A Contagious Virus Or Meme – You Decide

23 06 2008

I was tagged by my lovely wife to sum myself up in exactly six words. Easy. But first, the all-important rules and such.

So many rules, so few words:

  • Write your own six word memoir.
  • Post it to your blog including a visual illustration if you would like.
  • Link to the person who tagged you in your post and to this original post if possible so we can track it as it travels across the blogsphere
  • Tag 5 more blogs with links
  • Don’t forget to leave a comment in the tagged blogs with an invitation to play
  • Without any further ado, my illustration and awe-inspiring six-word memoir:

    Where’s the beef? Look no further.

    I tag the following five people, but it’s important you know I will only be slightly hurt if you do not wish to play. (How hurt, you ask? It will be about the same as if I stepped on a very small pebble while walking on the beach, while ever-so-slightly sunburned and also experiencing a very mild irritant in my eye, such as a small fuzzy thing that blew through the air. Oh, also, picture all of this happening while I am suffering from the kind of heartburn that is so mild it would only take 2 Tums to wipe it out. Additionally, imagine that something just doesn’t feel quite right in my spleen, but it’s probably nothing. On the plus side, I’m wearing really nice sunglasses, so the sun glare is not an issue at all.)

    • My weird nephew, Luke who is ALMOST but not quite too busy right now to do this.
    • Any of the dudes over at The Nasty Boys. Since they write about sports, I’m sure they’ll appreciate this tag.
    • A new blogger I discovered named Nathalie. This way, she’ll incorrectly think I’m one of those people who tag people all the time. Unless she reads this, then my cover is blown.
    • Pamajama, who is just crazy enough to do a really good one.
    • Lastly, I decided to completely randomly pick someone whose page I’ve never been to until today. The lucky winner: Cheribomb

    “Let the Wind Carry You Home”

    19 06 2008

    Music critics. If you’re like me, you probably don’t care much about their opinions. I’m one of those guys who either likes a song or doesn’t, regardless of the genre, the “hipness” of the performer, or the time period in which it was recorded. There are songs that have survived the test of time to stay popular in the very small sample size that is me. Elton John’s Philadelphia Freedom still entertains me. There are tunes that have “worn out” their welcome, such as REO Speedwagon’s Can’t Fight This Feeling. There are sexually charged songs that perfectly fit the bill when love and romance have gotten the best of me (think Ain’t That Lovin’ You? performed by Lou Rawls). Some songs simply quench my continuing need to rock, like Breath by Breaking Benjamin. There are songs that I would rather be poked in the eyes by the ends of broken golf clubs than have to ever hear again (Bootylicious).

    I don’t pretend the world is just waiting for me to write about music. However, I decided, against my better judgment, to post about a relatively new song that has touched me in a powerful way.

    Blackbird, the title track from the most recent Alter Bridge album is that song. It is their masterpiece…their Stairway to Heaven or Free Bird. (Ironically, I’m not that big of a fan of those latter two songs, even though I think Blackbird is reminiscent, especially in the fact that it is basically an 8-minute song.)

    Here are the lyrics:

    Blackbird (Alter Bridge)

    The willow it weeps today
    A breeze from the distance is calling your name
    Unfurl your black wings and wait
    Across the horizon it’s coming to sweep you away
    It’s coming to sweep you away

    Let the wind carry you home
    Blackbird fly away
    May you never be broken again

    The fragile cannot endure
    The wrecked and the jaded a place so impure
    The static of this cruel world
    Cause some birds to fly long before they’ve seen their day
    Long before they’ve seen their day

    Let the wind carry you home
    Blackbird fly away
    May you never be broken again

    Beyond the suffering you’ve known
    I hope you find your way
    May you never be broken again

    Ascend may you find no resistance
    Know that you made such a difference
    All you leave behind will live to the end
    The cycle of suffering goes on
    But memories of you stay strong
    Someday I too will fly and find you again

    Let the wind carry you home
    Blackbird fly away
    May you never be broken again

    Beyond the suffering you’ve known
    I hope you find your way
    May you never be broken again
    May you never be broken again

    This song has the ability to both bring me to tears and put a smile on my face as it relays the pain of losing someone close but also the hope and faith of the better life they have gone to enjoy. Blackbird never fails to bring vivid visions of my late parents to mind. They suffered from diseases that crippled their bodies, but not their spirits during the final years of their lives. I can’t help but sigh an emotional sense of immense relief when I hear, May the wind carry you home, blackbird fly away, may you never be broken again and picture them both, healthy again and bursting with youthful vigor, living on in eternal happiness with no pains, no medication schedules, no worries about the price of gas on earth.

    They were children of the Great Depression: frugal, careful, appreciative of what they had earned, fierce providers for their family. I miss my mom’s French toast, her sensible nature and her ability to kick everyone’s butt at ANY game of Boggle or crossword puzzle contest. She provided the type of home atmosphere that you could not help but feel comfortable in. The outside world could be in complete turmoil (as it often is), but you’d never know it inside the walls of that family home. I miss my Dad’s extreme good sense in money management, his strict moral rules for the family and the fact that he got up every night to let my beloved childhood cat out…the cat who jumped up on the piano keyboard and walked across the keys at 3 a.m. to belt out his desire to go outside…while I slept peacefully oblivious upstairs. They wanted nothing but good things for their kids. My mom, especially, would have gladly taken every bit of the suffering she endured rather than have any of her kids suffer from even a mild cold. When things were not going my way, I always knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that my mom felt every bit of my pain.

    At the end of their lives on this planet, my mother could no longer breathe on her own; my father could barely walk. Like most of the good people out there, they lived through an unfair amount of burdens and were struck down by the same problems we all secretly know wait for us some day and try not to think too much about. I want to stand and cheer as they now fly as free as any blackbird that ever graced a pure blue sky, and Alter Bridge’s song is the perfect conduit for those emotions to come pouring out. The guitar work is amazing, the singing packed full of meaning, and the song’s musical environment has the ability to leave one in a trance. Their lyrics on this song, poetic in the flow and meaning, yet hurtfully aware of the human condition we all share, will endure.

    If you haven’t heard it (and can at least stand rock music), give it a listen. If you happen to ever pull up next to me at a stoplight and see a grown man alone in a Camry drying his eyes, you can pretty much guess that I’m listening to this song loudly and thinking of a man and a woman who did their best in an imperfect world to give their kids all they could.

    Oops, Did We Forget to Mention…You’re Fired?

    14 06 2008

    There are several key ingredients for a perfect Friday the 13th. All of these were present here yesterday.

    • A severe thunderstorm with plenty of lightning – check
    • A few more medical bills arriving in the mail – check
    • Tons of major road construction combined with traffic jams near the house – check
    • Finding out from a random pharmacist that you were terminated from your job two weeks ago – check

    I might have had a better day if I had been running through Camp Crystal Lake being chased by a hockey-masked guy named Jason (“It’s got a death curse!”). At least there would have been scantily-clad female camp counselors around, although they do not look quite as good when disemboweled.

    The day started out pleasantly enough. I dropped the little kid off at her daycare and made my merry way to Walgreen’s for one of my routine, expensive trips through the pharmacy drive-through lane. I received the standard pharmaceutical greeting from the speaker and said something like, “I’m picking up yet another prescription for Licensed to Blog.” The drug-giver on the other side of the thick glass typed in some fun words/numbers on the keyboard, looked puzzled (never a good sign) and voiced through the crackly speaker, “Do you happen to have a new insurance card?” You can guess where it went from here. I no longer seemed to have valid insurance. The medicine would be something like four billion dollars without it.

    I returned home an eternity later after encountering a sudden storm with lots of exciting lightning bolts landing nearby and crippling traffic problems on the first two routes that I tried. Eventually, I reached the vice president of my now former employer, who was absolutely mortified to find out that no one in the company had informed me that I had been terminated two weeks earlier. (I have been on FMLA due to the crazy swelling that I have boringly detailed in quite a few blogs on this site, and they decided they had waited long enough for me to get better.) I want to add here that I completely understand the termination. The doctors have not been able to pinpoint exactly when I would have been healthy enough to return to that job again. However, after almost 7 years in very good standing and a with a fine reputation in the schools and community agencies that I visited for my job, my bosses neglected to let me in on the secret firing. From what I was able to gather, neither of the primary bosses wanted to be the one to tell me, and each thought the other was doing it. Jason is more professional than that.

    I am not shedding any tears over the loss of this job. There had been many recent changes far too boring to mention here, and the office had even been moved to a different town. Still, I had never been fired before in my life, and it leaves kind of a “pit in the stomach” feeling.

    More importantly, I had no idea that I could have spent the last two weeks working on Cobra to keep my insurance as up-to-date as possible. (The notification is apparently “in the mail” but has not yet arrived.) So, there I was, needing one of my anti-kidney-rejection medications and scheduled to see a new specialist in St. Louis in three days without any valid insurance.

    Back to the vice president. She worked her tail off yesterday afternoon to insure that I would, at least temporarily until the Cobra kicks in, be officially back on the insurance as of Monday morning so that the St. Louis appointment will not be affected and medication can be obtained without taking a 2nd mortgage. She also tried to purchase a few days’ worth of my medication for me on the company credit card. I believe there will be an angry meeting or two next week about the proper process of letting someone know they are fired.

    Things would have been much clearer if I had been working for Donald Trump.

    Or this guy