Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Delusions of stardom

Tuesday January29.
As a member of the BYU grounds crew in the wintertime there isn't much to do. The grass needn't be cut, the trees aren't ready to be pruned, and any planting of flowers would result in their immediate death by freezing. When it snows we have plenty of work to go around, but when there is a dearth of such, we aren't so lucky. It is in such times that we "gardener's helpers", in effort to earn those precious few dollars upon which we depend to provide us with our basic necessities, are forced to be creative in thinking up projects to keep ourselves busy. Be it walking briskly to and fro with a snow shovel and an ice pick in hand so as to take on the appearance of being on some important errand, or merely meandering about with leather gloves on, peering searchingly into the depths of random shrubs and other such herbaceous plants as if on the search for some hidden prize, one must always be sure to maintain the "I'm busy don't bother me" demeanor so as to discourage suspicion that we aren't earning our wages.
On the day in question, at about 3:30 pm, this was my challenge. Having finished all the tasks set forth for me by my supervisor Edwin, I was faced with decision. Go home an hour early, or stick around trying to look useful while feeling that my time was being utterly wasted. Upon thinking of the number of tacos that the extra $8.30 could bring me at Del Taco on any given Tuesday, (being three for a dollar that would come to around 25 tacos. Taco Tuesday baby) I decided that my time would be better spent pursuing that ever elusive seductress; economic stability...and a full stomach. And so as I sat in the shed pondering on whcih task would be most worthy of my next hour, my eyes lighted upon the garbage-picker-upper-dealys. You know the ones where you squeeze the handle and the two pincers on the end of the stick close together giving you the look of a crab with ridiculously long arms.
Upon seeing such instruments, I decided to take the environmentalist approach and save the earth from the never ending tide of litter. I therefore strode forward and picked up a grabber dealy and a bucket and headed out into the unknown.
To be perfectly honest the area into which I was headed isn't all that unknown. I've walked the entirety of our area of campus hundreds of times. Why was it then that I felt such a feeling of apprehension and uncertainty as I began this task. I was as though all my childhood dreams were about to come true. (on a side note, when I was a child my dream was to be a garbage man, so the previous statement, when considered in context, is actually quite accurate. However, this colloquialism was not intended to be taken literally, but just as a way of illustrating the unexpected sense of fascination that filled my soul. )
As I headed east along the north side of the Indoor Practice Facility, keeping a keen eye out for any unsightly debris that might be strewn across the landscape, something off in the distance caught my eye. It seemed as though a large group of men were jogging towards me. My thoughts flew back to the scene of It's a Wonderful Life where there is a run on the bank and the whole city turns out to withdraw their funds. With Zion's Bank not 50 yards behind me, I began to worry that the economy was on the fritz and we were but seconds away from losing our life savings. And then my thoughts shifted. Were we such a possession oriented people that our greatest concern was for our funds. What would happen if we were to stop caring about such things and focused on the really important things like love for you neighbor and stopping to help another.
As I was considering and lamenting the ever decaying morality of our society and the fact that much of what we do seems to be centered around how to make the next buck, I realized that the group of men that was charging towards me, wasn't a group of economically prudent beings, but rather the BYU football team. Most of whom looked me over with an eye of disgust for my appearance (I haven't washed my work sweatshirt for a couple of weeks now) and headed into the warm and friendly confines of the indoor practice field.
In a jiffy my thoughts on saving the world from its selfish endeavors were lost as I watched these giant specimens make their way into the edifice to my right.
With the sudden appearance of this crowd of spectators, I was instantly aware of my situation and how I was breaking the cardinal rule of menial labor; to never look as though you have nothing to do and are just lounging about. And so I was immediately prompted to action and caught sight of a slightly worn cardboard container that had once played host to French fries from that great American institution McDonald's. So I hastened purposefully towards the rubbish and thrust out my grabber, ready to collect it and tuck it safely away into my bucket. As I did so my focus on the trash slipped and my eyes were drawn unwillingly to rest upon the countenance of the great Bronco Mendenhall who was now jogging lightly towards me. As I looked at him, I saw his eyes shift towards my general direction. Not entirely realizing what I was doing, I drew myself up so as to display my entire 6'2" 145 lb frame in its natural grandeur. As I did so I saw that Bronco glanced at me and then changed directions. Instead of following his team into the building, he was now running directly towards me.
In an instant, floods of Rudy-like visions came to my mind. I saw myself suited up and running out onto the field of Lavell Edwards Stadium as 65,000 strong roared their approval. I saw myself in a myriad of situations in which I singlehandedly stole victory from defeat while playing the part of nearly every player on the field. First I was a defensive lineman making the game saving stop. Then I was the punter pinning the opposing team down on their own 2 yard line with a booming 70 yard punt. Next I saw myself intercepting a pass in the end zone after an acrobatically maneuvering myself in midair to put myself in front of the would-be receiver. I was the quarterback scrambling for a 15 yard gain and keeping the game winning drive alive. I was the running back, the All-American wide receiver and the center of the offensive line. In short, I was the hero.
As he approached me I felt sure that Bronco was seeing these same images in his mind, or was at least watching them through my eyes. He saw in me some raw talent; some greatness that had, as of yet, hidden itself from public view. A greatness that Bronco saw and knew that he could mold into the next legend to come out of Brigham Young University.
As he drew near I took gulp of icy cold air and listened for those words that I longed to hear.
"Thanks for helping to keep campus clean son," he proclaimed as he patted me on the shoulder. And with that he turned and entered the practice facility.
I stood in a state of bewildered awe. "Son," I thought to myself, "He called me son." I had gained approval in the eyes of Bronco Mendenhall.
And with that, I continued on in my work.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

And so it begins...

So I've joined the technological age and created a blog for myself. I do not do this of my own accord or volition. It's actually just an assignment for my English 150 class. But I, with cheerful disposition, will take upon myself this ever so daunting task of informing the world of the various happenings in my life.
And so it is that in this, my first official post, I decry the existence of the word "blog" and its use in reference to scholarly efforts such as this one. I feel that we, as a people, should abandon the use of this word. It is demeaning. It sounds like something stuck to the end of a quarter that you've just pulled out of your nose. This connotation therefore establishes, at least in my mind, a minuscule value to mine and others' words.
As we all know, the word blog is an abbreviated form of the term "web log". Have we become such an amazingly lethargic society that we can't bring ourselves to pronounce just one extra syllable in describing our efforts to document our lives? Blogs (shudder) have become the modern form of journal keeping in many instances. Are we willing to have these attempts to inform our progeny about the events that shaped and molded our lives described by a word that brings to mind a muculent substance? I say that we should not stand for this. As a matter of principle this should not be.
It being 12:33 in the morning, I will now rest my argument. One fundamental question still stands. What can be used to replace the word blog in our vocabularies. I don't claim to have all the answers and therefore appeal to the masses to help me in my quest to find an adequate replacement noun and verb, and mainstream it into our society.