The Story

When I was very little, my grandfather would set me on his knee, open a picture book or magazine and ask me what was happening in the picture. We would sit for hours (or as it seemed to a small child) and make up stories about the political comics or what an eagle was thinking in the wildlife shot. I remember reading Anne of Green Gables years later and finally feeling like someone got my brain. There was a chapter where she said she had invented colorful back stories for all the members of her church. Yes! This was me all the time!

People always ask what I read. I don’t read much any more. People ask what I write. I haven’t written a lot or at least anything you can find. But I have a love affair with stories, sometimes loving the world the story was written and the back story more. I probably was the only person who want to know more about Hobbiton or wished there had been a chapter or two more on Diagon Alley.

There have been more disappointing news with my stories coming to life, I’ve had trouble getting together with my new artist but every time we speak he says he’s still interested in the project but with a surgery coming, everything gets to be pushed back again. Even with all that, don’t give up on me and I will continue to fight to make these stories real!

Crimes Against Descriptors

As a life long chronicler of misadventures, particularly my own, I have determined that we are not using the English language to its full potential. There are perfectly useful words and phrases people have coined recently that are being completely ignored.

For example, when I was a kid there was a TV show called Dinosaurs and it taught me that “Smoo!” meant the dirty underside of your feet, in the episode it was used as a swear word. Even as a kid I thought this was perfect, but it didn’t catch on! It is mentioned on urban dictionary but not defined.
Today’s dilemma has a bit of a back story. So in the book Guliver’s travels, the horses (which are smarter and kinder than we are) call humans, represented by cavemen, Yahoos. So when I was younger that word was an insult but highly descriptive.
“I ran into this Yahoo at work today! Took a dare to break a board with his head and ended up in the hospital. ”
Or even better, “I’ve had a Yahoo-filled day.”
Then it becomes an email carrier and a perfectly good descriptor falls out of favor.
Meanwhile, days where everyone is bitchy, argumentative, destructive, etc. I call “human” days.
“There was a lot of humanity in the room!”
I no longer use it for humane but to describe the things (mostly) only humans portray. It’s a good way to recap a pissy kind of day where everyone is out of sorts.
But what do you call that moment in a conversation when you’re chatting with a regular enough seeming person and then they just show you their crazy side? I don’t mean flying their crazy flag loud and proud “Check out my rainbow socks and suspenders,” kind of crazy, I mean “pleasant weather, how’s the family, had to beat my kids with a tennis racket last night” crazy!
I just had a conversation with a coworker:
Her “Where are you working now?”
Me “I’m covering 3 departments today”
Her “Oh, you’re like horse shit”
Me …
Her “It’s something a guy I dated used to say ‘you’re everywhere like horse shit.'”
Me “Umm never heard that expression before, how old is he? it’s been 100 years since that was a relevant saying.”
Her “Well he’s dead.”
Instantly she was serious and the conversation just ended as though I had offended her. Someone just got herself off the would-be-cool-to-have-a-drink-after-work-with list!

I was trying to decided what i was going to call those moments when I realized that already has a perfect reference and descriptors. I hated the TV show Seinfeld, but somehow I caught the episode where they went to a party. To safeguard against getting stuck in annoying conversations, they had hand signals to indicate the need for rescuing. Oblivious, Jerry missed the signal and to get out of the conversation Elaine told someone maybe a Dingo ate her baby. Just imagine it from the other woman’s perspective, having a uninteresting enough conversation with someone at a party and they just start talking about dingos. The obviously crazy are so much easier to deal with than the sneaking lunatics! At least then you can avoid them completely. The Dingo types sneak attack you.

So this will be my new qualifier, “I got attacked by a Dingo today,” to represent those days when I’m lulled into a false sense of security speaking to someone and then their crazy smacks me between my eyes. Watch out for Dingos!

A Grizwald kind of day

So today I had the most Grizwald day possible. I’m sure everyone has had a bad day or two but my family is notorious for just everything going wrong. The other day we went to see “Alexander and terrible, horrible, no good very bad day” (I recommend it if you are also an honorary Grizwald) and my girlfriend and I laughed the loudest because that’s our every day (no really, we laughed so loud and hard our eldest was embarrassed to be sitting next to us!)
A shining example of that would have to be today. I went out to the range with my unit for my monthly drill this weekend. Zeroing went without a hitch but there must have been something in the air today.
To qualify, you have to hit 23 out of 40 pop up targets ranging from 50 meters all the way to 300. To put how hard this is in context, I only go to the range once a year and even out of the infantry soldiers who go more often, no one scored a perfect 40. You fire 20 laying down bracing your arm (prone supported). 10 laying down without a brace (prone unsupported) and 10 kneeling. After every completed 40 shots, they call over the PA system if you scored marksman (23-29), sharpshooter (30-35) or expert (36-40). Or they just say nothing if you failed.

For my first try, the 100 meter target would not drop, I know I’m not the best shot in the world but when you can see the spray behind the target and no registered hit, you know there is a problem. We also fired 20 rounds wearing our gas masks. I can’t wear glasses with the mask, the strap to tighten it down broke in my hand, putting it on knocked out my ear plug which I did not notice until after my first round was shot and the mask fogged the second I put the it on.
I wouldn’t say those in charge didn’t believe me, but they let 3 more people try that lane and fail before they closed it.

For my second attempt, the new firing lane didn’t have a sand bag so I stupidly used one of the infantry’s little firing stand for first firing position. I missed most of the first 20 and my weapon jammed when I moved the stand out if my way. I missed passing by a lot!

For my third attempt, I asked an expert, professional shooter to watch me fire so he could tell me what to do or what I was doing wrong. I was doing fair-ish, until we got to the second position. It’s 10 rounds, 10 targets but for some reason I only had 9 rounds which I didn’t realize until my weapon clicked empty just as the final, near by and easy target jumped up. I joked to my instructor, how twisted would it be if I actually did miss it by 1 point because I was short on ammo….

I missed it by one point because I was short on ammo!

Being a true alarmist, I was trying not to freak out and failing. As a student on the military’s dime, if I can’t pass, I lose all my money. I could just hear myself explaining to my kids why christmas was so sucky, cause I couldn’t hit the damn target, sure I was so cold I was shaking and I’d been out there all day but damn if I wasn’t going again!

Determined, I went, got more ammo, collected my coach and went right back to the same lane.

Attempt 4 began and ended so fast but when the smoke cleared my coach looked at me and said “I think you got it”.

My hands started shaking, either with adrenaline, exhaustion, or relief and I waited for them to call my hoped for 23 points.

Finally: “Lane 7, 30 sharpshooter!”

I failed 3 times to get one of the higher scores in my little unit!

At least it didn’t snow! Blood Maria’s at my house to recover when drill is done!

Jill