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The Fisher of Stories


(Hey y’all. This little thing is called Memoir Monday, and I’d be thrilled if you gave it a shot. Just jot down a story about yourself, grab my code down there, and I’ll link you up to be read by all my wonderful blog buddies. The only rule? It has to be true. I am personally doing what I can to help cure your case of the Mondays. Thanks for playing along!)image
The beauty of the setting is quite hard to miss. The crystal clear water flows quickly over the tops of the now useless dam, gather speed and air, turning into a white foam that crashes into the water about 10 feet from where it started. It continues its journey downstream unabated, with the exception being the 50 or so people that are gathered here to cool themselves from the hot summer sun.
My brothers are up on top of the dam first. Instead of testing the depth of the water by standing in the pool, they simply go with their gut, which I fear will get them killed one day. They immediately do backflips into the water, earning them the respect and admiration of those too afraid to attempt such an endeavor. They emerge from the water, neither of them skewered by a rogue pipe, no bones broken, and nothing but smiles on their faces.
As usual, I stand and watch.
The day wore on, and I finally found myself on top of the dam with them, looking over the edge, knowing that gravity treats me differently than it does them, knowing I’ll go deeper into the water, knowing there are massive boulders just below the surface of the water, and knowing that death waits for me at the base of the jump. They do their backflips, they land in the water, and they surface yet again, only this time they are yelling at me to jump.
“Do it!” “Travis, just do it. It’s fine.””DO IT!”
As I look around, I see my audience has grown. Instead of my two brothers and their friends egging me on, I now have about 20 people interested in the fat guy trying to get the moxie to jump. The person beside me on the dam says, “Hey man, just don’t think about it.” I replied with, “I’ve been thinking about it for the last hour, that’s the problem.” Most of the people aren’t concerned with my safety, they just want to be assured that I won’t splash all of the water out of the creek.
My toes are at the edge now, the water rushing over them, and I decide once again that I’m not going to do this. I backed away, much to the disappointment of my brothers, their friends, and the crowd. Then, something inside of me clicked. I took a step, I pushed off, and I was free.
There are few feelings in the world like hanging in the air. I was there for less than a second, but in that time I shed my 100+ extra pounds, I got rid of my fear of heights, I set aside the concern for those boulders or that lone, sharpened pipe, and I just was
My toes went in, nothing happened. Shortly after, I was on the bottom of the creek, knees bent at a soft angle, suspended in the water. “Let ’em worry,” I thought. Finally I pushed to the surface. There were no cheers, there were only cursory glances to make sure the water was all still intact, as well as my limbs.
Then came the wall. The wall was part of the dam that was still working. It had cracks and crevices that provided hand holds for people much thinner than me to climb to the top so they could jump off again. It looked impossible. However, after watching a particularly chunky 10 year old work their way to the top, I decided to give it a try.
I’m sure there were people watching to see if I would fail, after all, it’s not every day you see a 300 pound man try to scale a rock wall. It took a minute, but I finally got a foot into a hold, then a hand, and I levered myself up into a standing position. From there it was a matter of finding cracks big enough for my hands and feet. At last I was near the top, the only thing left was the hardest part. I had to use my upper body strength to throw my entire body over the edge. I steeled myself for a fall and went for it.
I made it.
Then I jumped off again.
Then I climbed back up the wall, cut my foot, and jumped off again.
I must have climbed and jumped at least 10 times.
I beat the wall. Twice.
What can you beat this week?
Other Jumps Off The Memory Banks This Week. (GO READ THEM!)
Angel’s Memoir Monday.
Madmother’s Memoir Monday: The Fighting Spirit.
Daffy’s Memoir Monday: Oh Dear God.
Proud Mom’s Memoir Monday: Like A Rock.It was a hot, humid day with a high of about 95, heat index somewhere around the 200 degree mark. I was wearing a black shirt and khakis, my boxers with the ace of spades on them, Under Armour socks and black shoes. It was about 12:35 when I arrived.

How do I remember all of this so well?

It just happened. Less than an hour ago, I was in a stand-off situation so intense that there were literally three people watching to see what would happen. Let me recount the hour…Jack Bauer style.

12:35: I enter the restaurant I’ve seen the last couple of days with high hopes. The sign out front says “Noon Buffet” and that excites me greatly. My tummy rumbling in anticipation, I get a plate and examine the buffet.

12:40: My plate loaded down with chicken and dumplings, roast beef, potatoes and gravy, and sausage with peppers and onions, I make my way to a table, where I order ice water to drink.

12:41: Halfway through my meal. Done with my ice water.

12:43: I finish the first plate and head back to the buffet for more. Laden with food and a salad* I come back to the table. The waitress still has not refilled my ice water. This could be a problem.

12:50: Second round under my belt, I swig the last of my 3rd glass of ice water and head back to the buffet for a hot roll. They are out.

12:55: After waiting patiently for 5 minutes for more rolls to be put out, I ask someone about them. “Oh, they’re almost ready.” Then the same waitress goes to the table across from me and says, “Oh, the soup for the buffet is almost ready.” The future soup eater is a 75 year old woman, we’ll call her Madge, and we trade glances. With this cursory look, a bond is formed between us. We are going to wait it out, siege style.

1:10: Still no hot rolls or soup. Things are getting intense. Every couple of minutes a waitress comes by and tells us both that they are “almost ready.” Madge is fading fast, having already eaten some fruit, potato salad, and cottage cheese. I keep giving her “Stay strong,” glances, but time is running out.

1:20: The waitress goes by Madge’s table and informs her that the soup has just had cornstarch added and should be out momentarily. Madge caved. The waitress silently rejoiced over this, then directed Madge to the buffet to get some chicken and dumplings instead of the soup. Madge was out, y’all, and I was scared.

1:25: Madge has paid her bill and left. I’ve asked 8 different people about hot rolls, and I think only 3 of those people actually were in the restaurant’s employ. I was quickly losing strength in this battle. I had the buffet held hostage, for I was continuing to eat stuff from it, costing the eatery literally tens of dollars in damage. They knew they had to get something out, so they offered me a biscuit. I said fine. As I sat back down, I noticed Madge’s soup had been put out, steaming in its irony.

1:30: A waitress comes by to refill my water glass for the 45th time. I’m so full I can barely see straight. I’m leaking water out of my pores. I’ve been stretched to the breaking point. She asks if I’ve had my biscuit, and I say no. She points to the buffet and says, “They’re right there, honey.” I rose from the table and began the 10 step walk to the buffet.

1:35: I reach the buffet.

1:40: I reach my table, plate loaded down with victory. I covered that victory with butter and honey, and I ate it. I ate it so good.

*salad: n-lettuce, cheese, ranch dressing

image Victory is mine. Also high blood sugar.
I want to preface this by saying that if you read this, and you say, “Wow, what a douche, he needs to realize…(insert idiotic thing I probably addressed here).” then you are who this letter is for. If you read this and say, “You know what? He’s right, I have this problem,” then you are also who this letter is for. If you read this and can genuinely say that you’ve never done any of these things, then you’re cool, and I like you. But don’t ruin it by sticking up for these other clowns.

Dear Parents,

My wife and I don’t have any children.

We’ve tried, but to no avail. We’re currently seeing doctors for this, and we hope to be closer to being pregnant before the end of the year.

So when you see us for the first time in a long time, and you say, “Hey! Why don’t y’all have kids yet?!” don’t be upset if we’re a little curt with our reply. We’ve heard this hundreds of times, and we’re a bit sick of it.

Also, to you idiots who tell people, “Just relax and stop thinking about it, you’ll have tons of kids!” I really wish you’d fall off the face of the earth. Seriously? Have you had sex? Could you be any more relaxed afterwards? If you’re not, then you’re doing it wrong, and maybe I should be giving YOU advice. So shut up with your self-help bullcrap mumbo jumbo, okay?

This includes any “tips” that you have for us getting pregnant. No, we don’t want to drink a bunch of Robitussin before sex. We also don’t want to have sex at 10:34 on the second Tuesday of the month when the full moon has risen just past Orion and Venus is slightly visible in the West. 10:34 is past our bed time.

Also, to those who say, “Why don’t you adopt? You’ll have six kids right after, I knew these people…” While this is marginally better than the verbal crap that the first group of people spew, it is still stupid. Is this a medically documented experiment? Is there stone cold proof in books, on the internet, or in a pamphlet somewhere in a fertility clinic? No? I thought so.

For the record, we plan on adopting if this fertility experience doesn’t go well. If we adopt and then get pregnant, I invite all of you who have told us this would happen to come back and rub it in my face. You can change a diaper while you’re here.

And to all you people who are now saying “This guy is a douche. We’re just trying to help.” keep reading. I know you’re trying to help. I know that if you don’t open your mouth and say something that your brain is going to hurt, because all you really want to do is help. So here is a suggestion. Don’t try to help. Just wish us luck or change the subject. Don’t worry about trying to make us feel better.

Also, don’t tell us that we’re so lucky we don’t have kids. That’s probably the dumbest thing you could possibly say. “Oh, you guys are SO lucky. I have two kids, and I love them, but I wish I could go back to not having kids and enjoy being married again.” What? You hate your life? We don’t, and telling us we really don’t want something that we, in fact, really do, just pisses us off more. So please shut up.

The second thing I have to talk about is a little more personal, because it happens to us a lot.

Just because we don’t have kids doesn’t mean we aren’t capable of holding a baby, changing a diaper, feeding, or just all around in general taking care of a baby.

I had a situation like this happen just two days ago, and I’m still upset and offended. Of course, no one cares, because Travis is the big funny guy who gets over stuff quick, so there’s no need to apologize.

We are capable of holding your child. I’m a pretty strong guy with really quick reflexes. We can handle spit up, pee pee, poop, and all those other nasty things that babies do. I have enough common sense to know when to stop bouncing them around on my knee, and I know when to dip their binky in Nyquil to get them to sleep. What? You can’t do that? *gasp* You’re kidding! See? I know you can’t do that. And I never would.

Also, as much as I talk about throat chopping, I’m not going to actually throat chop your baby. I’m saving that as a special experience between me and my child, and I’m not going to waste any good ones on yours. See? Again, I know I can’t throat chop a baby. I’m making fun of you now, just in case you didn’t realize it. I’m not going to hurt your child.

In fact, because I don’t have children of my own, it makes me a lot more careful with your baby. I drive 30 MPH slower when I have my niece in the car, and I for sure get more mad at idiot drivers.

So the next time I offer to hold your child and you look around nervously before handing them over, this letter is for you. If you look at me or my wife and say, “Do you know how to mix feed and change diapers?” This letter is for you. We’re cool. You can trust us. We aren’t going to drop little Junior, and we aren’t going to somehow lose him in a game of high-stakes poker where we’ve just lost our house and car.

If this letter in any way offended you, it was probably aimed at you. I hope maybe you can see through the fact that I used ridiculous metaphors and strong words and see that all I really want you to do is look at it through our side.

Yes, we will be defensive about our child(ren). But we won’t make others feel bad because they don’t have any yet, and we won’t make them feel inadequate when they want to hold or babysit our child(ren). All we’re asking is that you extend that same simple courtesy towards us, and keep your advice and “tips on getting pregnant” to yourselves.


The Sloats

(Hey y’all. This little thing is called Memoir Monday, and I’d be thrilled if you gave it a shot. Just jot down a story about yourself, grab my code down there, and I’ll link you up to be read by all my wonderful blog buddies. The only rule? It has to be true. I am personally doing what I can to help cure your case of the Mondays. Thanks for playing along!)image
You guys all remember the first time I got slapped, right? 
No? Well then click that first sentence and go read it.
This is a story about the second time I got slapped. The circumstances were a bit different, but it all boiled down to the same result, which is something I absolutely hated. Getting slapped. Seriously y’all, it makes me want to cry, then it makes me want to punch babies.
When I was 16, I had a car, I had a girlfriend, I still had a dad, I was doing well in school, and I was in my physical prime. I was a beast. A sexy beast. I was living the life.
The car? A 1997 Ford Escort, silver, automatic, and 4 door. It dripped sexy.
Seriously, it wasn’t a showy car, but it was way more dependable than your 1972 Camaro that you always had “in the shop.”
I loved my car. Mostly because I’d been driving a 1992 Ford Aerostar for the last 6 months. I dare you to try to look cool in a minivan. And no, Soccer Mom, you DON’T look cool. I don’t care if it is a hybrid that has 6 DVD players so you don’t have to have any interaction with your children while you’re driving with one hand and texting with another as you barrel down the highway at 98 miles an hour trying to get little Timothy to practice early so hopefully coach won’t make him wear the girls uniform again which makes your husband call his sexuality into question.
Yay Spongebob!
I drove my car pretty carefully for the most part. I didn’t have a cell phone then, so for the most part my hands were on the wheel. Not BOTH hands. That’s just not cool. One hand was usually on the radio, the gear shift, or taking part in my most recently discovered favorite past time, HAND HOLDING WITH THE GIRL FRIEND.
Seriously, did it get any better?
I mean, it did. It got WAY better. But for sure, the first time you held hands with someone, wasn’t that the bees knees?
Anyway, I’m driving through a residential neighborhood, one hand on the wheel, one hand in the hand of the lady friend, and we were talking. I briefly took my eyes off the road, and then it happened.
I curbed the car. I immediately did the only useful thing I could think of at the time. I yelled.
The car went quiet for about 2 seconds, then…
I’d been slapped. In the face. Hard. WHILE I WAS DRIVING.
I’m not real sure what happened after that, but I think she laughed about it. I did not laugh about it. You know that moment you have in a relationship where you think, “This might not be working out as well as I thought…”
We wound up dating for another year or so, and as far as first girlfriends go, it really wasn’t bad.
I just made sure to not cuss around her ever again.
Other Trips Down Memory Lane This Week: (GO READ THEM)
Erin’s Memoir Monday: My Life In France, or, The Summer I Came Of Age.
Barb’s Memoir Monday.
Ed’s Memoir Monday: My EXP Had More Headjobs Than Me.

Madmother’s Memoir Monday: A Slap In Time.

GB’s Memoir Monday: Probably The Suckiest Thing You’ll Read Today.

I don’t normally repost stuff. However, I was looking through my archives and this little conversation made me start laughing all over again. Here it is in all its glory, and its just a sample of the many weird conversations Kid Funk and I have had over the years.Kid Funk: If Morgan Freeman and Sam L Jackson were preachers, Freeman preaching on Heaven and salvation and Jackson preaching on damnation, wouldn’t a soul go to Hell. Heaven would be crowded.Me: I’m very much inclined to believe that.KF: For sure Freeman would make you believe and Jackson could scare the devil right out of you. Matter of fact, I might write a letter to someone, see if we can’t match them up in a feel good exorcism movie.Me. Duuuuuuuude, and if we could just get Billy Graham in the movie and just have him nod and point a few times. That’s icing on the cake. I’d make a chocolate cake and vanilla icing reference, but geez.KF: People would come out of the theater saved and washed with the blood of the Lamb, be in church the next Sunday, singin Go, Tell It On The Mountain.Me: The world would be turned into one great big Pentecostal church service. People would still be yellin at each other, but it’d be spirit filled yellin.KF: “Imma go get saved again!”Me: Wait. What about the Jews? They wouldn’t even go see it. Heck, they were at the cross, and they STILL don’t really believe.KF: Yeah… Somethin about God’s people… I don’t know.Me: Maybe if Seth Rogen got saved…KF: Ha.KF: If anyone could convert a Jew, it’d be Freeman and Jackson.Me: I’M TIRED OF ALL THESE MOTHER LOVIN UNSAVED PEOPLE ON THIS MOTHER LOVIN PLANET!Me: He’d have to say lovin, see. Because of the whole not being able to curse. Really, I’d consider him a black Paul. Paul had trouble with cursing.KF: It’s the message that counts.Me: That’s right. Paul wrote half the friggin New Testament. I’m sure he let a “damn” or somethin slip when he made a typo. I mean, it’s the Bible. You can’t have typos.imageEven though Johnny had been reprimanded several times for not using a Number 2, he just wouldn’t give up his Number 1 Pencil.(Hey y’all. This little thing is called Memoir Monday, and I’d be thrilled if you gave it a shot. Just jot down a story about yourself, grab my code down there, and I’ll link you up to be read by all my wonderful blog buddies. The only rule? It has to be true. I am personally doing what I can to help cure your case of the Mondays. Thanks for playing along!)image
I’ve always had this sort of uncanny accidental accuracy when it comes to throwing things. If you gave me a baseball and set me in a field full of babies and told me to hit one of them with the ball, I will somehow miss all the babies completely, and instead land the ball squarely on the base of the Eiffel Towel, triggering a hairline fracture that will cause it to come crashing to the ground, killing approximately 5,345 people.
Tell me NOT to hit a baby, I would undoubtedly try to set the ball down as gently as possible, the ball would slip from my hands, bounce off of a trampoline and would somehow strike each child in the field not only in the head, but in the soft part of the head, thus giving each of them permanent brain damage, and giving me the opportunity to spend the rest of my life in prison where I will be violently gang raped by “The Sisters.” And no, I won’t be able to come up with a fancy line about how sharp instruments trigger a bite reflex, thus saving my virginity.
Allow me to give you a few examples.
When I was about 10, I was involved in a game of “jarts” (lawn darts) with my younger brother at my grandparents house, only we were playing with a twist. The twist was that in order for you to successfully score a point, you had to make sure the jart cleared my grandfather’s Buick Regal. Oh. And you had to make the throw standing about 4 feet from the car. Oh. And no overhand throws. So I wound up, I let it fly, and that jart flew right at the WINDOW of my grandfather’s beloved car. Instead of crashing through the window, the jart hit the metal trim just above it, denting it rather badly, and fell to the ground.
imageI pissed myself, y’all. Scary accuracy.
Then there was the time I decided I liked a girl in my second grade class. She was beautiful, and her name was Lacy. I was going to marry Lacy, all I had to do was figure out a way to propose. I thought long and hard about it, and then I decided that the best way to propose would be to hurl rocks at her whilst she was swinging during recess. I got a neat little pile of rocks, David style, and set up camp by the monkey bars. I turned loose the first rock, it sailed high into the air, looked a little long, then caught her square in the temple as she was swinging up into the air. This caused her to turn loose of the chains on the swing, which caused her to complete a series of rather astonishing in-air acrobatics before finally coming to a rest about 10 feet from the swing set.
I can’t really put into words the amount of trouble I got in for that. Also, she declined my proposal.
Then there was the time I decided to have a dirt clod fight with a kid in the 5th grade. We armed ourselves and went into positions, ducking, running slant routes, taking aim. I fired first, and with laser guided missile like accuracy, the clod found the kid’s head. Instead of exploding on impact the way dirt clods are SUPPOSED to do, this kid’s head immediately started gushing blood. Turns out, instead of a dirt clod, I’d armed myself with a really dirty rock.
It took a few stitches, but he’s fine now. Seriously. He only had to repeat 5th grade three times.
Fast forward to present day, which was actually about 3 months ago. I had just started playing tennis seriously, and I was ready to take on my youngest brothers, The Liar and The Youngest, in a doubles game in which Kid Funk would be my partner. The first set was over, Kid Funk and I victorious, and we were setting up for the second set, and The Youngest started talking crap. I took aim carefully, and I hit an incredible forehand…right into the eye of the The Liar, who had just stood up from looking at his phone. The eyeball, y’all. His cornea immediately filled with blood, and he had to be rushed to the ER, and to this day he claims he can’t see good out of that eye.
All I’m saying is, if you want it hit on accident, give me a call. If you gave me two lawn darts and told me NOT to hit anything in the Middle East for fear of starting war, you’d find Bin Laden two day’s later, dead on the ground with a jart sticking out of his femoral artery.
Other Walks Down Memory Lane. (GO READ THEM!)
Ally’s Memoir Monday.
Madmother’s Memoir Monday: Everyone Needs A Monty.

Ed’s Memoir Monday: The Time I Took Weed To School.

Kate’s Memoir Monday: Grown-Up Fail.

I started taekwondo last Thursday night.

I weigh 300 pounds.

Really, that should be the end of the post, and y’all should ideally be lying on the floor in fits of laughter that might actually cause you to have a small stroke, requiring a minimal hospital stay but no permanent damage to any speech patterns or facial muscles.

But I’m going to keep telling the story.

I walk in to a room approximately the size of a bathroom in a really small Wal-Mart. In this room are about 50 people, most of them 5 year olds who are busy kicking the dog crap out of each other in a sparring ring. Behind them are parents yelling things like, “HIT HIM, TOMMY! HIT HIM! HIT HIM!

They were a classy bunch.

I pay for my lessons and am issued a uniform.

Well, half of a uniform. You see, I’m still too fat for a top. So I’m given a pair of pants that would have made MC Hammer jealous, and…

…a 12 foot long belt that is as white as the driven snow.

12 feet long, y’all. 12 feet. I know because I measured it. All I’m sayin is, that belt could probably be helping with the oil spill in some way.


Go dip that belt in the gulf, bring it back to me, I now have a black belt AND some of the oil is out of the ocean! That’s win, win folks.

So I get out on the mat and very quickly become reacquainted with my toes. Stretching. So much stretching. Everyone is yelling and saying “YES SIR!” to this 15 year old kid yelling back at us in a voice that I’m sure he borrowed from Michael Clarke Duncan, telling us there needed to be more yes sirs. Then he moved on to knuckle push-ups, and I decided I really hated him.

Finally, the group of experienced kids (yes, I’m in a teenage class. Put the phone down, Chris Hansen, it’s legit) moved on to the sparring ring, and left me all alone with a 10 year old ginger kid. (phone. down.) This kid reminded me of the little boy from Calvin and Hobbes, only Calvin would have totally whipped this kid’s butt.

The instructor starts yelling at us to do stuff, mostly punching and kicking. Since this is exactly how I throw a fit when The Missus doesn’t give me my way, I was pretty good at it. The whole time, she’s yelling at us to yell when we throw a punch or kick, which I don’t really understand. I thought she was saying “KIA!” so at first it kind of went like this.

Instructor: KIA!
Me: ?? *clumsy punch
Instructor: KIA!
Me: Spectra! *okay punch
Instructor: KIA!
Me: Optima! *really in a groove punch
Instructor: KIA!
Me: Sorento! *this punch had the force of a Sorento driven at 50 MPH into a brick wall

We finally got it lined out when she explained that I didn’t have to yell out car models, all I had to do was make a noise. Apparently, when you strike someone, if you yell a lot, it scares them, causing them to run away and call their mother. Cussing and farting don’t count as noises though, so I was a tad disappointed, because I’m really good at both of those while doing any kind of strenuous exercise.

I DESTROYED this little kid when it came to yelling, y’all. He didn’t even know what to do. He just stared at me, and I’m pretty sure my yelling made him cry a little bit and he looked over at his mom a lot. Guess the instructor was right. I’m also pretty sure I could have taken him in a fight, and I was wicked  upset that I didn’t get to spar with him.

What? We’re the same color belt! It’s allowed!

We did a few combos, and although I wasn’t given a bow staff  or numchucks, I think I did alright. I didn’t split those pants, the belt only fell off twice, and I didn’t hear anyone laughing about the fat guy out on the mat scaring the piss out of a 10 year old. I  think it will get easier, and I think I’ll eventually have a lot of fun with it.

The taekwondo, y’all. Not the ginger kid.

*Editor’s note: Last night was my second night, and the ginger kid showed back up, so I guess I didn’t scare him off. It was MUCH easier, and I totally learned how to do a proper knife chop to the throat with a spinning knife chop turn. I’m like E. Honda, y’all!