Category Archives: Writing Challenge

Not Coming Back

CC image courtesy of Kevin Dooley on Flickr.
CC image courtesy of Kevin Dooley on Flickr.

It takes about seven months to reach Mars. Assuming that there would be no coming back because of logistical concerns, I would have to assume I was part of a third world space program. Perhaps North Korea.

For me to be a part of a slipshod program, I would have fallen victim to something insidious. Perhaps kidney thieves (who moonlight as astronauts) kidnapped me.

Maybe the whole plan was to take me along as an organ donor. Have you heard what kidneys go for on Phobos? Astronomical.

It’s not as if we were visiting the Oort cloud. Not returning from Mars is like stopping at Circle K and vanishing. Nothing good ever comes from those scenarios.

I wonder what my captors have in store for me. They must be my captors, because I would have chosen comrades who know how to return from such a short trip.

In this prison, I can only think about home. The room is cramped with a small window. All I can see is the black void.

Written in response to the Daily Post’s daily prompt.

 

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Euphemism

I’d be lying if I said that keeping my mouth shut is my spiritual gift. My spiritual gift is more akin to putting my foot in my mouth. I’m getting better, though. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

I used to say whatever came to mind, but I’m trying to replace statements like, “What are you…stupid?” Mind you, I’m not saying, “What are you, Stupid?” It’s not nice calling people stupid but somehow it seems better asking someone if they are stupid.

Now, when I want to say something inappropriate, I try to say, “That’s just terr-ific.” More like , “That’s. Just. Terrrific.” You drag it out for effect. You want to hang on the “r” in terrific to really show your disgust.

Best of all, it works in just about any situation.

“The septic tank is cracked.” That’s just terrific.

“We are out of oatmeal cream pies.” That’s just terrrific.

“Business is slow. We are gonna have to let you go.” That’s just terrific.

This even works when someone is asking how you feel. Terrific. That stops the conversation cold. Nobody really wants to hear how lousy you feel, anyway.

In the meantime, I’m going to try to control my compulsion to slap people. I’ve never actually slapped someone, but people can really say some…uh…terrific things.

Written in response to the Daily Post’s Break the Silence prompt.

Tomorrow is a New Day

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CC image courtesy of FHKE on Flickr.

Time machines are overrated. They are for old men and forgotten dreams. Those old coots forget that their memories aren’t static. These devices are relatively commonplace, but each time one of these ancient people return from their excursion, they come back broken as they realize their past is only a phantom.

Whether you visit the dream tailors to have fabricated dreams implanted or if you are viewing the past through an expanse of fifty years, you can see nothing beyond an illusion.

As the years pass, you have a tendency to forget some of the bad memories and the mundane moments fade into nothingness. In a sense, the Twilight Zone episode, “Of Late I Think of Cliffordville,” is a cautionary tale. Reality never measures up to the fantasy that has grown in your mind.

I realize that reality is elusive as we are suspended in a virtual reality. Our perspective won’t allow us to really see the world as it is. We only can view reality as we see it.

I just don’t care anymore.

Tomorrow, I’m going to disappear in the time machine. I’m tired of sitting in this living graveyard. Rest homes are convenient for the living, not the living dead.

I want to live a life of intrigue again. In the morning I’ll return to my youth as a Bedouin gun runner. At least that’s what I remember. I hope I’m not spanning fifty years to live a future of past disappointments. My excursion will be different than the others’.

Nurse, is it really time to take my Aricept again?


 

Written in response to the Daily Post’s writing prompt.

Potlikker with the Kingfish

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CC image courtesy of findagrave.com.

My wife is distantly related to Huey P. Long. Something about him being her grandmother’s cousin or something. He was a colorful, yet polarizing figure and will remain a figure in Louisiana history for generations to come.

The Kingfish would be not surprised to see that his populist ideas were still popular, but I believe he would be surprised to see how damaging its implementation is to the country. Long was corrupt and bullied his way up the political ladder. Had he not been assassinated, he may have been a threat to FDR in the 1936 Presidential election.

He paved the state with graft, lining the pockets of his cronies, but he was such a likable figure that it appeared nobody really cared about his misdeeds.

Long would be surprised how damaging his wealth redistribution ideas are to the country. On the surface it may appear that wealth redistribution is favorable. In reality, we can see that unemployment is problematic and stealing from the rich to give to the poor solves nothing. We are left with a generation with an entitlement complex who thinks hard work is old fashioned and being on the government dole is something to embrace.

If he didn’t stand on his Share Our Wealth program, he may not have even made it to the Governor’s office. Demagoguery proved useful to Long as it does today, but despite his flaws, he still was an affable man who I’d like to share a meal of potlikker with.

Written in response to the Daily Post’s daily prompt.

Sardines. They’re That Good.

When people talk about what their dad taught them, they usually mention how to throw a ball or how their dad taught them how to drive. My dad did that, but I also remember how he taught me to eat sardines. Granted, sardine eating isn’t a skill passed from father to son over the ages. It’s more that he fostered an affinity for them.

He was on the road a lot. After a hard week I would see him sit on the floor with his back propped against the couch. His legs would be stretched out and casually crossed at the ankle. On occasion he would balance an open tin of sardines in his left hand while he deftly speared them with a fork in his right hand.

I was probably six or seven when I grew curious about this ritual. The air was heavy with oily fishiness. He would say, “You want a bite?” It’s as if I was able to participate in something that requires a secret handshake. The only thing that compares is when I would watch my ancient great-uncle George hand roll his cigarettes and light it with a strike anywhere match. He would hold that match out so I could extinguish it with my small lungs.

When my dad was on the road and I had to satisfy my craving, my mom would make me devour them outside. There was a brownish spot in the grass where I poured out my sardine oil once. Apparently sardines are so pungent that they can kill grass.

Years later, I still enjoy my sardines, though I don’t eat them with the veracity I should. I can walk to my cupboard and find a couple of cans of King Oscar double-layered brisling sardines in olive oil. These treasures are around three bucks a can, but brisling sardines are far superior to Beach Cliff big honkin’ sardines in Louisiana Hot Sauce at around seventy-nine cents. I’m not a sardine epicurean as I’ll eat just about any brand, but I do have my preferences.

I still have to eat them outside as it is too much trouble to devour them at the table, slide the empty can in a ziplock bag and bury the remains in the trash. If it’s late at night, convenience trumps all where I would eat sardine sandwiches in bed next to my sleeping bride.

Written in response to the Daily Post’s writing prompt.

CC image courtesy of rockyeda on Flickr.

This Advice is Worth at Least Three Cents

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When a tornado victim that loses everything can cope better than you, it may be time to put on your Yoda Underoos.

Stop whining. Quit crying. Do you really think you deserve special consideration?

Don’t worry, I don’t have a defeatist attitude. After years of therapy, discarding the bottle, and finding Jesus, I finally understand. Do I really need to wring my hands over what my dad did to me when I was eight? No, he didn’t molest me. I had my share of whippings, though. My dad flailed his belt like he was swinging for the fences. But that was a lifetime ago.

We cannot always control our circumstances. We can, however, decide if we are going to have a pity party. How many times does someone have to cry about their childhood before they crawl out of the crib to become a man? For me, it was many years. I finally understand that sometimes you just have to suck it up. I received that advice many times before. I just wasn’t listening.

I dole out the same advice to other crybabies. Seriously, do women find a man attractive when he whines about not finding a girlfriend? I doubt it. Sure everyone wants to climb on the pity train occasionally, but there was a time when I just couldn’t step off.

I speak from experience that crying about your woes is useless. Just take your problems to God. Set them at His feet.

God will provide us with what we need. If you are in a valley, you were put there for a reason. God has many reasons to put you there. Just trust in Him.

When science couldn’t cure my chronic pain, I only had two options. One was a bullet. I chose to turn to God. I’m not saying that God cured me and now I’m a ballroom dancing queen. I still have the pain. This is a burden I must carry, but God has promised He will always be with me. As for the other, I can’t be a dancing queen. Those tiaras make my butt look fat.

Life is hard and we are hit with a myriad of problems, but does ruminating help? I don’t want to sound harsh, but the time comes when you have to put on your big boy Yoda Underoos and move on.

I can barely remember all of those hurts I carried around now. I can look ahead to my future now that I’m not bound by my past.

This post is written in response to the Daily Post’s writing prompt.

It’s More of the Same, Only Different.

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Today has been a great blessing! Another day in Louisville, MS with Mercy Chefs, but a couple of volunteers showed up. How I love supervising! It’s still mentally taxing but I didn’t have to stoop or bend over. It’s the small things that I appreciate.

I’ve still been stiff all day and I had no idea how I was going to work all the way through. Ever since I climbed out of bed I’ve been walking like Boris Karloff. These trips are always physically taxing, and it’s only by the grace of God that I am able to do this.

If that wasn’t enough of a blessing, my wife called my rheumatologist and asked them to refill my Humira prescription because of last night’s debacle. I will be on my doorstep Tuesday, nine days sooner than I would have had my next scheduled injection. Heather definitely came through in a clutch on this one.

The first half of the day was rainy and the rest of the day was grey. It may not sound very pleasant as we spend much of our time prepping food under a tent outside, but my arms and neck are crimson. My neck feels scorchy, and I was glad to have had the clouds today. I also don’t want to completely obliterate my pasty good looks. Fortunately, this burn will tan and in about two weeks, all of this bronze will have flecked off.

When we are on deployment, every day is the same in that we get up early and cook, prep, and plan all day. We may have a menu planned only to scrap it two hours before the meal is to be served. The unpredictability of one of our days can be exhilarating. Some people get jazzed about NASCAR. I get jazzed about the excitement in our kitchen.

Finally, I only worked eleven hours today. I say that with all seriousness because this is a short day. I also had several breaks because we had volunteers. If I don’t have volunteers’ backs to break, my back does the breaking.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/just-another-day/
Every day is the same, but every day is unpredictable. I know that may sound paradoxical, but it really is that way.

These trips are never about me or my incessant whining. It’s always about God and how I can serve others in His name. I just hope tomorrow is overcast.

Can You Get Too Comfortable?

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My self consciousness used to invade my thoughts, and honestly, they still arrest me occasionally, but I pretty much operate as I would if I was alone at home. I know you are thinking that I prance around the house singing Devo hits. Wait, did they have another song besides “Whip it?” Let’s just put that pervasive rumor to rest. I don’t prance around singing Devo. I break into artistic dance while listening to the Dave Brubeck Quartet.

Operating with Mercy Chefs requires a certain element of stepping out of your comfort zone. You get used to it. Just being in my late 30s has made me more comfortable in my own skin. I’ve actually been the cause for mild embarrassment for those with me because I can’t match clothes. That’s such a stupid skill.

I have the same demeanor as my dad did. I thought he was a tool, and he was. He was always striking up conversations with strangers. I don’t always do it, but I will to be friendly or to amuse myself.

It’s amusing talking to people that appear uncomfortable. Perhaps I’ll have a chance to amuse myself. If not, I’m sure someone will get a laugh out of me.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/witness-protection/

The Obsolete Man

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Have you ever considered your impending obsolescence? Many societies revere the aged and the infirm, but America is a society that discards everything once it loses its luster. This is not confined to material goods. Old and sick people are shuttered up in homes. They are obsolete.

I’m reminded of an old Twilight Zone episode where a different kind of obsolete was dramatized. Burgess Meredith was “The Obsolete Man” because he was a librarian. Not just a librarian, but a bookworm who treasured his Bible.

His beliefs put him at odds with the State. He was to be liquidated because he served no purpose for the State. It’s chilling when he is sentenced to be executed for “serving no function.” It appears that this country is beginning to hold a similar view. That should be alarming even for the people “on the winning side.”

In this age of New Morality, promiscuity is encouraged and adhering to biblical values is not just considered old-fashioned. It is viewed as bigoted, narrow minded, and subversive.

Are we, as Christians, in danger of becoming obsolete? I think it is inevitable if we remain on this moral trajectory. We live in a world that is tolerant of all people except for Christians. That is a dangerous position to hold because the day may come where other groups are considered anachronistic.

Remember the conclusion of the episode where the Chancellor was declared obsolete? What if today’s accusers are denounced tomorrow?

This post is written in response to the Daily Post’s prompt Going Obsolete.

What is the Worst That Can Happen?

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CC image courtesy of inmystrangeworld89 on Flickr.

It’s a common question I ask people when they are about to try something new. The question is simple–“What’s the worst that could happen?”

I have yet to find a situation where the question is inappropriate. There’s the first day of kindergarten. How about the first day in basic training? Your attendance at a wedding or funeral is a good time to pose the question.

It is an evergreen question. A perennially appropriate query to make a determination as to whether or not this activity is worthwhile.

So, what is the worst that can happen? You could die. If that is true, everything else is gravy.

Written in response to Worst Case Scenario.