Newly Posted Essays
These are from my recently concluded Creative Non-Fiction Writing class. Long after this post has faded into the mists of time, they will still also be readily accessible from the Essays page. The professor, who is a published creative non-fiction author and whose job it is to know about this stuff, likes them, so if you don't, you're wrong.
In Defense of Pickup Lines
Also, though my novel "Space Girls" has not been published and won't be until at least 2020, it has already garnered blurbs from several people.
Zack, Prince Among Men
I have been most negligent in failing to mention the great act of kindness that was performed for me a few weeks ago when, after waiting at a red light, I rode my bike into a crosswalk and one of the pedals immediately popped off. As I swore and hastily retreated back to the sidewalk, a ginger-bearded guy named Zack pulled up with his wife Katie or Kathy and baby whose name I forget (Luke maybe?) and offered to give me and the bike a ride home. Almost immediately, however, he thought better of that idea and decided they should take me to his friend's bike shop to get it fixed instead. I accepted because I was broke and figured he would be blessed for his generosity. Out of consideration I just took an old pedal that doesn't match the other one at all, instead of a new set, and now whenever I see it I will remember what a great guy Zack is.
Jewish Skin Care
On Memorial Day, I was looking for a copy of "A Giraffe and a Half" by Shel Silverstein, which is not to be found at the library or at Hasting's. I got desperate enough to try "Fun Unlimited" at the mall, which didn't have it either, and on my way out I was intercepted by a girl visiting from Israel to sell skin care products from the Dead Sea. "You there, may I have a few moments of your time?" she called out. "Are you married? You have girlfriend? Of course, you have seven girlfriends, one for each day of the week, yes?" Her warm demeanor and smooth sales tactics, in conjunction with her ethnicity and broken English that made me extra cautious to not accidentally be racist, kept me riveted, grinning like an idiot as she held my arm and rubbed it with this stuff, even as I realized that it was way too expensive for me at this time.
She twisted my arm by offering a huge time-sensitive discount. I didn't believe for a moment that this was exclusive for me and needed to be kept a secret, of course, but still... I don't worry much about my appearance, but her description of what this would do to my skin sounded exquisite... Another determining factor was her promise that if I bought it she would take me to two movies. I realized then that there were two branching paths available, and one involved gaining a new friend from another country, culture and religion, and the other involved never seeing her again, and the former would hopefully be worth [redacted] dollars. So with any luck, I just bought a friend. She has my number and if she doesn't keep her commitment, I know where she works.
So that's how I ended up with less than fifteen dollars to live off of for two weeks. Fortunately I've had plenty of practice at that sort of thing.
That evening I found out there's an Australian person in the ward combined with my ward, and I would have met her a lot sooner if I were attending my ward, but life is full of trade offs like that. I thought at first that she was British, which would have lent an amusing irony to the American flag she made for Memorial Day out of marshmallows, grapes, and blueberries. Since she's from a white English-speaking country (sort of; see below), I allowed myself to be sort of racist and listen to her talk just because of her accent, and I decided that asking a ton of questions about the accuracy of Australian stereotypes was worth the risk of annoying her and ruining a potential friendship. There was no need to worry, though, because when I decided that enough was enough, she said "Come on, what else you got?" So I asked her if she could arrange to teach us all Strine. And that was shamelessly disingenuous, since mainly I wanted to show off how much I already know from David Morgan-Mar's podcast interview with Professor Jack Bandicoot, head of the Department of Australian English at the University of Sydney.
DMM: No doubt you are aware of the fact that many people around the globe regard the Australian dialect as being
so full of peculiarities as to be almost opaque to comprehension.
Prof. Bandicoot: Indeed, yes.
DMM: As an expert in the subject, is there any truth to this reputation?
Prof. Bandicoot: No, it's a complete furphy.
DMM: So as a country, what can we do about it? Should we just cop it sweet?
Prof. Bandicoot: No, bugger that for a joke. We can't have mug lairs telling porkies about us like that. I mean, fair crack of the whip!
Debbie My New BFF
Debbie was without roommates for two days and told me in a commiserating tone, "Now I know how awful it is." That's not the word I would use. When I came home from New York at the end of last summer to find my roommates in the process of moving, I was so happy that I started singing to the tune of a famous Willy Nelson song, "All alone again... I can't wait to be all alone again..." I thought I was going to get roommates this month, since the "For Rent" sign came down weeks ago, but here I am still alone and that's more than okay with me. The drawback of having to pay everything for utilities myself is more than outweighed by the benefits of playing my music as loud as I want, having silence whenever I want, walking around naked if I want to, sleeping on the couch every night, praying out loud wherever and whenever I want, never getting woken up by people talking or playing video games at stupid a.m., and not being excluded from social events in my own home. My roommates were great guys, of course. The only problem was that they were people.
Because of Memorial Day, the campus library where I would normally go to use the computer was closed on Sunday, so I was faced with the dilemma of choosing which friend to exploit for the use of their laptop, and I chose Debbie because I don't get to see her often enough anymore since she left the best ward ever. I was going to just walk over but she insisted on coming to get me because of the rain. I didn't realize at the time that she had gotten roommates by now because none of them were home when we got there. She lingered nearby to make sure I didn't access her novel or do anything that would contract malware. She apologized for the slowness of her computer, but that was all right because I was in no hurry to leave. When I did, she insisted on driving me again. As soon as she dropped me off I took an eight block walk just to spite her.
The next day I remembered some more things I needed to do, so I went over again, and this time she did her makeup in the kitchen right next to me. I asked, "Do you always do your makeup in the kitchen?" She said, "No, but it isn't polite to desert a guest." Then she came over into the living room where I was to plug in her curling iron and do her hair. With all this going on I found it difficult to remain focused on the tasks at hand, as I felt fascinated to observe what seemed like forbidden and secret rituals. I saw her putting makeup on a guy's face in a talent show (and I so desperately wish I could post it on YouTube without engendering his lifelong hatred) but this was the real deal. But I also felt betrayed because all this time I thought the curl in her hair came naturally. I wonder how many other things I thought I knew about her are just smoke in the wind.
A couple days later, normal computer access restored, I had the temerity to call and invite myself over just because I was having a horrible day and wanted to talk. This time her hair looked different and she was glistening all over. She said that was from running on a treadmill. We talked about the horrible thing that was going on and then shifted to more pleasant topics, like psychology. She talked about things like how if the doctor consistently rings a bell before tapping someone on the knee, they become conditioned to kick reflexively whenever they hear the bell, without the tap. "So," I said, "stuff like that is accessing the more primitive parts of human brains." "Yep," she agreed. So, I thought but didn't dare say, that's just one more proof that we're a product of evolution. She doesn't like the idea of human evolution because she thinks it precludes morality. Someday I will build up the courage to gently correct her misconceptions about that.
Adam Sandler - Love Stinks
This is my second favorite scene/song from "The Wedding Singer" (my first favorite is not appropriate to share with a family audience). I think the fat man looks like Paul McCartney. Am I the only one who thinks that? Also, whoever did the Spanish subtitles took some creative liberties with the refrain.
"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
C. Randall Nicholson
This is where I occasionally rant about life, the universe, and/or everything. I'm a white cisgender male and a Latter-day Saint, so you can hate me without guilt, but I'm also autistic, so you can't. Unless you're an anti-vaxxer, in which case the feeling is mutual.