Archive for January 2009
When I was young and in elementary school, I became friends with this one kid in my class. We would hang out during recess on the playground and generally have a good time, swaying on the monkey bars, or climbing up the slide. Making friends was never my strength. It seemed like whenever I did, they usually ended up moving out later the same year. And so having any friend seemed important. Eventually this kid became my best friend.
Things were great until one day when we were joined by a third. His name was also Jeff. But we called him Jeff D. To all in my class, I was Jeff C.*
The day that Jeff D. came to play was a day filled with darkness and loathing. It wasn’t merely because he had the same name as me. It was because the day he joined us on the playground, he claimed that my best friend was his best friend. I looked to my best friend for affirmation of our special friendship, but never received any. Instead, my best friend stood silently between us, possibly weighing our strengths and weaknesses against each other. The playground became Jeff D.’s and my Colosseum, and we fought like unconscionable gladiators for the prize. Each day, the three of us would head out to the playground, where Jeff D. and I would display our strength, dexterity and wisdom through made-up games and contests. We would climb something not meant to be climbed, quiz each other on our mastery of 3rd grade math and history, leap from the swings, and anything else we could think of. In these contests, Jeff D. and I were nearly equals. It was like battling a twisted mirror version of myself. His mastery of science was great, but my vast knowledge of dinosaurs was comparable. He was a fan of Star Trek. I was a fan of Star Wars. Neither of us were particularly adept at the monkey bars. Yet, as the year progressed, I felt my best friend slipping out of my grasp.
But it didn’t matter. Later that year, my best friend rejected us both by skipping ahead a grade and leaving us behind. I didn’t see him very much after that. I don’t even remember his name anymore.
(*There was also a Jeff S. in my grade, but he was built like a twig, and frail, and didn't play on the playground like the rest of us, because playing on the playground meant the probability of a horrible death involving the swings or the rope ladder.)
Dear Sir or Madame,
Hello, my name is Jeff. More likely than not, you do not know me. I work at one of the businesses housed in your building. Before you confront coworkers or random people standing at the fridge, know that it was I that used your ranch dressing yesterday. I had brought a delicious set of leftovers from home. They were buffalo chicken fajitas, quite spicy, and as you may or may not know, nothing goes better with the buffalo chicken/hot sauce flavor than a rich, palatable complement of ranch dressing. Please try to understand. I saw it in the fridge of the building’s break room. I did not intend to use too much, and yet there was not much in the bottle to begin with.
After yesterday’s fajitas, I couldn’t bear to leave so little left and so, today for lunch, used the rest of the ranch in the bottle to dress a very naked plate of lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers.
After that, it did not seem proper to return an empty bottle of ranch to the fridge, so I took the liberty of disposing it for you. I hope you don’t mind.
As for compensating you for the loss… well, I fear that that is impractical. If I replace the ranch there is a great chance some other desperate soul will take it before you have an opportunity to use it yourself, and thus the cycle will continue. I’m sure you see reason in this. If not, my apologies. It was a crime of necessity. Have you seen Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables? Think of me as Jean Valjean. Really. The fajitas, while pleasant, are unworthy without ranch.
Farewell, and may you write your name on the ranch dressing next time, so that I may know to whom I should address a note such as this in the future.
With a New Year comes the big question on everyone’s mind, “what are my resolutions?” It turns up in conversation, in thought… it seems inescapable.
It was while pondering my New Year’s resolutions for 2009 that I considered my 2008 resolutions. What had I accomplished in 2008? I asked my wife, Shannon, the question. “Ummm,” she said. “You changed your major. You… didn’t get a divorce.” I would like to point out that our marriage is not on the rocks. “You got a portfolio together,” she says last, and then ducks into the bathroom. That’s all she’s got. I admit it’s more than I had. Perhaps the only accomplishment I could think of is that I didn’t die. 2008 apparently was not a banner year.
I wanted to find my 2008 resolutions to see how well I did, but I couldn’t think where they might be.
Then it occurred to me that I never made them. I couldn’t decide which was more depressing: to have accomplished no resolutions, or to never have had them at all. I am either a ship without a sail, or a ship without a rudder. Or maybe I’m a ship without a crew. Ship without an anchor? Or maybe not having resolutions makes me a canoe. Regardless of which way I fit into the ship-in-the-ocean-equals-a-life-with-goals metaphor, I feel the year without any resolutions or goals weighs on my soul, like a bowling ball on the chest.
To revive my crushed spirit, I have made a list of 2008 resolutions. Not 2009 resolutions. This is a special list of goals. A list where I accomplish everything, I set out to do. I call them my retro-resolutions. If 2008 was a disappointing year, I invite you to do the same.
My 2008 Retro-Resolutions
1. Start a blog.
2. Change majors again.
3. Don’t get a divorce (This wasn’t hard).
4. Miss an airline flight due to illness.
— a. Vomit more than once.
5. Forget own Social Security Number for about a week.
6. Be rejected from a University program.
7. Spend more time with the TV than is natural.
8. Start several books, but never finish.
— a. This may require more time with the TV.
— b. For maximum effect, borrow several books from the library all at once and begin reading simultaneously.
9. Let the guitar get dustier with disuse.
— a. Again more time with the TV.
10. Get worse at drawing.
— a. No TV required.
— b. Consider quitting forever.
— c. Keep on drawing and getting worse, you masochist.
11. Join a flag football team.
— a. Hope you learn to laugh at yourself again.
— b. Hope your teammates laugh with you.
— c. Remember that one win is better than no wins.
— d. Stop crying.
12. Gain more weight than you want to.
— a. Hope something good is on TV, couch potato.
— b. Remember that health food is for sissy-faces.
— c. The number on the scale means nothing.
13. Don’t die.