Today in the never-ending thrill ride that is my life, I got a haircut! I always get it at the New Horizons Beauty College because they're in training so they do it super cheap, and I always try to get it from Abby because I know her and she knows how to do it. Anytime I get someone else they ask, "How do you want it?" and I'm like "I don't know... shorter? You're the expert, not me." But I worked it out with her and since then she remembers. Last time, some dude cut my hair and it looked fine but then it was too long again within a couple weeks, but I didn't want to go back so soon so I just waited and waited and waited. Then the other night I saw Abby in a crowd and decided it was time. I have a quiet (in addition to monotone) voice, so I followed her around saying "Abby. Abby. Abby. Abby. Abby." When she finally heard and turned around, her face lit up and she said "Oh hey!" and I suddenly felt guilty for just wanting a haircut and not talking to her just out of the goodness of my heart, so I felt like I should think of something else to say first, but I couldn't so I just stared at her with a dopey face for like ten seconds. I'm sure it was cute.
I found out she's going to graduate soon, though, so I'll have to find someone else. I asked what she's doing after that and she said moving to Provo and I barely restrained myself from saying "Ew." No offense. Anyway, I got a haircut and then I left the beauty college and noticed that the street was lined with people waiting for the homecoming parade I totally forgot about. I'm not a patient man, so I walked down the street toward the parade so it would get to me faster. Along the way I witnessed some misplaced balloons headed to space, which was one of the most depressing sights ever as a child, to just imagine them going farther and farther and farther... It was a good parade. There was enough candy for me even after I let the children grab most of it first, maybe in part because I didn't have parents to stop me from going farther out into the road. After an hour, the parade concluded somewhat anticlimactically with a little car from S. E. Needham Jewelers. They threw out candy too, but it was just Tootsie rolls and stuff. They should have thrown out ring pops. That would have been so clever that I would have almost forgotten how much I hate them.
I am deeply, madly, hopelessly in love with my job, but it isn't perfect all the time. After being told by the computer to accept a certain book, we must determine whether it's "Very Good", "Good", or "Acceptable". This involves skimming through the pages to check for writing, highlighting, or stains. Often we find bookmarks, receipts, flight stubs, etcetera. The other day I found porn. It was just a photograph that someone had gone to the trouble of laminating, but obviously hadn't bothered to keep track of. Though initially freaked out, I was glad to find it for two reasons: because I potentially spared some poor grandmother from finding it, and because it made me not hungry anymore. I threw it away, but when I emptied the bin at the end of the shift, it stuck to the bottom so that I had to touch it again and pull it out manually. I tried to tear it up, but I couldn't because it was laminated.
That, unfortunately, was only the second most disgusting thing I saw that day. The first was a jackass claiming that, with "minute exceptions", only Muslims practice female genital mutilation, and obstinately sticking by his claim no matter how thoroughly I demonstrated that it has zero basis in fact. It is not primarily a religious practice and the vast majority of people who do it are not Muslims. If someone had said something so plainly false about Mormons I probably wouldn't have even bothered to respond, but I'm more defensive about other faiths, and I was all the more angry because this jackass is a Mormon himself. I hate it when Mormons think that being members of "the only true church" makes it okay for us to misrepresent and look down on others' beliefs. And the hypocrisy of crying foul when people consider themselves experts on their faith based on a handful of embarrassing quotes, but then doing the same to Islam, is almost too much to bear. Forget the Old Testament, Brigham Young said stuff that's worse than anything in the Quran. And the FGM thing isn't even in the Quran, but in the hadiths, where it's never a requirement.
The reason this came up, incidentally, was that Elder Holland recently became the first top LDS leader to publicly denounce female genital mutilation, and that made me very happy because it really bothers me. I had to read quite a bit about it in an anthropology class and the whole time I felt like slitting my wrists to distract myself from thinking about it. I imagine it must have been addressed by mission presidents and/or area Seventies before, though, because they address other cultural practices that aren't in harmony with the gospel and that doesn't usually get talked about on a global level unless you happen to read one of their books (e.g. "Safe Journey" by Elder Glenn L. Pace, which I highly recommend), and one way or another, FGM isn't practiced by Mormons in Africa. Good for them.
After some consideration, I am officially endorsing Gary Johnson for president. I would vote for Zaphod Beeblebrox before either of the mainstream candidates, so it pleases me that this alternative actually has a chance. He'll only win if Americans grow spines, though. Voting for the lesser of two evils so the greater evil doesn't win is cowardly, if not downright treasonous to the principles of democracy. If you deliberately vote for evil then that's what you'll get and that's what you deserve. Granted, I'm not sure Trump is mentally competent enough to have evil intent, but actual results are what matter.
The Mormon Section
Some time ago I started occasionally drawing a cross on my hand to remind me of the biblical admonition to "take up [your] cross and follow me". During my call center job I did that almost every day and it helped me endure. Sometimes when I'm nervous I make the crossing gesture across my chest like Catholics do, and it has a calming effect. All of this makes me very weird because the LDS Church doesn't use crosses at all (with the exception of its military chaplains who follow the standard dress of Christian military chaplains). They never used it much to begin with, but the current unofficial official anti-cross stance only dates back to the McKay administration. And it's fine with me because it gives us a distinctive and refreshingly simple look. I'm not disputing it. But I see no harm in individual members (e.g. me) wearing it themselves, and I can't stand is Mormons misrepresenting and looking down on others' beliefs about it. So without further ado...
Stupid Things that Mormons Say About the Cross
"The cross is a symbol of torture and death." No, it isn't. Mainstream Christians believe that the Atonement transformed the cross into a symbol of hope. We don't get to tell other people what their symbols mean.
"We don't use the cross because we don't focus on Jesus' death." Except for almost every week during the most important ordinance in the Church. And don't try to pretend you've never been in a lesson where they fixated on His suffering at great length to try and make everybody emotional about it.
"If Jesus had been killed with a gun, would you wear a gun around your neck?" That would be a completely different context because guns have killed millions of people and are still frequently used to kill people today. Crosses, on the other hand, are no longer in use, and most people can name only one person who was killed on one: Jesus. Hence they can be adopted as a symbol while guns could not.
Incidentally, I can only assume that anyone who thinks using the cross as a symbol is a recent or misguided innovation has never actually read the New Testament.
Sisters of Mercy - Temple of Love
Sigh. So romantic. Do you think, if I were ever to get married, that we could actually play this in the temple? It would be a temple of love because God is love.
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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.