For a limited time, unless it's expired since yesterday in which case I apologize for getting your hopes up, if you subscribe to the Greg Kofford Books newsletter, you can get a free ebook of "Mormonism at the Crossroads of Philosophy and Theology: Essays in Honor of David L. Paulsen". Perhaps not as useful as a hard copy for carrying around or leaving on the table so people will think you're super intellectual, but you can still leave it open on your device where people can see.
I had forgotten how full church gets when school is in session. So many new people to ignore. Some of the new faces are also old faces - mostly the ones who were here last semester, but also Jessica from German class a couple years ago. One time we were partners and we were supposed to role-play a blind date in German for ten minutes. We worked out a script, went over it a few times to make sure our pronunciation was up to par, and then went in and were informed by the professor that we weren't allowed to use a script. So that was fun. And when we finished she (the professor) praised our performance and said something like, "Maybe you want to do something for real now, get coffee or something, I don't know." Of course we didn't because we don't drink coffee. I didn't know she (Jessica) was LDS though, and she probably didn't know I was either because while we were working out the script I think she saw the ex-Mormon forum in my browser history. I'm only human, I have weaknesses and I just go there out of curiosity sometimes, that's all.
I'm not in school this semester but I went to all the Week of Welcome activities and that was great. I ran into Serena with Aggie Radio Theatre and she asked me to join for scriptwriting and she was like, "I've been trying to get you for so long because I was in your class and I've seen your writing." This was the first time she mentioned it to me. I guess when she visited all the English classes I was in to give her spiel about it, she was actually targeting me specifically. Flattery didn't get her nowhere, and I signed up. My friend Theoden wants me to help write storylines for his new video game design club too. These people are wisely taking advantage of my talent while it's still free.
The other thing I did on campus was practice using a ten key pad for a test as part of a job interview, on which I scored about 7300 keystrokes per hour with 100% when the requirement was 6000 kph with 95% accuracy. Dialing telephones in my previous job really prepared me for that, although it means I can only do the hunt and peck method, but whatever works. That enabled me to get the job even though I flubbed a couple of the actual questions. It probably also helped that I added having autism to my resume in hopes that it would encourage people to cut me a little slack and/or be afraid of potential hiring discrimination lawsuits (just kidding). The job is at a book warehouse and doesn't involve talking to people at all. I was already sold on it when he showed me around, pointed to the workers with earphones and said, "You're allowed to listen to music." Duuude. I bought a portable mp3 player just for that, which I found on eBay for $7.99 with free shipping. I haven't bothered with an mp3 player since I lost my last one because I like shuffling all the music on my computer together. The library is my playlist.
I didn't know what institute class to sign up for this semester because I've taken most of them at least once. In the end, I opted to take Brother Irwin's "Preparing for an Eternal Marriage" class, which is mostly a dating class, for the third time. The first time, I took it so I could run a cynical mental commentary on everything. The second time, I hoped to actually learn stuff, because I had an actual candidate in mind and I was already broaching the subject with her because she had a bunch of health problems and could have died at any time, and I didn't know yet that she was playing along because she thought the whole thing was a joke. This time, I'm taking it because it's probably the funniest class I've ever been in. (Brother Reese's church history courses come pretty close, so it's iffy, but I just took one of those last semester and now it's back to the Joseph Smith era which, with all due respect, is the least interesting era of church history to me because it's the one that we cherry-pick stories from to repeat ad nauseam.) I'm also mildly curious whether he took my advice to stop calling sex "intimacy".
I've observed enough of institute teachers to see that they script out most of their jokes and stories ahead of time and then make it seem spontaneous, which is a great skill to have. So I knew this class would start out roughly the same as the first two times, and it did. First he told the story about stabbing himself in the eye with a screwdriver by way of explanation for why he only looks at people with one eye, and a bit later on he got off on a tangent about working on his grandpa's farm and shooting animals with a BB gun and being told to drive the car because his grandpa didn't realize he was only twelve, and then he paused and feigned confusion and said, "Was there a point to this?" And the class just roared with laughter again and again and I laughed again even though I'd heard it all before, because I was experiencing it freshly, vicariously through them. And it just occurred to me as I was scripting out what to write here that choosing an institute class based solely on its humor content was probably not the wisest or most spiritually mature thing I've ever done.
One day Mackenzie asked, "Why don't you ask a girl out, homeslice?" The term "homeslice" always makes me think of pizza, so I take it as a huge compliment.
Anyway, in answer to her question, I didn't know whether to launch into several paragraphs of explanation, or choose from one of a dozen snarky one-liners, or what. So I finally just said "Because I hate dating". That's very vague and kind of goes without saying because everyone hates dating. I have never once in my adult life heard anyone say anything remotely positive about dating. The closest they ever come is laughing and having a positive attitude about the fact that it sucks.
She then asked, "Then how are you going to get a girlfriend?"
I was reminded of this story that I haven't shared for a long time so maybe no one reading this has read it. I just copy-pasted it from the last place I wrote it down and then made a couple of minor edits. For Thanksgiving break in 2012 I went to eat and watch "Psych" with my grandparents in Idaho. One night, either Thanksgiving itself or the night after, I was in the living room reading a book when the gorgeous young lady next door came over with her three little kids. She'd brought us baggies of homemade treats, and I don't remember what was in them aside from Rice Krispies, but dang they were good. She talked with my grandmother while her kids played, and I didn't have anything to contribute so I just kept reading my book. Within two minutes she turned to me and said, "You know you have to talk to get a girlfriend, right?"
I thought that was really funny. I still think it's really funny. Now, of course, thanks to my previous job, I know that I have a monotone robot voice that makes people hang up on me, so talking probably depletes any chance I may otherwise have. Anyway, Mackenzie volunteered her services as a wingperson. I asked if she has magic powers. She said no. I declined her offer. She changed her mind and decided she does have magic powers after all. I asked what she's going to do. She said don't worry about it. I am going to worry about it, and I'm probably going to resist her every step of the way, because we were born to be friendly adversaries. I realized this when I had a dream about us leading armies against each other and then Tammy Wynette singing a song about it. One time I told her about that dream and she thought I was making it up. She's probably going to read this too. Hi, Mackenzie, if that's even your real name, which it isn't.
Alvin and the Chipmunks - Bette Davis Eyes
I love Alvin and the Chipmunks and I don't care who knows it. I've collected almost all of their albums, most of them downloaded for free without guilt because they were long out of print. I feel that Ross Bagdasarian Sr. was a creative genius and is enjoying a rich reward in heaven for his contribution to the world. Sometimes, their covers sound significantly better than the originals, in my opinion, and this is one of them.
"Guys. Chris's blog is the stuff of legends. If you’re ever looking for a good read, check this out!"
- Amelia Whitlock
"I don't know how well you know Christopher Randall Nicholson, but... he's trolling. You should read his blog. It's delightful."
- David Young
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.