Entry 20: Closing Time

It has been A LONG time since I’ve written anything for you guys and I’m sorry for my impromptu hiatus but I’m back! Last Friday the employees of the Marshall Kmart were handed a giant “!@#$ you” and were told that in July we would all need new jobs. Alright fine our store is closing, whatever, I never planned on being a career man. The riff is that I’m not leaving on my own terms. I’m leaving because some corporate stooge decided that we “weren’t profitable ENOUGH” to continue to be employed. (Yeah, our store has had increased sales the past 2 years, but I digress) Anyways! Here we go.

My first reaction was disbelief and a general IDGAF feeling. (For those who casually view the internet IDGAF stands for I don’t give a *expletive*) As the days rolled on I realized that this wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. I graduate around the same time our store is set to close. Wait a minute… no job, no girlfriend, no concrete reason to anchor myself in Minnesota. Hmm… after May I will have a college degree and almost NO OBLIGATIONS. Huh… I have family all over the country, as well as friends. I… actually… wanna leave this place. At least for a little while. Once I realized this I felt a sense of freedom, a sense of adventure. I’m a 23 year old man (read child-at-heart), I don’t wanna settle down yet. I don’t want to “plant my roots.” I want to experience what the rest of the states, and maybe the world has to offer! I really don’t know where I was going with this paragraph but who cares? I’m free!! But seriously, any suggestions for a place to live for a year or two are more than welcome.

Topic 2! Customer reactions and corporate expectations. First off, the reactions about our store closing have been awesome! Even the negative ones, the ones who “saw it coming” realize that the blame can’t be entirely placed on the people within the store. Lets be honest, Kmart hasn’t updated anything in their stores since… who knows when. The supportive ones have actually made me look forward to interacting with customers. Sure their sympathies don’t help me financially or land me a new job but the fact that some people care is encouraging. Now, on to the not so nice people. To the guy who called in to confirm what he heard on the radio and read in the newspaper (the fact that our store was closing) then asked a question and THEN cut me off when I started to answer his question with “Oh wait. You don’t care, you won’t have a job come July anyways!” (Sorry mom and dad) FUCK YOU!! No one in my extensive retail career has made it more difficult for me to force a smile than you. NO ONE!! I’m serious. If I could punch someone through a phone… I would have. Don’t be a jackass just because our store is closing. Once the “shock” period was over I actually put more effort into my job on a more consistent basis than I had before. Why? I want to show all the desk jockeys that they were wrong to close us. You still want us to get a 4% enrollment rate? How about 10%? 70% on our loyalty program? Why not hit 80%? Oh wait… we’re going to give up because we’re closing… that’s right. I forgot. My. Mistake.

Alright folks it’s been a while since I’ve posted but hopefully I can start to do this on a more consistent basis. Monday and Wednesday updates for sure. Friday’s might be a bit more difficult because they take a bit more thought than my other entries. Again, mom and dad, I’m sorry for the language in this one but random punctuation marks and symbols don’t always cut it. For the dedicated, look for a Monday Mini-Rant on… something… this coming Monday. Thanks for tuning in guys.

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Monday Mini-Rant: The “VS” Concept.

This entry may interest a tiny amount of my viewer’s but I’m going to post it anyways. Cats vs Dogs. Republicans vs Democrats. PS3 vs Xbox 360. Xbox One vs PS4. DC vs Marvel. Red vs Blue. Left handed vs right handed. Seriously, what’s with all of the controversy?!

What got me thinking about this was a video published by IGN. They blew something DC did with one of their premiere dates out of the water. DC announced that their (hopefully) blockbuster film Superman vs. Batman is now scheduled for a May 6, 2016 release. The same day Marvel has scheduled a release date for an as of yet unnamed film. 2 “experts” spent almost 10 minutes discussing how Marvel needs to change their game plan because no film that would fit into that slot would be able to “rival superman vs batman, and wouldn’t even be able to rival batman’s name alone.” They concluded that Marvel needs to change their previously mentioned release date because any movie they put out couldn’t possibly compete with DC’s biggest stars. My question is… how are they competing? I for one, as a comic book/superhero fan, would look forward to two major franchise releases more than I would look forward to Christmas. If Star Wars and Star Trek both had a major release on the same day, I’d go to both. If I didn’t die of EXCITEMENT BEFOREHAND!! Why has this “Us vs Them” mentality prevailed for so long. Who decided that competition was preferable to collaboration? Why are we expected to compete with people who don’t agree with us instead of trying to understand their point of view?  I would rather intelligently discuss topics with someone than try to “win” by being the loudest voice in the room. When did we start believing that stubbornness was preferable to compromise? Or did we simply never consider the alternative? I’m sure there are those who echo my point of view but until they start speaking out, nothing is going to change. People will continue to believe that their view of the world is the only one that is correct and that anyone who opposes them is wrong. That A is true and will always be true no matter how many people believe that A is wrong. People wonder what’s wrong with society? What’s wrong with society is that it views people of differing opinions as opponents. As someone who should be defeated. The human race isn’t divided by color or creed or geographic location. It’s divided by dogmatic views that refuse to even listen to what someone else has to say. It’s divided by stubbornness and an overwhelming urge to refute anyone and everyone who doesn’t agree with a single group. The sooner we realize that cooperation and collaboration should be preferred over competition the sooner we can make actual progress. But what do I know? I’m just a college student.

Entry 19: Pets and the Word of the Week

Welcome back ladies and gentleman! One of my resolutions this year was to post on a more regular basis. So far I’ve managed at least one a week and hopefully I’ll be in full swing shortly. This week I struggled with things to talk about so I asked my readers to prompt me with ideas. Some of you (2) responded. Thanks! Without you I probably wouldn’t have an entry today. Based on one of the suggestions I’ve decided to move my future posts to a different schedule. Thursday will now feature my dedicated, 2 topic, weekly post. Monday will continue to feature the Mini-Rant. “What about Wednesday?” you ask, and rightfully so. Next week will be the first official “Word of the Week Wednesday.” During this segment I will describe a word, and what that word means to me, without actually using it. I will then rely on your responses to determine what word comes to your mind. Hopefully by asking you to describe one word I’ll receive a larger degree of feedback that I can use as a catapult for other topics. This week I’ll give you a teaser and describe a word. All that I ask is that everyone who views that segment puts their guess at the word in the comments section, either here or on Facebook. I’ll post what word I had in mind on my Facebook page on Saturday. Alright! On to the meat and potatoes. (Jeez that was a long intro [I’m sorry])

Growing up I had numerous pets. Most of them I, unfortunately, neglected. I had dogs I didn’t train and goldfish I didn’t feed.  This leads me to one conclusion: I am not a very good pet owner. That being said, pets are something that are near and dear to the hearts of a lot of people. They can double as pest control, hunting partners, and even emotional support for those with mental issues. Cats eat mice, dogs retrieve ducks and penguins (yes people have pet penguins, and for the record, if I ever have a pet, that’s what I want) just freaking rock. Then there are these people.

Uhh… why is that dog wearing clothing? Pretty sure the only reason humans developed clothing was because we lacked fur… which… dogs already… have. Seriously? That’s just the first picture… the precious pups in pic’s 2 and 3 have… jewelry. Ok I’m not an expert in “bling” but I’m pretty sure the dog doesn’t give 2… something’s… about how shiny their collar is. First… people put clothes (an unnecessary burden given the presence of fur) and jewels around their necks and on their bodies. I don’t care if they’re diamonds or glass around that corgi’s neck… there is still a high chance that he will eat his own barf. Bedazzle that why don’t ya?

Alright! The first official “Word of the Week.” The idea here is that I’ll describe a word without actually using the word and you, as the reader, comment either here or on Facebook what your guess of the word might be. Also, for the one person who knows the first word, don’t spoil it for the rest please and thank you. 😀 Alright here we go. This word isn’t an exclusively human attribute, surprisingly. The prime example that comes to mind is the story of the dog in England whose owner passed away. The dog used to walk with his owner to the train station the owner used to commute to his job every day. The dog would then return home for a period of time. Nearing the time of his owner’s return, the dog would walk back to the station and await his owner’s arrival. After the owner passed away, the dog continued this ritual for quite some time. He didn’t go when his owner was supposed to leave because his owner wasn’t there to lead him but he would return around the time his owner should have arrived at the train station. “Why would the dog do this?” you may ask; because of the word I have in mind. Another example I can use, one that is more human, is when someone asks for “thoughts and prayers.” When you think about it, and I mean REALLY think about it, wouldn’t you rather have vaccines and surgeries before thoughts and prayers. Hear me out; vaccines, surgeries, pills, patches. These are all tangible things. Real things that exist in the world. When is the last time you saw a thought or a prayer? Thought bubbles exist in comics but in the real world thoughts are personal and outside of our own thoughts, we have no knowledge of what someone else is thinking. Yet this idea that positive thoughts and prayers can have a physical and realistic impact on what happens still persists. We have come to believe that positive thoughts and wishes of others can affect the real/physical world.  Why do we believe this? Why do we think that the intangibles of other’s can enhance our own place in life? The word I’m thinking of can answer that. There is one word that can explain this paragraph. Do you know what that word is?

Believe it or not I’ve just conceived a new weekly entry. Follow Up Friday. Friday will be the day I reveal what word I was thinking of on Wednesday and what my definition of that word is. So let’s see what we’ve got: Monday Mini-Rant, Word of the Week Wednesday, Weekly Entry Thursday, and Follow Up Friday. That’s a tall order to fill… stayed tuned, the schedule is subject to change. That being said, thank you to everyone who was able to trudge through my ramblings. I hope you enjoy the new segment and I look forward to hearing your reactions as to what word I had in mind. I appreciate any and all feedback. Anyone who has made it this far is awesome and deserves a high five. *HIGH FIVE*

Monday Mini-Rant: Overreacting

This Rant isn’t going to be as “Mini” as most other Monday ones but don’t let that scare you off. Here goes nothing. Being a retail worker I see plenty of overreactions by both customers and associates.”It said $2.49 not $2.99! Let me talk to someone who knows what they’re doing in this place!!” Not an exaggeration by the way. “This schedule says I was supposed to start at 8 but the one in the back (which everyone knows to follow, which this individual did) says 7! Why can’t she ever get them to match!?” Dude it’s an hour and you showed up on time. Get over it. Then there’s this guy (I encourage you to watch this AFTER you finish reading):  http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/13/justice/florida-movie-theater-shooting/?hpt=zite_zite3_featured Here’s the scene. A man is texting his daughter during the previews of a movie. The previews, mind you, the article doesn’t say how long his texting continued; personally, I wouldn’t care one bit about someone texting during THE PREVIEWS!! Anyways, the man behind the public nuisance that is the texting father is confronted by a 71 year old, former police officer. Voices were raised and the tension in the room was thick enough to cut with a knife (or so I’m told by my own mental imagining of the incident) The man disturbed by the texter leaves to find a member of management to complain and hopefully resolve the situation without further incident. The man returns with no employee in tow. Ok… maybe the man has calmed down. Maybe the father has stopped texting. Let’s sit back and see what happens… Paraphrase: “Did you go and tattle on me? I was just texting my daughter.” Elderly gentleman throws popcorn, or dad does, the article doesn’t say. Event 1, event 2, event 3; everyone leaves or goes to another seat or agrees to disagree and everyone enjoys a nice flick minus the popcorn throwing and texting right? Absolutely not. What ends up happening? Before you ask, no, I did not make this up. The 71 year old FORMER POLICE OFFICER pulls a GUN and shoots the dad!!! What. Thee. ACTUAL. @#$% Hold on, a man was SHOT because he was TEXTING during the PREVIEWS of a movie?!?! It’s stuff like this that keeps the “get guns out of everywhere forever” debate going. Not only was the father shot, but his wife was as well. The elderly gentleman then sat down, placed his gone in his lap, and acted like nothing happened. The crowd reacts the way they should. One attendee just happens to be an off duty police officer. He ensures that the threat to everyone else in the theater is neutralized. People disperse and flee but there also happen to be 2 nurses in the theater as well, who are now attending to the gunshot victims making sure they’re ok. They aren’t. The father was in fact killed. KILLED!!!! A man was murdered because he was texting during the previews of a movie. I’m not sure what the wound to the wife makes this but… well… I’ll just explain it. She was shot in the hand. Definitely non-fatal. The hand that she had placed over the wound from the first shot. So… this father was double-tapped?!?! (Double-tapped is a reference to the movie Zombieland in which you shoot something twice to ensure that you’ve killed it)I don’t… I really have no idea what I can even say about this. A man lost his life because he was texting during the previews of a movie. If that doesn’t tell you that SOMETHING is wrong with society then well… honestly I don’t even know.  I am at a loss for words. Even though I’m not an opponent of the death penalty, I’ve never actually wished for it to exist somewhere as much as I do right now. The day a man gets shot because he was texting is the same day I lose almost all faith in humanity. It does give extra weight to the “Please turn off all electronic devices for the consideration of other” line they throw on every movie screen. One final note, the “prohibited items and actions” section of their website includes “No cell phone use, including texting, in the theater auditorium.” and “no weapons allowed.” So the next time you think about arguing over 50 cents or shooting someone in a movie theater because their screen annoys you… you might want to take a step back. My thoughts and prayers are with the Oulson family. They’ve suffered a tragedy that should have never occurred and one that has virtually no explanation.

Entry 18: Phil Robertson and Family

Well the year is now 2014 and welcome back to my little pet project! I say pet project because I’ve been too lazy to regularly update like… I… promised. Never fear! I’ve been hurranged into writing again and a few people actually griped about me not staying true to my word about posting regularly. With that in mind, let’s kick off 2014 with a bang! By bang I mean all of the hub ubb surrounding Duck Dynasty and one Phillip Robertson.

Phil Robertson did an interview with GQ magazine (who might be the real winners in this whole ordeal.. when was the last time they were relevant?) during which he made a few pointed remarks. Remarks that got under some skin in some places. The leading question, the “teaser question” if you will, is “What, in your mind, is sinful?” Ok, ask a conservative redneck from the south what is sinful and you expect… the politically correct response? Ha! Good one. Phil replied with “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men. Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.” Ok liberals you’re right he did say that he believed that homosexuality was a sin. He also said IN THE VERY NEXT SENTENCE that bestiality was wrong. Why isn’t the ACLU swooping in on this nugget? A man who is featured on the most popular reality television show EVER speaks out against sex with animals and no one causes an uproar?! Simply outrageous… Ok. Maybe having sex with animals is a stretch, they can’t verbally give consent so we won’t fuss over someone who doesn’t endorse that. What did Phil say next? “sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men” Hmm… he’s talking about one person sleeping with more than one gender and more than one individual. He’s already talked about his view on homosexuality. In this situation he’s not specifically talking about homosexual relations though, he’s talking about multiple partners. That sounds a lot like promiscuous behavior. Sleeping around just for the sake of sleeping around. Ok so… why aren’t people up in arms about that part? Oh wait… I know why. It’s because homosexuality is THEE HOTTEST TOPIC IN THE WORLD TODAY!!!! After ya know, overpopulation, famine, the economy, the middle east… etc etc etc… but no! We need to talk about a 2nd rate cable channel that airs a tv show about people with beards who make duck calls. My bad, news channels you were right. Lets talk about Phil for a few months. On to the next topic!

The fallout from the whole “Phil Robertson hates gays” thing is just the jumping off point. A magazine (of which I don’t know the name of because I work at Kmart and don’t care about pop culture) had a short piece, one page, on the Duck Dynasty controversy.  They threw a little square on the front page to say “Look at us! We’re talking about Duck Dynasty!!” and admittedly, it did catch my attention enough to read the article. Basically, everyone in the Robertson family is behind Phil 100% The article even states that Willy, the man most likely to disagree with Phil (because he’s more business/public image/politically correct minded) didn’t turn on his father. So basically any opinion that a member of the Robertson family expresses is not going to be denounced by the family members. Which leads me to one conclusion. The second highest (behind God) power in the most popular reality TV show to ever exist is family. Not money, not fame, not screen time, not advertisements. Family. I was once asked to do something for one of my siblings, I don’t remember the specifics and they were probably boring anyways, but I had asked someone else why I’d go out of my way to do that and the response was “because they’re your family” and I immediately felt like the worlds biggest *expletive* because I didn’t realize sooner that your family is one of the biggest, most important, most influential entities that you will ever encounter in your life. And that you should be willing to do anything for them. So… the next time your home from break or have some free time and your mom or dad asks you to sweep the floor or clean your room (I’m looking at you Nate, Nik, Emma, Magnus, Conor, Claire, Colleen, Austin, Ethan, Ivy, Luke and Gene) just do it. It’ll take you 5 minutes and save both you, your parents, and your uncle a headache. 😀 Oh and by the way… I love all of you to death.

Alright I think that’s been enough for people to handle. Two paragraphs about conservative America and ol’ fashioned values?! Lets not get carried away here. I need to keep my liberal readers (of which i have none) interested. Keep checking on my page if you find what I have to say worth reading. One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to post content more regularly and I plan on keeping this one. I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

Monday Mini-Rant: Texting

Well hello ladies and gentleman and welcome back. It has been (insert whatever number here) days since I’ve posted and it’s about darn time I started again. Why did I choose the end of the semester to do so? Well because I’m a glutton for punishment. This Monday I’m talking about texting. First off, don’t do it while your driving. That’s just stupid. Second, don’t do it while walking, you might run into a pole. Actually you can ignore the second, that would be amusing to watch. But seriously, there are reasons to text and reasons to communicate some other way. First I’ll give you some of the situations where texting is appropriate. The person you’re texting is in another state or time zone (say South Dakota or Boston, you know who you are). You don’t know their schedule and you can’t be bothered to keep up with the time difference. They can respond when it’s convenient for them and you aren’t being a bother. When you’re giving someone directions. Instead of whipping out a map and compass, all the other person has to do is grab their phone and BOOM!! They have every turn and merge they need in the palm of their hand. Finally, when you’re notifying someone that when you have free time an extended conversation needs to take place. For instance, “Give me a call when you get a chance, we need to figure out our plans for Thanksgiving.” The importance of the future conversation is conveyed but there’s also an understanding that there’s no need to drop everything you’re doing and call someone to settle the issue. Now! Onto the improper uses. Having conversations with someone who lives less than a half an hour away from you. I’ll admit, I’ve done this before. A lot. Having said that, it’s a waste of time and it’s pointless. If someone lives close enough to you that you could easily drive there and have the same conversation as you would over text then GET OFF YOUR BUTT AND GO THERE!!!! The only thing these text conversations produce are awkwardness in real life. You can talk via text because it’s the most basic form of communication there is, but when facial expressions and body language get involved both parties shut down and it gets real awkward real quick. Second instance where you shouldn’t text? Romantic/Intimate messages to your significant other. If you have the urge to write something personal or intimate to your boyfriend/girlfriend or husband/wife then DON’T FREAKING TEXT IT!! Take the time to write a letter, address the envelope, buy the stamp, and raise the flag on your mail box. If you feel so strongly about someone that you can put together a poetic rendition of your feelings don’t waste it on a text message where your fat thumbs end up auto correcting half of what you typed. Take the time to write out what you have to say and how you feel. Even if you live with the person you’re sending it to, it might make a huge difference in your relationship. I don’t have a real life experience of the example I’m about to illustrate but I can guess at what it looks like. Imagine your married to the love of your life but right now you’re pissed as hell about something that happened yesterday. You get into an argument and storm off into the kitchen while your spouse ends up going to another room. Coincidentally, your son happened to bring the mail in that day and you find a letter addressed to you from your spouse. It happens to show just how thankful your spouse is for meeting you. It shows you that you make your spouse happy to wake up in the morning since they get to see your smiling face. Call me a romantic but I think a letter like that, a letter that matters more than hubby taking out the trash within 5 minutes of asking, would matter more than a text saying “I like your smile, you make my day.” that was sent in the heat of the moment. A letter, instead of a text, shows that despite the immediate situation, there are deeper, stronger feelings that persist throughout all of your encounters. It shows that there are deeper connections than whether or not the Misses got all the groceries or that Hubby remembered to grab the dry cleaning. My point is, texting (despite the opinion of some) has it’s place. There are situations where it’s an appropriate alternative to a house visit or a phone call but when we try to replace meaningful conversations with emotionless lights and notifications, we fall into trouble. Don’t let texting, or any form of instant messaging, replace meaningful conversations. If you’ve got something important to say, say (or write) it.

Entry 17: The Burden of Proof and Atheism

As some of you may know I finally cracked and posted about God and Christianity yesterday. It certainly received more attention than I thought it would have. I shouldn’t have been surprised, once someone starts talking about God others are quick to join the discussion. Tonight I’d like to address 2 comments I received that I thought warranted more than a Facebook response. The first is where the “burden of proof” lies when talking about God or a creator. The second is when I carelessly used the words “arrogant” and “ignorant.” The context was slightly misunderstood and since it was a close friend that brought it up, and honestly, sounded quite offended, I thought I’d address it here.

First off, the burden of proof. When considering “truth” the farthest we can take this discussion is whether or not a creator exists. After that, the only arguments you can make are based on faith. So, does a creator exist? Look around you. Do you see anything that did not come from something else? When the “burden of proof” is brought up I think of one thing. Which side is making the most sensational claim? Creator vs. Coincidence. Most people’s gut instinct is to say Creator. Who in their right mind would think that there’s some unseeable, unrecognizable and unprovable thing that made everything? Some entity outside of our known realm of existence that made everything we see around us? Sounds pretty far-fetched if you really think about it. Hold on just a second though. Let’s consider the other side of the conversation for a second. Coincidence. Atheists believe that there is NO creator. Anywhere. at all. Hmm… let’s consider what that means. Atheists are saying there is absolutely no realm of existence in the universe, no single example of space or time where a creator could exist. None. Well, in order to claim that, and claim that it is irrefutable, someone would have to have complete knowledge of everything ever. Is that not a more sensational claim than to say a creator COULD exist? It’s “I don’t know everything and that leaves room for the existence of a creator” vs. “there is no realm of existence in which a creator exists or could exist because I have absolute knowledge of everything that shall ever exist. Ever” That last ever was just for dramatic effect. Which brings me to my next point. Atheism.

Atheism. The definition according to Merriam-Webster is “a disbelief in the existence of a deity.” For the sake of argument I’m going to address the phrenology of the word. Theism is the belief that one or more deities exist. Atheism translates to the belief that deities, in any form, do not exist. It excludes the existence of all deities. ALL deities. Atheists are essentially saying they have complete knowledge of the universe and that nowhere in the universe is an example of what might be considered an act of a deity. That sounds incredibly arrogant to me. To claim to have absolute knowledge of everything ever? Come on. The other side is that they just don’t care. Which is the ignorant side. Those who claim they’re atheists because they just don’t care about whether or not a deity exists are just as incorrect as the Atheists who seem to claim they know everything. If you’ve ever looked at something that was created, say a can of pop, and not recognized that it was created, you are ignorant. If you’ve ever seen something that exists and refused to believe that it came from something that existed before it, I question your intelligence. I challenge anyone to provide me with an example of something that exists that they can prove came from nothing. Give me one example of something that came from nothing. I dare you.

My post about God existing was meant to draw attention but it wasn’t meant to alienate people. I merely wanted to spur discussion about a topic that people previously thought they didn’t care about. Judging by the number of responses I’ve received in the last 24 hours it appears that people do still care about the existence of God. I encourage any feedback you have but I must say I’d prefer it in the form of a Facebook message. This would allow me to keep the different branches of debate separate and address each reaction without muddling them with other reactions. I look forward to hearing from all of you. Don’t worry, my inbox is prepared this time.