Before getting down to more pleasant business, including a happy story and some lighthearted memes, here is a follow-up on my suicidal acquaintance mentioned last week.
This man is an inspiration to me. I really understood all too well a lot of the things he wrote in his suicide note, but I think he has it worse than I ever did and I wouldn't be able to survive in his shoes. I don't even know how to comfort him or anyone else, really, as people's struggles often put me in mind of a Pearls Before Swine comic that I wanted to post but couldn't find on Google. Pig is depressed. Rat says, "Don't worry, Pig, it'll get better." Pig says, "Really?" Rat says, "Yeah. And then it will get worse again." Pig gets more depressed and says "Ohhhhhh..." Rat says, "We realists never make good comforters." Or as one institute teacher put it, "Life is basically, you have problems and then you die."
I've come to realize that the only characters I can write with any feeling of authenticity are women, aliens, and fantasy creatures. It's no mystery why, since I don't think like normal people, and I'm not particularly "masculine" as I have no interest in sex and rather little in sports, guns, cars, or most video games. I'm not into particularly girly things and I don't understand women either, but I'm more comfortable with them for whatever reason. And maybe some people would disagree that my female characters are realistic to begin with. All I know is that after years of trying to write novels with flat and boring male protagonists I promoted a female love interest to that position and she blossomed to glorious life and it became the first novel that I didn't get sick of and give up on.
The Logan Institute is sending a choir to sing at the priesthood session of General Conference. They announced this at the end of last semester and invited men to just register for it like any other class. I thought that would be a really fun and uplifting experience so I did so. But unlike every other class, it had no enrollment limit, so they got too many applicants, which seemed to catch them by surprise for some reason since they had an apparent change of plans and did auditions after all. So that was another dream snuffed out in its infancy, but it's probably for the best. I sing so terribly that I'm not even sure whether I'm a tenor or a baritone because while singing I shift my voice up and down in a futile effort to find a pitch that doesn't sound terrible. So good call, Logan Institute.
Now I'm going to attempt something that I haven't done here for a while, which is to tell a long coherent story instead of changing the subject after a couple paragraphs. The Institute also recently put on their Disney-themed opening social. I went there and ran into "Debbie", from the ward that meets at the same time as mine in the opposite end of the building, whom I sometimes wander down to visit between classes. She made me come dance in her little circle but a lot of the songs weren't really dance-able. One side effect of having half of them be Disney songs, however, was that there were more than three slow songs per four hours, so I danced with Debbie, and then about ten minutes later I danced with her again so I wouldn't have to meet with strangers, and then I went and watched Toy Story 2 because I hadn't seen it in so long and it brought back the memory of seeing it in the theater. It's so good.
That Sunday, I stayed in bed until almost ten because I was exhausted after having insomnia every night for forever. It was 10:56 when I turned on my phone and saw that Debbie had invited me to a brunch at eleven. She probably meant it for someone else, but I decided to just show up anyway. I stupidly wasn't thinking in terms of breakfast food so I brought Pringles to contribute something, as it wasn't/isn't likely that I would be doing something of my own that I could invite her to by way of reciprocation in the near future. No one touched the Pringles but I made her keep some of them when I left. There were like four other guys and two other girls there, and I successfully avoided making friends with any of them. After I left I went up to campus to use a computer at the library, and she texted me to thank me for coming, and a while later she texted me again to offer me a ride to church, but she didn't have time to come to campus so I had to walk anyway and that was really mean of her.
I promise this tangent is related to the overall story. I don't even remember the last time I had to throw up, but when I was younger it happened every once in a while. Whenever I felt that kind of sick I asked for a priesthood blessing. I don't remember the words of those blessings, but they never healed me. I was always like, "I need another blessing. That one didn't work." So all these years later, on Sunday when I started to feel very sick at the end of sacrament meeting, I realized two things. First, that Debbie had probably poisoned me and that explained a lot. And second, that I needed to just suck it up and deal until it was over. During Elders' Quorum I left class and laid on the couch in the foyer, and that was actually quite peaceful and so worth it.
When the classes were done my friend Sarah showed up and asked what was going on, and I told her, and she asked if I wanted a priesthood blessing. "I don't have the priesthood," she concluded. I, trying to be funny, responded, "Why not?", meaning why didn't she have the priesthood, but she took it to mean why not get a blessing, so she recruited a couple guys and we went into an empty room and they did it. I was quite astonished by these words: "I command you to be healed according to your faith." And then something about going and doing good for the rest of the day which made it clear that the healing was to be in the immediate future. I got up, thanked them, went to the water fountain for a drink, and returned to them already feeling almost entirely better.
That evening I went to Debbie's ward prayer because during the brunch I had overheard that they were going to have ice cream. I decided to be mature and not get on her case about poisoning me. I had accidentally left my R2-D2 hat at her apartment, and decided to show up and get it later, but she thwarted that plan by bringing it there and correctly guessing that it was mine. The person in charge of the activity thought it would be fun to have people divide up by name, then by birth date, then by relationship status. I counted the latter groups, or to be more precise, I counted the first group and then counted everyone when they were sitting in a circle and subtracted the first group from that total, because that saved a lot of effort.
Engaged, dating, and/or "it's complicated" - 9 (including the bishop)
Single - 46
This is why President Monson cries himself to sleep at night.
Afterward, as we ate ice cream, Debbie was talking with a couple friends about Star Wars. I thought that was weird because while we were dancing I asked if she liked sci-fi and she was like "Um, Star Trek, does that count?" No, of course Star Trek doesn't count, because it's actually a long-running documentary series that was sent back in time to warn us about the dangers of xenophobia and hokey special effects. Actually, I like Star Trek just fine, but I haven't seen much of it because there just isn't enough time in the world to devote to pursuing everything. Star Wars, on the other hand, has been an obsession since I first saw the new Lego sets released to coincide with "The Phantom Menace". If she had mentioned that she liked Star Wars too we would have had a lot to talk about. I wasn't interested in talking with her friends about it, though, because they were just saying stuff I already knew. I already knew that Anakin Skywalker's shadow on the wall of the Lars homestead in Episode II looks like Darth Vader, and that it just happened like that without any digital manipulation.
I think we have now passed the point at which everyone who really cares about Star Wars can be reasonably be expected to have seen the latest movie by now. Nonetheless, I will preface the following with a disclaimer -
SPOILER FOR STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS
*Kylo Ren applies to join the Resistance*
Kylo: Ben Solo.
Recruiter: I didn't ask about your love life, I just want your name.
*Kylo Ren joins the First Order instead*
ANOTHER SPOILER FOR STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS
The awesome is strong with this one. President Uchtdorf: "Last weekend Living Legends of Aviation honored our dear friend Colonel Gail Halvorsen for his lifelong positive impact on children. It was my honor to present him with the Kitty Hawk Children’s Award. May we each find opportunities to serve and bless the lives of God’s children as Brother Halvorsen has. Later that evening, I was privileged to be in a photo with Brother Halvorsen and Harrison Ford. Our 95-year-old Candy Bomber looked almost the youngest between the Millennium Falcon pilot and me - a former airline captain."
Barenaked Ladies - Who Needs Sleep
Now I leave you with this song by BNL that hits very close to home and never fails to bring me comfort. My family often listened to their first greatest hits album as I was growing up and I think it's a travesty that this phenomenal piece of phenomenon wasn't on it.
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About the Author
C. Randall Nicholson is a white cisgender male and a Latter-day Saint, so you can hate him without guilt, but he's also autistic, so you can't. Unless you're an anti-vaxxer, in which case the feeling is mutual. This blog is where he periodically rants about life, the universe, and/or everything.