Friday, December 22, 2006

Charlie and Eddie

today was a weird day. i walked downstairs from my apartment to find boxes lining the wall. the boxes belong to charlie and eddie, two men that live below me. charlie and eddie are both mentally handicapped. i have talked to both a bit. eddie is able to carry on a conversation fairly well. he is easily understood and always greets me with a "hey buddy, how's it going?" whereas charlie is very difficult to understand at times, but still gives me the "how ya doin" and lights up with a smile whenever i see him. charlie works at meijer and i will often see him there pushing around carts in the parking lot with a smile on his face. eddie often walks around town. he also has a job at meijer and often walks to and from work. actually, he walks an amazingly large amount. i've seen him walking around up to ten miles away from our apartments. it's funny to just hear the things charlie will get excited about or bring up in conversation. he always asks me if i have a girlfriend and warns me that if i ever get one, she will take all my money. he also rushed over a few days ago to show me his new teeth, which he quickly pulled out and held out to me. both of them are just friendly and kind to the core. the only complaint i have ever heard either of them register is about the rent going up (which is quite valid in my opinion). other than that, they always have something nice to say or a greeting for anyone who will look their way.
last summer i was cooking out and charlie took a liking to the smell of the burgers i was making. i had a few extra burgers, so i offered him some food. i piled up a plate with two burgers, some macaroni salad, chips and gave him a can of coke. he rushed up the stairs to receive the gift and thanked me, already digging in and decorating his face with ketchup. it was just a small thing, i thought.
today when i went down to wish him the best in his new place, charlie kept saying over and over again "i'm going to miss you, you're a good neighbor." he also reminded me of this time when i gave him the burgers and thanked me again for the food. as eddie approached, he gave me a hug and asked if i'd ever get the chance to come visit their new place or stop by meijer to see them. i made it a point to talk to these two gents or wave whenever i saw them, since it seemed obvious that a lot of people looked right past them or tried to, at least. i didn't realize, i guess, how much a small thing, or a few short conversations can mean to someone. it was humbling for sure to see how much a small act could mean to someone. i'm going to miss those guys. they taught me a lot.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Deep Thoughts by Steve

Here are just a few of the things that float around my mind...some of these have been listed in my various profiles, but i wanted to make sure everyone can share in them.

i submit that sporks are the perfect eating utensil, able both to poke and to scoop. also high on my list of utensils are stroons (combination straw and spoon). pretty much anything combined with a spoon is cool, except for electronics (found that out the hard way).

i plan to start one of my many businesses soon. check these out...and i am not even a marketing or business major.

business #1- Corp's Sporks and Stroons (a factory which will produce the aforementioned utensils.)
business #2- None (this would be a department store. our slogan- You've heard other stores claim to be second to none, and we'll prove them right.)
business #3- Toast N' Bagel (this will be the real cash cow. we will offer pre-toasted breakfast treats. scenario- you wake up late for work, and don't have the time it takes to toast some bread, bagels or toaster pastries (not Pop-Tarts, i won't bow to corporate sponsors). so, you call in an order to toast n' bagel and we have your treat toasted to perfection and ready for you when you drive through. also, we sing the jingle for you as you pull up to the window (or dine in), which goes like this....AHEM....toast n' bagel, toast n' bagel. we make toast, we make bagels, YEAH! (jazz hands extend on YEAH). just call me bill gates. also, we'll have milk.)
business #4- a branch of Sears Essentials Big O Tires which, instead of tires, sells infant footwear. the name- Big O Booties. i plan to franchise it if you are interested.

if life hands you lemons, use them to squeeze the juice into the eyes of someone you don't really like, then make lemonade with the rest.

i really hate it when people say "i could care less." that means that it IS somewhat important to you. instead, say "i COULDN'T care less." that means it is the last thing on your caring priority list. (Kirsten, this means you.)

i also hate it when people misuse homonyms. i mean, they even have online dictionaries now. you don't even have to use one of those nasty book things with all their pages and information. is it that hard to know which word to use?
Person A- “Do you think i talk to much?”
Me (in my head of course)- I don't know if you talk to much. i am not acquainted with "much," who is obviously a person or a personified noun of some sort since you speak to much. Do i think you talk TOO much? yes. i especially think you talk with incorrect grammar too much.
Other examples- misuse of they're, their and there, as well as you're and your.

i have a theory that pushing a shopping cart makes people totally, 100% oblivious to the people around them. hang out at your local grocery distribution center and test my theory sometime.

if anyone can find a film better than "the brave little toaster," i don't know how.

next time you want to say "that's so cool," say "that's so raven" instead. it'll catch on.

do people with multiple personalities ever really talk to themselves?

i bet if you were a cop and you pulled someone over, you wouldn’t find it funny if the person you pulled over was dressed like a cop, too and mimicked everything you said. also, i bet you wouldn’t think it was funny to find the lawbreaker dressed up like a pig and playing an old N.W.A. cd. i bet you might even make the person get out of his car on the side of 59 and walk a straight line and then cuff him and maybe jab him in the ribs with your club and have him spend a night in jail until someone bails him out. oh, yeah. i still owe my mom that money…

you don’t find too many people with scurvy anymore. i bet it is because we don’t use the word “swashbucklers” a lot. everyone who did inevitably got scurvy. i guess if you want a more “textbook” reason it could either be the increase of fresh fruit and vitamin c consumption, the advancement of dental care technology or not wearing bandannas as much. most likely, it’s the bandanna thing, though.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

It's raining, men

So, not to start this thing out by limiting my audience, but I want to talk to the men for a minute. (If you are a woman, keep reading, just try not to amen too much or strategically place this post on your man's desk.)

Guys, we need to be different than what is "normal." Somehow, it has become acceptable to exploit, look down upon, take advantage of, be rude to, demean and objectify women in our society.

*Now, I guess I will talk to the women for a minute (good thing you kept reading, huh?) because some of you have also bought into the lie that it is totally acceptable to be exploited, looked down upon, taken advantage of, treated rudely, demeaned and objectified. So, stop doing that. You are worth more than that. And a person who will treat you in that manner is not worth your time and efforts.* -end side note-

We look at the airbrushed, bronzed women on TV or in magazines and expect the women we are blessed to have to perfectly replicate this fictitious facade (i absolutely adore alliterations). So, as we sit and watch MNF, guzzling down pop and rubbing our Dorito residue-covered fingers off on our protruding stomachs, we ask ourselves (or our significant others if we're dumb enough) why she can't look more like that girl in the beer commercial. Oh, the irony of that picture...

We just don't get it, do we? I have heard and seen so many men treat their wives, fiances, girlfriends, etc like garbage. I have seen women leave the room in tears because of comments their insensitive men have made. I have watched as men totally disregard the value women place on hearing about our day and becoming intimate with us through conversation and sharing of dreams, feelings and thoughts by saying stuff like, "She always talks my ear off when i get home." I think the problem is that we are so entrenched in sexuality that we have boiled down relationships and intimacy to mean sex, sex, and more sex. To prove my point, let me ask a few questions...When is the last time you have found yourself interested in a woman first and foremost because she intrigues you? Are you more willing to compromise personality traits or physical traits? Are you more interested in a woman for the mother she would be to your children or for the process of making those children? What have women become to us? Do we treat them as God has intended us to?

Now lest you believe i am posting this to make girls think i am so sensitive and head and shoulders above the rest of my gender, let me offer this caveat. I sit, in my singleness, and realize what a testosterone-driven, mindless idiot i have also become. I have fallen in line with the American Pie, Howard Stern, MTV mindset that image consists of how hot a person is. (By the way, calling a woman hot...not all that flattering...) I find myself drawn to television that may be risque. I often notice a woman's body before her personality. I am human, and I use that not as an excuse to be the way I am, but simply as a barrier I must overcome to become who I should be. I should be literally disgusted to see women treated as mere objects, instead i am in my weak moments drawn to it. I am controlled by the wrong portion of my anatomy, and it makes me embarrassed and regretful. My father was an amazing example of what it means to be a Godly husband. He goes out of his way to make my Mom happy and make sure she is taken care of. She is his companion, his best friend and his treasure, and he did not tolerate for one second any of us treating her poorly. I remember him coming home from working a 12 hour shift at 1AM and doing the dishes so she could relax and not worry about it the next day. While other guys at work had complaint sessions about their wives, my Dad remained silent. So, it embarrasses me to think i would treat or think of a woman with any lower of a standard than he displayed for me.

So now i sit here, rambling on and listening to the rain hit the roof and the windows, and i wonder what we need to do to change this. The answer, i believe, is to ask for the rain of God's Spirit to come into our lives. Rain is interesting. It heals dry and parched lands. It erodes away layers of dirt and grime. (that sounded like a Tilex commercial or something) It can completely destroy or completely restore. I think we as men are in need of both. We need to have all this junk stripped away. No more lusting after women as mantle pieces or arm candy. No more demeaning and rude comments. No more acting like pigs. We also need restoration. We need to learn all over again how to honor the women we see. Sisters, daughters, co-workers, celebrities, wives, and on and on. Treat them like the sensitive, caring creations of God they are. Respect them and learn what makes them happy and what intimacy means to them. And talk about them in a way that would honor them. So ask God to change us into what He intended us to be. Ask for His rain to refresh and renew us. And beyond that, ask for His (insert cheesy Christian homonym use....) reign to come over our lives.