Tuesday, May 29, 2012

There's A Difference

There's a difference between:

effect and affect
being artsy and having Instagram on your phone
being informed and knowing big words
being able to read the Top Ramen directions and knowing how to cook
being a musician and knowing something about music
being a hipster and being a poser hipster
homemade bread and store-bought bread
a Razor scooter and a car (although they're equally cool)
fry sauce and ketchup
good music and catchy music
good food and delicious food
doing something scary and almost dying
hearing and listening
having expensive clothes and being stylish
a good ending and a lazy ending

this is a lazy ending

Sunday, May 27, 2012

I Didn't Learn How To Come Up With Original Titles In High School

But there are a lot of things that I did learn. In fact, I've written a post about this before. What's that? You don't remember? Wow, thanks a lot!
But seriously, I doubt anyone remembers it. I don't even remember it. So in honor of my graduating from the good ol' high school, I decided to re-publish that list, with additions. Here's the new and improved list:

The Actual, Real, Valuable, Wonderful, Excellent, Applicable, Stellar Lessons I Learned In High School

1. How to talk to people my age
2. How to talk to people not my age
3. How to win "Let's Make A Deal" (a gameshow that isn't on anymore)
4. The art of margin decorating (commonly known as doodling)
5. How to color in the lines (we're talkin' high school math class and Spanish class, not kindergarten)
6. How to sing like a divine, angelic being (well...okay, how to sing in a choir)
7. That I should definitely not pursue a career involving ceramics
8. Every failed tryout or audition can be blamed on how "it's so political"
9. What you do isn't who you are, but everyone probably thinks that anyway. So go ahead and verify stereotypes by your comments in class, outfits, friends, and swagger. It's vastly entertaining for the rest of us.
10. Your classes are going to be harder next year. You're going to have more homework next year. You're going to have less time next year. No, you aren't going to suddenly have time to read the unabridged version of War and Peace, take up photography, do online classes to get ahead, go on a bike ride, write a novel, and learn to cook any time in the near future. You have to make the time. Accept it. Accept it RIGHT NOW.
11. That being said, classes are never as hard as the teacher says they are on the first day. "I want to make sure you all know what you're getting into. This class involves about 2 hours of homework every night. It is very challenging. I do not accept late work. I follow the school electronics policy. If this isn't where you're supposed to be..." Sound familiar? Yeah...I don't think one of those "scare speeches" has ever actually come true in its entirety. But it sure is effective in getting classes down to manageable size. 
12. Textbooks are exciting!...if you continually stab yourself with a needle while reading in order to stay awake...
13. Teachers have favorites. They might pretend to be fair. But don't believe them! Get on their good side while you have a chance!
14. Tactful procrastination. It's one of my best life skills.
15. Never, ever, under any circumstances: let people see your gum, know who you like, or "look at" your phone. Ever.
16. Filling your teacher's office with snakes is a bad idea
17. Implying that you did something doesn't actually mean you did
18. What I mean is, no, I did not actually fill a teacher's office with snakes. But you thought I did. How to mess with people's minds...definitely learned that one
19. "Wizard" is an adjective
20. Everything is more interesting when there's a gorilla suit around
21. "Never take laxatives and sleeping pills at the same time" (direct quote from a substitute)
22. John Stossel wants you to give him a break

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Something About An Old Red Truck

This is not to be confused with the [trying way too hard to be] country song, "Somethin' Bout A Truck."
If you haven't heard that song, don't worry, you aren't missing out.
If that is your favorite song, go ahead, punch me in the face. I don't love it, okay?
But something I do love is . . . can you guess? Old red trucks, of course!

What is it about old things that is so fascinating to us? Why do we pay for "vintage" clothes, why are antique shops profitable, why do we look back at all the things that happened before we were even here?
Why am I so drawn to old cars, old pictures, old scrapbooks, old anything?
Why do I get all excited when someone tells me "this is a first edition" or "this was your great-grandma's"?
Why do I love the sight of crumpled paper, dilapidated comic books, stacks of yellowing letters held together with twine?
Why do we travel all over the world to see pyramids, or cathedrals, or bell towers, or castles from hundreds of years ago?

Because . . . there's just something about old things. There's something about that old red truck that says, "hey, you haven't been here for as long as I have. You haven't seen what I've seen. You don't know what I know. And maybe if you stick around for long enough, I'll tell you. Maybe if you care enough, I can tell you what I've learned and seen. And then you won't even have to go through what I've been through to learn that."
And then you say "Oh, thanks truck. I love how you're rusty and your headlights are shattered and your engine hasn't run for 15 years."
And the truck can tell you how you get through life without getting your headlights broken. How to keep your tires from getting quite so worn down, how to keep your electrical wiring intact.

Because . . . they've survived for this long. That means they're special, right?

Because . . . it's natural for us to look back and say, "what happened? how did we get here? why is the world how it is?"

Because . . . even though history may seem so detached from us, it's all intricately connected with our individual lives today. No matter who you are, not matter where you live, your life is how it is because decisions people made hundreds, thousands of years ago. Your government was made by someone else. Your grandparents had kids, who then had kids, and that's why you're alive. That t-shirt you're wearing? Eli Whitney, cotton gin man. (Yeah, that's probably the only thing I remember from my AP U.S. History days . . .)

Plus, old things lead to yard sales. And yard sales are where you can find total gems, like this sweater. Definitely my biggest success of the weekend was discovering this at a yard sale yesterday!