Back as Usual
Here is a story from the evolution of my novel "Space Girls" that will probably be of interest to me and no one else. I haven't made a lot of changes to it this year because Debbie has a copy which she will hopefully someday get around to finishing reading and providing feedback on, and I don't want her feedback to be no longer applicable when that time comes. Besides that, I'm more pleased with the current incarnation than ever and don't have nearly as many ideas to improve it. But I did make a couple changes recently. One was prompted by hearing Casey Kasem, on a rebroadcast of American Top Forty: The Seventies, mention a town called Escanaba, Michigan. I decided that sounds much cooler than Traverse City, so I replaced both of those brief references.
The other was prompted by learning that military trials do not have juries. I have a military trial in the story, and though I haven't worried too much about perfect accuracy in military stuff because it takes place nearly a century and a half from now and anything could have changed by then – in fact, it definitely has changed since Earth has one united military which in turn is a subset of the United Worlds (a not-so-veiled jab at the United Nations) military – I thought it would make more sense that way anyway. So I deleted the jury spokesman and gave all his dialogue to the judge. Then I started changing it accordingly from "we (the jury)" to "I". But then I realized it actually looked kind of cool to have the judge still saying "we", as if she thought she were British royalty. So I changed it back and I think it gives a neat little dimension to a character that only exists for approximately one page. Perhaps she is just a teensy bit drunk with power and just a couple fries short of a Happy Meal.
People have been very rude to me in my job this week. I mean the people on the other end of the phone, not my supervisors or co-workers, who are awesome. I don't get nearly as much abuse as the folks on swing shift who call residences, of course, though I have reached residences by accident sometimes and been called some names that bring back not-so-fond memories of middle school. One guy halfway across the country threatened me with physical violence, saying, "I'm going to bust you in the head, you dumb..." and here I could practically see the gears turning in his primitive little brain as he struggled to find a word before finally settling on one that didn't even match my gender. I was quite amused, and if he hadn't hung up I might not have been able to resist responding, "Well, go ahead, don't keep me waiting."
People in businesses, of course, aren't usually that overt, but it is amazing how much passive-aggressiveness they can fit into their voices, and the smaller the business the more overt they're comfortable being. Or they just hang up without saying a word or letting me finish my spiel. I don't know, maybe I'm just weird, but I think taking a five minute survey for a ten dollar Amazon gift card sounds like a pretty sweet deal. If they're accustomed to getting more than two dollars a minute then I want in on that. In any case, I'm sure none of these delightful people have any qualms about reaping the benefits of the market research they hold in such contempt. I'm often reminded of the story with the little red hen and all the farm animals who said "Not I" over and over until it was time to eat. Of course I'm not allowed to be rude back to them, but that doesn't stop me from taking pleasure in their annoyance if they deserve it. For some reason, it's absurdly satisfying to say "Have a nice day, ma'am" when what you really mean is "Go sit on a cactus. Oh wait, sounds like you already did."
As it turns out, my assumption that Debbie doesn't bother to read my blog was correct. She only read part of the one post that I showed her and no more. So I could fearlessly say whatever I want about her in this space. I could say, for example, that the other day I watched her throw away a plastic bottle in a garbage bin that was literally right next to a recycle bin. It made me sick. It was an accident, but still.
The Mormon Section: Dating Edition
Our fifth Sunday lesson was given by a member of the stake presidency and his wife, and it was about dating. Stuff like this only happens once in a while. The cliche of Mormon culture being obsessed with dating has, for the most part, not held true in my experience. I only hear the word brought up once every couple months or so, and then usually as a punchline, following the logic of "Dating sucks and everyone hates it so let's release the tension by laughing." This lesson was no exception. I came in late, but didn't miss anything, because they had just finished making a list of what men want in a woman, and I don't need to know that. Then they made a list of vice versa. And when it was finished they said, "See, the guys didn't put 'beautiful and thin' on their list and the girls didn't put 'has huge muscles' on theirs. Sometimes what people want isn't what we expect." I thought, Well, of course not. None of the guys said they like boobs either, but I wouldn't draw any conclusions from that.
They read some notes/questions that apparently they had solicited from people at some point, and it's just as well that I missed whatever that point was because mine would have included words unsuitable for Sunday school. From the guys they read stuff like, "I've been on thirty first dates and no seconds. Girls just don't seem to like me." Everyone collectively said "Awww." I thought, There goes someone who is technically more successful than me, but still I pity him more because that's probably a few hundred dollars he'll never get back. From the girls they read stuff like, "Why has girls asking guys out become the norm?" I thought, Karma. They then erased the lists of desirable traits and started discussing creative date ideas, conveniently sidestepping the issue that had just been raised of what to do if no one likes you. And these ideas were decent. Happy Meals in a canoe do sound fun. But none of them sounded any more compelling than staying home alone, writing and listening to music, which is a lot less trouble.
Actually, from the moment I started asking girls out, it felt like reading someone else's script. It was written without my input or consent and I'm expected to follow it just because I was born. That's not even getting into how millennial Mormons have turned it into a train wreck. I told Debbie that there must be ways of getting married besides dating, because dating is a very recent invention. She said no, that dating is really just about getting to know someone. So as not to sound like an advocate for this sort of thing, I refrained from pointing out that getting to know someone before you marry them is also a very recent invention. She said she defines a date as "planned, paired off, and picked up", which as you may recall is quite similar to the definition Elder Oaks suggested except that "picked up" replaces "paid for". She obviously failed to realize that by this definition we were on our fifth date, and we'll be on like our twelfth tonight. Another time she remarked, "Other than the worry about being raped, dating is so much worse for guys." And she listed all the reasons why. And I smiled and felt so good to not be involved in it anymore.
Most people in the class agreed that going to a movie is a horrible idea for a date. I don't think going to a movie even counts as a date anymore. Some time ago I asked my friend Cece to go see "Freetown", which I watched once at a free premiere screening and twice for money so as to support the low-budget independent filmmakers in their righteous endeavor, with me. She said yes. Afterward we went to her boyfriend's apartment and he asked, "How was the movie?" and I had to be like "Well, I would be glad to tell you, because Cece wouldn't know, because it turns out that when she says 'noon' she actually means 'four'." Communication is very important in any relationship whether romantic or not. And that's all I have to say about this lesson, except that it was better and more entertaining than my cynical commentary would suggest, and the advice offered could probably actually help normal people. In conclusion, the presenters acknowledged that dating sucks but promised that it's all worth it when you get married. They should have said "if". Because it is an "if". And if you're one of the people who doesn't, it's not worth it at all.
Daft Punk feat. Strong Bad - Get Lucky to the Limit
I watched some Strong Bad emails today for the first time in years, trying to find the best ones to show Debbie, who has never seen them, so here is a beautiful mashup of him and Daft Punk. I downloaded this entire album.
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About the Author
C. Randall Nicholson is a white cisgender Christian male, so you can hate him without guilt, but he's also autistic and asexual, 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.