Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Making the Call

“I've been coming here every summer of my adult life, and every summer there she is oiling and lotioning, lotioning and oiling... smiling. I can't take this no more!”

“Make the call.” Said with an authoritative voice, the short command can add drama to any situation. Whether the Chief of Staff is prompting the President to order a strike or my dad is telling my mom to pick something from the menu as the waiter taps his pen on the pad, “make the call” always adds a sense of urgency.

“I’m going to make the call.” Said with anticipation and nervousness, this phrase brings up images of a high school boy calling the cute girl from math class who sits two rows across him. He’s going to ask her to prom, but he isn’t sure she will say “yes.” Mustering up enough gumption to ask the Wendy Peffercorn of your school deserves such a definitive statement.

“I have to make a call.” Sometimes, we have to make decisions. Sometimes, these decisions affect just us.  Other times, they affect others we don’t even know. The hardest decisions, though, are those we make that affect loved ones.

It’s interesting to me that no matter the scenario, “making the call” brings an issue to a head. The President is going to risk civilian casualties, Squints is going to jump off the diving board into the deep end, and a young man decides that taking a job far away from his family and friends is the best decision. When “making the call,” there is no hiding in aloofness or ambiguity. In a world where appeasing every side of an issue is a praised asset in many professions (we call it “political correctness”), we, by default, stray from “making the call.”

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Crying Like a Baby

I was watching ESPN the other day. This was fairly surprising, actually, as over the summer I pretty much stuck to re-run sitcoms coming on from 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm, So You Think You Can Dance, and Breaking Bad.  But that day, there was a Sports Center segment that took me down. I was the only one in the house, at that point, and when the following clip came on, I didn't just tear up, I balled like a school girl.

Monday, June 11, 2012

RISG: Rejection, Part III

The Follow-Up
This time on The Romantically-Inclined Survival Guide, we conclude the Rejection story. In this case, the girl of my teenage dreams and I follow up on our date.

Well boys, this time it isn’t all rainbows and fairytales. Simply put, this is an anti-climatic conclusion to a story about hope, rejection, and the lessons learned from a pretty hard fall.

"I need you,
Need you baby.

This craving makes me crazy.  
I'm dying inside.
Baby make up your mind.
I need you,
Need you baby.
I'm holding on but baby.
I'm dying inside.
I cannot hide my need."

-Tyrone Wells

I woke up the next morning faster than ever. As soon as my alarm clock went off to the tune of Disney music, I sprang out of bed. I was a boy with determination, purpose, and general excitement about the day ahead- and then I remembered it was Sunday… Immediately, I sunk back down into the covers, hoping this terrible nightmare would end and I would wake up to a bright and shinning Monday morning.

That was clearly strange thinking, I now realize, but when you, in the last 8 hours, secured a second date with the girl of your teenage dreams, you would be ready to see her in the halls between classes too. I wasn’t dreaming, and so I managed to crawl out my bed, now in the form of a drowsy, teenage lump. I loafed over to the sink and then realized today might be worth it after all. I needed to plan, of course, for the next week. The week when I would engage in what I shall phrase “the follow-up” stage. This stage is critical in the dating world. It is the stage where rules of thumb such as “wait three days” or “let her make first contact” drive entire plots in Hollywood movies. The follow-up is the stage where you either make it happen or lose it all if you can’t muster the mojo and confidence to ask the dreaded question that simply begs for rejection: “So… what are you doing this Friday night?” Let the planning commence.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

RISG: Rejection, Part II

The Date

This time on The Romatically-Inclined Survival Guide, we see more of the girl of my teenage dreams, as introduced in Part I. In fact, she and I go on a date. 

Men, sometimes you have to pull out all the stops.  Maybe they are fancy and complicated, maybe you only have four days to prepare, no money, and only a casual date to pull it off.  In those circumstances, it is about showing who you really are.  And the girl wants you to know who she is.  Girls love honesty, and they can give it (as some may have experience) and sense it better than we can.  Sometimes she and you are “all the stops.”  Be genuine...  Also, it never hurts to have at least one trick up your sleeves.  This is part II of a story about hope, rejection, and the lessons learned from a pretty hard fall.

"Michael Hosea was a quiet man, but there wasn't anything soft about him. There was something in his look that made men treat him with respect. It wasn't just his height or the strength of his body, which were both impressive enough. It was the clear steadiness of his gaze. He knew what he was about even if the rest of the world didn't."
--Francine Rivers, Redeeming Love

It was 6:15 pm on a Friday night. I hopped out of the shower and drying my hair to Earth, Wind, and Fire’s September”.  Twisting my hips between the towel to a beat, and such a funky one at that, was always more entertaining than silence.  And I needed to get psyched up.

Why am I showering at 6:15 pm on a Friday night?  Why do I need to get psyched up?  Because tonight is my big night.  Tonight is the night that I take the girl of my teenage dreams on a date! Or, rather, she takes me out on a date.  But importance can be lost in the details.  Grace and I are going out on a date!  With the mantra “do you remembah?” increasing my mojo as the 70s song faded out, my ipod’s shuffle feature snapped me back into reality by blasting some of my sister’s Hannah Montana in my face. As soon as I could scamper, wet feet and all, and click the next button with gratifying punctuation, shuffle again did me some wonders.  “Let’s Get Down to Business” from Mulan came on. “Ok,” I muttered. “Let’s do this thing.”

“Oh motherrrrr!” I yelled out of my bedroom door. “What the heck am I supposed to wear on a reverse-date?!” 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

RISG: Rejection, Part I

The Raffle

Gentlemen, every man faces rejection at some point. This time on the Romantically-Inclined Survival Guide, we will take a look at that fact. Some receive more than others.  But every man faces rejection.  If he does not, he is not striving for enough. He is not pushing himself enough.  In the romantic world, rejection can be especially painful.  We fall hard for a girl.  And by fall, I mean flat on our faces fall.  But there is more than that one girl and more than that rejection.  This is a story about hope, rejection, and the lessons learned from a pretty hard fall.

"I take rejection as someone blowing a bugle in my ear to wake me up and get going, rather than retreat.

-- Sylvester Stallone

It was senior year of high school.  As you take yourself back to high school, imagine for a moment any high school movie with an underdog, average, but likeable guy.  In this case, he plays soccer, is tall and lanky, and has a good group of friends.  But he can’t touch the “popular” crowd, and by all rationale, has no reason to try (or really want to).  In these movies, though, there is always one girl.  That one girl is transcendent of cliques.  She is beautiful, kind enough to look him in the eye, and wasn’t corrupted by the plastic nature of her cheerleader friends.  She has known the boy for quite some time, often since childhood, and she asks him to help her out with things like Calculus homework.

But, as we all know, without a special circumstance, the boy doesn’t stand a chance.  Hollywood, tauntingly, always provides.  In this case, there is a raffle. But not just any raffle. No, this raffle peaks the boy’s interest. This raffle isn’t just a fundraiser. This is a chance.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Romantically-Inclined Survival Guide: The Serenade

Objective: Woo Woman of Interest
Process: The ancient art form of The Serenade
Location: Pretty Much Anywhere
Equipment/Skills Needed: Instrument, singing voice (good or bad), practice, confidence, mojo
Wait? What is the Romantically-Inclined Survival Guide?
The day before Valentine’s Day, I was wandering about the second floor of my dorm tower creating chit-chat and calming down obnoxious freshmen.  While this is my job, I also enjoy spending time with my residents, as they always seem to have fun things going on in their lives. Of course, the chit-chat that I created, on February 13th, was about expectations for the next day. The question of the night, as I phrased to the ladies was this:

“Here’s the situation: It’s Valentine’s Day.  A guy friend, that you know pretty well but mostly just hang out in groups, approaches you.  Keep in mind that you consider him a friend.  There may be a knock on your door or he may chase you down in the middle of the UU Plaza. Either way, he is holding a guitar, and right then and there, he begins to serenade you.  Of course, you listen, completely surprised. When he is finished, he asks you: “Will you be my Valentine?”  What do you say?  Keep in mind, you don’t know what he will take out of you saying ‘yes’ to this simple request. Oh, and here’s the catch: he’s not cute.”

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Romantically-Inclined Survival Guide

**Note to the female readers out there: The Romantically-Inclined Survival Guide will be written primarily for men. But keep in mind, someone famous probably once said: "It is good to know your enemy, but even better to know what your enemy thinks about you." While men and women are not enemies, we are about as aloof to one another as battling generals. That being said, you are welcome to read these posts (and maybe even offer some hints.)** 

If you have read “The University Union” or know me at all personally, then you know that I take particular interest in the species known to man simply as “woman.”  While I certainly claim to know of their existence, let me be frank and honest up front: I am no expert.  The “woman” is a complex creature.  In fact, if you read the Bible, God created the “woman” last.  In my mind, I am pretty sure this is because they were so complicated, God needed an extra day to put together all the in’s and out’s.  Over thousands of years, “women” have puzzled us men.  We can’t quite figure them out, and we probably never will.  I don’t claim to be able to unlock the secrets the “woman,” but I can give you some basic survival tips that may prove exactly what you need to get just close enough to the species to see them smile and make eye contact. 
But beware: “women” are known to cause serious emotional confusion, heartache, lapse in proper judgment, excessive spending, and falling hard… very hard.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Better Society Question

So, the other day I was at the Civil Engineering Career Fair here at Cal Poly. Yes, Civil Engineering had 39 companies to ourselves. They like us. Obviously, I was unsuccessful in my continual search for an internship this summer. Most people can't get past my average GPA or the fact that I have no previous experience in engineering. But I gotta ask, how do most people get their start? Oh, wait, they have to start somewhere? That's what I thought.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Blake: In Romans vs Barbarians

My name is Zach. And this is my dream come true through the eyes of a 10-year-old boy named Blake.
My name is Blake, and I like cats. I hope my cats are doing ok at home. I am sure that my mom is taking care of them. Yes, I certainly have nothing to worry about. The cats will be just fine.  But I can’t wait to see them and my mom. I really miss her. She is so good at being a mom. She is the only who really understands me. She knows that I like strawberry jelly instead of grape and, somehow, she always fixes me when I am hurt. I hate getting hurt. Some boys like it, but I am not like other boys. No, I prefer to be civilized and read. Why would I hurt myself in a dangerous game when I could read a good story? I like English way better than P.E. I am definitely not like other boys…