Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Why do we bother comparing ourselves to other people?

I'm sure you've gotten onto Facebook and looked up some of those people you went to high school or college with. You've checked out their photos, their relationship statuses, their general information. And what have you gained from it?

In some cases, you've probably looked at your old friends and acquaintances and thought, "At least I'm better off than them."

I know, you don't want to admit that you've thought that, but believe it or not, you have. Don't feel too guilty about it. No one likes to admit that they've thought of other people in terms of making themselves feel better. Because then you're no better than the bullies that pushed you around on the playground during recess.

But I'd be willing to bet that there are a lot of times when you look at those profiles and think, "Man, I could've done so much more with my life."

Maybe you don't. Maybe you're one of those people who is completely content with where you find yourself now. Maybe I'm in the minority of people who had different plans while they were working on that college education. Nothing against the banking industry, but I sure didn't see myself as a full-time teller with no aspirations for advancement within the company that employs me.

But we do it all the time. Careers and relationships aside, we're constantly looking at others and comparing ourselves to their position in life. And really, that comparison is just a polite word for judgment. We're either doing it by looking down on others, simply to feel better about ourselves, or we're looking at another's success, chipping away at our own self-worth.

Am I off base here? Look, I'm not saying that I'm unhappy with my place in life. But I won't say I'm happy with it either. Really, I go into work every day, to a job that I don't really enjoy. I don't see myself working at the bank in five years. At least, I don't want to see myself working at the bank in five years.

Maybe what it comes down to is how others may see me. When others look at my life, what are they comparing it to? Homecoming is coming up next month at the old college and I'm really excited about driving up there. Will the people that I haven't seen in years look at me and think I've done all right for myself? Will they look at me and see wasted potential? Or will they just look and see a guy who sometimes lacks self-confidence and then writes about it on his blog?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Legends of the Bank Teller - Episode LXIII

This legend isn't so much about me, but about a bank teller I knew long ago.

When I was 16 I got my first job. Along with that job came a paycheck. And with that paycheck came the need for a checking account. It's not that I had any bills to pay, but it was good to have a place to deposit my check every other week when the manager started handing out money.

At the time, Dad was still working for Norfolk Southern, which had, at one time, been known as Norfolk & Western. Due to this happy fact, our family kept money at the N&W Federal Credit Union. These days that particular credit union is known as Member One, but for the purposes of this story, we'll just stick with N&W.

I regularly stopped in at the branch nearest my house and got to know one teller in particular. I wouldn't necessarily say that I had a crush on her, though maybe I did. After all, I was in high school and those crazy hormones were just going... well... crazy...

I'm sorry to say I don't remember her name, but during those couple of years before I left for college, she seemingly got to know me pretty well. I only say that because I remember a specific incident involving my Dad. Normally he did his business at the branch downtown, nearest to where he worked. But on that day he happened to be near the Oak Grove branch and he stopped in. He happened to be in line next when the teller I knew called him over. When she saw his last name she struck up a conversation with him about me, saying something crazy like I was so sweet. Obviously she didn't know me that well.

So to the unnamed teller from the old N&W Credit Union, I thank you. You definitely made my first banking experiences good ones. I should probably act more like you did now that I'm on the other side of the counter.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Greatest Hits: Awake in the Darkness

Originally published 5/20/2007:

Tonight is one of those nights. It's midnight and I just can't sleep. I've been trying to fall asleep for the last couple hours, but I just can't. And really, isn't that a contradiction? Trying to fall asleep? I guess that's impossible. If you're gonna fall asleep, you just do it. There is no try (thank you Yoda).

I am obviously not sleeping at this moment. So I'm left to fill the time with the meaningless ramblings of an insomniac.

For awhile I was watching National Treasure on DVD. Good movie. I liked it so much that I saw it twice when it was in the theater. However, I did fall asleep the second time I watched it. Not because I was bored with it. I was just that tired. Maybe I chose to watch that movie hoping I would get those old feelings, but alas, I'm still awake. The movie ended, so I restarted it. Still awake.

Now the TV is off. I set the "sleep" timer on it, hoping against hope that I would be asleep by now. But it's off and I'm not yet asleep.

For awhile I just laid here in bed listening to the sound of the fan on my desk. A nice, soothing, white noise kind of sound. And the thoughts began to flow. And for some reason I began thinking about Dad.

I've done that a lot lately. Last Thursday morning I got to work and was waiting around for the day's assigned duties. I started thinking about him then. Somehow it became so overwhelming that I nearly broke into tears. I didn't though. Manhood intact.

So tonight, as I lay awake in the dark, my mind wandered back to Dad yet again. Really there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about him at some point. But sometimes, like now, the thoughts go deeper than just a passing remembrance. The thoughts turn into another realization of just how much I miss him. Another realization of just how much my heart aches.

I want so badly to talk to him about movies I've seen lately. About how frustrating my favorite TV shows are when I'm left with cliffhangers at season's end. About how scared and excited I am to start fresh with seminary in the fall. About how much I appreciated him always being there for me. About how sorry I am for not always showing it.

So now what do I do? Do I try, again, to go to sleep? My brain, flooded with thoughts and feelings and memories? I'm not really expecting an answer to this. I know I'll get sleep eventually. It's inevitable. My body will become so tired that I won't have a choice in the matter. But what do I do 'til then?

Sunday, September 27, 2009


A few months ago I noticed something that I don't think I'd ever seen before. I was in the local Sheetz and saw in the refrigerated case small blocks of cheddar. But it wasn't like what you'd find with the various cheeses at the grocery store. These small blocks were shaped and sized much like a candy bar.

At first this struck me as odd. Who eats cheese like a candy bar? This odd thought entered my mind every time I noticed these cheese bars in convenient stores. And then one day I decided to get one. I mean, it's only a buck, so why not. And I like cheddar. I just don't usually eat it without it being on a hamburger or possibly some crackers.

You know, it was actually pretty good. Not something I want to buy and eat every day, but snacking cheese isn't so bad. It even jogged my memory a little. I remember, as a kid, going to the fridge and getting a bag of shredded sharp cheddar and just eating handfuls of it. Some kids dig into the bag of chips, I went for the bag of cheddar.

And yet, even though I've tried it and have been reminded of those bygone days when I would snack on cheese, I still think cheese in the shape of a candy bar is a little weird.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

One Last Question

So I've got this friend who wanted to ask a question last week when I asked so many times for questions. But he never got around to it. So instead, a couple days ago, he left his question as a wall post on my Facebook page. And being the generous blog poster that I am, here it is...

Brandon asks: What's your favorite Huey Lewis and the News song? Do you remember what you were dreaming about when you just started talking out loud that one time in college and you said, "He can go fast if he wants to?" I still really wanna know...

Mr. Caldwell, I'm afraid the answer to your second question isn't going to bear much fruit. I have no idea what I may have been dreaming about. For those of you unaware, I apparently talk in my sleep. At least I used to, back when I had roommates to tell me I was saying things. On one occasion, I had gone to bed earlier than my three roommates, as I generally did in those days. All I know for sure from that night is that I was sleeping, then I suddenly propped myself up and said, "He can run if he wants to!" Maybe I said "He can go fast..." I'm really not sure. I'm pretty sure I thought that I was just answering a question in the conversation that was going on between the still awake roommates. Not sure why I thought I was included in the conversation when I was so obviously asleep. The others all started a good laugh over my apparent confusion. I just turned over, faced the wall, and went back to sleep. No clue what dreams came before or after the event in question on that fateful night.

My favorite Huey Lewis and the News song is, without question, If This Is It. Most people who know me would probably assume the answer would be Power of Love or Back In Time, both featured in the greatest film of all time. That's just not the case. BTW, did you know that Huey Lewis himself had a cameo in Back to the Future? He was the guy, when Marty's band was auditioning for the dance, who told them they were just too darn loud. I'm not sure why I like If This Is It so much. I do know that it's one of those songs that just gives me an indescribable feeling when I hear it. There are a few songs out there that I don't hear often, but when I hear them I just remember what it was like to be a kid in the 80s without a care in the world. It's not like there's a huge emotional attachment to any of those songs, but they're just reminders of what life was like when I could still count my age on my fingers.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Question of the Week: Service

If you could have free, unlimited service for five years from an extremely good cook, chauffeur, housekeeper, masseuse, or personal secretary, which would you choose?

I would choose housekeeper. I hate cleaning. I mean, I'm not messy or anything. But I'm not exactly good about sweeping up the dust that inevitably collects on my hardwood floors. I like to cook. I like to drive. I don't like receiving massages on a regular basis. And I'm pretty well organized all on my own. My life really isn't complicated enough to have a personal secretary. So yeah, having someone to pick up after me and do my laundry would be pretty sweet.

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

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Silver Alert

Saturday morning as I was driving down to Charlotte for my day of fun at Carowinds I noticed something that struck me as odd. I noticed it several times as I drove down the interstate. You know those electronic signs that flash alerts from the Dept. of Transportation? Every one I saw that day had a Silver Alert flashed on it. The only other information given told drivers to dial 511 for more information.

I was extremely curious, but not curious enough to dial 511. I don't know what 511 is. What if it's like calling 411 and I get charged 75 cents? What if someone took over the controls for those electronic boards and dialing 511 would really connect me to someone in Barbados, charging me crazy amounts of international rates on my cell phone.

So I didn't call 511. Instead, once I got to Carowinds and had time to kill, I called my sister. My hope was that she either knew what a Silver Alert was or was near her computer so she could check out Wikipedia. Neither of those things turned out to be true. So then I called my Mom, hoping for the same results I had hoped for with April. No dice.

Eventually I made it home and I got to my computer. I looked up the Silver Alert my own self. Turns out it's a lot like the Amber Alert, but it's for senior citizens. It's especially for seniors with dementia or mental illness who may have wandered off or gone missing.

Apparently it's a national thing. Most states have their own system for the Silver Alerts and it has been proven as an effective tool in helping to find and return missing persons. Good idea Oklahoma state Representative Fred Perry.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


What's your response when someone you love is hurting?

The pain I'm referring to isn't a physical one. It's not as if you just saw your best friend trip over their own feet and skin their knee. If it were me watching that happen, there's a good chance I'd laugh. Sure, I'd ask if they were okay in between chuckles. But a good, non-serious injury is always worth a giggle or two.

Here I'm talking about the kind of pain that isn't on the surface. You can't necessarily see it when you're face to face with your friend. It's not a cut or a bruise that shows up over night. You can't just look at them and ask, "What happened?" The pain I'm referring to is much more subtle.

I'm talking about a pain that comes from psychological and emotional turmoil. In a lot of ways, this sort of pain can cause much more damage and have more far reaching consequences than a broken bone or a deep gash could ever have. And more often than not, when the people we know are in this kind of pain, we never suspect it.

People like to put on a good front. They don't want to burden you with their problems. You might look them in the eyes and assume that everything is just fine, simply because there's a smile resting a few inches below those eyes. But what happens when you're not around anymore? What happens to that person when they go into their bedroom and find themselves alone? What thoughts and memories plague them in the darkness?

Eventually this pain will manifest itself. Signs of stress or depression will begin to emerge in your friend or family member. But what can you do then? I think that depends on the person that's hurting.

I have bad days. There are days when I find myself angry at someone, or maybe just unhappy with the world at large. On those days I like to shut myself down. I don't want to talk to anyone. I don't want to have contact with even my closest friends. I just want to be left alone. If I had it my way, I'd close the blinds so even the daylight couldn't find me. Left to myself, I'd shy away from anything unpleasant, and even the burden of my responsibilities would eventually be more than I could handle.

I thank God that, when I've had those days, I have friends who have reached out to me. I may ignore their good intentions for awhile, but they remain persistent, and eventually I break out of that shell of pity that I build up around myself.

But what happens to the person who becomes ignored by the people they once counted on for love and support? What happens when the people who were thought of as friends and mentors leave a hurting person to fend for themselves? The downward spiral becomes heartbreaking and tragic.

There are a lot of hurting people out there. And there's a good chance that someone you love, one of your closest friends, is one of those pained people. Be perceptive. Be persistent. Be compassionate and be loving. Be patient and be understanding. Inspire hope where hope seems to be lost. You might just be saving a life.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Emmy Opening

Hey guys, it's pretty late. I know I didn't write anything new yesterday and I'm not writing anything new today. It's just been a long day and I'm really tired. So I'm just posting Neil Patrick Harris' opening from the Emmy Awards on Sunday night. I promise I'll post something more original tomorrow.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Greatest Hits: What Happened to 26?

Originally published 3/6/2007:

I turned 27 today. I turned 27 and had a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese's.

I don't see anything wrong with that at all. In fact, I had a great time. And I may be overstepping my bounds, but I'm fairly certain everyone had a pretty good time. I mean, what's not fun about pizza and skee ball?

It didn't start out that great though. I mean, mom took me out for breakfast, which was nice. And we went to see The Number 23 this afternoon, which was also nice. But coming out of the theater, my car wouldn't start. No power at all. This is very bad, especially since I just bought a battery for the thing last summer. So, I'm thinking, "Happy birthday to me..." in a sarcastic kind of way. Turns out it wasn't a big deal. We got it towed, got it fixed, and everything was ship shape.

Why is it that whenever you have a birthday, there are inevitably people who ask, "Do you feel any older?" My answer is always no. I mean, I feel pretty much the same as I did yesterday. Do I feel older than, say, 4 or 5? Absolutely. Am I grasping for that level of immaturity by partying with a 6 foot rat? I guess that's possible. I didn't take the time to examine the psychological ramifications of turing 27 at a restaurant where a kid can be a kid.

I did like the reaction that a friend had to hearing I was having a birthday at Chuck E. Cheese. "That is classic Aaron Peck." I don't mind that at all. And she meant it in a good way. The way I see it, why not make each birthday a little memorable? I hear a lot of people say of their birthday, "it's just another day." Why should it be that way? Do it up right folks! Do something fun, something that you'll enjoy doing. Involve your friends. This year was Chuck E. Cheese, but it doesn't have to be a restaurant to be special. Last year I was with a few friends in Richmond, hanging out in an apartment eating tacos and dang quesadillas. Next year, I'm thinking roller skating. If I decide, when the time comes, that my knees can handle it.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


A few months ago I was invited by Dave, one of my old college roommates, to meet him and his youth group at Carowinds for Christian Music Day. Which was yesterday.

So I went. I got up early yesterday morning and I drove to Charlotte. And what a fantastic day it was.

I was told that the group would be there between 9:30 and 10, so I planned my trip accordingly. Just as I was pulling off the designated exit, I got a call on my cell from Dave. They got something of a later start than planned, so they wouldn't be there 'til roughly 10:45. This wasn't a huge problem for me. I had not eaten breakfast, so this gave me time to sit down and eat something.

Unfortunately, the only restaurant at that exit serving breakfast was Shoney's. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I remember eating at Shoney's quite a bit as a kid. But I realize now that there's a reason for that. It's cheap. Having not eaten at such an establishment in a very long time, I was left somewhat disappointed. I apologize if I've offended any readers who feel that Shoney's is their favorite restaurant.

After a short stack of pancakes, I headed into the Carowinds parking lot. BTW, it's $10 to let your car sit there for the day.

When all the folks I was meeting arrived, we immediately began waiting. I would have said we immediately began riding rides, but come on, have you ever been to an amusement park on a Saturday? We waited in line for our first coaster for an hour and a half. That particular ride is called Nighthawk. Back in the Paramount days it was the Borg ride. It's the roller coaster that lays you back and then you feel like you're flying. It's pretty awesome.

Our next line moved pretty quickly, and surprisingly so. This line was for the park's newest coaster, the Carolina Cobra. You get in the car and get pulled backwards up an incline. Once you reach the top, you immediately drop and go through the loop and twists and then go up another incline where the track ends. You're pulled up to the top of that, then are shot back through the entire track backwards, 'til you arrive safely back at the depot.

After those two rides, it was time for lunch. It was nice to find an affordable bacon cheeseburger and Coke for only $15.

Once we had digested for a bit, we hit the Vortex, Carowinds' stand-up roller coaster. Been there, done that.

We then headed to the back end of the park for Afterburn, previously known as Top Gun. The line seemed long, but it really moved quickly. And in riding this one, I felt like it was the most comfortable ride we'd hit all day. So we decided to ride it again before heading over to the concert.

The line was shorter this time and was still moving fast. But this time, just as we reached the loading zone, the rain began. I take that back, rain is not a strong enough word for what started happening outside. Thankfully we were under shelter, but the powers that be decided to shut the ride down due to the sudden inclement weather. Anyone who was in line back on the ground scattered. So the only people remaining were those of us under cover. I'm not sure why the girl running the ride felt the need to announce four times that she was sorry for the inconvenience but due to the inclement weather they would be temporarily closing the ride. She wasn't telling us anything we didn't already know. The real shocker would have been if they started running the ride again.

Eventually we could wait no more. We needed to get to the concert, where the kids were waiting for their tickets, and the rain was obviously not going to let up. So we made a break for it. No umbrella and no poncho. We walked from the back of the park to the main entrance. By the time we reached the concert pavilion, I had a new and deeper understanding of the phrase "soaked to the bone."

We were able to find our seats in the concert, which were under the huge shelter of the amphitheater. And we were just in time for an apparently popular Christian rock group, Skillet. Now, maybe it's just because I'm getting old, but to me, it was just noise. I couldn't make out their lyrics. And to be completely honest, I couldn't really look at them too much, because I was forced to look away. I was afraid if I watched the flashing lights too much I may have triggered a seizure.

By the time Skillet was finished, my head was pounding and the chill from the soaking clothes was setting in. So I said my good-byes and made my way to my car. Sadly, I missed the Chris Tomlin portion of the concert, which was really the biggest reason I wanted to see any of the concert at all. But that's all right.

Now, you may look at that and think I didn't have a good time. That's just not the case. I had an awesome time. I got to see one of my best college friends, whom I had not seen in nearly three years. We got to catch up and reminisce about the good ol' days. Would I do it all again? In a heartbeat.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know, Part 4

Nicole asks: 1. What would someone have to say to you to get you to punch them in the face? 2. When was the last time you lied? 3. Would you ever ask a stranger to borrow their phone so that you could prank call someone? 4. If your cell phone died and you knew that wearing one of those little beanie hats with a propeller would charge it, would you? In public? 5. What would I be totally surprised to see you do if I watched a hidden video of you?

So many questions, so little time...

1. This one really depends on the person. There are a lot of people that I can tolerate a lot from. A friend... a true friend... can probably say just about anything to me and I'll take it. But there are people out there who I'd be tempted to punch in the face if they wronged me or someone I love. And really, I'd be able to deal with it a lot easier if they wronged me as opposed to a loved one. But I honestly don't think of myself as a violent person. I'm actually, kind of a wimp. I've never been in a fight that I won. I'll get angry and punch a couch cushion or the passenger seat in my car, but I really don't think I could punch a person. Then again, I always said that if I was walking down the street and bumped into Sanjaya from American Idol, I'd probably punch him in the face.

2. Today at work I lied to a customer. It's a customer that comes to the drive through on a regular basis. She's all the time dropping loose change in the box and then shoving it up the chute. It wouldn't be a big deal if it was just a couple of dimes. But it's a handful of loose change. It's like she just digs around in her center console for change at the end of every day and decides to deposit it at the last minute. And I do mean the last minute. She's always pulling in at breakneck speeds and slamming on her brakes at 4:59pm. I ran her transaction today and then, as I do with every customer, I told her we appreciate her business. You know, corporate may appreciate her business, but I don't. It really wouldn't hurt my feelings at all if she closed her account and decided to go with our main competitor. Wouldn't lose a wink of sleep. And I'm pretty sure the smile that I had plastered on my face while I was talking to her could be considered a lie too. I made it seem like I was happy to help her out yet again, but I really wasn't. Big lie.

3. Probably not. As big a fan as I am of a good prank call story, I've really never been very good at it (see answer below). Also, I'm not real good at talking to strangers. I mean, yeah, I do it every day at the bank, but I basically have a script to go by. Note that I still have yet to go off script with the hot girl that comes to my window about once a week. Ergo, I think I'd have a hard time asking a stranger to use their phone for something as ridiculous as a prank call. I get nervous enough asking for a stranger's phone in the middle of an emergency. So yeah, probably not.

4. Yes. And yes.

5. Really Nicole? As well as you know me by now, do you think there's anything that would surprise you at this point? Really?

Justin Blunt asks: Who put the "bop" in the bop sha bop sha bop? What's the worst prank you ever pulled on someone or had someone pull on you? Toilet Paper: over or under? Why? If you could go back in time and change one decision or event in world history, what would it be? Why? How would our society be different?

These are some tough ones. Especially that first one. I believe it was The Platters.

When you ask about the worst, do you really mean worst? Or do you mean the best? I have a feeling you want me to go with the time you "wrote me up" for prank calling Mark and Brandon junior year. I guess that's the only prank against me that I ever took the wrong way and got really angry about. But don't worry, no grudges. The best prank ever pulled on me (and Mark, Brandon and Dereck) was the time Josh and Taggart put dozens of Dixie cups full of water all over the bedroom floor. They were set rim to rim. Had to have taken a lot of patience. I'm pretty sure you had a hand in that one too.

Over, no question. I don't really have a why. And while I could see this being an issue that could possibly make or break a relationship, I don't think it would bother me too much if I married a woman who preferred it to be under. It's just toilet paper. And over is just the way it was always on the roll where I grew up. It's how I was raised. It's like being a Baptist. It doesn't mean that I think Methodists aren't going to Heaven. It's just how I prefer to do things.

This last one really gets my imagination going. Now, Lost taught us this past season that the past cannot be changed. Whatever happened happened. However, if things could be changed, I think I'd go back to recent history. I'd go back to the months after 9/11 and encourage the powers that be to focus on finding Osama rather than focusing on Iraq. The tragedy of 9/11 united America against terrorism, in whatever shape it came. But somewhere along the way we decided it would be a better use of our resources to remove Saddam Hussein from power and attempt to install a democratic government in a country that's never known anything like it. It's one thing to send our military somewhere to fight injustice in the world. It's another thing entirely to go and impose our culture and way of life on another people. It's hard to say how our society would differ if we had taken out Bin Laden in the same amount of time it took us to "win" the war in Iraq. It's possible that, with Osama removed from his seat of power, another would have taken his place who was just as bad or worse. I don't think being removed from the Middle East would have caused our economy to do any better. And through it all, Saddam would still be ruling Iraq with his iron fist. All in all, I'd say I didn't effect history for the better at all. You should probably take away my Wayback Machine.

Dee Martin asks: Why the Superman shirt?

The answer to that is simple. I am a geek.

I've been a fan of Superman for as long as I could remember. I don't think I started buying comic books until I was around 10 or 11 when I started actually getting my hands on some money. But the movies, the cartoons, they always intrigued me from a very young age. I know there are pictures of me somewhere in a Superman costume on some early Halloween in my life. I currently own two different S-shield t-shirts. They need to be replaced every couple years as the S begins to fade and fall apart. It's sad, really. If only they made those t-shirts as indestructible as Superman's costume. But I guess since Krypton doesn't really exist, you can't really come up with Kryptonian fabric.

Well that's it for this round of questions. I'll be sure to do it again sometime soon. I think it's kind of fun answering all your questions. Thanks again to those who participated!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Question of the Week: Nightmares

Would you be willing to have horrible nightmares every night for a year if you would be rewarded with extraordinary wealth?

No, I wouldn't. Nightmares can drive people crazy. What's fun about being insanely rich if you're driven insane in the process? Though, I guess if you have a lot of money at the end of it, you're not crazy, you're eccentric.

How about you?

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

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know, Part 3

Oh good, you came back!

Project Senegal asks: Is it strange to assume that pole dancers would make excellent firemen? You know, cause of the whole sliding down the pole thing. On second thought, do modern fire houses even require you to slide down the pole to get to the fire engine, or are most of them one-story buildings?

Andy, I'm not sure which question you actually want me to answer, but here goes. I don't necessarily think it's strange to assume a pole dancer would make a good fireman, or firewoman as the case may be. But I don't think we should assume that based solely on their pole dancing abilities. After all, a fireman is required to quickly put on a lot of protective clothing and gear. I would think that your average pole dancer would be much more adept at taking clothes off. Also they need to be able to handle that big hose. That's what she said.

I'm sorry, that was highly inappropriate.

As for the second part of your question, I did some reading on the subject. While there are a lot of newer, one-story firehouses these days, the older, more traditional firehouses still have the poles. This makes it easier for the firemen who are in the second floor living quarters to get downstairs when the call goes out for an emergency. However, due to newer safety regulations, a lot of poles are being removed from firehouses by the National Fire Protection Association. At one time it made sense to have a quick way to descend, as many multi-level houses contained spiral staircases. If you've ever tried to quickly descend a spiral staircase, you know that it can be particularly difficult. These spiral staircases were installed to keep horses from climbing the stairs. Since horses no longer pull water wagons for firefighters, these staircases have become obsolete. And so, sad as it is, the classic brass pole that would normally be seen in a fire station seems to be disappearing from life as we know it.

April McBeth asks: What is the worst thing you have ever spent $100 on?

April, the answer to this question is a little embarrassing. It's not as if I did anything blatantly wrong, it's just that what I did is incredibly stupid. Several years ago I had the bright idea of arranging for a group of my friends to get together for a Major League Baseball game. We checked out dates and made plans to meet up for a Saturday night Nationals home game. This was after college, so, for the most part, we were all spread out across Virginia. Since I had come up with the idea, I went online and bought the tickets, planning for everyone to just pay me when we got to the game. Six tickets, which actually came to a little over $100. I rode up to DC with Brandon, who was also living in Roanoke at the time, and we were the first to arrive. We found out that one of our friends would be unable to come, so we sold our extra ticket to someone outside the stadium. Then he comes right back and points out that the ticket we sold him was for last night's game. As were all of the tickets I had purchased. That's right, six tickets for the previous night. Brilliant. I really should have checked the tickets as soon as they came in the mail back at home. But you don't think you need to check something like that when you're certain you clicked the correct date online. So that was the worst $100 I've ever spent. I didn't ask the guys to pay me for their tickets since I had made such an obvious mistake. They actually chipped in to get me a ticket for that night's game since I was so obviously broke at this point. I'm never in charge of our friendly get-togethers anymore.

Kevin asks: 1) Who is Nimrod? Who's descendent did he come from? 2) Who started the tradition of the easter egg hunt? 3) Who was or what was the first government in history?

Wow Kevin, you are making me work for this one...

1) Nimrod was a king mentioned in the book of Genesis. He was the son of Cush, who was the son of Ham, who was the son of Noah. Noah, of course, being of Noah's Ark. The Bible describes Nimrod as being a great warrior and hunter. One of the cities he built was Ninevah, which would later be a city of great importance in the book of Jonah. More importantly, he seems to be the first ruler connected to Babylon. Extra-biblical tradition also points to Nimrod as being the leader who inspired the people to build the Tower of Babel.

2) Easter eggs actually come from Pagan traditions, the egg being a symbol of the rebirth of the earth. It was adopted by Christians as a symbol of the rebirth of man at Easter time. I did some searching and I wasn't able to find a real origin for the actual egg hunt. Back in the day, kids would roll eggs down a hill, which became a game that connected to the rolling away of the stone at Christ's tomb.

3) It's difficult to pinpoint the exact origin of human government. It's generally thought that Sumer was the earliest known government. But it's possible that smaller governments popped up before that. As nomads and hunter/gatherers would migrate and come across one another, it became necessary to have leaders and social norms. Eventually laws were introduced. And then people fought the law, but inevitably, the law won.

Tomorrow will be my weekly question of the week that is posed to you, but come back Saturday and I'll post the final three reader submissions.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know, Part 2

It's time for the second in the series...

Makenzie asks several questions: Do you parallel park or drive around the block? What's the strangest talent you have? Do you want to bring sexy back? Have you ever met a celebrity? What do you call those little plastic things on the ends of shoelaces? What are your religious beliefs? What is your favorite flavor in general? Coke or Pepsi?

Makenzie, you ask many interesting questions.

First, I am an excellent parallel parker. But I will drive around the block if I can't find a good spot the first time around.

My strangest talent would have to be my ability to play "The William Tell Overture" by slapping my cheeks.

I actually don't feel the need to bring sexy back. As far as I'm concerned, it never left.


According to Tom Cruise and Elisabeth Shue in the classic film Cocktail, those little plastic things on the ends of shoelaces are known as Flugalbinders. I'm really not sure of the correct spelling.

I am a Christian. For me, this means that religion isn't so much about religion, but a relationship with Jesus Christ. To me, the word religion invokes a sense of tradition and rigidity. In a lot of ways tradition can be good, but not when it gets in the way of one's ability to walk with God. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who was born to live a perfect life as an example to all humanity. I believe He was crucified as a sacrifice for my sin. I believe that His sacrifice paved the way to Heaven. And I believe that in order for me to get there, I need to give my life over to Him and allow Him to be the Lord of my life. I also believe that this is not an easy journey, but my faith in Him and His strength allows me to do just that. There are a lot of other details in my belief system, but those are what I find to be the most important facets of my faith. There is room for a lot of interpretation when it comes to God's word. The way He speaks to us can be a very personal thing. The biggest thing that matters is what we each did with Jesus, because He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. You can't get to the Father without Him.

In general, my favorite flavor is vanilla.

Coke. No doubt about it.

Josh, Heather, & Porter ask: If you could live anywhere in the US, where would it be? What is one thing you know you should do but don't? Porter wants to know when he is going to get to meet you?

I'm not sure who's asking what, so I'm going to assume that each of you asked your question in the order in which your names were presented.

Josh, in theory, being single with no real attachments, I could live anywhere in the US. But you have to factor in the fact that I'm kind of a wimp. I never feel like I'm very good at making new friends when I find myself in a new place. In reality, I'm probably better at it than I think, but I do put that limitation on myself. Over the last few years, I guess I've had ample opportunity to move somewhere random, but I never took advantage of that. Also I always figure I can't afford a random move, so that's been a hindrance too. But I'm pretty sure that if I could move anywhere, I'd probably go check out the Pacific Northwest. Maybe Seattle specifically.

Heather, you ask a tough question. One thing that I should do that I don't is write more in my spare time. I keep saying that I want to write a book and I have all these ideas floating around my head, but I'm really not doing much about it. Yeah, I do sit down at the computer every now and then and bang out a few pages at a time. But it's not as if I've made it a huge priority. If being a writer is a real goal in my life, I should really care more about it.

And Porter, I feel bad that I still haven't met you yet. I'm sorry that my travels have not carried me back to old Virginia very often since you were born. Alas, I believe my next trip to your neck of the woods will be Christmas, and you know how the holidays can be. Things are always crazy. And I know by then, you'll have passed the one year mark. Strange, huh? Going your whole first year without meeting Aaron. But here is my promise, you will get to meet me before you graduate from high school.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know, Part 1

Since I ended up getting more than a few of your questions, I've decided to start answering them two days ahead of schedule. That doesn't mean you need to stop submitting your questions. I'll still accept them 'til Thursday, so feel free to go back and ask some more. In the meantime, let's get started, shall we?

Mark asks: If you had an extra 140 dollars, what would you spend it on?

Okay, I'm not sure why you chose the exact 140 amount, but it's a little weird. The day I put out the call for questions, I came across that number many times and I began thinking about how strange it was. Just within the first hour I was at work that morning, I cashed two checks and ran three deposits for that exact amount. So now I want to spend a little time checking into the meaning of the number 140. But that's really not answering Mark's question, is it?

Well Mark, if I had an extra $140 lying around, I would buy the New York Yankees. No, really, I'd probably spend it on little things. The sorts of things that I would normally like to have but find myself too broke to splurge on. I'd probably take some of it to the grocery store and instead of buying the off-brand sodas, I'd get some actual Coca-Cola. I might get some things that I actually enjoy eating, rather than live off bologna and cereal for a few days. Not that bologna and cereal are bad things. It's just nice to expand the menu every now and again. If I were feeling reckless enough to spend it all at once though, I'd probably go out and buy a Wii Fit. But knowing how I am, I'd probably talk myself out of it while I was standing in the GameStop. I'd tell myself that I'm not gonna use it enough to justify the purchase, and I certainly won't use it enough to get myself into something resembling a "shape." Then I'd walk out and decide to just do what I said before. Spread that $140 out over the next week or so. Get some decent groceries for a change, and maybe be able to pay for my own lunch after church on Sunday.

An Anonymous Reader asks: If you only had 6 months to live, what would be a few things on your "bucket list"?

Well, Anonymous Reader... can I call you Annie? I'm going to anyway, get used to it. Well, Annie, that's a tough question. It's one I actually had to take some time to think about. Realistically it would probably depend on what I was dying of. But let's say, for simplicity's sake, that I can pretty much do anything I'd be capable of now. Another question that is raised is, do I have a wealthy benefactor to fund my final six months of glory? A Jack Nicholson to my Morgan Freeman, if you will. If money were no object, then there are plenty of things I'd like to do. I'd like to go back to New York and spend more than just a day in the city. I'd like to go to another Yankees game. I'd like to spend a week visiting a different amusement park each day and testing all of the roller coasters. I'd like to take a couple weeks and drive across the US. I'd like to see a few of the major European cities: London, Paris, Rome, Transylvania. I'd like to build a real sand castle, not just an upside-down bucket of sand with a flag on top of it. I'd like to watch Back to the Future one last time. And most of all I'd want to do all these things with one or more of my friends. I don't feel that I need to name names. You know who you are. You see, Annie, what it comes down to is not one of those items on my "bucket list" matters if I can't share them with at least one person that I enjoy spending my time with. Because long after I'm gone, they'll be the ones sitting around saying things like, "Remember that time that Aaron said or did something incredibly inappropriate? And then we were all, like, 'why did we even agree to help him out with this stupid list?' Yeah, good times."

I think that's all I'll go with for now. We don't want to get too crazy all at once. It's probably best to ease into this question and answer thing. Tune in tomorrow for part 2.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Off Their Meds

I used to work as a counselor in a place where kids were regularly medicated for various psychological issues. I saw the effects that some of these meds would have on the kids that took them. I also saw the effects that not taking these meds would have.

I did not watch the MTV Video Music Awards last night. But, I did read and hear about Kanye West's interruption when Taylor Swift won the Moonman for Best Female Video. Then when I got home from work I got the chance to see the actual video clip of what happened.

To me, this is almost as bad as Joe Wilson shouting "You lie!" during the president's address the other night. You're in a public forum and that's how you choose to conduct yourself? In Wilson's case, he obviously doesn't agree with Obama's policies or politics, but when the elected leader of the United States is invited to speak to both houses of Congress, is that really how you want to treat him?

And Kanye West has a history of putting his foot in his mouth on live television. It may be a good idea to just keep him away from live events from here on out. I don't know how winners are chosen for the VMAs, whether it's a fan vote or some kind of academy that chooses. But Taylor Swift won because the powers that be felt she deserved the win over all the other nominees, including Beyonce. And cheers to Beyonce for being a classy gal.

These two guys, this week, were apparently off their meds. When coming off of your psychotropic medications, you really need to step it down. When you're dealing with the chemistry of your brain, you really can't just quit cold turkey. Otherwise, you may end up doing stupid things like embarrassing yourself on national TV. You end up shouting things at the leader of the free world. You end up stealing microphones and causing 17-year-old award winners to feel really awkward at Radio City Music Hall.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


I don't have a tattoo. I'm pretty sure I'll never get one.

My best chance was probably during my junior year of college. A few of my friends went out and got tattoos. I'm not sure if I was invited or not, but I'm sure I could have gone if I'd wanted to. Someone once asked me why I wouldn't get a tattoo. Naturally they assumed that I was afraid of the pain. I told him it wasn't the pain, it was the commitment.

Think about it, a tattoo is for life. Yeah, there are expensive and painful ways to get rid of tattoos. But come on, you just had someone jam a needle full of ink into your skin, do you really want to get rid of that?

So you've got this permanent colorful scar on your body. What happens when you're a grandfather or grandmother. How do you explain to your grandkids why you have a snake wrapped around a sword on your forearm?

It's definitely an issue of commitment. If I were to decide to make that commitment, I'm not even sure what image I would want to commit to. There are so many options. And there are a lot of very creative options. I'm not knocking tattoos or tattoo artists. I've seen a lot of tattoos that are truly works of art.

But for me, I'm gonna keep saying no to the tattoo.

And I'm putting one more plea on here for the benefit of readers coming from Sunday Scribblings. In my post from this past Thursday I asked for questions from readers in the comments. It can be anything at all. I'll start answering them next Thursday. Go. Ask. Have fun!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

What I Would Be DVRing If I Still Had a DVR

I got rid of cable several months ago. Along with it, I got rid of the ever popular DVR. I miss the DVR. I miss being able to record shows and fast forward through commercials. And now that the new TV season is beginning, I feel that I'll be missing a lot of good television, especially since I'm now working several nights each week. But here's what I would be recording if I still had the capability.

Fringe - I watched this one regularly last season and it stayed pretty intriguing throughout the year. Luckily, this is one that pops up on Hulu after it airs on TV. Hopefully I'll be able catch up on a lot of shows on the internet this year. Best idea ever, internet. Good move.

The Big Bang Theory - This one is consistently funny and still makes me feel okay for being a geek.

How I Met Your Mother - I still want to find out who the mother will be. We're going into the fifth season and we still don't know the answer to that question. I'm not complaining though. I still think it's hilarious.

Heroes - I keep watching this one. Part of me isn't sure why. The first season of this show was awesome. The last two seasons have come up pretty short. There are a few shows I just gave up on in the middle of last season. I kept watching Heroes, but I dropped Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy, and Private Practice. What can I say? I like stories where people can fly and are indestructible.

V - This is one I'd like to check out. I'm a little too young to remember the original V mini-series, but I remember my folks talking about it at some point. They seemed to like it back in the day. And I do like the sci-fi. But there's a good chance I won't have a chance to get into it on the TV. I may have to hold out for the DVD and just Netflix it.

Glee - I caught this one when Fox made a big deal about it after American Idol in May. I pretty much thought it was hilarious. And it was great that the glee club on the show performed Don't Stop Believin'. Who wouldn't like that show?

Flash Forward - The commercials look interesting. Plus it's got two people from Lost and the guy that played Sulu in the new Star Trek. I already want to find out why everyone in the world blacked out and got a glimpse of the future. What's going on here?

Bones - I've just never gotten tired of this show. The cast has great chemistry and it's just fun to watch.

The Office - Jim and Pam are getting married!

The Vampire Diaries - Overall I don't know if I'll like it enough to watch more than a few episodes. Yes, I liked Buffy. Yes, I liked Dawson's Creek. But should the two be put together? Or did they already put those two together and call it Twilight?

30 Rock - I still watch the first two seasons online through Netflix over and over again. It just cracks me up. I look forward to new material.

Smallville - It just never ends. Last season was actually really good despite the loss of Lex Luthor. Am I sorry that they also got rid of Lana Lang? Not even a little bit. Anyone else who thought that Clark would be wearing the cape six years after high school, raise your hand.

Dollhouse - I mean, Eliza Dushku is pretty hot. But the show is also done by the guy that created Buffy the Vampire Slayer. That's what you call a win/win.

The Amazing Race - This is one of the three reality shows I watch. Funny, I never watched this before I started hanging out with the Greenes. Good stuff.

That's a lot of TV. That I won't be watching. This will probably be good for me.

Another reminder, go back to Thursday's post and drop off your questions in the comments.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Question of the Week: Yell

When did you last yell at someone? Why? Did you later regret it?

I don't like to yell at people. I'm the type of person that bottles up anger and then yells at the TV while playing Playstation or yells at other drivers while my windows are safely rolled up. So I guess, technically, I yelled at the guy that cut me off in traffic on the way to work this morning. Dude just zoomed on over, no turn signal or anything. Big pet peeve of mine. He didn't hear me, so I didn't feel too bad about it. And I refrained from using any profanity, so no guilt on that front either.

I know I've yelled at a coworker or two before. It wasn't like a shouting match or anything. And it really wasn't because of anything they had done. It's just that there are some days when a lot of little things are happening at once, and not a one of them is a helpful thing. So I snapped. A question was asked in my general direction, in a raised voice, I said no. It's just that simple. I really don't feel too bad about that either. But I do apologize in those instances. Well, I do if it happens to be a coworker that I like. If it's someone I don't particularly care for, I just let it go and then ignore them for awhile, and hope they ignore me too. And if the disliked coworker decides they don't like me anymore because I snapped at them, so be it. I'm actually okay with that.

Maybe I shouldn't be, but that's the way it is.

Don't forget, I'm still looking for your questions. So far I have three submissions. Next Thursday you'll get my answers. And remember, it can be anything. Make it as deep or shallow as you prefer.

Also, bear in mind that these Friday Questions of the Week are a chance for you to think and respond. Remember, I love getting comments, so I'd really like to find out how you would answer the question that I pose each week.

Well, I guess that's it for now. Until next time, ain't nobody dope as me!

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

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Another Open Book

Over a year ago I put out the invitation for any or all of my readers to ask questions of me. The deal is, you ask me a question in the comments down below and I'll answer them to the best of my ability.

I'll give you a week to submit your questions. Next Thursday I'll post my answers. And I'll throw in some gentle reminders in my posts throughout the coming week. I don't get too many comments on the blog anymore, and I'm starting to miss them. So ask away, this is your chance to pick my brain.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

A Good Cry

Yesterday, I made the claim that I don't cry. But I feel that I need to admit that isn't entirely true.

I don't cry a lot, that part is true. But there are times when I am overwhelmed with emotion, which manifests itself in the form of tears. I don't like to cry though. For me, it's not the issue of showing emotion. It's about how it makes me feel physically. The eyes get all red and puffed up, the sinuses become a mess, and often a headache accompanies those problems. That part is never fun.

So what would cause a stone heart like mine to break? There are a few things...

My Girl and a few other movies. My Girl does it every single time. It's that part near the end where the girl asks, "Where are his glasses? He can't see without his glasses!" And the other day I watched La Bamba for the first time in a long time. I know the story, I knew the plane crash was coming. But how can you not cry? Come on, it's the day the music died.

Sometimes I'll be driving along minding my own business and I'll hear a song that causes me to tear up. I never had a "Cats in the Cradle" kind of relationship with my Dad. I had a great relationship with him. But whenever I hear that song, I can't help but think about the fact that I don't get to call him up just to see how he's doing anymore. I know, I should hear that song and be grateful for the good relationship that we did have. But sometimes it gets to me.

Most of the time when I think about my Dad I sit back and laugh. Because I'll catch myself doing little things that remind me of him. I'll do little things that he used to do. I'll think about the things he would say or do to make me laugh and I'll crack a smile or even burst into unexpected laughter. Rare is the occasion now that thinking of him causes me to cry. It happens sometimes, but it's still rare. But don't translate that into "I don't miss him anymore." I miss him every day.

I don't cry over books that I'm reading very often. But I think I mentioned in an earlier post that I cried when reading Nicholas Sparks' memoir. And it really wasn't just the eyes welling up with a few tears. I was sobbing before I got to the end of that book.

But most of the above are just things that stir up emotion. Aside from those rare cries over my father, these things that cause me to cry are just external forces that really have no bearing on my life. So maybe that tells me that I should be more open to opening up about my feelings. Maybe then I'd be able to explore what's really wrong with me. In the meantime, at least I know I'm at least capable of having the emotions.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


Today was a slow day at work. Okay that's a lie, it was a very busy day at work. But nothing blogworthy happened in my eight hours there. I didn't even lose my patience, nor did I lose my temper with anyone today. That makes for a slow blog day. So I've been sitting at my computer for roughly 30 minutes, pondering what I should write about.

It's at times like this that I turn to my friend Nicole. I'll send a quick text message, asking for a suggestion. There are some days when she's just as unable to come up with a subject as I am. But there are other days when she's able to come up with something that drives away the writer's block.

Tonight, her suggestion was to write about her. But not a simple biography. Her suggestion was to explore what an amazing friend she is, how she has inspired and taught me much about life over the past two years, and how I am a better person for having known her.

Now, I wasn't sure how to expand upon that. Everything in the above paragraph is true. But my challenge comes in saying something new. Because, what is there to say about her, or any of the Greene family for that matter, that hasn't been said before.

When I first moved to North Carolina, I was surprised to find that I had a family readily provided for me. And when I say family, I mean that in every sense of the word, the good and the bad. Nicole is every bit as much a sister to me as the girl I grew up in the same house with. That's my sister, April, for those of you keeping up with the family tree.

But I don't just think of Nicole as a sister but also a friend. For me, those are hard to come by. And I admit, that's totally my fault. I'm not good at making friends. A lot of times, I'm not that good at even relating to people. So when I find the few people who can stand to be around me for more than 10 minutes at a time, I tend to latch on. It takes a special kind of person to be able to deal with my brand of sarcasm and cynicism without losing their own minds. Nicole is one of those rare people.

I also have a hard time empathizing with people. That's mostly because I have a hard time dealing with my own emotions. Should I, then, be expected to deal with others' emotions as well? But since I think of Nicole as family, I'm happy when she's happy, I'm angry when she's angry, I cry when she cries. Okay, let's not go too crazy. I don't cry.

And when that earlier paragraph says she's taught me a lot about life over the last two years, it's also true. I've learned a lot about how families work and how individuals in a family relate to one another. I've learned what to expect and what to hope for. I've learned that I'm actually not as bad a person as I tend to think of myself. Otherwise, why would I continually find myself being invited to the Greenehouse? I mean, there are five kids there. I must not be that bad of an influence.

I moved down here for seminary. But once I got here I realized that wasn't really the reason I moved down here. I moved down here to be a friend and a brother. Recently I've wondered how much longer it will be until I outlive my usefulness. Ryan, Nicole's actual brother, is back in the States after two years in Austria. So that surrogate brother role I've been playing might be coming to an end. Sometimes I wonder if the day will come that I find I've become obsolete.

But until that day comes, if that day comes, I'll continue to be the best friend that I know how to be. I know it's not much. Nicole and any of my friends may feel that they're getting the raw end of that deal, but that's all I can promise.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Greatest Hits: Be Mine

Originally published 2/14/2005:

This really isn't a favorite day for me. I've never had a "valentine" before. That could probably account for why I'm not a fan of the day and take a very cynical approach to it. I've always argued that St. Valentine's Day is a holiday created by the Hallmark's and Russell Stover's of the world. It seems to be one of those days when guys are expected to one-up themselves from the year before. The men who remember that this day holds a magical meaning with their women folk tend to worry that they won't be able to come up with that great, romantic idea that's gonna top the chocolate and flowers they gave last year. The way I see it, the first Valentine's Day in a relationship has gotta be the easiest one. Every year after that gets progressively more difficult.

A few years ago I actually had a date on Valentine's Day. Okay, she wasn't really a date. She's just a friend, and she was engaged at the time. Her fiancee lived on the other side of the state while she was finishing college. So she had no choice but to spend Valentine's Day (which is like Christmas to this girl) with the next best thing: me. The initial idea was that she needed a man's opinion as she picked out some sort of dress that would impress the fiancee when she was able to get home the following weekend. In return for my expert advice, she would pay for my dinner. Aaron's rule #8: Never turn down free food off-campus. So of course I went along with this scheme. We went from shop to shop where I watched as she tried on numerous dresses. That part did not suck. With each outfit she would ask, "What do you think?" To which I would very helpfully respond, "It's okay." This led her to not buying a dress that night. Aaron's rule #9: Ladies should not take a guy shopping if they want a real opinion. After the two hours of obligatory dressing room loitering, we made it to the restaurant. The lights were dimmed and there were candles on the table, making the regular college hot spot into a romantic venue. We were seated and as we looked over the menu we were made very aware of a party of 12-year-old girls directly across from our table. I didn't catch all of their preteen jargon, but I gathered they were there for a birthday. The birthday girl's mother told them to keep quiet saying that we were trying to have a romantic dinner. So my good friend Shannon, being the loud and brutally honest person she is, let everyone in the mall know that we're just friends. This is the part where I got to embarass her. Not missing a beat, I looked up and, tears streaming, said, "What do you mean we're just friends???" Oh, the humiliation. And on her favorite day of the year. I wanted to feel sorry for her, but I was laughing too hard.

That's the Valentine's Day story that I'll never get tired of telling. By the way, did anyone else notice that today's initials are "VD?" Just an observation.

So, any romantic plans today? Me, I'll be sitting at home, probably watching Couples Fear Factor. Maybe after that I'll throw When Harry Met Sally into the DVD player and grab a pint of Ben & Jerry's. Face it, it's a lot cheaper than naming a star after someone.

Sunday, September 06, 2009


Somehow I feel like this is going to turn into an Andy Rooney commentary, but here goes.

I have two sets of keys in my life. One set is strictly for work. They're the keys that get me through various locked doors and drawers at the bank where I work.

The other set of keys are for the rest of my life. I have a Superman key ring that was given to me by my father several years ago. It's actually a "Go Forward" key ring which was designed to support the Christopher Reeve Foundation shortly after Reeve's death.

On that key ring are seven keys. The ones in the middle I don't use that often. In fact there are three that I'm really unsure of their use altogether. One of those three may be a key to my old roommate's old apartment that he had given me once when I was crashing at his place. He's since moved from there, but I've still got a key. I should probably get rid of that one. Another of the three is a mistaken mailbox key that was given to me when I first moved into my current apartment. It's been replaced by a working mailbox key, but I just never took the old one off the ring.

Another of the middle keys is the key to my mother's house. When I go to Roanoke, she still gives me a place to stay. Having a key to the front door allows me to come and go as I please. That's a nice feeling to have when one is an adult, no longer living under penalty of a curfew.

My fifth middle key is the working mailbox key. I use that to... wait for it... check my mail.

Acting as bookends to my key ring are the two keys I use the most. One is my apartment key. That one should be pretty self-explanatory. The other is my car key. Also, pretty self-explanatory.

And now that I've taken the time to inventory my keys, it seems pretty obvious that I can eliminate 42.9% of those keys. That's three to the layperson.

Well that's what I came up with Sunday Scribblings. What else ya got?

Saturday, September 05, 2009

A Couple of Thoughts

Here are a couple things that yesterday brought. Just a couple random thoughts.

I'm two weeks into the two jobs. This pizza delivery thing isn't so bad. It's a little frustrating on nights like last night when I only have about 2 hours to work and really only get three trips worked in. That kinda cuts into the tips I can get. But hey, every little bit helps. Especially when a couple of those bits include a five dollar tip. I was a little bothered tonight when I looked for next week's schedule and couldn't find my name on it. I couldn't help but wonder if I'd been fired already and was just not told about it. I mean, I thought I was doing all right, but if I'm not a good fit then I'm not a good fit. But at least they could tell me about it. I'm a big kid, I can take it. I won't cry. Much... The assistant manager just said to call tomorrow to talk to the manager. He said I wasn't fired. Score.

In other news, I came real close to getting some free Duke football tickets for this weekend. Not that I'm a Duke fan, but hey, free football. But here's how it went down. We're at work and it's Friday, so we're pretty busy. I was dealing with customers driving through the drive through while another teller fielded a call from our assistant manager's husband. I didn't hear any of the conversation, just the aftermath once she had hung up. My ears perked up when I heard her say that she told him everyone at the branch is a UNC fan, so no one would want free Duke football tickets this weekend. First of all, no, we are not all Tar Heel fans. I may live in North Carolina, but I'm still gonna pull for Virginia Tech. Secondly, who the heck cares if you're a fan or not! It's free football! I don't follow the football as much as a lot of my friends do, but I wouldn't be stupid enough to pass up free tickets to a college football game. Seriously. By the time the girl realized her huge mistake, it was too late. Our assistant manager said that her husband had already given them to someone else. What are the odds that I'll get the chance to go to a college game for free again?

Friday, September 04, 2009

Question of the Week: Late

If a friend were almost always late, would you resent it or simply allow for it? Can you be counted on to be on time?

What an appropriate question, seeing as how I'm late with the question today. I prefer to be on time, thus I would prefer other people to be on time. But for the most part, it's not something I would resent if my friends were continually late. I'd probably get a little miffed if someone decided to show up late to the movies and we missed the previews. I love the previews. To miss all those trailers for upcoming movies just makes the price of admission almost not worth it. And I believe, for the most part, I can be counted on to be on time. Actually, I'd say I can be counted on to be early. There are days when I'm late to work due to uncontrollable traffic, but other than that, I average about 10 minutes early to most things. It's almost a disease.

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

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Fantasy Football

Every year around this time I get an e-mail from a friend from my Bluefield circle. It's an invitation to play Fantasy Football. And every year, I can't help but wonder why I get the invitation.

When we were fresh out of college, I participated in this time honored fall tradition. The first year I played along. I never really got the hang of things though. I kept up with it just enough to know I was losing royally.

The second year I signed up but never checked back in. Everyone was psyched to be matched up against me each week. I was an easy win.

Since then I've let those invitations go unanswered. Even though I never play anymore, I still get the invite. It's nice to be included.

Brandon was asking me if I'd be playing this year and I gave him the same answer I've given for about five years. Probably not... He told me I should do it. Of course my question to that was, "Why? So everyone will have an easy win once during the season?" Well yeah...

Here's the thing... Yeah, I like football. But I don't go overboard. I'd say I don't even go midboard. You know, if there's a game on that I'm semi-interested in, I'll pay attention. But I don't know a lot of the players names or salaries or positions. And to be completely honest, I prefer college football over NFL. But even then I'm not as into it as a lot of my friends were or still are. Again, yeah, I like to watch and I pay attention whenever Virginia Tech is playing. But I don't pay attention to all the other schools' rankings so I can predict where the polls will place Tech from week to week.

So I won't be playing Fantasy Football again this year. And I know eventually my friends' patience will run out and I'll stop getting those e-vites. But hey, good luck to you Fantasy Footballers out there.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Legends of the Bank Teller - Episode LXII

Any of you who happens to check up on this blog regularly, or those who know me personally, probably know that I am a man of limited patience. Add to that the fact that I own the drive through lane. Therefore, it should go without saying that I'm a huge fan of the quick transactions.

I love to see someone drive up to my window, deposit in hand. It's a beautiful thing to see everything written in its proper place. I love those customers.

But, if you've checked up on this blog regularly, you know that this is not going to be a post that's free of complaints. Sarcasm just doesn't go very far if there isn't a little cynicism behind it.

My complaint today has to do with a co-worker. She seems to insist on bringing me requests to print off certified checks on a regular basis. Now, I'm not a fan of these checks. Nor am I a fan of money orders and cash advances. The reason being, they take up a lot of time. Again, I like the quick transactions.

Today, said co-worker brought over not one, but three certified checks. At the time, there were only two tellers working, as one had gone home early. I was on the drive through window, the other teller was working the lobby. We had a nice system going. This lobby teller was wrapping up the work she was doing with her current customer, as was I. But since I'm fairly quick at what I do, I finished just before she did. So I drew the short straw.

Roughly 10 seconds after I received the three checks to do, someone pulled up to my window. Followed closely by two other cars. As much as I hate doing these checks, I hate even more making a customer wait.

I got short with the co-worker that brought the checks. I don't know if I meant to or not. Looking back I probably did. But I wish I hadn't. There's a big part of me, though, that is certain she gets some level of amusement from pissing me off. In fact, I'm pretty sure she does it on purpose just to see what kind of reaction she'll get.

I should probably explain to her that the way I feel about doing certified checks for her, is about the way she feels about having to cover the teller line when we're busy or one of us is out. She works customer service. She's very comfortable at her desk. She gets pretty huffy whenever a line forms in the lobby and someone asks her to help us out. Generally, she won't do so voluntarily. She'll usually wait until our manager comes over to help out. Then she'll realize she should be helping. But she's only doing so at that point in order to kiss his butt.

Throughout high school and college, I had a few jobs where I was met with a co-worker who just didn't like me. I had no idea what I had done to make them dislike me and had no clue how to make amends. It boggled my mind, 'cause I used to be a pretty nice guy. Now, it would seem, I am that other person. I actively dislike a co-worker for petty reasons. The reasons are real, but in the scheme of things, they're so small. I guess those people I knew back in the day had their reasons too.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Life Story: Chapter Thirty Three

Eighth grade was... well... eighth grade.

The hierarchy of students at Woodrow Wilson was based on the levels of the school. Sixth grade classes and lockers were on 3rd floor, seventh grade was on 2nd, and the eighth grade met on the first. This was convenient because after two years of climbing treacherous stairs, we could finally take it easy.

I don't remember much about classes that year. A project from Civics class that sticks out in my mind had something to do with learning how to find a job, find a place to live, and work out a monthly budget. The jobs were given to us by drawing out of a hat. I don't remember what job I drew, but I remember the salary was over $50,000 a year. If only I could draw that job now.

This was the year of the vomit. I know that sounds disgusting and somewhat vulgar, but you didn't have to live it. My friend Justin had a sleepover for his birthday party. After gorging ourselves on pizza we began settling in for the night. Now, one never wants to be the first one to fall asleep at a sleepover. You just never know what the other guys are gonna do to you. But I was lying on my sleeping bag when the incident took place. Stephen decided it would be funny to belch in my ear. So he leaned down and let it rip. But he also released a few slices of pizza on my face at the same time. Scarred for life.

It was also somewhere around this time that I developed a crush on my other friend since first grade, Jessica (btw, that's the same link as earlier). I'm not sure exactly what clicked with me that particular year. I mean, it wasn't as if I suddenly started noticing girls. I mean, I did, after all, have a girlfriend way back in preschool (btw, that's a different link). Yeah, I was quite the ladies man.

I'll wait for the laughter to subside.

May we continue? Okay... I decided that I liked Jessica in a more than friends kind of way. She might have playfully kissed me on the forehead at one point. A true sign of "you're just a friend" but my immature 8th grade mind interpreted it as "oh, I want you now." Probably didn't help that a bunch of us made it a regular thing to go roller skating each week. Her mom would come and pick us up and we'd all ride together. I seem to recall phoning her one day and saying nothing but bursting into You Are My Sunshine. This slight infatuation lasted well into freshman year of high school. So, you can see, it was a real serious thing. She just wasn't that into me.

But I wasn't bitter. She's still the one friend from high school that I still keep in touch with on a regular basis.

So eighth grade ended and I left Woodrow Wilson Middle School behind. I did not miss it even a little bit.