Someone posted on Facebook yesterday another piece of the sparse photographic evidence that I exist. I'll let you guess which one I am. I'm sure you won't be able to because I fit in so well.
Here is a very slightly revised version of a poem that I already shared, and here is a very slightly revised version of the second story I wrote and said I might share at some point after I revised it. It's a good experience to get feedback from my classmates, but I find that most of the suggestions are almost useless because they contradict each other. If someone thinks a part is confusing or doesn't work, someone else is sure to chime in that it was their favorite part and should stay exactly as it is, or vice versa. It seems that my niche is something called "serio-comic". The word "serio" makes me think of "serial" as in "serial killer", so I equate the phrase with dark humor, which in my case it often is. But I don't feel like I can call myself a serio-comic writer because the word "comic" seems to imply a value judgment that my work is funny. That isn't my place to say. I may say, at least, that I attempt to be a serio-comic writer and you may judge for yourself whether I succeed and to what degree.
Some of my classmates are more talented/skilled at writing than me, but I think my style is more unique, so hopefully we can all be equally successful and be friends instead of having to compete and sabotage each other. Success doesn't necessarily boil down to only talent and skill anyway. "50 Shades of Grey" is literally Twilight fan-fiction and the excerpts that I've seen read like a not-particularly-talented teenager wrote them, but it succeeded by appealing to a huge niche of lonely, depraved, misogynistic Americans. (Many or most of them were women, which makes their misogyny all the more disturbing.) "Jurassic Park" manages to be an exciting and worthwhile read even though most of the characters, notwithstanding their extensive backstories, are two-dimensional exposition machines. This weakness is more than compensated for by the inclusion of scientific jargon and real live dinosaurs. I hope that doesn't sound like mockery because I really do love that novel. Because dinosaurs.
I hate terrorists as much as anyone. I'm pretty sure even Gandhi would agree that ISIS/Daesh needs to be wiped off the face of the planet. And that's exactly why the people who are running away from them need our help and support. Let them in, already.
I took the "official" Love Languages test recently. Love languages, to me, exemplify very well how humans have unnecessarily complicated their mating process beyond that of any other species. It's probably nature's way of trying to get rid of us so we'll stop trying to get rid of it. The results explained, "The highest score indicates your primary love language (the highest score is 12). It’s not uncommon to have two high scores, although one language does have a slight edge for most people. That just means two languages are important to you." I got a three-way tie.
Physical Touch: 9
Words of Affirmation: 9
Quality Time: 9
Acts of Service: 3
Gift Giving: 0
"You're Divergent (0 . 0)" said my friend Rachel when I announced the results on Facebook. I'm not sure what that means, but I like it, because I think it makes me sound like a morally ambiguous crusader for justice with powers he doesn't fully understand or control. In any case, the results make sense to me because really, those three tied items are all better together; nearly inseparable, even. They're like spaghetti. Quality time is the noodles, words of affirmation are the sauce, and touching is the meatballs. I guess acts of service are the Parmesan cheese and gift giving is the air that gets ignored and taken for granted because it isn't part of the meal notwithstanding it contributes to keeping me alive. I think "Touching is the Meatballs" is a good name for a band or at least an album.
"Again, may I speak frankly? The track that leads to an accurate chronology passes through the terrain called dating!" - Elder Robert D. Hales to BYU archaeology students, 11/15/2015*
* This is not a real quote. Please do not circulate this as a real quote. Thank you.
I used to do scripture study in Spanish with this friend who shall be referred to as "Bonnie" who used to be in my ward, but she got busy and it stopped happening although she promised someday it would happen again, and I had decided after a while that if she ever texted me again I would respond "Who's this?" But then the time came and I couldn't bring myself to do it. I had somehow accidentally become a better person during the interim. So we started doing it again. Recently, when I came over she was hurrying around putting on makeup and stuff because as soon as we were done she was going to go to a football game, already in progress, where her friend who shall be referred to as "Clyde" was waiting for her. She told me about him and how she liked him and stuff, and she was all nervous and flustered and it was fascinating because I had never seen a woman behave this way before.
"I just want him to like me," she said, seeming so vulnerable and innocent that I marveled.
She told me about how they'd hung out and stuff and she wanted him to ask her out and she didn't know why he hadn't asked her out. If she wanted advice, she was talking to the wrong person. I could think of several reasons why I don't ask girls out very often, but I'm not normal and I assumed that Clyde wasn't like me because she was interested in him, but on the other hand I've been surprised sometimes to find out the similarities that normal people have with me. Instead of offering advice that would almost certainly be wrong I tried to help her figure it out herself. "Why don't you ask him out?" I asked, assuming she would be terrified at the prospect, and then perhaps realize how he might be feeling.
Her eyes bugged out. "No," she said. "Guys ask girls out."
"Why?" I said, and though it must have sounded like a rhetorical question, I was actually just wondering if she would recite one of the stupid made-up baloney reasons or if she actually knew the real reason. I discovered the real reason quite by accident in a textbook called "Animal Behavior".
She didn't know the real reason, though she kind of skirted around it. I could have pressed the issue by going "But why?" to her mostly valid assertions, but we would have gotten off the subject. I bit back almost all of my cynical comments because this was about her infatuation and I didn't want to turn it into a treatise on why dating sucks. At least she didn't use the stupid hunting/chase metaphor. I wonder if the people who use that metaphor are aware that most hunters actually kill and eat their prey without consent. The prey isn't running away because it thinks this is all some silly, fun game; it's running away because it doesn't want to be digested. Most animals can tell the differences between mating and hunting and never confuse the two. Come to think of it, the "fish and the sea" metaphor is kind of absurd too, for the same reason. Fish don't want to get caught and when they do get caught it's because they're stupid.
Since learning the reason behind this status quo I stopped resenting it nearly as much, but it still needs to go, and Bonnie's situation is a prime example of why. By going along with it, she became something to be acted upon rather than something to act. She was robbed of the power to proactively pursue what she wanted, and instead reduced to hoping that it would be offered to her. Instead of making real choices she is only able to accept or decline whatever happens to come her way. Theoretically she can influence the outcome by dropping hints, but everyone and their dog knows that doesn't actually work in real life. The whole thing makes me very sad.
I suggested that maybe he thinks she just want to be friends. She said they had been flirting. I asked what that entailed, because maybe he didn't know that it was flirting. She said they had been holding hands. I said that seemed pretty conclusive, but still...
We did our scripture study and then started off toward campus, her to the game and I to the library, and then Clyde texted her to inform her that there was no point in her coming because there was only like twenty seconds left, and she hoped that he would ask her to do something else, but he didn't, and over the next couple weeks he continued to not ask her out, and who knows why? Life is cruel for everyone.
Why Pickup Lines are Sometimes Okay
The next comic is not included here because it edges into PG-13 territory, but it ends with Johnny keeled over on the floor with a puddle of badly animated blood as Skip says, "What part of 'pickup lines don't work' are you having issues with?"
When I was in ninth grade I had a crush on a senior in my study hall. Two other seniors in the study hall, one of whom was her cousin, urged me to go up to her and say, "Are you a parking ticket? Cause you've got 'fine' written all over you." I refused to do it because I enjoyed being alive. In hindsight, I regret that. What's the worst that could have happened? Incidentally, I was also corresponding via email (I feel old) with this guy who had already graduated and thought I was cool for some inexplicable reason, and I told mentioned her he was like "Dude, aren't you WAY the ---- out of her league?" And that was one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me, but I couldn't appreciate it or agree with it because that would be extremely rude. Sigh.
That really has nothing to do with anything. This does. When I was a senior myself, I was visiting my grandmother's ward around the holiday season and learned this gem: "Can I take your picture? I need to show Santa what I want for Christmas." Enthralled, I went back to school and said this to practically every girl I saw. I wasn't worried at all. Everyone knew that this was completely out of character for me and therefore not serious, and they just laughed or rolled their eyes or whatever. But then I said it to a girl I had never met before at all. I don't remember why. I think she was in ninth grade, and she looked shy, so I became confident at her expense or something. I said it, and she started blushing and laughing uncontrollably, so I said another line, and another, and another. I don't remember what they all were, but I'm sure one of them must have been "Are you a parking ticket? Cause you've got 'fine' written all over you."
We became moderately good friends, which by my standards made us practically BFFs. She was one of the four people that I really missed and bothered to stay in touch with after graduating. "Tee hee, you used to stalk me," she recalled once as we were texting. I must have said something to the effect of not knowing what she was talking about, but she was like, "It was adorable. It made me feel special." Okay, cool. After my first semester of college she said she wanted to see me when I came home for Christmas, but I didn't think she was serious because the other people who had said that never got back to me when I tried to arrange it. So I was just like whatever, and as I was waiting for the plane to take off to go back to Utah (I almost just wrote "to go home" which says a lot, I suppose) I was just like "Sorry we never got to meet up." To my surprise, she was actually disappointed and upset about it.
In 2013 we once again failed to meet up. This year, at the end of August, it finally happened. It was probably our last chance because she was leaving the area and so, as it now turns out, is my family, so I really have no reason to ever go back there again. We met up at the library, she was like "What do you want to do?" and I didn't know what to say because there is nothing to do around there. So she took me for a drive. I felt guilty about producing carbon emissions for no reason, but she said it was therapeutic for her so I suppose it was justified. We drove along roads and through towns that I hadn't known existed (for the good reason that there's nothing to do there and no reason to visit them). A couple of things really stood out during our long conversation. First, that she really, really, really, really, really, really likes plants. I like them too, because I like being able to breathe and also sometimes they're pretty, but she's obsessed. Good for her. I'm glad that other people are obsessed with the things I find mind-numbingly dull. Isn't it great how we were all created differently so that we can all work together and... yeah, okay.
Second, that she really hated high school and I was one of a very few people who was nice to her.
And that's why pickup lines are sometimes okay.
Tangerine Kitty - Dumb Ways to Die
Even though everyone is already familiar with this lovely tune, I wanted to share it because I first heard/saw it at Thanksgiving three years ago (thank you, Aunt Amanda), and now I think of it whenever this time of year rolls around. It's like my Thanksgiving carol.
"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.