The marketing teams working for our favorite kids’ cereals brands and fast food restaurants obviously had a good reason to promote collecting the whole series of toys they attached with the food they were selling: to increase profit. But what is strange is the way my actual response was often “sure, okay” or “I won’t make any promises, but I’ll try”. Because in the bottom drawer of my dresser at my parents’ house back in Alabama are several complete collections of plastic figurines.
A few months ago I gladly let a co-worker borrow my Dave Ramsey CD series on Financial Peace. Within a few weeks, she was no longer employed where I work. When I called her to say I’ll drive to her side of Nashville to get my CD’s back, she assured me that she will bring them to me when she’s finished with them. I waited two more months and called again- her phone is out of service.
The funny thing is, I don’t even need the CD’s. I’ve already listened to them and daily apply what I learned. At this point, I should consider them a gift that she needed more than I did. In fact, I didn’t even buy the CD’s myself. Someone gave them to me as a gift.
But they were MINE. And now she has them.
Why must I feel so compelled to want to possess things? Things I definitely don’t need. Things that aren’t even mine.
I am learning to convert this desire of collecting material items to collecting memories of new experiences instead. Collecting all the state quarters does me no good but travelling to random states like Rhode Island (which my wife and I did) stays with me. And I don’t even need a souvenir. As long as I have a memory, I’ll always remember when my wife and I got hot stone massages from two very strong hippie women in downtown Providence. And if one day my memory does fail me, I’ve got the pictures on facebook to remind me.
“There’s something missing in us, we long to make it whole. Though it never feels like it, I know you have it all.” -Pete Yorn (Social Development Dance)
Important Rule in Life: When someone asks you “what’s up?”, it’s good to have something cool or funny to say.
A good thing to ask yourself at the end of each day is “What happened today that makes this day different from every other day I’ve lived?” So many of the days of our lives seem normal and insignificant. As a way of making them seem more meaningful, I like to observe what makes each day special. It makes future conversations more interesting.
Like today, I jumped in my Honda Element for the drive to work, and immediately I was taken back to the smell of the boys’ locker room from my high school in 1996. But there are never dirty clothes in my car and I never leave the windows down (in the event it had rained during the night) and there’s no carpet in my car at all. So why did my car smell like a sour milk sock? I endured the odor for 22 minutes until I arrived at work when I took a minute to sniff around, but to no avail.
Six hours pass and I’m getting my mountain bike out for my lunch break ride. And near the front of the bike tire, underneath my emergency hoodie, was a black-and-brown banana, wrapped up in a clear plastic grocery bag from Publix. And then I thought to myself, “So that’s where left that banana!” I’m thinking it had been there for around 16 days. It was so rotten that it was liquefying and running out of the bag. Good thing I keep emergency Wet Wipes handy.
That mildly entertaining story will become the copyrighted material of today. It’s why today is different than any other day of my life. Nothing too dramatic or life-changing. At best, just a reference I can make at some point in the future in a conversation with a group of friends where the conversation topic is “smelly things”. This day will live in infamy. And comedy.
In a world of so many weird and funny Internet clips begging for our attention on YouTube, one that started circulating in the fall of 2008 has officially become my all-time favorite. I proclaim it my favorite “Clip of My Lifetime”.
I suspect that I’m not introducing this to anyone for the first time ever, but my intentions are to be a guide and companion as we try to squeeze this orange for all it’s worth. Please enjoy “Jesus is My Friend” by a rockin’ band called Sonseed:
Well first of all, it’s from 1983 so automatically how can it not be awesome? The lead singer, Sal (whose wife is the piano player), is quite a cartoon squirrel. His token head nod after every over-pronounced verse is so charming. And the pouty look on his face as he delivers each Vacation-Bible-School-line just warms my heart. It’s almost like watching a 4 year-old boy in the form of a 24 year-old Italian man. (Though he was actually 30 when this was filmed.)
I’ve seen cases of some of today’s popular actors either getting their start in Christian entertainment (or resorting to it once they realize their career is over). One theory is that Sonseed’s snazzy lead guitar player is the young Paul Giamatti. (In reality, the guitar player’s name is Frank Franco. That is stellar in itself.) And the drummer may very well be Will Ferrell’s first cousin. Hard to know for sure.
Depending on what day I’m asked, the back-up singers may be my favorite part of this short film. Having his next-door neighbors jump in at the last minute was a plan that came together after all. The first lady it shows is the answer to anyone who says “what’s the worst that could happen?” when being set on for a blind date. You just know things are bound to get awkward. I’m sure she’s got a heart of gold, but she really looks like she should be a SNL character. Did I see her as an extra on Napoleon Dynamite?
Next is perhaps her husband. I can see him being a youth minister on a weekend retreat in Kentucky. I would definitely want to be in his raft on the white water rafting. Mainly just because a red plastic vest would befit him. Back home he probably had a Petra poster hanging up in his office so that the kids in his youth group could relate to him more.
Um, excuse me, John Schlitt, lead singer of Petra, but you're kinda standing on the state of New Hampshire... so if you don't mind...
All I’ve got to say about the next lady is that I’m proud of her for being able to drag her husband out of the house. It takes a positive spirit like hers when being the other half of someone who can’t even memorize one line, “Jesus is a friend of mine”- he’s looking down at the lyric sheet the only time it zooms in on his face.
And then there are the actual lyrics to the song. Universally, the favorite line tends to be “God is like a mounty; He always gets his man”. I’m still trying to figure out what exactly a mounty is and how to spell it. I think it’s a word for a Canadian policeman. But of course the cherry on top of this whole nostalgia-fest is “Zap!!!” That defines the whole video.
When I was first introduced to this video I just watched it repeatedly. The day after I saw it the first time, my wife came home to find me watching it in a trance. There’s just so much to take in. I found a website where I was able to download the whole album. I’ve got it on my iPod now but “Jesus Is My Friend” is the only song of its class, like “Hey There Delilah” on The Plain White T’s CD.
I can’t imagine any YouTube clip ever having more character than Sonseed’s. But I do also highly recommend “The Renewed Mind is the Key” which was recorded from some hokey adult-contemporary Christian musical in Branson, Missouri. That’s only if you want to see a long-haired white guy moonwalk across the stage, then put his hand over his mouth as if he just “passed gas” and is embarrassed by it, the way a 58 year-old woman from Georgia wearing a sundress and matching hat would do. He is accompanied by two women wearing Hillary Clinton pant-suits who have learned a sort of snap-dance from someone who got their degree in “Modern Dance” from a community college.
And here’s the whole song…
And finally, a must-see is the dog that was born without his front legs; yet his owner taught him to walk on his hind legs. If anything ever looked fake but is completely real, it’s Faith, the Hind-Leg Walking Dog.