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The Fisher of Stories



Probably don’t have any new readers here, and after checking stats it would appear that no one is reading these anyway, so here goes.

I’m doing a writing challenge where I write on thirty prompts in thirty days. Today is day four, and I’m supposed to list ten interesting facts about myself.

Much like day one, I can’t think of any real order to put these in, and as such, they’ll be in no particular order.

1. My wife and I have adopted three children — To this day, I have people look at Drake, our youngest, and say, “There is no way you can deny that one!” My wife and I just laugh, and my standard response is, “Well, I wasn’t in that part of the state at the time,” which is good and confusing, which is ideally what you want, calling into question the lineage of your children.

2. I am from a town called Okay — Seriously, that’s where I’m from, and it’s where I teach. Every now and again, you’ll see one of our school buses pop up on an Internet funny picture site, and they’ll say something like, “It’s not the best school, but it’s an Okay school.” I love my hometown, and I love it’s interesting name. Side note: the name it held before Okay was Rex.

3. I have been inside the White House and have taken a selfie with President Obama — I’m sure if you looked hard enough, you could find the blog about it, or the newspaper column about it, but the short version is this: My uncle was killed in Vietnam in a very heroic fashion. He was awarded the Purple Heart posthumously, but my grandmother lobbied for him to receive the Medal of Honor, and he was, two years after she died. My family was invited to the White House for the ceremony.

4. I have been on the Tyra Banks Show — Most of you probably know this, but in case you don’t, yeah, my wife and I were on the show. Basically we lied about me being a cheapskate, got an all-expense paid trip to NYC, appeared on the show, got snowed in for an extra night on Tyra’s dime, and pretty much had one of the more fun experiences of our lives.

5. I have a half-finished novel on my computer — I participated in NaNoWriMo a few years ago, got halfway through (25,000 words), then lost my flash drive. I found it two days later, but had already quit in my heart. It’s a sci-fi story where a man falls in love with an alien, but her dad is real angry about her being “trapped” on earth so he launches an interstellar war to get her back. It’s terrible, and no you can’t read it.

6. I hate macaroni and cheese — I do. I hate it. This one came from my wife, and she included, “You’re not an American,” as well. That’s just a lie, but I do hate elbow macaroni in anything, it doesn’t matter how much cheese and butter you put on it. I also hate popcorn, which is something else people can’t get a grasp on.

7. I have a Pomeranian named Fabulous and a rabbit named Big Pimpin’ — We also have another rabbit named Monica, and a Golden Retriever named Rick. I’ve had fish named Fatty, Doc, Brooklyn, and Irwin Linker. I like naming my pets unusual names, and it’s probably a blessing I’ve not had any children of my own, lest they be named MacBethenstein or something.

Big Pimpin’ and no, he’s not dead.

8. I won a dollar from the very first lottery ticket I ever bought — I was in Kentucky, I saw the machine, fed it a dollar, started scratching, and boom, won a dollar. I danced around and laughed and swore I’d never spend the dollar on anything, I’d keep it forever, and then ten seconds later fed it right back into the machine and lost it. As a gambler, I’m the worst. I’ve also never paid attention to the phrase “quit while you’re ahead.”

9. I own a Desert Eagle .50 Magnum pistol — I’ve named it Liam Beaston, and I love it. I’ve dreamed of owning one for a very long time, and last year I made a little extra money and was able to do it. I was terrified of shooting it the first time because I thought I’d knock myself out, but it went fine, and now I pretty much just like watching other people shoot it.

My actual gun. Isn’t he beautiful?

10. I have a signed photograph hanging in the lobby of OG&E — I have four of them, actually. I took a long-exposure picture of their plant one night, and about two years later, a representative got in touch with me and commissioned me to take more pictures, then, get this, they actually paid me actual money. I was both honored and flattered, and didn’t manage to screw it all up.image
There you have it. Ten interesting things about me. I’ll be back tomorrow with another prompt, and until then, I’m just going to focus on getting people to actually read this things. Love you guys.Most of you know me.You know I’m a big guy, jolly, quick to laugh, resilient, and hard to put in a bad mood.For those that know me very well, YOU know that as quick as I am to laugh, I’m almost as quick to cry. That’s right folks, I may or may not have the emotional hardwiring of a pre-pubescent girl about to start her first…well…ahem…THINGY.I am absolutely certain that this will come in handy should I ever pursue my dream job of being a character actor in a soap opera who always has someone close to him die. In the meantime though, it can be quiet inconvenient, as well as terrifying for those who don’t know me and see this big jowly face start to crumble and start leaking.I do know that ladies “love a sensitive guy,” but I’m pretty sure The Missus is tired of the fact that anytime we go and see a romantic movie, I’m the one who needs the tissues instead of her. So I really work on it in public places, such as movie theaters. The other night, we went to see The Vow, we stood in line for 25 minutes, joked with a cop about how stupid teenagers can be, and headed into a theater packed with 15 year old girls checking Facebook every two minutes and hoping to get a look at Channing Tatum’s backside (which they did).As an aside, I’m sick of getting shortchanged on the butt/boobs tradeoff in PG-13 movies. If I have to see all these butts, I should definitely be getting more than a side boob shot in a love-making scene. Call me old-fashioned, but that’s how I feel. Maybe I should email the MPAA.Anyway, we’re in the theater, the hormones are almost tangible, cloying the air like a bad perfume, and the movie gets sad. I did sort of a quick huff, you know what I’m talking about, that little intake of air when you’re trying not to cry. The Missus just stared at me, but I held strong.Now, I’ve told you all of that to tell you this.Meet Fabulous Sloat.
“Excuse me, I think I said no photographs.”Fabulous is my two pound Pomeranian.About three months ago, I looked at my wife and children and made a family decision with absolutely no input from anyone else. I said, “FAMILY!” That’s how I address them, I just yell FAMILY real loud. “FAMILY! We are going to get a dog today.” The kids didn’t know what to do, and The Missus just said, “You aren’t spending any money, we’re broke.” I didn’t really listen to her, because she’s started telling me that at least once every four hours. So we went forth, and we got a dog. I paid fifty bucks for her, which doesn’t bother me too much, but it turns out she’s been a shade more expensive than I anticipated.About a week after we got her, she took a flying kamikaze leap off of my recliner to try and attack the kids as they walked through the door. That resulted in this:
“I don’t need your sympathy. I also don’t need that camera in my face.”That set us back about fifty dollars. But that’s fine, for some reason, I love this dog. No idea why, because I haven’t truly loved a dog since my black lab Lizzie died.Fast forward to Sunday morning, a couple of days ago. Fabulous is walking down the hallway, sits down, and immediately starts yelping like someone is beating her with a bag of oranges. God-awful sounds, and heart wrenching at that. So I immediately called the vet and we start trying to find out what could be wrong. Of course the vet has no idea how to diagnose yelping over the phone, so I have to take her in. On a Sunday. For an emergency visit. Which is not cheap.Again, this little diva of a dog is costing me big.So I fix her up a little basket with a blanket to drive her over there in, and I take her inside the office, and the vet starts looking at her. She starts listing things that could be wrong, the last of which is “a neck injury.”Then…something dumb happened.The vet looks at me solemnly and says the following.

“If she’s ready to go home later this afternoon, we’ll give you a call.”

Go home.GO HOME.GO HOME. So I started crying. Just these huge alligator tears, followed by me trying to talk about how it doesn’t seem that bad, and why her, and how life isn’t fair, and how I love her, and how I really need to go because I’m teaching the old folks at the nursing home in twenty minutes.
And this vet, God love her, she took a step back, and this absolutely horrified look crosses her face, like I’ve just insulted her mother or called her fat.And she says, “Travis, no, no, I mean, go home. Like, you will be able to take her home.”Oh.Well, this has certainly gotten awkward.So I handed over the dog, and as it turns out, she had just broken a tooth. Something worth crying over? Well that depends on who you are. But as for me, my eyes are dry as a stone.And I am hereby declaring that from this day forward, I will strike the phrasing “going home” as a euphemism for death from my vocabulary. It’s got to go, that’s real talk.