From the diary of Mike Pipkin, 5th grader: Friday May 22

From the diary of Mike Pipkin, 5th grader:

Friday May 22

Well, the last week of the school year before the very last week has finally ended! Actually it IS the last week for like half of everybody! All the kids that don’t miss much and have good grades and stuff get to miss next week. Seems unfair. I thought it was just the kids who didn’t miss much but my mom asked Ms Jernigans about it and she said it should be a reward for like special students or some stuff like that. I was mad but mom didn’t argue with her so I guess it must be fair. She said I’d understand some day. I don’t mind though cause the last week is fun! Last year we watched Jewel of the Nile in class! I thought it was like Indiana jones but it was actually kinda boring. Ms Hawkins said her husband accidentally put the wrong tape in the E.T. Box so we just watched jewel of the Nile. Also the last few days they give away all the extras they cook in the cafeteria! So here’s a tip! DO NOT BUY LUNCH on the last few days of school! Just wait about 5 mins after everybody else gets theirs and it’s all the free Mexican Pizza you could possibly stuff down your fat little mouths! Also milk!
I feel pretty good looking back on the school year. I learned a lot. I’ve changed a lot. I actually started using deodorant about a month ago! It’s kinda weird but no big deal. All part of becoming a man. I learned something about deodorant. When you are a deodorant user and you take a bath (you still have to) your armpits feel funny. Like they can’t get wet enough for a good soap lather. I figured out that deodorant tries to keep sweat away and water is kinda like sweat so it keeps your bath water away too! Pretty neat-o huh!? These are things you can only learn with experience. You know, growing up kind of experience. I mean I could explain it to my friend Dennis who is a little younger and not “developing” as fast as me (that’s what Dennis’ sister, Regina said to me) but it’s just not the same as experiencing it. It’s like if I told you the Transformers movie just didn’t quite feel right, you’d have to see it to know what I mean.
So yeah, I’ve learned a lot. I haven’t learned everything yet though. Like my Grandparent’s church is called Jordania Baptist Church. I don’t know what Jordania is. I asked my dad and pawpaw but they don’t know. It’s like a girl Jordan. Or like if a guy was about to have a kid and he wanted to name his kid after Michael Jordan like real real bad and then he has a GIRL! So he has this weird Jordania name. His wife will be like “Jordan can be a perfectly good name for a girl too!” But the guy is just like he doesn’t want to hear something. So there’s a weird name now and nobody really knows why or wants to think about it too much.
I don’t know, maybe I think too much about the transformers movie. It was still real neat. It was just something about it wasn’t quite right.
Well I have to peepee now and go to bed. SATURDAY tomorrow! Gonna get up and watch cartoons! Theirs a California Raisins cartoon starting tomorrow I think!

Christmas Shoes (an inside look)

-So Mr Producer, what do you think of our new Christmas song?
-hmm I’m not sure. I mean of course I love it’s total lack of poetry and how you fashioned a narrative while having absolutely nothing interesting to say. But I don’t know, It’s not quite emotionally manipulative enough. …Hmmm… I got it! On this part, instead of you singing the chorus, why not get some sad sack sounding kid to muddle through it! That should put it over the top! Might even get a hallmark channel original movie based on it!
– Well hot dog!

A song about a guy bragging about what a great guy he is:
-Hey guys did I tell you about the time I bought shoes for that little kid’s- Oh my god, yes! If you tell us that one more… See, there was this kid, see? And his mom was real sick, see? And- Oh my god! Shut up! …What? Have I told you that already? – Um, yeah. … Well it’s just that the kid was poor so he wanted- We’re going to murder you dude! …Well you don’t have to get all rude. Hey you know what!? I think I’m gonna write a song about it! You guys think I should write a song about it? … You guys?

How did the kid know with such certainty that his mother’s death was so imminent? I mean you can’t be that absolutely sure someone will die at a specific time. I mean unless you are planning on … Oh my God! No! Oh no!

…merry christmas movie house

An Open Birthday Card To My Wife

I was living in Jackson Mississippi (Don’t worry, the story gets happier.) I was teaching high-school. (no really, I was!) After a few days of being bored and admittedly a bit lonely on summer vacation, I did what I rarely ever did. I “IM’d” someone I barely knew. (You see kids AOL was an Internet…. Oh nevermind, ask your parents.) I had previously met this person at the church I was attending in South Jackson but to say we were friends would drastically overstate our familiarity. You see, she had a boyfriend at the time of our first introductions. So one boring late night I clicked on her screen name and said the profound words that would kick it all off. “Hi.” With the click of an ‘enter’ key and the iconic “Boo-da-luh” sound, I began what I did not know would be a lifelong relationship. We talked online for hours that night covering the basics of the “getting to know you’s” and stumbled over a common interest: photography. This lead to our first date spending the day taking pictures. So we actually have our first date thoroughly documented. Who gets to say that?
Unfortunately, we were only allowed to date for about a month before we were interrupted by much bigger plans than mine. A few days into our blossoming friendship she informed she she was about to go to Africa for about two years. “Well of course you are!” I thought. You see, by this time I had already realized that this was much more than something to occupy my idle days of summer. It was a mere couple weeks later I told her “OK, go to Mali. When you get back, I’ll be here and I’ll ask you to marry me.” I did wait two years. It was long. She had malaria twice. I paid a sports car’s amount for my phone bill. We counted the days. I mailed boxes of American junk food. The Simpsons made a movie! Barack Obama became president. I moved back to Memphis. Life slowly went on. Finally the time came for her return home. We had decided since she was to have a layover in Paris anyway, we would meet there and stay a while in Paris and London. It was amazing. We were engaged on the top of a rainy, chilly Eiffel Tower. We were married the following May, got a dog the following August and I can truly say I am completely happy and beyond content with the choice I made for a lifelong partner. I know not everyone can say that. Not everyone can honestly say “No regrets.” I can. I absolutely can. In three and a half years I have come to understand just how good I got it. I truly feel sorry for people that don’t have what I have. She loves me more than I could ever deserve. She “gets me” more than anyone ever has. She puts up with me with more patience than anyone has ever shown. It really is ridiculous that this amazing person with such talent, intelligence, integrity and beauty wants to spend these few precious years we are given on this side of eternity with me. I’ll take it.

On Our Amazing Hands With The Fingers On Them

On Our Amazing Hands With The Fingers On Them

Some who are prone towards clumsiness say saying such as “hey you guys, I’m real clumsy and I drop stuff all of the time!” I’ve said that myself. For example, say if I drop something. Well, if I drop something I’d might say, “Oh no! I always drop everything!” And you know what? I really do drop stuff like a whole lot, you guys. Sometimes I ask myself “Why do you dumb hands are always dropping things!?” It seems like it really is that way because I drop stuff a lot. I’m guessing you drop the things alot too. But what if we are wrong to be thinking that. Maybe we don’t really drop stuff alot. maybe. See, think about it you guys. We all got hands that we are like always holding stuff right? I mean really. ALWAYS. Really though, you guys. I wonder how many minutes of the days we spend holding things with our hands! I dont know how many minutes cause its like sooo many minutes you guys. I bet I have held about a million things just today! I held a Coke. I held a sandwich. I held a notebook. I held a bottle of Suave body wash. I carried a bag of nickels to the Arby’s. I held a bag of Arby’s. I picked up a stapler and I stapled with it. That’s not a million things yet but I probably did hold a million things, I just can’t remember all of them ya know? But see what I mean? You don’t even think about all the stuff you hold with your hands all day. Probably you hold stuff more than you don’t hold stuff. So when you think about it, being relative to how many things you hold, you probably don’t actually drop stuff that much! I mean let’s say you drop something like your phone (That’s something else I held today!) or something like that maybe once a week. Dropping something once a week compared to the millions of minutes we spend holding things is really not too bad you guys! When you think about it, I’m surprised we aren’t dropping stuff more often. We got our hands and we got all these fingers on our hands too. We got ten separate fingers that have to work together just right to do anything! Our brain just makes it do that. We don’t even have to think about it really most of the time. That’s called brain science! We cant even understand it! Our hands and fingers don’t hardly ever drop stuff and we carry stuff all the time. Some people can do crazy good stuff with their hands too. Like musicians and painters and origami makers and baseball pitchers and that guy in the movie ALIEN who could like stab that knife on the table real fast between those guys’ fingers without hitting their fingers.  Do you think he could really do that in real life? The actor I mean. I loved that movie. It was scary.

In summary, I want to let you know that sometimes you feel bad about things and yourself but really you just need to look at it differently you guys. See like you think “Oh crap I always drop stuff I’m stupid!” but really you almost NEVER drop stuff compared to how much time you spend holding stuff. So feel good about your self!

The Tale of Hutch Makegood part 1

It’s just a sport, you say? A silly game? No one even cares about the Annual World Competitional Awards anymore anyway? Sometimes it may be but a mere test of skills. On some level it has become a monthlong commercial every five years to sell us Macabee’s beef fries. Yes perhaps it has lost the heart of what it once was and the participants seem more like fame hoarding movie stars than zealot patriots competing for love and pride of their country. This is why his story must be told. The danger of forgetting the sacrifice he gave us is great. We would lose more than sports trivia. What is lost is the story of not only our nation’s greatest and most beloved sports figure but also it’s greatest hero since the founding parents. The story of how this “silly game” was our nation’s vehicle by which Hutch Makegood would deliver our salvation. It was not hyperbole when late music legend Retch Fleetwood sang, “We almost threw it all away on a bet.”

Pie eating wasn’t always our nation’s favorite pastime. It is difficult now to imagine our nation without a P.E.A. team in every major city. And no one would want to imagine a world that wasn’t in awe of our dominance of the sport in the World Competitionals. You cant drive down the street these days without passing a kid on his Go-Wheeler with official Troddy Flann goggles or a Stoffer Treadwell clean up towel tied around like a cape. It’s an integral ingredient woven into our national fabric. The PEA teams are indeed monstrous celebrities, and rightfully so! You would however be hard-pressed to find anyone anywhere who would say any name when asked who was the greatest to ever tie on a bib other than Hutch Makegood.

Why Did God Let This Happen: Are We Asking The Wrong Question?

Just after midnight last friday morning a man opened fire on a crowded movie theatre killing twelve and injuring nearly fifty. An act of violence that to the rest of us seams senseless and unfathomable was committed by a human being against other human beings. He had nothing to gain save some sort of insane power trip. It would seem this was a person who simply wanted to kill. Wanted to be responsible for the life that bled out from the bodies of the men, women and yes children. A real life horror story featuring a living evil villain in which there was no superhero to give us balance.

For many of us we turn to God for this balance. Our refuge, our strength, our ever present help in trouble. Is God not all powerful? Is He not all knowing? Most astoundingly, is he not all loving? There are those among us who are, reasonably so, finding that idea to be much harder to believe today than yesterday. The question naturally rises from the mess that these events leave behind. But if God is in fact all knowing, He knew of this young man’s plans. If God is all powerful he could have prevented these plans. If God is all loving, he had the desire to exercise his power by protecting the objects of his love. At least this is the case according to our limited human logic. We know however, this is not how the events transpired. So how do we reconcile what we believe we know about God with what we know about last night? It begs the question, “Why did God let this happen?”

It’s a fair question right? It’s a reasonable question. It’s even an expected question. But it may just be the wrong question. If that is our primary response, I fear we are asking the easy question. I fear we are feeding the cycle of events that leads to the recurrence of lost souls erupting in these tragic or violent displays. Do we ask why the teacher allowed our children to fail all the while we have never bothered to check on their grades or progression? Do we blame the mayor for crime or poverty in our city yet we never get involved with politics or organizations that actually could offer a real difference? Yes we do, ok so maybe those aren’t very good examples…. or maybe they are. The point is that shaking our heads, crying, being enraged… these things dont help if they culminate in us simply asking “Why did God let this happen?” This is the equivalent of the Parent asking the Principle why they let their child fail the 8th grade. Just maybe when we ask that question we, like that parent, are missing the point. We are forgetting our part. Shrugging our responsibilities.

Perhaps I can’t really speak to this particular person. (I dont want to use his name. He’s gained enough fame for his evil misdeeds.) I don’t really know this person or his background. This isn’t really about him. I’m speaking here in general terms to the type of person rather than the specific. Anyway, his deeds are done and cannot be undone. But there are no doubt countless others out there who are confused, angry and looking for something to lash out against. Looking to lay the blame. Looking for someone to punish. As painful and backwards as it sounds there can be no doubt that someone out there understands why this atrocity took place and wishes they had the guts to do it as well. These people often have a shared characteristic: isolation. (Again I’m speaking in generalities) “It is not good for man to be alone.” There are few things in life that I will pretty much refuse to listen to an argument against. This is one of them. We simply were not created to live alone. So, you don’t even believe in God? ok, well we didn’t evolve in that direction then. The fittest did not survive alone and the humans we are today aren’t built to thrive in a solitary environment. We aren’t creatures of seclusion. To disagree with that boldly glaring, neon sign of common sense is a tremendous display of arrogance on the part of those of us who isolate ourselves and an often fatal act of selfishness on the part of those of us who allow the isolated to continue uninterrupted.

We need other people around us. intimately close to us. We are shaped in part by how our own mind perceives the world and by how others perceive the world. We must have an audience to examine our thoughts, words and deeds and provide feedback. When we start down a dangerous path, a path of depression, anger, self destruction or whatever it may be, we need someone to shine a light on those dark places and help guide us toward a healthier place. It is our human duty to both provide that FOR others and to seek that FROM others.

The argument is we often place ourselves under toxic influences that encourage and feed the darkness within us. We know the stories of the star athletes or politicians who surround themselves with ego puffing yes men. There are always those emotional vampires looking for victims to suck dry, people who want to use us for their own gain or just the classic misery loves company scenarios. Obviously these situations would seem just as unhealthy as a withdrawal from social interactions altogether. A self quarantine; however, is no more a logical response to bad influences as self starvation is to tasting a disagreeable tuna salad.

We desperately need a healthy functioning community funded by altruism and fed by humility. We need someone to slap us when we detail our plans to send our account and routing number to the last remaining heir of the prince of Zamunda. We need people to help when we move to a new home. No one should ever have to pay for a pet sitter. No one should have to build a deck by themselves. That weird neighbor that never leaves his apartment should not be allowed to retreat deeper inwardly after a family tragedy. Our struggles with addiction, depression, plans for violent revolutionary uprisings, dinners, shopping trips, dog walking, birthdays deaths and anniversaries should never be dealt with alone.

There comes a point when instead of shaking a fist toward heaven, we walk across the street and ring a doorbell. Instead of saying “Why did God allow this?” we get involved. We humble ourselves and offer our help. We humble ourselves and ask for help. Maybe, just maybe, WE allowed this to happen. When I hear Christians say “How could this happen?” I imagine God saying “Hmmm, I don’t know. Its the darndest thing. I had all these Christians living on that guy’s street, not sure what went wrong.”

The Tale of Hutch Makegood (introduction)

This is the introduction to what will be an ongoing story.

The introduction to:

THE TALE OF HUTCH MAKEGOOD

The world is changing. Has changed. On our march towards progress we cannot forget our past. Future generations, perhaps even the children of today may be reared with a very anemic knowledge of our social, political or pop cultural history.  There are certain historical figures (political leaders, athletic heros, activists etc) that change the world. These people leave such a profound impact on culture and society that it’s hard to imagine us forgetting them or failing to fully appreciate their contributions and impact. The danger in these assumptions is that no one documents their accomplishments. What if Charles Gluttonbourgh never documented his interactions with Flem Straightmouth? Is it possible we would never have even heard of the open faced internal combustion dual chamber electric chello?   Imagine a world were people had never heard of Slump Hickmore and his contributions to the sponge mining industry with the invention of the  Shlumpf.  We would surely take for granted never being stuck in our cars waiting for a train to pass if we had forgotten Mary Wingnest-Isenhauer.  Just imagine if we forgot the tales of our national heros such as Buck Rosepuce, Pierre Bricknickels, Pants Blackbear, or Boz Scaggs!

This is the story of one such world changer. The tale of Hutch Makegood.

If you didn’t know better, you’d think this a fictional folk tale in the vein of “Paul Breakneck and his Big Blue Jimmy Cat” Or “Steven Steven-Stevens who built bridges faster than robot slaves”. Those stories are important and play a part in both defining us and informing us as a society. As the old saying goes “Fiction is sometimes not as fantastical as Truth” therefore it seems appropriate to present to you the tale of Hutch Makegood, the one who saved us all.