Friday, November 25, 2011

ahtitan and the Deathly Hallows

So, I'm an idiot.

I started having a sore throat at the end of my shift on Tuesday, and when I woke up it was a full-blown cough/cold. Did I mention that this was Tuesday SIX WEEKS AGO? Still sick. It progressed through the usual pattern of voice loss, where I can imitate a predictable litany of voices as mine goes away: Charlie Brown, Eeyore, Emperor Palpatine, Movie Trailer Guy. During the second week, my uvula swelled so large that I went to the doctor to rule out strep or the plague.

After six weeks, though, it was getting a bit ridiculous. Following a rather violent coughing fit this morning, my wife wisely suggested that I "go to the fucking ER." I did. I have bronchitis and possibly am headed into pneumonia. They put me on three different meds, at least one of which is making my heart race.

Hopefully, they'll do their job before my chest explodes, and also before my show opens in two weeks.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Ick That Wouldn't Die

At least once a year, I get a cold. As my family will tell you, I'm a whiny baby when I'm sick. It wouldn't be so bad, though, if it didn't last forever. Colds are supposed to last about 7 days. Mine can go up to two months, often morphing into bronchitis, pneumonia, and often including an earache in my left ear that leaves me with one ear to hear with.

I am currently on day 11. My coughing is persistent and annoying, and I hope I can keep it at bay tomorrow when I'm seeing a live performance. Pocket full 'o Halls. My voice has been through the usual progression of impersonations I can only do when sick: Charlie Brown, Eeyore, Emperor Palpatine, Movie Voice Guy. Also, I'll occasionally wake up with a swollen uvula(dangly thing at the back of the throat) so bad that it obstructs my speech. Actually went to the doctor the other day because it was so bad.

Bitch bitch bitch.

Friday, September 9, 2011

A letter to my wife on our 20th anniversary

Twenty years.

It's a long damn time.

Especially when you consider that all of my previous relationships topped out at three months. In college, when the three-month mark rolled around, I'd wonder who was going to end it, me or her. But twenty years is something. Twenty years is an accomplishment.

It has been quite a ride. The beginning was exciting and new, like all relationships. Playing hooky from work together, or driving cross-country in the old Torino. But even though it had the excitement of a new thing, it immediately seemed...well, old. Not old and wrinkled and hard of hearing, but more like an old soul. Something that was timeless. Something that would last.

We knew almost instantly that we had to be together. Saying the magic words after only a week, moving in together after a month. Even though it was new, it was right. It had to be. It could not be stopped. We fit.

And yet. Twenty years. Many marriages don't last half that. Things go wrong. People bolt. You can't blame them, really. It's easy to leave when the going gets rough; to take your ball and go home. Try to find another game on another day. I suppose sometimes that's actually the right decision to make, for some. To get out of a bad situation before it becomes worse. It sure happens often enough. About half of all marriages end in divorce, and many of those are within the first 8 years, according to one study.

But not us. We've lasted. We've survived. Has it been easy? Hell, no. Marriage is hard. Kids are hard. Hell, kids are REAL hard. As wonderful, as fulfilling, as amazing as our kids are, they are the biggest source of stress in a marriage. Well, second to money, and we know how that's been going. Kids. Money. No money. Crappy jobs. Crappy towns. Crappy cars.

Yet, we persevere.

Why? Because it's worth it. Because for all the stress and trouble, there have been good times. We agree on all the important stuff. Politics. Religion. Child-raising. "How the world should be." We share humor. LOTS of humor. Without humor, I fear we would have gone much crazier by now. We share a world view. We see things in very much the same way.

And yes, you don't really "get" all the board games, and I don't really "get" the rabid interest in the Packers. But we, for the most part, "get" each other.

Lots of people assume that romance goes by the wayside when you've been married for a long time. Well, sure. It's not going to be like it was in the beginning. But that's because love grows and evolves over time. It deepens.

Movies tell us that love is all Valentine's and rainbows. It isn't. Love is being there. Love is knowing someone will be home when you get there. Love is dropping everything to go get McDonald's at midnight so you can watch Parking Wars together. Love is asking someone to look at something on your body that wasn't there last week. Love is having your youngest sleep between you on your one night off in weeks because she watched too scary a movie. Love is, indeed, having to say your sorry because you said something completely shitty during a fight last night because you knew the other person would still be there in the morning. Love is having the courage to admit that sometimes it's hard to see where the love is, exactly.

Marriage is a war sometimes. But usually, with the best of them, it's a war against the world, side by side with the only partner you can ever truly count on.

So we have survived. We have persevered. We have lasted. We have loved. And we will do so for another twenty years and beyond. Because we've got each other.

I love you.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

How I Became an Atheist

Oddly enough, the title of this post is a misnomer. EVERYONE is born an atheist. You have to be taught to believe in things; so actually, the title should be "How I went back to being an atheist." Semantics.

I was raised Catholic. My mother is half-Italian, so we were REALLY Catholic. We did not attend Catholic school, due to Mom's mistreatment by the nuns when she went. If you are Catholic and don't attend parochial school, you have to attend CCD, which is Sunday school, after church. I did so all the way through my Senior year in high school. For the most part, I enjoyed church and CCD, enjoyed doing well on the tests and reciting the Beatitudes, and was in fact an altar boy for several years during my youth. One time I rang the bells at the wrong moment during Mass. I'm sure you Catholics out there are cringing for me. Thank you for sharing my pain. I would give up stuff for lent, not eat meat on Fridays, and would put up a little altar to Mary during May. All in all, a good Catholic boy.

I'd say I was around 12 when the first kernel of doubt started creeping in. Only slightly, mind you, and only on the surface. It was at that time that it occurred to me that we were basing all our beliefs on a book, and that we could as easily based them on, say, the rules to Monopoly. Just a little oddity about belief that crept across my psyche during one particularly boring homily. Nothing serious; just a thought.

Flash forward to my Senior year. I started thinking seriously about becoming a priest. I had the good fortune of having a couple cool, young priests in my parish. This, combined with the fun and spiritual retreats we would go on in CCD, led me to believe that perhaps I should consider the priesthood. I wanted to make Catholicism more accessible to teenagers. I had other loves as well, though, and theatre won out as a life goal. And even though I was still a virgin, the thought of never having sex was kind of a deal-breaker.

Off I went to Indiana University. Ballentine Hall was, at the time, one of, if not the, largest classroom buildings on any campus. In front of this monstrosity one day, a crowd had gathered. They were listening to an evangelist named Mad Max.

Now, there were several different speakers that would come and talk to the students on the lawn. One couple talked about how she was a born-again virgin, and how Jesus had spoken to them at a Burger King. But Max Lynch was the most frequent visitor to campus. He was in his 50's or 60's, and had previously been a math professor at Indiana State who had been fired for teaching the bible in class. He wore tinted glasses, a baseball cap, and a buzz cut. Google him; there are pictures available.

Mad Max would stand there and scream at people that they were fornicators, ending his rants with the admonition that you would "BURN IN THE ETERNAL FIE-ERRRRRRRRR!" People would argue with him, and he would yell back. He said, after he got fired, that his wife asked him when he was going to get another job. He hit her with the bible, knocking her out, and yelling that he had a job spreading the word of God.

I had at this point stepped up my doubts and curiosity about my own faith. Why, for instance, was Catholicism correct over other Christian sects? What did Jesus really want from us? I would argue with him right along with the others. Once he was reduced to "speaking in tongues" at me, which showed me that I had gotten to him. A proud day, that.

Sure Max was ridiculous, and not necessarily representative of all Christians. But he got me thinking about my own beliefs. Ironically, thinking is the enemy of religion, so I'm guessing this was not his intent.

The next step from wondering about Catholics vs. Protestants was wondering about Christians vs. other religions. Why were we right, as opposed to the Jews, or Muslims, or Hindus, or Buddhists? Why, in fact, did there have to be anything up there at all?

It seems glib, but this was a pretty big step for the boy who would be priest. I began to examine my beliefs, and religion in general, and found there to be no evidence that any of it was true. In fact, there seemed to be lots of anecdotal evidence that it was all made up. The similarities between different religions all seemed to point to one thing: people are so afraid of death that they will make up stories to lessen that fear. Simple, really. Don't want to die? Make up stories about a guy who beat death.

Over the years, my thinking and reading on this subject became more frequent and intense, until at last there was nothing at all left of the faith I'd felt as a child. That's to be expected, really. Personally, I don't see how ANYONE can still believe in this stuff after being presented with the arguments against belief. Plus, religion tends to lead people to do all sorts of bad things in the name of their god, like fly planes into buildings or allow 6 million Jews to be exterminated. Religion isn't just ridiculous -- it's the enemy.

This is not meant to convince anyone or start a dialogue. I've wasted enough time arguing with Christians in my life to know that it never leads anywhere. This was only to put down how my journey went. I leave you with my favorite atheist quote:

“I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”
– Stephen Roberts

Thursday, March 31, 2011

This is a test

Just testing the new blogger droid. Nothing to see here. Go back to your homes.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.8

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I hate people

This should not come as a surprise to anyone who knows me IRL. Heck, the fact that I neglect my blog for months at a time should be an indicator. I like individuals, but people in general never cease to fail me.

I work at two different hotels. One of them has one of those courtyard-style pool areas that is surrounded by rooms. It is also surrounded by a tallish white picket fence that is locked during the hours that the pool is closed. The fence is chest/neck height, depending, so it would take some effort to scale it without causing yourself some pain or the fence some damage.

Yet. People do.

The other night I saw a guy headed to the pool wearing only trunks and carrying a towel. No dummy, I asked if he was headed to the pool. When he affirmed my deduction, I told him it was closed. "But I just want to sit in the hot tub for a while," he answered (the "hey asshole" was implied). I again told him that the pool was closed, and that I couldn't open it for him due to various legal and insurance reasons. He went off to his room, which was pool-side.

Not being an idiot, I waited a couple minutes, and then went to check. Sure enough, the prick and his lady-friend were in the effing hot tub.

"Sir! Come on! The gate was locked, and you had to climb the fence to get in! Get out of the hot tub."

They picked up their towels and made their way over to the fence where they'd set up chairs for access. I let them climb back over as punishment. All the while looking at me like I'M the asshole.

I just don't understand why they would think the rules don't apply to them, or that I would be dumb enough not to follow up, or that they were so special that they deserved special treatment. And I see this kind of thing all the time.

Maybe that's what I can blog about. There is certainly no shortage of jerks. Perhaps I'd be here more than once a quarter.