Because the topic was broader than just marriage, and because the bishop's wife was by the door, I decided not to get up and leave after all. At least this lesson, perhaps understanding the difficult situation some of us were in, reduced the discomfort by focusing more on the broader family thing. Marriage and associated stuff just came up now and again and I kept my rude comments to myself because I didn't want to drive the Spirit away and because the bishop's wife was by the door. "What's some of your biggest fears about marriage?" the teacher asked the class. My biggest fear about marriage was not appropriate to mention in that venue. "You've got to be all about that dating life; it's great," he said. I might have fallen for that lie if I had amnesia. "It might be worth it to drop a letter grade if you find your eternal companion," he said. It might indeed, but gambling is against my religion.
I like families. I like having a family. I devised a comic strip about a family. If hell freezes over and I do get married, I'd like to adopt teenagers that nobody else wants. If he had asked what's my biggest fear about raising a family, I would have said watching my kids suffer from the unfairness of life and/or their own poor choices. I've suffered more than a little from both and the thought of a loved one going through the same crap makes is unbearable. If you think about it, this is why God suffers more than anyone - because He chooses to love all of us, He makes Himself the most vulnerable being in the universe. He makes that sacrifice for our sake. You know who I really want to see again in heaven? My dead dog, Milo. He was the best friend I ever had, he died in 2016 and recently I've dreamed about him a couple times. I'd even like to see my previous dog, Trillian. My dad shot her because she was aggressive and violent, but that will be fixed after the Resurrection and we'll all get along great.
The young ladies next to me proved to be a bit of a distraction with their constant chatter. At one point, the one who reminds me of an aerobics instructor from 1989 (which, to be clear, is a compliment) started loudly messing around with some kind of pills or candies in her purse. I hoped they were candies and that she would give me some, so I stared at her until she noticed me. "I spilled my Ibuprofen," she explained. A likely story. Why would she need to carry around so much Ibuprofen? Oh wait, she's a schoolteacher. Point withdrawn.
At some point the teacher jarred me into paying attention again when he said, "Family understands you like no one else."
On an average day at work, if I'm not doing other things, between one and three thousand books pass through my hands. Many of them are interesting, but few of them are memorable. So when people ask about interesting books I've seen I don't have much to say. But here are a couple I made sure to remember just for you! First, a children's picture book called "The Story of the Little Mole Who Knew it Was None of His Business", translated from German. I skimmed it while I was supposed to be working because I'm just that fast. In this story, the little mole pops his head out of his hole and immediately gets pooped on by some other animal, but because he's shortsighted he doesn't see which. So he goes around to each of the animals and asks if it was them, and they each say no and obligingly demonstrate that their poop looks nothing like what's on his head. I won't give away the ending because I know you're dying to read it and look at the illustrations for yourself.
Next, another children's picture book called "Tricking Tracy". A less confusing title would have been "Tracy's Tricks" or "Tracy the Trickster" or "Lyin' Tracy Meets the Lion". Tracy is a little girl who pranks people by pretending to be stuck or hurt and yelling "Help! Help!" And I am going to give away the ending of this one because it shocked me. Tracy is with her classmates at the zoo and decides to prank them by pretending her head is stuck between the bars of the lion's cage (this was in 1983 when you could do that). She yells "Help! Help!" and her classmates are like, "Just ignore her. She's only fooling." On the next and final page, the narrator concludes "...but this time, she wasn't!" Terror is plainly visible on Tracy's young face as she realizes her head is stuck for real and makes eye contact with the lion, about three feet away, who's giving her what I can only describe as a lecherous grin. Carnivore by birth, sadist by choice. The end.
Like, holy crap. That's the darkest children's book I can remember ever reading. And it's for young children, too. It's fifteen pages long with one or two sentences per page. Okay, so let's assume for the sake of argument that Tracy's implied fate is thoroughly deserved for her childish pranks. That still disregards her nearby classmates, shown on the previous pages, who are going to be scarred for life in a couple minutes at most. Or her family members, shown earlier in the book, who presumably love her. I can't deal with this. I have to write my own alternate ending for my own piece of mind. "Fortunately for our anti-heroine, a zookeeper who was unfamiliar with her trickery heard the shouts and came running. He was able to shoot the lion before it harmed her. Having learned a valuable lesson from this experience, Tracy vowed never to trick people again. Her relief was short-lived, however, as the lion's death went viral and she was soon receiving thousands of hate letters and threats a day, making her wish it had torn her head off after all." Crap, I made it worse! What is wrong with me??
Speaking of poop and dangerous animals that should be in cages, Donald Drumpf is back to showing his hideous true colors after an uncharacteristically classy and intelligent statement about Thomas S. Monson's death which, now that I think of it, was probably written by someone else. He escaped much scrutiny for saying that Haitians "all have AIDS" in late December, but couldn't just appreciate his good luck and instead decided to go farther, saying in reference to Haiti and Africa: "Why are we having all these people from ----hole countries come here?" He lamented that we aren't getting more from places like Norway instead. And, proving yet again that faith in humanity is a mental disorder, he has no shortage of worshipers defending this indefensible remark. I guess once you've defended "Grab them by the -----" it's a bit late to pretend you have principles.
The United States of America was founded by impoverished, uneducated immigrants and, in many cases, refugees fleeing to a land that was already inhabited. And now several white and orange descendants of those impoverished, uneducated immigrants and refugees have decided that this is exclusively their country and modern immigrants and refugees can go screw themselves. This attitude is about as un-American as you can get. To say nothing of un-Christian, though virtually all of these people claim somewhat implausibly to follow Christ. I don't purport to judge their hearts, but I wish to be on record now and forever as denouncing their ideology and their words for the festering goat vomit that they are. Oh, and it turns out that most Norwegians are well off enough to not have to move to a country run by a clueless xenophobic jackass. (That's you, Mr. President.) But hey, at least he speaks his small, disgusting, abominable mind.
Of course I'm still looking at ways to get more attention. Get a load of this.
I do what I can with SEO and Facebook shares and stuff, but I think my most effective tool has been unsolicited word-of-mouth. Claire Warburton, Amelia Whitlock, and Allie Haas seem to have been my most enthusiastic proselytizers. Claire was the one who sparked it off. I mentioned the blog to her for some reason that I don't even remember now, thinking nothing more of it, and certainly not expecting her to binge-read it and share it with her roommates and sister and whoever came to her house. I think that, for better or worse, the blog appeals more to people who know me than strangers who stumble across it. And I want all the people who know me to read it so they'll know I'm smarter than I come across in person (especially this one girl at church who's very kind but keeps speaking to me like I'm a child). Granted, then they'll also realize that I'm not as nice or innocent as they think, but the tradeoff is worth it. I wouldn't mind a bit more unsolicited word-of-mouth. Hint, hint.
I went back to school at Utah State University, home of the true-blooded Aggies from Utah who love the spot where the sagebrush grows, this week. It took about five minutes of my first class to realize why my adviser warned me about taking fifteen credits this time. More on that in the next installment of my thrilling life.