Two Elon alumni (2002) have pooled their talents to bring excitement and joy to your day. One is a classy woman who combines her Italian and feminine powers to influence men of all shapes and sizes. The other is a tall blond man who relies on wit and boyish good looks to impress women, especially when they're drunk. Join them in their epic pursuit of the phenomenon known as adulthood. NoSalesTax side effects may include addiction and abrupt laughter as colleagues look on in confused jealousy.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Toon Into Your Inner Self

Ever wonder which cartoon character most resembles you? Um, yeah, me neither. But let’s say for the sake of this blog that people do think of such things. I’m curious to hear your answers, and don’t take the easy way out and find a character who looks like you (sorry, T-Rock, you’ll have to pick someone other than Smurfette). I’ll start you out w/ my answer.

If this survey were based on looks, I’d clearly be best compared to He-Man. But since it’s a personality test of sorts, I will offer up someone known for wit, humor, and a knack for having fun. Someone who knows when to be serious and when to be silly. Someone who’s not afraid to speak out against wrongdoings, a character who possesses unassuming intelligence and an array of sarcastic remarks. Someone who forces others to think. The truest cartoon example of my personality would be none other than...

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Tryptophan Thinking (Part One)

While watching Good Will Hunting tonight, I realized that I, just like Matt Damon’s character, have no idea what I want to do with my life. I had it all figured out a couple years ago, knew exactly what lay ahead. Now, closer to age 30 than 20, I’m absolutely clueless. I realize what my life won’t be like, who won’t be included and where I won’t live. Is this how it works? Do I just keep crossing people, places and jobs off a list of possible futures until I end up w/ a final product, like a children’s game involving folded paper and possible endings (Mash)?

As I sit here digesting turkey and stuffing, thoughts on life, past and future, weigh on me like a turkey stuck on my head. OK, so I saw it on Friends tonight, but I imagine it would weigh a lot. On the preceding Friends episode, Rachel tells Tag (her staff member she’s obsessed with) that she assumes everything in life will just work out. Her reasoning? Because it will. Although I share that philosophy, my definition is probably quite different. Some people are meant to find their perfect job, marry the perfect person, buy a house and start a family. I have friends like this. Others are destined to bounce around from career to career, occasionally date and live commitment-free in an apt. w/ no lease. Is there any evidence that one scenario is better than the other?

It’s taken me 25 years to figure out some of the things at which I excel, things I know I do better than others. Unfortunately, many of these attributes don’t parlay into paying jobs. For instance, there’re very few paychecks for someone who remembers everything. People aren’t lining up to learn how to hack (aka “play hackeysack”). And no one wants to hire someone because he’s mastered the art of peeing in the most inopportune locations while sleepwalking drunk.

So what else am I good at? Well, I’m definitely not good at identifying emotions. Seriously, I’m virtually hollow inside, often oblivious to other people’s feelings. As Modest Mouse sings, “I don’t feel and it feels great.” I can also be too laid back sometimes, a far cry from the person I was in high school, when I relished conflict. If conflict were a drug, I would’ve been doing lines of it off a hooker’s chest. Did I mention I suck at time management? But enough about the bad, here’re some things I do really, really well.

Lying – I don’t know why I’m so good at being dishonest (storytelling, as I like to call it), but it’s a talent I’m happy to have in my repertoire. As George Costanza once said, “It’s not a lie if you truly believe it.” The secret is knowing in your mind that what you’re saying is the truth. My vivid imagination also aids me in concocting some cockamamie story when in a bind. When my team got busted for drinking in AmeriCorps, we had a face-to-face meeting w/ Cecil, our unit leader (the position just below the head of our campus). I distinctly remember sitting on the dirt “field” w/ my teammates, listening to our team leader prep us for the possibility of being kicked out of the program. A lot was riding on this meeting. Finally, she made it clear we needed to designate one person and only one person to tell “the story” to Cecil. Everyone’s eyes immediately focused on me, and that’s when I knew I’d been chosen to take the game-winning shot. Our immediate futures were in my hands, and I had to deliver. And like any crucial David Ortiz at-bat, I succeeded. I convinced Cecil we hadn’t been drinking in our apartment, thus saving the year for my Ameri-friends and myself. Clutch.

Writing – Wow, you're thinking, what an arrogant bastard. This may be true to some degree, but it’s extremely important for people to know their strengths and weaknesses. Throughout college and even afterward, friends have told me I need to find a job writing. That’s a great idea, though I’m not sure how much money these blog posts and my notebooks of poetry could rake in. Then again, I have spent a year living on food stamps, so I’m definitely capable of living po’ once mo’. Know wut ahm sayin’, foo?

Scroll down for the second half of this post.

Tryptophan Thinking (Part Two)

Scroll up to read the first half of this post.

Working w/ Kids – I love working outdoors. I love working w/ kids. Working at a camp is a no-brainer, right? Aside from being a writer, working with children is the profession my friends most often recommend. Again, the monetary limitations of teaching young people while wearing shorts and a tshirt burst the find-a-career bubble. It’s too bad, cuz I love camp songs/cheers, know a slew of games and I look damn sexy wearing mesh shorts and my famous blue sunglasses.

Pickup Lines – The best way to practice them is w/ friends of the opposite sex. Unless you’re gay, in which case I assume it’d be better to try the lines on your same-sex friends before testing them in battle. I spent a half hour last night swapping lines w/ a coed acquaintance in a crowded bar. I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun talking to a girl while sober (hooray for the designated driver). Unfortunately, I can’t divulge anything in my arsenal until I receive the patents. Then again, I’ll never actually use ‘em, so who cares? Hint: The more ridiculous, the better.

Cracking Jokes – Is Mystery Science Theatre 3000 looking for a new voice? Is it even on TV anymore? Aside from chiming in w/ sarcastic remarks at social gatherings, my wit is pretty much useless. Sigh.

Creating Nicknames – Whether it’s Charlie, Amber, Frat Adam or Ace and Gary (all Ameri-nicknames), I have a knack for discovering wonderful, long-lasting nicknames for others. I even created my own in AmeriCorps, which is totally against nickname rules (think Costanza as T-Bone). But for some reason, J$ stuck, which was fine w/ me. In fact, I’ll prove to you (or die tryin’) I’m a nickname wiz. Just email me someone for whom you seek a nickname, and I’ll try my darndest to please you. At least I’ll be sure to think it’s great. After all, life’s all about making yourself happy. Once that occurs, everything else will fall into place. To quote Rob in Swingers, “You gotta let go of the past, Mike, and when you do, I’m telling you, the future is beautiful.” Sadly, it takes some people longer than others to follow that advice. But, like drinking and the planets, everyone moves at a different pace.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

A Star is Born

It happened once a year for at least 5 years; it was the stuff grownup stories are made of, the ones we tell our significant others in bed or coworkers at happy hour. Or sometimes we tell our sibling’s friends in at attempt to embarrass them…but surprisingly, many relate, some even have parallel tales.
Maybe it’s because deep down, everyone wants to be a star.
Our Thanksgiving skits started as an attempt on my part to recreate an in-school production of the first thanksgiving. Of course, all tales involving Native Americans become slightly skewed by us white folk, so not only did we have a Pocahontas, we had a John Smith, a Sacagawea, a variety of rivaling chiefs and their helpers. And they all managed to come together for dinner, transcending time and lifelong feuds.
I remember seeing my parents and grandparents in the audience during the first skit I participated in with my kindergarten class. It’s my first memory of trying to be cool- trying to get rid of my family after our performance. I remember being embarrassed that they came to watch, shrugging off their hugs and rushing them out the door as they left. Trying to look independent like other kids. Then, as I watched them walk away, I was very, very sad. My first memory of guilt.
So in an attempt to recreate that skit at home, I enlisted my younger siblings. My baby sister was used as a baby Jesus…obviously not present at the first Thanksgiving, but it somehow made sense at the time. As years passed, we created costumes, props, musical accompaniment. Each year we would start practicing the night before, and by 10 am the next day, we had a 2-act play. My parents were good sports and took time out of turkey preparation to watch us butcher the story, perform dance numbers and spread dried corn gourds all over their carpet. We even had a bow and arrow, constructed out of sticks and ancient arrowheads passed down from my grandfather. I remember one year creating a tree with a hundred leaves, made from construction paper and straws.
At the time, I felt lucky to have my brother and sister because it meant that my vision as a director could be fulfilled. It was never a one man show, we were always 3 strong. I now realize that 3 strong isn’t only applicable to Thanksgiving skits, but to everything in my life. I will never be alone.