Christmas Balls

shoelaces

One of the awesome things about living in a small, rural town is the events that the city will sponsor throughout the year.  I love going to Santa’s Village, hosted by the City of Martin and the Parks and Recreation Department.  I love to watch the excitement on my girl’s faces when they see all those lights, the petting zoo, Santa Claus, and the spinning barrels of death that have puke dried to the floor.  I don’t get in there anymore.  I almost up-chucked two years ago making it “go faster daddy.”  Never again.

But I digress…

Hey!!  Big excitement just a few minutes ago as I was tweeted back by Clay Travis!!!  For those of you who don’t know, he has a great sports blog and website in the Nashville area.  He is a really good follow on Twitter, @ClayTravisBGID, with all things Tennessee, and SEC sports.  I know I’m being a goober, but it makes me feel like somebody.

But I digress…

I’ve always believed I’m pretty self aware.  I know my shortcomings in most things, understand that not everyone likes me, I run my mouth just a smidgeon more than I need to, there are times I don’t practice what I preach, I’m very opinionated (often a detriment), and I can be hard to get along with.

I’m also dashingly handsome………….quit laughing…

However, there will be a day when that self awareness slowly starts to dissipate.  It’s kind of like the older gentlemen who wear black, calf high socks and tennis shoes and shorts.

Don’t do that.

In fact, I have a pact with a dear friend that, if either of us begins to wear that ensemble, we are allowed to kick the other below the belly button and above the thigh.

I’m trying to get back in the gym, and one of the things I like is the cardio interval class.  I’m one of the only guys in there, but I doesn’t bother me.  I just like to see just how far I can push my athletically fat self.  I try to dress appropriately.  I color coordinate, and wear a sweatshirt for extra sweat because I hate fans blowing on me when I’m trying to work out.  I don’t want to be cold.

I was reminded tonight how my long shorts are a good thing.  Long gone are the days of shorty shorts like Jimmy Connor used to wear…..or so I thought.  Tonight I saw, after it being pointed out to me by a bunch of women, an older gentleman on a stationary bike on the balcony above our class.  As he was getting off the bike, his shorts also had some trouble holding in some, uhh, stuff.

One thought raced through my head:

Holy cow that could be me in 30 years.

People are always paying attention….always.  It doesn’t matter how old you are, people pay attention to the way you treat them, even if you’re being coy.

Walking past your Dad’s best friend and looking the other way hurts them.

Looking right at someone at a Christmas party and turning your head to avoid eye contact is rude.

Dropping your head when you see someone you go, or used to go, to church with so you don’t have to acknowledge them is just plain hurtful.

The worst part of it is our children notice.

That scares me to death because I want my kiddos acting like their momma….not like me.

And I want them to wear long shorts, and dresses, and long sleeves, and turtlenecks.

They don’t need anything falling out.

Blinkers are Good

elf

You Elf on the Shelf Facebooking parents are overachievers.  I admire your creativity and enthusiasm.  I just want to know how on earth you have time to make such a production out of his/her travels to, from, and around your house.

Seriously……..

Our Elf, I don’t even know its name anymore because the girls keep changing it, makes a mad dash from room to room around 5:30 am.  I would assume a healthy marriage starts every morning with something other than, “DID YOU REMEMBER TO MOVE THE ELF LAST NIGHT!”

But I digress…..

When the heartbreaking day comes where my children learn the secret of the Elf’s magic, and how Santa can make a worldwide delivery in a shade under 24 hours, my kids are going to be sorely disappointed.  We try to teach our children to give good effort in everything they do, and we’re terrible at this elf stuff.

You know what I want to do with our elf??

I want to have our Elf on the Shelf holding a knife to the neck of one of the girl’s Barbie dolls, with a note that reads “Keep your $%*&+@^ room clean or Barbie dies!”

Or what about a bunch of burned up cigarette butts, with the explanation that the Elf is doing drugs because he’s disappointed in them for not eating all their green beans like their mother told them to?

Those would be epic.

I’d like to put that on Facebook, and see how many “likes” it gets.

But I digress……………………

Tomorrow, when you get in your car, I want you all to do something for me.  Take a look at that stick on the left hand side, that comes out from the steering column, right behind the steering wheel.  After you start your car, and before you even move it out of its parking spot, play with that stick.

I know you are familiar with it.  You use it when it rains.  You probably twist it so the windshield wipers will move back and forth, at variable speeds, across that huge piece of glass in front of you, to remove the build up of water.

That little stick has another function.  If you push it towards the roof of your car, it signals to all of those around you that you will soon be moving your vehicle to the right.  Push it down, you are moving to the left.

Go ahead, play with it a little and see how it works.  When done properly, you will hear a repeating clicking noise that corresponds with a flashing light on the front and back of your vehicle.  They are called Turn Signals, and are commonly referred to as “blinkers.”

Turn Signals, or blinkers, are a common courtesy.  It’s like waving to someone.  Think about it.  We wave at people for a variety of reasons.  To say “hello”, to let them know we are arriving, to show them where we are, or to get their attention.  Blinkers on your car serve the same purpose, they let everyone know you are here and where you are going.

People who use their blinkers, or turn signals, are good people.  They care about the safety and well being of those around them, and for the overall health of the human race.  They adopt abandoned puppies, care for the elderly, and mow their neighbor’s grass.

People that refuse to use their blinkers are anti-social, self-centered, egotistical, and probably enter Wal-Mart through the exit door.  They are also the same people who do not put the shopping cart back in the bin, which is located two parking spots away from the car in which that they do not utilize the turn signals.  They are also responsible for the carbon footprint, world hunger, Ebola,  and club baby seals for fun.

People that don’t use turn signals probably shouldn’t procreate either.  Let’s face it, if they’re not willing to let us know which way they’re going, they probably have no desire to point their children in the right direction either.  In fact, those people’s kids are the ones who will tell my kids about Santa’s magic.

I’ve got to go move this stupid elf……….where is Barbie, and where is my butchers knife?

There, Their, They’re

t t t

The best part of writing a blog, when you profess to be a grammar Nazi, is waking up the next morning and having your wife, the school teacher, read it.  She crucifies it.  She also takes an enormous amount of pleasure pointing it out to me. I spend the next 10 minutes trying to take the dog on his morning potty walk, correcting the mistakes on my phone, while trying to dodge mailboxes.  I’ve smoked the Crowes and Davidsons box several times.

But I digress….

We all like to think we are more important than we are, and this was apparent in an article in a local paper yesterday about UT Martin football.   Apparently, “WEST” Tennessee is a 25 mile radius around Jackson.  We were privy to who a sports writer would sign if he were a college coach.  I just kind of find it funny that they can’t even promote talent outside of the immediate Jackson readership, but somehow have become experts on West Tennessee talent.  My favorite part was when he claimed a local quarterback, could be the offensive player of the year in the OVC as a true freshman.  That’s funny, because the Offensive and Defensive players of the year in the Ohio Valley were Southeastern Conference transfers.

But I digress….

Last night I went to bed, after I had typed up a response to the aforementioned article.  I was feeling pretty good about it.  It was concise, to the point, and on target.  I felt GREAT.  I adhered to the “sleep on it” rule before hitting send.  I didn’t have time to fire it out this morning, and I’m glad I didn’t send it.

It is now 10:48 pm on Tuesday, December 2nd.  I just left the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity house, a place where I spent some good times not too long ago.  We had a young man choose to end his life today.  Those guys are hurting tonight.

There are also three families in East Tennessee, who lost their loved ones in a school bus accident this afternoon.  Two of them really hit close to home because they lost precious children, and my two girls ride a bus to the daycare facility every day.

While the dust, ashes, and looting are hopefully coming to an end in Ferguson, Missouri over a death that could have been avoided, events like today really bother me.

The one at the Pike House is extremely unsettling.

I just can’t help but wonder why someone so young would end their life.  What would cause someone that age to be so destitute that ending their life is the best solution?  Even more, how no one saw it coming.  Then again, do you ever really see it coming?

We are all so trapped in our own little six foot circle, that we’ve forgotten what is truly important……those around us.  The biggest lie ever told is that you have to be happy with yourself before you can make others happy.

Our children’s happiness is more important that ours.

Our spouse’s happiness is more important than ours.

Our neighbor’s happiness is more important than ours.

Our family and friend’s happiness is more important than ours.

If those things don’t, in turn, make US happy, then we have a problem.

Never, ever, think you’re too tough to go see a counselor.  Don’t ever think that talking to someone about your problems makes you a weak person.

But most importantly, always make sure people know just how important they are to you.  Send them a note, a text, an e-mail….send something.

You just never know the happiness it will bring.