Camp Clumsy

If you didn’t already know this, I am incredibly clumsy. Therefore, I tend to hurt myself a lot. It’s not always something big. I might just jam my fingers or develop a bruise of unknown origins. But it happens All. The. Time. At camp, my clumsiness is even worse.

At home, I tend to stay locked away in my room writing or reading (my family calls my room “The Cave”). I don’t get injured very often then. However, at the summer camp where I work as a lifeguard, I’m almost always up and moving about. I’m not allowed to bring my laptop with me, so I’m forced to leave my bunk and socialize, which, if I’m being honest, is probably good for me. I go on hikes, play with kids, play billiards, and generally wander around. Of course, there’s also the pool where I work. It has lots of slippery surfaces and sun exposure and random really heavy umbrella stands (I skinned my right thumb the first week trying to move one of the stands), so of course I’m going to hurt myself there. In addition to the skinned thumb, I also got badly sunburned on my shoulders, thighs, and the tops of my feet that first week. The shoulders and thighs weren’t so bad, but the pain from the feet was radiating down the inside of my feet making it a bit difficult to walk.

And then there’s the bugs. This don’t have as much to do with clumsiness on my part (although, I have stupidly wacked myself in the face in an ambitious attempt to kill a horsefly. Curse them!), but they are still something that cause me extra pain and frustration. We’ve got mosquitos, horseflies, deerflies, wasps, and plenty of giant spiders. Of course, that’s only listing the ones that bite and/or sting. The mosquitos and spiders actually bother me the least. We’ve got a truck that sprays stuff to kill mosquitos, and unless you spend an inordinate amount of time in the woods, the spiders won’t bother you. Mainly, it’s the horseflies and deerflies. The wasps, especially the mud daubers will leave you alone for the most part, but the horse and deerflies are aggressive little things. They will chase you all the way from wherever you came from to wherever you’re going. If they don’t bite you, it’s because you or someone else killed them. Their tenacity would be impressive if it wasn’t so annoying. Also, I’ve about decided that I’m allergic to deerflies.Every time one of them bites me, I get massive one or two inch welts in the same spot. I’ve got one on my foot right now that driving me up the wall!

The point I’ve been trying to make here is that I get injured a lot. It’s not always my fault (but it usually is). My friend and fellow lifeguard, Sharon, actually has a specific look for those occasions of pain and humiliation. It’s something between consternation and pity. I see it quite often, usually accompanied by the phrase, “Oh my word.”

Every summer since I started working at camp I get to the point where I promise myself, “I’m not going to get hurt this week.” This week, it didn’t work out (not entirely my fault; someone ran over me while trying to tag a kid), so I’m going to have try harder next week.

Ugh. Pray for me.

The Games I Used to Play

Is it me, or has political correctness gone a bit too far? When political correctness reaches the hallowed grounds of recess, then I think a revolution is in order.

Understand, I’m not just talking about ridiculously PC schools freaking out because a kid saw a gun in the clouds. I’m talking about games! Does anyone remember the amazing games we used to play when we were kids? My favorite part of the day when I was younger was recess or PE. It was the time when we could let go of all of our boring pretenses of maturity and be kids for a little while.

Now, all of that is on its way out. In 2013, a school district in New Hampshire voted to ban dodgeball. Dodgeball! They said they did it to discourage bullying.

Please.

Dodgeball isn’t about bullying. Dodgeball is about fun. I’m not sure what they were thinking when they decided that banning dodgeball would cut down on bullying. Although I’m sure that some bullying does occur during dodgeball, bullying can happen anywhere. It actually makes less sense that bullying would occur inside a structured and supervised game, than say, in the halls when no one’s watching. In fact, in my experience, most bullying I’ve seen occurs during lunchtime, not PE. Are they going to ban lunchtime too?

What I want to know is how crappy their PE teachers must have been to allow bullying in the gym during dodgeball. Honestly, it’s not hard to segregate teams so that they are equal. I’m not just blowing smoke here. I worked as an assistant to a PE teacher for three years. I know what it’s like to have students in a class who don’t like each other. The simplest way to fix it is to just put them on the same team. No possibility for bullying there. I’ve seen dodgeball bring kids together. At its core, it is still a team sport. When they’re the last one in on your team, it doesn’t matter how much you don’t like someone; you’re still going to cheer for them.

The article I read about said that the school district that banned dodgeball and “other human target sports” also said that they work hard to make sure that their kids are violence free. I’m not going to tell you that dodgeball is entirely safe. No contact sport is. I’ve been on the receiving end of a few dodgeball head shots myself. I’m okay… mostly. But it’s not hard to make the game safer. Outlaw head shots for starters. It’s a lame excuse, as I’m sure that it’s just as easy to get injured playing something like soccer or baseball. Personally, I’ve never received so much as a bruise from playing dodgeball. I have, however, had bruises larger than my hand from both soccer and softball. Actually, I had a concussion from playing soccer.

And what about red rover? You remember red rover. It was that game where two teams line up across from each other and then you call kids over and just clothesline them. Surely, that game was banned with the order to ban all “human target sports.” That means that there will be a generation of kids at that school that never get to play red rover. It’s an atrocity, I tell you!

One last problem I have with this banning of dodgeball is that one of the reasons that the school district gave was that not all students can participate equally.

*Sigh*

So what?! In what game can any two students participate equally? From baseball to soccer to freaking duck, duck, goose, every human being is on different level athletically. When did that become a bad thing? Some students will be weaker, and some will be stronger. That’s not necessarily a bad thing either. In fact, I think these games prove to be wonderful tools for teaching important life lessons. What better way to teach stronger students to stand up for the weaker ones, to protect them. What better way to teach the weaker students to grow stronger.

To a larger point, when did it become bad to be bad at a game when you’re a child? This is the time when you’re supposed to learn how to do things. With most of the things you do when you’re young, you’re going to stink at it when you start. It doesn’t matter whether it’s dodgeball or playing an instrument, if you don’t do it, you won’t get better.

Failure is a good thing. Without, we would never grow. I’m afraid that we’ve become a society that doesn’t allow people to fail. I can see it in all areas of life. At the top, our government bails out banks and car companies because it believes that they can’t fail or disaster would occur. At the bottom, stupid school districts ban dodgeball because some kids aren’t good at it. This politically correct idea that you can’t allow kids to fail because it will crush their precious self-esteems needs to go away. Look at me. I’ve failed plenty in my life, and you know what, it hasn’t hurt me one bit. I come back stronger and more capable every time.

Heck, even the Mythbusters got it when they said that…

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My 50th Post!

Hey guys! This is my 50th blog post! Honestly, I’m a little surprised I made it this far. To mark this occasion, I’m going to do a stats post where I let you know some of the behind the scenes of running this blog. Also, I’d like to offer 1 commenter a chance to do a guest blogging post on my blog!

Top Posts

1. Why You Should Never Fence (With PVC Pipes)

Obviously, this says something about me:  my clumsiness is hilarious. It also says something about you all: you like to read about the pain and suffering that I inflict on myself through my clumsiness. I am strangely okay with this.

2. Silly Words Series: #2 Entitlement Program

In which I talk about the government stealing from some people to give to other people.

3. I’ve Been Awarded
In which I was given an award… and then had to answer a bunch of questions.

Top Topics

“Humor,” “Fencing,” “PVC Pipes,” “Bad Judgment,” and “Clumsy” all tie for first place. Of course they do.

Top Referrer

The Matt Walsh Blog

Huh. I would not have expected that one. If you’ve never heard of Matt Walsh, go check him out. He tackles all kinds of controversial topics with a healthy amount of sarcasm and logic.

Views

Total Views: 2675
Most Views in a Day: 193

Comments

Total Comments: 290.

By the way, other than writing these posts, reading and replying to comments are my favorite parts of blogging. So keep talking to me everyone.

Followers

Total Followers: 74!

I love you guys! It makes my day every time I see that I have a new followers. You are the reason I write these posts.

Top Search Terms

1. pvc pipe fence

I get the idea these people got something they didn’t expect when they stumbled upon my blog.

2. introvert scholarship.

Um… Okay.

3. estuary literary magazine

Ah, my literary magazine. I understand this one at least.

Top Countries (by views)

1. United States

2. United Kingdom

3. Canada

4. India

5. Australia

Here's the map that WordPress puts together to show all where everyone who reads my blog lives.

Here’s the map that WordPress puts together to show all where everyone who reads my blog lives.

Who knew I had such a multicultural audience.

 

I hope you enjoyed this little behind the scenes look. I love it that WordPress can break down like this for me. Best blogging site ever!

Make sure to comment on this post if you’re interested in doing a guest post (or even if you’re not). I’ll let you post on anything you like, but I’d like to suggest you tell a story from your own life. People always love a good story. So get commenting!

What’s Your Box?

I have a question for you to ponder. What on earth is “ethnicity” and why on earth does it matter in the United States?

Have you ever had to fill out one of those pieces of paper, whether it’s a medical form or job application, that asks you to state your “ethnicity?” Honestly, this whole concept of ethnicity doesn’t make much sense in the United States or pretty much anywhere else in today’s world. If you live in the U.S. you can be pretty sure that the term ethnicity doesn’t matter all that much.

Take me for example. For those questions, I have fill in the bubble next to “Caucasian.” I’m not entirely sure when my family came to the U.S., but we’ve been here way too long for that bubble to matter. In my family alone, I’m pretty sure I have ancestors from every country in Europe. I also have three or so tribes of American Indians in my past, and we can’t rule out any African ancestors. So why do I have to check the bubble for Caucasian?

Another example could be a white guy from South Africa. Until last year, when I met two Kenyans, the only “African Americans” I ever knew were white kids from South Africa. So how does a person in that situation fill out one of those forms?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of “ethnic” is: “of or relating to large groups of people classed according to common racial, national, tribal, religious, linguistic, or cultural origin or background.”

By that definition, I’m better off labeling myself “homeschooler.”

But seriously, everyone in the U.S. could be considered a large ethnic group made up of smaller ethnic groups. Heck, each state has its own subculture. You can’t just lump in every person that could be considered Caucasian together in one big group. You can’t do that with any of those categories. There are too many other variables that matter.

Eventually, we are forced to realize that those forms are only asking about one thing. They are asking about our skin color.

*Sigh*

I thought we were done with this. This is the year 2014. Why on earth do we care about skin color? Haven’t we realized by now that what color any part of our body is (whether that is skin, or hair, or eyes) doesn’t have anything to do with who we are as a person. In fact, it seems that where we live, who our parents are, what culture we are part of, and what our religion is has much more to do with who we are.

Wait a second. Let’s look back up at that definition. All of these things are part of what makes up a person’s ethnicity. Race, religion, culture, language. So it seems that those forms are asking the right question, but they’re giving us the wrong answers to choose from.

The big point I’m trying to make is that these forms are intrinsically flawed because they seek to put human beings into boxes. They are made to try to help people to understand who you are by analyzing your little box. The problem is that humans don’t fit into boxes. The people that fit into the category, Caucasian, are a very large group. If you meet a Caucasian person on the street, what does their Caucasian-ness tell you about them other than the fact that they have pinkish-tannish skin?

Any system that attempts to understand a large amount of people by putting them in little boxes is not going to work. It doesn’t matter if that box is their “ethnicity,” or their religion, or their political affiliations. People just don’t belong in a box.

I made this whole argument just to get to the central point of “people don’t belong in a box.” Now everyone say it with me: “Duh!”

 

 

More like this:

Matt Walsh Blog: Affirmative action: defeating perceived discrimination with actual bigotry!

Guest post: What if I Can’t Write What I Know? by Susannah Ailene Martin

Susannah Ailene Martin:

I recently got the chance to write a guest post for the wonderful Shannon A Thompson (the inspiration for my post two weeks ago). She’s a writer with lots of writer fans, so I decided to do an advice post on what to do when you can’t write what you know. Check out the guest post, and then take a look at the rest of Shannon’s website. She did a great post recently on using Barbies to write. Check it out!

Originally posted on Shannon A Thompson:

Shannon, here, with two announcements and an introduction before the lovely Susannah Ailene Martin takes over.

Return Novel reviewed Minutes Before Sunset, book 1 of The Timely Death Trilogy, stating, “Who will stay up after dark? Readers who value solid character development and realistic motivations in their supernatural romance series.” Read the full thing here or check out the novel by clicking here.

If you want to see what readers think of the sequel, you’re in luck. Endless Reading reviewed Seconds Before Sunrise, book 2 of the The Timely Death Trilogy this week. She stated, “Thompson did an awesome job of creating scenes that left the reader breathless and heart pounding as though they were at the forefront and head of battle.” Click here to read the entire review or click here to go to Amazon.

Susannah Ailene Martin is writing for ShannonAThompson.com today

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My Future Laptop Withdrawal

I work for one of the most amazing summer camps ever. They do an amazing job of showing kids a fun time while teaching them the love of Christ. I’ve met some of my best friends there and have had many of my own adventures. But every place has its drawbacks, and unfortunately, I will not be able to bring my computer along for the ride this year. I’m sorry, faithful readers, but come June, you’re going to have to get used to not seeing posts from me very often. Don’t worry. I will be returning to the usual semi-regular posting schedule as soon as the summer is over.

To combat my laptop (and writing) withdrawal, I’m going to be working on a comic that I’ve been planning. Right now, I’m trying to up my usual cartooning skills. I’ve drawn this little guy for practice.

His name is Jay.

His name is Jay.

What do you think?

Author Confessions

Today I was watching a YouTube video by one of my favorite bloggers, Shannon A Thompson. She decided to tackle the subject of author confessions. In the spirit of that video, I’ve decided to reveal my top ten author confessions.

1. I can’t sleep at night because I’m talking to myself. Well, not exactly. It’s more that my characters are talking to each other, but they only exist in my head, so yeah.

2. I don’t really like writing things by hand. Two words: hand cramps. Those SAT essays were murder.

3. I don’t like coffee. I know it seems blasphemous, especially considering the lack of any real sleep that I get, but sorry, it’s just not my thing. Too bitter for me. No amount of chocolate or cream or whatever can mask the taste. I do, however, like the smell of gourmet coffee. I know. I’m a walking contradiction.

4. I actually think I’m addicted to writing. I crave it like a drug. I. Have. To. Write.

5. Before I decided to become a novelist, I actually wanted to be a cartoonist when I was younger. I still have a whole binder filled with over a hundred unique characters. My drawing style for those is essentially the same as the characters on my Super Star cover. I would still like to learn to draw better.

6. I just now invested in a little pocket notebook that I can carry around with me. I cringe to think of all of the ideas that I let go to waste because I didn’t write them down.

7. I get really nervous when I let people read my stuff. I’m so sure they’re going to hate it and I don’t know what I’d do with myself.

8. On a similar note, when I do let someone read my stuff, I stare at them intensely until they’re done, watching for any change in expression that might give me insight into what they’re thinking. I imagine that if they weren’t so engrossed in my story, I might be a little creepy.

9. Music is a double edged sword for me when I’m writing. Sometimes I can use it to block out the outside noises and provide some background noise to help me. Then, other times, I get so into the music that I get distracted from the writing. It’s hard to find just the right balance.

10. My brain doesn’t work properly at times when normal humans function. My brain tends to turn on at about 11pm. For instance, I just glanced at the clock right now and it reads 12:13am. I’m wide awake and full of ideas. It would be really helpful if these ideas would come at around 7 pm after I’ve eaten dinner, so that I have plenty of time, but noooo. That’s not how my brain works.

There you go.

That’s my top ten author confessions. What about you? Do you have any author confessions (or blogger confessions as the case may be) to share?