Sunday, November 26, 2006

Small Children and Me

I’ll admit it, I’m not a big fan of small children. In fact, they irritate the shit out of me. I’m proud to own and claim the fact that I have no maternal impulse in me whatsoever, and there is no ticking clock to that effect, (it’s been supplanted by a Career Ticking Clock, that continually ticks off write a script that’ll sell. Write a script that’ll sell.) I feel very secure in brushing off the well meaning but underlying simpering folk that say, “Oh, you’ll feel differently in a few years.” No, I WON’T, and you best be thanking your lucky stars that no progeny will be springing forth from me. Seriously, if I’m this warped and messed up, what in the world would any issue of mine look like? Double the blues, double the weirdness? No, I don’t think so.

It basically stems from the fact that small children require extraordinary amounts of patience, which I don’t have for GOD, let alone tiny tots, and the fact that small children think the world revolves around them, when everyone knows it revolves around ME, ha ha ha.

So when sister Agatha announced she was pregnant four years ago, I wasn’t truly thrilled (During that announcement conversation Agatha yelled to Mr. Agatha, “She’s taking this as well as we thought she would!”) Aunt Amy doesn’t sound cool. Aunt Amy makes me sound creaky and spinster-ish. I think Aunt ANYBODY sounds creaky and spinster-ish. Aunts aren’t cool. They just aren’t.

Nevertheless, I tried to do my best, Baby Bug arrived, and we discovered I had somewhat of a knack for picking out small hip children clothes for Christmas presents. I’d visit one or twice a year, and attempt to bond with this little creature that decided not to grow hair until age 2 and a half (I have SOOOOO many great blackmail pictures for later.) But small creature named Bug didn’t want to bond with me, and confirmed my belief that Small Children are great for other people, but not for me.

However, this trip has seen a marked difference in Bug. For one thing, she has conversations with words in halfway complete sentences, and everything. Instead of burying her face into the nearest vertical surface in response to any question posed to her, she will respond in somewhat of a four year old intelligent manner. As they picked me up from the airport, she rattled off every Dancing With The Stars competitor on this past season with a gravitas that one would use in, say, the reading of a family will. Naming the competitors on Dancing With The Stars is SERIOUS stuff, people.

And I get it. It’s how she proves that she knows stuff. Emmet and Cheryl, Mario and Karina, Joey and Edyta I’m Bug, I’m four, this is my world, and these are what the things in my world are called.

She also skips everywhere. From the car to any public place, like a movie theater or a restaurant. It’s quite endearing to watch. How happy and carefree life is when you are a four year old Bug.

Except when you go to see a little movie called Happy Feet . If any of you have small children in your immediate vicinity and want to take them to see this movie, I’m telling you now DON’T. RUN far far from this movie, and don’t be snookered as we were by the marketing campaign that featured the tap dancing penguins, because tap dancing only makes up about 1/3 of the movie, and the rest of it is an ecological message movie featuring scary-for-a-four-year-old chase sequences with a hungry sea lion, killer whales, sinister fish tankers, and strangely inappropriate pop songs that the penguins claim are their “heart songs” to each other. Bug burrowed herself as far as she could into Agatha’s chest, and wasn’t thrilled with ANY of the proceedings. Neither were the rest of us.

I thought it was all my fault. I should’ve checked the ratings more closely (it was PG, not G like you’d think an animated penguin movie would be), I should’ve checked the reviews more closely (though they all said it was great, and they’re all smoking crack.) I should’ve remembered that George Miller is the sadistic twit director who strung a dog upside down, hung it off a bridge with its head underwater, and made us all think the dog was going to drown in Babe, Pig In The City . But no, I didn’t do any of that. Oops.

And as we’re riding in the car to the restaurant for lunch, I’m having a conversation with God. Okay, what do I do here? Do I apologize? It was only a suggestion. I didn’t think everyone would just follow my lead that blindly. How do I handle this? I’ve inadvertently scarred my own niece. How do I handle the soon to be ensuing hate from the rest of the family? Do I welcome it, let them vent it out, and say, "Thank you sir, may I have another"?

I apologize to everyone, and surprisingly, they don’t smack me down, just say yeah, it’s odd that more people haven’t spoken up about how it’s not exactly cute and fuzzy like the previews promised. And at the restaurant, Bug is acting like nothing happened. She’s even saying “Happy Feet!” every now and then, but I think it’s because she likes the way the phrase sounds. But she’s not sad. She’s not scarred. Yet. Har de har har.

So this skipping, resilient talkative Bug is my niece, and I have to admit, she’s not so bad. Hopefully things will only get better from here. Four years old appears to be the hurdle to cross in terms of small children. But Bug is the exception. I’m not a fan of any other kids, and you can get that smirk off your face right now, ha ha ha.

Look, here’s a dress I got for her birthday. Do I know how to pick ‘em or what?

Friday, November 24, 2006

Enforced Secret Joy #22 – Agatha’s Big Fat Beagle

So here I am in Orlando visiting Agatha, her husband, and my four year old niece for Thanksgiving, and one of the things I love about coming here is her Big Fat Beagle. Her official name is Princess, though I call her Rolo, since she looks like a melted Rolo candy, and Princess is the name you give a cat, not a dog.

Princess Rolo and I didn’t used to get along. I was living and working in Orlando when Agatha first got Rolo (which was a gift, and though you don’t usually give dogs as gifts, this is the rare situation where it did work out.) Princess Rolo was a notoriously ill behaved puppy, driven stir crazy by the fact that she lived in a cramped two bedroom apartment (another reason why you don’t gift puppies) and the last straw was Princess Rolo eating one of my paychecks from Disney, resulting in a lot of Scotch tape and pleading with the bank teller to accept the mangled document.

But then I moved to Los Angeles. While I worked on my writing career, Princess Rolo worked on her waistline, resulting in the bovine shape you see here. She looks okay from certain angles, like, fifty yards away, ha ha ha.

I’ve never seen a fatter dog in my life. Agatha swears she’s not the fattest dog she knows, apparently there’s another beagle in the Orlando area who’s SO FAT that its belly drags the ground, and that’s the yardstick they use: as long as Princess Rolo’s belly doesn’t drag on the ground, she’s not that fat.

But she is. She looks like one of those cake logs from the Swiss Colony. She looks like a living breathing Ottoman. She looks like a prime candidate for a canine version of Celebrity Fit Club. She cracks me up and therefore is my Enforced Secret Joy for this week.

Dear God, thank you for the Big Fat Beagle Named Princess Rolo. Thank you that she’s still alive, thank you that she’s still happy as a Big Fat Clam. Please stave off those who would try to take me or sister Agatha to task for letting a dog get that fat, as she’s a beagle, can be very stubborn at times, and people who lecture other people on the internet without a complete understanding of the situation are silly freaks o’ nature. Yes, You made them, but they’re still freaks. But thank you for the simple joy of a Big Fat Beagle snuggling on the couch on my feet as I watch Survivor and Grey’s Anatomy. It’s better than a blanket, it is. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Amen.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Ah, the joy of missed deadlines.

I am such a loser, I really am. I have missed my Enforced Secret Joy Post Deadlines. They’re supposed to go up on Friday. Ooops. Honestly, I like to pride myself on meeting my deadlines, whether they’re self imposed or not. But we all know what God says about pride, don’t we. Oh yes, yes we do.

But it’s been a really stressful week. Not bad, like here , not rock bottom or anything, but just filled with stuff to do RIGHT NOW. The temp job, the Christmas show, other stuff I can’t talk about because my Mom and Dad read this thing, and I don’t want them to worry (especially since I’m with them right now in Orlando for a week. They’ve already gone to bed. What do you mean, it’s 11:30pm? The clock on my computer distinctly says it’s 8:30, ha ha ha.) Every single second of every single day for the past week and a half has been used in deep concentration on something, and if I’m not in constant motion whacking away at the stack of Things To Do, then I’m in a state of constant anxiety about how I’m WASTING THESE THREE SECONDS TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHAT TO DO NEXT. I’m snapping at people that I really don’t want to snap at, people I actually like, and I know they’re looking at me and thinking, “oh, so THIS is how you handle stress? My, that’s wonderfully mature and attractive. Please sign me up as your number one fan. NOT.”

Seriously, I’m messed up. I missed Homeless Karaoke this month. I missed my Home Group on Thursday. I only worked out a day and a half last week. My abs o' steel are atrophying at 89 words per minute.

And I think the one thing that’s had a bigger than expected impact is that at this particular temp job, there’s people ALWAYS around me. I’m a temp, it’s not like I have my own office, so I’m sharing cubicle space with a person within six feet of me. Sure, I can turn my back on them and continue working on this monster database of addresses, but I know they’re still there. I need my space, people. My personal, nine foot circle of space that you can’t enter without my permission, or unless we’re in an elevator, a hallway, restaurant, or other public venue, ha ha ha.

And, as what usually happens when I’m super stressed, God feels far away. Because I literally haven’t had the moments to talk to Him. Usually, I talk to Him in the car, but these days, I’m so concentrated on playing Frogger with the traffic, because there simply MUST be a way I can get to the Big Deal Movie Studio in under 25 minutes. There HAS to be. Because I got to the Other Big Deal Move Studio in 17 minutes every day, why won’t it work in the other direction?

And it just feels like ten different ways of stupid to ask God for help with the little stuff like this. I’m still not down with the various prayer groups I’m in, where we go around the circle and list what we need prayer for. I always skip my turn and say everything’s fine, because I absolutely understand needing prayer for illness, either yourself or a loved one, I totally understand needing prayer for grace to deal with co-workers, companies, industries, or various government departments that won’t stop unless they suck your soul out your eyeballs and twirl it around their spaghetti fork.

I understand needing prayer for jobs, because you’ve been unemployed for months, and you’re scared. I understand needing prayer for direction, because you’re stuck in the metaphorical desert, and you honestly don’t know which way to take the next step. I understand all of that.

But I just can’t bring myself to ask God to please send me a job in the arena that I WANT to be in. Not publicity. Not interactive media. WRITING, dammit! Development? Production? Anything like that? I can’t bring myself to ask God to clear the streets of Los Angeles so I can get to work on time. I can’t bring myself to ask God to please help me figure out how to get Mr. Academy Award Winning Actor’s address to send this stupid invitation to, because he’s not an Academy member, even though he’s won a couple, and no, I don’t know why, maybe he’s controversial, maybe nobody likes him, it doesn’t matter, because these people need this list RIGHT NOW. I can’t bring myself to ask God to please help me spot an empty refrigerator box because we need one for the set design of the Christmas show. I just can’t. Doesn’t God have bigger things to worry about, like genocide, AIDS in Africa, the American troops dying on the front lines of the war, etc. etc., ETC.?

And even if you wanna go the route of God’s big enough for that and you, then I STILL can’t do it, because it seems like I should ask God for help with the deeper stuff like I Hate Most People, Please Help Me Learn Compassion. Please Change My Heart So I’m Genuinely Concerned With People’s Welfare, Instead Of Faking the Pleasantries That Pass For Polite Conversation.

But my life seems to be taken up with the Stupid Little Things these days.

Which is why I’m very glad I’m currently in Orlando, at this time share deal my parents got. I have my own bedroom! My own bathroom! Normally, when it comes to vacation with the fam, I’m stuck on a sofa bed in what passes for a living room, and elbowing Mom for bathroom counter space. NO MORE! You know what I can do? I can shave my legs and NOT HAVE TO CLEAN THE BATHTUB! WHOO HOOOOOO!

This place has wireless! There’s a GYM a scant few yards away from the complex! I have PERSONAL SPACE! There appears to be NO PLANS for tomorrow, except to do a bunch of NOTHING!

Well, my parents will do a bunch of nothing. I will most likely write.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Are You Sure, Jesus Camp? Are You Sure?

I finally saw Jesus Camp last week, which I had been very much interested to see. I tried to get Roomie Heckle to go with me, but as a viciously lasped Catholic who delights in inventing breathtakingly creative cuss words to get any kind of reaction out of me, he flat out refused. “I’ll just get pissed off in the first ten minutes,” he said, “Do you really want to tick me off like that and have me be grouchy for the rest of the day?” (he didn’t quite use THOSE cuss words, but I can’t print what he did say.)

Roomie Heckle had a point, because I got grouchy within the first ten minutes of the film myself. Now, the footage of the kids crying and enraptured at the camp doesn’t do much for me; it’s easy to get any group of people to get fired up like that. Their reactions – trembling lips, teary eyes, shaking and quivering - were exactly the same as those hormonal girls in the front row of an Elvis Presley concert.

It was unfortunate that one of the things they were working themselves up into a frenzy over was the guy who brought with him those plastic fetuses that show how big they are at three weeks, six weeks, etc. etc, etc. Abortion, bad. BAD! Poor little Tori is wailing and praying for the abortions to stop. “No more! No more! NO MORE!” Because she, at age 10, has a complete and mature understanding of the pro choice vs. pro life debate in order to make an informed choice about why she wants that red LIFE sticker smacked on her mouth.

Levi, the twelve year old who wants to grow up to be a preacher, assuredly says that he got “saved” when he was five. Five. FIVE YEARS OLD. How can a five year old know what true sin is like? What experience can Rachael, a nine year old home schooled in an evangelical environment, have with true sin? What, were you running an underground chocolate chip cookie smuggling ring? Lied to your parents about it? Took the money to buy…buy…I don’t know what CAN you buy at nine that’s evil?

No, these kids, starting as soon as they can understand sentences more complex than “See Dick and Jane Run,” are told that they are evil sinful creatures, but thank God for Jesus! Jesus will save them! At FIVE! And cue the waterworks.

The one kid I identified with the most was the little blond haired boy (you’ll have to bear with me, there’s not a lot of information available on who these kids are apart from the three spotlighted, they’re trying to protect those poor things.) who got up in front of everyone and said he wasn’t sure if he believed or not. And while I was expecting some sort of follow up, maybe a preteen gang tag teaming him outside the chapel, arguing him into the kingdom of God, and slapping him with Bibles, there was nothing.

There also wasn’t a strong narrative thrust to this documentary. I think the documentarians were hoping for a stronger connection between this raising of a “God’s Army” and their would be someday all encompassing effect on politics. They include a not necessary shot of them being home schooled, and their mother teaching them that global warming doesn’t exist, as if to say all evangelicals think global warming is a myth, when there’s been a slew of articles this year talking about Christians wanting to HELP the green groups, because they take global warming seriously, as God has entrusted the earth to us. You can read some of them here , here , and here

But the best part was a short scene over the credits featuring Rachael, who speaks in the most real way I’ve ever heard a nine year old talk. Rachael’s cadence is complete with stutters, sighs, pauses and words tumbling over each other to get out of her mouth. Seriously, she sounds exactly like I did when I was ten and drinking three Cokes a day until My Mother the Phone Harpy Whom I Love Very Very Much was two seconds away from slitting my throat because I was running her ragged and put me on Caffeine Free Diet Coke, which I drank until I left for college and realized that it tasted like battery acid. Ah, youth.

Rachael’s so passionate and clear eyed and so NAÏVE. If you go to the website and click on her bio page, you’ll hear a soundbite of her talking with breathless authority about how God likes to go to churches that jump up and down and scream in worship instead of the non-jumpers and “Depending on how they invite Him, He’ll be there or not.” You see, in Rachael’s world, you have to invite God to your church IN THE RIGHT WAY. Oh, Rachael. Rachael, Rachael, Rachael. You have so much to learn. As Counselor Gladys would say, “It’s not an either/or. It’s a both/and.” Rachael’s world is an either/or world. Lovely.

Earlier in the movie, Rachael has gone up to a woman in a bowling alley, nervous as hell, and she haltingly says “God put it on my heart for me to tell you that He has a plan for you and He loves you” and gives her a tract. (the woman, a twentysomething Missouri small town chick complete with fried highlighted hair and raccoon eyeliner, just blinks and politely says thanks.)

So here we are at the end credits, and Rachael’s at it again, approaching a group of three African Americans sitting in lawn chairs in Washington D.C. Rachael, again nervous but on a mission from GOD, not unlike the Blues Brothers, goes up to them and says, ‘If you were to die today, where do you think you would go?” “Heaven,” one of them says without missing a note. Rachael, obviously thrown off her spiel, blurts out, “Are you sure?”

And that right there is the whole problem with the evangelical movement. Encapsulated in a thunderclap moment of three words.

Are You Sure?

It doesn’t matter why Rachael said it, whether she was thrown off her spiel, and blurted it out a first response, or if somewhere in that little tract of hers it might list that as an appropriate comeback. The fact of the matter is what she did say in response is still smack dab squarely in the middle of the Evangelical School Of Thought. And that School Of Thought Is Don’t Trust Anything They Say, Because They Haven’t Heard What YOU Have To Say. And What YOU Have To Say Is Much More Important Than Anything They Have To Say.

It’s the exact same line of thinking that the Blue Shirts used in Katrina Country. “They know God, but they don’t know Jesus.”

Are you SURE you know God? Because I’ve got my Jesus Spiel that I’m trying to spring on ya. It’s a kicker, it sure is.

Are you SURE? Are you SURE!? See, what they’re trying to say is I DON’T BELIEVE YOU! And I don’t believe you because I know I’m right and you’re wrong and I’m trying to SAVE YOU DAMMIT so I can again prove to myself and God that I’m right. So again, ARE YOU SURE you’re going to heaven? Because give me just the tiniest bit of doubt so I can bust through with my Jesus hammer and clobber you to death with the WORD O GOD!

It sickens me. Whether you’re nine, or 59. It’s a platform, it masquerades as you being concerned about the person, when in fact all you’re concerned about is your message.

Somebody needs to do a follow up with these kids, like with what Michael Apted does with his 7 Up series . Because there’s a very compelling story that’s going to happen when one of these kids has a soul crushing realization that everything they were taught was wrong. Not that God doesn’t exist, but the methods they were taught to use were in fact the wrong ones. And the world is bigger than they thought. Just wait until the ground starts to crumble under their feet. That’s where the story is. Not now.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Enforced Secret Joy #21 - Happy Bunny!

Okay, okay, I admit, my Enforced Secret Joy Posts have not been meeting their usual Friday deadlines. And I know this saddens you, because I see how many people check this thing on Fridays, so SOMEBODY'S remembering one of the Three Rules Of The Blog (the other two rules, of course, are I Don't Comment On Comments, and Everyone Goes Under An Assumed Name Unless I Say Otherwise.)

Why have I been delinquent? Well, Temping Madness has taken over. It's a different job every week, and it's catch as catch can. This week at the Unnamed Other Movie Studio finds me in the publicity department, so I REALLY can't talk about what I'm doing. (it involves parties for Oscar Nomination Screenings, and a lot of work in Excel. Yay me.)

The other madness is the Christmas Monologue show with my theater company, which I'm helping to produce, because I am a control freak dumbass. It's a LOT of work, and my hope is that I'm front loading everything, because in less than 10 days, I'm off to spend Thanksgiving in Orlando, and will be out of pocket for a week, which is exactly where you want one of your producers to be a week before you open your show. Sigh.

But Happy Bunny makes everything all right. How much do I love Happy Bunny? SOOOOOOOOOO much! My sister Agatha was the first one to introduce me to Happy Bunny, so I gotta give her props. I had no idea who Happy Bunny was until a few Christmases ago, when my brother in law gave her a sheet of office magnets, or stickers or something. The first thing she said was "These are great! I can't take them to work, though." Just, google Happy Bunny and see how other people have appropriated it like those naughty Calvin and Hobbes stickers you see on the back of trucks, and you'll understand what I'm talking about.

But these are the more milder yet anarchic ones, and thus, they occupy a place in my heart. No further explanation is necessary, I think.

Dear God, thank you for Happy Bunny. Thank you for his creator, Mr. Jim Benton. Thank you for the gentle anarchic hilarity that makes up their particular brand of amusement. Thank you that it happens to perfectly encapsulate my frame of mind these days. Thank you that my fractured frame of mind can be encapsulated by a flippin' weird cartoon. How awesome is that? There's room enough for everything these days, and nothing I come up with is beyond Your realm of "Hey, does it feel like THIS" inspiration to others. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Amen.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Uplifting vs. Meaningful

It’s a bit of a melancholy time for me. I feel like everything I’m doing, I’ve done before. I'm back to the Temping World. I’ve temped before. I know what happens. Eventually, I’ll get funneled to some kind of acceptable day job that’ll hire me full time because I can pick up most computer programs in 20 minutes and can type 89 words a minute. It’s happened before, it’ll happen again. The day job will pay my bills but it’ll have the most marginal relationship to my goal of Paid Screenwriterdom. I’ll start work on another script. I’ll put a good five months into writing and rewriting it. Nothing will come of it. It’s happened before, it’ll happen again. I saw my favorite band the Twilight Singers two weeks ago, and even that carried the whiff of “been there, done that” (but the fact that the first half of the set list was exactly the same as the gig they did a few months ago had a lot to do with it.)

I could be wrong. I hope to GOD I am. I would be so stoked about being wrong on this, and that my newest script will be the one that finally pushes me into the realm of Paid Screenwriterdom. But you know that oft quoted definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result? Yeah, that’s me right now.


I mean, I did my first ever Mission trip a month ago! Talk about trying to shake things up! But did anything new happen because of it? Do I feel re-energized, re-charged, closer to God, new perspectives, new anything? Nope. I got nothing.


So in an effort to shake things up, I started temping at a different Unnamed Movie Studio, because I figure if I can’t change the routine, maybe I can change the environment.

My first assignment was this past week. I was assigned to assist a VP in Network TV Post Production. It was ridiculously easy, and the best kind of first assignment to have, because I had plenty of time to learn the phones, the internal studio website, how to leave drive ons, where to order sympathy flower arrangements, la la la.

The VP was a ridiculously nice guy, not a screamer, not a stresser. He heard the 89 words a minute clacking on the keyboard and came out to ask me what in the world I wanted to do with those speedy fingers of mine. So I said it’s what happens when you’re an aspiring screenwriter like myself. We start talking about writing, one thing led to another, and the next thing I know, he’s handing me a TV treatment he wrote a long time ago, and wants to know what I think of it.

This makes the second boss I’ve had that’s handed me something they’ve written. Always a delicate dance. I find it highly amusing, because you, the assistant, aren’t really suppose to pester your boss to read what you’ve written unless they specifically ask for it, but it’s fair game for them to give YOU stuff.

The interesting thing about this one was that it was a faith-based TV treatment, about a youth pastor that quits his job to become a cop following the death of his cop brother. It explores a spiritual character who’s flummoxed about what God wants him to do with his life. Needless to say, I could relate. I couldn’t tell if it was the only thing he’s written, or whether he thought it was safe to give to me, since I mentioned that I had completed the Act One Christian Screenwriting Program this summer.

(And for all the talk I’ve heard through Act One and various church small groups about how hard it is to be a Christian in the film and TV industry, and how you get persecuted once people find out you are a Christian, I have to say I’ve never ever experienced that. More people I’ve worked for and alongside have been Christians than not, and if they do “persecute” me, it has less to do with my religious background, and more to do with the fact that their batshit crazy nature devours everything within a two mile radius of them.)

So I ask a couple of questions, give a couple of comments about stronger choices he could make, and you can tell that the VP thinks they’re good, as he lunges for a piece of paper and starts scribbling as I’m talking. When I ask him what inspired him to write this, he says “I wanted to write something uplifting. Because so much of what we do here (meaning shows the network produces) is just to pass the time.”

The comment has stayed with me for a few days. Write something uplifting. I suppose you could swap that with Write something meaningful and get the same thing. I’d prefer that, really. Because I dunno if I could write something that dripped of Up Up Up With PEOPLE, since most of the time, people bug the hell out of me (except you, Gentle Reader. Always, always except you.)

With my plays, I want to entertain. That’s it. If I can make someone laugh, I’ve done my job, because I’ve seen way too much L.A. theater that purports to be “meaningful” and comes across as pretentious yak puke. (Don’t even get me started on L.A. theater that purports to be “provocative.”)

If you start writing something with the intent of being Meaningful, you’re probably loading up the Heavy Handed Bat for a good whacking on the reader’s knuckles and not realizing it. But if you’re doing your job as a writer, and hitting all the right beats of storytelling, you’re more than likely going to end up with something meaningful anyway. Maybe. Or maybe not. My next script is a spoof of film noir. It’s Ace Ventura meets The Maltese Falcon. I don’t think there’s gonna be a lot that’s meaningful about it.

But hopefully it’ll make people laugh. More than “passing the time.” But not “Uplifting.” There’s gotta be a happy medium somewhere.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Enforced Secret Joy #20 – The SuperRoses Survived!

They started like this – little tiny shoots in their Amy The Writer’s Master Plant’s Eye. Common Sense told me to cut them down, but my perverse nature of “Nah, You Run With That Ball As Long As You Want To And I’ll Watch From The Sidelines Because Far Be It For Me To Tell You What You Can Or Can’t Do” prevailed.

And so, much like a parent who does nothing when their child falls off the swingset because they know the tyke’s okay, and to run out there would only encourage the tyke to burst into tears and become a huge crybaby (or perhaps that was only my folks), I let the shoots grow. Maybe they’d break. Maybe they survive. I wasn’t gonna shape their destiny for them.

And here they are now. Isn’t it awesome! It’s NOVEMBER! Do you folks on the East Coast have roses that grow like this in NOVEMBER!? I DO!

I spend every morning watering them and reading my Oswald The Guilt Tripper Devotionalist to the yellow roses in the back and Lloyd The Gentler Devotionalist Ogilive to the reddies in the front. Surprisingly, the yellow ones are pretty hardy, despite hearing things like “If God can accomplish His purposes in the world through a broken heart, then why not thank Him for breaking yours?”

The funny thing about me and my roses is that I never cut them to make a bouquet for the house. Ex Roomie Cackle once asked to cut a few to impress a chick he was dating, but I never cut them for any special occasion. There’s no reason why I couldn’t, I just never do. Maybe because I know their destiny is to be outside roses. Maybe because once you cut them, they start shedding petals almost immediately, and it’s a sad sight to see yellow and red rose petals keeping company with the dust bunnies and various electric cords on the floor. Maybe because I’m lazy. Who knows.

But man, these beauties went for the brass ring and grabbed it with both…um…stems, didn’t they.

Dear God, thank you for the SuperRoses. Thank You that they survived, thank You that they didn’t break. Thank you that they had a goal to reach full blossom and that they achieved it. Please help me not to get down on myself that I haven’t reached my current goals lately to the full conclusion like they have. They are, after all, plants. It’s a much simpler life. Can I be a red rose next time around? Oh, wait, sorry, You don’t believe in reincarnation. Well, that’s cool, because frankly, unless I could come back as a red rose, I wouldn’t wanna do the whole thing again, once is enough. Not that I’m not grateful. I’m grateful, I’m grateful! Thank you for the clothes on my back, the shoes on my feet, the gas in my car, the house that I rent, the flowers in my yard, the opportunities I’ve had for writing in the past, and the opportunities I’ll have in the future. But most of all, thank you for these roses. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Amen.