The Millennial Mariner Podcast

So, I am the cohost of a podcast called The Lit-Knitters with my friend Sam Jacob. Because of this experience, I’ve decided to venture into podcasting in tandem with writing in this blog. In this podcast, I will be recording the posts I have written as well as have discussions with guests to spice up the conversation. Below is the link to my podcast on SoundCloud. You can also find it on Pocket Casts and Stitcher. I only have the trailer up, but I will have an episode up by Monday night!

SoundCloud – https://soundcloud.com/user-62785598/trailer

Stitcher – https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/anchor-podcasts/the-millennial-mariner

Pocket Casts – https://pca.st/95Tn

Spotify

Off-Gridding: You Don’t Matter and That’s Okay

Featured

There’s something in us that yearns to be recognized and valued. Even the humblest among us feels at least in some degree the need to be needed. Despite what many of us have been told in our lives about being a unique snowflake with value beyond compare and you are the center of your life’s drama, this isn’t entirely true. I’m not here to say that nobody matters. Everyone has value, and everyone needs to be viewed as important. We are individuals with highly distinguishing features and frailties that make us who we are. They define us and help us understand ourselves and others. Nobody can and should dispute or disregard anyone’s personal value. I’m also not here to preach that “you are one insignificant grain of sand on a beach, and no one will ever care about you and you matter less than you think.” While there is some truth to that statement (there are currently seven-billion+ people currently living on the earth, mind you), we sometimes don’t feel valued and that’s okay.

Recently, I’ve taken the steps to establish more of a web presence on online communities like Twitter, Instagram, and even Reddit. I’ve used these platforms to find and connect with people like me: the nerdy, book types who write about literature. However, I’ve mainly been using these platforms to promote and share my analytical and creative writing as well as a podcast I do with a friend of mine. As good as I think I am at writing or putting together a podcast, the content I’m producing usually falls on blind eyes and deaf ears. Also, I’m not using this as a way to throw blame or shame at people who don’t like my stuff. You can like or not like what you want. I can’t force you to do anything.

but you're wrong and I hate you

I’m using this to set the stage for something else, so don’t feel like I’m trying to coerce you into following me on Instagram, Twitter, or giving me those sweet karma points on Reddit. I’ve realized that the number of followers I have or the amount of likes I accrue doesn’t and shouldn’t be a deciding factor in my worth as an individual or as a creator. It’s honestly my dorky intellectual habits and pursuits are in part what define me.

I learned this lesson recently when I accidentally left my phone at my apartment when my wife and I went to one of her photo shoots. We left around 11:30 am. The location was about an hour and a half drive from our apartment, so we had some time to talk about our week and how things were going. One of the things we talked about was what we were going to do about replacing a tire on my car. A few days earlier, I had driven home from work and run over a bent metal plate that had fallen off of a truck in front of me. The metal punctured my front left tire, but I didn’t know that the tire was flat until two days after the incident. I wanted to know how much a tire would cost to replace. I reached into my pocket to check my phone, and as fate would have it, my phone was not in my pocket. I asked my wife what time we would be home, and she said that we wouldn’t be home until around 10 or 10:30 pm. Dread sunk in. I was off the grid. I had unintentionally gone rogue. To make things more intense, my watch had recently stopped ticking. I was phoneless, without any concept of time except for looking at the shadows being cast by vertical objects, and kind of without any way of knowing how much tires cost. In the same instant, I thought, “I’ll probably get text messages that I need to answer, calls, notifications on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Reddit. How am I going to respond?”

Luckily, I had something to read while my wife was working her magic, and we were able to spend unadulterated time together between the wedding and the reception. We went to Ramen Haus in Odgen, Utah, chilled out at a library, and ended up eating sandwiches from Walmart at around 9:00 on our way back. We got to talk to each other, listen to each other, and just spend time. It was refreshing, but even toward the end of the evening, I still had the thought of “what have I missed? Did anyone miss me?”

To my surprise, the only notifications I received the entire day were from my news app. Nothing. Silence. My mother had called earlier in the day three times, but after no success in reaching me, she called my wife. Even then, I was not asked about and my wife was able to answer my mother’s questions. I was off the grid and nobody noticed. For about five seconds I felt like my attempts at establishing a web presence were a waste and that no one would ever like anything I posted ever. I felt like no one cared that I was gone. After those five seconds, I thought back on my day: the ride up to Ogden, the reading, and most importantly the conversations I had with my wife and the time I got to spend with her. In that moment, the notifications faded, and I was reminded that my personal value doesn’t come from the likes I receive or the followers I amass on social media. I didn’t matter that much online that day, but on the ride home, my wife thanked me for coming with her and told me that she appreciated that I took the time to come with her and just be there. What started as an accident, ended in a nine-hour step back off the grid from what I thought mattered. I saw more clearly that evening that what really mattered wasn’t my interaction on the web with complete strangers, but my interaction with the woman I love. I realized that even if all my followers unfollowed me or stopped liking my posts, I would still have her.

So, if you feel like you don’t matter or that your presence online is defining you, take a second and step off the grid. It will give you the perspective you need to understand that even if you don’t matter all that much in the grand scheme of social media, you can define yourself and understand your value. Unplug, step away for a while, and try your hand at off-gridding. You never know if someone close to you needs you to just be there with them.

terry crews.gif

Long Time No Sea

Featured

Well, for those of you who take the time to read this blog *cough* my mother, family members, and close friends *cough*, or those of you who read what I write through following this blog, the last nine months have been crazy. So much has happened to this millennial. I will be posting more essays, little quips, and random thoughts more consistently from here on out.

So, to recap: I reconnected with a girl that I met at an academic competition my senior year of high school (ca. 2014). I added her on Facebook, she messaged me, we texted back and forth for two months, and we went on a few dates that involved snow cones and which were better between our respective hometowns before I left on a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We didn’t really keep in touch. We wrote back and forth a couple of times, and then there was radio silence for a solid two and a half years (ca. 2016). We bumped into each other at BYU at the Harold B. Lee Library. An awkward encounter ensued where she “forgot” my name. Come to find out, she told me later that she said that because she was nervous and thought that we weren’t friends anymore. We made contact again a year later where an uncomfortable Facebook message fiasco occurred. I was bowling with some old high school friends; she was in my hometown watching a basketball game; I invited her over to go bowling, she said no thanks; she offered to meet up that coming weekend, I didn’t respond.

Well, after five years of near reconnections, we finally came together at the end of last summer (2018). After spending the day with my family in Deer Creek Reservoir, we had our first post-awkward stage date in Provo. I took her to Costa Vida (unbeknownst to me it was one of her  favorite restaurants). I had been on a string of pretty lousy first dates up to that point and was pretty calloused. I didn’t break eye contact with her. My whole attitude the whole date was “I’m not going to look shy or nervous. I’m going to get to know you, you’re going to get to know me, and you are going to like it.” She later told me that this approach was a bit intense and intimidating. Anyway, the date was as she told her brother that night “perfectly adequate.” I drove her home, and we had a conversation about politics (she studied political science at BYU). I brought up corrupt government officials in the Philippines and how the new president was kind of a crook. I was expecting her response to be something to the effect of “That sounds horrible! I hope that someone does something about him. He’s committing tons of human rights violations.” But, nope. The response was: “I don’t know. I think everyone needs to just be cool with each other.” I had no clue what I should say in response. I nodded and gave a half smile. She didn’t look at me. I dropped her off, gave her a distanced hug, and drove off.

Eight months later, we’re best friends, married, and working to afford the expenses that come with being a married couple. Although there have been ups and downs throughout, I wouldn’t have had it any other way, and I’m beyond grateful to be married to the one woman who makes me laugh, makes me feel cool even though I’m about the nerdiest bookworm around, and loves me enough to help me work through my flaws and inadequacies. Meghan, much love for you. Also, kind of a major plug, my wife is a wedding/engagement/elopement photographer. She is amazing (I’m not just saying that because I’m married to her). Check her out at @meghanbeattyphotography on Instagram and check out her website at http://meghanbeattyphotography.com/. If you or anyone you know is interested in getting photos taken look no further. Not only are her photography skills on point, she is so fun to work with and will make your experience one for the books.

Along with this, I started a podcast with a friend of mine, Sam Jacob. It’s called “The Lit-Knitters.” We look at the connections between television, movies, music and classic literature. If you enjoy what you’re reading here, you can find us on Spotify, Stitcher, and most every podcasting platform including Apple Podcasts. Give us a listen and leave us a review and a rating where you can. We’ll be wrapping up our first season by the middle of the summer. A blog will be up shortly with weekly posts regarding the show and each individual episode.

Sorry again for the pregnancy long hiatus. School and love happened. On second thought, I have nothing to be sorry about. I’ll post again on Thursday. Keep an eye out for posts from both me and The Lit-Knitters. I’ll be posting on here every Tuesday and Thursday and The Lit-Knitters is still TBD. Again, check Meghan’s photography out and book her for your wedding, receptions, engagement, elopement or anything in between. See you all on Thursday!

 

Why I Will Never Be a Dog Person

I really enjoy hot dogs. Franks. I’m a guy who likes everything on it. Ketchup, or catsup for you older people, mustard, relish, sauerkraut, onions, banana peppers, to name a few of my choice condiments. As far as these dogs go, I’m what you’d call a dog person. But, the real thing. You know, man’s best friend. I’m not a fan. I have a disdain for dogs, a caution toward canines. I have nothing against dog lovers though. I understand that some people can find comfort in the company of a border collie or they feel that the only thing they can depend on is their dachshund. I get it. Dogs can be a great help to those in need. I’ve seen I am Legend, Because of Winn-Dixie, and the classic Air Bud. It’s pretty obvious that dogs have a place in our society and can make a difference in the lives of man. All I’m saying is that I’m not one of those people. I have seen what dogs can become and I’d much rather keep my distance and take my chances with humans.

My first exposure to the primal perversities of pups was when I was a missionary in the Philippines. As I served as a missionary, I had the typical “missionary gets chased by crazy dog” story quite a few times. That’s not what soured my sensitivity toward animals of the canine persuasion. What really turned me away from ever having an affinity toward mans’ supposed best friend was observing the actions of the run-of-the-mill mangy mutt. Hairless. Skin falling off. Eating garbage. Diapers to be precise. While serving in the city of Santiago in Isabela Province, there was a dog whose calling card was the stench of digested diapers. You could smell him coming. The only word that can adequately describe the disgusting deluge of death that dispersed from his being is putrid. He was the guy you didn’t want coming to parties. He was bad news. Imagine the horse of the apocalypse that represents disease and famine. Now picture it as a dog. He would creep around the corner seeking an entrance to no avail. With his snout still deciding whether it wanted to stay on his muzzle, he scared away all other dogs, all humans, and precipitated the premises with putrefaction. Not only were the dogs nasty, people would sometimes eat dogs. After seeing someone eat a dog in the

Philippines, I pined for a nice hot dog. You get the picture? Seeing that dogs once domesticated, when left to their own devices, can deteriorate by great degree into diaper devouring degenerates and then being turned into a delicacy, I decided that the canis lupus familiaris, at least for me, was most definitely can’tis lupus.

You’re probably thinking, “Jace, you’re basing your hatred toward hounds on one lousy experience. Not all dogs are like that.” They can be like that, mind you. And before you blame me for blaspheming the beagle, I wish to share with you two encounters I had with a dog not too long ago. One involves a soccer ball and teeth and the other involves a vacuum, a cleaning check, and a dog biscuit.

world cup ballI love soccer. I love it even more than hot dogs. A few months ago, I purchased a world cup game ball. I didn’t have a ball of my own that I could just kick around. It wasn’t the real thing, it was just a replica. A usable replica. While stopping by a friend’s apartment to pick him up to play soccer, I saw that one of his roommates had a dog. It was pretty docile dog. But, this didn’t stop the dog from biting into my almost brand new world cup game ball. I did everything to stop the dog from puncturing the ball. Luckily I was able to get the ball to higher ground before too much damage was done. A once unscathed soccer ball now pocked with bite marks resides on the top shelf in my closet. As you can see, I’m still pretty upset about it. Serenity now.

The following week, we had cleaning checks. One of my roommates has a dog. It’s a very nice dog. Sometimes it comes into my room unannounced. Nothing wrong with that. Only this time, I had just finished vacuuming my room for the cleaning check. I was going to be gone on the day that the checks happened and I wanted to make sure that I did my part to clean. I had scrubbed the stovetop and the oven and I cleaned almost every inch of my room. The vacuum was the last part before I would head out of town. Using the skills I learned from years of both vacuuming and mowing lawns, the carpet was cleansed and devoid of dust and crumbs. As I turned the vacuum off, I sat down satisfied with the work I had done. Moments after my triumphant cleansing of the carpet, the dog came into my room. Normally I was fine with it coming into my room. No biggie. But, this time was different. In its mouth was a big, brown dog biscuit. He looked at me with this treat hanging from his jowl and chomped. He chomped three or four times. Crumbs flew everywhere on the carpet. As soon as the last of the biscuit was in his belly, he turned in an air of mocking me and left the room. Like a battlefield, the carpet was left covered in shards of brown and black; dirtied by a dog who had no intention to lick up the leftover slivers of saliva covered biscuit. I closed the door and vacuumed the spot where the dog had hilariously heaped a mound of spit slathered biscuit.

You might feel like I’m being too dramatic, but that’s like your opinion, man. Thats-just-like-your-opinion-man-gif-8-1-People can own dogs, groom them, train them, and live with them. I’ve just not been that impressed with my experiences with the canines. You’re probably thinking, “Hey, man! People, when left to their own devices, can do some pretty terrible things.” True, but before the next time you look your dog in the eyes, I implore you to take some time to read Jack London’s book White Fang and his short story “To Build a Fire.” You’ll definitely be leaning toward canine caution. As for me, I’m alright with taking my chances with people while eating a dog without thinking about diapers.

Lessons I Learned from Going on a Date with Myself

You’ve probably heard of a married couple who has the same name. Patrick and Patricia, but they both go by Pat. Aaron and Erin. Jessie and Jesse. Kelly and Kellie. Corey and Kori. Just to name a few. It seems pretty cute when you first think about it. You both have the same name. You might even have some similar interests. But is it possible to have too much in common to the point of it being creepy? Maybe. It was for me. In the spirit of weird coincidences, I’ll go a bit Rod Serling or even Hitchcockian on you guys. What you are about to hear is coincidence to the nth degree. The following is a tale of two individuals whose paths crossed in a drive by Nerf shooting. Little did the assailant know, but the shot that was taken made a short pass through the Twilight Zone.

The Summer of 2017 was underway. The sun wasn’t too hot. It was hot enough that people didn’t want to be outside in the middle of the day, but it was cool enough that people would start emerging around 4:30 or 5:00 in the afternoon. We had been working all day. We were glorified handymen fixing broken shelves, drawers, doors, and cabinets in married and student housing complexes. After a rather fruitless year of school, the three of us were hoping the Summer would bring with it prospects of dating. It had been a long and tedious year indeed. Each of us had had lousy experiences dating and we were ready for something better to come over the horizon.

The three of us were sitting in an old blue GMC pickup truck. I was sitting between the driver and the passenger.The work day was coming to a close and one my buddies had a “great” plan.  He brought a Nerf pistol with him to work and as we drove around in the truck we were using he said, “Hey, why don’t we take two bullets each and write our first name and our phone number and the words ‘text me/call me’ on them. We’ll roll down the window when we see a cute girl and we’ll spin the barrel and shoot our numbers at them.” Inspired. I had my reservations. First of all, I didn’t think shooting a nerf gun would be a smart thing to do on a college campus. Second, I had just spent the last eight or so months getting rejected by every girl I asked out. So, I wasn’t excited nor motivated to engaged in anonymous number shooting. I was reluctant to join, but I succumbed at the last second. I wrote “JACE” and my number and the words “Text me” on two of the nerf bullets. I gave them to the designated gunslinger and prayed that my number would not get shot out.

During a stop in traffic, the passenger called out to us saying that he saw someone to shoot, so he spun the barrel and shot. The bullet hit near her feet. We didn’t get a really good look at who we shot. He yelled out the window, “Pick it up! It’s for you!”

We drove away. If you’ve ever seen a butcher slapping and punching a piece of meat, you will know exactly how my heart sounded as it bounced and floundered against my ribcage. Sweat was forming on my forehead. My breath was getting shorter and the only words that went through my head were, “Please! Not my bullet!” The passenger checked the barrel to see whose bullet had been propelled at the unknown female pedestrian.

Passenger: Mine are all here. [To driver] Yours are all here, man.”

Jace: [clears throat and laughs nervously]

Passenger and Driver: [grins form on their faces, very much like the Grinch from the 1966 adaptation of Dr. Suess’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas]

the grinch

I couldn’t believe it. I felt like I had been shot. I held my anxiety-laden heart and tried to catch my breath. Maybe she left it. Maybe she picked it up and threw it away. My mind went over every scenario hoping that she didn’t pick it up. Literally thirty seconds later, I feel my phone vibrate in my tan corduroy pants. All the blood drains from my face. I hope this is my mom telling me that she loves me. I can’t take a text from this phantom female. Slowly I pull the iPhone 5 SE from my mended pocket. The number isn’t one that I have saved. The conversation goes as follows:

edited 1st text Jacelynedited 2nd text Jacelynedited 3rd text Jacelyn

So, that happened. I felt pretty good about myself. I was able to secure a date with a girl who got shot by a nerf bullet with my name and number on it who oddly enough had the same name or at least went by the same name as I did. So, we set the the chicken date up for the next weekend because it was already Friday. I continued to text her and get to know her better. In addition to having the same name, we had also served as missionaries in the Philippines, the only difference is that she served in Cebu (speaking Cebuano) and I served in Luzon (speaking Tagalog). Even though we didn’t speak the same language, it was something beyond the name that we had in common. To make things even trippier, I found out that she had ten people in her family, just like me and that we were both number seven of ten.

As I thought about it, I consulted with my older sister, my go-to dating guru. I asked her in complete sincerity what she thought about this whole situation. She said that she had a friend named Corey who married a girl named Kori and they both had the same last name. The girl was “lucky enough” to not have to change her last name. This just made things weirder. As we talked about it, I realized that as much as I wanted to find a girl with similar interests as mine, I wasn’t sure if these similarities should include name, number in the family, and the country that we served our missions in.

I felt really weird about it, but I still went through with the date. I cooked a classic Filipino dish called chicken adobo. I brought a lot of rice because you can’t have too much rice with Filipino food. My two comrades who got me into this date with my doppelganger had similarly asked girls out so that I wouldn’t be alone on a date with myself. So, the date went well. The chicken dinner was great. Everything went swimmingly. We even played some Quiplash. My name was “the other Jace” and her name was “the real Jace.” It was kind of cute. The date ended and I took her home. I enjoyed the date, but I really didn’t see anything happening. Honestly I couldn’t get past the thought of kissing a girl with my name because I would be able to say that I kissed myself. It was a little too much for me. Just my luck, the next day, she texted me and said that she just wanted to be friends. I felt a lot of relief. I came to understand through taking myself out on a date that similarities are important, but we shouldn’t get hung up on finding someone exactly like us. If you found an exact copy of you, you would most likely go crazy because you’d be talking to yourself all the time. It’s more about being yourself and feeling comfortable in your own skin than it is finding the the perfect person. Let’s face it. Nobody is perfect. You’re not perfect. I’m not perfect. So, how can we expect to find the perfect person if we focus on finding people who are exactly like us? Each of us is unique and that’s the beauty of dating and courtship and life! Even though we may have similarities, it’s the differences that bring us together and make us better.

If you’re still not convinced that this is weird, I cordially invite you to watch this video. It’s the “MeHarmony” skit from SNL a few years back. Enjoy!

https://www.hulu.com/watch/282844

 

Spaces, Spaces Everywhere and Not a Spot to Park

Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner bemoans the wrath that is brought upon him and his crew after he shoots the albatross that was circling around their boat. In the heat of the following days,their circumstances become dire and the mariner exclaims:

Water, water, every where,The Ancient Mariner

And all the boards did shrink;

Water, water, every where,

Nor any drop to drink.

There are definitely times in each of our lives when we metaphorically shoot an albatross. We binge watch series on Netflix instead of study for a test. We pig out on ice cream instead of eating something that is actually healthy. We stay up late for no good reason and wake up groggy and irritable. Our actions have consequences. Sometimes we do something knowing wholeheartedly that it will bring ill fortune. We can’t escape the consequences of our actions. But, what if killing the albatross is the only option? What if there is no other way? Who should bear the brunt of the consequences? I am a strong believer that every man and woman is responsible for their actions and is therefore responsible for the consequences. While each person is, quoting poet William Ernest Henley, in a large part the “master[s] of [their] fate” and “captain[s] of [their] soul,” there are definitely times when the albatross has to go.

captain philips

My albatross was shot sometime around 1:00 this morning. I got to my apartment late last night. There is permit parking that is available to those who possess permits. And there is free street parking, which goes faster than a pack of gum in a middle school. Upon my arrival, all free street parking was taken. Each spot was occupied down to the trickiest parallel parking positions. Although the supply of free spots was exhausted, there were several permit spots still up for grabs. I had inquired about a parking tag before I moved in and felt pretty confident that I would be able to get one, but that was most definitely not the case. Knowing completely what I was getting myself into, I pulled up to a spot marked “Permit Parking Only.” I sat in my car for a while before taking my keys out of the ignition. “I know that parking here will result in me getting in trouble, but there is no other way.” I could empathize with the Ancient Mariner there was definitely water everywhere, but not a single drop that I could drink. I fell to the temptation of parking in the permit only parking without a permit. I went to bed and really didn’t think that much about it.

I woke up this morning and went to get something out of my car. While on my way to work this morning with a container of fried rice in one hand and my keys in the other, I discovered that my car had been booted. It wasn’t one of those cute boots you see on infants. It wouldn’t look cute in a family photo. My heart sank and I honestly heard the sound of metal hitting the blacktop. The yellow-black boot was utterly, unabashedly, and absolutely unfashionably preventing my vehicle from moving. I was a bit upset, but I did what I needed to do to get the boot off. I called the company’s very expensive shoe horn to remove the boot. I shot my albatross by staying out too late.

College towns are notorious for difficult parking customs and laws. I love when I am able to safely secure a spot for my 2003 Acura 3.2TL, or ODB as I call him. There is satisfaction in knowing that your car has a home. I understand how it feels when someone takes my spot in a parking lot, or when someone without a parking tag prevents me from parking. I’ve had nights when I’ve had to drive around for an hour looking for a spot at like midnight and managing to secure a spot a good mile away from my apartment. I have had to park in a neighborhood I’m not familiar with because some bonehead without a tag took my throne. The throne that I paid for, mind you. I get it during regular semesters. More people are around which means more cars. There is a high supply in students with cars and a very limited amount of parking spots. It’s basic economics. It makes money for both the apartment complex through selling stickers and the parking enforcement makes money through tickets, giving boots, and even impounding cars. People need money. It’s a part of life. But, I would have to argue that the summer is definitely different. There are less students. Less students equals less cars.The ratio of cars to parking spots changes as a result of graduations and move-outs.

The summer is a time of relaxation, recharging, and regeneration. There is no better time to get things in order than the summer. People drive down long coastal roads with the windows down blasting their favorite summer songs. Kids are out of school. Everyone is outside. It’s a happy time. Or at least it should be.

Getting booted, getting a ticket, or even getting impounded impedes the flow of happiness during a time when excitement and happiness abounds. Everyone should be happy. Even the institutions bend on cutting students’ pockets and dripping their debit cards dry enjoy happiness every once in a while. The happiness of both apartment complexes and parking police comes from siphoning students salaries. While this is both awful and outright unjust, there should be some way for tenants and tyrants to meet in the middle. I don’t suggest being more lenient during the leisure seasons. I’m not an advocate for anarchy. Order must be maintained, and laws must be abided by.

My plan to pursue both the purse of the parking police and the public interest will be fair to both parties. Impartial to all who own cars. I hereby propose the end-all solution to  automotive woes of students all over America.

With the institution of parking tickets, more and more people race to buy parking tags. It usually doesn’t cost that much, but due to limited parking in most college towns, these spots are finite. I feel like competition is very American. And I love America. So, the stakes should be higher when it comes to parking in a college town. Not only should the students be subject to the rules of having or not having a parking sticker, but everyone in town should be. It would create a friendly competition of who should lay claim to spots in the ever increasingly coveted car parks.
To make things interesting, each parking lot will be equipped with a keypad where each driver will input the current number of miles on their odometer for that particular day. If a car doesn’t have the requisite amount of miles, then the car cannot be parked in that spot. If drivers are able to get the needed amount of miles, then they will be granted access to the parking lot. No more parking stickers. Parking police will still be able to enforce parking laws, but instead of getting people for not being in the right spot, they will only be able to cite those who aren’t able to get a spot period. The police will be able to go around at midnight for 15 minutes and check who wasn’t able to find a spot. It will be like a giant game of musical chairs and hide and seek.

Along with this, to involve the whole community, drivers who are able to consistently drive the required amount of miles will be given discounts. Cheaper gas, cheaper tune ups, and maybe even coupons and VIP passes to restaurants. And for students, cheaper tuition and books. Sounds pretty nice, right?

With these incentives, there will also be penalties for those who aren’t able to find spots by midnight. If the parking police catch you driving past midnight still looking for a spot, they can get you and you have to pay a flat fine of $30, or a box of donuts for everyone in the car. You have to pay the fine before the sun rises that morning or else the fine is compounded. The money that is collected by the parking police will be used to build parking garages that adequately meet the needs of the community. Although this might lead to the creation of tribes and factions in the community and maybe even a civil war, it would definitely solve the parking problem. In a community like this, the albatross that we have to kill won’t be our paychecks. We’ll actually be saving money. The only albatross we would have to worry about is the OZone layer. Sure, by driving so much and using so much gas, we’d burn a hole right through the atmosphere. This might be a small sacrifice to make, but it’s definitely worth it. We might have a Mad Max: Fury Road situation on our hands if things get too out of control, but in the end if we are able to drive our cars enough to deserve a parking spot, we’ll be able to have a stress free summer, and sleep soundly at night knowing that in the morning, our cars will be safe, secure, and above all bootless.

(They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”)

 

In T.S. Eliot’s poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” doubtful and insecure Mr. Prufrock contemplates whether he has any right to do anything in the universe especially with the presence of “a bald spot in the middle of [his] hair.” After mulling through his thoughts and the hypothetical thoughts of women regarding the pattern developing atop his head, he asks the question, “Do I dare disturb the universe?” For centuries, men (and sometimes even women) have dealt with the discomfort of the chroming of the dome. The falling of the hair follicles has been proclaimed as the demise of mankind’s capabilities of doing anything remotely cool. In an attempt to forgo the inevitability of the passing of one’s pompadour, many have resorted to covering their craniums with caps and combovers. Some succeed in securing the sensation of being seen as “not-the-guy-who-started-losing-hair”; while others flounder. Whether we like it or not, we are surrounded by Mr. Prufrocks; those whose loss likely leads them to question their quote-unquote confidence in themselves. Although there are definite drawbacks when it comes to the degradation of the dome, there are an equal amount of benefits to being bald. Through weighing the good, the bad, and the ugly of the quaint cue ball, we can see that there are numerous adages that can be said about those whose heads are hairless on top of “bald is beautiful.” And when considering the question Mr. Prufock proposes, it is imperative to understand that some of the most powerful men around lack luscious locks, yet they compensate this loss of locks with their actions.

The Bad of Being Bald

Before we get into the benefits of baldness, let us first address the negative aspects of the infamous glabrous life. The first folly of the depilated dome can be seen in the example of one of modern literature’s favorite knight errants, Don Quixote. In Miguel de Cervantes’ story of the legendary lancer Don Quixote, one of the first things that Cervantes mentions about Quixote is that he became mentally unbalanced because his brain was fried. Sunburns are bad. They hurt, they’re miserable, and they lead to peeling skin. Some people enjoy peeling skin, but no one likes when their skin is peeled. Imagine sunburning a shaven head. There’s no protective barrier between your skinhead and the violent UV rays from the sun. Baldness often leads to burnt brain, in the case of Quixote, which subsequently leads to Quixotic behavior and overall decaying of mental and ultimately physical faculties. If you are considering going chrome, I offer one piece of advice: don’t go outside when the sun’s out unless you’ve first slathered your head with the strongest sunscreen on the market, and capped your chrome with an adequate covering. Please take the necessary precautions.

Along with the prospect of brain burns, inherent with hairlessness is acquiring the title of “lucky friend” in addition to being the bald buddy. Every cohort of friends has at least one bald or balding friend. It’s essential. When the Jazz-Rockets game is close, luck (and even some prayers) is necessary. When the prayers have been offered, the next step is to go to the lucky bald friend. Everyone crowds the bald buddy and rubs his head. Not only is this practice weird, it is uncomfortable for all parties involved and is absolutely fruitless. One bald man tried rubbing his own head and this is what he said: “I rub my bald head all the time.. Don’t think it’s given me any luck .yet.” Another person said regarding the rubbing of a bald head, “eww i think its very strange if you rub a bald mans head you get good luck.i dont believe in that stuff.” Although this practice has been almost entirely devoid of fruition, some bald men had said that they rub their own heads for good luck and it works. One man declared, “I’m bald and I need to rub my own head for good luck!! lol!!” Rubbing a bald head may not be lucky for the rubber, but it might provide immense benefits to the lucky friend.

Benefits of Bald Spots

There are many reasons why being hairless is so heinous, but in actuality being glabrous is great and glamorous. You don’t ever have to worry about having a bad hair day. You can’t have bed head. You will never have to buy combs. You may still have to use shampoo and conditioner, but it’s totally your choice. And most of all, there are many successful bald men to keep you company in the event that your hair escapes your head.

Lex Luther. Former associate of Superman. He was a very successful business magnate and owner and creator of LexCorp, the incredibly lucrative aerospace engineering firm based in Metropolis. He made some of his most important life decisions immediately after losing his locks in a lab accident. Rather than moping around complaining about losing his hair, he took initiative and moved up in the world.

Walter White. Before he was Heisenberg, he had a full head of hair. This isn’t to say that men who manage to maintain their manes are less successful than those who fail to do so. Walter was a high school chemistry teacher, but it wasn’t until he got cancer that he unleashed his full potential. Although the hair loss came initially as a result of chemotherapy, he decides to keep his dome clean even after he goes into remission. As is so with Lex, Walter made himself into the man we know him as today after bic-ing his head. If it weren’t for his decision to shave his head, the crown he would later inherit as the meth kingpin of the Southwest region of the United states wouldn’t have been able to fit. He wouldn’t have made the decision to kill his rival and former boss Gustavo Fring. He wouldn’t have been able to earn sufficient funds to pay for his cancer treatments, and he wouldn’t have been as remembered as he currently is. Some say that being bald makes you blend in and get lost in the crowd. This is not so. Being bald makes people remember you even more. Once you make the choice to go chrome, people will remember your name and they will say it.

Thanos. Last on the list is one of the most powerful men in the universe. He hails from one of Saturn’s moons, Titan. Many people have been upset that the Russo Brother’s portrayal of Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War isn’t true to the comics because Thanos is always shown wearing armor; particularly a helmet. Although some say that he doesn’t look as fierce as he would with a helmet or with armor, without the helmet he is able to accomplish his goal of showing what he calls “mercy” to the universe. Thanos considers Mr. Prufrock’s question, “Do I dare disturb the universe?” and answers with a resounding and universe-shaking “yes.” Of all the bald men listed, Thanos shows bald men can be successful and indeed have the commitment and drive to disturb the universe. He stands as a pillar of the band of bald brothers universally. His work ethic and commitment to a cause and his goals is definitely something to snap to.

So, whether you, or your friends suffer from acute or actual depilated dome, don’t worry too much. You’re in good company and you don’t have that much to fret about. Mr. Prufrock asks the questions, “Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?” and doesn’t give a straight answer. He states that “[he] shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.” He continues claiming that he “[hears] the mermaids singing each to each,” but he doesn’t “think they will sing for [him].” Rather than allowing the chroming of the dome to cripple your confidence, take courage in the fact that you can be successful like the aforementioned shaven yet highly outstanding men and make your mark and disturb the universe.