Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

Imaginary Road Trip - Part 2

When I arrived at the airport to pick Matt up, I immediately noticed he was missing an eyebrow. As I helped him load his luggage and cases of books into my car, I asked him about it.

"What happened to your eyebrow?" I asked in a tone that would suggest that I was making fun of him, but also not too harshly to make sure he was in good enough spirits to tell me the story.

"Kids," he said, rubbing his now bald lower forehead.

"One of your kids did this?" I asked as I thought about how I could avoid ever having any.

"No, on the plane a three year old in the seat next to me buzzed it off in one swoop."

"Oh...I'm sorry, that's...weird..how..never mind."

"Yeah. Never mind."

As we drove away from the airport, Roger popped open one of the boxes of Imaginary Jesus and began chewing on two books like a thick deli sandwich. He wasn't eating them, just chewing.

"Give me that!" Matt yelled, pulling the books from Roger's saliva glazed mouth.

The cover on one of the books was torn and a few of the letters changed and got moved around.

"Great, now we have 7 cases of a book called Imaginary Jesus and one book titled Binary Jesus."

As Matt spoke these words my cell phone began to ring.

"Hello?"

"Zero, one, one, one, zero, zero, one, one, one, zero, zero, zero, one, zero, one, one..."

(click)

"Huh....that was odd"

"Who was it?"

"Um...I'm pretty sure that was Binary Jesus."

"Oh...what? I've never heard of such a person. What did he say?"

"Well...all he said was : Zero, one, one, one, zero, zero, one, one, one, zero, zero, zero, one, zero, one, one."

"Oh," Matt pondered, "I can see how you gathered it was Binary Jesus."

"What do you think it means?"

"Didn't you read my book?" He pointed to the back seat.

"Well, yeah, but what does that have to do with it?"

"We have Imaginary Jesuses that stop us from finding the real Jesus."

"Is that the proper usage? 'Jesuses'? Can that be plural?" I asked.

"Anything can be plural."

"But what does the premise of your book have to do with Binary Jesus?"

"I just told you."

"A Jesus who only speaks in a basic programing language is stopping me from knowing the real Jesus?"

"Maybe."

"Seems like a stretch."

As we drove further west I began to try to decode the events of the day so far, the chimp, the eyebrow, the binary...what did it all mean? I thought back to when Matt and I first met and how far we've come.

It was a rainy day in October, I was minding my own business hanging out in my cubicle at work and Matt snuck up behind me.

"I hear you're the Morgan Freeman from Shawshank Redemption around here."

"Um..what?"

"The guy that can get you things."

"Well, mostly just books for authors, plus I know where the supply closet is...so if you need paperclips or post-its..."

"Exactly. Well, I gotta go, my limo's waiting."

He sprinted away, but stopped after ten feet and pulled a paper plane out of his pocket and threw it at me.

I unfolded the plane as he ran away yelling, "Looking forward to those paperclips!"

Written on the paper was a phrase, it read: This is a phrase.

I was struck by the truthfulness of the statement and immediately decided to make it my mission to help promote his upcoming book.

Roger, Matt and I had a long way to drive, we were hoping to hit the Mississippi by midnight; our first book event was in the morning. I decided we needed some inspiration so I popped in The Very Best of Rush and we rocked out to Canadian classic rock while driving the speed limit all the way to St. Louis.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Imaginary Road Trip - Part 1

I had a 5pm appointment at the Cosley zoo, a neighborhood establishment run by the Wheaton Park district. They had animals you could mostly find in your back yard like raccoons, deer and some frogs, but I was there to talk to them about Roger, their 13 year old Chimpanzee. My appointment was with Dr. Scott Wainwright, the zoo’s director. Later, I came to find out that Dr. Wainwright had no previous experience with animals or zoology; he was a retired Dentist of 35 years.

Matt’s and my idea to travel across the country selling his new book out of the back of my ’93 Corolla to try to start a grass roots movement that would eventually lead to the propulsion of his book to #1 on the New York Times best seller list was quickly coming together. The only missing piece at this point was Roger.

Dr. Wainwright welcomed me heartily into his office and I could tell he was eyeing my incisors. He spoke as he pulled a long piece of used brown floss out of his front jacket pocked.

“Son, I’m glad you called me yesterday, I was shocked by your proposal at first, but the more I thought about it the more I thought it could be good for our little zoo here.”

“Oh, really?”

I expected him to laugh at me or just give me a stern no, but for him to actually be considering it made me A) question this man’s sanity and B) slightly pee my pants from excitement.

Dr. Wainwright continued, “Having you ‘borrow’ Roger for a road trip across the country seems like the kind of controversial PR we need to give donations a little boost.”

“How so?” I asked.

“Well, according to this book,” he pulled out a small paperback book from his other inside jacket pocket titled Crazy Fundraisers for Inexperienced Zoo Directors.

“Wow ,that book is targeted to a pretty specific audience, “ I pointed out, trying not to sound condescending.

“Oh boy, let me tell you,” Dr. Wainwright excitedly gushed, “this was the best 7 cents I’ve ever spent at a Goodwill in my life. The author suggests you create publicity by staging a zoo breakout, or letting your animals go on local talk shows. I figured your idea of writing a book with Roger as one of the stars was the next best thing.”

“Well, I appreciate you giving me a chance. So does this mean I can take Roger?”

“Not so fast, “he hesitated, “ I want to make sure it’s ok with Roger first.”

On that cue, Roger sauntered in. He was holding a stereotypical banana in his left hand and an AM radio in his right. Dr. Wainwright pointed out that Roger loves talk radio.

“Roger, would you like to go on a road trip with this young man?”

No response.

“You’ll get to ride in a car with him and another guy and they will document your trip in a book to release Spring 2011.”

No response.

I decided to chime in, “And not just any car, a ’93 Corolla with 155,000 miles, no A/C, a busted radio and a lot of heart.”

No response.

Dr. Wainwright spoke as he flossed his two front teeth, “I think we can take that as a yes.”

Roger blew a line of snot onto Dr. Wainwright's desk in approval. Within a few minutes we were loading up the car and I was buckling Roger into a special chimp seat in the back.

Matt’s plane had just landed at O’Hare so I decided to call him to give him the good news.

Me: Hey man, guess what?
Matt: What?
Me: I secured us a chimp for our trip.
Matt: Like a chimpanzee?
Me: Yeah, man.
Matt: Um….why?
Me: Dude, it was your idea.
Matt: I was joking – I didn’t think you would actually find someone stupid enough to give you a chimpanzee.
Me: Hey, he didn’t give it to me, he lent it to me.
Matt: Whatever, how are we supposed to take care of a chimp?
Me: Don’t worry about it…I got it covered, he’s got a suit case full of bananas and an AM radio - he’ll be fine.

As I spoke these last words I locked eyes with Roger in the rear view mirror, his banana caked face lit up with a smile and in that moment I knew in my heart that things were going to be just fine.

To be continued……

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I found a journal from 4th grade. It was an assignment book where the teacher would give the prompt like: "I like dogs because ____" or "The food in the cafeteria makes me sad because _______".

The first entry had this prompt:

If I could invent anything it would be _____________

Now, keep in mind it says anything. What would the 10 year old Adam invent if he had the power to invent any one thing that could be used in our world. Cure for cancer? Teleportation device? A functional and affordable e-book reader? No. No. No.

The Squirting Light bulb.

It's a light bulb that squirts water.

Yep.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Hmm.

Steve and Pete sit on a couch in an empty living room.

Steve:  So...uh...what are we doing tonight?
Pete:  Hmm.

(Silence)

Steve:  Exactly.
Pete:  Exactly.

Steve stands - paces.

Steve:  What time is it?
Pete: Hmm.
Steve:  Yeah, that's what I'm saying.

Pete stands, then sits.

Pete:  What are you going to do?

(Silence)

Steve:  Hmm.
Pete:  You should do nothing.
Steve: I should...(long pause) do something.

Steve sits.

Steve:  I'll sit.
Pete:  And?
Steve:  I'll sit and wait.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Abiding in the Vines

When I was twelve I thought it was a good idea to swing from a long vine that was hanging from a tree at the bottom of a ravine on a cold winter night. Some friends of mine and I during the summer months had done this many times. We would scale down the steep slope, retrieve the vine, carry it back up to the top and jump while holding on tight. At its highest point the individual would be 40 or 50 feet in the air. This particular night the cold temperature had frozen the vine to a brittle state, rendering it susceptible to breaking. That's just what it did as I held the vine, it couldn't handle the weight of my 12 year old structure.  Unfortunately the vine waited until I was suspended about 30 feet above the ground for it to break.  Luckily I was able to break my fall with my left arm, and luckily I landed on some bricks instead of the soft snow covered ground.  In the end I had a fractured left arm and a large gash on my forehead which required 13 stitches.  

Sometimes it seems like I'm always grabbing onto vines, swinging even though the danger seems obvious.  They don't all break, but many of them do.  The trick is to try to judge the sturdiness of the vine before the leap - that's the hard part.

I'm thankful for all the vines I've swung on - even the ones that broke...

Extended metaphor over.

Go with joy.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Apostle Paul in Naperville, IL


On Thursday a missionary from TEAM spoke at Tyndale.  Soon he and his family will be moving to begin assisting a church planting ministry in northern Italy.  He described Italian culture, joked about some of the quirks of the people, and gave us a general sense of what he and his family were going to be doing.  When he was wrapping up his speaking time he quoted a verse from Romans.  I can't recall what the verse was, but something interesting struck me - Paul wrote Romans for the Romans living in Rome, which is in Italy, which is where this guy and his family are going.  I'm pretty sure that was part of the reason he chose a verse from Romans, but still an interesting thought.

Today when I was at a lonely park in Naperville shooting hoops, trying to reenact Lebron's amazing buzzer beater from game two of the Eastern Conference Finals, I was thinking about what Paul's letter to Naperville would be like.  Then I was thinking about how he would send it - email, Facebook wall post?  Then I was thinking about what Paul's Facebook page would look like.  Then I was thinking about which of those funny quizzes he would take, or what five things he would choose as closest to him, or who are the 5 people he'd most like to punch in the face.  Then I was thinking about whether or not he would Tweet from his iPhone while in prison, or maybe he would text advice to Timothy on the road.

Then I wondered if Paul were there right then if I could beat him in a game of one on one.  I haven't been to basketball camp since 6th grade, but yes, yes I think I could beat him.


Tuesday, March 31, 2009

New Post.

Grey day.

I think I'll go for a walk anyway.

Today I'll do the NYT crossword puzzle. This has become one of my favorite Monday and Tuesday activities. I'm not good enough to enjoy the rest of the week's puzzle (they get harder as the week progresses), but Monday and Tuesday I enjoy, and are the only days that I have completed without cheating or help.

How does one get interested in crossword puzzles?

I've always liked word games (Scrabble, word jumble, word search, dictionary dynamite, encyclopedia extravaganza, etc), and would do a crossword whenever one floated my way. After watching the movie Wordplay and being exposed to the vast subculture of the crossword world I became interested (bandwagon).

Check it out (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0492506/), I guarantee you'll spring a buck fifty at least twice on a copy of the New York Times - I'd recommend waiting until next Monday though.