The sound of revelation

At the office I sent an email to a supervisor to get his decision on a part of a project. If I heard from him soon, I would be able to proceed and make the deadline. After half an hour I began to wonder when he'd reply. Then I heard "Pfffff. Fffffft. Ffft. Fffffffffft," from his cubicle -- the sound of compressed air being used to clean a keyboard... and I had a better idea of where I ranked on his list of priorities.

"I once was lost, but now I'm f-OW!"

I am ashamed to be one of the last people in the country to learn about Christian paintball, because as it turns out I've lived within driving distance of America's Best Christian Paintball Park, located in southeastern Wisconsin. (Link to Promised Land Paintball)

Their web site includes testimonials:
"I am very grateful for your ministry. One of the things my wife said she wanted me to be was more fun. Well now I have help." Ron
NOW I realize why my relationships have failed.
"We drove over 2 hours to get to your park. I came with a friend's youth group. It was my first time paintballing. Once I saw your park and many fields, I was in Heaven." Justin
That must've presented a challenge for the person who had to deliver your eulogy, Justin.

Obviously, there would be no problem opening a Muslim paintball park, and the competition would be a healthy one. [After five seconds on Google] Oh crap, I can't make up anything anymore: (Link to Muslim Paintball Games of Kentucky)

This Side of Paradise

There was a street fair in the neighborhood a few weeks ago. I do believe I've had enough Peruvian flute music to last me the rest of the year.

The high point and low point of the year are, so far, food and a phone call, respectively. A narrow range of experience. No naked marathons to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, no improvised explosive devices blowing my arms and legs off.

The highlight was discovering donuts and bacon on the treats table at work. Context is everything: It was a surprise, it was 3:00 in the afternoon, and for the year preceding, the treats table had nothing but stale licorice and dusty packets of generic microwave popcorn. Then on that Magic Day, March 3, I came around the corner and there was more bacon and donuts than a person could eat, and I was the last one to find it. I could take as much as I wanted because everyone else had already had their share. There had been a meeting of important people upstairs and they had cast off the remnants to the little people. When I first saw it I involuntarily made some little grunt. I took a handful of everything and scuttled back to my cube and made it disappear in an efficient manner. With great dispatch. You can go to Donut Lodge or Bacon Plantation and get the same food but it's not going to be a surprise; the impact will be like a tap on the nose. A light touch. (There were no ill effects.)

For the low point, understand first that I turned off my phone's ringer about ten years ago. If a caller is someone I know, they start to leave a message and I can hear that and pick up. But tonight I turned on the ringer in case my brother returned the message I left on his phone. I was anxious to hear whether he had landed a better job. The phone's ringer had been on for less than an hour and when it rang, like a chump I picked up instead of screening it, and godDAMN it was somebody else who wanted my money.

They are so good at my alma mater. My old institution of higher learning. Their highly refined technique is: Get a young female graduate who can maintain a smile (you can tell it's there) on the phone, be bubbly and act interested in somebody twice her age, strike up a conversation about the school you have in common, and propose that the alumnus pledge $200, or $100, or $50, or $25, or how about just $10, and Oh My God their endowment is $5.9 BILLion, I just looked it up (wow that girl is good) and now I'm glad I didn't pledge anything but invited them to send me a mailing. If girls had been half that interested in me while I was a student there, well, it boggles the mind, it would have been like... unexpected fried dough and cured meats.

Visit your local library

I found this document on a shelf in the downtown location of the Chicago Public Library some years ago, and it was so unique that I never threw it away. It's a photocopy of a four-page letter dated 1990, all hand-printed in capital letters on graph paper, addressed to a government official. Converted to normal capitalization, it begins:
Dear Sir:
I would like to take your time by addressing this letter to you as a son would to a father. There comes a time when a man is appalled over what is happening to him in his own country: His mail pilfered, his brain "wired" by a device that is simply constructed and implanted by the CIA...
The rest of the letter is hard to read because the sentences are lengthy and sometimes turn out to have no verbs corresponding to the nouns way back at the start of the sentence.

Eventually the letter charges the director of the CIA with treason but never reveals anything of interest. The letter's style is a mix of lawyer-speak and State-of-the-Union phrases like "all of the items contained therein and pertaining thereto," "both at home and abroad," "in times of peace and in times of war," and "my inalienable right."

The writer mentions the US Constitution at least five times. He gives his birth date and religion, for what it's worth. He takes care to note in his heading that he composed the letter at "0710 hours eastern standard time, 0610 hours central standard time." For good measure, he adds that he's sending a copy of the letter to the president.

To seal the doom of the accused, the writer finishes by claiming that he has evidence stored in three safety deposit boxes, and then he names the banks and their locations. Dude! You're not fully paranoid if you give away that kind of detail to the government.

Despite the writer's recommendation that the CIA director answer a list of questions while "under a truth drug," such events never came to light, and an online search implies that the writer must have died years ago, leaving no remains but those brain wires, I imagine.