Thursday, October 25, 2007

Advice to my Boy

This is by no means definitive, but just a few loose tidbits. Maybe a list. Of like 15. 15's a good number.

By the way, you can't make numbers possessive. It's bad English.

15. Commitment. There are many things that will distract you from your commitments, whether it's commitment to another person, to your job, or to your passions. There are always temptations to do something or someone else, but the important thing is to remember that when you made your commitment to someone or something, you have to try with every fiber in your body to uphold that commitment. Anyone can make promises and attempts, but when you make a commitment, you have to try your best to keep it.

14. Excuses. Don't make them. There are always reasons why you're late, why you're stuck in a job you don't like, why you're not getting the results you want. But they are reasons, not excuses. Own up to your faults, and next time around, try to work around them or accommodate them. Making excuses may fool many people, but never yourself. The only way to make progress is to accept your reasons and try to understand why something happened, even though answers may not materialize.

13. Lies. I can't lie, so I generally try to keep out of trouble to avoid having to lie. Doesn't always work, but I do know that lies are like pink dinosaurs. One you produce one, they're hard to hide, eager to surface, and they will eat at you. If you use a bigger lie to cover it up, then it's just a bigger pink dinosaur. And usually people don't like it when you produce a pink dinosaur to them.

12. Monogamy. It can be hard sometimes, when you're holding a perfectly wonderful gumball in your hand when you find yourself in the middle of a candy store. Maybe not the best metaphor, but certainly the imagery is sound. Having multiple girlfriends or wanting to cheat on your girlfriend or wife isn't hard. It doesn't denote manliness if you have more than one woman, it just means that you're too weak to commit. Any idiot can have three girlfriends, but only a real man can have a partner he loves exclusively.

11. Pride. Be proud of what you do, and who you are. If you start out doing the most menial, stupid job ever existed, then own that position and do the best you can. Whether it be an art project for a class you hate, or even sweeping the floor, everything you do reflects on you as a person. Taking pride in your tasks will often go unnoticed, but once in a while, it'll pay off.

10. The Hard Way. The right thing to do and the easy thing to do are almost never the same. Nothing that is easy ever has any real meaning. Shortcuts cost. Freeways are shortcuts. Microwave food are shortcuts. Emails are shortcuts. TV is a shortcut. They will exist amongst us, but we have to know that we'll miss out on the scenic views, the restaurant food, the human contact, and the joy of socialization when you take a shortcut. Of course, this applies for bigger things like responsibilities and tasks. Shortcuts can be taken, but approach with caution.

9. Feed your Brain. Be curious. Ask questions. Understand as much as you can. Learn everything, because you'll only be smarter and wiser. If you're not constantly learning something new, then what's the use of your brain if it only tells your body how to function? How could you ever find out your true potential?

8. Power is everything. Only if you know how to use it. You will find that you will be more powerful than others at many points in your life. Maybe you're the biggest kid in class. Or the manager of your workplace. Or the father of your children. It feels great to be in power, because it means control, and you can make people do what you want when you have power. But to truly utilize power in a responsible way is to empower others and to help others. Suppressing others is easy, but making people feel powerful in their own capacity is true power.

7. Enjoy the simple things. I like the way felt ink writes on white paper. I like the potential of that. I like showers, and how they cleanse the dirt and the day off, like a big reset button. I like the sound of children's laughter, and how it originates from a truly happy place. I like snow. How it floats, how it cruches beneath your shoes, how it melts on your tongue. Find the simple things in your life and never forget how the simple things are the things that satisfy your soul.

6. Judging others. Don't do it. You're usually wrong. I know I am. Be aware of who the people are, and what they're capable of, but then just leave it at that. Putting people in categories may seem like a simple solution to understanding them, but nothing is ever absolute. Be wary of people who judge and generalize people - the ignorant are not worthy of your time. Because they won't take the time to try to understand.

5. Life. Life is precious. Every life has been invested with love in some form or another, and every life is important. From that ant to that soldier on the other side, every living thing deserves a fair chance in this world. Not your place to decide it's not.

4. Money. There's never enough to get by, and when you have more, it's still not enough. But the wise will know that money is just currency. It's just paper and metal. Don't go chasing that mighty dollar, because money doesn't buy important things like time, love, and happiness.

3. Women. You know when you've found that perfect girl? When you can share you ambitions and fears, your insecurities and your strengths, your very core of your being with her, and she doesn't judge you for it. Likewise, she can do the same for you. And also, when there's a balance of control between the both of you, whereby choices have to be discussed and weighed, discussions are plentiful, and compromises are made by both of you. When you turn off the romance and lust, there's still your best friend staring back at you when you wake up in the morning. Beauty fades, bodies sag, but conversations can only get better once you've found that special someone.

2. Swearing. I do a lot of it, and it isn't necessarily a terrible thing. It's just language. But swearing does make a person seem unintelligent and angry. Nobody ever swears gracefully. And the more a person swears, the less meaning it has, which is really something you ever want to do - talk with no meaning derived from it. Attentions will perk up for the wrong reason when you swear, and then they will fade because swear words ultimately have no meaning other than anger. And anger isn't attractive.

1. Listening. Shut up and listen. It will do you a world of good when you realize that you don't know everything, and the sooner you realize that and take the time to absorb what the world has to offer, the more enlightened you will be. Nobody ever got smarter by talking.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

First for Everything

This is a tad overdue, but nonetheless worth mentioning because it was such a wonderful experience.

So part of my unofficial duty as a Dad is to ensure that my family gets new experiences, explore new possibilities and the like. Even though I talked about it from time to time, we decided to go ice skating. We had attempted to go once before, but that time the rink was closed off to practice or meets or something or another, so we did miniature golf instead, which is hardly the same thing. And then last Friday, a last minute peek at the rink schedule showed that every Friday was open for public skate - except the current Friday. But Sunday was looking good, the rink in Kirkland was open, which was a hell of a lot closer than the other rinks. And this was a ice skating rink, not a roller rink in Everett that we tried to substitute but ended up not finding.

So on Sunday, we paid 31 bucks (more expensive than my basic math had estimated) and got everyone in skates. Alex went with his Mommy and I took Zoe, and it took seriously less than 2 minutes for her to start panicking and crying. She told me she was afraid and didn't want to skate anymore. Of course, I was trying to keep her calm and focused on the other kids who were seemingly have effortless fun, but she was too focused on the fear to even give it a chance. She wouldn't even budge with me to get off the ice. Seriously took us five minutes to move a few feet to the next exit off the ice, and she had simply given up. I thought, well, that's that. So much for skating. It took my wife and Alex about 20 minutes to go around the rink once, grip by grip along the wall, but when they made it back I was happy to trade off. Alex was a little more ambitious, despite falling a number of times - he was game for more. At first I was holding the wall too, because I had only skated maybe twice in the rink that I remember, maybe just once even. Anyhow, we inched we way along the wall too, with me catching him numerous times before he hit the ground. I liked it when he said, "Thank you for holding my hand, Daddy" after a near-spill.

Anyhow, after a while I got the hang of it, realizing that the wall was a crutch and really, you need to just convince yourself that falling isn't that bad. You just gotta go for it and push ahead. So I got relatively good at it for a newbie, so I was able to hold both Alex's hands and skate slowly. Zoe garnered up her courage and she went on the ice again, and she had a ball. I catered to her princess aspirations and hummed a ballet type song, and she just had fun. She fell once and I came tumbling after, and to avoid slicing off some fingers I had to fling myself over her and land on my knee. But we laughed it off and went on. It was really a nice time, one of those moments that I want to store in my memory for a long, long time.


So work's been work, and drama mounts, gets boring, and mounts again. Well, today out of the blue, I was taunted good naturedly about my work ethic. I was always doing something, either sorting or cleaning or doing something that was related to my department. They compared me to another worker, who did the same thing except she really did a lot of odd things that weren't in her department, mostly just to ward off boredom and keep busy. Anyhow, these guys like to talk and joke around about women and sex, and also they like to text message. Pretty stupid things. Now anyone who knows me knows that I like to joke about sex, but not necessarily brag about it or be rude about it, which is what my co-workers do. They do it within a lot of people's earshot, and they talk about conquests and stupid shit. I generally stay out of it because I don't want to be associated with a sexual harassment lawsuit, but also because I do find it a bit degrading.

Point is, I kinda had the last laugh because my new boss came up to me and asked if I wanted to join the company as a full time employee, instead of a contractor. She said that she's seen me working hard, so she'd like me on the team. This was a little bittersweet for me because yeah, it was acceptance which I like, but at the same time, it was still a job that I took on just to wait till something better comes along. I'll probably apply for the position anyway, and see what happens. The pay bump that my co-worker suggested is lackluster, but I'll see what I can get away with, I suppose.