The title of this post is the opening line to the Dark Tower series by Stephen King. The following is a review of the series I’ve read thus far, and a commentary on the motivation I’m gaining as I’ve been reading it: 

As you know I’ve been reading the Dark Tower series, and it’s safe to say I’m pretty hooked. I didn’t think I would get taken in this deeply by Stephen King (a author whom I have a very sordid history with). For those of you who aren’t familiar with the series it’s about a man named Roland and his journey to find the dark tower. He is a gunslinger (think like a knight of the old west) and he is defined by his antiquated nature and his devotion to honor and destiny. He is also the last of his kind.

Everything takes place in this “world” that’s a lot like our own, but it’s mixed in with a very dystopian western future/past. Think: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly meets The Lord of the Rings and then they made very good looking baby with The Postman (a Kevin Costner classic).

The imagery of this whole landscape is enthralling and makes you wonder about what’s lurking around the next corner. The humor (what little there is) is poignant and helps break up the very heavy nature of this tale. The story is a slow burn, but slow like a mine fire; there is a lot is under the surface, likely a raging inferno, but all you can see is the poisonous gases and smoke the seem to fill the air. But I feel the most important aspect of this story are the different characters. (Certainly, as all great stories have).

(Very mild spoilers ahead)

All of these characters have their major flaws; just like ourselves. That’s why you read. You start to realize that maybe you have the same demons as Eddie (an addict), or Susannah (anger), or Jake (naivety). But once these characters enter Mid-world (the name of this crazy Middle Earth) then they sort of get knighted by Roland as gunslingers. These people have their struggles but they learn to stop, listen, and aim true. They start solving problems because they remember their past and know it can help them. They know their roles in this world and do the right thing. (It also helps when they’re all obsessed with reaching the end of their journey)

When you reach the point in the story where I am you start to learn a little more about Roland’s past. This is remarkable because Roland is a character shrouded in secrecy. He says very little and usually let’s bullets do most of the talking. You learn that, as a boy, he had to watch his family get torn apart by deception. He had to witness the decline of his people and the love of his life.

Knowing all these hurts in his life you start to wonder “what is Roland really chasing?”. It’s not just a big dark tower in the middle of a field of roses…is it? What does he want from this journey? Redemption? Vengeance? Saving a damsel in distress?

I’m willing to bet, if I could ask Roland that question he’d likely reply with “I wot, maybe it’s not about what I’m chasing, it’s about what’s chasing me.”

Now, I still have a ways to go in this story, but that’s what keeps hitting me. What is Roland searching for? It’s the reason I keep picking the book up. Maybe I’ll learn more. Maybe I’ll be teased further. Either way, it’s good storytelling.

And that’s why I’m making this post. This story is pulling me in because, I feel, that it reflects our own journey much better than other books do. No, I don’t have a great deal of tragedy in my life that has left me rabid with a desire to chase my enemy to the ends of the earth. Nope, I haven’t tried to find meaning in life by devoting myself to restoring justice and balance in the universe. I mostly drink too much soda and spend too much time on the internet. But this doesn’t mean I don’t have my own dark tower looming on the horizon. I just haven’t really started chasing it yet.

I think my dark tower is the same as Roland’s. I think yours is as well. We are all looking for that one thing, we just don’t exactly know what that one thing is. When we find it, it will feel like we’ve found a key that finally fits the lock in our heart. Maybe you’ll get to that dark tower and it turns into a Super Mario scenario. Maybe you defeat the monster but learn that the Princess has been moved to another castle. Still, you will persist.

I think a lot of people get discouraged in life because of this. “What is the meaning of life?”, “How come nothing goes my way?”, “Life is so unfair.” are phrases that we all say (I know I’ve asked myself these once or twice). Some people ask themselves those questions and they just sort of give up on the journey. They tell themselves they’ve achieved enough and that will be okay or maybe they say they are not fit for the journey and can’t go on. But the truth is, they’re just settling with your weaknesses. You can make this trip.

So, using this odd source of inspiration, I’ve decided to continually improve myself. Maybe I need to stop making fun of people so much. Maybe I need to stop the soda and the internet (or mostly stop). Maybe I need to exercise more self control to find more self motivation. Maybe I need to go out into the world so I can really find my dark tower.

Do as Roland did; chase that thing which seems nigh impossible to catch. Walk across a desert, a place of death, and persist. Don’t give up. Even when the buzzards are flying overhead and you find new paths along The Beam, continue onward. You may have to establish new and unexpected relationships, you might even have to sacrifice some other relationships. Press forward.

So, if i can, I’d like to hand you a pair of guns. They have the same ivory handles and have been passed down from gunslinger to gunslinger for generations. They will always be by your side. They will always shoot straight. They will keep you protected. Don’t forget to treat them with the care they have received before. These will serve as your tools on your long journey to find the dark tower.

It doesn’t matter who your family is, what creed you follow, or what (sub)culture(s) you claim as your own. What matters is you learn from your past, get things done in the now, and look toward the future.

 

You have been knighted, so steady your hand, aim true, and pull the trigger.

The dark tower awaits.

D.A.

Dr. Phil’d

April 27, 2013

Tonight I drove home stuck in a very thoughtful mood. 

Actually, I drove home and ended up thinking about things I don’t usually think about too often and sort of talked about things (not out loud) that were going on in my life. I think I was my own little psychologist.

I guess you could say I Dr. Phil’d myself in the car. (And no, that’s not a euphemism for “I pooped myself while driving”; though it should be.)

I’m not sure if you get these moments as well.

This isn’t a super rare occasion for me either. Periodically I’ll  find myself feeling incredibly aware of how things in my life really are while I’m just cruising around by myself.  It’s sort of like getting a progress report on your life for that 20 minute car ride. Or maybe it’s my brain’s way of saying “hey, you need to download some updates right now.” It just helps me stay aware of who and what I am.

After that little drive I feel like I’m conscious of why I make/have made/will make the decisions I do/done/will do and it feels good. Makes me feel like I’ve still got autonomy in my life. I think I get some clarity at those times when I wasn’t really expecting it, but it’s greatly appreciated.

Overall, I felt that things were okay. I like my job. I don’t have any major health concerns I’m aware of. I get along with the people in my life. My closet doesn’t have any grotesquely large skeletons inside (except, of course, those of my enemies whom I have slain in battle), and I have money. Those things alone put me in a much better position than so many others.

Now, I’m not saying everything is perfect. Honestly, who could? I still wish my job stability was much more solid (teachers in the sunshine state are only hired on yearly contracts with no obligations to keep said teacher for any period of time beyond that contract). I would like to buy a house but I’m sort of dependent on that job situation. If I try to buy a house and then I get “bumped” from one school to another, would I even want to live in that home anymore if it was far away from my school? What if I simply don’t get rehired and I can’t find any open slots anywhere?

Another byproduct of the quiet ride home is looking as some of those more… troubling aspects of my past. I really look at those whom I’ve lost over the years. There are even some who just aren’t lost (meaning they’re still alive) they’ve just moved on in life to other places.

Still, considering those things, I’m happy. I’m glad I don’t have to walk 3 miles to the nearest “clean” water source. I’m thrilled I have a car that gets me where I need to be. I’m proud I can say I could potentially become a homeowner. I’m even joyed in the idea that I can live a simple enough life that I can share my little moment of existentialism with strangers staring at glowing screens from all across the globe.

I know that’s all kind of general and sappy, but it means a lot to write that down. Thanks for reading it if you did, fellow human. You’re special.

So what about you, where are you when the thoughtful mood strikes you?

D.A.

 

Into The Fire

April 24, 2012

Occasionally, the world seems to crash down around you. Other times it seems to put itself on your shoulders like an ugly sweater made of lead. And sometimes the world just keeping poking you until you yelp out in pain, then it keeps poking.

Different people deal with stress relief differently. Some people have to surround themselves with friends. Sometimes people need to be alone.

Most of the time, I’m the person that needs to be alone.

Even if I got in an argument with somebody or I had to make a very heavy decision, I would need to chill out.

Actually, I would need to look into the fire.

I mean this both literally and metaphorically.

Literally, starting into fire is a comforting thing to do. Almost any fire will work but most of the time it should be a campfire. A fireplace would suffice as well. As long as it has an orange flicker and wiggles as it destroys something it’ll work.

Why fire? Well, it’s pretty simple. Men like myself have always stared at fire. Way back in the day when humans were wearing loin cloths and banging rocks together men still stared into the fire. It’s a beautiful thing. The flames seem to draw you in. It’s relaxing.

It also means I can focus on the fire. I can let it cook my thoughts away. Not permanently however, only for a short period of time. As soon as that flame goes out, I focus back on the situation that put me there.

But at least I was able to take my brain off the topic for that little bit.

Metaphorically, looking into the fire could be a way of refining or cleansing my mind. It burns away all the underbrush so it will prevent a much larger fire from starting. Inside of just being a small fire in a confined area, it would spread to the entire forest. This is like a little disturbance messing with my head but later spreading to insert itself into my heart and personality.

We all need to let things burn away every now and again.

If some of these thoughts made you say something like “Wow, this guy’s really saying something here.” then you probably need to stop. I’m not really saying it. It sort of stolen from this couple who writes books for couples and relationships. The book I’m referencing is called Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Read Maps. The people who wrote it are Barbara and Allan Pease.

No, I didn’t read this book, only heard some people today talk about the subject of it. And it sort of makes sense to me right now.

Sometimes I just want to get away from everything, not just people, but from my brain as well. And just like a child being distracted by shiny keys I get distracted by fire.

Of course this doesn’t HAVE to be fire. It could be working out in a wood shop or just browsing the clearance section at Books-A-Million. Either way, I don’t have to talk to anybody, I can just focus on the pretty colors of the covers and move on to the next.

I think this explains my weekly ritual of going to the comic shop every Friday after work.  I unwind by just looking at the same comics that were on the wall last week. I don’t call anybody after work and ask them if they want to take the 25 mile drive just to got buy 8 bucks worth of comics.

And nobody in the store really questions why I’m there. They know I’ll talk when I’m ready.

It’s good to know what my fire is.

D.A.

 

Ideas

March 17, 2012

I got another short story coming. 

I didn’t plan it. It just showed up like an unexpected visit from an uncle that has that funny smell. Don’t get me wrong, you love him, he’s your uncle…but that smell. You know what I mean.

It’s one of those moments of Writer’s Non-block. If that’s a thing.

As a matter of fact the idea came to me at about 1 a.m. this morning. Like lightning….

Oh…you’ll see what I did there soon enough…

::Rubs hands together menacingly:::

So yes, this is a short post now telling you that I will have a longer (and hopefully a better) post tomorrow. I could have just surprised you with some productivity by displaying a new short story tomorrow. You would have made a double take. But I’m not going to use too much energy for this post. I’m in the writing mood. I’ve got the basic story down…now I just need to edit and make it better.

This additional brain usage will prevent me from making much more than that awesome pun you read above.

And a few notes: (in convenient listy goodness)

1. This will be more of a shorter story but it won’t be a flash fiction.

2. The reasoning behind this story is something I heard about writing. I’m not sure where I heard this but this is the idea.

There are two kinds of stories. One is a story of ‘The hero goes on a journey’. The second is ‘A stranger comes to town’. 

I like the idea of “a stranger comes to town”. It’s so mysterious. So cool. So here’s my take on that. A stranger comes to town.

3. It’s not going to be the most original idea ever…you’ve probably heard of a variation of it. But this one will be distinctly mine.

It’ll be called The Man in Blue.

Been Writing a Little

March 13, 2012

Actually, it’s very little. But that’s the intention. I’m going to try my hand at a little “flash fiction”.

Why?

Well, why not? It seems like it would be a fun little exercise. Convey much with very little. That’s a concept I really enjoy. So I’m going to take my time with it and see if I can edit it into something that makes sense.

I don’t want it to be more than 300 words. And I think that’s about right.

So why don’t I go ahead a post it instead of talking about it? One simple reason. I’m very tired. I used up the last of my constructive capabilities just coming up with the tiny thing. Now, my brain (which looks more like an old prune you would find under a couch after you lost it there for a few years) is depleted. So I will edit that tiny thing tomorrow and maybe post it then.

That’s fair I think.

As a side note I should mention that I’m getting a little too regimented in how I write. When I write for you on this blog, I write in the first person. When I write a story I write in the third person. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to write a story in the first person. So I’m going to try and write this “flash fiction” in the first person.

We should always push ourselves right? Even if it is in very tiny and seemingly annoying for no reason at all.

As a matter of fact, If you have an example of excellent writing in the first person, point me toward it. I’m very interested in seeing how a master works in that medium.

Beddy Bye,

D.A.

At 12:00 p.m. on January 19th I will have officially completed my first half of my first professional year of teaching. It’s been pretty insane. Had a kid drop a smoking bowl in my room. Had a few kids never show up. Had some kids really put the pieces together and learn some cool stuff. I’ve learned things too.

Allow me to let you know a few things that I have learned over that past 4 or 5 months.

It wasn’t and will probably never be exactly what I expected. You experienced teachers could read this sentence as “I’m totally a noob.”  I’m trying to get better at this job and it’s going to take a lot of hard work. The good news is, as long as somebody is willing to hire me in the future, I’m going to be willing in trying to get better.

My first group of kids can only be described as “ecletic”. I’ve had kids that are wonderful and introspective toward the material. I’ve had kids that are apathetic/not awake through out my classes. I’ve have some kids who are a handful, but mean well. I’ve had kids who are quite and obediant but are probably wishes terrible things on me.

I’ve had kids who didn’t show up but a few times in the 90 days of class. I’ve had kids that haven’t missed a single second. There were even some kids that I really felt great hope for our future knowing that they will be the decision makers for important companies and organizations. There are some kids that I really feel concern about them being able to function in open society.

My coworkers are awesome. I have been given so much help from them it’s almost a crime. They are super nice and easy to get along with. I really feel comfortable there, as compared to the other schools I have worked at.

I think the leadership at the school is solid as well. I really enjoy working for the people who hired me. I think they have a vision for the school and really want these students to succeed, and yet they still do their best to stay out of a teacher’s hair if they can help it.

Not having a faculty restroom really sucks. This point really explains itself.

Science is hardly any student’s favorite subject. This hurts my feelings as well as affects my kids grades.

I remember when I was in high school, it wasn’t my favorite subject. As a matter of fact, I’m not sure if I had a favorite subject… I think most kids don’t see science for what it should be and have been led astray in their comprehension on how to perform it. This causes many problems in terms of their understanding of the material.

Eating at the teacher cafe is hardly ever worth it. While the food is sometimes surprisingly tasty, the fries are almost always soggy and cold. $5 for this is really not motivating me to spend any more money there.

Planning periods bipolar. They are both a tranquil escape from the daily grind or a terribly stressful ride on a rocket ship of frustration. On the days when you have planned most everything for the day, you can really take 15 minutes to just breath and enjoy the silence. You can even feel a smile spread across your fact.

On the days when you have 12 things to get done in an hour you can feel your heart rate match the rate of a fighter pilot in battle. You may even feel the sweat drip from your brow onto Timmy’s paper where he kept writing the response “IDK” on the homework from last night. As the bell rings at the end you let out a holler of frustration that sounds like Chewbacca squatting in the woods after a night partaking in the all-you-can-eat buffet at the local Taco Del Rio.

A failed plan is better than no plan at all. If you walk into a classroom and have a plan, more power to you. Even if that plan fails, at least you tried and you can at least try to salvage that. It’s okay, that kind of think happens to everybody.

If you walk in with no real idea what you want to accomplish, then you will have a painful experience. It will be a hard experience to shake off. You may even get that thousand yard stare for a few hours there….

Yelling is always an option. It’s just never a good one. Once you’ve done it, you’ve lost the game.

Pick a time when you’re available after school to help kids/allow them to make up tests. If you tell them, “I’m here everyday after school. Just let me know when you will make it.” two things will take place. 1. They will never remember/lie about when they are going to come in. You will wait. You will hope. They will never accomplish this. 2. They would rather be told when rather than decide for themselves.

Assign lab groups. Don’t let them pick that crap. Because you will get crap from them.

Find a way to keep kids informed of their grades/missing work. This one is tricky. I know there at 1000’s of different methods to figure this out. I know you may have some awesome suggestions (Honestly, if you have one, please let me know what you do) but you need to find one that works.

So far, I haven’t been lucky enough to win the battle on this subject. It’s just a messy situation.

Grading and scoring directly proportional to the work they turn in. If kids aren’t turning stuff in, it doesn’t matter how you grade papers/assignments, they will still get a bad grade. It’s okay to use your own grading system, the trick is being consistent with whatever you pick.

Late work is just… stupid.  I previously allowed for kids to turn in work late at a great penalty. I don’t think this works nor do I want to deal with assignments from 3 weeks ago. On time = full credit. 1 day late = half credit. 2 days or more = no credit.

I’m not sure if that’s fair, but I let my kids know when stuff is due days (1 week in advance actually) ahead of time. If they don’t get it done then, they usually don’t try to get it done even with an unlimited amount of time.

Most kids will look at you like they hate you. Some of them probably do. Most of them probably don’t though. Maybe.

In general, it was a mess. It was a pleasure. And it was definitely a challenge.

I have 75 new faces to learn on Monday. Wish me luck.

D.A.

I’m Proud of My Student

November 10, 2011

What you will see is what one of my students turned in to me today. She has not been doing too well in my class and decided that she needed to do some sort of extra credit so she could help her scores.

For my class, if you want a good amount of extra credit, you will have to write me a paper. It’s got to be a minimum of 500 words and it has to be on a topic that both me and the student agree on. That makes sure I know to expect a paper on a particular subject and that student knows more of the details on what they are going to write about.

As long as this is done correctly I am willing to give them up to 50 extra credit points toward their final grade. That’s the equivilant of making up a homework assignment. All in all, that’s a pretty awesome deal.

So, today, this student walks into my class with a paper in hand.

“Mr. Bancroft, I wrote the paper you told me to write.” said one of my afternoon kids.

“We never agreed on a topic.” I laughed. “So what is this paper on?”

“The stuff we just learned about. You said I could write a paper on that.” she said.

“I did? I don’t remember this. Okay, that’s fine. I guess I will read this today after school.” I said as I walked back to my desk.

“Oh,” she blurted out as she was walking away. “And before you ask me, no, I didn’t plagiarize anything. Everybody who read this keeps telling me it’s cheating. And I’m not cheating.”

I was a little stumped.

“I never accused you of cheating, but okay, I’ll take your word on it.”

This last statement I made is teacher-speak for “Yeah, I totally suspect you of cheating. Now I will go over this with a fine-toothed comb.”

And I did.

The pink writing (my own) says this: “I have highlighted all the sentences that are from the textbook. This is called plagerism. It will not be accepted.”

 

 

There you go. You don’t get to see the two other pages and why would you want to? It’s just more highlighter and scribbles.

All the highlighted sentences are exactly the same as the textbook. Funny enough, I found it under the chapter section titled “Reproductive Anatomy.” How original, eh? I even pointed out the specific paragraphs and sentences in some places.

As I kept reading I couldn’t control my laughter. Overall, of the three pages of text she typed, five sentences might be original. (And this is my very generous estimation. The paper is mostly bright orange and yellow/green.

I’m not sure how this student thought this would be a good idea. Who thinks this can be done and I wouldn’t notice?

This really made my weekend.

D.A.

Like I said. I’m so proud of my students.

I think my generation was the first generation to have the VHS tape player at it’s regular disposal. Yes, it existed for many years before I was born, but when I really started growing up and forming memories I think was around the time when VHS tapes were easy to find and purchase. So, kids like me watched a lot of movies.

Most of you will probably say that you love movies as well, but for some reason they seem to be stuck in my mind and connected to important childhood moments. I can remember how I learned what a flash flood was thanks to the movie Rock-a-doodle. I remember learning that penguins ate fish because that’s what Oswald Cobblepot ate in Batman Returns. I even remember why we’re not supposed to mix frog and dinosaur DNA to reanimate long extinct organisms.

Another influence on my life

These movies from my past act a lot like bookmarks for my memory. As soon as I see one of these movies again I instantly recall simpler and more enjoyable times. (I’m not saying times are bad now, but I am saying that things just seem much better when you’re a kid).

Now that you know this about me, I would like to begin work on something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. List my favorite movies.

The actual list for my favorite movies would be….gigantic. I’m not sure I could do all that work. So I will just throw up a few that seem to have made a lasting impact on me when I was just a youngin’.

The Brave Little Toaster– A movie that both captivated and terrified me when I was growing up. I will never be able to ignore the ping of fear every time I see that window mounted air conditioner.

Batman– I had actually memorized every word of this movie by the time I was 4 years old. I believed I would become Batman. Genuinely and truly. I thought I would be able to do any and everything he did. I even drew “blueprints” for constructing my own batmobile.

The Witches– Movie freaked me out, but in a great way. Witches walking around wearing masks to hide their ugly faces was a cool thought to me. Also, I wanted to become a mouse/hamster for a while.

All Dogs go to Heaven– Dogs talking and being cooler than any of my uncles was a pretty big win for me. Later in life I found out that Burt Reynolds did the voice of the main character. Then the movie got that much cooler.

Big– I wanted to be a grown up. This kid became a grown up. A grown up that worked for a toy factory! Not to mention, I always wanted a best friend like the kid Josh had in the movie. They had a cool song/handshake they shared. I still think many 20 something guys want a best friend like this because of this movie.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory– Candy, candy, and more candy. Also, a crazy guy who says some funny stuff always seemed to stick with me. This was even one of movies my parents would watch with me even though they had seen it 40 times before. I think it’s because when they were in high school they saw this movie together on a date.

Ghostbusters– Funny, ghosts, cool costumes, and a giant marshmallow man. What doesn’t appeal to a kid in this movie?

Aladdin– A very fun movie to watch. Not only is it Disney goodness, it’s also Robin William’s first appearance in my life. I watched this movie dozens of times because I just wanted to laugh at the same jokes I had laughed at all those times before. The only problem was that I didn’t totally understand every joke he said, but still, I laughed.

DuckTales: The Movie – Treasure of the Lost Lamp – I wanted to swim in my own pool full of gold coins. I also made sure I ate chocolate ice cream covered in chocolate syrup every time I watched this movie. No joke. If I were to watch it again, I would desire that mouth watering sweetness in my mouth.

Like I said, these are movies I saw at a very early age that had influenced me. They helped to make me who I am. And I really mean this. I learned a lot of moral and social ideas from these movies. So what if they were cartoons and so what if they had quite a bit of violence in them, I still learned a lot. And there are probably 30 other movies that I watched way too many times, but for your sake (and mostly my sake) I’m not going to throw those up here.

So what about you? What movies helped make you who you are? Or were you more of a normal/healthy kid and you didn’t get to watch many movies because you were too busy playing outside?

D.A.

In the short period of only 3 days I have become more responsilbe and feeble than my grandparents.

Case in point. I saw my grandmother today, and she told me how she was up until midnight playing cards with her friends. She even told me how she went to a store and just browsed around…

When she said this I could only respond in a very Napoleon Dynamite-esque “Luckeeyyyy…”

Oh how my life has changed.

For the past three days my alarms has been set to go off at 5:12 a.m. 

Yes, there are no typos in that last sentence. Allow me to highlight the areas that probably concerned you.

For the past THREE DAYS my alarm(S) have been set to go off at 5:15 A.M.

I have not woken up, consistently, that early in over two years. I will now continue to do so until I die/retire/quit/have a real weekend.

Yes, I own and use multiple alarm clocks. Does that make me a little crazy or paranoid? It sure does. I have a more “classic” alarm clock that has two separate timers as well as my iPod as a secondary alarm. The iPod usually has two alarms set to go off as well. That make a grand total of four seperate alarms every morning.

Have I ever slept through the first one? Oh yeah, all the time. The second? That’s a big “Youbetcha.” Third? I regretfully say I have needed it’s graces. The fourth? I- I- I don’t want to talk about this anymore…

I should also mention that I woke up at 3:57 a.m. today. That is so early even the sun is still rubbing sleep out of it’s eyes. Why would I be so crazy to do something this irrational? I had a lab that I needed to prepare for, so I had to go shopping. At 5 in the morning. At Wal-Mart.

In a side note:

Have you ever been to a 24 hour Wal-Mart that early in the morning? Probably not, and you probably wouldn’t want to. But allow me to inform you that it is actually really nice.

The people who are working are mostly restocking. So they are just doing their work, running around the store, and getting some of the most important work done for a very large department store. But these people are rather cheerful. They actually said “hello” to me as I walked by. (It might have been the tie, people always dig a guy in a tie. Especially if he looks like a zombie that stole a normal man’s tie.)

There was an open line in the checkout section as well! I know stores are notorious for building over 40 checkout counters and only have 2 open at once, but this was a good thing. Nobody else was there, so no more operators were needed.  The customer to employee ratio was outrageous. I was easily outnumbered. I only saw three other customers in the entire store. So it was a relatively easy operation.

(This last paragraph was edited to make sure I used a word that begin with the letter “O” once in every sentence.)

Look at me know…I must have grown up. I am rambling about check out lines and neck ties…

Oh, I lament the days of summer. How I would wake up in the afternoon and wonder what I was going to do that day. Then I would eat entire meals. And enjoy them. I didn’t have so many voices ringing through my head.

It’s always the same conversation.

“Mr. Bancroft can I go to the bathroom?”

“No.”

“Please.”

“No. You know the policy. And I’ve already allowed you to use your only emergency hall pass for the grading period. So, once again, no.”

“Oh, okay.”

“Hey, spit out you’re gum.”

“Oh, okay.”

Man Alive! Why do they think I won’t notice the larger chunk of blue goo in their mouths? And why is it always some unnatural color?

Maybe I should just give in and start carrying a cane? I mean, I already sound mean a crotchety. Why not, right?

I also wrote my first referral today. Much easier than I expected it to be.

Oh man, I’m picking up that cane this weekend after that last sentence.

****

So yeah. I’m surviving. But just barely. I would love to be able to take my mind off the whole thing, but I can’t. It’s becoming a real part of me now. It’s kind of scary.

Still, I’m going to actually try to enjoy this weekend. Even if there is a slight possibility that a hurricane could kill us all. (I live in Florida, so we will be missed by Irene, but a guy can fantasize.)

I’ll be honest with you, if this post is hard to read, it’s because it was hard to write. I just wanted to get on here and feel a slight resemblance of my life from four days ago. I’m actually struggling to stay awake and the sun hasn’t even set yet.

Remember when we used to argue about Batman and I drew stupid comics? LOL, I used to think about stories to write… Good times man… Good times…

(Did I just use a LOL back there? Yeah, It’s bed time…)

Now on a farmer’s sleep schedule,

D.A.

Most of my friendships are based on humor.

And this could be very bad…

Tonight, I came to this conclusion after having a rather lengthy argument with some friends, (that I was totally the winner of, by the way) about morals and meanings of words. The details of the argument don’t really matter but it eventually led into a conversation about offensiveness and humor and how they can or can not override one another (a whole ‘nother post). While we continued our arguing I said something along these lines:

“I’m friends with you, (nameless friend), because you’re a funny guy. I’m friends with you, (another nameless friend), because you’re funny. I’m really only friends with people that I share a sense of humor with. I can’t think of how we would be friends otherwise.”

Believe it or not, faithful reader, in “real” life I’m not considered very funny.

I know, I’ve just shattered your world.

You might know me as a guy who is only trying to make you laugh. And that’s true. I am. Most of what I write is done in jest or even with the goal of being seen as funny. I’m even trying to inject humor in this post even though I’m being quite serious right now. If I’ve commented on your blog, 9 times out of 10, I’m trying to get you to giggle. Look at the keyword in that last sentence though: trying.

It’s just what I do. I think that’s how I know that people like me. If you laugh, then we share a sense of humor, and now the ice has been broken. If you laugh with me, (or at me), then our chances of becoming friends increases.  This is how I became friends with everybody I know (as far as I can remember). They made me laugh, and then I tried to make them laugh, and then we just kept doing it. Next thing you know, I’m in their wedding.

After I explained this to my friends tonight, they seems a little shocked and offended. They told me that they didn’t believe that humor was as important as I make it out to be. They felt like they had developed friendships with me, and others, that are not based on humor.

That blew my mind. Is this not the common way for friends to be made?

Apparently not. 

Now, I said in the argument tonight, “I’m only friends with people that I share a sense of humor with; and probably wouldn’t be otherwise.” Isn’t this a particuarlly foolish thing for somebody to say when he is, in “real” life, not considered to be THAT funny of a guy?

This question has made me think about my social skills for the past few hours. There could be something wrong with me. I might have conditioned myself against making closer friends because I avoid most emotions with feelings. I could even a brain tumor that’s causing me to go crazy, slowly, causing moments of hysteria…

Now I feel like I’m in a Woody Allen film…

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m funny sometimes. In some circles of friends I’m sure I’m looked at the one who is silly. In this group of friends that I am arguing with though, I’m not the funny one. I’m on the bottom of the totem pole, so to speak. With these people, I’m only considered humorous in the sense that of a kitten trying to climb out of a cardboard box. It’s cute to see their futile attempts, but hey, at least they’re trying.

So, why do I do this? Why do I base my relationships on comedy?

It probably has to do a lot with my mom. She always seemed to be able to make anybody laugh. Seeing that led me to believe that people laughing = smiling people = happy people. Not the best formula, but it seems to work out most of the time. I also do this because, I guess, I just like to laugh. People who make me laugh are people that I want to be around.

I’m sure there lots of other factors, but for our conversation here, it will work for now.

So how could this be a bad thing? 

Well, for starters, does this mean that I can’t become friends with anybody that isn’t all that funny? I’m thinking that the possibility exists. Which makes me wonder about what my standards for friends are. Do I look at people for who they are, or just how funny they are? We can all admit, not all funny people are good people.

Also, I’m single, and what does that mean in terms of me finding my future wife/girlfriend? If she’s not all that funny, but still a great person, would I just let her walk in and right back out of my life? That doesn’t sound very appealing to me.

Can this be a good thing?

I guess comedy isn’t every really all that bad. I mean, what if I tried basing relationships on my love of Dr. Who? I would probably be strapped looking for friends. And then we would talk about Dr. Who so much that it would just become so boring that I would consider watching shows like Stargate, just to get away from them.

At least there is some sort of commonality in humor. I rarely meet people that don’t have a decent sense of humor. So I’ve got that going for me…

I’m typing all this here because I really want to leave a reminder for myself. Maybe it’s a reminder for you as well. I kind of treat this blog like a journal in many ways, so maybe one day in the future I’ll look back on this and smile. I’ll say, “Man, I really learned something important right there, and I grew up a little bit. Look at my life now.”

Or maybe I’ll just say, “Look at all those typos.”

One of the most confusing things about the whole night was this. When I asked them “If humor isn’t the base of our relationship, then why are you even friends with me?” they didn’t really give me a satisfactory answer. Nobody said, “Because you’re trustworthy.” or “You’re just a friendly guy.”

They just made a bunch of jokes about me thinking I was funny in some way.

How am I supposed to interpret that?

Until tomorrow,

D.A.