Monday, August 31, 2009

Greatest Hits

I've been keeping this blog for a few years now. And it occurs to me that I've picked up a few readers since then. That means that all of you who are current regulars to this blog have probably not seen my older posts. And, not to toot my own horn, some of those early posts were pretty darn good.

And so, beginning next Monday, and on every Monday thereafter, I will be re-posting those old blog posts that are deemed "Greatest Hits." I will also be adding a list on the right with those "Greatest Hits."

So that's something to look forward to. You know, if you actually like reading the stuff I have to say. Don't worry, I'll try to keep it topical.

Sunday, August 30, 2009


I've never been one to write poetry. But that's today's assignment from Sunday Scribblings.

I love to read, but I've never gotten into reading poetry. I love to write, but I've never gotten into writing poetry. I hope that doesn't mean I lack some sense of culture.

Yes, there were certain times in high school and college that it was required of me to read a poem and write some sort of synopsis or report on it. But that doesn't mean I enjoyed it.

At other times I was have to read classic literature and figure out the symbolism that those authors inevitably through into their works, as if they weren't just writing a story for entertainment's sake. But when it came to the poems, I never quite got a grasp on deconstructing what the writer was trying to say.

Maybe it's because I have such a difficult time expressing my own emotions. To me, poetry shouldn't just be about creativity or imagination. It seems that it needs to express something as well. Imagination I have plenty of, but emotional expression is certainly not my forte.

That lack of emotion is not something I'm proud of. I've mentioned in previous postings that it's something I struggle with and am working on. But as much progress as I may have made with having feelings, I just don't think I'm up to poetry levels yet.

Saturday, August 29, 2009


I really need to stop acting surprised when I pray for something and God comes through.

I haven't felt very well today. I'll spare you the details, except to say that any time I've eaten something, it's only helped me to feel more nauseated. Kind of the opposite effect I was hoping for.

You know how sometimes people will tell you to eat something to settle your stomach? That just hasn't been working for me.

So, roughly an hour before I had to be at work, I was lamenting the fact that I had to go to work. I've only been working this part-time job for two weeks. One cannot simply call in sick on his fifth night on the job. But I just kept feeling worse.

So I prayed.

I didn't ask God to make me so sick that I would have no choice but to avoid work. That would be a little extreme. I merely asked that He get me through the three hours I was scheduled to work.

5:00 arrived and I clocked in. I waited for a few minutes and took two deliveries in one trip. When I got back, the store was stupid with drivers. I checked back in and saw that I was fifth on the list and there were only three orders on deck. This does not bode well for one relying trips for tips.

So, just after 6:00, the assistant manager asked if any drivers wanted to go home. I volunteered. After all, this is only a part-time job. Yes, I need the extra money, but there are guys there working full-time who need the hours more than I do. Plus, as I mentioned earlier, I really wasn't feeling well.

Turns out God didn't have to get me through three hours. He only needed one. Funny how He takes care of me even in ways I'm not expecting. I really should start expecting more, because I know that He wants to do so much more.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Question of the Week: Influence

When has your life dramatically changed as the result of some seemingly random external influence? How much do you feel in control of the course of your life?

I can't think of anything random changing my life. But that could be that I don't think anything that happens to us is ever really random. Sure there are times when things that happen will seem random, but I just don't think there are any accidents. I definitely believe that things happen for a reason. And as far as controlling the course of my life goes, that gets into the issue of predestination versus free will. I'm definitely a fan of free will. I don't like to think that the decisions I make don't matter. Then again, I believe in a sovereign God who knows the outcome of every decision that we'll make. So I guess, somehow, I believe that we fall somewhere in the middle of that argument. I don't think it's one or the other.

*Question of the Week comes from The Book of Questions by Gregory Stock, Ph.D.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Perils of Pizza Delivery, Part 2

Tonight was my first night going solo. And after driving around for three hours, I can gladly say that it wasn't half bad.

There were a couple of places I had a hard time locating on the map, but once I found them, driving was just about a breeze. I don't even feel like I was doing it all that long. I was all over the map, so I guess that made time seemingly go by faster.

I really don't have much else to say about the night. Other than the fact that I walked away from my shift with $49.50 in tips. All in all, it was a good night.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Narration is a device used in literature and film all the time. Sometimes it's done in the first person. Your protagonist or a supporting character may be telling the story as they see it and they'll throw in their personal quips. More often narration, particularly in the books, comes in the third person. This is where an outside voice is telling us what's going on.

In the movie Stranger Than Fiction Will Ferrell, a seemingly real person, discovers that he is actually a character in an author's work of fiction. And he suddenly begins hearing the voice of that author narrating his life. His narrator is Emma Thompson, the actress playing the author that's writing his story.

Hollywood has given us a lot of voices over the years. And there are many voices that may be thought of when one thinks of a narrator in film. But I pose this question: who would you want to narrate your life's story?

What if you woke up tomorrow and heard your life being narrated as you lived it? What voice would be soothing? What voice would be exciting? What would you want them to say?

"Aaron woke up and slapped his feet onto the cold hardwood floor of his bedroom. Willing himself out of bed, his mind went over the list of things he needed to do throughout the day. It wasn't an exciting life, but it was what he knew. It was how he was comfortable. He looked around, feeling as if he weren't alone, wondering where this voice was coming from. Why did the internal monologue in his head suddenly sound like Morgan Freeman?"

How cool would it be to have Morgan Freeman narrate your daily activities? Or James Earl Jones? No... too spooky. How about Sam Elliot? I don't feel like I live far enough south... or maybe far enough into the old west to be narrated by Sam Elliot. Maybe Mike Rowe. But I don't think my job is dirty enough to meet his criteria.

So how about it? Who's your narrator?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Legends of the Bank Teller - Episode LXI

I began working at my current branch back in April. At the time I discovered that my commute would be about 45 minutes each morning. That's factoring in the ridiculous traffic on Capital Blvd. And so, for the past five months, as a rule, I've left my apartment roughly 45 minutes before I needed to be at work each day.

Today a new kink was thrown in. Today was the first day of school. Back in April, we were winding down to the tail end of the school year. I suppose at that point, all the teachers and students and parents on the road had gotten into the same groove as all the other commuters.

Apparently, at the beginning of the school year, that groove does not exist for all commuters. I was unaware that today was the beginning of the traditional school year for Wake County. I knew that the oldest Greene kid was starting middle school today, but they're in a different county. How was I to know that the whole area was on the same schedule?

I was also unaware that the first day of school would mean I needed to work in an extra 20 minutes to my commute. That's right, I was in my car for over an hour this morning. I may as well be working in Greensboro.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Lois & Clark

I just finished reading It's Superman! by Tom DeHaven. It's a retelling of the origin of the world’s greatest super-hero. Over they years, Superman’s origin story has been written and rewritten over and over again. Different authors change certain scenarios: time frame, location, circumstances. But no matter who does the telling, there is always one constant: the undeniable love between Clark Kent and Lois Lane and Superman.

But isn’t Clark Kent really Superman? So shouldn’t it just be the undeniable love between Clark and Lois? Eventually, yeah. But when they’re starting out, the worldly investigative reporter just seems to be unable to connect the dots. It’s impossible to believe that a Superman would dumb himself down to become a slouching mild-mannered reporter who grew up on a farm in Smallville.

Here’s how it inevitably works: Clark meets Lois and is instantly smitten. Lois treats him like an uneducated hick, to whom she wouldn’t even give the time of day. Lois meets Superman and is instantly smitten. Superman treats her as he treats every other citizen of the world, with kindness and respect. Clark knows that if he shows up in the cape, he could easily be with the woman of his dreams. But he also knows that she’s not in love with the person he really is. She’s in love with the spectacle.

Clark goes through those early years of his career, both as a reporter and as a hero, struggling with his unrequited feelings toward the intrepid Ms. Lane. Time and again he shows her the way he feels about her. He saves her life from certain doom as Superman. He offers her a kind word and a shoulder to cry on as Clark Kent. But, time and again, he is forced to endure a broken heart as she constantly brushes Clark to the side in favor of her unattainable infatuation.

The It’s Superman! version of Lois saw the flaw in herself. She knew she only wanted Superman because she could never have him. She knew that she could have Clark any time she wanted him. But she was always reaching for what was beyond her grasp.

I wonder what it must be like for Clark Kent. He knows from the moment he lays eyes on Lois that she’s the one for him. And nothing, not Lex Luthor, not alien invasions, not giant rampaging gorillas, not even the Man of Steel will get in the way of his love for her. So he perseveres. And he deals with her continual cold shoulder.

In some ways I think it would be great to have a Lois Lane in my life. A woman that I was so confident would be the one I’d spend the rest of my life with that it verges on destiny. But I think about the patience it would take to see her day after day and not be able to express how I feel. ‘Cause no matter what is said or done, she’ll never be able to see past the glasses to see what may be hiding under the surface. Still, that certainty would be kinda nice.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Being an adult sucks.

Sorry if that offends some of you, but it does. Sometimes, when I'm at the Greenehouse, I'm privy to the complaints of the Greene children. Small things like "I don't want to go to school," or "I can't figure out this math problem." When I was their age, I remember having similar complaints and thinking that nothing could be more difficult than the issues I was facing at the time.

As an adult, I listen to some of their complaints and wish my problems were only that simple. I'm not saying that I have a difficult life. Compared to some, I have no doubt that I lead a very privileged life. But I struggle, just like everyone else. And as I've grown, I've discovered that my struggles have become more severe than they were twenty, ten, even five years earlier.

This does not mean that I want to go back and do it all over again either. Yes, I look back at my childhood and see that life was much simpler at the time. But that also carried with it a certain amount of ignorance. All the problems that I deal with, I'm sure my parents dealt with, I just didn't know about them. Ignorance may have been bliss, but I wouldn't trade the knowledge I now have for that bliss.

Of course there are some things that I would like to get back from my youth. Certain powers and abilities that I no longer possess. I talked about some of this in a previous post: The Murgtaugh List. You can click there to see what's already on the list, but I've thought of a couple more to add.

Sitting Down/Standing Up: I don't mind standing up for hours at a time. I mind even less sitting for just as long. But the act of transitioning from one to the other is becoming more and more difficult as I get older. It's possible that I will have bad joints as I continue to age. But I find myself groaning when I stand up or sit down. It's not so much that it hurts, it just seems to be a hassle.

Amount of Food Eaten: Yes, another addition having to do with eating. When I was in college, I had a great metabolism. But I took advantage of it and also took it for granted. I often spent time eating entire large pizzas on my own. It wasn't long before that metabolism I had so enjoyed was depleted. Now, I find myself full after eating only three slices of pizza (and that's without eating the crusts).

I hope that I won't need to add more to that list, but I'm sure, eventually, I will. What's on your list?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

What Should I Write About?

This is your chance to tell me what to do. I know I don't have that many regular readers, but there are a few of you out there who occasionally share your opinions in the comment section.

Today is one of those days where I'm just not coming up with any good ideas. So I'm gonna let you do the thinking for me. And any comments I receive that are ideas of things to write about, I will use them for the next few days. If not, then I guess this will just go down as a wasted post.

It's all up to you America.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Question of the Week: 50 Percent

Without your kidney as a transplant, someone close to you will die within one month. The odds that you will survive the operation are only 50 percent, but should you survive you would be certain of a normal life expectancy. Would you consent to the operation?

If it was someone I really cared about, I'd do it. But if it was someone I only pretend to care about, I'd have to think about it a little more.

*Question of the Week comes from The Book of Questions by Gregory Stock, Ph.D.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Perils of Pizza Delivery

Ladies and gentlemen, due to the fact that my hours have been cut back to 35 a week at the bank, I am forced to seek supplemental employment outside the finance industry. And I don't know why I act surprised every time, but God has provided once again.

Now, three nights a week, I will be your friendly neighborhood pizza delivery dude.

Tonight was my first night. All that meant for me was a ride along with someone who has been with the company for a while. Starting out, he told me that it's the easiest job there is. As the night progressed, it turned out he was right. There really isn't much to it. Pick up the delivery, drive to the house, drop off the delivery. Cha-ching.

Each delivery dude gets a book of maps that are sectioned off. He showed me which sections I'll learn to love and which ones I'll learn to hate. And in between, during trips to and from the store, we got into some good conversations. He's a Christian, so we both got a chance to bounce some theology off each other. After only knowing him for a few hours, he seems like a great guy.

I won't be saying on here what pizza company I'll be working for. I'll only say that it's a chain. And it's one that I'm happy to work for, seeing as how they've given me so much over the years. Please, no guessing in the comments. I want to keep that part anonymous, just in case I someday feel the need to complain about something. Wouldn't want the powers that be to see that something negative was written about their company and suddenly I don't have that second job anymore.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Legends of the Bank Teller - Episode LX

I'm not much of a talker. So when someone talks too much, it kind of grates on my nerves.

Today a girl came in who has apparently been away for some time. This customer felt the need to tell a fellow teller all of the minute details of her life over the past year. She had to have talked non-stop for fifteen minutes.

And it seemed that each time she was about to wrap it up, she would go into another facet of what she's done this year. It was like the end of the last Lord of the Rings movie. You just never knew when it was really going to end.

After a full half hour of talking, she finally left, claiming she'd be back in a few months. I'm sure she'll have loads to talk about by then.

At that point I really wanted to turn around and fuss at my coworker for encouraging that sort of behavior. Whatever happened to the good ol' days when people would just come to the bank, make their deposit, then get the heck out?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Strange Visitors

While working today, I received a text informing me that Nicole was getting the kids ready and then taking them to the Krispy Kreme.

You are probably unaware that this wonderful doughnut factory is only a few blocks from where I work. So I responded to said text with my order: a lemon-filled doughnut.

I was only half serious. I mean, sure, I wanted a doughnut, but I didn't really expect her to hit the drive-thru to drop off a doughnut.

I was surprised to find that she not only came by the bank, she stopped and had the whole crew of kids come inside to deliver not one, but two lemon-filled doughnuts. I figured, at best, I'd get a quick drive-thru visit.

In return for the gift of pastries, I gave each of the kids their choice of lollipops. After distributing three blues, a yellow, and a golden (another yellow), Nicole and the kids went on their merry way.

After they left, my co-workers gave me something of a hard time. They found it a little hard to believe that I was that well-liked by so many children. Especially when it came to Gabby, waving and saying bye over and over as she was carried out of the bank.

That's right. Contrary to popular belief, I am extremely lovable!

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Who has two thumbs and just posted his 700th blog?

This guy.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Force

When I come home after a long day at work I like to play a little game. I get on the elevator, I push the button for my floor, and then I wait for the door to close.

And then, just as the machinery starts to cause the elevator to rise, I pretend that I'm really lifting the elevator using only my mind. And then, when it stops on my floor, I like to pretend that I'm using the Force to open the door.

Now, between the elevator and the main hall, there's a short hallway that's closed off by what I assume is some sort of fire safety door. More often than not, this door is closed. Occasionally I'll find it propped open with a rock or a cinder block, but that may actually be a fire hazard.

Every time I get off the elevator, I raise my hand and attempt to force the door open telekinetically, but it never happens. Some days I close my eyes while riding up the elevator and actually try to will the door open. Alas, it's never happened.

But one day, it's really gonna freak all of you out when I am able to report that I got off the elevator and found that door held open by nothing but the sheer force of my will.

The more likely event is that, one day, I'll be using "the Force" to open the door and it will open, but only because someone happened to be coming out as I was going in. But in that split second before I see the tenant on the other side step through, I'll think that I finally did it.

That will be a wonderful split second.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Question of the Week: Great Experience

Do you feel that advice from older people carries a special weight because of their greater experience?

I'm gonna say no. I think there are a lot of situations that can come up in our lives that someone somewhere has to have been through before. But just because they've been through something similar doesn't necessarily mean they have the best advice for your situation. There's a good chance that I would just give their advice the same weight that I would give to that of a trusted friend. Honestly, I get some old folks in the bank that come in spouting off all kinds of stories and advisory statements, and more often than not, they just come off as crazy. And I think I've made it clear before that I'm not the most patient person in the world. Listening to an older person definitely requires a patience that I don't always have readily available. I feel bad about that, but it's just the way that I am.

*Question of the Week comes from The Book of Questions by Gregory Stock, Ph.D.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Another Look Alike

Okay, I'm still watching Big Brother. I'm not sure why, but I keep getting reeled back in. Last week, a sleazebag named Ronnie was evicted. And last week I realized that he resembled another famous character from the pop culture hall of fame.

The resemblance was more apparent when he was in the diary room looking unhappy. Looking straight on at the camera, his neck is kind of long and blends right into his head.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Yeah, I'm still having problems with my laptop. It seems that some of the most computer friendly minds have been stumped. I've spent all of my afternoon trying different things and I'm just about at the end of my rope.

I'm tired and really don't feel like coming up with something to write about. So today I'm taking a break. I hope to be in better spirits tomorrow.

I'll write from my desktop if I need to.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sick Computer

Ladies and gentlemen of the interweb, my computer has called in sick today.

Last night, while I was running a virus scan and nothing else, the speakers in my laptop began playing a mysterious audio clip. From the sound of it, it seemed to be a morning talk show. And it was recent. They were talking about the possibility of Paula Abdul leaving American Idol. I know that's old news now, but it's only a couple weeks old.

Needless to say, this freaked me out a bit. So I shut down the scan and shut down the computer. When I turned it back on, it began to load Windows but then gave me a black screen and the arrow. I could move the cursor around, but there was nothing to click on.

Needless to say, this freaked me out a lot. So I shut it down and panicked. I searched through all my old receipts, praying that I could find my service plan that Best Buy sold me with the computer. Thankfully I found it and I was just under the wire. That three year plan expires in a mere four months. But since it was 10pm, there was nothing more I could do but to let her sleep for the night.

This morning I opened the laptop and tried to turn it on again. This time I got to the password screen, but could go no further. Of course, this evening when I was finally able to visit the local Geek Squad, the computer started right up, no problems. Also, no strange audio from bizarre morning programs.

The Geek in question told me that he had seen several computers with that same audio problem. So it must be that bug that's going around. You always think it'll happen to someone else but not to you.

So as I type this, I'm rerunning my virus scanner. Hopefully that will take care of the problem. I'm just glad the entire computer didn't get fried. My life is on this thing. I know that's sad, but it's true.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Ballad of G.I. Joe

I haven't seen the movie yet. Believe me, when I do see it, you'll get my full thoughts. From what I've heard of it, this video from Funny or Die is a lot better. And this you can see for free.

Sunday, August 09, 2009


This week's prompt over at Sunday Scribblings is "NEW."

It's hard for me to come up with something to say regarding new things in my life. Because I'm a creature of habit. I have my routines. And while I don't think of myself as a slave to these routines, I don't exactly run out and embrace new things.

But embracing newness in one's life requires a bit of optimism. I am not an optimist. While I often hope for the best in situations, I know enough to know that the best is not what will usually come about. I don't consider myself a pessimist either. I think of myself as a realist. And I know that a lot of you out there would call that pessimism, but that's okay. To me, the glass isn't half full or half empty. I'm just happy if I've got something to drink at all.

I just reread that. I'm not talking about alcohol. It almost sounds like I'm only happy if I've got a drink in my hand. I just meant that it's good to have some water in the glass at all. Especially during a drought or the country's current economic climate.

Anyway, I've gotten way off track. I'm supposed to be talking about something new. Well here's something new: my hours at work are being cut back beginning this week. Originally I was hired to work 35 hours a week. My manager has been working me 40 a week, sort of flying me under the radar. But now he's caught some crap for it and has no choice but to drop me to the 35. In monetary terms, this means a cut in pay of $200 a month.

As someone who has been living paycheck to paycheck and just barely making the ends meet, this poses a new challenge. That challenge being one of how to continue to pay bills, which are in fact increasing steadily, based on a lower paycheck.

So that's what's new in my life. Not optimistic, I know.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Aaron's Rules to Live By

When I was in college I began comprising a list of rules that I felt were important. I never wrote them down, so I guess they were unwritten rules. But now, I feel that it's time to pass these rules on to you, my loyal listeners. I mean readers.

1. Don't talk about Fight Club. Just don't do it.

2. If you walk away from the Omelet Shoppe without a classic story, it was a wasted trip. This one made particular sense during the college years when the Omelet Shoppe trip was a regular thing. Luckily, we could count on an endless supply of drunken morons to entertain us during those trips.

3. Every movie is better on the big screen. It doesn't matter if you're seeing Back to the Future (the best movie ever made) or Batman & Robin (the worst movie ever made). Nothing compares to seeing a film in squeaky seats and sticky floors, surrounded by total strangers.

4. Be Prepared. Okay, I just stole this from the Boy Scouts. And Phoebe Buffay. But it just makes good sense.

5. If my door's open, come on in. I keep this rule to this day. My apartment door stays closed and locked. I'm a grown up now and I don't see my neighbors in class every day. This is a safety concern now. But back in the day, if I was in the room and not sleeping, the door was open. It's nice to have people drop by every now and then.

6. Don't let the kid down the hall know you have a Nintendo unless you want him to become your new best friend. In one case, the kid became one of my best friends and was later my roommate. But with a different kid down the hall, I got so sick of him that I had to start leaving my door closed for awhile. Really screwed up my open door policy.

7. Don't wait for all else to fail before you check out the instructions. That new desk you got real cheap at Wal-Mart? Yeah, it came with instructions in four languages for a reason. If you try to put screw E into slot B, you're gonna have some pretty cheap modern art. I wouldn't suggest setting up your computer there.

8. Never turn down free food off campus. This especially goes for instances when someone is willing to buy you a meal at a sit-down type place. But it also applies for anyone who welcomes you into their home and cooks for you. Also for the drive through. Seriously, have you ever eaten in the cafeteria?

9. If a woman wants a real opinion about what she's trying on, she shouldn't take a guy with her. Again, this just makes good sense.

10. If you can't look back on it and laugh, it wasn't worth doing. Come on, life is funny. Okay, so a lot of the time, life isn't funny. It's stressful and worrisome. But you need to be able to find the fun in whatever it is that you do. Otherwise you'll just end up an angry and bitter person.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Question of the Week: Tall Tale

When you tell a story, do you often exaggerate of embellish it? If so, why?

Of course I do. If you've read this blog once or twice, you know I do. Life's more fun when you embellish.

Short question, short answer.

*Question of the Week comes from The Book of Questions by Gregory Stock, Ph.D.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

The Murtaugh List

On the most recent season of How I Met Your Mother, there was an episode titled "The Murtaugh List." The name Murtaugh comes from the character played by Danny Glover in the Lethal Weapon series of films. Detective Murtaugh's signature line was "I'm getting too old for this stuff." Well, he says stuff in the TV edit.

The title refers to a list of activities that the characters of the show are getting too old for. Over the last few months I've experienced some activities that I now feel I'm getting too old for. While I can hope that the following list is definitive, I have a feeling it will be an ever expanding thing.

1. Midnight Movies: When Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was released, I went to see it at midnight. It was a Tuesday night. This meant I needed to be at work the next morning at 8:30. I'm not sure how much sleep I got after I got home from the movie. But I know it was well after 3am when I hit the bed. I'm getting too old for this stuff.

2. Eating After Midnight: Whenever I eat something late at night, especially if it's something fried, it isn't a good thing. I'm not entirely sure, but I think I turn into a little big-eared monster that likes to destroy things. I'm getting way too old for this stuff.

3. Strenuous Activity Involving Small Children: See, I'm out of shape. I'm not sure that I've ever been in great shape, but 10 years ago I was in pretty decent shape. Now I'm older and I find that it's difficult to breathe when chasing kids. Also, it's easier to pull muscles and twist joints. Things pop that didn't used to pop. I'm a little concerned. I'm definitely getting too old for this stuff.

4. Roller Skating: Yeah, a couple years ago when I was working at Northside Middle School as a day-treatment counselor, I had the privilege of chaperoning a trip to the skating rink. It's like I forgot how to use my legs properly. When I was a kid I could skate pretty well. I wasn't trying to win a competition or anything, but I could do it without falling. No more. I didn't fall on that particular outing, but I may as well have. The next day I could barely move.

5. Spicy Food: I've never been a big fan of the spicy food, even as a kid. But these days, the few spicy items that I did enjoy have a tendency to tear me apart. I'll spare you further details.

At the moment that's all I can think of. But as I said before, I'm sure it'll be a growing list.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Life Story: Chapter Thirty Two

I had one year to go at Woodrow Wilson. Part of me just wants to say I went to the eighth grade and enjoyed it about as much as I enjoyed sixth and seventh. But before I get to eighth grade, I've got something else to say about seventh.

Seventh graders were allowed to play team sports for the middle school. And somehow, I thought it would be a good idea for me to play baseball.

I had never been all that athletic, but I'm pretty sure in middle school everyone made the team. So while I tried my best, as you can imagine, I wasn't all that good. Plus there was that whole anorexia thing. That didn't exactly help me with my stamina.

There was one game in particular that was difficult for me. There I was, standing in right field (the position I played), soaking in the hot springtime sun, and down I went. I passed out in the heat of the day. Why would that happen? Probably because I had eaten very little during that day. That was my lowest point on the baseball team.

My highest point was at an away game. We were playing James Madison Middle School. If middle schools had rivals, Madison would probably have been ours. And I somehow managed to get my only hit of the season. The only hit of my middle school career. I knocked the ball right between Madison's left and center fielders. I wasn't all that fast, so I only made it to first. But I did get the guys on second and third home. And not long afterward, one of my teammates brought me home. I ended up being the winning run. It was a good day.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Legends of the Bank Teller - Episode LIX

Today my assistant manager began a weekly coaching session with each of the tellers. In preparation for this, we were all given short surveys to fill out a few days ago. These surveys consisted of questions pertaining to the ins and outs of our job, including the things that we like, dislike, and become frustrated with.

At first glance, the questions concerned me. I was pretty sure if I answered honestly, Natasha would just look at me and ask why I was even working at the bank. I may have mentioned that in my post on Saturday. But I didn't get that response. She just thanked me for my truthiness.

I told her up front why I got into being a teller and made it clear that this isn't where I see myself in five years. So the conversation steered to what I really wanted to be doing. When I told her I wanted to write, she latched right on to that.

She brought up the idea that some banks and branches put out monthly newsletters for their customers. She asked me how I would feel about doing something like that for our branch. This excited me just a little bit. So, coming September 1st, there will be a two page newsletter at the Cameron Village branch of my bank.

Any article ideas will be incredibly helpful. See you tomorrow guys.

Monday, August 03, 2009


What a weekend.

Saturday morning I got up and drove into Roanoke. It had been eight months since my last visit to the old hometown. In that time, my car's inspection sticker had expired. In fact, it expired back in February. Better late than never, right? Sure, it's six months late, but I have a good reason.

I knew that there were a few issues with my car. I knew that there were problems that would cause Jade not to pass this year's inspection. And I knew that these issues would cost me more money than I could afford in order to have them fixed. So I put off entering the Commonwealth of Virginia for as long as I thought I could. But this weekend, the time finally came.

I arrived too late to have the car looked at on Saturday. Thankfully, I had asked to have Monday off from work, so that gave me all day today to get Jade taken care of. But there was some hesitation. After running down a list of problems (that I knew of), I decided there was no way I could afford to go through with the inspection. So I very nearly talked myself into skipping the inspection and just pressing my luck by returning to North Carolina. My plan was to then drive my car for as long as I possibly could.

But Jerry, my step-father, determined that the problem with my noisy exhaust could be fixed for under a hundred dollars. My grandmother had said that she would be willing to help me out with that. And from there, I decided that kind of amount would be easy to pay back. So this morning I dropped the car off at a dependable garage and had them perform the inspection and the repair that we knew was needed.

Around 10:30 this morning I got a call. There were more issues that needed to be fixed in order for Jade to pass her inspection. This brought the estimated grand total to $620. I wanted to cry.

I didn't really want to cry. But I did regret taking the car to the garage at all. By this point I was thinking I should have just cut my losses and gotten the heck outta Dodge. But Mamaw still said she'd be willing to help me out. If she's reading this, I say thank you once again and I promise I will pay you back as soon as I am able. Even if it's just a little at a time, that $622 and change will be back to you.

There were some other events that occurred during my time in Roanoke. I had dinner on Saturday with my old roommate Brandon and a mutual Bluefield friend, Teresa (known henceforth as Tree). Neither of us had seen Tree in a couple years, so it was a nice get together. Brandon convinced me to come back to his house, then he and his wife convinced me to stay the night. So we stayed up late playing Punch-Out. Always good times.

Sunday after church I had lunch with the members of my family that were able to be there. It was good to see my great-grandmother and aunt while I was in town. After a late lunch I headed back to Brandon and Kara's where we got together with our other former college roommate, Mark. The four of us went to Putt-Putt, and though I did the absolute worst of all of us, I did manage to get a hole-in-one. And the blue light was on, so I got to trade my ball in for an orange one. That was always exciting as a kid.

After the miniature golf outing, we convinced Mark to call a friend of his who had just moved to Roanoke. Jessica is a girl that we had all heard Mark talk about for a while but none of us had ever met her. Turns out, she's a fan of the Carp Dime. So see there? If you're a blog reader and you let me know it when we meet, you get a shout out the very next day.

Despite the stress of car repairs, it was a good trip to the 'Noke. And the car runs like a dream now. Maybe not a dream, but it runs. And it isn't deafening when I push the gas pedal.

Sunday, August 02, 2009


It's gonna be a busy day here in Roanoke, so I'm probably not going to have time to really write something. So no Sunday Scribblings today. Instead here's a video that Brandon pointed me to. Kinda cracked me up...

Saturday, August 01, 2009


This is not my resume. Nor is this a plea for someone out there to give me a job. Then again, maybe it is.

I've told many of my Legends of the Bank Teller. It's easy to do because that's the job I perform on a daily basis. I am a bank teller. But last night it hit me, I really don't like that job.

I saw my friend Ryan for the first time in two years at dinner last night. One of the first things he asked me, sarcastically, was, "How's the job?" When I said it sucked, he just laughed and said he could tell as much from reading my blog.

Let me be honest, the job doesn't suck. There are worse jobs. I've seen Dirty Jobs on the Discovery Channel. I know what's out there. I also know what's not out there. In these troubling economic times, having a job of any kind is a blessing. Period.

But if I were to sit here and tell you or anyone else that I'm entirely happy and content with my place in the universe as a bank teller, I'd be lying. My assistant manager gave each of us a survey with questions about our jobs. The answers we give are purely opinion. But as I looked at the questions, I realized that if I answered them all honestly, my assistant manager will just look at me and ask, "Why are you working here?" And my honest answer to that would be, "Because it's a job and I need the paycheck to survive from month to month." I'm not working at the bank because I see myself climbing that particular ladder to become a branch manager someday. That's just not who I am.

So who am I? What is it that I want to do with my life?

I want to do this. I want to write. And I want to get paid to do it.

Okay, I can truthfully report that I am working on a novel and I'm happy to say that I'm actually making progress with it. But that's not a guaranteed paycheck. I can't just look at a completed novel (once it's completed) and assume it will be published. It would be a nice ending this tale, but it certainly isn't a sure thing.

But what about writing for a magazine or a newspaper? What about writing for a blog, other than my own?

I love writing. I don't know how talented I am with it, but it's something I enjoy. It's something I'm passionate about. If you can't love what you do, then why do it? I do not love working at the bank. I don't love pretending to have patience with people who refuse to have patience with me. I don't love pretending to respect customers who refuse to pretend to respect the people who are serving them.

I know, as a Christian, that we are called to serve others in whatever capacity that we are able. I know that I shouldn't be relying on my own strength to do this day after day. I know that, with my personality, doing it on my own is impossible. So while I work for the bank, I will endure. I will perform the job required to the best of my ability, but not for the sake of my ability.

In the meantime, I'd like to put the feelers out there. I don't have a degree in journalism or communications, but I actually feel that I have something to offer in terms of writing. If you disagree, please tell me, I can certainly handle the criticism. But if you agree, I could use the advice as well. Writing a blog for the News & Observer didn't turn out to be the foot in a door that I hoped it would.

So until you find me on the bestseller list, you can find me here. And also at the bank's drive through window.