This Never Happened

During the Christmas break I am not as popular as I once was. I hang out a lot with my parents. I’ve beaten two video games. I go to my brother’s 4A basketball games for entertainment. There’s not a lot going on. So when I want to be social, I spend time with Harlin’s friends.

Harlin is a senior in high school; he goes to Shiloh Christian, where he transferred to from Fayetteville High two years ago, so there’s a mix of guys who come over. Previously, I knew their names. Now I’m up to date on each man’s romantic problems. I give them advice, because they don’t know my track record.
We call the room I sleep in the cave; it can sleep seven guys comfortably. There’s a queen, a single, a couch, and a bunk bed with a double for a bottom. It’s also where the television is. When I go in there, I bring a sack lunch and a trash can for when I get motion sickness from the Pankration.
I spent last night hanging out with Harlin and four of his friends. We played video games and ordered pizza from Mordor’s. We didn’t pick it up. Apparently they blacklist your number for that. I took the double bed. After we turned out the lights, someone threw a pillow at me, then we started talking about girls. They came to me for advice. High schoolers make me feel important.
At one point, Tyler, who was sleeping on the couch, got up to use the bathroom; Gabe, my cousin, decided to scare him. He stood in the closet that the couch was pushed up against and awaited Tyler’s return. But when Tyler came back, he immediately began talking about Gabe’s ex-girlfriend. He went around the room, asking everyone if they thought she was pretty. I said, no doubt. Then he asked Gabe, and Gabe didn’t respond. Tyler put a hand on Gabe’s shoulder, and told him that he could come out of the closet.
I have a story I tell about two of my friends, Ed and Ricky, who were co-counselors at War Eagle. Ed is tall and super skinny; Ricky is a big boy. Ed loved to pester Ricky. One night, very late, the two were walking back to the cabin from time off when Ricky stopped to talk to someone else. Ed went on and, in a bit of cleverness, hid under Ricky’s covers, hoping to scare Ricky like he often did. However, Ricky took quite a bit longer than expected to get back. When he pulled down his covers, his found Ed sleeping in his bed. He woke Ed up, and immediately Ed said, “This never happened.” Then Ed got in his own bed.
Thirty minutes later Ed scared Ricky. Ricky stayed up to read by a red headlamp, and Ed, ever so stealthily, slipped out of his bunk and army crawled over to Ricky. Ricky had a bunk in the corner of the cabin, and Ed says that when he jumped up, Ricky spent two terrified seconds trying to claw his way through the wooden wall.
The terrible thing is, Gabe was broken up with.
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Christmas Eve

My mother’s family live in a town named Gamaliel, in Kentucky. It’s an hour north of Nashville. There may be six hundred people there. I spend every Christmas in Gamaliel.

We stay at my grandparents farm, where there is one and a half bathrooms and bedding space for twenty people. Okay, that’s an exaggeration. Last night, Christmas Eve, fourteen people slept here. I was on one of two couches, but I was also in the room where Santa places the presents, so I didn’t go to bed until late.

When I was younger, and my grandparents lived in a different house, on Christmas Eve all the grandchildren would go to bed maybe around ten. Our parents, acting as Santa Claus, would arrange presents in specific places for each child. These presents most often weren’t wrapped; it was a bike or a dollhouse or a Dreamcast. On Christmas morning, my uncle John, who didn’t have kids at the time, would hold us back from the presents, and ask which one of us asked for a two by four, or a porcupine, or whatever an eight-year-old would never want. Then we would rush into the living room and rip open the copy of Sim City 2000 and accidentally knock a light over, burning a hole in my favorite chair. That didn’t happen every Christmas, just on a special occassion.

Now, most of the grandchildren are grown up. Out of the four separate families that come to Ma Sue and Pa Will’s farm, only one still has kids that believe in Santa, and need their presents laid out in this traditional manner. Therefore, what was once a celebrated activity, when the children went to sleep and the adults had time by themselves, where they probably watched R-rated movies, rented cars and spoke about how stupid kids were for believing in Santa, has now become a lonely night.
This was supposed to change this year, because my sister had a baby. As I’ve stated before, I hate babies. But this is an entirely different matter. Anyway, she was supposed to be a new generation practicing this ritual – staying up late and laying out presents in imitation of Santa. However, at eight or eight thirty, while I was watching Broken Arrow on my grandparents’ all access movie channel pass, she asked me to do this for her. She was tired. She didn’t want to stay up. I said no.
She went to bed anyway, and so I had to stay up with my aunt and uncle, Holly and Mark, to lay out presents in a dark and whisperless room where there was no joy. For Christmas, my sister bought her daughter a five sided cube covered with physical, baby thinking puzzles that looked like the intestines of a monster who only eats abacuses. It required assembly. I hate babies.
The worst part was that I didn’t get credit. Her one year old, who is named Zuzu (part of the reason I hate babies) thought Santa did it. So I waited until after lunch, when Zuzu was trapped in her high chair. I grabbed her by both arms and told her the truth: Santa is dead. She drooled on my hand, so I spit banana in her face. Two can play at that game.

If the Internet Makes It Easy, It’s Not Stalking

I spent this morning repairing my mother’s sweater, because not only do I knit, but I knit well. Some people say it’s an evolutionary advancement, like spider senses or hand eye coordination (both of which I lack). I sat at the desk in our living room and passed my knitting needles through the large gaps in the pattern of her sweater to mend the hole in the sleeve.

As I sat there, I need something to occupy myself with. I was recently told that a high school acquaintance, Brian Maloney, was on a reality show named Sing Off. Brian was a few years older than me, but our families were friends, and I’ve always thought that if he knew my name, we’d be friends. The show he’s on is a true life version of Glee. I like to think that some NBC big wig, without every seeing the show, saw Fox’s fall ratings and demanded his own version of whatever show was such a hit. It’s not so bad, though: eight a cappella groups compete in an American Idol type contest. Ben Folds is a judge, along with a black man and a lady. Nick Lachey is the host. So apparently someone got a hold of a list of my favorite things and put them in one studio together.

Brian’s group is called the SoCal Singers. There’s a YouTube playlist dedicated to these sort of videos. I’d explain which one he is, but basically all you have to know is he is one and a half heads taller than anyone else. He’s the one who looks like a forty year old at prom. He provides the bass beat line.
And the group is good. They’re a solid a cappella group, though they lose in whatever round they were wearing pink (the costume designers for this show are awesome; each week, a team is assigned a color, then the individual members get to go crazy with whatever they want to wear, as long as it adheres to the team color. This is much like intramurals). But they’re not who I want to talk about.
BYU Noteworthy. A nine member, female only group from Provo, Utah. Specifically, Amy Whitcomb.
Now, a disclaimer: Sing Off doesn’t provide individual contestants’ names to the public. I got Amy’s name by visiting Noteworthy’s Wikipedia page, then Google imaging each name on the list of members. It was alphabetical; Whitcomb was last. But it was worth it.
On Google, Amy has the hair you see in cartoons, when Bugs Bunny tricks someone into sticking their finger into a light socket. Or, the simile could be she had hair like the horns of a moose. Take your pick. I’ve got several more. Anyway, on the show, she has a mohawk. A mohawk.
Did you see the mohawk? Can you tell me how cool that is? You can’t, because you’re the internet. You’re not a real person. But even a robot has feelings, once they become self aware.
Let’s be honest, you and I. Amy is not drop dead gorgeous. She’s cute. She’s pretty. She is not smoking. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – when I see hot girls in movies, they almost always turn out to be untrustworthy. However, it was once said that when a girl has a skill like soccer or singing or karate, she becomes immeasurably more attractive when performing that activity. Sound familiar? It was said by a little known person I like to call JESUS CHRIST. It’s true. He came to me in a vision.
In high school (and still now, though I would never tell a female this), I had very simple criteria for girlfriends: Christian, Hot, Skills. For each girl, I would move down the list, checking off valid points. If they did not meet any of the standards, they were eliminated. Pending preference, you could rearrange the criteria in whatever order you deemed important. My friend Ryan Siebenmorgen’s list goes Christian, Skills, Hot. Once I tried taking away the commas and making only one criteria, Christian Hot Skills. I’m still not sure what I was looking for. That may be why I still don’t have a girlfriend.
Amy and I have something special. It’s called the element of surprise, and actually I’m the only one who has it. She’ll never see me coming. But then I just posted on her MySpace, so she may be looking over her shoulder for the next few weeks.

Let’s Talk About Pink

Today I got my car back from the Fayetteville Auto Park. I took it there last Friday and told the customer service manager that there was a demon trapped in the engine of my civic. He laughed, and then asked me, really, what is the problem. And I said, that’s all I can tell you. When I drive, it sounds like one piece of metal being drug slowly across another. It’s the sound of a demon.

It was actually the sound of my brake pad indicators, which, coincidentally, sound exactly like a demon. Whose fault is that? Mr. Honda. Wherever he is. Probably now it’s the fault of his descendants, because he’s most likely dead. Or the humanoid robots they’ve built. Now there are truly demons trapped inside of those.
After I picked up my car, I was flipping through the Top 40 type radio stations, trying to hear the Black Eyed Pea’s “Meet Me Halfway” again – that song lights a fire in my soul – when I came across the new Pink song, titled, “Please Don’t Leave Me.” Here is the chorus:
Please don’t leave me
Please don’t leave me
I always say how I don’t need you
But it’s always gonna come back to this
Please don’t leave me
Now, for all the Pink connoisseurs who read my blog (and I’m sure both of you are), these lyrics will immediately recall Pink’s previous hit single, “So What”:
So what?
I’m still a rock star
I’ve got my rock moves
And I don’t need you
If I was going to draw a Venn Diagram (and I say going to, because I can’t figure out how), the space in the middle where the circles unite would have only the words “I don’t need you.” Other than that, the lyrics to both songs would not only be completely in their separate circles, they would be hugging the edges and throwing knives at one another.
Before we move quickly to judge Pink, we must remember that her choruses also cover material such as this:
This used to be a funhouse
Now it’s full of evil clowns
It’s time to start the countdown
I’m gonna burn it down
Holy Hell (yes, that’s where the car demon now lives). I don’t know what happened to Pink, or what road show kidnapped her and what things she was forced to witness, but someone get her a therapist who has absolutely no connection to the circus. Also, this countdown sits directly between ambiguity and terror, so that I don’t know if she’s just exacting vengeance against the clowns or if somehow she thinks I’m involved, too. I’m not, Pink, I swear – I had nothing to do with what happened to the funhouse.
All these songs and more belong to her latest album, Funhouse, which was actually nominated for a Grammy, believe it or not. Apparently the Academy of Recording Arts took her threats seriously, as well. It chronicles her breakup with her husband, motocross star Carey Hart. It was originally titled, Heartbreak is a Motherf**cker, so, you know how that goes.
I really like songs where women get over men, because I think we as an audience are not meant to take the words at face value. It’s almost like the artist is writing in a certain way and trusting the audience to read the subtext, namely, how they’re not over the breakup. I’m not saying that this only happens to women – I’m sure there are songs like this for men. However, women in fiction are usually the ones who get broken up with, and thus can write these songs.
I think about “Irreplaceable,” by Beyonce, where some fool who somehow was blessed with Beyonce cheated on her. Now, we know this is completely fiction, because no one would ever do that, but when Beyonce sings, it sounds more like anger than assertiveness. This is what makes the best fiction – when characters lie, the audience has to call them on it.
My favorite instance of this is Lady GaGa’s “Poker Face.” Now, she deserves a whole post to herself, but I will say that though this comes out in her song, in Kid Cudi’s “I Poke Her Face,” it is extremely apparent. In his chorus, they slow down her words, and so when she sings, “He can’t read my poker face,” it is extremely sad, like Sandy singing “Hopelessly Devoted to You” in Grease.
However, Sandy looks like none of the artists I mentioned above, except at the end of Grease when she turns into Sasha Fierce. Whose picture I inserted, because all of the above girls were not appropriate for Tron McKnight.

Another Blind Function Date

On Saturday, pledge Matt Bakke and I went to Tulsa University, to the Chi Omega Winter Formal. This made four formals in a week for me. I have never been so popular as I am now as a senior. I postulate this is because I hang out with freshman every day. They think I’m really cool.

I hung out with all levels of college guy that night. I knew no one, besides Matt, and so in order to make friends I would tell every guy that I liked a part of their clothing: their shoes, their vest, their suit. This usually sparked conversation. One guy in an beautiful blue suit with white stripes, Landon, had the suit made for his medical school interviews. Another, Alex, was wearing a vest I had just bought at Target. I made Alex and his roommate Sam honorary BYX, and together with Matt we took a fraternity photo.

My date was blind; she was Matt’s girlfriend’s big sorority sister. The last blind function date I had was for BYX Roller Disco. Another pledge lined that girl up for me. I abandoned her after the first few songs. It’s hard to skate with someone unless they’re your girlfriend and you’re both in the third grade.
There was a snowball at Roller Disco, where the girls ask the guys to skate with them and hold hands. After I realized what was happening, I skated to my date, who was sitting on a bench on the sidelines. “Let’s skate together,” I said. “Why?” she asked.
“Because you’re my date.”
“No I’m not.”
And I looked more closely at her, and, the devil take it, she really wasn’t my date. I had forgotten what my date looked like. So instead of owning up to this, I skated away backwards, giving a thumbs up. Later, I waited by my car until a girl approached me; I correctly assumed she was my date, and I acted exasperated, demanding to know why she left me.
I told this story to my TU blind date, as an ice breaker while we were slow dancing. At TU functions, there’s always a slow dance, or so I deduced from the coolness by which my date handled it. Let me tell you, she took it like a champ when I suggested we slow dance alongside her engaged sorority sisters and those who never stopped grinding. That didn’t stop the song from becoming uncomfortable after my third anecdote or so.
Tulsa functions are really more like wedding receptions. It started at 7:30, when all girls and their dates boarded two buses (Chi Omega is total about sixty girls, which is twenty less than the average pledge class of a sorority at Arkansas). We went to a country club thirty minutes away, where there was a coat check, buffet, tables with actual silver ware, and a dance floor the size of two Twister mats.
I knew when the DJ said, “We’re going to keep the 80’s going with this next one,” that he was no DJ Derrick; like the function, he was more of a wedding DJ than a good one. I talked to him once, during a slow part, in order to request some songs. After two or three misses, he told me that this music wasn’t really his scene. Now, I have this insatiable desire to know what his scene actually is. My guess: European discoteca.
My freshman year, a few older BYX created a dance routine to the song, “Miss New Booty” by Bubba Sparxxx. Recently, I’ve decided to bring it back, because I remember it really encouraged fraternal bonding. We used it at Kappa Kissmas. I had a vision that the song would come on at this Tulsa function, and I, the new guy who no one knew, would teach everyone the dance then I would be crowned homecoming king. I’m pretty sure this was a plot device in the 80’s. After I realized the DJ wouldn’t play this on his own, I requested it (see previous paragraph). This was the following conversation:
ME: Can you play “Miss New Booty”?
DJ: WHAT?
ME: CAN YOU PLAY “MISS NEW BOOTY”?
DJ: I DON’T KNOW THAT SONG.
ME: REALLY? I MEAN, YOU KNOW HOW IT GOES…I FOUND YOU, MISS NEW BOOTY GET IT TOGETHER AND BRING IT BACK TO ME…YOU KNOW…GET IT RIGHT GET IT RIGHT GET IT TIGHT FORGET IT. IT’S NOT WORTH THIS.
The sad thing is, I showed him the dance while I recited the lyrics.

This Was My Dream

>Last night I slept in Tulsa; one of my pledges, Matt Bakke, got me a date to the formal of Tulsa University’s chapter of Chi Omega. That in itself is a essay, but right now I have to speak about my dream, before it melts like an ice sculpture of a grizzled man wrestling a wolf, which coincidentally would be an ice sculpture representing my dream.

Like all dreams, last night’s had many segments, like the movie Pulp Fiction – at first glance things were loosely connected, but if you’re able to remember enough to make a thorough examination, really the only thing linking the chapters is the character of myself. And though I remember many segments of this dream – I was awake with my eyes closed for half an hour, thinking about this dream but also not wanting to disturb Matt’s grandmother Fafa – this was my favorite part.
I was in an abandoned city, where mechanical, rusty vines grew on buildings that had collapsed on themselves like urban supernovas. The sky was grey and so was the dirt; really, the only things that had any color were my clothes which were kind of green, kind of grey. They were combat fatigues, but off-brand, second-hand camoflague assembled from savenged pieces. I had an old rifle, made of wood an iron. I was searching for something.
Or maybe I was on patrol. It doesn’t matter much concerning the content, only that I was willing to shoot something, which I did. I took aim and shot what I assumed was an enemy, but it turned out to be my girlfriend (that’s when I knew it was a dream – dream’s are the only time I get close enough to girls to shoot at them). She was scared, and acted like any other frightened female would in that situation – she turned into a wolf and ran into the elaborate sewer system underneath the city.
I, of course, climbed in after her, but I was only a human, and I didn’t have much luck. I searched for hours in the wet underground, through calf high water contaminated with radiation from the recent nuclear war with robots (this is a post-sleep inferrence). After multiple symbols of my failure seen in several dead ends, I used my feelings of frustration and impotency to harness previously unknown powers of the anamorph and transformed into a wolf myself. From there, it was relatively easy to find my wolfette. She was laying inside of a smaller tunnel, above the water level, with a lot of blood trapped in her fur. I howled at the moon.
Then I was suddenly transporting pieces of a drive in theatre on the back of an eighteen-foot trailer. I had a lot of fraternity brothers helping me, but we hit a bump and the screen and speakers fell off the trailer and into the mud. The studio audience laughed at us, because we, too, were facedown in the mud. It was embarrassing. I no longer remembered my wolf princess (princess being another post-dream inferrence – it only makes sense that she was a princess).
The point is, I quickly moved from her to the next interesting, guy-only activity, much like the wolf does. This dream only serves to illustrate my romantic motto of, “it’s better to have loved and lost than to shoot your lover and have her turn into a wolf.” I think my subconscious is trying to tell me something.

Fatality!

Two nights ago I helped out with Camp War Eagle Christmas dinner, serving families of campers. DO YOU HEAR THAT GIRLS? I SERVE CHILDREN. FOOD. Actually, I don’t think any girls read this, so let’s keep that information between us. This month I’m going for more mysterious, less kind, and also vampire.

After the dinner, a few of the guys retired to Ricky Shade’s house to watch a movie. There was much indecision, over what, until someone made the hard choice and put in a random DVD.
I’ve never watched Mortal Kombat. I’ve only played the game a few times. It was always during sleepovers at Lee Zodrow’s house, in elementary school. I never told my parents. I don’t think I was forbidden from playing Mortal Kombat – I think that it never occurred to my parents that I would want to play it. More likely, they didn’t (and still don’t) know it existed. However, while watching it at Ricky’s house, it became obvious that everyone else had seen it. Several times.
Ricky is a Cherokee Indian, and grew up with three brothers in a house on Moonshine Road. I could have made that up, but I didn’t. You can ask Ricky. He told me that the four of them together probably had over a thousand VHS tapes, all of movies like Kickboxer and Army of One and Best of the Best. He showed me his copy of Best of the Best, which he had just found on DVD. It’s about a karate tournament. James Earl Jones is in it. He told me the entire plot, including the twist where Jones turns out to be the coach of the team which included the competitor who killed Tommy Lee’s brother. Lee defeats his brother-killer, by the way.
They had other favorites, too, but he couldn’t tell me what they were, because all the films had codenames. Child’s Play was “Chuckie,” and Nightmare on Elm Street was “Freddy.” The whole Steven Segal canon was referred to by the actor’s name, which I’m assuming they repeated as “Stevie.”
When I was seven, and eight, and nine, and so on up until my senior year in high school, I watched three movies: the original Disney version of Old Yeller, an animated Dickensian David Copperfield, and Muppet Treasure Island. Friday nights I would fold out our terribly uncomfortable couch and use the recliner to block the doorway into my father’s study, which I thought was haunted, and I would watch one of these movies, alone. Out of the three, I think Muppet Treasure Island has aged the best. I’ve watched it several times in the past years, and it still makes me laugh. I haven’t watched Old Yeller in a long, long time and now I cannot tell you what my attraction to it was. It may have been that Travis’ dog was willing to die for him, and my dog was fat.
Since reading the book, I can now say that the animated version of David Copperfield is a near travesty. I can handle all the characters being animals, but it’s as if the book was run through a shredder and one of the animator’s assistants tried to assemble a script from the scraps, like a ransom note, and upon reading it the director decided that he could do much better and would much rather have the actors ad-lib anyway. Even if you don’t know the plot of the book, the climax of the movie occurs when David frees the cheese monsters from the sewers under the factory, and Mr. Murdstone locks himself in his tower and has a shoot out with the local constables. There are some great songs, though.
For the record, Mortal Kombat is a terrible movie. But Ricky could not stop himself from quoting Luke Cage and pointing out goofs. The best part for him was when I first saw Prince Goro, but he couldn’t understand why I wasn’t as amazed as when he first saw him, fifteen years ago.
I can’t make fun of him. This all reminds me of my first summer at War Eagle, when I took a pretty girl on a date during our mutual day off. I convinced her to watch Muppet Treasure Island (I had to take the VHS player out of the hall closet). I tried to get her to sing along, and even played the “Cabin Fever” sequence twice to give her a chance. After Long John Silver took over the ship in the middle of Act 2, she told me she had to leave to do laundry. That’s why I’m going for mysterious in the month of December.

Function Primer

Thursday through Saturday, my groove was on. Many people speak of grooves as if they are something to be worn and quickly thrown off, like a lobster bib or the One Ring. Maybe contacts. My optometrist recently told me that since I’ve been wearing my contacts way past the prescribed throw away date, blood vessels behind my forehead have begun to bore tunnels into my eyes to supply oxygen to dying cells (because the permeability of contacts falls off after two weeks). That scared me into getting glasses. But that’s another story.

I wore my groove for three days straight, which I’m sure my doctor would have a problem with. I binge danced. And I have come out of my lost weekend with a few pointers on how to throw a function.

1) DJ DERRICK – I put this first because it takes primacy over all other pointers. DJ Derrick is legendary. He’s been around since before I came to the University. Some say he laid tracks for Napoleon at the Coronation after party; others say that he was laced beats for Chaucer. Still others say he was scene even at the time of Jesus. However, he is fresh as ever, and cannot be equaled in either music selection or tempo. Quick note to aspiring DJ’s – never let a song last longer than a minute and a half. I begin to lose interest after that, unless I personally know the musician, and that only happens when T.I. comes on.

2) COSTUME – This is half of the fun. I’ve seen pie charts that show dancing as almost three fourths of the fun. I’ve seen pies filled with the meat of human beings. But despite all this, I can say that assembling the costume is a mini-function in itself. Crafts are a personal specialty. However, these past three functions were formals, so my costume was a tie. But picking out the tie still required a trip to the Salvation Army. I guess I could have asked my date to come along, but she had already picked out a dress.

3) PICTURES – Please, do not make me go to the Square again. I realize that Lights of the Ozarks is gorgeous, but I’ve now seen it three nights in a row, and the only aspect I could marvel at was the temperature (I have been told that there are camels there – I don’t necessarily believe this, but I could be tempted to go back if I was guarenteed camels). Rather, take photos indoors, at a sorority house or in the ball pit of Chuck E Cheeze, depending on where you eat. In all seriousness, pictures are important, because this is the only record of the function you’ll have; don’t let the girl ruin it. Just take pictures with dudes.


4) DANCING – I absolutely loathe the dance circle. Perhaps 75% percent of all function goers grind, which is fine. Go ahead and vibrate. But, let’s be honest, that looks like zero to negative amounts of fun. Most participants are catatonic. Dancing with some separation is required to have fun. But, many moons ago, when the stars were young and cats ruled over their human slaves, someone invented the dance circle as the only alternative to grinding. In this scenario, girls have a lot of fun with their sorority sisters, while their dates stare at one another and nod. I’m serious – stare. I stared at David Lee for over fifteen minutes – and his face never changed. Robot? More investigation is required. But it is possible to dance one on one. In fact, it is much better for all parties involved. Symbiotic relationship. A dance square, of two couples, is acceptable. A dance hexagon is even attainable, but in terms of geometry, it is the pinnacle of sides if the fun factor is to be maintained. Trust me – I was a math major.

5) DON’T LET YOUR DATE GET WATER ALONE – She will leave you.

6) PARTY BUS – Riding the bus home from the function Friday night, I was reminded of how glad I am that I do not have to go to hell, which I imagine is a lot like a party bus. Double capacity. Extremely hot. No handrails for those who have to stand. They played music at maximum volume, but the problem was the channel, which wasn’t a channel at all but just a static space where a radio station used to be. I saw a drunk couple making very unsexy love. I can’t close my eyes at night anymore. To avoid this, come to the function realtively early, maybe a half hour after it starts, and leave a half hour before it ends. Unless you like hell.

Let’s Talk About the Black Eyed Peas

A few weeks ago, BYX threw it’s annual Roller Disco function. We drive to a neighboring town and roller skate in those tan Forrest Gump boots. It reminds me of CEO Day, at St. Joe’s Elementary. Once a month, if you brought a canned food, you could wear whatever clothes you wanted, instead of the requisite white shirt blue pants uniform. At the end of the school day, St. Joe’s would bus all the students to the Skate Place, where we would watch the public school kids get in fights. They tore the Skate Place down many years ago. Now it’s a grouping of apartments, named the Skate Place. This is the reason we have to have Roller Disco in a different city.

The point is, whilst skating without my date (it’s very difficult to skate with someone when you are as fast as I am), a gorgeous and dramatic song began to play that slowed down time. After three minutes of sweat and tears from dancing powerfully and falling twice, I asked the DJ what that song was. He said, “If you do that again, we’re going to kick you out.” I reiterated by question, and he said, “Meet Me Halfway, by the Black Eyed Peas.”
GASP. Not the Black Eyed Peas! I have a blood feud with this band. I need to look up the definition of blood feud, but I think that’s what I have. Their lyrics are offensively simple and the individual beats in the song look like money signs when you open it in GarageBand. Take their latest hit, “I Gotta Feeling,” which rhymes the traditional Jewish celebratory exclamation, “motzel tov,” with “just take it – off!” That’s not offensive. But I’m not Jewish.
I’d like to post some lyrics to this song, in order to prove my point. As you read this, please try to make it melodious. If you are familiar with the song, feel free simply to sing the words.
let’s do it
let’s do it
let’s do it
let’s do it
and do it
and do it
– oh no, I’m not finished yet, and neither is Fergie –
let’s do it
let’s do it
let’s do it
let’s do it
and do it
and do it
And here I could make a stale joke, pretending to be unfamiliar with her command and asking her to repeat it once more. The issue at hand, however, is what exactly “it” is. It’s never stated, and the context of the song is so vague that it could be any number of things. I’ll go out on a limb and suggest that it refers to desecrating other ethnic groups’ cultural traditions.
However, “Meet Me Halfway” is different.
Okay, that’s a lie. “Meet Me Halfway” is the exact same formula. Beats that were bought off the end cap at a grocery store and phrases that are vague and familiar enough that one must find his or her owning meaning in them. But I am in love with this song.
Please, take five minutes and watch the music video. Or, take thirty seconds and hit the highlights, which are as follows: Fergie, who is actually wearing clothes despite what first glance told you, lost in the rainforest from Fern Gully. Taboo in a spacesuit floating way too close to the sun. apl.de.ap dressed as a Bedouin with steam punk stunner shades, floating in circles on the surface of the moon. Elsewhere on the moon, will.i.am in Jay Gatsby’s racing goggles, riding a robot elephant. I think he may be using this video as an audition tape for a stage production of Around the World in 80 Days.

Nothing changes in terms of formula. This song sounds like many other songs I’ve heard. The lyrics were probably written using those word magnets on my mom’s fridge. But sometimes a repetition of something as confusing and simletaneously seductive as “meet me halfway” makes me want to climb aboard my trusty robot elephant and ride off into the setting Saturn.

Everyone Loves A Nerf War

Traditionally, my fraternity’s semi-formal event, Reindeer Rendezvous, is a movie night. Small groups go out to eat, then gather at some warm and comfortable location and watch a movie. Last year it was A Muppet Christmas Carol. That was my pick. I was told later that the movie was the reason we were changing the format. Apparently everyone except for me has terrible tastes in movies.

This year, Nathan Allen, an older member who looks Irish, taught the fraternity and our dates to waltz. It was almost violent. When you’re spinning in a circle, oscillating up and down like a parabola, you can only see where you’re going half the time. That means the other half the time you’re traveling backwards, flying blind with no idea about what’s at your six. I hit a lot of people with my elbows; not all of them were guys. I blamed it on my date.

Another new feature of this year’s Reindeer Rendezvous was presents; instead of making shirts to commemorate the event, we asked all the members to use the money which would have gone to shirts to buy presents for children. That was both a good and bad idea.

Did you know that a nameless, No-Ad company packages two revolver type dart guns for only ten dollars? It’s an amazing deal. This may just be a testament to how overboard Wal-Mart has gone with their Roll-Back campaign – I mean, we get it; you’re a cheap store – but this was a deal I couldn’t pass up. And since I was supposed to buy a present for a girl (no brainer: EasyBake Oven, 18 dollars ROLLED BACK from 25), I bought them for myself.

Last year my family had to spend Christmas with my sister and her husband on account of her pregnant belly. Don’t even get me started on how much I hate babies. That’s entirely too many words for this segment. But during the gift exchange on Christmas Eve, my sister’s mother-in-law gave the same shaped present to my dad, my brother, my brother-in-law, Cory, and me. We opened them at the same time. It was a solid, fifteen dollar Nert blaster with a revolving barrel. Cool, but cool when I was eight, you know. I didn’t really know how to react, since I didn’t know the gift giver that well. Maybe she thought I was still in junior high. I thanked her and watched my sister unwrap her present (a paint set), until I saw Cory opening the packing with a knife. I didn’t quite understand what he was doing until my brother got his gun entirely free of the package and flipped his recliner over to use as cover. By then, it was too late for Christmas Eve. The night devolved into a war that lasted to a point that surprised everyone. My dad shot my brother in the eye, point blank; he doesn’t even like it when we play Halo.

The women had to go into the kitchen to drink tea and fluff my sister’s pillows or something. I tried to shoot her in the stomach, but it didn’t do anything. The baby still came out normal.

When my date and I got to the Rendezvous venue last night, I found that many other members bought the same two gun package. There was some time set aside to wrap the EasyBake Oven, but I told my date to handle it – there was something I had to do. Then I shot her with a dart.

These guns were quite cheaply made, and most of the darts were misfires, but the amount of guns present added up to hundreds, literally hundreds of foam darts stuck in girls’ hair. A few pledges bought more expensive, on brand guns that, in the long run, won out over the Air Splitters I dual wielded. One buck had a Nerf sword. Did you know they made Nerf swords? My date does, because I hit her with it.

This was my last fraternity event as an executive officer. My tenure is finished at semester. Seeing a vision of my dad in transparent blue telling me to finish strong, I stayed behind to help pick up darts. I sadly threw away maybe ten Air Splitters that were abandoned. However, I found a Nerf shotgun that was bought as a present and laid aside, forgotten and unwrapped. It’s now beside my bed, loaded and cocked.