Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Excerpts from the Hand-Written Journal

Confession time. Apart from this blog, I write in an old-fashioned journal using a pen and notebook. I like to call it a "journal" because that's a little more manly than calling it a "diary." The kinds of people who write in diaries might wander off in despair, put rocks in their pockets, and wade into a deep stream. The kind of person who writes in a journal, on the other hand, is likely to log scientific data.

One problem with writing in a journal is that my life -- and this is painful to admit -- is fairly boring. To fix that, I sometimes adopt a persona, and write away. I've gathered a few of my favorite entries, and typed them into the computer.

Bear Stearns Stockbroker

As I lie here in my tent at 27,800 feet above sea level on my quest to climb Mount Everest, I am proud of my Sherpa. I am also proud to be able to call him "mine." For he is my Sherpa. Without him, reaching the top of this mountain would be a struggle. For example, while he was short-roping me up from Camp III to Camp IV, I complained that the rope around my waist was demoralizing, and insisted that he drag me in the supply stretcher. He said no, and I shouted at him. Punjab has ugly yellow teeth full of gaps and does not like to be shouted at. Nor does he like to have his family threatened. After he towed me up to the Camp IV tent on the stretcher, he left me alone to go back for the supplies that he had set aside. This angered me, for I do not like to be left alone that high on the mountain. Upon his return, I checked my temper. Instead of kicking him, I simply said, "Hot tea" and put my oxygen mask back on.

Professional Football Player Who Recently Joined Twitter

I'm glad I'm so handsome!! Makes taking pics so much easier! I kno, I'm very humble whn I wanna b! Lol

Mormon Housewife

I need to learn to control my temper better. This morning, when LeDon said he was leaving for the weekend to do a ski trip, I glared at him. Now I feel terrible. I know the baby is only three weeks old and the 3-year-old has an ear infection and the twins are about ready to take their first steps, but it's not my place to judge other people. I run the household and LeDon is the provider. Period. End of story. That's God's plan. But I have to say in my defense that it would sure help if LeDon got a job!!!! If I read the scriptures and pray and put my trust in the Lord, I will be forgiven. I know that with the bottom of my heart.

George W. Bush

I was arguing with Brownie the other day while we were sitting in a bar and shooting the bull. Get this. He said that all you gotta do to figure out pi is to divide 22 by 7. I told him the value of pi is the ratio of the circle's circumference to its diameter, and that you can determine the value of pi only by drawing a perfect circle and then measuring its circumference and diameter, taking the ratio -- which sure as shit ain't 22 over 7 -- and that's it. That's pi. And then I said, "Hey Brownie, wanna hear a joke?" And he said "Sure." And I said, "Pi, pi, poke in the eye!" and jabbed my finger in his socket. Now that was funny. I'd like to see that Kenyan think of something like that.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

120% Effort

The regular coach of Max's soccer team couldn't make it to practice, so I subbed. As I gathered the 6-year-old kids together for the practice and wondered what was going to happen, as if I were a mere observer, I wanted to give a little speech about trying hard and giving a full effort. When Henry grabbed Keira around the waist and spun her around, I decided the speech was a bad idea, so I had them run around the field.

For the entire hour, I was breaking up wrestling matches and putting a stop to impromptu tag games. It was a mess. At that point, I realized what the problem was. I wasn't giving 120% effort.

I thought back to something I had seen on television. It was one of those fantastic MTV challenge shows in which the young and beautiful drink alcohol, have flings, and compete to avoid getting eliminated. When a contestant lost a challenge, she said something like, "We both gave 120% effort, but their 120% was stronger than ours."

Now, at first glance, that statement seems accurate, especially if you've been hit in the head recently. But you might realize that it's possible that one of the teams was only giving 115% effort, which could account for the loss. How do you express the idea of one team's more-than-maximum effort being weaker than someone else's more-than-maximum effort? Perhaps it's better to express this heady notion using different percentage values rather than rating the strength of identical values.

And that's when I realized that as a substitute soccer coach, I was able to give only 115% effort.