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Reflections of an Eagle Scout

firebird

The Boy Scouts of America taught me valuable life lessons, like how to light things on fire and swear. I also learned how to tie knots, and by “knots” I mean exactly one knot and I only remember how to tie it around my waist. (Something about how the rope is a rabbit that comes up and around a tree?) The good old fashioned “granny knot” works every time.

One time at Scout Camp at Camp Helendade (affectionately called “Camp Hell”) I went into hypothermia when the swim instructors insisted we swim in an ice cold pool at sundown. Hypothermia, like explosive diarrhea, is an unfortunate thing to have, especial when you are 13 and far away from the comforts of your home. Also, I find outhouses repulsive and vomit inducing, and during my 6 day stay at Camp Hell I refused to go to the bathroom for 4 days. It’s amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it! Continue reading →

Map Fail

I had this up on my old blog (before I switched everything to WordPress) but some of the posts didn’t make the transition. I found this one and thought I’d put it up again. Continue reading →

Me and My Accord

I’ve heard it said that “you are what you drive.” If that’s true then I must be an impenetrable tank, a survivor, a machine built by the best standards and capable of surviving anything. I’m a 1992 Honda Accord.

In 1992 my parents traded in our family van. I remember watching my dad pull the new car into the garage at our house in Southern California. It was white and shiny, 4 doors and roomy with a tape player and ice cold air conditioning. There was no dents, or scratches. It came equipped with a car alarm that would warn passers by “You are too close to the vehicle.” We went for a drive around the neighborhood. I was 11 years old then, I’m 27 now, and that car is still mine.

I bought the car from my mom in 1998 when I was 17 after we had moved to Phoenix. I paid her $2000. My Honda drove me to school, to swim practice, to the movies, on dates, to work, on road trips, and to proms. When I needed time to myself, I would drive around back roads in the desert. I even spent the night in my Honda a few times when I was far away from home. After high school I moved to Russia. I left my Honda with my mom and told her to take good care of it. After all, I would be back and was expecting my car to be there. After two summers and two winters in Russia, I came back to Arizona in 2003. My Honda was in the driveway, waiting for me. Getting behind the wheel and turning the key for the first time in years was like meeting with an old friend. The engine rumbled to say hello, the familiar smell of upholstery and carpet and the dashboard had not changed.

Tragically, a year later, my Honda was stolen from my apartment complex. It felt like I lost a friend. I filed the police report and did my best to ignore people who told me that I would never see my Honda again. They said it was at a chop shop in Mexico. I didn’t want to believe them, but thought they were probably correct. But one morning, 3 weeks later, I got a call from the police department: my car had been found on the side of the road in the next town over! I picked it up that day.

I still get over 400 miles to a tank. Over the past 17 years I have had some repairs, but nothing that broke the bank: some new belts, new radiator, new brakes, new fans, new hoses, new gaskets, new battery. But what car doesn’t need repairs? I tinted the windows and the hood is black now. It still runs as good as it ever has. It has survived the Arizona summer heat, the Rocky Mountain cold, the humidity of costal California. 323,000 miles later, it’s still my car and a part of my life. I don’t know how many miles my Honda has left, but I’ll drive every last one until it is time to say goodbye.

The Reindeers of Oppression

I wrote this for my newspaper “The Anti-Everything Medical Journal” when I was 17. I’m bringing it back now since the holiday season is upon us.

“Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” is a horrible song, containing an awful message. You may be thinking, “No it’s not. It’s simply a cute holiday classic.” But let me assure you, it is not. A simple analysis of this nauseating tune reveals the true message of hate and oppression.

It begins with the line, “Rudolf the red nosed reindeer, had a very shiny nose. And if you ever saw it, you would even say it glows.” That sounds harmless enough. We picture a cuddly little deer with a nose that makes him unique. However, the song then progresses into a blatant call to conformity and hate. The words continue, “All of the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names. They never let poor Rudolf join in any reindeer games.” Because he’s different from the others, he’s not included or accepted. Isn’t it considered bad manners to call people names? Yet the image of a group of tiny reindeer taunting another because he is different is burned into the minds of most Americans.

The song takes a turn for the worse when, “one foggy Christmas eve, Santa came to say, ‘Rudolph with your nose so bright, won’t you guide me sleigh tonight?’ Then all the reindeer loved him and they shouted out with glee, ‘Rudolph the red nosed reindeer, you’ll go down in history.’” What!? First he is an outcast, not good enough to even play in a simple reindeer game, and suddenly the normal reindeer appreciate Rudolph because Santa finally recognizes his amazing gift? That’s offensive. The other reindeer refused to be his friend because he was different, but the second they need his help they decide he’s cool. ist2_4075162-rudolf-the-reindeer

This song must be eliminated! No longer can the youth of America be corrupted by subliminal messages of hate.

This song could have been much more meaningful if Rudolph would have said, “Listen up reindeers. I refuse to guide your sleigh tonight. I cannot be responsible for an un-chosen obligation. Now, it will be your fault the children of the world won’t have toys on Christmas! Bwaaaa hahahahaha!” But he didn’t say this. He let them take advantage of him and his gift they previously despised.

I guarantee that once that foggy night is over, it’s back to being a second-class citizen.

The Rubber Stamp House

This appeared in the September 2008 issue of Key Notes, a news letter for my mom’s business, Close to My Heart.

“This is the house that stamps built” my mom says as she strikes her best Vanna White hand pose as she glances around the room. With the amount of stamps, ink pads, and reams of paper she has amassed over the years, her description is quite true: a house could literally be built out of her stamps.

But it wasn’t always that way.

Continue reading →

 
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