Apologies and Policy Change

I have to be honest with you, you one person who visits my blog everyday, there haven’t been many posts lately. Look at the right hand margin. The numbers don’t lie. Not after the beat down I ladled on them after Abstract Alegbra – there are no such things as imaginary numbers. Don’t even try, mathematics. So now they speak the truth – this is my sixth post in May, whereas my goal is around 12 or zero, in case I ever have to go underground because of what I did to those fry cooks. They had it coming.

But my situation is changing. I’m in a transitional state. I was a solid, and I’m going to be a gas, but right now I’m just a liquid. Did that make sense? I copied and pasted it from the Wikipedia article on water. Someone wrote it in the first person to make it easier to understand. But truthfully – I was a student, a layabout, but more importantly, a dependent, and I’m becoming a worker, a doer, and a public notary by way of this mail order course I’m taking. But also I’m becoming an independent.

Not just independent. I had to fill out a W4 for my new job with BYX, working as a national adviser, and I registered that no one else could claim me as a dependent. I’m a man. But I’m also wolf. But only at night.

This doesn’t really explain the gap, though. I was at job training. Now I’m at camp. Camp War Eagle, for kids in Northwest Arkansas. I’m here the whole summer. And while I will try to bring you stories of lovable children and their tears which I collect in small mason jars, it will be hit or miss. Don’t expect the usual output. Anyway, I run this blog for the ad revenue, so I get paid the same whether or not I’m writing.

With that said, I kicked a dog today. Swift, to the jaw, like a home intruder. It tried to bite my side, right below the ribs. I put my foot right underneath his snout and lifted it like my ballet lessons taught me. Okay, that was all a lie. Just the last part. The whole growing up essay was true.


I Get Fired, Rehired in Fifteen Minutes

The Executive Board of BYX had it’s annual meeting on Thursday; since I’m in training to become a National Advisor, I’m here in Ft. Worth for the week and was taken along to sit in the corner wearing a dunce cap. I didn’t speak and my mouth felt freeze dried the entire time, like it feels when you sleep on a stranger’s couch and are afraid of doing something normal which is prohibited in that stranger’s house.

There are five members on the Executive Board; they, along with the full time staff, met from 8 until 12, talking about budgets and proposals and individual chapters. Then after lunch we were joined by the seven member Advisory Board, and that meeting ran from lunch until after dinner, around 8 at night. A twelve hour board meeting – and I didn’t fall asleep (in the conference room – there was a family restroom right outside. Bingo).
I don’t think I was expected to understand what was going on. I was brought in, along with the other new staff member, to meet the board and get a feel for the issues we would be dealing with. In fact, I enjoyed the morning session. The executives were engaging and even funny, and I understood what we were talking about. It was in the afternoon that I lost control. That’s when the graphs came out, and the handouts became only numbers with no pictures. I can’t read without pictures. It’s called hieroglyphics and the Egyptians used to do it.
One board member, Wendell, started BYX at the University of Texas in 1985. He created the whole thing. And I was terrified to say anything to him. The worst part was, I never knew where he was. When he first spoke, he was sitting at the table. Then the conversation moved on and I forgot about him, he spoke again and suddenly he was on a stool. Then in an arm chair. Then sitting on the snack counter. Then on the sofa next to me (when I totally lost the conversation thread, I was told I could sit on the couch away from the meeting and rest my brain. They gave me applesauce to cool off). That was the terrifying part. He spoke, and I wanted to say, when did you sit down? After the conversation moved away, he looked at me and said, What’s up? I just nodded with a high frequency, like a sound wave, and when I looked back he was gone.
I lost my job for about thirty minutes. In the middle of the budget section, someone said, “Let’s cut the staff by half. All the new guys are out.” I panicked. I took out my phone and texted my dad to ask if his company internship was still open, then I asked one of the board members, did I just get fired? He shook his head no. He told me it was hypothetical, and it happened once a board meeting. When my dad texted back yes, I had to make up an excuse. I told him it was still available because no one with a college degree wanted to wash cars for the summer – I have a real job now. I’m done with menial labor.

Next Two Years in This Room

I haven’t lived in the same room for more than a year since high school. Before college, my little brother and I shared a room in our basement. We called it the cave because it has no windows. I could sleep forever there, but not like death. Like, unless someone wakes me up I will not wake up because I have no concept of time in that dark little box. But since then I’ve been passed around, from dorm room to breezeway to master bedroom to the shoebox I lived in this past year. It wasn’t really a shoebox; we just called it that because when I was reading my roommates would throw dress shoes at me and yell, “I want to see my face in the toe when you’re finished!” They love to kid. But usually they weren’t kidding.

I just moved into my new house in Ft. Worth. Did you know Ft. Worth is one big subdivision? This may or may not be true but all I’ve seen of the city so far has been a tollway and these five alternating house plans. My fraternity BYX owns one of these houses; it’s the big kind. Along with all the normal stuff there’s a tea room, an office with five desks, and a war room covered with whiteboards. Next year I’ll be working from the house. I chose the middle upstairs room because it had the shortest commute to my desk.

I’m in meetings all day with the staff who run the fraternity. As a college student, I only saw these men when something went wrong. Whenever our chapter went off the reservation – and that happened every time we went to Oklahoma – they would come for a chat. I think most chapters associate the staff with these bad things, with friction or rules or that homeless man who lived under my bed. I told my parents about him but they said I was imagining things. Did I imagine our cat into the microwave? No – I put her there, because the man under my bed told me to do so.

These guys are funny. I haven’t really gauged everyone’s humor yet, so I haven’t said anything racist more than twice, but they’re funny. And they’re my roommates. Before this weekend I hadn’t seen the house or meet the guys I would live with. That’s like seeing a movie before the preview, or signing up for a potluck roommate your freshman year and ending up with Thomas Tyler Bennett. We didn’t talk much after he stole my nail clippers in November, but when I moved out in the spring I found them under my bed and had to write TTB an apology letter.

I’m only here for a few more days, but I’m settling in. I already hate the dog, and I feel like that means I have a place in the house. I’m the resident dog hater. My roommates said they needed another one because the last one just moved out.

A Bachelor’s Perfect Day

I absolutely hate camping. I like the sun and the grass and the trees, I like hammocking, and I like watching mud wrestling, but I really hate camping. For a friend’s bachelor party on Sunday, we were supposed to camp out that night and float the river the next day. It rained. Thank the rain god, if you haven’t already. I already did this ceremonial dance my grandfather once taught me, so I think I’m covered.

We waited until that day to change the plans. At that point, it was too late to rent a cabin or reserve a bowling lane or turn myself into the police (it’s better just to wait it out – trust me. I’ve done this before). We just made a list of manly activities. We had a shrimp boil. We watched three episodes of deadliest warrior (Attila the Hun beats Alexander the Great? Maybe in an alternate reality where Attila rides a bear wearing a turtle shell and Alex is in a wheelchair. Even then – close call. I know this stuff.)
We shot aersol cans with a BB gun. We tried to make molotov cocktails. We went to the casino across the border from Siloam Springs, where I lost it all. I lost everything. All twelve dollars. Quarter slots are a harsh mistress. Mostly because they don’t talk back. Or move at all.
Last year I went to a bachelor party of a fraternity brother which ran as planned, but it was basically like this. It was a day filled with whatever the groom wanted to do. We played a round of golf. We saw Star Trek. We played Laser Tag. We ate a nice Italian dinner. I guess a stereotypical bachelor party involves promiscuity. That’s what I’ve seen on television during the infomericals between Babylon 5¬†episodes. In Ireland, these were called stag parties. Once I was invited by an Irish stag party member to their penthouse to snort cocaine. I was a fraternity officer at the time so I had to turn it down, but even so, I don’t know if I’d want my last memory of bachelorhood to be not a memory but a blood stain on my khaki pleats (my nose bleeds when I snort anything). I like the idea that a bachelor party is simply the groom’s perfect day – everything that he wants to do with his best friends. Girls aren’t invited or paid to come because they just distract from the fellowship. And I can’t afford most escorts. I know because that was the first backup plan to camping.

Went to a History Final, Made Twenty Dollars

I took my second to last final today. History of Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic World. Around 7:30 last night when I was about to begin studying for it, I pulled up the syllabus and calculated what final score I needed to get both an A and a B. This is how I begin all finals – you have to figure out if its worth it. I needed a 90% for an A and a 50% for a B. So I put my book down and went to a friend’s house to watch Lost. SAYID! NO!

I actually coasted through the first part of the final this morning. I was surprised at how many dates I could retain. I may have made up a battle, but who’s to say? Many of these records have been lost. Ptolemy could have very well been breeding Sharktopus in the mouth of the Nile. He built the Lighthouse at Alexandria – what’s another Wonder of the Ancient World, especially if it involves elementary genetic engineering. Archimedes auto-writes that stuff in hypnosis. What a swagster.

I ran out of steam on the last essay. I was asked to list the three primary sources for the Hellenistic (300-100 BCE Greece) world, and the problems and positives accompanying them. I got one right, did a good job guessing at the second, and couldn’t even lie about the third. I wrote this as my final paragraph.

“The third source for the Hellenistic world is fragments of Alexandrian scholarship. But really, Dr. Muntz, I have no idea what I’m talking about. I’m just making this up. My hand is cramping and I want to go to sleep at noon and wake up in October. I’ve enjoyed your class and the historical anecdotes, but now I’m going to approach you and hand in my test and tell you to have a good summer.”

Two weeks ago in this very class I had a paper due which was worth more than the final. I waited too long to start it, and the books I needed – that Dr. Muntz told me I needed – were checked out. I had to order a copy of The Naval Aristocracy of Hellenistic Rhodes off Amazon (linked directly to my bank account – CHA CHING! Also bought a copy of Marvel Comic’s Earth X megaseries. Package my items together, please). It was forty dollars. That’s an expensive essay. I couldn’t return it, so I hoped that it might be an okay read, something worth keeping on my bookshelf. It wasn’t. It was like Vincent Gabrielsen was forced to write about Rhodes. Lighten up, man. They specialized in pirate killing. Couldn’t you have written more about that?

As I turned in my test, I told Dr. Muntz that I had to buy the book, and then told him I wasn’t going to reread it (he spilled his coffee) and did he want to have it? He hesitated, and said he wanted to give me something for it. I almost asked for an A, but my mind was already settled on a B so I kept quiet. Instead, he opened his wallet and gave me twenty dollars. I now own eighty giant sized gumballs. Thank you, Dr. Muntz.

I Have More Readers Than I Initially Thought

Earlier today I had a post about what I did this weekend. I went to a sorority semi-formal, and in the post I presented my experiences as one mishap after another, ending in resigned celibacy for myself. However, this post made its way back to those very sorority girls who did not think it was very funny. I took it off because I was convicted I had made a mistake in publishing it.

I tell stories here. I embellish and often fabricate. Let’s face it – every day life is not that interesting or funny. If there was a reality show about you, real time, it would be boring, even if you have a job as a volcano diver or T-Rex karate instructor. So the things that happen to me I often edit. I combine events that happened at different times to make it funnier; I combine characters and often change details to make the stories more potent. Most of all, I try to write so that I am made out to be the butt of the jokes.

It was not seen that way with my last post. Events I exaggerated for humor and for the Cass-finishes-last factor were taken literally. But I should not have posted the story to begin with. So this is an apology to those who were offended. Please forgive me.

On a lighter note, it turns out I have more readers than I thought. I thought I was writing to a few fraternity brothers. Apparently someone at Tulsa University reads my blog. Who knew?