All posts by X Teri

A List Of Stuff To Consider

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“Nothing was done but much was accomplished.”

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I was so proud of my version of the derp horse, I had to share it here. If you’re not familiar with this, your life is devoid of all depth and meaning.

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Usually accompanied by pointed finger and shouting.

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Like all truly great loves, it started with a bowl of pico de gallo…

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Beans, like one’s wife, always get the last word.

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It wasn’t a drive-in until I got the gas pedal and brake mixed up. Sorry about that. On the other hand, the popcorn at the theater smelled great.

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“The ‘B’ is silent,” she told me, pointing to her name badge, emblazoned with her name: Bee.

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Is there a “Going Out of Business Sign Company” which makes all the “Going Out of Business” signs for all the other closing businesses? If so, how would we know if it were going out of business?

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When my boss called me in to give me a pink slip, I asked him if he could also provide matching slippers and a princess wand.

P.S. I’m not sure that “double fired” is a real thing.

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I thought I had really accomplished something until I read the certificate more closely: Employee For a Month.

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The klutz found his calling when he was chosen for the Spilling Bee.

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The work softball team was really pissed at me. After becoming equipment manager I accidentally ordered W-Shirts instead of Ts.

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Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the next round of layoffs, or for those days when you need a place to eat which walks the fine line between cuisine and packaging supplies.

****…With Candles.

Class – Without The Cost.

After months of researching possible food franchises, I think I’m going to open an ****. I wanted to close one, but they wouldn’t give me that option.

Not just any type of **** though; I want one which exudes class and style, like a pre-owned car salesman who lost his bifocal reading glasses on “Listening-to-the-Customer Training Day,” but who also owns a fedora and thinks ESPN is a news channel.

Need to take your significant other out for an elegant meal in order to lower his or her expectations? Do you know how valuable your customer is to your company but would rather not let him or her know? Wish to tell an employee he or she is “Employee of the Month,” but is still not getting a raise? Harbor unrealized pyromaniacal tendencies but so far have been stymied in expressing them?

****…With Candles. The candles spell c-l-a-s-s.

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Legal Disclaimer: This is satire, although I will begin accepting reservations on Feb. 1st.

P.S. The “****” denotes the censored name of the ‘restaurant.’ My last viral experience with getting the attention of a dubious restaurant chain reminded me that as the likelihood of food-borne illness increases, the sense of humor of the company inversely declines.

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A Little Humor

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I was in an unfamiliar office building near Pinnacle in Rogers. One thing about Pinnacle is that it caters to almost every taste and whim, given the amount of money concentrated around its epicenter. It has a reputation for being a great place to shop, eat, and work.

Since I had deviated from my normal early-morning ritual, the scent of fresh coffee from somewhere within the structure sent me on a quest to find the coffee shop or kiosk selling it.

I went down to level one and across the connecting bridge inside. About ten feet away, I noticed a row of coffee bean containers inverted across a horizontal bar. The smell of java was incredibly strong. As I neared it, I thought I heard a small shout but couldn’t discern its origin. I stepped across a stainless steel strip across the floor and almost immediately a woman wearing a leather vest walked up and slapped me across the face. As I recoiled, I heard a snap and then a sharp pain traveled across my rear. I turned to see a riding crop being drawn back for another strike across my backside.

“Hey!” I shouted. “What the hell do you guys think you’re doing?”

Almost immediately, I felt another sharp pain across my rear. “Ouch!”

I ran backward, nearly tripping across the row of modern chairs aligned across the wall. Weirdly enough, each chair seat was adorned with multiple studs on top.

As I did, I noticed the sign across the top of the entrance of the coffee shop:
S C A R B U C K S Coffee and S&M Shop: We’ll Definitely Wake You Up!

This niche marketing is definitely getting out of hand.

A Little Neighborhood Justice

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As the man lifted the lid of the trash can, he absentmindedly tossed in a bag of trash. It seemed to fall for several seconds, ending with a cacophonous thud in the bottom of the plastic receptacle.

He looked down the street, noticing which houses were alit with the signs of life, which houses had cars parked in the concrete driveways, and which seemed absent any movement. He knew from experience that often the quietest places contained the most activity, concealed behind doors and curtains. The deepening twilight resonated with an eerie sheen across vaguely reflective surfaces. Nothing stirred and it seemed as if the nothingness and quiet might have lengthened into an eternity of twilight.

He noted the absence of filtered whimpers and screams. The quiet was disconcerting and unnatural. It occurred to him that so many things seemed to be more fully defined by noticing those things which seemed to be missing. It would take some time for him to remember what a normal neighborhood was supposed to sound like.

So many nights he had passively noted the shouts, the cries, and the fractured silences from next door. Sealing his doors and windows only diminished their volume, yet somehow amplified their significance. It was an effort to distract himself from the evidence of violence – until this morning when an unseen valve mitigating his own violent thoughts opened completely.

Quiet now seemed like a musical cadence missing a beat of syncopation. It made him uneasy, like when he entered a dark and unfamiliar room, his hand vainly seeking the contour of a wall switch. He was unsure as to the velocity with which slumber might greet him in these circumstances.

After a few moments, he heard a door creak open. As he turned to the right, he saw a narrow beam of light cast its gaze upon the suburban sidewalk leading to the neighbor’s front door. A second later, a subdued housewife ambled out, shutting the door behind her. The man could hear the woman grunt with her efforts, undoubtedly a residual effect from so many nights of abuse from her husband. The man now knew that in time the housewife would regain much of her agility and zeal for life. An ember signifying a lit cigarette danced lazily in the air as she moved. She walked across the expanse of her driveway, lifting the lid of her trash receptacle. As she lifted the black bag to drop it inside, a pale arm fell across the outer rim, fingers pointed toward the ground in mock accusation.

She casually lifted the arm, dropping it without much consideration back into the trash, placing her new bag on top of whatever the lifeless arm might be attached to.

The man smiled in the dark, knowing the housewife did the same, a shared intimate secret born inside a few bloody seconds two hours ago.

After so many nights of questioning and endless tears and abrasions, they both had reached the same mortal conclusion, one punctuated by a single shot reverberating inside a cramped living room. Good neighbors help one another and do what must be done.

As the abuser fell to the floor, eyes wide in dead surprise, both participants locked eyes and deeply sighed, both relieved to be past the moment of action. They silently and mutually agreed that the abuser’s fate was predestined and unworthy of comment.

While the body lay cooling on the living room floor, they attentively listened with heads tilted for a minute, and then without conversation lifted the dead husband and carried him outside, unceremoniously tossing him inside the trash container. Just as no one had come to help during the preceding weeks, months, or years of fists and screams, no one had come to investigate the exclamatory ring of a solitary gunshot.

Now, two hours later, the ticks and clicks of a typical night were all that greeted them as they both went back inside their respective houses.

Sleep would come easily to them both.

The neighborhood settled back into its nocturnal routine of normalcy, ignoring the momentary lapse of its civilized veneer.

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YesOrNo.com

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Note: this is an older post. Seeing Netflix and a few other sites adopt an idea I’ve had forever makes me smile – as I recommended exactly this course of action several years ago in this blog post.

I’m going to start a website called “YesOrNo.” It will cover websites, restaurants, vehicles, tourists spots, movies, music and anything under the sun. It will be a testament to minimalism and focus in a world of too many options. If you are neutral to the website, movie, or restaurant, you don’t vote. No fence-sitting is allowed.

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Instead of being weighed down by too many details, there are only going to be 2 options: “yes” or “no.” No comments. No categories to obfuscate the response. No Yelp-like lawsuits alleging vote-fixing or reviews. Studies have shown that too many options reduces our happiness and satisfaction.

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Users will need to learn to be discerning with their votes. There will be neutral option. Either you vote or you don’t – but you’re going to need to decide between “yes” or “no.”

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There will be technical issues to address governing how to identify participants and/or lessen abuse of voting. That’s true of any website or business idea. Clever, motivated people combined with technology should eliminate all the major hurdles.

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With a social element, users can choose to add “trusted voters” to their logins so that they can refine their trusted opinions over time. This will allow you to ask the website to recommend a new place or experience to you, based on input from you and others who are similarly minded. In my scenario, however, the data will be limited to tallying without superfluous detail.

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Unlike Angie’s List, users won’t be expected to pay – as such services exclude much of the population. It does tend to cause an uptick in the “crazies” noticing your website, but again, technology can overcome most of the stupidity that will ensue.

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It’s so strange to see Tinder doing well. I’ve joked about yesorno.com for a long time, especially after an old-school website called “checkthegrid” died. On my old blog I had this idea designed, with screenshots and graphs. Like most people, though, my enthusiasm usually sputters at the implementation of an idea.

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At it’s heart, the website would be simple categories, with “green” indicating “yes,” and “red” equating to “no.”

 

I Own My Story

It’s true that my memory isn’t perfect and sometimes I exaggerate to amplify a point. But the story is mine, outlining a world I created in my imagination in response to the people, places, things and thoughts around me.

If you going to visit it, please remember that if you want to play a good character, you can’t be an ass and expect a starring role. I’ll try to minimize your story arc if you’re misbehaving but no promises in this regard can be made or kept.

I’ve used variations of the above for several years, as people struggled against my right to express the content of my life, even if I sometimes made errors in its telling.

When I started walking frequently, I downloaded an insane number of TED talks and similarly-structured audio files. I was walking near one of my favorite spots listening to my second TED talk of the day when Anne Lamott’s segment started.

“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”

 

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This quote reverberated through my head. It conveyed almost exactly the sentiment I’d felt for years. It’s one thing to know something – and another when a bona fide voice of authority echoes your idea.

Now, I use Anne’s quote instead of my own original sentiment. Because I’m not the one who said these exact words, I can use them like a spear. Coming from someone who can be googled somehow grants the same idea some clout contrasted against my attempt.

So many people are reluctant to tell their stories. Some are worried they lack the ability to be honest and fair, while others are concerned that they lack the language skills to avoid being mocked. It’s a risk to tell a story, especially one which reveals a part of yourself to the world. It’s a risk not to, as well.

In my own world, I tend to be aware of not identifying everyone in my stories. It gives them the opportunity to continue on with their lives without my imperfect alterations. There are times, though, when I feel it necessary to describe people by name, relation or occupation. I hope it’s never out of malice but even I know that our minds behave in ways we don’t always recognize honestly.

I would hope that anyone reading this would welcome the chance to share their lives with those around them. Allowing people to experience our thoughts and lives is one of the only ways to experience a full life.

The stories are ours to share, for good, bad, or ugly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Isn’t Here

 

 

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Set aside a couple of minutes, please.

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I had a dream. I was walking down Emma Street and realized that the street had been renamed to “Calle Emma.” And it made me laugh. Things change whether people do or not. Why shouldn’t the current population change things? Just ask Native Americans. Thousands of years of history were erased by the arrival of Europeans. Your opinion will be taken into consideration. Or not.

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I heard that my psychiatrist was a bit of a publicity hound but her new hybrid R&B CD / cookbook titled “Shrink Rap” was a bit too far.

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Not one to boast but if everyone could bust a move like me we’d need a huge bottle of super glue for Xmas.

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My new gym/church is going to be named “Absolution.”

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As the indentured wordsmith of the family, I was asked to write an impromptu poem for my mother-in-law Julia today…

A No-Thanks-Given Poem

Pants unbuttoned, stomachs distended…
we’re gonna eat more
than nature intended
platters adorn the counters
platters carpeting the floor
and yet, there sits frowning Julia,
questioning…
“Is there more?”

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As for the extra bedroom my sister-in-law Darla has, I’m pretty sure that parts of “The Conjuring” and all of “Annabelle” were filmed in here. #thanksgivingwandering

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I’m an enabler. My wife Dawn asked me to pick her up a box of coffee nips from Walgreens. I had to pick up another round of pictures for my mammoth xmas project. I bought every box they had. The clerk just laughed.

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It is strange how history ignores certain pioneers, especially when they have unusual or provocative names. Take the first duo to traverse the Mississippi: Lewd & Clark

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I knew the family reputation of having tough, mean women must be true because their marriage counselor was also a hostage negotiator.

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Things always look different to those doing something. You’re going to be watched, it’s true – and probably judged, so why not go ahead and do what it is you need to anyway?

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Kodak & Insurance moment brought to you by the guy sitting on the roof of his house, lap a tangle of Christmas lights, and drinking Keystone beer. I don’t know how he got up there without a ladder, how the biting wind wasn’t killing him, or how Keystone gets away with not putting a poison label on its products. This moment made waiting until later in the day to take a walk worth it. No, Cousin Eddie Johnson was nowhere in sight.

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Walton Arts Center hasn’t changed. Making memories with Acrobats of China. Dawn told me to take a good picture.

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Life-Win: when a multi-million dollar company writes you about your personalized gift and inquires “Are you sure you want THAT printed on your gift?”

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Perhaps he’s no racist, but I just saw where the band Foreigner was detained at the airport.

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Perhaps it’s a tired joke, but I just heard a lady praise someone for having a photogenic memory. The upshot is that the guy in question is dumber than a Grey’s Anatomy script – and so uncomely that even dogs won’t bite him.

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Cliche Advances: While there is no “I” in ‘team,’ there is an “I” in ‘idiot.’

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Nonsensical yet profoundly unimportant news: His name was Giraffe. Regrettably, he died from rubber-necking on the interstate.

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A Funny Burial Anecdote

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This is a truish story and names have been changed to confuse the guilty.

A famous writer, an author of at least 20 books, died in Springdale a few days ago. He was well-known for his sense of humor and dry wit. At my recommendation, his family went to a funeral home of which I speak highly. Although he usually doesn’t do so, the funeral director Scott offered to view potential cemetery plots with the family, even though he hadn’t yet met them and didn’t know the recently deceased. His dedication to customer service is quite legendary. I doubt he would have helped me had he not owed me a huge favor – but that’s a story for another day.

The family chose to visit Bluff Cemetery in Springdale. The place is known for its beauty and proximity to the creek running through downtown. Scott pulled in behind the new Cadillac the family of the deceased arrived in. The Springdale Parks worker had already arrived in a white pickup, his camera and clipboard in hand.

After the family exited the car and straightened their respective ties and dresses, Scott accompanied them to the periphery of the cemetery, situated below the overhanging trees. It was certainly a beautiful spot.

To make small talk, Scott nervously asked the family about the deceased. “What did your loved one do for a living?” he asked.

The youngest son answered, “Our dad was a famous writer. You’ve never heard of him?” He seemed surprised. “In fact, all of us are writers.”

“No, I’m so sorry, I didn’t know him or know of him. I read a lot, though.” Scott wasn’t sure what else to say.

The parks employee pointed out the available spots and mentioned that the price was adjusted, based on the reduced size of the plots. “We can dig with much more accuracy than we once could,” he added.

After a moment of silence, the youngest daughter looked along the edge of the cemetery where there were remaining spots available, seemingly measuring their size by her careful steps. She immediately started shaking her head.

“This simply won’t do. Not at all. Dad was too important of a writer to tolerate this kind of mistake.” She seemed agitated.

“How so?” Scott immediately asked.

“The plot’s too thin!” The daughter said, and then laughed loudly.

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PS Writers always get the last laugh.

The Gift of “Rectify”

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“It’s the beauty that hurts the most, not the ugly.” – Daniel

As a reader and lover of language, I sit in satisfied wonder after watching “Rectify.” It’s been said by many that it was the best show that no one was watching. Rarely do characters come so vivaciously to life, murmuring and whispering with such glib eloquence. Listening to the people in this show move through complicated lives in this show is the closest I’ve ever come to experiencing visuals as if they were a novel. Several times in the past, I’ve read of the love and admiration of this show and renewed my self-promise to immerse myself. Not until the show was finishing its run, however, did I stop gazing at it on my to-do list and start down the intricate road it travels. I regret not having been a part of it since it first aired but I will make amends by recommending it to anyone with a discerning taste for depth.

If you have the opportunity, please visit Netflix and give this treasure of a show an open door in your life. You won’t regret it, even if the pace seems to be too languid for you at the beginning. Oddly, if you describe yourself as an avid reader, I’m convinced that this show will be an immediate friend to your life.

The intelligence of this show astounds me. The people inhabiting the world it paints for us trip and fall, even as they see the obstacles in front of them. Countless times I watched the inevitable pain surprise them, only to see a parallel to my own life. The mirror it smashes into my face catches all the sublime idiocy of the steps we all take, regardless of the severity of circumstance.

From the show’s beginning, Daniel emerges from prison and instead of railing against the injustice, he perplexes everyone with a deeply insightful commentary on the world. I’ve had trouble explaining to people exactly what about the show was so captivating. “It’s about a man who is released from prison after almost 2 decades.” If that’s the case, “Sling Blade” is just a movie about an eccentric older man being let out of psychiatric care in the South. The particulars aren’t what brings forth the revelations: it’s the humanity inherent in so many scenes of this show.

It’s difficult for me to pull back from my enthusiasm for this show; it’s likely I’ve over-sold it people. Something about it forcefully reminds me of the wild emotion I felt the first time I finished “The Prince of Tides” and heard the words, “Lowenstein, Lowenstein, Lowenstein” reverberate in my mind.

If you need a gift for yourself, I recommend that you find a quiet moment to step away from your real life, sit down, and give “Rectify” the chance it deserves to unfold the way television should be revealed. It avoids the mega-dose of plot twists that doom so many potentially great tv shows or movies. Don’t let the initial premise of a condemned man’s unexpected release from prison trick you into thinking you understand what this show is about. The story is about us, individually and collectively, careening around the backdrop of what it means to be human.

The show itself is a crescendo of discovery as the seasons reveal themselves. By the end of season 4, you will find yourself under the gossamer veil of nostalgia, for a world you would love to live in. As the show ends, you will find yourself feeling restless for unknown highways and side roads, all hopefully leading to places where people like Daniel Holden might feel at home. (And allow us a moment to sit in their presence.)

If you are lucky, it will reveal glimpses of your own self that you’ve kept hidden slightly around the corner.

“Finding peace in the not knowing seems strangely more righteous than the peace that comes from knowing.” – Daniel