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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I got lucky, My hero never disappointed me.

This will not be my normal inane chatter.  This one will be about my hero that I never had to turn on the news and find out the things he did wrong, and although he did mess up at times, he owned his mistakes and showed me how to learn from them.  I'm talking about James Shelby Carner, my dad. 

My father only had a high school education, but good grief was he smart.  Why I didn't reword my algebra problems to talk about corn and fertilizer needed and go to him with them I'll never know.  I learned how to be a good husband, a good father, and a good person from him.  I didn't always take his advice, but who does? 

When I was in the third grade my father collapsed to the floor one night.  I was stunned.  I had never ever seen my father fall, even earlier that winter when he was on crutches when a tractor tire had fallen on him.  I learned that night that he had guillain barre syndrome.  Basically his nervous system lost the ability to work.  He was paralyzed from the neck down and it was moving slowly to his heart and lungs. 

I never knew how bad it really was until I was older.  They moved him from Princeton to Paducah one night and placed him on oxygen.  He was having trouble breathing and was put in ICU with four other patients.  He told me he asked the nurse if he was going to make it, and she said he would be fine.  A few days later the nurse admitted to my father of the five in ICU she thought he would be the first to go.  Someone flatlined in ICU and as Dad watched them wheeled away he simply asked God to heal him and he would work as hard as he had to rehabilitate himself.  I forget if two or three people died that night in the ICU, my father made it through the night and started the road to recovery.  The doctor moved him into a private room and said, "Where you go from here is up to you and your God."  Three weeks later my father was brought home in a wheelchair.  He was disgusted because the doctor wouldn't give him back his license until he could walk without crutches.  Three weeks after that he walked into the doctors office pitched the crutches on the doctor's desk and asked him if he could get his licence before he got pulled over for driving without one. 

He has had nerve problems ever since.  He has terrible cramps because of the damage, which made farming an interesting experience, but he never complained.  My sister's apartment burned and he had to move things out of there a few years back.  I got into town as quick as I could to help him.  We carried out everything from her second story apartment and finally after 6 or so hours, in the summer heat, coughing and black as coal from the charred filled rooms, my father said, I've done all I can do.  I was two seconds from telling him I was shot.  He was 65 and I was 32. 

My father has helped raise his grandchildren as if they were his own, and never complained.  He just does what has to be done.  Thank you dad.  Thank you for showing me what it means to be a man, husband, father, and a friend.  I love you.

Ok, sorry for being off topic on that one, but this blog is about me getting things out, and I wanted that out there.  Til next time . . .whenever that is . . . .

"Chuck"

Monday, August 15, 2011

How David Met Richelle part 1

My apologies to Billy Crystal et al

Summer 1995, I'm laying in my bedroom at 1314 Kentucky Street, sweating.  Remember there is no air conditioning.  My best bud since high school showed up with his current girlfriend and asked me to drop some things off for him when I went to Princeton.  He had his girlfriend with him, Richelle.  Richelle later told me she thought I was a dork.  Ah love at first sight. 

Fast forward a few weeks.  I had just got off work from the Wal-Mart deli and went over to Kevin's apartment, he was there with his girlfriend and invited me to stay and watch a movie with him.  At this time I was smoking again so I sat and watched a movie.  Richelle asked me not to smoke in front of her, and I didn't.  She told me later she still thought I was a dork.  I probably was.

About three or four weeks into the fall 95 semester I was in Kevin's dorm room asking him some very pointed questions.  He was really interested in a girl who was a RA in the dorm I worked as a nightclerk in.  He said he was considering dating her.  I asked him about Richelle.  He kinda shrugged his shoulders and I went off on him.  I told him he had no right to do that to anyone.  People deserved the truth, yada yada yada.   (Yes about this time I was going through the mess with whatsherface) (think I was channeling much!?)

I left his room furious, but he was calling Richelle. 

Edit:  Kevin later told me he would have called her, but he was a little surprised by my reaction. 

I really thougth I should call her and apologize to her for the idiot Kevin was being.  It was really none of my business though.  Who was I to call her?  I thougth about this for a long time, and decided better.  I mean it was really none of my business and I'd never see her again.

Thanksgiving time . . . Richelle had worked at the Wal-Mart deli the summer before and had quit for school just about the time I started.  I had never worked with her.  My boss Jackie asked me what I thougth about her coming back over the Christmas break.  I asked her why, and Jackie said Richelle was really good at party trays and we got a lot of orders for those over Christmas.  I said sure why not.  (please remember at this point in my life a 5th grader had more experience with the opposite sex than I did . . .possibly a 3rd grader did as well)

A few hours later I came around the corner where the makeshift office was with the schedule and I saw someone looking at the schedule.  I asked, "Can I help you?"  She spun around, surprised, and it was Richelle.  For the first time in my life I saw her, I mean really saw her.  I had no idea what I was feeling at the time, but now I know it was the first time I had ever, truly, fallen in love.  She looked absolutely flustered, like she had stolen something (besides my heart that is)(that was horrible, I may throw up from the mushiness from that one!!).  She asked me if I was Kevin's friend and I said yeah.  She then mumbled something about having to leave and bolted from the deli.  I watched her go and was very confused, yet had a goofy smile on my face.  A coworker asked me later what the goofy smile was for and I told her I had no idea.  I didn't at the time, but over the next few weeks . . . well I would find out. . . . TO BE CONTINUED

That's it for now . . .til next time. . . whenever that is .. .

"Chuck"

Friday, August 12, 2011

What I DID learn in 10 3/4 years as an Undergrad (just not right then) Part 2

So let's recap.  I, David, with no smooth moves at all in my romance playbook, pull the biggest blunder of all time.  I am now embarrassed, ashamed, and just down right mad.  I feel sorry for myself and skip the next two weeks of classes.  (Boy what a crybaby . . right?)  So I come back to class and after it is over my teacher calls me up and is apparently upset.  I have missed too many classes, and she is going to let me in, but if I miss one more for anything other than an emergency, I'm out.  I fail.  I said ok, and let it go.  Brenda/Bonnie/Cassie?  tries to talk to me.  I play it all cool that its no big deal.  Now she's telling me how her new boyfriend is an awful guy and I'm just praying for the good Lord to come take me away.  For two weeks everything is cool until I find out my mom is having a procedure.  I tell my teacher what's going on and I won't be there on the Monday of the procedure, she says fine, you know the rules.

Now I let that slide thinking it was a language/understanding thing.  (it wasn't)  Mom has the procedure and I'm back on Wednesday.  As soon as the class is over I get called again to the front and the teacher asks me why am I wasting my time here.  I have failed.  I go off, and she goes off right back.  I told her my mom was having surgery, and she said, "was it an emergency?"  I said I had no idea what could happen on the table.  She said if something had gone wrong you could have gone home.  I snapped.  I told her she was lousy and had no idea how she had been permitted to teach without knowing that 2/3 and 75% were not the same number.  I stormed out. 

That night at Wal-Mart guess who I ran into?  That's right, whatshername.  I told her what happened, and she said, "well you did miss a lot of classes."  I lost my fool mind.  I blamed her for many of those classes because she knew how I felt and she drug me along like some plaything to do with what she wanted.  I was no one's fool.  Someone stormed out crying . . I guess whatshername left eventually too.  I never saw her again after that. 

I blamed everyone in that situation but the right person .. me.  Yeah my teacher was harsh, but how many second chances had I burned and not even been around to know it.  Yeah it was bad timing on whatshername's part, but she was right, I had missed ALOT of classes.  I really wish I knew how to get ahold of whatshername, I'd like to apologize.  I was a jerk.  I should probably apologize to my teacher as well . . .well she didn't know that 2/3 and 75% were the same thing . . .

So that's something I did learn in my 10 3/4 years as an undergrad.  If you like this one let me know.  I'm sure I've got tons of stories that I can tell from this time in my life. . .til next time . . whenever that is. . . .

"Chuck"

Thursday, August 11, 2011

What I DID learn in 10 3/4 years as an Undergrad (just not right then) Part 1

My daughter is going through a phase right now.  "I didn't know."  That's her answer to everything that she has done wrong.  I know she's five, but it scarily reminds me of my favorite answer in my late teens and early to mid 20 (and late 20s and early 30s) "It's not my fault."  Everyone and everything was to blame for my actions but me in those days.  I didn't want to accept any responsibility for anything.  I've documented many reasons as to why in other posts, but to give the short answer that takes responsibility (see what I did there?) I felt entitled.  Why I felt that way, once again, many factors, but the biggest reason, immaturity. 

It was the fall of 1995.  I was living at 1314 Kentucky Street in Bowling Green. Today it is a parking lot. . .truth be told, that's an upgrade.  There were seven of us living in said house; 2 girls 5 guys.  We had painted the living room Smurf Blue and Royal Purple.  We had no cable, no air conditioning but we were having fun. Not all of us were enrolled, and those that weren't wanted to hang out with everyone else.  I had a heath class I was enrolled in that I hated, except for one part.  There was this girl in there that was absolutely beautiful, thought I was funny, and she actually would talk to me!  No, I don't remember her name so we'll call her Brenda, because I think it started with a B (although for some reason I'm thinking Sondra, or was that the girl I knew that worked at the movie theater . . .never mind I'm getting off topic.)

Anyway, I had a teacher who was not ideal.  I speak Daveesie.  That is a revved up Southern twang with some muttering.  My teacher was from an oriental country, I have no idea which one, but she had a heavy, heavy accent.  Needless to say a United Nations translator was needed.  She would say things like 75% and 2/3 . . same thing . .   Now hold the phone.  I knew they weren't and after class I made some comment that caused Brenda/Sondra/Beverly? to laugh.  She wanted to know if I'd like to study sometime.  I said. . .yeahsure  (one big word)  seyawednesday. . and bolted from the room. At this point in my life I was 21, I had one date, (that was the biggest disaster the world had ever seen) and had absolutely no idea how to act around women. 

Wednesday I skipped class. . I have no idea why, I just did.  Friday I got to class early . .I made a lame attempt at an excuse that she said was no big deal and she asked me if I knew about the party Saturday night.  Now I was suppose to go to the movies with everyone from the house to see Batman Forever.  I told her I had plans to see the movie, but I'd come down later since the party was only two blocks down from my house.  We all went to see the movie.  We got back and I asked everyone if they wanted to go with me to the party and they all said no, except one.  One of the girls.  (anyone yet see where this is going)  So I show up with my roommate who is very, very attractive, but we are nothing more than friends.  I find Brenda/Sondra/Sally? and introduce her.  (It still hasn't dawned on me yet)  She excused herself for a second and I didn't see her the rest of the night.  I looked for her about 10 minutes and someone told me she had left.  We headed back to the house shortly thereafter.

I skipped class all but one day that next week and she wasn't there that day.  I was at Wal-Mart Sunday night with my housemate and I ran into her.  I asked her if she was ok, and she said yeah.  My housemate wandered off, and Brenda/whateverhernamewas asked me how long we've been going out.  I explained we just were housemates and friends, that was it.  Yeah, now it's slowly dawning on me.  About this time, a guy came around the corner and said, "There you are babe!"  He said to me, "Hey don't I know you?" I didn't remember and then he said, "Yeah, you were at the party last weekend where I met whatshername."  I looked at whatshername and she gave me a look that said,  Sorry I didn't know.  About that time my housemate came back, and I gave a polite goodbye and I'll see you in class.  Under my breath I finished that sentence with the word "not"  (hey it was the 90s)   . . . .

TO BE CONTINUED  . . .

"Chuck"

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My time as a basketball official

It was the fall of 1994 and I was at my first semester at WKU.  I was BROKE.  I mean had a $1.50 to my name and living off of the noodles.  My good friend Chris had told me if I would take him home on the weekends I could officiate little league basketball.  I agreed.  I was calling a girl's basketball game.  I think they were 7 and 8 year olds, so you can imagine the high level of skill.  I think it was the 4th quarter and the score was 6-4 or something like that.  Basically all I had done was run up and down the court called 54 walking violations (I was giving them four and five steps), and hundreds of out of bounds calls. 

As per the norm there had been a turnover and I was the trail official, when somehow the ball was turned back over and the fastbreak had started towards me.  I was about halfway between center court and the top of the three point line, and for some reason I decided to start backpedaling.  (Get your Kleenexes.)  Apparently the foul line reached up and grabbed my foot.  I tumbled head over heels all the way back to where the pads were on the wall in the middle school gym.  As soon as I got right side up I began to watch the action, I did have my duty to perform after all.  The girls were standing laughing their heads off except for one.  She was eyeing the ball in the other teams hand.  She hit the ball clean, but knocked it directly on the foul line.  From my posterior I blew the whistle, and made the call.  The crowd stood and gave me a standing ovation.  I finished the game, but that was the end of my basketball officiating career.

I was told by many parents in the stands if they had video cameras I would be a very rich man from America's Funniest Home Videos.  Ok, that's it for now. . .til next time . . whenever that is . . .

"Chuck"

Thursday, August 4, 2011

My little LouLou

My little LouLou started Kindergarten today.  Now millions of parents have done this, but for me its a first.  What makes it so hard is I work less than 100 feet from her school.  In fact when I open the door by my desk and look out side, her room is on the other side of the window I look at. 

I dropped her off at Preschool three years ago, and the crying was terrible.  Grace was pretty upset too.  She cried every morning for three months, and when I came to pick her up, she was crying because other parents had picked their kid up and I hadn't shown up.  This morning, she was running down the sidewalk all excited.  She found her spot in the gym, hugged her mother about 5 times, and seemed to be nervous, but very excited.  At the time (40 minutes ago as I write this) I was fine.  Now.  . . my little LouLou is not so little. 

Side:  A few months ago I started calling her LouLou when I would do a Yogi Bear impersonation  . . .she in turn started calling me BooBoo. 

Today's going to be hard. I know it only gets harder.  This week she wouldn't let me take her to the bathroom at a restaurant.  She went to the girls room by herself.  That was hard on me, on her . . ehh.  I never wanted to be a father . . now I can't imagine not having my little girl in my life.  I can't imagine her not telling me I need to go to preschool because I can't count properly.  (I mess up on purpose) ( Really, I do)
I can't imagine her telling me about how I need to recycle so I won't fill up all the landfills.  I can't imagine her not giving me the look she gives me when I give her one of my crazy answers.  I can't imagine her not telling me she loves me so so much.

I know little girls grow up and become big girls, then young ladies, and then women.  I knew this was going to happen.  I just didn't know I wasn't ready for it.  Love you LouLou.

Ok, that's it for today . . I'm going to hunt down some Kleenex. . .only 6 hours and 10 minutes until I can go get her.  . . .pray for me today, I'm gonna need it. . til next time . . when ever that is.

"Chuck"  (BooBoo)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

My first job

My first real paying job was at Dairy Queen in Princeton, KY.  Things about that job still stick in my head to this day.  Ken yelling, "If you've got time to lean you've got time to clean!"  But one thing many people don't know about my time there is some of the good, and I mean, good pranks pulled on me.  When I first started at Dairy Queen, I was so nervous.  I had this habit of taking my hat off, and pulling it tight down on my head.  If I had been playing poker I'd of been broke in two minutes.  Ken would see me doing thing, and yell, "Whatcha worried about now, Herman??"  He would say things to me that absolutely stunned me.  One day a very, very attractive lady came in and I waited on her.  After she left, Ken called me over and looked at me as serious as he could and said, "Herman . . .don't even think about chasing that . . . .if you caught it, you wouldn't know what to do with it!"  I turned 14 shades of red and adjusted my cap for a good half an hour.

My first day working with Ken was an ordeal.  Ken asked me to fix him a diet coke.  I brought it to him and he said, "Now get some bourbon out of the cooler."  I didn't ask any questions, and just went in and started looking.  Jody had to come get me out of the cooler, with the entire grill staff howling in laughter behind me.  A little later he told me to go bust up boxes and put them in the incinerator.  I busted away, but looked, and looked and couldn't find the incinerator.  When I walked in looking all confused, Doc was at the fryer laughing his head off.  He told me there was no incinerator, and to just put them in the the trash bin out back.

Doc played one of the greatest tricks ever on me.  I had been there a few months and it was slow.  I walked into drivethru and he was digging through the M&Ms.  He was putting something in a cup.  I asked him what was going on and he told me there was a customer coming in that wanted a green M&M blizzard.  (Tom Sawyer would have been proud of this one)  He said he had a lot to do, but they had to keep this guy happy.  I asked him if I could help, and he said, "I don't know, this is pretty important."  (Hook, line and sinker)  You get the idea, for the next hour I picked not green M&Ms, but pieces of smashed green M&Ms.  A few years later when I was in charge of closing I pulled the same trick on a newbie.  You'd think I would have been the bigger person, but no. 

Ok, that's all for this one.  Hoped you enjoyed it. . til next time . . whenever that is. . .

"Chuck"  ("Herman")

Our need to catagorize

You never get a second chance to make a first impression.  Don't judge a book by its cover.  Big things come in small packages.  It's not the size of the dog in the fight it's the size of the fight in the dog.  Do or do not do . . .there is no try.  Ok the last one I just had to throw in.  Sorry.  We all know these sayings by heart, and they are all true although some are contradictory. 

Our first impression is us judging people.  (You don't know me!!)  (sorry)  We see someone, make a decision and look for evidence to support that decision.  If the evidence doesn't fit we tend to dismiss it.  The sad thing is, sometimes we are right, heck often we are right, but it's when we are wrong is that we could not only make a fool out of ourselves, but could misjudge and even hurt an innocent person. 

I attended a multicultural diversity conference back in November.  It really opened my eyes. Let me give you an example.  The first day in the first five minutes the presenters introduced themselves.  There was a huge sheet of paper on the table and we were to list all the things we thought were true about each presenter while they left the room.  We went wild and put up every stray thought that entered our head and why we thought that.  When they came back in and started reading what we thought and why, we found out how far off we were.  Sometimes we nailed it, many times we didn't. 

I help people fill out forms all day, and its amazing how we try to box people into categories.  Democrat and Republican.  Caucasian, African American, or Other (how degrading is it to be referred to as other?)  I can go on, but the point I'm trying to make is we place people into categories WE are comfortable with.  Now how is that fair.  Why does everything have to have a name?  Are we so afraid of the unknown that we have to catorgorize everything? 

Try this if you think I'm crazy.  (and I'm not denying I'm not crazy)  The next time your out really pay attention to yourself when you see someone, and see if you're not trying to prejudge something about that person.  The next time you think someone acts out of thier character, realize it may just be they acted out of the character you had placed them in. 

Ok that's it on this one.  I know, a little deep and it makes us look at a part of ourselves we may not be comforatable with, but if we can't be comforatable with ourselves, than who can we really be comfortable with??   Til next time . . whenever that is . . .

"Chuck"

Monday, August 1, 2011

Who the heck is Chuck? (or my gaggle of nicknames)

Most people get through life with a nickname or two.  Me, I have possibly a dozen.  Let me tell you about them.  First of all my first name is John.  My Mother wanted to call me David so at school I always have to remember who I am on the first day.

The first nickname I received was Dave.  When I started band as a freshman for whatever reason, Bill my section leader started to call me Dave.  I tried to correct him and he ignored it.  Everytime he would introduce me it was Dave.  People who had know me for years called me Dave. 

Next was Chuck.  Mark Bumphus is personally responsible for that one.  You need some backstory on this one.  When I was in 8th grade, I had some ingrown toenails that had to be surgically removed.  They were awful.  The doctor said I should wear some type of leather shoe so they could breath better.  My Mother feeling sorry for the pain I was in went out and found me a pair of leather shoes . . . .that were hideous.  (I understand the song Parents Just Don't Understand)  The story goes is that Mark saw them and commented they looked like some kind of sad mix of Chuck Taylors and Buster Browns (There's a shoe brand you haven't heard in 20+ years)  If you don't know Mark he had a way of yelling stuff in a sing-song like voice that would carry all the way across a crowded cafeteria.  I went by one day and he said/sang, "There goes Chuck Brown!!"  Pretty soon everyone was calling me that.  Eventually the Brown got dropped.  For four years in high school I was Chuck.  I liked the name.  Didn't honestly care how it came about. If someone mentioned Chuck most people knew who it was back then.  I thought it was kinda cool.

Next up is the Clyde/Herman nickname.  For those of you who forgot I worked at Dairy Queen.  Ken Walker was the owner.  He told me once he couldn't remember all the new people so he just called the guys Clyde and Herman.  I started out as Clyde.  Daniel Davis started around the same time, he was Herman.  I had been there a week, went on vacation, came back and Daniel was Clyde, and I was Herman.  And I was, for 5 or 6 years.  Heck even now when I see Ken he yells Herman.  I loved Ken and Jody to death for all they did to me, and I gladly respond to it anytime.

Somewhere in here there was a Saturday morning that Dad and I were sitting around the house waiting for a UK game to start and Loony Tunes was on.  It was the one about the abominable snowman and Daffy being mistaken for a rabbit.  You know, "I will love him, and pet him, and queeze him, and name him George."  I looked over at Dad and said you look like a George.  He just laughed.  In the next one, there was a dog named Bubba, and Dad said I looked like a Bubba.  The rest of the day we called each other that.  And the day after that and after that.  Today, I'll call my Dad, he'll answer and I'll say, "Geroge?"  "Hey Bubba."  It's our thing.

Then there was Woodcraft.  There was a guy there named Jeff who was about 5 inches taller than me, but my size.  He always wore a tee shirt with a pocket in the front.  One day he had a roll of electrical tape in it and I said, "Jeff, you look a little lumpy there."  He got a big grin on his face and said, "You of all people shouldn't be calling people lumpy. . .Lumpy."  And from then on at Woodcraft I was Lumpy.

While I was at WKU bookstore, the assistant GM loved to harass me, and I'd harass right back.  One night we were closing together, and Jim said to some of the new cashiers, "You know David's wife calls him Mr. Delicious, don't you."  Richelle has never called me that, but for the next couple of years, I was referred to as that constantly.

The last nickname is one I shot down immediately.  I was trying to help a young lady with her financial aid, and she asked me my name.  I told her and she asked me if it would be alright if she referred to me as  "Big Daddy D Delicious".  She said it would be easier to remember.  I told her no, it would not be alright!  That was the last thing I needed!

I've had others through out my life.  JD, Big D, and others, but that's the lowdown on how I became the man of many names.  Til next time . . .whenever that is . .

"Chuck"