Robot S.P.3

This Book Belongs To...

So after my rant about Valentine’s Day (that took me 6 days to write), Karma gives me Robot S.P.3 to share with everyone.  I can’t believe the irony of it all, actually.  Sherman set the Way-Back Machine for 2/12/10.   

 
 

Mister Peabody & Sherman (Too young? Google it... you damned kids!)

Friday night I had an interesting conversation with Melinda about how I (well we actually…. I just didn’t want to throw her under the bus) could be such a cynical person and yet truly appreciate the important things in life.  I won’t say that I’m an optomist, because I’m still working on that; however, I have at least moved from my previous “no glass” stance on the “empty/2 vs. full/2” debate.    

 

Half...

Then strangely enough my dad (Fred) called tonight to wish me an (early) happy birthday and we ended up having a very similar talk.  He’s enjoying life more than ever, but he still gets pissed off by the people at Cheers (only the names and locations have been changed to protect the innocent… well, just the location really.  You all know that Fred is my dad… wouldn’t do much good to lie about that now).   

 

Kintzel Cynicism DNA Helix

I relayed that I might have some theories on why we’re both cynics; however, this isn’t the “Nature vs. Nurture” Channel… so we won’t get into all of that.  (If you’re interested in getting into all of that, Nature and Nurture are squaring off in a steel-cage title-match this week on WWE RAW).  I added that there are a lot of things that get me wound up too:   

  • Truck Balls
  • People who say “irregardless”, “supposubly”, “take things for granite”, “for all intensive purposes”, and “excetera”
  • Colors (I’m color-blind people…not racist)
  • Compound interest

But recently I’ve managed to compartmentalize all of that and focus on what, but more importantly who, really matters the most.  That brings us back to Robot S.P.3, the Sweet Pickles book from above, the Sweet Pickles book from Connor’s closet, my Sweet Pickles book from 1981.  “This Sweet Pickles book belongs to Eric Kintzelwritten printed in just about 5-year-old script.  

I read it to him for bed last night (on the aforementioned Valentine’s Day) for the first time… and he loved it so much that he had me read it to him again tonight, with the stipulation that we’d read it again tomorrow night.  

My dad read that book to me for years… and to Garret (my brother) and me for even more years… and he’d read it “the right way” as my poor mom was reminded when she didn’t read it like dad did.  (Our dog Butch literally ate the top edge of the book, but SP3 – much like in the story – could not be stopped).  Of course any time SP3 would talk in the book, dad would read it in the classic robot voice… sometimes even acting it out (which never really helped us “wind down” for bed, but we didn’t care).  

Flash forward 20-plus years and here I was with my own little boy reading the same book… not the same story, but the actual dog-chewed, “This Sweet Pickles Book Belongs to Eric Kintzel“-signed copy of my book.  Playing the part of me was Connor, which had to mean that I was filling the story-telling shoes of my dad… which is no small undertaking, I might add. 

Now (coming back to the beginning of my post) I may be a cynical a-hole sometimes, but none of the aura of that moment last night was lost on me last night.  I’ve been sitting here for 10 minutes trying to put it into words, but I can’t… and rather than say something clichéd, I’ll just say that I hope that some day my son looks back on his story-time with me as fondly as I look back on my story-time with my dad.

Life isn’t about who flips you off on the highway, who sits next to you at work with that annoying click when they chew, or who swipes that last copy of your New Release at Blockbuster on a Friday night.  Life is about family and friends (…don’t be upset about always being listed 2nd “friends”.  Remember some say that friends are the family that you get to choose…) …most importantly, the ones who want you to read Robot S.P.3 tomorrow night.

 

February 16, 2010. Tags: , . There is good in the world. 4 comments.

Hypocrisy for the Holidays!

Well, as they say, “it’s that time of year again”.  Holiday music started playing the day before they put out the Halloween costumes.  Turkeys are beginning to feel safer as Thanksgiving has simply become a financial partner to introduce its big brother, Christmas.  And it must be December because I can’t leave the house between the hours of 3:30 and 10:00 without running into “the crowd”.  

"The crowd" on a good day in December

Now don’t get me wrong, I love the holidays.  But I think that things have taken a turn for the worse… and no one has noticed.

Why is it ok for the cashier at Kroger to tell me that my “Xmas Twix” (per the register) upsets her as the “Xmas” takes Christ out of Christmas?  How does she know that I’m not a Satanist planning on using my Twix in some sort of ritual to rid the world of Christmas?  Or maybe, I’m a Grinch-ist just trying to get rid of the Who’s and all that “noise, noise, noise, noise…”

Grinch-ist

I guess my point is that I really don’t need the cashier talking to me about Jesus… and I have several reasons for this. 

First of all, I don’t like talking to anyone about Jesus.  I have my own issues with my faith, or lack thereof…and I really don’t feel like discussing it with Cindy at Kroger.  “Paper or Plastic” Cindy, not “Heaven or Hell”.

How much did I save, with the coupons?

Secondly, why is it acceptable for Christians to annually assume that everyone else is on the invite list for their big end-of-the-year party?  Just because the majority of Indiana is Christian doesn’t mean that it’s 100% Christian.  Maybe I celebrate Festivus every December… or maybe I have a shrine dedicated to Elvis.  Or maybe I was heading home to start planning my Ramadan festivities for the following August.  Would they take as well to me wishing them “Happy Bodhi Day!”?

The new Merry Christmas!!

…and with all of this going on, I feel like so many have lost sight of what the Holiday season should actually focus on.  Starting with Thanksgiving, people just get into this consumer mentality for the sake of doing what’s expected of them. 

“Buy, buy, buy” to show others how much money you make…and how you can afford to spend more on them than they can spend on you.  It’s the financial equivalent of whipping it out to see whose is bigger.

Then you’ve got the people who will go out shopping and not be concerned if they cut-people off on the road, park in handicapped spots, grab the last toy, cut in line, pay with a check, and talk loudly on their cell phones during the entire process.

I guess it’s “no big deal” to inconvenience tens or possibly hundreds of people over the course of a month or two to spread a little Christmas cheer, on one day.  That’s just bad math any way you slice it. 

Do people realize the karma they’re going to reap?  I mean come on everyone, “What would Jesus do to grab the last New Moon Barbie doll?”  …and more importantly, would he be pleased to see what you’d done to grab the last New Moon Barbie doll?

Jesus loves Edward Cullen!

So let’s all take a step back, refocus, and think: “What should the holidays mean to me”?

I’ll tell you what they mean to me, and I’m not going to bullshit it at all.  I’ll start at Thanksgiving, but I don’t need a day every year to make me thankful for what I’m about to get into.

I’m not going to get into details, but I’ve had a pretty screwed up year this year.  All that aside, I’m honestly not sitting around feeling sorry for myself… and I don’t need reminded every November to count my blessings.

My most amazing blessing in the world is sleeping in the next room holding on to an early birthday present that his mom gave him.  He’s the reason that I get out of bed every day… and he still thinks that I am the coolest man on the planet.

I’m also blessed to have my health.  I will never take that for granted. 

I’m incredibly fortunate to not just have had an “amicable” split-up, but that Amber and I are still genuinely friends.  We will always have a special bond and I just can’t imagine my life without her in it… even if it’s not in the same capacity as before.

I also have a great family (including Amber) that really helped me get through losing my job and living on my own for the first time this year.  I’ve leaned on each of them at different times in different ways and I’ll never be able to fully explain what that meant for my mental well-being.

This year (on a positive note) I was able to reconnect with two of my best friends from junior high and high school.  I still really can’t believe that I’m back in touch with either of them…and it really blows my mind that we’ve all hung out twice in the last 3 weeks.  Melinda & Brandon, I don’t know about my faith… but I know that fate gave you two back to me this year when I really needed you the most.  Now, don’t go getting lost out in the world again.

So that’s (part of) what I’m thankful for… and Christmas time, which I really prefer to call the holidays, should be about spending time with family and being kind to one another.  (Of course we should all be doing that every day, but that’s an issue for another time). 

This is what it's all about

Are presents nice? Yes.  Do you have to have them to have a great holiday season? No.  Is it Christmas? Yes.  Would Jesus be upset at “Xmas” if we actually got the sentiment right? Probably not…

So let’s not all stress out on how many presents we’re giving or getting.  Let’s just all enjoy the time we have with those around us.  If they’re important or special enough to get to see during the holidays, then get the most out of the time you get to see them.  You never know who might not be sitting around the tree the next time it’s up.

December 12, 2009. Tags: , . rants, There is good in the world. 3 comments.

My Day with AT&T

att_logo_119x57

I don’t even know what to say.  I truly consider myself a pessimistic, jaded, pissed-off individual…and today AT&T threw me a huge curve-ball.

I called to cancel my land-line and (although the call itself took 45 minutes) they were very helpful with the process…going beyond what I would expect from the “losing dollars” side of their call center.  I was impressed with customer service for a change.

I decided to try my luck again and called AT&T Wireless to get rid of my extra line and to downgrade my minutes.  I got to talk to this wonderful woman, Kate Thompson (so nice that I remembered her name) in Harrisburg, PA.  She asked why I was downgrading, etc.  (By the way: “lost my job” and “getting divorced” never have follow-up questions).

Anyway, she did not cancel my line (which would have cost me $140 and lost my 3300 rollover minutes).  She put me into a super-secret 450 minute plan (for $50/month), let me keep my 3300 rollover minutes, and even added 2000 additional rollover minutes to help me get through until my contract is up in September 2010.  I also got to keep the additional line in case Amber needs the number in the future.

You know…at some point, you start to wonder if anyone at any of these call facilities truly realize that there is a live human-being on the other end of the phone.  They get so used to doing their job…that they forget that they are supposed to be “customer service”.  “Calloused” would not be a strong enough word for the attitudes of some of them.

Thank you Kate Thompson from Harrisburg.  You have restored my faith in humanity (for the time being).

Nothing else needs to be said about this.  I will blog something sarcastic and edgy later, but not today.

April 23, 2009. Tags: . There is good in the world. Leave a comment.