“Thwack!” goes my head, pummeling the van door.

“Thwack!” goes my head, pummeling the van door.

See bright spots of light. Can’t balance no more.

Closed out my phone call, “I love you. Uh, bye.”

Stumbled to my knees, my head hanging high.

 

Called my chum Em’ly, the reason I’m here

Coordinated as if drunk on beer.

“I’ll call you in ten,” she said and hung up,

so I wondered whether I was wrung up. 

 

Am I concussed? I had seen stars. And my

neck mashed. From whacking it hard and uh, high.

Big ol’ thwackin’! A painful a-whackin’!

I pray the world fades not to, uh, black, and

 

but if it does, at least I’d’ve learned… Not

much of anything. An accident turned

me into a grave. A silly way to

die. In future, I’ll be A-More-Aware-of-Surroundings Guy.

 

If I wanted a Boat

The boat I would get, if I wanted a boat, would be everything that I am not.

Carefree and easy and flexing completely, withstand wind and rain and hot,

Skating along atop cresting blue waves, easing through shifting tides…

 

The boat I would get, if I wanted a boat, would not take me for a ride,

but summon me near, caring not if I come, chuckling and holding the ropes.

The boat I would get, if I wanted a boat, would dash dreams in favor of hopes.

“You’ll never go far with that kind of boat”

But I’m already too far, too fast.

The boat I would get, if I wanted a boat, would be one that my soul cries would last.

 

Days turn to weeks turn to months turn to years,

Then one day my boat turns on me

And I’d be its ears.

And it be my eyes.

Together, we’d share a mouth.

 

We’d turn, heading down, past the capes with a frown

To the warmest of waters due south,

Under the bridges of eyes and sand ridges, I’d sweat hard, shoveling coal

And my boat would tell me, “You’re working too hard. Where are we trying to go?”

I’d poke my head up, consumed in the clouds, and not help but utter an, “oh.”

The Golden Calf and You

There’s a Jewish summer camp for adults. That sounds so fun. I get a scholarship because I volunteer with a Jewish youth group. The scholarship required an application. One question asked about my favorite Jewish teaching. This is what I wrote:

As a child in Hebrew school, I was the troublemaker. The kid who wouldn’t sit still, whose desk was separated from others by a distance just longer than his arms. Only on one day did I stop making trouble:

I had been scooting around the classroom on my belly when my teacher scratched the side of his nose, our signal for “You’re goofing off, Julian. Stop it.” I ignored it. He signaled for a second time. I ignored it again, because “What’s he gonna do?” Then, he began the story of The Golden Calf. I stopped scooting. I knew this one was going to matter the moment he began. See, The Golden Calf is about worship. It’s about how easy it is to make things sacred. It goes something like this:

“Once upon a time God gave Laws. The first one was “I’m God and that’s it.” Then, Moses, God’s go-between leaves his people alone for TEN MINUTES and they make this statue of a cow, made out of gold. And they were dancing and praying, saying it was their God. Moses got pissed and smashed it.”

Now, why does this matter? What can you learn?

  • You’re going to worship. A man locked in prison worships the sunrise he sees through the bars. Deprived of all your senses, you’ll still worship. Consciously choose what you worship, because you’ll act like it’s all that matters.
  • Physical objects are easily broken, so don’t make them into Gods. This one sounds obvious, but actually drove human history for a while. Did you know one reason Jews were successful was that they didn’t have physical Gods? If your God was a lump of wood or a rock or a statue, invaders could storm in, steal it, and subjugate your people easily… because they literally have your God! But the Jewish God wasn’t represented in idols. Also probably a good analogy for life: if you worship material goods (or money, say), you’ll be crushed whenever they’re broken. Worship ideals, however, like Honesty, Truth, Love, or Honor, and you’ll be much more resolute.
  • It’s easy to build Gods, even accidentally. A friend gifted me an obsidian stone a few months ago. I jokingly began referring to it as “Birdbrain, creator of the universe.” After a while, I noticed I started treating the rock with more respect. I began keeping it safe. Watch out for what you worship, because it’s easy to worship the wrong things. In this case, a stone. Stones are easy to stop worshipping. Hedonism? Codependence? Those are tough worships to drop.

Yo BTB! (Bearded Tomato Bisque) 

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Ingredients:
  • 7 tins Yogurt, in any flavor (Note: individually-wrapped tins of cottage cheese are also acceptable, but only if they have fruit on the bottom. For this meal, I used 4 yogurt, 3 cottage cheese.)
  • 1 can Campbell’s® Tomato Bisque
Instructions:
  1. Grow a beard.
  2. Eat 6 Yogurts.
  3. Remove lid from the Campbell’s® Tomato Bisque.
  4. Sip half the Campbell’s® Tomato Bisque.
  5. Eat the final Yogurt.
  6. Sip the rest of the Bisque.
  7. Fall asleep in your van.
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Campbell’s® Homestyle Chicken Noodle Soup

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Ingredients:

  • Can of Campbell’s® Homestyle Chicken Noodle Soup
  • Water
  • Soup Pot (I didn’t clean mine after making Campbell’s® Cream of Bacon Soup the day before, but a clean pot will do just fine.)
  • Spoon

Instructions:

  1. Mix soup + 1 can water
  2. Read back of can, where it says, “Stove: Heat, stirring occasionally.” Evernote Snapshot 20190316 212851.jpg
  3. Follow those instructions.
  4. Pour soup into the largest mug you can find. The noodles will remain behind.
  5. Add two ice cubes. Sip until gone.
  6. Transfer the noodles to the mug.
  7. Slurp until gone.

I asked her out, hoping she’d say no.

I asked her out, hoping she’d say no. Well, not hoping beforehand, but I was happier after her rejection than I would have been otherwise.

We were in the grocery store. She inspected a can of Campbell’s soup. She replaced the can it back and grabbed another. I asked, “Good read?”

“Not really,” she said.

I asked what she was looking for.

“Sugar,” she said. “It’s in everything.”

“Why?”

“I gave it up for Lent.”

“Do you always give something up for lent?”

“Yeah, it’s like a second shot at a New Year’s Resolution.”

I asked if she’d enjoy grabbing coffee. She said she has a boyfriend, “but it’s still nice to talk in the grocery store.”

Walking away, I celebrated. I hadn’t asked her out because I wanted to go on a date with her. I had asked her out because I decided to start dating again. Asking someone out is uncomfortable, so you’ve gotta hurdle it at your first opportunity.

Ample Protein 

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Ingredients:

Optional Pre-preparation Instructions:

0.1 Have obstructive sleep apnea.

0.2 Undergo maxillomandibular advancement surgery.

0.3 Wait until the second week after surgery, when you’re permitted to consume only liquids.

Necessary Instructions:

  1. Uncap an ample mealshake.
  2. Roll a paper towel into a tube, long-ways.
  3. Insert the tube into the Ample.2.jpeg
  4. Spread the tube into a funnel.
  5. Release a scoop of protein powder into the funnel.
  6. Shake the paper towel side-to-side until the powder all falls in.
  7. Add cold water to the Ample until it’s half-full.
  8. Recap the Ample and shake it vigorously in multiple positions.
  9. Return the Ample to upright and tap the bottle to settle the powder at the bottom.
  10. Open the Ample and fill it with water up to the top of the label.
  11. Recap the Ample and shake yourself vigorously in multiple positions.
  12. Drink and enjoy!

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(Optional final step: Use the Ample to swallow an antibiotic and two pain pills.)