The Closest Thing to an Apology They’ll Ever Get

Shame is a useless feeling. It makes you want to kill yourself, but in a way that you premeditate it to make sure you don’t leave a stain. However, even in the most shame-based cultures, there is a streak of rational behavior that can be adhered to and honored.

Recently, my Hummy Singers and I have been dealing with a particular individual’s obsession with image. As much as it is my practice to publicly express the vapid and silly things that this person in question was doing, we did what most couples probably do and had a long philosophical discussion about it.

Upon analyzing the essence of privacy, we have discovered a few truths:

  1. Privacy is a boundary, though 99% of the time it’s a boundary that is only expressed when crossed. It is technically a form of power, and it is also a form of distrust.
  2. Privacy is a relative cultural boundary. Go to Africa and they’ll tell you how much money they make and how many people depend on it, but Asians have a hard time telling you that they have a job or make money from it.
  3. There are 3 ways to reconcile who should move on a cultural boundary: the one with less power to stay in their ways, the one who asked first or more emphatically, or the one who has more power or patience to carry out the honoring.
  4. Everyone has unspoken boundaries, and it is the responsibility of the other sensitive and aware individuals to honor that boundary.
  5. Therefore, it is our moral duty to honor any unclarified boundaries that we come across.

When I was younger, I had believed that open and honest full disclosure was vitally important in all aspects of living. I have now come to realize that although this is a freaking awesome way to live and love, it is also an egregiously offensive cultural norm for anyone who regards privacy as an important value.

As a barely-professed writer, I tend to talk about people. Many writers have learned the art of using fiction to obscure what they really think about the morons they encounter in their day-to-day life, but I’ve been a bit slow to learn that particular trick, and my parents have suffered tremendously from it. Read the previous blogs all the way to the beginning for proof of that.

In light of this, I offer my direct apology. I screwed up a bit. The direct reason why is because of an over-application of David Allen’s Get Things Done System to all my doings. The dialogue has consistently gone like this:

Them: You did something wrong.

Me: What can I do to change it?

Them: You really hurt our feelings and hurt our reputation.

Me: What actionables can I do to ensure I don’t do it again?

Them: We were really hurt by what you did.

Me: What did I specifically do to hurt you?

Them: You published something about us.

Me: Should I never publish about you again?

Them: Only publish good things.

Me: That’s not going to happen if you want to be part of our personal life.

(long, awkward silence for 3 months)

(again from the top, but with more feeling)

From here on out, I’m no longer posting anything about them. Whatever problems they have can decompose inside their own minds without my desire to help them being part of it.

My theory is that this won’t change anything. At this point, the only desire they seem to express is to regret things really hard instead of the more popular flavors of revenge or reconciliation. However, my family and I would rather be on the up-and-up with the world around us than spiral downward into self-imposed adequacy or forced obscurity. If we’re going to fail, it would serve the world to know better for themselves!

Advertisements

Home Slice

After six very, very, very long weeks of me hearing absolutely everything with the sound of a truck idling in the background, I have finally meandered my way back home for a bit.

Like anyone with a brain that learns things, I’ve come back to my Hoomy Schwoobers and Melon with quite a few changes from when I left.

For one, I now possess about as much dead tissue on my face as on top of it. Possible light hypothyroidism doesn’t do the dome many favors, but it thankfully leaves the face-warmer alone. All I now need is to lose 150 lbs and get a latte to complete the look for a trip to Portland.

Another change is that I’ve developed a new level of self-respect. The first self-respect I ever earned came three years ago when a tirade of uncalled-for verbal abuse led me to think, “I didn’t earn you yelling at me and threatening to strike me, I’m a human being!” The second level came after I ended the contract with UPS and thought “I didn’t do anything to earn being yelled at, I did a good job!” My move from Swift is inspired by the thought “I have proven myself to be a professional driver, so I shouldn’t be treated like a number of the other steering wheel holders hired here.”

For those of you that aren’t in the know, here’s the know. Truck driving is composed of 3 major categories: Over the Road (OTR), Regional, and Local. Local zips back and forth in town with a day cab, and you’ll go home every night. Regional is a bit like Diet OTR, where you travel for a week or so and only a certain number of miles out before reintegrating with the rest of humanity. OTR puts you in a sleeper cab where you’re wandering across the entire country in what appears to be no determinate pattern until they honor your Home Time and you stagger back home after a few weeks, months or years.

Almost everyone in truck driving has to start in OTR. It’s a bit like how every doctor has to do their internship, all military personnel must endure basic, every plumber starts with scrubbing septic tanks, every board member has to get the paddle gauntlet, every MLMer has to lose all their real friends, and so on.

With that said, OTR isn’t all that bad. It’s been a great opportunity for me to write the 25 or so books I want to author, and it is the pathway to a way to keep my family from being dead.

OTR is a lifestyle along with a job, but the good OTR assignments bring you home every 2-3 weeks. Unfortunately, my driver manager was a few steps removed from the ideal definition of “good”.

I had a thriving relationship with her, assuming we redefine the word “thriving”. She and I had quite an impersonal work relationship going on. It helped that the coordinator decided that El Paso would be a good terminal for me to be based out of when I’m near Los Angeles, and the relationship has moved the same way ever since. I didn’t know what she looked like and she knew me by my truck number. It was a match made in purgatory.

There were many tiny slights I endured, most of which I don’t want to share on the basis that people are paid to scour social media for the sake of image management. I will share the final blow that drove me to disgruntlement, though.

I had delivered at La Mirada. I was about 40 miles away from the Jurupa Valley terminal I was getting off at. I was about to head home when I received a load sent to me on the Qualcomm device with an ultimatum of 2 options. I could either pick up 33,000 lbs of freight in Wilmington in downtown Los Angeles at midday and drop off something in Perris, or I could pick up 40,000 lbs of freight in Wilmington in downtown Los Angeles at midday and drop off something in Perris.

Let’s make a tangent here about expectations. In my mind, I treat an expectation as a type of calculation people make, most of the time subconsciously. Low expectations are key to happiness, but what happens when the lowest expectation you can imagine is boldly disregarded? Either lower it even harder or take a stand.

I took a stand, and I can proudly say that I’m leaving next Friday morning to start working at Melton Truck Lines after restraining myself long enough to finish the load and get the truck back to my terminal.

Melton is a much, much smaller company. I’ll be getting a significant pay increase, the company is small enough that I should have an actual relationship with my driver leader, and I had a chance to speak to one of the Melton family directly!

The company does nothing but OTR flatbed, which is far more interesting and far less fat-inducing to me, and they promise Home Time every 3 weeks, and every 2 weeks if we move. We were already planning on moving, but this pretty much seals it.

My Honey Sucklers and I have been debating what state to move to for at least a year, but we have been indecisive due to a lack of money and an uncertainty of whether we prefer hurricanes or tornadoes.

We stumbled onto this US News report amidst the other non-news the “news” seems to dispense these days. After getting all nerded up on it, spreadsheeting it, then cross-referencing it with the other sentiments we had about the racist states Super Deep South and the liberal pansies Northeast, we’ve finally settled on one: Iowa.

Interestingly, Melton’s policy sets their 2/3 week policy splits right down the 35 Interstate, which splits Iowa in half. Therefore, living on the west half of Iowa would give me 3 weeks out at a time OTR and the east half would give me 2 weeks.

This obviously means we are going to move to east Iowa, but it will take a few months of saving to get there. Logistics have a tricky tendency to be invalidated when other things like “facts” and “reality” get in the way, so I’ll spare you the 8,734 details for now.

Though we had been considering moving, we had had one minor reason to stick around: my extended family. That story has come to a resounding end when my Jumpy Cablers and I realized that we can have no relationship with my mother as long as my mother refuses to tell us what her problem is with us.

If you’re confused about this, so are we. My mom has a “problem” with us, but she refuses to talk about this “problem” and does a great job talking about everything but what she feels about us. The reason why she does this is she’s lonely she secretly hates us she’s an alien she secretly longs to be a Walmart greeter we don’t really know at all.

In California, the cost of a house is a bit more than the lifetime cost of raising a child to 18 years old ($250,000-$500,000 depending on how crappy a part of town you’re in). If you’re thinking we’re crazy, I’ll just leave this link here for all the houses you can afford in Iowa with a shopping cart wrangler job.

A Rigged Situation

A Rigged Situation

As you may well be aware, my ability to spend time with my Shoober Noodles and Peanut is a bit constrained these days. Right now I’m learning a new definition of cold in the distant land of Montana while she is living life more liberally in California. If you have OCD, enjoy: that photo is what happens when you drive through lots of filthy, filthy snow.

We are both doing well, except that it seems every other day for me is a radical new experience. In the past few weeks, I have endured a blizzard with a full truck load, backed into the smallest little podunk bays you can imagine, had a fiasco with my tire chains, had 2 trailer landing gears break on me, blew a tire and have learned the true meaning of friendship.

The last one I made up, but at this point I’m not sure what else is coming.

When I’ve been off the clock and not doing something related to the trucker’s lifestyle, I’ve been able to focus more keenly on writing. I’m currently about to release another book once my Clumpy Litters finishes editing it. This one will be the first part of what will likely be a 15-book series called “How To Be Good Enough”, closely based on the 100,000 Tips I shamelessly promote every chance I can get.

It has been almost a month since I’ve last seen my Funky Trippers, and I miss her deeply. I also miss Watermelon, and he’s getting more capable at doing that “human being” thing that we’re all used to. Since I’ve been gone, my Whammy Squishers has gotten a kitty. The theory is that it’ll be a good mouse deterrent, since the sieve we currently call a home has holes on the sides as well. Though they serve a very useful aerodynamic element to our motif and teach us the invaluable lessons that only blankets can comfort us about, rodents like to wander around inside our wheeled home and wreak havoc.

However, I’m husting my bump to get us out of this situation. Swift has a Bronze/Silver/Gold/Platinum/Diamond rating scale, with all of them attainable at the beginning and Diamond only coming after 30 months of continuous Platinum. Even with all of my setbacks, apparently I’ve done such a good job that I’ve become a Platinum Driver.

Just yesterday I was able to confirm that I’m transferring to flatbed trucking. For those of you who don’t know the industry (probably 94% of you) flatbed pays a little better but is a bit harder work with all the tying down and irregular loads and whatnot. However, it takes less time to load and unload, and that means less waiting time, meaning more driving time, meaning more money, meaning less dying of starvation.

So yeah, I’m still around, but not as frequent on my updates. Check out my YouTube channel for the latest on me or Honey Stickers’ Facebook page for the latest on her.

Though I am determined to get those books written.

Why I Stopped Officing

Why I Stopped Officing

I’m going to take a more in-depth detour from my normal descriptive shenanigans to describe the shenanigans specifically pertaining to why I downgraded my work shirt.

As you may know, I’ve never been particularly skillful at politics. I tend to have the worst luck with appearance. It’s not that I have a bad appearance, per se, near as much as the fact that my appearance tends to correspond exactly to what I really am deep-down. Apparently, when those kids shows said “be yourself”, I took their advice a little too far.

Unfortunately, most places in this world involve politics. Generally, the higher you go up the management ladder, politics matter more and more and most other skills become less and less relevant. This is largely because a manager’s performance is tied almost exclusively to the success of others, and while a manager of 5 can pull his own weight to make up for a lack of ability to inspire work out of others it becomes harder for a manager of 100 to do the same thing.

The only way around this while having a career that doesn’t require government supplementation is to find a line of work that specializes in a unique need of society. Actuaries, for example, crunch complex and intricate statistical probabilities behind insurance policies and can make upwards of $180,000 a year!

The trouble with this is that eventually the work reaches a “glass ceiling” of sorts regarding management. Not only is the Peter Principle a working concept, but often the pay caps off at a certain level before management becomes an option.

Now, in this strange job market, specialized blue-collar work is actually in higher demand that many white-collar workers are turning down. If you think about it, that means that there is an army of unemployed people not willing to get their hands into a new type of work simply because they aren’t skilled for it/they don’t want to/they’re lazy/ they don’t know about it/all of the above.

Along with all of this, there are a number of personal reasons pertaining to my decision:

  • I had been unemployed for a few months and had heard that logistics companies are desperate for OTR truck drivers.
  • My package center supervisor job paid less than starting off as a truck driver.
  • The expectations of a truck driver are fulfilled by humanly possible limitations that don’t really change, while UPS is understaffed, under-resourced and struggling to maintain a public image on a decaying status.
  • I get more of a chance to do what I love, such as writing more and reading audio books most of the workday, instead of fighting the temptation to give myself a brain hemorrhage on the nearest wall.

Finally, if that’s not enough to convince you that I’m relatively sane, I’ve been following the truck driving industry closely for a while now and have one last thought to level at y’allses.

Many people believe that truck driving is a dying industry since automation is taking it over. I even saw the idea surface in an episode of South Park! Though this idea is technically true, it’s overlooking a few major  elements.

Firstly, automated vehicles are a ways out before they can become a viable universal solution. This article neatly explains the levels of automation, but allow me to make it even neater:

  • Level 0 – The vehicle doesn’t drive itself, though it might have something like ABS
    • This has been around since cars were a thing
  • Level 1 – The vehicle steers or controls speed, but not both (basically old-timey cruise control)
    • This has been common since the 80’s
  • Level 2 – The vehicle is essentially able to navigate one lane of a highway
    • Though this is common in cars it’s just barely getting introduced into trucks, largely because they’re large
    • This is simply a convenience for the truck driver, since everything is still literally in the driver’s hands
  • Level 3 – The vehicle drives like a nervous 15-year-old with a permit
    • This is brand-spanking-new in cars, and trucks will get it when the computer can think a mile ahead
    • This won’t be hard to implement, but it will still require the driver behind the wheel and will simply make the truck driver’s life even easier
  • Level 4 – The vehicle can drive itself on a sunny day on freshly paved roads
    • Google is doing this, but it’s not particularly marketable right now due to the hundreds of legal issues that come with nobody in particular to pin blame on
    • This will likely roll out for big rigs but will still require a driver, since the liability of a Prius hitting something is slightly less than 80,000 pounds of gasoline
    • This will be the biggest hurdle, since figuring out how to legally pin responsibility will be a headache and a half, as this TEDed video shows (good legal industry to get in on the ground level with, high school buddy of mine is an attorney in it now!)
  • Level 5 – The vehicle drives itself anywhere, anytime
    • This doesn’t exist
    • Truck drivers will need new jobs when this comes around

This entire issue seems like a repeat of the accounting industry in the 70’s. Computers were starting to add big numbers, and some people forecasted that the computer would replace the accountant. This was echoed more loudly when VisiCalc came out in 1979, Lotus 1-2-3 came out in 1981, and finally when Microsoft ruthlessly sabotaged VisiCalc’s creator and sold the product under a different name created a similar product with Excel in 1985.

Well, where are the accountants now?

The last time I checked, accounting is a high-demand industry. Though the original tasks of the low-level accountant (add, subtract, copy numbers over, repeat, repeat) is pretty much easy enough for secretaries to do while answering dumb questions, the advanced report-generation and business decision-making is honed in to being an analytical art form of its own.

In the same way, automation will hit truck driving slowly. Backing a truck once you get to a destination will not go out of style, so maybe there will be drivers paid to literally back trucks at sites and truck stops all day. The need for logging, endless coffee and heart-attack food at truck stops, sleeper cabs and 20% of the country songs will go by the wayside. At the same time, the need for dispatchers, trip planners, computer maintenance personnel, mechanics and specialized sensor mechanics will go up or stay the same.

Until then, truck driving is indisputably the lifeblood of the American economy, and I’m proud to be one of its blood cells. Transit by rail only gets the load part of the way, and many of the rails are severely under-maintenanced. Cargo by boat can only travel on waterways, which leave out a few small parts of America (like Utah). That leaves shipment by truck, expensive drones, big Jetsons-style tubes that haven’t been made yet, or magical fairy teleportation that’s been severely underfunded by our current science programs.

A Few More Miles

After getting some of the rest that comes with home time, my mind and body are sound enough to express ideas in writing again without sounding like Dollar Tree’s version of Alexa.

For the most part, driving a large truck across the country is somewhere between boring and mind-numbing. If you’re not enriching yourself with audio books (or paper books if you’re extremely bold) or actively thinking about something, the hundreds of miles to be driven a death clock for your IQ.

The precise deficit of truck driving, however, comes at the benefit of teaching the importance of focus. If you read my past blog posts, you’ll discover that i clearly come from a family heritage of individuals with the attention span of a medium-sized housefly. By applying a focus of driving a vehicle, much of that has burned itself off by virtue that 200 miles away is not as important right now as the next 2 miles if you like keeping your driver’s license.

Like toilet paper when camping or an ear for tone when singing, one individual item can demarcate the difference between success and failure. In this case, the solitude and peace of being isolated in a truck cab on the road has failed to provide an opportunity for me as long as I don’t have a proper laptop to create with.

The importance of creation cannot be understated. Without our ability to make paintings, lawn gnomes and fart jokes, humanity would be like any unintelligent being. Even with a highly sophisticated miracle of engineering like my phone, it wasn’t designed for power-using. Instead, I should use a windows-based OS that allows dragging and dropping items more effortlessly, and the best window-based operating system is, obviously, Microsoft’s iOS.

Editor’s Note: Upon further research, apparently Microsoft has not created iOS. Therefore, I meant to say that the most window-based OS is Apple’s iOS.

In the meantime, this downtime has sometimes given way to the uptimes of forcing meditation time. Due to all of this time, I’ve had plenty of thinking time, and it has wrought many changes over time upon me. In fact, the first time I came home to my Booger Noodles, she had a hard time recognizing how I behaved!

I will endeavor to share most of the thoughts, experiences, failings, etc. in future posts, books, podcasts, YouTube videos and other narcissistic media, but for now I only have one thought to express, and I’ll close with that thought until I have enough money to buy a device that will allow me to write with gusto and pesto about anything I darn well feel like.

I am making a public modification to my previous posts regarding my extended family. As you have probably noticed, I have had a beef with them. Thankfully, this has downgraded to a chicken with them. Hopefully in a year, I’ll be all tofu up in this situation.

My mother has NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder), and you’ll note her lack of a Facebook profile as evidence of it once you combine it with her lack of desire to learn any new technologies ever. She needs formal diagnosis, but the very diagnosis means she will evade the diagnosis, so here we are.

In most non-Hollywood functioning homes, the husband is the voice of reason. My father has decided that it is better to adhere to the absurd demands of an image-obsessed mentally unwell individual over his own common sense, and that has created a morbid fear of the vast and beautiful expanse of Everything Else.

This marriage has never really been healthy. Since we often become more like who we associate with, my father’s latent NPD that lies within all of us individually through our sin condition came into fruition.

About 5 years ago I started blogging about whatever the heck came to mind. My parents’ response was to bring in their usual Shame Train with heavier payloads. Since I didn’t want any bad blood I adapted my writing style, deleted and edited old posts, tore down entire blogs and was very careful about what I said. However, that didn’t yield any affirmation from them that I had actually done anything noteworthy.

3 years ago I started expressing thoughts more articulately and with more devotion to what I truly wanted to say. I had downsized my Pain Yard and rejected most of the loads that came in from them. The result was 3 parts confusion, 1 part bitterness and a dash of something that was almost, but not quite, like spurned love.

Finally, once I started succeeding with completing my 100,000 Tips, publishing my first book, getting into management, having a miniature human with the love of my life and whatnot, their feelings of shattered image were so great that they were incapable of BIRGing with me about literally anything.

However, instead of holding the grudge that I deserve to hold over this rather unfair treatment, I’ve instead decided to publicize the truly miraculous work God has brought into this arrangement before it even got this ugly.

The science has shown that NPD is probably about 5.9% of the population. If you find Facebook annoying, blame that 5.9%. If you post more than 2 times a day on Facebook, you might be that 5.9%!

Contrastingly, ASD (autism spectrum disorder) is about 1% of the population. If ever you find yourself in the geekiest parts of the internet and hear an argument about the colors of lightsabers or which model of tricorder was the most advanced for its time, you’re surrounded by autistics.

If you combine the two, it’s a weird mixture. NPD by nature is obsessed with image, appearance, power from image and looking perfect all the time. ASD is a deficiency in understanding the sociological nuances of image, how power dynamics actually work and a general inability to see the world like neurotypicals see it.

The odds of two NPD’s spawning an ASD are pretty low (0.059% if you put the 2 together), but God provided me with an in-born obsession with strictly what is true to offset their obsession with what everyone sees things as. In fact, now that I’ve grown well into this development, I can faithfully say that I am healthily capable of caring about image to the extent it truly matters, but never more than it can really matter.

In light of this, my extended family will be floundering for years to come as their adult child continues to flex his intellectual muscles, unheeded by the hindrances of implied image impotently imposed on his person. This will come full circle with pepperings of shame and guilt every time I do something that could be risky (which you all know I never do), but it’s worth it to live the good life.

Besides, how many other people can stick accountant, analyst, supervisor, truck driver, published author, dad and site admin on their resume?

Last Year, But New & Improved!

Happy New Year everyone! While everyone else was performing the ceremonial ornamentation of a dead tree’s corpse, sharing cards that have less value than money but somehow mean more, eating candy out of fake socks and making vain promises while drunk, I was separated a week at a time from my Glimpsy Squinters and Cherry Tomato acquiring the legal credential to operate heavy machinery.

Outside of how much more relevant children’s cough syrup’s warning labels mean to me, it is the start of a rewarding-enough career that will keep my family and I from dying of EPP (Empty Pocket Poisoning).

I’ve never been one for New Year’s Resolutions, but here goes:

  1. I resolve to stop being as fat as I am now. I’ve already gone from 315 lbs (tubby-tub-tub) to 285 lbs (tubby-tubbers) and all I need now is to drop another 45 lbs to get to 240 (tub) to look into the Army as a transportation officer before I’m denied from too much Bengay and a tendency to complain about kids these days.
  2. God-willing, enough grinding will get my 8-month Floor-Licker to evolve into a 20-month Drunken Wanderer. I’ve heard that if you keep throwing money and love at them they’ll eventually evolve into an 18-year Decent Human Being, and enough of the right engineering will enable a 25-year Reproducing Human Being.
  3. I’ve created the format of The Lifehacks Wikia, and I intend to update everything in the Philosopher Accountant’s 100,000 Tips into it. Also, while I’m at it, I plan on writing a few more books. More on all of that later.

That’s it. The new year is new possibilities, but only 365 days’ worth of it, and there’s no guarantee that any of us will make it through all the way before we discover which of the religions was correct.

So yeah, fun stuff. Since the experience of truck driving is a new one for me, I’ve also set upon myself to vlog about it. It’s a bit like this, but far less entertaining because it’s my boring face saying things that aren’t that exciting. However, it’s a nice release from the insanity that comes from the fast-track to starting a driving career through Swift.

So that’s it for now. If you want to celebrate Run it up the Flagpole Day tomorrow, you can always try out putting something on my Lifehack Wikia to help it get started. Otherwise, stay tuned to that wikia in the coming months and my YouTube channel to see what happens when insanity meets perseverance.

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!

Edit:

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!