Monthly Archives: July 2012

I Might Have Killed Us All

Almost everyone on the planet is responding to the horror in Colorado. That’s good, because it should be responded to. I’m not referring to raging hatred at the perpetrator, I understand that reaction I just don’t think it has a lot of value.

What’s on my mind is oddly selfish. A common reaction we have is: it could have been me that was in that theatre that night, I get that. That’s partly where all reactions come from: how did it impact me? How do I relate to this event? It could have been me or someone I know or love in that cineplex. That impact is spiderwebbing out and people are becoming aware of how they were touched by one man’s sickness.

No, my reaction came about from my recognition of my own obnoxious behavior patterns. My wife was telling me what she had read about the murderer’s apartment and I realized with shock like a cigarette burn that I might have died that night had I lived in his building. I might have killed everyone in the building because I can be an overbearing jerk.

Let me briefly explain. The murderer wired his apartment stereo to go off SUPER LOUD at approximately the time he was at the theatre indulging his sickness. Residents of the apartment responded by calling the police, knocking on his door, the usual, acceptable responses to obnoxious behavior in a shared space.

My history is such that I might have tried to get into the apartment. I do outrageous, dumb stuff like that. Once when a stereo was playing too loud in my old neighborhood I walked down the street turned the speaker that was facing outside back into the house so the noise was not blasting out to the world. Understandably the owner took exception to this violation of his space and the two of us almost got in a fistfight.

Stupid. Stupid from a lot of angles.

I’m the guy that might climb out on the balcony to see if the patio door is open so I can go in and shut the stereo down. I’d try to figure out a way to get into that apartment to turn off the noise. I wouldn’t break down doors, but my mind looks for an angle to exploit, a backdoor. That outlook makes me a good problem solver.  I might very well have looked for some way into that apartment that night.

I’m told Colorado murderer had his apartment wired to blow. Right now they think there’s enough explosives in that apartment to take out the building and beyond. If I had acted in my own ass-hat over-the-top manner I might have tripped one of these explosives and killed everyone in that building.

And stupid would be my legacy, not problem solver, not good dad or whatever label I might have earned when I’m gone. Worse there would be another spiderwebbing of grief out amongst a larger roster of victims. That’s what I’m thinking about today.

The world is a complicated, dangerous place.

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Job Opportunity

This week I was asked if I would be available to teach some sections of World Lit or Rhetoric and Composition. It wasn’t an offer of a job, but could my name be put in a hat with others when the work becomes a reality (funding approved).

I have a full-time job so I would be doing this in an adjunct capacity. I’ve done it before and I really love it. I love it for reasons that are good and bad. The good is, I think I’m qualified, and I do an above average job. I usually get back solid evaluations and some students remember the class as having been beneficial (or so they tell me).I haven’t employed more scientific methods of measuring my success so it is possible that I suck. The less noble or bad reason I teach is that it is kind of an ego trip. I like standing in front of a room and running my mouth. I try to make sure that the lesson is at the forefront and the student comes away having been given a quality product in the academy. I am careful to be sure that I’m not simply hosting the _The J. Show_ but I would not be honest if I denied the ego massaging portion of it all. Maybe someday I will out grow that part.

But I’m not putting my name in the hat. While my family could use the extra income, the hours one must put in teaching even three credit hours are substantial. Preparing lectures, assignments, reading papers, responding to students fairly and wisely, coaching and grading, all the things that teachers do take a lot of time to do it right let alone doing it well.

Time. As I mature (okay, get older) the scarcity of time is an ever more obvious theme. My day job demands my full attention, my home has a wife and children that need me to participate and contribute. To be present and effective in those endeavors takes time.

If I add the teaching component I end up too divided and not contributing fully and robustely to any of my commitments. The students in my class are cheated by half-assed instruction, my boss gets half-assed management of his staff and projects, my wife suffers a half-assed husband-partner, and my children endure half-assed parenting.

All of which is uncool.

The right thing to do is easy to see, but hard to do.


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Secret Identity

I’ve been writing fan fiction for the last year and change. As I work to revive my writing habits and ambitions it has been instrumental in getting me motivated and inspired. My problem is that I’m writing under an assumed name. As such I’ve been living a kind of dual life. I write as J. D. Rummel, my published works are under that name, I give public readings under that name. When I write under the fanfcition name I am oddly liberated. Any baggage is dropped and I can write stuff that J. D. Rummel can’t get away with.

More later, oldest boy has to get tucked in.

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Today I advised Amy that I was going to re-org the Gladware so the space was better used and that the total volume of Gladware was reduced substantially.

Wow. If I suggested I throwing out the children I’m not sure I could have gotten a more rigorous response.

Married people fight. I don’t think that’s a secret. I’m a married man and I’m on vacation. When I’m on vacation all I really wanna do is stuff I wanna do. I’m not attempting to justify or defend it here. I’m sure many viewpoints will differ. That’s cool.

We just fought about Gladware. I’m calling it Gladware but it’s various brands, really. You know the stuff, the plastic containers that we use to keep leftovers for storage or travel.  We have too much Gladware. We have two shelves worth in our kitchen. We use maybe a quarter of it.  I do the overwhelming majority of the dishes at the house. That is by mutual agreement with my wife. So I’m the guy that has to wash and re-stock the Gladware.

I’m making a stand, dammit.



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It’s Sunday mo…

It’s Sunday morning, July 1st, the second week of vacation begins. My days are incredibly short. I have a lot of things that nibble on my time, like piranha they swarm and take lots of tiny bites. Some are just stupid distractions: e-mail, Facebook, ego trip detours. Others are more real and substantive. I have a wife and two young sons, all of whom expect and require my participation in their lives. 

And it begins early today. Farewell.

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July 1, 2012 · 9:19 AM