Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Art of Sneaking Out

Sometimes even the most carefully planned hi jinx go wrong at the hands of a suspicious, light-sleeping mother.

It was the summer before my freshman year of high school and a buddy and I had spent all morning during summer school gym conniving. The plan was to sneak out of our respective houses and go toilet papering. It was my first time sneaking out and I knew my mom was a light sleeper so I made several contingency plans. First, when I left my bedroom I locked it behind me so that if she woke up she couldn't come in and see if I was asleep. Genius. The only problem was that in order to do this I had to lock the door first, then close it. I did not know doing this would disable the ability to close the door quietly. A quick but loud pop came from the door, then silence. My parents were still asleep. Time to keep going.

My second contingency was that I had packed a bag of clothes and stashed it in the backyard. This way if I got caught outside of my room I would just be in my boxers, clearly going to the bathroom or getting a drink of water. 14 year-old me was so smart.

I went into my garage and out the back door, quickly finding my stashed clothes and putting them on. My friend was waiting for me on the street. That's when we heard it. A loud tapping. More like a knocking. Coming from my parent's bedroom window. They had heard my door closing and were awake! They had not seen me because I was still on the side of the house but my friend had been compromised.

He ran over to me and we quickly decided to abort the mission. He took off as I restashed my clothes and got into the garage, hearing my mom approaching from inside. I needed to quickly think of some reason to be in the garage. The only thing that occurred to me was to grab a soda and say I came out to get one.

When my mom opened the door, this is what she saw: Her 14 year-old son in his underwear, holding a can of soda with the door to the backyard cracked open. I can only imagine what she thought was going on. My memory of what was said is a little foggy, but I believe the conversation went something like this.

Mom: What are you doing?

Me: Getting a soda.

Mom: Why is the back door open?

Me: I don't know.

(Long pause. I figured my best defense was to play stupid. My mom, probably figuring I was stupid for other reasons considers how to play this one)

Mom: It's late. I think you should go to bed.

I could say that I fooled my mom that night, but in my heart of hearts I'm pretty sure my mom just decided to have mercy on me. She probably knew that I was making a pathetic attempt to sneak out, figured I wasn't going to go do anything horrible anyway, and let me off the hook. She probably knew that I am such a rule-follower by nature that simply getting caught was punishment enough. Out of all the possible choices, on this night, she chose to have mercy.

To my wonderful, selfless, hardworking, strong mother. You have always desired the best for your kids and that's why you're the best. Love you!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Face Your Fears

I've been thinking a lot recently about really trying to blog more consistently. By recently I mean, oh, I don't know, the last seven years or so. I've even more recently (six and a half years) thought about slowly working my way toward some sort of scenario in which I get paid to write. I have these daydream sessions in which I imagine myself sitting at home with a typewriter writing the sequel to The Catcher in the Rye. Of course, it becomes an instant bestseller, I write and star in the movie adaptdation and win an Oscar, and during my acceptance speech I demonstrate how cool but humble of a guy I am and then everyone wants to be my friend (with sentences like that one, I'm bound to write a bestseller any day now).

The only problem (because there's only one) is that I never daydream about the writing part of it. I never think about the hours spent writing and editing and rewriting and whiting out all the errors from punching the wrong typewriter key. And when I finally do sit down to write I get very self-conscious. I ask myself, "Who would want to read this? This is so boring. If I am not enjoying writing it, how can I expect anyone to enjoy reading it?" In fact, I am experiencing these very thoughts as I write this very post.

However, I've been reading a book recently about how to take career aspirations and make them a reality and this book addresses this type of self-talk. The book is called Start by Jon Acuff and he calls this self-talk, "voices of fear and doubt." Jon's prescription for said voices: mock them and make them face the truth. What he means is to mock your fear by exaggerating it to illustrate how ridiculous it is in the first place and then make them face the truth by simply writing what is true about that issue. So hear goes.

Fear: "Who would want to read this? This is so boring. If I am not enjoying writing it, how can I expect anyone to enjoy reading it?"

Mock it up real good: If I continue writing this post and publish it, I will lose all four of my followers of this blog. Google will probably ban me from blogging and Wordpress will fold as a company so they do not have to publish my blog. My own mother, when reading this post, will projectile vomit and stop answering my phone calls. My eighteen month old son, despite being unable to read, will sense the lameness of my writing abilities and throw my laptop in the toilet, instantly potty-train himself in order to pee on my computer, then un-potty-train himself in order to communicate his disapproval.

The truth: Someone may want to read this and may even enjoy it. I have written some posts that people have really liked and admittedly, some that were pretty bad. If I actually write more consistently, I will get better.

That was pretty fun, especially the mocking part. What fears do you need to mock and confront with the truth?