Tag Archives: community

Fighting for My Rites

21 May

Every family has a thing.

You know, as in that family that drinks vegan shakes three meals a day, the family obsessed with dogs, cars, saving people, hunting things, or the family business.

My family, as you may know from previous posts, has been greatly influenced by the outdoorsman that is my father. This affects things that would otherwise be more normal. Our living room walls, for example, are a zoo, but the dead kind. Our vacations revolve around my dad being able to catch a fish at some point. And my sisters and I have to shoot a deer and catch a Steelhead before we are allowed to move out, or as Dad has since put it, before he will consider his three daughters adults.

I got my hunting license at twelve, and therefore dropped my first deer that year as well. Half-way done.

But the Steelhead? Not so much.

On my way to my first Steelhead trip when I was fifteen or sixteen, Dad warned me about their catch difficulty, saying, “the Steelhead is the fish of a thousand casts.” So eloquent. It was like the opening line of a poem. I lifted my head and silently accepted the challenge just before Dad continued, “So count.”

Oh, you’re serious.

I got up to eighty-five that day. No bites.

The next time I think I raised it to one hundred thirty. Maybe a couple hundred fifty next time? Who knows.

My counting only grew less enthusiastic and/or accurate. And of course, the Steelhead continued to swim around me like they could smell my naivete. She’s only at four hundred seventy-nine, I heard them gurgle to each other once. What a child. Hold back, Jim, let her sweat a little.

The best part was that at this point in my life, I wouldn’t have called myself the world’s most talented fisherman – not for lack of practice, mind you – so with every new person we had along on our endless stream of fishing trips, I had a new tutor who thought they were going to turn my sad, unskilled form into some sort of angling wizard who can call fish like a mystical freshwater siren.

If you have not been raised the way I have been, let me explain you a thing: I have been fishing (and just fine, thank you very much) since I was two years old. Two years old. So when any fishing guide who had never met me, looked at the way I held a rod, he would deduce that I didn’t even know what a fish was, and it got more than a little frustrating. No amount of authoritative “Uh-huh”s, “Yep”s, or “Mhm, Got it, thanks!”s will get you anywhere in this position.

It was a thought process that infected most guides I’d fished with by this time; it happened again a little while back, on the day I finally ensnared the elusive Steelhead.

We started the day off in a boat with two hours of rain, followed by two more hours of radio silence, briefly interrupted so my dad could reel in a Steelhead. (Factor these in if you’re doing the math on my mood)

When my fish hit, it took several minutes to reel the angry thing in, amidst the constant coaching of our guide, who seemed to be under the impression that at any moment I might give up and toss my rod to the retreating fish. But when it was near enough, he grabbed the net, dipped it in the Nestucca River, and pulled out the Steelhead I’d been waiting for.

My dad was nearly as excited as I was. I had done it. I was on my way to adulthood.

As Dad went for his camera, the guide posed next to me, cradling my catch. I motioned for the guide to give the slimy symbol of maturity to me. This fish, right here, this is my crowning achievement! The fish of a freaking thousand casts. My fish. Let me hold my dang fish.

He gave me a skeptical look and conceded a small part of its belly for me to hold on to for the picture.

“Should I -” I began, still motioning. I want to hold my fish.

“It’s pretty strong.” He said with a touch of finality, holding tighter to the fish’s tail.

I am a very short girl and I detest confrontation, so I am not often intimidating. But the eyes are the windows to the soul, so, even non-verbally, I must have said something vile to that boy.

Therefore, I can only assume that fish was fighting his poor wrist something terrible (without actually moving) and the young man had far too much chivalry to allow me to suffer as he did. With my fish. My fish. Those two words echoed in my head. You know how you don’t care about something until it’s threatened? The rapport I formed with this fish in the eleven seconds the guide and I jointly held it for pictures grew as strong as that which I share with my dearest possessions.

So when he said, “Okay,” hefted it from my empty hands, and turned to the side of the boat to let it swim free, I went full-scale three-year-old on him.

My fists balled up. My jaw dropped. My eyebrows furrowed so hard I believe I grew a unibrow. It’s a bit of a blur now, but I think I may have stamped my foot.

The guide’s back was turned and, unfortunately, I couldn’t bring myself to say a word.

But my performance only needed one audience member. My darling daddy, formerly occupied watching the fish just nearly escape, glanced up at my face and his eyes widened. In that moment, he didn’t need to see a fast-maturing seventeen-year-old. He needed to see his youngest daughter wearing an expression he recognized from years and years of the cruel world mistreating her.

“Hey, oh, can she let it go?”

“Oh, sure.”

So I, and I alone, let go of my lady fish’s tail to set her free.

Steelhead caught. Rite of passage finished.

And that’s how I threw a tantrum in an effort to convince my father that I was an adult.

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Let’s Talk About Captain America: The Winter Soldier

4 Apr

First, though, as a matter of course, we have to discuss how you should in no way be here if you haven’t seen the movie yet; that, however, is of secondary importance compared to the fact that you are sitting here, wasting time on the internet (of all places), when you could be wasting time watching Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Come on. Where are your priorities?

Back to the matter at hand. If you’ve continued this far, you’ve seen the movie. So let’s talk.

Let’s talk about how this movie did the truly impossible thing and made me want to take up jogging. For at least three minutes. With Sam Wilson. On your left.

Let’s talk about,

“I have the exact same glasses.”

“You guys are practically twins.”

“Pff. I WISH.” 

Let’s talk about Natasha and Steve being one of my favorite on-screen brolationships to ever bro. And, obviously, we just have to talk about how “Public displays of affection make people very uncomfortable.”

“Yes, they do.”

Unfortunately, talking about it is easier said than done, as most things tend to be. I found that a lot of the emotions induced during the course of this movie aren’t of the efficiently explainable variety.

For example, instead of saying, “When Abed (Danny Pudi) made his cameo, I felt such an emotion that I felt as though my brain went completely offline as I gasped like someone drowning and smiled so largely that I gave myself the laughter lines of a ninety-year-old woman,” it would be much easier for me to simply go –  “ABED”

or “DR. ARNIM ZOLA”

or “I’M SORRY SITWELL, DID YOU JUST SAY ‘STEPHEN STRANGE’?”

Seriously though.

or “I’M WITH YOU ‘TIL THE END OF THE LINE.”

I really do want to talk about that. Steve is known for never giving up in what he believes in, and he believes in his best friend Bucky – it was the only thing he could do for him.

“Not a perfect soldier, but a good man” has rarely been better displayed than it was in this superlatively well-made film, and it is one of the things that makes this movie so worth seeing, so worth talking about, and so very, very worth flailing about in your theater seat, disturbing the general peace, and very nearly jumping into your sister’s arms screaming during the post-credit scenes (this is a great way to bond, by the way).

Because you’ll wait for those scenes, right? Both of them?

Don’t you dare let me down.

Speaking of which, that’s the final thing that needs to be discussed here.

Know what? I want you to be there with me. Let me just take you on a little tour of my cozy corner of the theater last night, during the first post-credit scene.

*Men speak ominously in laboratory-like chambers*

*Ill-intentioned men speak of activating the twins*

*Camera pans to adjacent prison cells, one containing Wanda Maximoff and the other, her brother Pietro*

*Three years pass*

// So can we please talk about this movie?

One Nerdy Turn Deserves Another | Volume 2

5 Mar

Explanations for today’s traditional post:

Exhibit A, Exhibit B, Exhibit C.

(You probably should have seen this year’s theme coming. Press play for the full experience.)

But getting on with the first order of the day –

Dear Jennifer: you’re twenty-freaking-one.

I don’t think I’m equipped to handle this. You’re growing up too fast. I need to be comforted. I need a shock blanket.

Sorry, I’m fine, this has been coming for a while, I suppose. It’s time to celebrate!

And I know just how.

And you shall have –

(Which is delicious, by the way. I checked for you.)

The world would like to thank you, Jennifer, for over two decades of you. You done good. Many thanks for being the Annie to my Abed (is that a thing now? Buzzfeed quizzes, once completed, become a part of your soul’s identity, right?) on our many trips to the dreamatorium. Here’s to many more?

You know, I’m not entirely certain about those quiz-delegated roles. I like to think we’re more Troy and Abed.

(And this way we still get to keep the Dreamatorium)

No matter the outcome of pillow fort vs. blanket fort wars, the interference of the darkest timeline, or one of us leaving the community to sail around the world on a boat left to us by a freaky old man, I love you, and I’ll be there to support you.

(More in spirit than in flesh, if the freaky-old-man-boat thing happens.)

By the by, I’ve realized something truly earth-shattering – all those times I jokingly wrote in your birthday cards,

“(insert appropriate number here) years until you can legally drink!”

THERE ARE ZERO YEARS LEFT. YOU CAN LEGALLY DRINK RIGHT AT THIS SECOND. 

But of course, now that you are no longer a minor, I just want to be the millionth person to warn you not to get too crazy.

Weird stuff happens, love.

Mm. That was probably the worst way to convince you to not get plastered. Wait, come back, I have more reasons!

DARKEST TIMELINE, JEN. THE DARKEST TIMELINE WILL ENSUE IF YOU DRINK IN EXCESS. PARTY RESPONSIBLY. AND MAYBE DON’T ROLL DICE JUST TO BE SUPER SAFE.

But of course, there’s some value to be able to drink. All your your non-minor friends (major friends?) may finally admit to you that beer is totally gross, but they have to pretend to like it since they live in Oregon. They may at long last come clean about how “oaky” is not even a thing as far as wine flavors go, and it just sounds cool. 

And of course, when I turn 21, I get to just show up at your house for an impromptu boys’ girls’ night!

Oh no, I just turned our Troy/Abed into Dean/Abed STOP ABORT MISSION

Back on track:

Just remember today, for the rest of your glorious twenty-first year, and basically your life in general –

You are smart,

Stunning,

a joy to be around,

Reaction GIF: clapping, excited, happy, Joel McHale, Community

and you are more loved than you can imagine.

I hope you never doubt any of that. May God bless you and keep you in your twenty-first year, and have the very happiest of birthdays.

Using Awkward as Warfare

5 Jun

I am good at awkward.

True, this is not something that is commonly listed as a skill, but when you know how to use it, it most definitely is. Awkward is generally thought of as something that is good for nothing. Wrong. It’s the solution to a problem that has haunted mankind for ages: unwanted conversation. How to avoid it?

Many people try to solve this uncomfortable situation with courtesy, and quickly discover it only encourages. Using passive aggression may inspire the annoying person to try harder to annoy you (and it also makes you seem mean), and if you just ignore a person, it’s entirely possible that the ignoree will keep trying. However, if you use awkward to flounder the person into a stupor, you can kiss their unwanted company goodbye (in fact, if you insist on actually kissing them goodbye as they try to leave, it will be seventeen times more effective).

If you’re not naturally talented in the awkward department, I have some tips for you. It may take some practice, but it won’t be long before you can awkward yourself out of any situation.

[Disclaimer: if you become so good at these that you alienate everyone around you, I refuse to be held responsible]

  • Avoid eye contact. Look at their forehead instead. Act as if it is the most beautiful thing you have ever gazed upon.
  • Lick your lips deliberately. If you do it right, they’ll think they have something on their face and get so distracted trying to remove it that they won’t even notice you’re slowly backing away.
  • Don’t hear anything they say. Make them repeat nearly every thing that comes out of their mouth, forcing them to hear twice how aggravating the conversation is for you.
  • Stare. Don’t blink. If you combine this with the forehead-watching, the person to be avoided will probably run away before you have to.
  • Don’t get their jokes. Make them explain to you, in the most painstaking way possible, why they are funny.
  • Make references to things they don’t understand. Lie down on the floor and say you’re good at mermaid dancing (it’s a lot of floor work). Tell them you’re a high-functioning sociopath (“Do your research.”). Ask them whose side they take in the Marvel Civil War: Iron Man or Captain America? (If they answer, make them explain why) Compliment them on a clothing accessory and refer to it as cool. Then proceed to wiggle your eyebrows.

However, Awkward as Warfare is not without flaws, one being that if you use the last listed option and the other person understands the reference, you’ve just made a best friend, whether you like it or not. And please, don’t use these tips lightly. Remember: you will look weird. That’s the whole point. If you don’t have to use these methods, then don’t. Don’t use this veritable Mjolnir of information to squash a fruit fly.

I’ve entrusted you with great power.

(insert quip about responsibility)

Make me proud.

[Disclaimer part two: If you know me personally, and you’re worried I’ve used one of these on you – I haven’t. I’m very selective about who I use them on. So don’t worry. I’m just awkward.]