Mass of Christ

Everyone wants a fairytale ending, but the trouble with this world is that nothing ends in a fairytale way, since it either keeps on going or you leave it in a rather inconvenient manner.

Also, unlike most holiday specials, the happiest ending points are usually not on Christmas Day or the last day of Hannukah or Boss Appreciation Day. Since syndicated entertainment willfully denies capturing the reality of the timing of true resolutions, I think I’ll enlighten y’all up in this business.

With respect to my extended family, Thanksgiving appeared to be a great stopping point for happily ever after, but unfortunately the Thanksgiving carols ground to a halt, the holiday ramen went stale and the poinsettia bush has wilted under the weight of so much pudding (I don’t judge your dead tree and eating candy out of your socks, okay?)

Some people say [person] is dead to them; my parents are on life support to me. The desire for closeness and genuineness can be satisfied only on the condition that I don’t desire closeness and genuineness. I can squeeze more connection out of a random encounter at the local mortuary than from the people I share genetic code with.

I know it sounds like I’m being harsh, but that’s largely because I’m officially done with feeling abandonment and shame. I know that some people like to take it and simply ask for someone to pass the pepper, but I’m not in the mood for it anymore.

The people who saw me spawn drop their unhappiness on me without notice, and the last straw came a week ago in a phone conversation where my dad indicated in no uncertain terms that my wife is a more pleasant and decent human being than I am. To ensure that he wasn’t misunderstood, he quickly changed the subject to how cute my son is and what a good job my wife is doing of raising him.

Thankfully, he took the high road and made sure that he had distance between me and him through the phone. As a general rule, I like to stab people in the front, and generally I only stab my enemies.

The encounter on Christmas Eve didn’t fare much better. By God’s grace I’ve learned to back off and not confront everyone about their problems they have with me, and that has made this a very special Christmas.

Normally, in the past, I held the extremely creepy and confusing role of being both the Family Problem and the Gifted Superchild. Now that you can’t scrub two Jell-O’s between how much I actually care about their approval, I’ve been demoted to simply the Family Problem and my brother has now attained that sacred trophy.

In practice, this was probably the most awkward time I’ve ever had with them. Their minds are a bit like concrete: thoroughly mixed up and permanently set. It was its own entertainment of mine to behave in a way they never would have expected: apathetic with a glimmer of snark and sprinkled with a pleasant smile.

The turmoil that came from the occasion was short-lived, but potent. My Goomy Muffins and I made it a point to indicate our viewpoints on parenting that differed from theirs (i.e. Universe > Child), and that made them extremely uncomfortable. The humor lied in the fact that they’re so emotionally constipated that they can’t even confront the conflict that’s screaming at them to be confronted!

They did give us money, which feels like extortion but not quite like bribery. The way we figure it, it’s because when they asked if we needed something we said we didn’t, and apparently a pull-off-every-day calendar or a 83-in-1 blender or a collectible Barbie Playdate set with karate chop action is too much of a risk to give me or my Wobble Doublers.

Thankfully, we only had to suffer 2 hours of it and avoided the Extended Cut Director’s Extra Shame Edition.

Today, some friends from church have gone out of their way to invite us for Christmas dinner to their home. This is a special occasion for me specifically, since I’ve been too much of a social retard in the past to be the miserable character that is the object of the main character’s redemptive act in every Christmas special freaking ever.

Also, two weeks from the last post and I’m 2/3 of the way done with getting through Swift Academy. I have one day of training left, 3 days of borientation and a riveting DMV test.

After I’m certifiable, I’ll ring in the new year with a driver mentor for a month. At that point I’m officially paid to move objects from one place to another place in a large thing! You can watch my vlog on it here.

Merry Christ’s-mass!


I actually forgot that I did in fact spend Christmas somewhere in the past! It was with my awesome friend Billy and his awesome wife Stephanie. He’s starting a tattoo career, so check him out!


Driving It Home

Life happens fast. So fast that it’s hard to keep up sometimes. It doesn’t help that the speed that it happens is the same speed that it happens to everyone (at about 1 second every second) so it feels like you’re failing at life while all the other people really seem to have it put together.

The secret is that we all suck at life in some way, but some of us are better at hiding it. The ones who are best at hiding it become leaders, and then everyone else admires their ability to hide it, thinking it’s their ability to deal with it, but forever deluded that they themselves can’t get to that level of awesome.

But, like I said, that level of awesome is simply a matter of appearance. Sure, there are productivity tricks, laziness prevention tricks, tubby-fatty-removing tricks. However, most people simply praise the consequences of things and don’t realize how much steady unrelenting work it takes to attain something.

Tomorrow, I’ll be heading off to truck driving academy with Swift. The recruiter I talked to has arranged for the academy to be paid entirely by the company, and after getting my written CDL (commercial driver’s license) permit I’m on the fast-track to Paidville.

Change is a universally hard experience for most people, but does become easier over time. The support we can glean from others also helps. However, the looming dread from my change-ophobic parents partly invalidates the affirmations my Shnooky Toobers and several other friends have expressed.

The stereotype of a long-haul truck driver is a pretty well-known one, and my parents imply that I will fit that stereotype perfectly as soon as I start: staying in one place only long enough for a one-night stand, losing any form of physique as I blob up on junk food and soda, having the social skills of a half-feral raccoon as I lose touch with all of humanity and finally drive off into the sunset until I dissolve in a fading of broken dreams and worthlessness.

Since my imaginary phantoms of the past are haunting me, I’ll share a few rebuttals for the buttals being thrown my way:

“You won’t make it; you’ll quit this job like all the others.”

Maybe so, but if I stick with it for 4 months after only 1 month of training, then I have the advantage of it paying for itself. Besides, I’ve always wanted my Class A license and it allows us to upgrade in the future to a much larger box-on-wheels, since a bus-sized box is roomier than something a normal driver’s license can haul around.

“But Greg, you’re smarter than this! Why don’t you do something more…analytical?”

Well, apparently being analytical doesn’t hire right now. Also, it doesn’t seem to pay as much. Right now I can make $55,000 a year or more doing truck driving, which is more than I’d be making if I had studied and passed a newly minted CPA certification! I’m sure you’d agree that the smartest thing right now is to follow the money, especially when my Snubby Tummers and I like being able to pay bills and eat. Keeping me close to my family is good, but no income on either of our ends is a government check away from trailer trash.

“But isn’t truck driving an unglamorous job? Shouldn’t that accounting degree take you farther?”

I put this idea in more detail on the Philosopher Accountant, but suffice to say I don’t believe that a college degree is as relevant as the expertise it provides. Seeing as how the accounting industry finds my adventurous and bold personality a bit off-putting, I’ll take my talents elsewhere. However, I know I’m not the only one who’s doing this sort of thing.

“So how are you going to keep your brain sharp? You’re constantly learning and making blogs, and truck drivers don’t do that!”

It’s simple, really. When I’m on the road, I intend to read the hundreds of books I’ve wanted to read, mostly those “classic works” that everyone praises and nobody reads. If it’s got an audio book version of it, I can “read” it.

Also, while I’m undistracted, it’s a perfect time for me to pump out the dozen or so book ideas I’ve been bouncing around in my head for a few years. Those Flying J truck stops have Wi-Fi now!

“But you’ll have all that time alone! How will you cope? How will your wife cope?”

Unlike the truck driver of the 50’s, the USA now has a gigantic cellular telephone network spread across the continent. Though there are spotty parts, phone signal can still come in across much of the country. My Gooey Dumplings and I intend to keep each other updated on all the things that happen in both our lives as we both set off on these respective adventures.

Also, my Honey Nummers won’t be alone. Right now as we speak, the owners of the property we live on have finally been able to come home and live on it again, meaning that she’s got awesomesauce neighbors. Also, we have multiple friends that want to hold Kiwi and make funny faces at him, so my Quickly Sticklers is a high-demand commodity.

“So how are you going to not become fat-fat-tubby-large-fat? Truck driver diets are not healthy, and you’re already a big guy!”

My career ambition is still to become a transportation officer in the Army, and that requires hefting away another 45 lbs of weight. Since I have a deadline of about 4 years, I’ve got to hustle! My Honey Yay-Yay and I will create a nice list of “approved truck stop foods”, and I won’t deviate from that list, and will start PT once I learn the ropes/tie-downs.


Haters are still gonna hate, and the secret to life is to treat it like an overworked vacuum repairman: pay attention to what you absolutely must work with, but otherwise avoid the ones that suck the most and be more familiar with the ones that suck the least.

Driving Forward

The more you live life the less time you have to talk about how much you’re living it. The converse is true as well, which is why the people who seem to really be succeeding at life spend more time doing things with others and less time advertising what they ate that day or reposting something a famous dead person said.

Given that God has designed the family my Gummy Squishers and I have been making into a bold experiment in abnormality, there is a public presence to our lives that ought to be formally shared, and therefore I’m vaguely updating people who actually read this about the changes about things with stuff.

To start with, my work as a helper coordinator at UPS has stopped. I can stand having most of my character flaws pointed out, but I can only stand public shaming about actual faults I have. My then-boss publicly stated I was a liar using far less appropriate language, and I decided to make my leave instead of drop to his level.

If he had been willing to discuss this in a civil discourse, I would have been able to indicate how I couldn’t have done anything after my shift was over and how the entire system was based upon the faith that driver helpers were going to legitimately show up to their work, but it was more clear that he wanted to verbally abuse me out of a frustration tied to mismanagement that he was being blamed for.

I call this management style Trickle-Down Abuse, and nobody with any shred of self-respect should put up with it. However, to put up boundaries as a subordinate can sometimes cost you your job. This isn’t as big of a deal as you may imagine, since people with bad boundaries often give an ultimatum of “learn to take the abuse or find somewhere else”.

Thankfully, I walked out due to having another wonderful job lined up. After I pass my driver’s license permit for a Class A, Swift will pay to train me, then will pay me to drive things for them in a large vehicle across the country!

Since I’m the type that likes to play with future possibilities, my Dumpling Stickers and I have already been crafting the perfect lifestyle to accommodate the, um, occupational hazards that come with living on the road.

The biggest risk that comes with a truck driver is the unhealthy lifestyle. Between truck stop food, sitting in a truck for hours, having nothing to do while sitting in said truck, and the need to keep awake, most truck drivers can develop a little bit of an eating problem.

Therefore, in order to prevent me from becoming Mr. Tubby McFatFat, my Jolly Snookers has taken it upon herself to feed and ration out food for me to eat during the trips I go on. Since she knows how to actually cook instead of the common American add-butter-and-lard-until-the-taste-buds-surrender technique, I still have a fighting chance at getting into the Army in the future!

On the subject of family, our Little Watermelon’s paternal grandparents have started the grandparenting process. They’ve filled out the forms, notarized them, submitted them with the appropriate documentation, and our local Bureau of Family Affairs is reviewing their application for eligibility.

My parents are quite ambitious to the task of tending to the human sapling, but the problems we are trying to unpack are strictly philosophical conflicts that show themselves in physical ways.

In our family, we believe that discipline is necessary as an aide to discovery, but many other parents philosophically consider discovery of good things to be superior to any form of discipline. As much as possible, our child needs to learn that there are consequences for actions, and it is our responsibility to teach that. He doesn’t have any trouble getting into things he shouldn’t, but needs to learn from us how to be a functioning and decent human being about it.

This very idea is controversial. Many people, especially newer parents and parenting magazine journalists, strongly believe that children need the freedom to be protected from all bad things while being exposed to the full experience of everything that makes them happy. Unfortunately, in this world doing things that makes us happy in the short-term can often destroy us in the long-term.

As parents, my Subby Woofers and I have decided to play the long game and instruct him with the idea that he can be a self-learning self-teaching responsible individual in as fast a time as he is capable and desires to learn it. In effect, we treat him as a very naive and very inexperienced person. On the other hand, our Guava’s grandparents treat him as a helpless individual with the incapability to even think rationally or consider things more intimately, a bit like a highly intelligent cow or a talking dog.

We’re not sure how these boundaries are going to play out, especially given the radical and tubular lifestyle changes we’re rollin’ up in this biznass. However, the power to say “no” goes a very long way, and in fact is our greatest defense from what we’re both gearing up to expect from the individuals that have spawned us. In truth, this is soon to be the greatest opportunity we have had to avoid not knowing no “no” skills and truly know “no”.