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The Fisher of Stories


Heroism is not only in the man, but in the occasion. – Calvin CoolidgeI’m pretty much a normal guy.

I like my coffee black, I have a penchant for Mexican food, I’m obese, I love Nic Cage, and I love Jesus.

I never asked to be a hero. Some men have heroism thrust upon them in the heat of the moment, like Nic Cage in Con Air, and some choose heroism at great risk to their lives, also like Nic Cage in Con Air.


I was swimming by myself in our pool the other day, when I noticed something struggling to free itself from the waters. I grabbed my net, ready to absolutely murder a wasp or bumblebee, and swam (floated) over to check it out.

Lo and behold, a lightning bug was on the surface, paddling rapidly with its tiny stick legs and making no progress whatsoever. The struggle was real. My heart twisted with sympathy for the little guy, and I knew I had to act. My time for heroism had come.

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I lifted him gently out of the torpid waters and placed him gingerly on the rail of the pool. I’m going to be completely honest with you, it didn’t look good. He appeared to be quite waterlogged, and had difficulty standing.

Obviously CPR was out of the question…but was it?

Determined to save my little lightning bug friend, and realizing that even the lightest of chest compressions would produce a messy end, I did the only part of CPR I could manage. I blew on it.

Between you and me, I didn’t really regulate that first breath, and I dang near blew the little bugger smooth off the edge of the pool. But he held strong, and his little wings spread out as though to dry them off, and I thought, “This is it, this is my moment,” and “One Shining Moment” started playing in my head, and I blew on that little lightning bug (gently) until…

The lightning bug took off! Into the breeze he flew, and I could swear he did a little dip as he did, thanking me for my service. I was intensely moved by the experience, and may have even shed a tear at the thought of being so intimately involved with nature.

The story should end there, but it doesn’t.

Two days after resuscitating the lightning bug, I was once again swimming (floating) in the pool when I saw something else struggling in the currents.

Looking closely, I saw it was a butterfly, and it was in real bad shape. Its wings were soggier than the unfinished Raisin Bran that sits in my kids’ bowls when they realize they don’t like Raisin Bran. Its feeble attempts to free itself from the water induced panic in my nature-loving heart and I immediately lifted it out of the water and sat it on the edge of the pool.

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I looked towards the heavens.

“WHY GOD?” I screamed.

And I did the only thing I knew how to do.

I blew on it.

Again, I didn’t really regulate the force of that first blow, and this time it was almost a deadly mistake. The butterfly caught the full gale, and flipped off the edge of the pool, but somehow managed to grip the side of the rail and hang on. Mentally chastising myself, I pulled the butterfly back up on the railing and very gently continued my life-giving efforts.

Eventually, the butterfly was dry. He flapped his wings, testing them, and then soared into the heavens (about five feet above the pool) and looked as though he would take off.

But he paused, right above my head, hovering there. What happened next took me completely by surprise.

The butterfly landed on my nose, tickling it, but I didn’t sneeze. I knew this was a moment, and I didn’t want to sneeze the thing right back into the pool. That just seemed counterintuitive.

I looked into its tiny little butterfly eyes, and I swear it winked at me. Then, gently, it reached out a tiny butterfly leg and brushed my cheek in a gesture I can only assume was a thank you for services rendered.

A single tear rolled down my face. At that moment, I felt more complete than I ever had before. And then the butterfly took flight, free at last, swooping into the wind and into the Great Beyond.

Alright that last part is a lie, but I saved a lightning bug and a butterfly from drowning last week and not a single one of them thanked me, so I’m allowed a little creative license.

imageMany of you know that I am a college boy now. I’ve tried college twice, and both times I dropped out, and that is how I got a drunk Lindsay Lohan on my transcript. Now I’m back in, (giggity) and I’m loving it. I don’t know if it’s being older and wiser, or just wanting to get out of the house more, or what. One class in particular that I really love is World Literature. I love the stories, I love reading ahead and finding out what’s going to happen before the rest of the class, and I love the way the characters are always these great heroes, and how they mess up and make bad choices occasionally just like we do. I especially appreciate the epics. Gilgamesh, The Iliad, The Odyssey, The Aeneid, Beowulf, and The Song of Roland have been a few of my favorites.

However, I’ve started to notice a problem unfolds as I’m reading these stories. You see, while reading about these incredible heroes and their feats of strength, I need to envision someone in my mind. Someone strong, someone with rugged good looks and wearing the kind of outfit one would wear back then. Someone with a gloriously epic amount of facial hair, and someone with the voice of a young god. Someone that would, in essence, get the ladies wet, and get the gays hard. You would think it would be hard for me to imagine such a hero, but fortunately, Hollywood gave me that image back in 2006, courtesy of…Gerard Butler in a little movie called 300.

Now when I read about Gilgamesh, when I read about Odysseus, or Roland or Beowulf, and I need a mental picture of the hero in action, I get this image in my head.

It is seriously unavoidable. Let me give you a few examples of what I’m talking about.
From The Illiad:
Opposite him, Achilles exploded forward, fury incarnate behind the curve of his shield, a glory of metalwork, and the plumes nodded and rippled on his helmet’s crest, thick golden horsehair set by Hephaestus, and his spearpoint glinted like the Evening Star…

Boom. That just happened.

Or we can take a line from The Song of Roland:
Roland in pain, maddened with grief and rage: rushes where they are thickest and strikes again, strikes twenty men of Spain, strikes twenty dead, and Walter six, and the Archbishop five. The pagans say: “Look at those criminals! Now take care, Lords, they don’t get out alive, only a traitor will not attack them now! Only a coward will let them save their skins!” And then they raise their hue and cry once more, rush in on them, once more from every side…


That AOI reference is something you’ll only get if you’ve in fact read the story, which in my best guess might be about 0.0004% of my readership. However, I will say this, if you want a good read, The Song of Roland is freaking awesome. Lots of blood, guts, and good ol Crusadin’ Christian violence.

So, as you can see, I’m probably pretty screwed when it comes to getting this image of a “hero” out of my head. Why? Well because Gerard Butler was freaking BA in that movie. The beard, the abs, the voice, it’s all there. He’s the perfect candidate for an imaginary hero in my head to go along with all these stories. I suppose the only real problem is that any time there’s action, I just see him kicking a bunch of dudes into a hole instead of running them through with a sword or choppin off heads. Kind of makes for some anti-climatic moments in reading, and I’ll give you an example of that.
From Beowulf:
Inspired again by the thought of glory, the war-king threw his whole strength behind a sword stroke and kicked him into a hole. 
Next thing, they say, the noble son of Weohstan saw the king in danger at his side and displayed his inborn bravery and strength. He left the head alone, but his fighting hand was burned when he came to his kinsman’s aid. He lunged at the enemy lower down and kicked him into a hole. 
Once again the king gathered his strength and drew a stabbing knife he carried on his belt, sharpened for battle. He then kicked the dragon into a hole. 
See? It kind of makes for a predictable story. “How did Beowulf eventually kill Grendel?” “Well, he actually did the weirdest thing. He had a really neat sword named Naegling, but he left that alone, yelled something about Sparta, and kicked the dude in a hole. It was the weirdest ending I’ve ever read.”
So there’s a little peek into my brain. I wouldn’t stay long, it might be hazardous to your health.
p.s. I would officially like to start the movement to make Gerard Butler stop showing his butt in movies. Since the majority of people who read my blog are middle aged housewives, I think I’m starting in the wrong spot, but hey. The man is naked in EVERY SINGLE MOVIE. I’m pretty sure he mooned someone in The Lion King. He just shows up to the set, drops his pants, they shoot the scene and he’s out. C’mon. 
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Yup. Jeff over at This Is Why Your Hold Time Is So Long fixed my problem! I’m so happy! Not only did he give me a solution, he gave it to me in HTML. I looked at the edit HTML page, and folks, well I almost had a seizure. It looked like someone had set a keyboard down in front of Michael J Fox and told him to type out Othello. (too soon?)
Anyway, a big thanks to him, and for sure, as soon as he picks out a candy bar, I will be mailing him one. Scoot on over to his blog, and read the hilarity that he puts up with on a daily basis. Maybe put him on your follow list. He may give you a car made from eagles.Just thought I’d give everyone an update on the whole job thing. Yeah… I quit. Turns out, I needed about $200 worth of clothes just to work there, and I ain’t got it. Heck, I can’t even put somethin on it. The Missus went out and bought me $100 worth of clothes the other day, and none of it fit. None of it. My legs are like 15 inches long. My torso makes up the rest of my 6 foot frame. (alright, 5’11”) Anyway, we took all the clothes back yesterday so she could get her some things. This is were we had a life changing experience, and helped break down the segregation of a small department store in Tulsa.
Before I start, I want to give a shout out to the chick in Woodland Hills mall yesterday that had a magazine rolled up and tucked down in the ass of her pants. That’s classy. “Umm, I’d like this hairstyle please?” “Why’s the magazine smell so funny?” “Well, I didn’t have any pockets big enough to hold it…”
Then we went to Ross. I’m sure you’re familiar with the store, they have everything but the kitchen sink. I love going in there and looking at cooking stuff, because I’ve gotten some pretty cool stuff for cheap. (or if you live in Okay, “cheep.”) Anyhow, we go in, look for some stuff, she gets some stuff, and I spent a lot of time just lookin around. It’s what I do. As we get to the check out, we see this. (These are really low quality and blurry pictures that I apologize for, but they convey the point.)

That’s right. You’re looking at a white line, and a black/mexican line. I don’t KNOW that this is what people were intending when they lined up to check out, but for sure, this is what happened. I almost laughed out loud right there. Which line did me and The Missus line up in? That’s right, the black/mexican line. It’s here that I would like to point some things out.
I am not a racist. At all. However, I am very stereotypical, and I think that most people would be lying if they said they weren’t. I love all types and races and I believe that God put us all here together to just freakin get along for a while before we join Him in Heaven. I think its the least we can do, right?
I have a dream. A dream that one day, all different races will line up to pay for their purchases in a line with no segregation. A line that includes people of all colors and body types and clothing. A line where a black person can purchase mayonnaise, and a white person can buy….mayonnaise. Can we not all line up together!? Can we not turn this Ross into a culturally diverse and race appreciative store?!? Can we try?!? We did. The Missus and I stood tall in the face of prejudice, and we stood in the line with our fellow humans! We are changing the way things are done! We will not tolerate this any longer!
What happened after we got in the line? I’ll tell you, my rainbow colored plethora of fans and followers. This happened.

That’s right. Those are white people behind us. We did it! We have integrated the Ross at 71st and Memorial! This is the happiest day of my life! I know a good portion of the picture is my neck, but you have to look past the color of my neck meat and look at the color of the people in the right half of the picture! Oh! Glorious day! We do not wish to be looked upon as heroes, nor do we wish to be idolized in the African American culture. We are simply people. Brave and good people, who knew what this Ross needed. You are welcome, America. You’re welcome.
That Asain guy that checked us out sure looked at us funny though. Or did he? Their eyes always look funny, so I can never tell.

(I am so totally kidding on that last crack. So totally kidding. It was just for laughs.)