What is normal?

Normality is subjective. Almost everybody considers the things they like and do to be normal. And anyone who likes or does something else is different. It’s a rare human who acknowledges they just don’t fit in with the rest of society and that the things they’re into are just, ya know, weird.

Most of us tolerate these differences with grace and understanding. Others of us, not so much. I know that not every person is the same, so the term normal really shouldn’t apply to anyone. After all, you’re unique. Just like everyone else.

Normal, to me, means routine. When I wake up in the morning I take my Synthroid because some crazed doctor with a modified scalpel stole my thyroid a few years ago. Then I take a walk along the Ohio River to get my exercise in for the day since I spend my work day with my ass parked in a chair. It’s a comfortable chair, for sure, but it’s not helping me burn any calories.

The view from the River Walk.

Once I’m back at the house I grab a steaming hot cup of Columbian elixir and sip contently while I peruse the interwebs to catch up on my daily dose of negative news, attention whores on social media, and memes.

Normal, to me, also means blaring my music and singing along while driving – or wherever it is that I’m blasting out my tunes. It means an occasional blog post. It means putting my children before all else. It means gulping pharmaceutical cocktails before bed every night. It means having difficulty deciding whether I want to play a video game or read a book in my limited free time. It means making extremely inappropriate jokes in the group chat with my coworkers. It means looking in the mirror every morning, realizing that I need to shave, and then deciding I’m too tired to do so. That’s why I have a beard now. Well, kinda…

These things that are part of my normal everyday existence are probably not normal to anyone else, but I couldn’t imagine things any other way The normalcy. That sense of familiarity. It’s good to know that while some things change, some things stay the same. Normal, if you will.

Audience Participation Time!

What does normal mean to you, friends?  Is normal a good or bad thing?

Pointless Inquisition

It’s been quite some time since I sat down and subjected myself to a dazzling array of pointless questions, but for some reason I love doing these. Maybe because it gives me a chance to flex my sarcasm muscles. Or maybe I’m just a masochist. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

1. Last beverage:

Photo by Toni Cuenca on Pexels.com

2. Last phone call:
Was entertaining, to say the least.

3. Last song you listened to:
Red Cold River – Breaking Benjamin

4. Last time you cried:
A few weeks ago. I was going through old home videos and some videos with mom came on and…well, you know….

5. Have you dated someone twice:
Ugh, yes. C’s mom. Evidently, I’m an idiot. (a recurring theme from these answers for some reason)

6. Have you ever been cheated on:
I don’t know for certain, but I would not be shocked to find out it happened.

7. Kissed someone & regretted it:
Absolutely. Something about my kisses brings out the crazy in some people, apparently.

8. Have you lost someone special:
Aunts, Uncles, and grandparents, but the hardest was mommy.

9. What are your three favorite colors:
1. I
2. Don’t
3. Know
Seriously, I don’t have favorites of anything. Well, probably most things.

10. Met someone who changed you in the past month:
I haven’t worn diapers since I was like 2, so no….

11. Kissed anyone on your friends list:
Well, yeah…

12. How many kids do you want:
I love my children and the bonus children I’ve helped raise over the past 25 or so years, but no more, please. I can’t handle any more.

13. Do you want any pets:
Aside from my children? No. I like dogs, but not a fan of cleaning up their crap, so I’m good.

14. Do you want to change your name:
Why would I do that? I’ve gone 45 years with this one so I’m dug-in at this point. If I changed it I’d probably forget to answer to it, honestly

15. What did you do for your last birthday:
Tried to go to a hibachi place only to find out it was closed. There was a sports bar next to it I hadn’t tried, so went there instead. To my great surprise, there was a drag show planned that night to celebrate pride month. It was…interesting.

16. What time did you wake up today:
Right after my alarm went off. Twice.

17. Name something you CANNOT wait for:
Bed time. Sleeeeeeeeeeepyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy…

18. Last time you saw your mother:
A few days after she passed…

19. Most visited webpage:
Google, duh. All knowledge is held there.

20. Nicknames:
Dad, daddy, hey you, dumb ass. You know, it depends who’s addressing me.

21. Relationship status:
All alone…

22. Zodiac sign:
Gemini.

23. Male or female:
I refuse to be defined by my genitalia!

24. Height:
With or without my shoes on? This is important, ya know.

25. Do you have a crush on someone:
What is this, high school? Should I be passing notes in class? Is that even a thing anymore? I guess kids just message each other on Snapchat these days. Check yes or no…

26. Piercings:
Confuse me. I’ve never looked at any part of my body and thought, “You know, this skin here needs more holes in it.”

27. Tattoos:
Look great on other people…most of the time. Not for me, though. Permanent choices have yet to end up permanent for me, so if I did get a tattoo it’d probably divorce me.

28. Strong or Weak:
Me? My coffee? My will? My desire to throat-punch stupid people? Please be more specific.

FIRSTS

29. First surgery:
2nd grade to remove excess scar tissue from my half-recovered lost fingertip.

30. First best friend:
Southern Comfort, tbh.

31. First sport you joined:
Teeball, I think. I don’t know. I was a kid and that was a long time ago. I have trouble remembering what happened 40 minutes ago, let alone 40 years.

32. First vacation:
Erm, either Tawas City or Sunset Beach. Unless you count trips to Grandma’s house. If you count those then, you know, that, obviously.

33. First school:
Some preschool near Toledo whose name I probably couldn’t guess with 100 tries.

34. First pair of trainers:
Erm…wtf are we talking about here?

WHICH IS BETTER

35. Lips or eyes:
Depends on whose lips or eyes we’re referring to.

36. Hugs or kisses:
Why does one have to be better than the other? I like them both equally. Remember? No favorites.

37. Shorter or taller:
Like, are you asking if it’s better if I’m shorter or taller or if someone else is? Let’s just make everyone the same height so we don’t have to worry about this question.

38. Older or younger:
Younger may be more physically fit, but older has more experience. That probably doesn’t really answer the question, but that’s what I’m going with

39. Romantic or spontaneous:
Spontaneous. Romance is a day-dream of the selfish.

40. Sensitive or loud:
Sensitive. Loud hurts my ears.

41. Hook-up or relationship:
Relationship. I don’t want anything as superficial as a temporary place to, erm, sheeth my sword.

42. Shy or outgoing:
I’m extremely shy and reserved and that makes it harder to form connections, so outgoing is definely better in most cases.

HAVE YOU EVER

43. Kissed a stranger:
Define stranger. I mean, I’ve kissed on a first date. Are they still a stranger at that point?

44. Gotten a speeding ticket:
I maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay have a bit of a lead foot. When I first got my license I got so many speeding tickets that I nearly had my license suspended. I’m not quite so aggressive a driver these days.

45. Lost glasses/contacts:
Not yet. Don’t jinx me!!

46. Sex on first date:
Uhhhh….does not compute….

47. Broken someone’s heart:
Unfortunately. It’s a shitty feeling, too. I don’t ever want to hurt someone, but when it’s not working it’s not working.

48. Been arrested:
Not yet. Does that mean I’m innocent or that I just haven’t been caught? I’ll let you decide.

49. Have you turned someone down:
Yeah, that’s not fun, either.

50. Fallen for a friend:
Not that I recall. Oh, wait. Yeah. A long time ago. When I finally got the courage to say something to her I was shot down. Oh, well. Probably for the best anyhow.

51. Moved out of town:
I’ve moved out of several towns. I’m sort of a pro at it.

BELIEVE IN

52. Miracles:
Not really. Things may seem miraculous sometimes, but really it’s either coincidence or fortune…or both.

53. Love at first sight:
Not in a romantic sense, no. However, I’ve loved each of my children since the moment I laid eyes on them.

54. Heaven:
I honestly have no clue what to believe in that regard. I was raised in church and as hard as it is for me to admit sometimes, I don’t feel like I live in a world created by a god I was raised to believe in. I’d like to think there is and that mom is watching me from among the clouds, but I just don’t know.

55. Santa Claus:
I’ll keep the facade going until C stops believing. Until then Santa is real.

56. Kiss on the first date:
I mean, I’ve done it before so….I guess so.

57. Angels:
See the answer to 54.

58. Yourself:
In some respects. I believe that, professionally, I can achieve anything I attempt. In my personal life I question everything. Am I a good person? A good father? A good son? A good friend? When I try to convince myself the answer is yes to those questions something deep inside me tells me I’m not. However, the opposite happens if ask myself if I’m an awful person. So I guess I’m just floating around in the middle of everything, unsure of anything.

ANSWER TRUTHFULLY

59. Had more than 1 girlfriend/boyfriend at a time:
Hell no. One woman is more than enough to deal with. Why would I stress myself out like that?

60. Been in love with someone you couldn’t be with?:
Yup. It sucks ass.

61. Ever cheated on somebody:
Nope.

62. If you could go back in time, how far would you go?:
I’d go back to last night and make myself go to bed on time. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz….

63. Are you afraid of falling in love:
Yes. The sudden stop at the end is excruciating.

64. Was your last relationship a mistake?
I wouldn’t say that. It didn’t work out in the end, but there were a lot of good times. Things just…changed.

65. Do you miss your last relationship?
Not really.

66. Who did you last say “i love you” to?
My little man.

67. Have you ever been depressed?
Damn near daily. Been a battle since I was a teenager. Like a horrifying roller coaster that doesn’t stop.

68. Are you insecure?
Absolutely. I am extremely insecure about my appearance and personality. I can’t see any of the good qualities others see me. Except for my sense of humor. I’m fucking hilarious.

69. How do you want to die?
I don’t, duh. Why would I want that?

70. Do you bite your nails?
Nope, only my food.

71. When was your last physical fight?
A few days ago. It was an epic battle, but in the end that fly never stood a chance.

72. Do you have an attitude?
Everyone has an attitude. Whether that’s a good or bad thing is up to interpretation, though. My attitude is sarcastic, perhaps even caustically so, and somewhere between positive and negative. I consider myself a realist.

73. Twirl or cut your spaghetti?
Yes.

74. Do you tan a lot?
I don’t go to tanning booths or anything stupid like that, but if I’m outside for a day or so I’ll brown.

75. Ever eaten food in a car while someone or you are driving?
Yes, I’ve been on a road trip before…

76. Ever made out in a bathroom?
Well, yeah. When there are kids in the house you sneak those moments whenever you can.

77. Would you take any of your exes back?
Uh…no.

78. Would you go back in time if you were given the chance?
Didn’t we already ask this question? I’d go back to the first time I answered this question so I can see what my answer is.

79. What are your plans for this weekend?
Hell if I know. That’s a long time from now.

80. Do you type fast?
Fast enough. Did you see how quickly I typed that answer up?

81. Can you spell well?
W-E-L-L. What do I win?

82: What are you craving right now?
Nothing in particular, but my tummy just grumbled at me so I suppose I should eat something.

83. Have you ever been on a horse?
Sure, but it just sat there. I didn’t have any quarters to put in it.

84. Would you live with someone without marrying them?
Why would I marry anyone I lived with?

85. What’s irritating you right now?
The fact that I have lived with someone without marrying them. Did I miss the memo on that?

86. Have you ever liked someone so much that it hurts?
I think if liking someone hurt I’d do whatever I could to, you know, not like them.

87. Does somebody love you?
My children do. I think…

88. Have you ever changed clothes in a car?
I don’t think so?

89. Milk chocolate or white chocolate?
Chocolate!! White chocolate is kinda gross…

90. Do you have trust issues?
Absolutely. Once you’ve gotten a hamburger from McDonald’s that’s actually just a condiment sandwich (no meat) you learn not to take things at face-value.

91. Longest relationship?
9 long years.

92: Do you believe your most recent ex thinks about you?
I hope not. She should move on and work on making herself happy.

93. Have you ever walked outside in your PJs?
Well, yeah. To pick up a delivery off the porch or something. I don’t go out places in my PJs because I’m classy.

94. Do you believe everything happens for a reason?
I used to, but not any more. There are just no good, logical reasons for some of the awful shit that happens to some of us.

95. Did you have dream last night?
If I did it’s been scrubbed from my memory. Perhaps my subconscious is trying to protect me from itself?

96. Have you ever been out of state?
I’ve been out of several states…

97. Do you play the Wii?
This must be an old list of questions….

98. Do you like Chinese food?
Absolutely. Who knew you could prepare chicken in so many different ways?

99. Are you afraid of the dark?
Not the dark itself, only what’s hiding in it.

100. Is cheating ever okay?
NO. If you wanna sleep around then don’t get in a fucking relationship.

101. What year has been your best?
Erm…idk. I guess a toss-up between 1999 and 2011. Duplicates of me were born in both years.

102. Do you believe in true love?
Yes, I’ve had pumpkin pie before.

103. Favorite weather?
Chilly fall weather so I can wear hoodies, drink coffee all day, and eat chilli for dinner. And watch FOOTBALL.

104. Do you like the snow?
Abso-frickin’-lutely. I will hit you with as many snowballs as I can make.

105. Do you like the outside?
Not in the summer when it’s sweltering hot and there are pesky bugs everywhere.

106. Is it cute when a boy/girl calls you baby?
Uhhhh….idk. I don’t think I’ve ever been called that.

107. Have you ever made out for more than a half hour straight?
Well, yeah. Why do you wanna know, you perv!

108. What makes you happy?
Seeing my children happy and laughing.

109. Ever been to Alaska?
I wish! I’d love to move to Alaska and get away from these stupid-hot summers.

110. Ever been to Hawaii?
Nope. Tell me what I’m missing.

111. Do you watch the news?
Nope. It has a negative impact on my mental health.

112. Do you love MTV?
I did when I was 12 and they actually played music videos. I haven’t really given a shit about it since 1994, though.

113. Do you like subway?
Spicy Italian, FTW!

114 Would it be hard to kiss the last person you kissed?
Not in the slightest.

115. Your best friend of the opposite sex likes you, what do you do?
Well, I get over my shock and ask this kind lady her name since I had no clue I had a best friend of the opposite sex.

116. Why did you decide to do this quiz?
Cause I’m waiting for updates to finish on this server and I’m bored…

117. Have you ever seen someone you knew and purposely avoided them?
All the time. I’m awkward in public and don’t know how to interact with people I randomly run into.

118. Do you have a friend of the opposite sex who you can act your complete self around?
Yeah, there’s a couple at work who get my irreverent sense of humor.

119. Who was the last person of the opposite sex you talked to?
A coworker.

120. Who was the last person you had a deep conversation with?
Uhhhhhhh….I haven’t the slightest clue. Probably my psychiatrist, I guess.

121. Ever bought condoms?
Nope. My ex-wife did that for me if/when I needed them.

122. Ever gotten pregnant?
Well, I’ve given birth to several food babies….

123. Have you ever slipped on ice?
Of course I have, I live in the midwest.

124 Have you ever missed the bus?
I’ve never even thrown anything at the bus.

125. Have you left the house without money?
Every day. I don’t keep cash on me.

126. Have you ever smoked cigarettes?
Nope. I’ve never understood the concept behind seeing something burn and thinking, “I need to inhale that.”

127. Have you ever smoked a cigar?
See the previous question, please. Stop repeating yourself.

128. Did you ever drink alcohol?
Oh, shit. Way too much over the past 10 years, off and on. I’ve used it as a coping mechanism far too frequently.

129. Did you ever watch “The Breakfast Club”?
Nope, but what about Second Breakfast Club?

130. Have you ever been overweight?
Since the 4th grade. I guess it’s partly genetic because I was an active child but still got chubby. Granted, as an adult I haven’t always eaten healthy or exercised properly, but yeah….

131. Ever been to a wedding?
Yes, I have watched people willingly give up their freedom.

132. Ever been in a wedding?
My own (twice – I’m an idiot), my brother’s, and a former friend’s.

133. Have you ever been on the computer for 5 hours straight?
I work in IT. It’s my job…

134. Did you ever watch TV for 5 hours straight?
When I’m sick I always, always put on the original Star Wars trilogy. It’s a silly tradition I’ve had since I was a kid. Also, occassionally on days off I’ll binge something on Netflix.

135. Ever kissed in the rain?
Probably, but I don’t recall a specific instance.

136. Did you ever shower with someone else?
Yessum. I mean, I can’t reach/wash every part of my back, ya know?

137. Did you ever fail a driver’s test?
Hahahaha, yeah. So, I took Driver’s Ed in Ohio where they do the maneuverability test instead of parallel parking, but took my road test after I had moved to Kentucky. I went in the wrong way….

138. Ever been outside your home country?
Nope. I’m boring, I guess.

139. Ever been on a road trip longer than 5 hours?
Oy, yeah. Did a 17 hour drive from Palm Beach a few years ago. That. Was. Awful.

140. Ever been to a professional sports game?
Oh, yeah. Pistons, Bengals, Falcons, Braves, Reds, Cyclones…

141. Have you ever broken a bone?
So, as impossible as it may sound, getting hit in the nose by a baseball can break a bone. Always wear protection, kids.

142. Did you ever win a trophy in your life?
Uh….I had several soccer trophies when I was a kid, but I don’t know if I won them or if they were participation trophies.

143. Ever get engaged?
For some idiotic reason, yeah.

144. Have you ever been on a diet?
Several. My weight has fluctuated wildly over the past 20 years…

145. Have you ever been on TV?
We were on some educational cable program when I was in 2nd grade, but I can’t remember what the hell it was all about.

146. Ever ridden in a taxi?
Hmmmmm….you know? I haven’t.

147. Ever been to prom?
Hell no. I don’t do dances.

148. Ever stayed up for 24 hours or more?
Yup. Sometimes I’m an insufferable insomniac.

149 Have you ever been to a concert?
Yup. Most recently I saw Seether, Starset, and Breaking Benjamin. Great show.

150. Have you ever had a crush on someone at work?
I once married a coworker. Learn from my fail, folks. Don’t do it.

151. Have you ever been in a car accident?
A handful, but luckily none resulting in serious injury.

152. Ever had braces?
Negative, ghostrider.

153. Did you ever learn another language?
I took 3 years of Spanish in high school and was fairly fluent at one point, but then I forgot it all…

154. Do you wear make-up?
Why would I do that?

155. Did you ever have your wisdom teeth taken out?
Nope. My wisdom is still intact.

156. Did you ever kiss someone a different race than yourself?
Nope. I’ve always been curious what it would be like to date outside my race, but just never lived in many areas where there are different races.

157. Ever dyed your hair?
Nope. I just take the clippers to my skull now so I don’t even have to mess with it.

158. Did you ever wear someone else’s clothes?
I’m sure I have, but I can’t recall a specific occurrance.

159. Ever ridden in an ambulance?
Nope, I’ve never enjoyed that most expensive of taxi rides…

160. Ever ridden in a helicopter?
Does a helicopter in a carnival ride count? If so, then no.

161. Ever caught the stove on fire?
I haven’t, but it runs in the family… I have burnt/melted kitchenware because I turned on the wrong burner, though. Does that count?

162. Ever meet someone famous?
I’ve ran into a few Bengals players around the area.

163. Ever been on an airplane?
I’ve been in one, but I feel like getting on one is not going to end well.

164. Ever been on a boat?
Several times. Family in Michigan have boats and live on lakes and it’s awesome.

165. Ever broken something expensive?
My car? My nose?

166. Did you ever kiss someone before you were 14?
Yeah, but just little smooches. Nothing inappropriate.

167. Did you ever find something valuable on the ground?
I found a money clip with about 70 bucks in it once.

Interview With a Trooper – Episode IX

Well hello there! It’s time again for me to answer questions from some strange person on the internet because evidently I have nothing better to do. Okay, nothing better I want to do. Do you feel better now that you’ve forced that confession out of me. DAMN YOU!!!

Ahem. Anyhow….so I answered stuff….

  1. What is the first movie you remember seeing? Probably one of the Star Wars movies. Dad used the VCR to tape them from TV somehow and I would watch them on repeat. Except for the last few minutes of Return of the Jedi, because he ran out of tape.
  2. What is the first thing you do when you get home? Shut the front door.
  3. What is the first thing you do when you open your eyes in the morning?  Close them again and try to go back to sleep.
  4. What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning? Why the hell am I up??
  5. What is the first time you were allowed to put on make-up? Idk, I still haven’t asked yet.
  6. What is the furthest you’ve ever been from home? Lost somewhere in my own head.
  7. What is the hardest part of your job? Walking out at the end of the day knowing I didn’t get everything done I wanted to.
  8. What is the last book you read? Exile by RA Salvatore
  9. What is the last compliment you got? Um…not sure. I don’t keep a log I can consult.
  10. What is the last film you saw? Spiderman Homecoming
  11. What is the last movie that you saw at the cinema? The Rise of Skywalker.
  12. What is the last thing you downloaded onto your computer? Handbrake so I could convert a video for someone at work.
  13. What is the last thing you watched on TV? Um, Spiderman Homecoming. You already asked me that.
  14. What is the longest period you’ve spent in a hospital? A day and a half…which was only two weeks ago.
  15. What is the most boring movie you’ve watched? Jesus of Nazareth. Every. Freakin’. Easter.
  16. What is the most difficult thing you’ve done for love? Not leave.
  17. What is the most important thing in your life? My children.
  18. What is the name of your favorite restaurant? I don’t have favorites. Of anything.
  19. What is the name of your first pet? Bunky. I’m not quite sure how mom came up with that name, but when she was naming our dog that was the name she answered to, so it stuck.
  20. What is the one item you can’t leave home without? My body.
  21. What is the pettiest thing you’ve done to prove a point? I’m sure I’ve done plenty of petty things in my life, but I’m not able to think of anything right now.
  22. What is the scariest movie you’ve watched? In 7th grade I was shown a video of a live birth in sex ed. That was pretty brutal.
  23. What is the strangest thing you believed as a child? My uncle had an Atlanta Falcons helmet on his mantle at home. He had me convinced for years that he had been a kicker for the Falcons back in the 70’s.
  24. What is the thing you change the TV channel with? It’s called a remote control, you tool.
  25. What is the weirdest thing you’ve seen in your life? Trump supporters.
  26. What is the worst grade you got on a test? An F, obviously. You can’t get any lower than that.
  27. What is under your bed? The floor. Duh.
  28. What is your all-time favorite town or city? I don’t have favorites!!! Why? Because I just don’t!!
  29. What is your best childhood memory? Not a specific memory, but just having the freedom to go outside and play with friends or to play with my brothers in our basement full of toys without a worry in the world.
  30. What is your best physical feature? Idk. My smile?

Interview With a Trooper – Episode VIII

It’s been a bit since I’ve posted an interview segment (because reasons), so I figured I’d get another post on the wall. How’s everyone doing??

  1. What did you do for your last birthday? Idk, that was 7 months ago. I think the twins came over, we cooked out, and I had some celebratory drinks.
  2. What did you dress up as on Halloween when you were eight? Probably Luke Skywalker or Han Solo. Either way, I was winning.
  3. What did you want to be when you grew up? When I was very young, a baseball player. In high school, a teacher. In my 20’s, the best dad possible. In the 30’s…same. Now, in my 40’s, I want to go back to my childhood.
  4. What do you call carbonated drink called? Call 911! I think the interviewer just had a stroke!
  5. What do you call it when rain falls while the sun is shining?  Weird.
  6. What do you call your grandparents? I never met either of my grandfathers. Well, technically, that’s not true. One died before I was born, the other when I was two months old. So I did meet one of them, but I don’t remember it. Both of my grandmother’s I called grandma. Unoriginal, yes, but still loving.
  7. What do you consider unforgivable? Cheating, or any other form of betrayal from someone in whom you’ve placed trust.
  8. What do you dislike about living in your neighborhood? Nothing, so far. I mean, being this close to train tracks is somewhat annoying, but it’s not the end of the world.
  9. What do you do for a living? I do IT support in a K-12 school corporation.
  10. What do you do if you can’t sleep at night? Do you count sheep? Toss and Turn? Try to get up and do something productive? I’ll normally either read or put on a movie I’ve seen a million times (like Star Wars) and eventually I’ll pass out.
  11. What do you do most when you are bored? Um, find something to do that isn’t boring. Duh.
  12. What do you find yourself always procrastinating? Procrastination.
  13. What do you like about your home? The roof is nice. It keeps out the rain.
  14. What do you love about living in your neighborhood? Um…IDK. It’s a neighborhood. I just live here.
  15. What do you love about your favorite TV Show? I don’t really have a favorite TV show. I don’t really have favorites of anything.
  16. What do you think about more than anything else? I’m trying not to think about anything these days. It keeps me from despair.
  17. What do you think about the most? Well, right now I’m thinking…how is this question any different than the one before it, and how it’s not, and that this is a stupid question.
  18. What does your name mean? It means I answer when someone says it.
  19. What drains your energy? What doesn’t? I haven’t had much energy at all these past few months. Hopefully, that will change as I recover from surgery.
  20. What dreams have you given up on as unrealistic? Having a child who doesn’t talk back.
  21. What female celebrity do you wish was your sister? Uh….I don’t know. I’ve never wished for another sibling. My family is already big as it is.
  22. What flavor of tea do you enjoy? I don’t really like tea. I pity the fool.
  23. What has been the hardest thing for you to face or learn? Hell, I don’t know. Even if you narrowed that question down to the last six months I couldn’t pick just one thing so much shit has been happening.
  24. What has required the most courage of you in your life so far? Walking away from my first marriage, methinks.
  25. What inspires you? I don’t know if inspired is the right term, but my children keep me motivated. Without them I don’t know what would keep me going.
  26. What is a strange occurrence you’ve experienced but have never (or rarely) shared with anyone? That my first wife used suicide as a tool to keep me from leaving her. I’ve written about it at length here, but it’s not something I shared with many people in real life. For some reason, I still feel a bit of shame about the whole ordeal.
  27. What is an ideal first date for you? Not having one.
  28. What is at the top of your bucket list? Creating a bucket list.
  29. What is good about how you are living your life right now? So far I have not given into despair.
  30. What is hard about being a parent? EVERYTHING.
  31. What is hard about not being a parent? NOTHING. I mean, that’s probably not true, but I’ve been a parent so long I can’t remember what it was like to NOT be a parent.
  32. What is on the walls of the room you are in? Pictures. I am surrounded by family pictures. I love it.
  33. What is one guilty pleasure you enjoy too much to give up? Coffee?
  34. What is one of the worse things that could happen to you? It already happened, I think.
  35. What is one thing that you’ve never revealed to your parents? See question 26…
  36. What is one thing you’d rather pay someone to do than do yourself? Why? Move. I hate moving and have moved way too many times in my life.
  37. What is something about yourself that you hope will change, but probably never will? How easily irritated I sometimes can be.
  38. What is something most people don’t know about you? Me and Vader hang out and play Texas Hold ‘Em every Saturday night.
  39. What is something that amazes you? How people keep defending Trump and the actions of the GOP somehow blocking witnesses to his impeachment trial.
  40. What is something that scares you that you would never ever try? Jumping out of a plane. Or even flying in one.
  41. What is something you are gifted at? Sarcasm.
  42. What is something you look for in a partner? A sense of humor.
  43. What is something you wish you were gifted at doing? Writing.
  44. What is something you’ve never done that you’d like to try? Winning the lottery.
  45. What is the best compliment you have ever received? You’re a good father.
  46. What is the best part of your job? There’s a lot of things I like about it. The camaraderie with those I work with. Interacting with the students (most of the time). The freedom I have to run the network as I deem best and the trust that’s been given to me to do so. The list goes on.
  47. What is the farthest-away place you’ve been? Bentonville, Arkansas. That was an interesting trip…
  48. What is the first amusement park you’ve been to? Six Flags over Georgia, I think.
  49. What is the first app you check when you wake up in the morning? Depends on which notification is at the top of the list.
  50. What is the first book you remember reading? One of the Hardy Boys novels. When I was in middle school I read a bunch of those books.

Interview With a Trooper – Episode VII – The Sarcasm Awakens

It’s been…a weekend. As I was getting dressed yesterday morning, Baby B called me and said a pallet fell on his foot at work and that he was in an ambulance on his way to the ER. Logically, I knew he was okay. He was calm and speaking casually. The voices in my head, however, started conjuring the worst. I rushed to the hospital and stayed with him while they reattached his toenail, stitched him up, and told him how to care for his broken toe.

While I was with B, the foster daughter we’ve had for two and a half years was moving out. Luckily she isn’t going far because she’s being adopted by my brother, but she’s still gone.

Twas a shitty day.

This morning I awoke to Baby C puking his guts out.

So much for a relaxing weekend. Namaste…or something…

  1. Pick one, monopoly or chess? Chess. Monopoly sucks and never ends.
  2. Pick one, Nike or Adidas? Nike, FTW!
  3. Pick one, Pepsi or Coca-Cola? Didn’t I answer this before? Pepsi tastes like Coke’s feces.
  4. Pick one, stripes or Polka dot? No, you can’t make me.
  5. Pick one, summer or winter? Winter! Let it snow!
  6. Pick one, texting or phone calls? Texting. Talking to humans sucks.
  7. Pick one, vanilla or chocolate? Chocolate. Tis the yummy. Then for something almost orgasmic, add peanut butter. You’ll thank me later.
  8. To what extent do you trust people? I don’t trust anyone, really. Not even myself.
  9. What about religion has changed for you as you’ve aged? That depends. I haven’t really believed since I was in 7th grade, and that hasn’t changed. However, I’ve become more and more jaded by religion as I’ve gotten older simply because of how judgmental and hypocritical people of religion are. People of any religion.
  10. What app do you use most? Email, probably.
  11. What are books on your shelf that are begging to be read? I got rid of my physical books years ago. I read ebooks now.
  12. What are some of the different jobs that you have had in your life? Retail, security guard, fast food, customer service rep, manager, warehouse worker, and IT dude.
  13. What are some of your bad habits? Drinking, eating too much, cursing, staying up too late, procrastinating…I think that’s enough for now.
  14. What are the top three qualities that draw you to someone new? Humor, sarcasm, and intelligence.
  15. What are you reading now? This question….
  16. What are your best characteristics? I have no clue. It’s not for me to judge.
  17. What are your best physical features? Idk, I’m fairly strong, I guess.
  18. What are your favorite things about yourself? I think I’m funny.
  19. What are your nicknames? What do you prefer to be called? Um, I don’t know.
  20. What artistic endeavors have you tried & decided you were bad at? All of them.
  21. What aspect of your life needs tremendous improvement? Um, all of them.
  22. What book are you reading at the moment? The Stolen Throne.
  23. What book do you remember as being important to you? I don’t know that any book is important to me, but there are a few that I quite enjoyed. Timeline is my favorite.
  24. What color is your bedroom carpet? Tan
  25. What current world events are really troubling to you? All of them…

That’s all the time we have for today, folks. Tell me how you’re doing. Tell me something good. Tell me it’s all going to be okay…

Interview With a Trooper – Episode VI – Return of the Sarcasm

It’s that time again!

Wheel of Morality
No, no. Not time for the Wheel of Morality.

It’s time for another interview with me, your favorite trooper!

Oh, shut up…

  1. In what area of your life are you immature? I think the more appropriate question is, “In what part of my life am I NOT immature?”
  2. Is anyone in your family in the army? My step-sister’s husband. So, I guess that makes him my step-brother-in-law? Is that a thing? Anyhow, he does that army thing.
  3. Is the glass half empty or half full? Depends on what was in it. If it was coffee then it’s completely empty and I need a refill. If it was chocolate milk then the same. If it was….eh, who’m I kidding? I drank it all no matter what it is. Get me a refill.
  4. Is there any item you collect? I used to collect Star Wars stuff, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve gotten less passionate about it. I still have the collection, but I’ve not added to it in quite some time. I also collect gray hairs, but that’s quite a reluctant collection…
  5. Is your father bald? He has a small spot on the back of his head where hair has vacated the premises.
  6. Last time you swam in a pool? Labor Day at my dad’s house. Good times.
  7. Most ridiculous thing you’ve had to visit the hospital for? I can’t think of any visits that were ridiculous. Any time I’ve been to a hospital it’s been for a serious injury, illness, or the birth of a child. You know, the good stuff.
  8. On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest and 1 being the lowest, rate your fashion sense? Uh, 5?
  9. On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest and 1 being the lowest, rate your driving skills? Uh, 9?
  10. On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest and 1 being the lowest, rate your cooking skills? Look, the last time I stepped on a scale the number was a bit higher than 10…
  11. On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest and 1 being the lowest, how good a kisser are you? You know, I’ve never kissed myself. I have no clue.
  12. One thing you know now that you wish you had known as a kid? Adulthood is a trap.
  13. Pick one, a comedy movie or a horror movie? Comedy. I’d rather laugh than piss my pants. Or, if I piss my pants, I want it to be because I’m laughing and not screaming.
  14. Pick one, cats or dogs? Dogs. Cats are no fun. And they normally have shitty attitudes.
  15. Pick one, chatting or phone call? Doesn’t one of these entail the other?
  16. Pick one, cheat or be cheated on? How about neither?
  17. Pick one, chicken or beef?  How about both?
  18. Pick one, Coke or Pepsi? Coke. Pepsi tastes like Coke that someone spilled sewage in…
  19. Pick one, exceptional strength or intelligence Intelligence, for sure.
  20. Pick one, forgiveness or vengeance? Ugh. Neither, really. But if I must choose, forgiveness.
  21. Pick one, free health care or free education? Ideally, both. But in this insipid scenario I’d pick free education to become a doctor and give myself free health care.
  22. Pick one, Halloween or Valentine’s Day I’m not a fan of either, but Valentine’s Day is the most ludicrous holiday there is. Well, except for President’s Day. I used to think President’s Day was cool until some dick with a dead animal on his head and orange skin ruined it.
  23. Pick one, IOS or Android? Android, FTW!
  24. Pick one, kill or be killed? No! You can’t make me!
  25. Pick one, meat or fish? I mean, fish are living creatures, so shouldn’t their flesh be considered meat?

News: I have completed a rough draft of my novel! I’m going through my first edit currently. Yay!

Query: What news do you have, meatbag?

21 Years

I didn’t know what I wanted to do after I graduated high school. I knew what I was supposed to do, though. I was to pick a college, bury myself in student loans, and get a degree. But I didn’t know what for. Furthermore, my self-confidence was shaken. I almost flunked a couple of classes my senior year while trying to do school and a full-time job. How was I going to successfully juggle college and a job if I couldn’t manage that?

As I struggled with the decision of what to do with the rest of my life time kept ticking on. I got a job at Walmart to help pay the bills and distractions ensued.

I was initially hired on as an unloader. I spent my nights tossing boxes onto a freight line, sorting them by department, and then taking pallets full of merchandise out to the sales floor where my cheerful coworkers eagerly waited like kids parked around the fireplace waiting for Santa to appear. (Editor’s note: That was sarcasm. No one who works for Walmart is cheerful. Suffer no delusions in that regard.)

One night I was in the truck heaving boxes of all shapes, sizes, and mass onto the line. I was lost in the groove of the music pumping from the radio. I was in a zone and not paying careful attention to what I was doing. You know how it is when you’re droning through some mindless task. Your body just goes on autopilot while your mind goes to another place. Or perhaps another dimension. Or maybe just to sleep.

In my zombie-like state of mindlessness I tossed an extremely thin, but almost 6-foot tall box, onto the line with a little less force than was needed. Thus, only the front half of the box made it on to the line. The back half of the box folded downward and the end result was a box pointing, with 3-feet of its girth, one direction, and the other 3-feet of it at a 45 degree angle.

As the box folded neatly along its mid-section the unmistakable sound of glass breaking escaped from within.

Oops.

I walked over to the deformed box to see what damage I had wrought only to find that I had inadvertently turned three 6-foot long door mirrors into six 3-foot miniature door mirrors.

“Well, shit. 21 years bad luck,” I deadpanned. Little did I know just how scarily accurate my one-liner would turn out to be.

Now I’m not really a superstitious person. I’ve stepped on plenty of cracks and never once broken my momma’s back (I’m pretty sure I did break her sanity, though. Sorry, Mom.). I’ve spilled salt and never once tossed any over my shoulder (I just wiped it off the table and onto the floor to be swept up later). I’ve never once hesitated to walk under a ladder (unless I needed to duck to save my head (and sometimes not even then – ow!)). I’ve picked up many a penny who was face down, ass up. I sometimes think the only color cats come in is black. On more than one occasion I ordered lunch and it totaled up to a devilish $6.66.

I didn’t truly believe that one small act of negligence would actually curse the next 21 years of my life, but now I’m not so sure. Since that one careless act I’ve had a lot of bad luck. I’ve been married, and divorced, twice. I’ve had to declare bankruptcy. Twice. I was held hostage in a relationship I wanted no part of with threats, and at least one attempt, of suicide. That “relationship,” and the children I inherited with it, prevented me from going to college. I’ve been subjected to verbal, physical, and emotional abuse. I suffered through a 5-year-long cycle of depression catalyzed by losing half of my life with the twins only to begin a new one catalyzed by my second divorce. My then-stepson violated my then-stepdaughter under my roof and I had no clue. I’ve been accused of things so despicable I can’t even bring myself to articulate the words. I took part in a two-year-long battle with infertility, in which we prevailed, but at great emotional cost.  I spent most of the last three years adrift in a sea of isolation and empty bottles.

why-is-the-rum-always-gone-oh-thats-why

It hasn’t all been doom and gloom, though. Some great things have happened to me, as well. For instance, I have three wonderful, beautiful children whom I love with every fiber of my existence. There have been a handful of happy moments, however fleeting they may have been. I fell in love not once, but twice. I mean, I fell in love with the wrong people, but it felt good while it lasted. I have (almost) 18 years of parental memories I’ll cherish as long as I breath. I hand-carved an opportunity for myself to get into a technical school and was able to jump into an IT career.

Mostly, though, life has pretty much sucked and I choose to blame those stupid fucking mirrors, because why not? Mirrors are always giving me bad news, anyhow. Hey, your hair’s messed up. There’s lettuce in your teeth. You’re ugly. That shirt does not look good on you. I mean, I knew mirrors were assholes, but who knew inanimate objects could sway future events?

191982-131-d3194343
Oh, shut up. No one believes you anyhow.

There is good news, though. I was 19 on that fateful day, and I’m 40 now. My sentence has been fully served, and my luck is now free to switch back to the good side. I’d ask you to wish me good luck, but there’s no way I haven’t already used up all my bad luck by now, right?

Right??

I Shouldn’t Have Laughed…

Well, well. Take a look at this place. It’s in such a state of disrepair. The banners haven’t been updated in a couple of years. Well, I just looked again and apparently it’s been three years. Wow. I should probably do some house-keeping ’round here.

Anyhow, I just dropped by because I felt like sharing some hilarious news. I figured with all the doom and gloom (and idiocy) of the Trump White House (Hey, is that Sean Spicer hiding in my bushes?) we could all use a good laugh. Even though we’ll be laughing at something we probably shouldn’t be laughing at.

We all know that the only dude to ever walk on water was Jesus, right?

superman208
No, Zod doesn’t count.

Well, a clergyman in Zimbabwe decided to reproduce Jesus’ miraculous feat and show the awesome power of God to his faithful.

No chance of anything going wrong here, I’m sure.

The pastor, Jonathan Mthethwa, led his congregation to Crocodile River (spoiler alert!) where he proceeded to wade about 30 meters out into the water. Just after promising the gathering that he was about to rise above the water, he was mercilessly ripped to shreds by three extremely famished crocodiles.

baby facepalm

Now, I know I shouldn’t be laughing at this. A man lost his life. Nevertheless, I cannot stop laughing. I mean, what the hell did this guy expect to happen? If you stick a paper clip in an electrical outlet you’re going to get shocked no matter how strong your faith may be.

First of all, I’m sure it’s not called Crocodile River because it’s filled with tears of the broken-hearted. If you’re going to wade into crocodile infested waters, you should be prepared to forfeit your life. Or at the very least a limb.

Secondly, what did this dude plan on saying when he didn’t actually rise above the water? Was he going to insult their faith? Tell them if they had prayed harder he could have pulled it off? Yeah, Jesus walked on water, but he also had the divine powers that come with, you know, being the son of God. This guy was just a tool, obviously.

What’s worse is the congregation left in his wake. They just couldn’t fathom where it all went so awfully wrong. “We still don’t understand how this happened because he fasted and prayed the whole week.” Yeah, and I gave that Nigerian prince my bank account information and I’m still waiting on the deposit. I just don’t get it…

If you read this story and didn’t laugh a bit, congratulations, you’re a much better person than I. Of course, that isn’t much of a reason to pat yourself on the back. However, I think we can all take away one important lesson here, and that is…

wp1b403bb6_05_06
Even God can’t fix stupid.

Survey says…WTF?

Anyone remember MySpace? It was the first big social media website. At least, I think it was. It was the first one I was a member of. (Hehe, member <—Beavis and Butthead moment (I’m a little buzzed. Sorry.))

I don’t miss much from the days of MySpace. Remember how you could have a profile song? If you went to another person’s profile page their song started playing. Most of my friends listened to shitty music back in 2006. Luckily, most of those people aren’t in my life any more.

What I do miss from MySpace is the surveys. All the questions. I don’t know why I loved answering questions about myself so much. Talking about myself is something I’m not normally comfortable doing, but when asked a direct question I just blabber away like a teenager with the latest gossip.

The other day, Stephanie (of Stephallenous fame) posted a, by year 2006 MySpace standards, a survey and invited anyone who wished to join in the fun. Well, I wish and I’m joining the fun, dammit.

(Interjection: if you don’t read Stephanie you are totes missing out. She is like the WordPress version of Robin Williams. She can be deep, unpredictable, hilarious, and spontaneous. No matter what, she’s always entertaining.)

So here, in no particular order aside from numerical (this whole freakin’ system is out of order!), are 40 things you probably don’t know, or care to know, about me.

1 – Boxer shorts or budgy smugglers? The only smuggler I know is Han Solo, and he certainly doesn’t have carte blanche to hold my junk up all day. I mean, I know he’s played by Harrison Ford, but still. No touchy. Also, I prefer briefs, because I don’t like my bits swinging back and forth like some weird human raised by gorillas.

2 – What color of underwear are you currently wearing? Um, I don’t know. I put them on a long time ago. Like, this morning. When I was half asleep. Hold on. Let me look. Okay, they’re blue, you perv. Man, I had to get outta my chair and everything.

3 – How long have you been wearing them for? Since about 7 yesterday morning. It’s about 12:30AM now. Why does that make me feel gross? Fuck, I can’t even take a shower because there’s a busted pipe in my building and the water’s out. I might have to bum a shower tomorrow.

4 – Do you ever use binoculars to watch people? No, I don’t even like people. I certainly wouldn’t creep on them.

5 – Have you ever kicked someone in the groin? Not that I recall. Wait. I accidentally did it once. My brothers (all two of them), me, and a friend were playing football once while I was in high school. After a play my friend was down on all fours after a tackle. For some reason my teenage self thought it would be funny to kick him in the butt. I missed and got his punching bag instead. He was not impressed.

6 – Would you pull a trigger? Fuck yeah. Nerf guns rule.

7 – If you met your favorite celebrity, and they wanted to make out with you, would you? I don’t have a favorite celebrity. Frankly, I don’t understand this whole celebrity culture. I don’t get how people can be obsessed with people they’ve never met, and likely never will. I don’t understand how couchetards like Kim Kardashian can be made famous by being famous. They’re just people, people. Just people with more money.

8 – Have you ever slept in the same bed with someone you were not in a relationship with (not talking about sex and one-night-stands)? Well, yeah. My brother and I had to share a bed for a while when growing up. Also, there were times that my children have slept with me. But Baby B and Baby C do karate kicks in their sleep and I cut that shit out. There’s nothing worse than being kicked in the nuts while you’re sleeping. Okay, that’s not true. There are plenty of things worse than that, but not right after you’ve been kicked in the nuts.

9 – Have you had one-night-stands? Once. And I’m not very proud of it. Frankly, were it up to me we would have seen each other again.

10 – Does sex have the same importance to you now compared to when you were younger? Honestly, sex has never been that important to me. Don’t get me wrong, sex is great, but it’s not the end of the world if I don’t get any. I’m more concerned with making a connection and getting to know someone.

11 – Have you ever eaten a worm? Ewwwwwwwwww. Who would do that?

12 – What’s the grossest thing you’ve ever eaten? Beets. Hands down. I don’t even know why people serve them. They look like a slice of someone’s heart. Ack.

13 – How long do you spend sitting on the toilet? Well…this is embarrassing. I sit there a while because I take my phone with me. Before cell phones I took books with me. Maybe I’m weird, but I don’t like just sitting there with idle hands. I need something to occupy my mind.

14 – What do you do when you sit there (besides the obvious)? Um, read. Play games. Adjust my position so the part of my ass that’s asleep can wake back up.

15 – Have you ever been peed at? Amazingly, despite being the father of three boys, I’ve never been peed on. The wonders never cease.

16 – What’s the grossest thing you have ever swallowed? Well, this is a loaded question…with a nasty answer. I was feeding Baby A one night when he was about a month old. He ate from his bottle, then I burped him. Afterward I plucked him from my shoulders and brought him to my face so I could kiss him. That is exactly when he spit up…in my mouth. Regurgitated formula was spewed into my mouth by my own child. Gross. I’m not gonna lie…I still haven’t forgiven him.

17 – What’s the constantly dirtiest place in your home? I have three sons. Toilet. Hands down. Seat down, too.

18 – Why don’t you clean it? Because I’m tired of cleaning up after them!!

19 – Do you eat your boogers? Besides little people under the age of 5, who actually does that? I mean, gross. Gag.

20 – Can you describe the one smell that makes you gag? Um, hmmmm. There are a lot of smelly things out there but I can’t think of one that actually triggers my gag reflex.

21 – Have you ever had head lice? Luckily, no.

22 – Have you ever been utterly disappointed in someone? Every damned day of my life. Why can’t every one else be like me?

23 – Have you ever been scared of someone? I was pretty scared of my dad when I was a child. I was scared of my first wife. Not at what she would do to me, but rather at what she might do to herself.

24 – What do you do when you’re drunk that you wouldn’t want anyone to know about? I don’t really hide anything when I’m drunk. If I did something that embarrassing while drunk I’d probably never drink again. *shudders at that thought*

25 – Have you tried pole dancing? I didn’t know the Polish had their own type of dance.

26 – Have you been in a strip club? Once. I don’t see the allure.

27 – Have you ever run over an animal? I don’t think so. However, when I was a teenager a bird swooped down into the windshield of the car my mom was driving with me in the passenger seat. She ducked. And then stayed there. I had to actually tell her to get back up and watch the road before we wrecked. I love my mom, but she’s pretty goofy sometimes.

28 – Have you ever peed in snow? Lemon snow cones!!

29 – Have you ever made fun of someone and then regretted it? Yeah. Sometimes making fun of someone just kind of happens without thinking. Then I chide myself for being an asshole.

30 – What’s your favorite kind of question on Cards for Humanity (if you know the game)? I have no clue what this is. Can I have a mulligan?

31 – If the father of your best friend hit on you, what would you say to him? To be honest, my best friend is my brother, which would make his dad my dad. And that would be fucked up. I’d tell him to stop being fucked up.

32 – Would you go out on a date with someone half your age or double your age?No. The thought of dating someone just a few years older than my children or just a few years younger than my parents creeps me out.

33 – Do you clean the sink after brushing your teeth? I don’t scrub it or anything, but I do use a cup of water to rinse all the toothpaste down the drain.

34 – Have you ever spat in someone’s food or drink? Don’t be ridiculous. Of course not. Gross.

35 – Have you ever kissed someone only to be grossed out afterwards? See the answer to question 16.

36 – What is your number one goal in life, and are you living it? Right now my goal is to build a better home life for my children. They don’t have a bad home life, but it’s not quite as comfy as the life I had growing up, and that bothers me. No, I’m not living it, but I feel like I’m making baby steps towards it.

37 – Do you spy on your neighbor(s)? If yes, why? Fuck no. I don’t care what they’re doing. It’s none of my business.

38 – Have you ever danced and/or cried in the rain? Probably when I was younger. The only thing I do in the rain now is bitch about the rain.

39 – Have you ever ditched work to just chill out on your own (with or without Netflix)? I did it all the time when I worked for that retailer whose name rhymes with Stallmart. Since I quit about 8 years ago I haven’t done it (that I recall).

40 – What do you wish you were doing right now (anything goes)? Winning the lottery.

Hooray for surveys! You should play, too!

You Couldn’t Let Me Be

Couldn't let me pee
Familiar urge rises again
Call of nature strikes and then
Make a run for the commode
For relief I must unload

Like an orca hunting seals
There you are nipping at my heels
Push you back just to shut the door
As I have done many times before

You couldn’t let me be
You couldn’t let me pee
Instead you make a scene
You’re driving me out of my mind
You stomp and wail and squeal
Don’t like the way it feels
Why’s this such an ordeal?
My sanity has been left behind

Now you’re pounding on the door
You throw yourself upon the floor
Ask me if I have to poop or pee
Knob starts shaking, Oh Em Gee!

‘Neath the door your hand appears
Need about a dozen beers
If I liquor up my inner beast
Maybe at last I’ll know peace

You couldn’t let me be
You couldn’t let me pee
Instead you make a scene
I’m ’bout to just run away
You stomp and wail and squeal
Don’t like the way it feels
Why’s this such an ordeal?
You ruined my fucking day