down to the far left side of the rack where the really small dumbbells were. At the end of the rack, a pair of tiny, two-and-a-half pound weights sat there. They were darling. I picked them up, raised them above my head, and started doing what everybody in the weightlifting world calls “pumping iron.” I held the weights high above my head, as high as I could reach, and then twisted my wrists back and forth, from left to right, and from right to left. I did that for a minute or two, but I wasn’t sure if I was actually exercising any muscles that way, so I lowered the weights down to my shoulders, letting the edge of the dumbbells lightly touch my ears, and then lifted them back up again. Then I lowered them again and then I lifted them again.
After I raised the two-and-a-half pound dumbbells over my head a few times, I decided to lift the weights the way men in prisons do. Or, at least that’s the way the prison inmates in the movies lift weights. I think I had heard somewhere that it’s called “curling.” Or maybe it wasn’t called “curling.” “Curling” is a European sport, I think. Although, I guess it could be both a sport and a weight-lifting term.
I sat down on a black, padded bench nearby and spread my knees apart. I held the dumbbell in my right hand, lowered it between my knees and then lifted it back up, bending my elbow. Then I did it a second time. Then a third time. Then a fourth time. Then a few more times. My arm started to feel funny, so I thought it was time to switch arms. I wasn’t sure what I was doing exactly, but if somebody saw me doing it, they would probably think I was tough. And to make myself even tougher, I started grunting.
After a bit of “curling” or whatever I was doing, I looked at my reflection in the mirror again. Is this all weightlifting was? Lifting a hunk of metal over and over and over? Is this what kept some guys after school every day of the week, for their entire high school careers? Weightlifting seemed really repetitive. I had only been in the weight room for a few minutes, and I was already getting bored.
But then I remembered why I was there. I was there for Sarah.
I put the tiny weights back on the rack and started to pick up a bigger pair of dumbbells when I heard the door open. I looked, and a group of three guys came in. They were the guys who were talking about trucks earlier in the locker room. In a panic, I put the dumbbells back on the rack and retreated to the nearest thing I saw, a stationary bicycle, and tried to look busy.
“Hey, look, there’s a new guy,” the tallest one said. He started walking towards me. He had black hair, and one of his ears was pierced. By the way he moved, I could tell he was the leader of this group.
“Hi, how are you doing?” I said politely, trying not to look nervous.
“Huh.. uh… dude, um, let me give you a little hint, OK?” He walked up to the stationary bike and leaned his elbows on the control panel. He was only a few inches from my face. “Only dweebs use the bikes.”
“Yeah, dweebs and geezers,” one of his cronies said.
“Dweebs and geezers and chicks,” the other on said.
“Yeah, chicks,” They snickered.
He mashed a few buttons on the control panel, without even seeing what he was doing, and a bunch of beeping noises came out of the machine. Suddenly it was very hard to pedal. The other two guys laughed and slapped each other’s hands. I didn’t know what to do, I must have looked terrified, so I faked a laugh. The tallest guy backed off and gave me a little more space.
“So what’s your name?” he said.
“That name sucks.”
I smiled and nodded my head. Was he joking?
“You know what my name is? Guess my name.”
Guessing his name was the last thing I wanted to do. I kept pedaling and tried to look like I was thinking. My legs were starting to “feel the burn,” as they say in the weight room world. Or at least that’s what Mr. Bullham yells at us when we do sit-ups and pushups.
“Come on, just make a guess, dude.” He looked frustrated with me. “Any guess. I don’t got all day.”
Jokes usually smooth over uncomfortable situations, so I tried to make a joke. “Rumplestilskin?” I said.
His jaw dropped, and his tongue hung out a little bit.
Clearly this guy knew nothing of German folklore.
He made a fist and put put his knuckles on my chin. Yikes!
I brought my hands in front of my face and quickly said, “I was just kidding about Rumplesteelskin! I don’t think that’s really your name, not at all - I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to say that - really, look, it was supposed to be a joke but I guess it wasn’t really that funny. See, it’s from this story, a fairy tale actually, about this young maiden who-”
“Shut up and guess a real name!” He screamed. I stopped pedaling. “I’ll give you one hint, Mickey: it’s better than your name.”
“Patrick?” I squeaked.
He stared at me for a moment and put his head in his hands. He laughed, took a few steps back, put his hands on his hips, and then looked back up at me and said, “Mickey, I’m gonna be real honest with you, OK?” He took a few steps towards me. “I don’t like you.”
“Dude, his name isn’t Patrick.” It was one of the other two guys. He had his arms folded and seemed very serious. Both guys were watching this confrontation, looking very serious.
The tallest guy with the black hair and earring got even closer to me, pointed to his chest and yelled, “My name is Bulldog, OK? It’s Bulldog! Don’t call me Patrick! Don’t you ever call me Patrick! I’m Bulldog!” Bulldog rubbed his hands together and paced back and forth. Then he stopped pacing and pointed at me again. “Listen, Mickey, you’ve got one more chance to prove yourself. I’m gonna lay down on this bench, right here…” He lay down on a bench. “And you’re gonna get me my free weights. I start with the military press. Get me the 45s.” It was dead silent again.
I got off the stationary bike and walked around. “Free weights? You mean the dumbbells?” I pointed to the dumbbells on the rack.
Bulldog let out a deep breath, as if he were trying to control his anger. “No, I don’t mean the dumbbells, Mickey. Those aren’t dumbbells, OK? Only nerds and old farts call ‘em dumbbells. Those are free weights.” He sat up and got even louder. “They’re called free weights because you can pick em up and uh… they’re all free or something, alright? Gimmie the weights, dweeb!”
I walked along the rack of free weights and got to the forty-five pound dumbbells, or free weights, or whatever they were. They were bigger than the ones that were bolted down earlier. I grabbed one of them with both hands, but the thing wouldn’t move. I let go, put a different grip on it, flexed my whole body, let out a few grunts, and tugged and tugged at the dumbbell. Still nothing.
I looked back at Bulldog, who was on the bench, covering his face with his hands, and was about to explain to him that I was new to the weight room, and I was only a freshman, and the weight was just too heavy for me.
“Get out.” Bulldog pointed to the door. “Just get out, man.”
I sniffed back a tear and left.
I went back in the locker room and changed back into my normal clothes. Luckily there was nobody around to see that I had been crying.
I sat on the blue, concrete bench and looked at my watch. 3:17. The bus was gone by now. I had almost two hours until the after-school bus came. Jeremy was probably wondering where I was. Maybe Manny, the bus driver, was wondering where I was too. And I didn’t tell Mom that I was staying after school. But Mom probably wouldn’t notice I was late. And if she does notice, she probably won’t care.
Feeling a little bored, I put my backpack on, left the locker room, walked down the empty hallway, and went out the door. Once I stepped outside, my body felt the change of going from an air-conditioned building to the outside, outside in Arizona in the spring. A light breeze blew some tree limbs back and forth. They were pretty trees, but they were fake. Well, they weren’t actually fake trees, but these types of trees wouldn’t naturally grow here. They had to plant them and water them on a regular basis. Otherwise they’d die. Same thing with the green grass. The lawns looked pretty, I guess, but the grass wouldn’t naturally grow on this high school campus. We lived in a desert.
I strolled over to a giant tree and sat beneath it to get out of the sun. There was a calmness and a silence about the school that is rarely found during normal school hours. Nobody was walking around. Nobody was heading to classes. It was just me and the trees and the grass, sidewalks, and the big brick buildings.
I took in a deep breath.
I had nothing to do.
Hmmm. It was kind of funny. The plan I had thought up in science class during that stupid Mars movie was to lift weights after school every day for a few weeks, and then Sarah would notice me. Looks like that plan lasted only a few minutes.
I didn’t care about that plan failing, though. If those guys in the weight room didn’t want me around, I didn’t want to be around them. I had better things to do with my time than hang around with idiotic jerks like them.
I picked up a twig from the ground and started breaking it into smaller pieces. Suddenly it occurred to me that if a teacher saw me sitting around the school unsupervised, I would get in trouble. I stood up, thought about where to go, and then decided to go to that spot in the desert Heber and I had found earlier. The teachers couldn’t bother me if I was off-campus.
After stopping by a drinking fountain, I walked through the grass and through the faculty parking lot, and then I crossed the road. I went right to the spot in the desert where I had vented to Heber while we were ditching gym. The little hole I had beaten into the ground with my shoe was still there. I put my backpack on the ground, looked around, cleared away some rocks and sticks with my shoes, and sat down.
I got out a blank piece of paper and started writing. I wrote, “Dear Sarah, Hi, this is Mickey. I sit behind you in English. I’m writing you a letter because there’s something that I have to tell you that I can’t keep quiet about anymore. You’re beautiful, you’re so beautiful, and I know you’re dating Randall, but maybe,” I stopped writing. I wadded up the paper and threw it at a cactus.
The wad of paper sat there on the ground, at the foot of the cactus. I put my head in my hands and looked at the white crumpled ball for a while. It looked uncomfortable, out of place. There it was, an artificial white clump of paper, against the backdrop of the brown earth and the prickly, green cactus. It seemed to stare back at me.
Then the crumpled wad of paper started talking!
It said, “Mickey, I thought you were better than this. Are you really going to litter?” I looked away and folded my arms. I wasn’t in the mood for a lecture on the environment, especially one coming from an inanimate object. But the paper continued, “Mickey, I know you’re upset right now, I know that a lot of things are wrong, but that doesn’t give you the right to mess the world up.”
The paper was right. I always knew littering was wrong.
I walked over to the where the paper lay (???), picked it up, and put it in my pocket. That made me feel a little bit better about myself. I went back by the little hole in the ground and sat down again.
I tried to get my mind off of Sarah. But what else was there to think about? Homework? Yes, that’s right, homework. Jeremy had told me something earlier about an English assignment. A poem. That’s right, I had to write a poem, and it had to have a metaphor and a simile. I got out a fresh piece of paper and a pencil and started writing a poem about Sarah.
I wrote something, and then scribbled it out. Then I wrote something else, and I scribbled that out, too. Everything I wrote just sounded so dumb! Then I wrote simply, “Secret Girl, I like you.” Hmm… that was good.
“I like you.” It was so simple and direct. So honest. And the “Secret Girl” added a nice sense of mystery and intrigue to the poem. I began writing with excitement. In what seemed like no time at all, I filled up a whole page with words, scribbled out a little in some places, added a little bit in other places, and then copied it all down onto a different piece of paper, to make the poem look clean. I read it out loud to myself, felt satisfied, and decided it was good.
I looked down at my watch. 4:45.
It was time to go catch the after school bus.
The bus ride home was uneventful. It was the same as all the other bus rides I had taken home from school, except that the bus was a little emptier at 5 o’clock in the afternoon, and the people on the bus were different than the kids that went home right after school was over. The people on the after school bus were on student council, or in a club, but mostly they were athletes.
Oh, and another interesting thing about the bus ride was that Manny was there. Turns out he’s the bus driver for my after school activity route as well. Like always, he had said, “Hello. It’s good to see you,” when I got on the bus and “Goodbye. See you later,” when I got off the bus. Good old Manny.
When I got to my house, I noticed a black unfamiliar car parked in the driveway. Also, I noticed that the window curtains were shut. Usually we kept them open.
I got the key out of the fake rock, opened the door and walked in.
The first thing I saw was one of my Mom’s glittery red shirt laying (?) on the carpet. I looked up and saw Mom on the couch in a skirt and bra, with her arms around a man I had never seen before. He had one hand in my Mom’s hair and one hand on her hip, and his tongue was in her mouth.
She pushed the man away, bolted for the floor, snatched her red shirt, and held it in front of her. I turned around and looked away.
“Mickey!” Mom said. “Oh!” She sat back on the couch, leaving lots of space between her and the man, who was now crossing his legs, folding his arms, and looking at his feet. Mom looked at me and let out an embarrassed laugh. “I thought you were… When you didn’t get home when you usually did, I thought you were playing with your friend Jeremy.”
I kept my head down and headed towards my bedroom.
Mom stood up. “Mickey, no, don’t leave. Please, just listen.” I walked down the hallway and stopped in front of my bedroom door. Mom ran up behind me and put her hand on my shoulder. She had her shirt back on. “I’m sorry to make you uncomfortable, I really am, but this is a natural thing, OK? Daniel and me really like each other, and we’re grown-ups, alright? Remember when we had our special talk about what adults do when they’re in love?”
I put my hand on the doorknob and started to turn it.
“No, Mickey, please don’t run away into your bedroom like you always do. I hate it when you do that!” Mom was about to cry. She lowered her voice. “Mickey, I want you to come out here and meet Daniel. He’s a very nice man.”
Without saying a word, I opened my bedroom door, went inside, and shut the door behind me.
Mom tapped on the door. “Mickey? Mickey, I want you to come out here and meet Daniel. We’re going to have a nice dinner together, the three of us, and you know what? We’ll watch any movie you want. We’ll rent one, if you want to. Is there a movie you want to see, pumpkin?”
I sat on my bed and looked out the window. Out of the square window frame I saw the sun about to set.
Mom knocked on the door. “Mickey, I asked you a question. Why won’t you talk to me? If you’re not going to come out of your little hiding place, at least tell me why.”
I kept staring out the window. The sunset really was beautiful.
She started pounding on the door. “Talk to me Mickey! Just say something to me!” There was a pause. “You know what Mickey? I’m not asking you to come out anymore. I’m ordering you to come out! You’re going to get out of your bedroom, act like a good son, and have a nice evening with Daniel and I. So on the count of three, I’m opening this door, and you’re coming with me.”
I took off my shoes, stood up, and put them in the closet.
I took off my backpack and set it down by my desk.
I sat back down on my bed and waited for her to come in.
“Three!” Mom busted in my bedroom, grabbed my upper arm, and led me out of my bedroom. I didn’t put up a fight. Mom wiped away a tear.
Mom and I walked down the hallway, towards the living room. As we entered the living room, Mom started apologizing, “I’m sorry about that little scene, Daniel. But now Mickey is-”
But the man wasn’t on the couch. “Daniel?”
Mom spun around. The man was nowhere to be found.
We heard a car pulling out of the driveway.
Mom bolted out the front door and saw a black car driving down the street. I went to the window, opened the curtains, and saw my Mom running barefoot across the yard. She stopped on the curb, watching the car go all the way to the end of the street. It turned and disappeared into the sunset.
She came inside and started yelling at me. “Mickey, look what you’ve done! He’s gone, and he’s not coming back. You scared Daniel away. If you had acted natural instead of acting like your mother was a whore then maybe he’d still be here with me! I loved him. Did you ever think about that? I know love is something you don’t understand yet, but…” Mom put her hand to her head, let out a few sobs, and then said, “Maybe if you behaved a little better for the men I brought home, you’d have a father by now.”
I went back into my room and shut the door.