hel·low (ˈhelō/) exclamation. A salutation embodying the vibrant energy found in the color yellow.

31 August 2012

Sporks & Foons

The trinity of utensils has long existed within the confines of kitchen drawers. Forks, knives, and spoons have been grouped together for many years. A staple of civilized society, these tools, these instruments of eatery, have defined us in more ways than we would first imagine.
Primarily, it has fed into a subtle form of stereotyping and prejudice. We have always viewed forks as keen poking tools. They stab chunks of meat or vegetables and properly relocate them to our stomachs via the portal that is our mouth. Knives are used to segment larger pieces of food into smaller and more manageable sizes. In coordination with its coworker--the previously discussed fork--the knife micromanages the division of otherwise in-consumable goods. Lastly, the spoon is employed to scoop more liquified foods. Essentially, it is a micro-bowl sized to appropriately contain and transfer eatable portions of soft food. These are the stereotypes of the utensil world. Be it what it may, it is a prejudice; a predetermined notion of what is right and proper for a specified utensil. Like most of society, this parallels the stereotypes of sexual norms. Males are supposed to be stronger and more authoritative, stereotypically, while females are supposed be dainty and detail-orientated. While men 'bring home the bacon,' women stay in the kitchen to cook the bacon. These so-called 'gender roles' are correlated to the natural sex of a person, not their internal tendencies. Men hunt, forks stab. Women cook, spoons scoop. But what happens when the internal gender of a person (or purpose of a utensil) deviate from the stereotypical nature of its sex (or construction)? This is where the spork comes into play.
The spork is a mutated contraption spawning the spoon and the fork. Yet it is neither. It cannot be included in the trinity of everyday eating utensils. It is an awkward in-between. Like a spoon, it has an inward dip, allowing the operator (i.e. the eater) to scoop soft foods into his/her mouth. However, having the stubby prongs on the end, in mimicry of a fork, the spork is incapable of moving more liquid foods, like soup. Considering the prongs are not as developed as a fork, the spork is not able to properly stab into denser foods, like meaty steak. Naturally, the spork cannot do the job of either a spoon or a fork very well. That being said, it is best suited for the consumption of mashed potatoes. In fact, it is perfect at that job. You see, the spork is akin to a lesbian. It is physically more inclined toward its spoon (female) construction, but its natural tendency is that of a fork. It's a spoon dreaming of being a fork. Therefore, it is not naturally suited to either role and must therefore adapt to its skill as a utensil so it can give back to the greater kitchen drawer community.
Likewise, the foon is also a mutated contraption of a fork and spoon. However, it favors an initial construction of a fork more than a spoon. It has long prongs but they are bent into the shape of a spoon. In this sense, the stabbing nature of a fork cannot be employed effectively considering the angle of pressure applied is insufficient to truly make it a useful tool for said task. Like a homosexual man, the fork was born to stab (hunt) but has betrayed that natural physicality to pursue its internal desires--the role of scooping, like a spoon. Therefore, the stereotypical gender role given to a fork cannot be applied to a foon.
Sporks and foons are as different as spoons and forks. None of them are knives and it is our job to acknowledge that. One's natural construction does not always correlate to his or her inner tendencies. We must be cognizant.

26 August 2012

The Dynamics of Corkboards

Before the corner room in my parents' basement became a medley of sewn-together purposes--a library, guest bedroom, rabbit habitat--it was my pad. The walls were brown, just how I liked them. The floor was carpeted, stained with washable paint when the room once served as a playroom. The ceiling held studio lights from the time it housed a drafting table. Although it sat in the basement, it had two large windows along the wall facing the driveway. Outside, the ground was level with the windowsills. A gigantic built-in bookcase was imbedded in the wall against the garage. The door was wooden and had a sign reading 'Warning. Walking in this room makes the dust angry.' Between the doorframe and my corner desk, a small corkboard-whiteboard mutation hung on the wall beside a crucifix. A black frame enclosed each half--a corkboard on the left and a dry-erase board on the right. Out of all things concerning my adolescent bedroom, this board was one of the most memorable.
Various stickers and postcards came and went. The Speed Stack's 'Stack Fast' sticker for the craze of competitive cup-stacking had a short lifetime on the board before Rubik's cube algorithms took its place. A map of the United States was pinned and marked with with X's over all the states I had visited and squares over all the states I had a license plate from. Inspirational pictures were pinned to the corkboard while inspirational quotes were scrawled across the whiteboard. While 'Failure is not an option' became replaced with 'Failure is always an option,' a picture of a fire-breathing dragon was removed to make place for a sea-turtle breaking from its shell. The magnetic board became home for the 'Creature of the Month'--a monthly illustration of whatever bizarre monstrosity came into my mind. A creative project that lasted well over four years. A little cross was pinned in an upper-corner while a blank CD hung from a lower one. I was raised Catholic but the little cross came and went in series of doubts and high belief. The blank CD would never be filled with music, as I carried no capacity to sing or embody instruments. Colorful round magnets dotted the magnetic whiteboard, holding to-do lists in place. A Dogbert fridge magnet sat in a corner beside the one sticker I could never peel away. It read 'Animals Need Love Too.' To this day, this is the only thing I have been emotionally and physically unable to remove. Indeed it reins true. My undying love and respect for animals and nature is as imprinted in my being as the color of my eyes. Plus my fingernails were never long enough.

13 August 2012

Tree-Frog on the Windshield

I put my truck into reverse and began to pull out of the driveway. That’s when I saw you—sitting there on the hood in the light of the full moon. Nothing but a silhouette, legs sprawled across the windshield. Skin the color of bones, eyes beady black abysses. You’re a little tree-frog, quick and sticky.
            I get out of the truck and try to grab you. My hands leap to enclose you but you slip away, hopping across my hood. I run to the other side for a second chance, but you dodge my grasping palms to avoid confrontation. I don’t want to fight either! Can’t you see that? I know you prefer flight so why don’t you flee from me? Not this problem. You scurry along the side of my door as I try to set you free. Minutes pass as you crawl over my truck.
            Go away!
C’mon, jump off while you have the chance. I’m just going to hurt you. You’ll cling onto my sides and think you’re safe, but once I gather speed, the wind will peel you off and send you crashing into the asphalt. I’ll flatten you in my wake without even realizing it. Your splayed carcass will be ground into the street and leave no impression on my tires. I’ll drive on and you’ll be too flattened to ever hop up and cling to something else.
So jump off now, little frog. I’ll bring you to a tree before I get rolling. It’ll be nice there, stable. There are roots to keep it still and strong. The branches are thick, the leaves are wide. A plethora of places to play. You can choose any tree, and I’ll take you there. Anywhere, but here. The windshield of my truck is nowhere to cling.

09 August 2012

Paper Action Figures

Spiderman would look best in black and neon
No dinosaur came with eight legs and two sets of wings
A blue-furred polar bear with a shark head would be cool
But no toy stores carried them
Instead they prowled the corners of my mind during math class
And other dry subjects
Roaring above the whir of my ceiling fan at bedtime
Spilling onto pages of notebooks
Side-columns of textbooks
Over the business section of Dad’s Sunday paper
They followed me like a trail of crumbs
Leaving a trace, as if I stepped in a bucket of red paint
“Don’t know what’s wrong with your kid” said Grandma
“I take him to the dollar store and give him ten bucks”
“Goes straight to the office supplies”
“Find him in my kitchen talking to rubberbands and paperclips”
“Pen caps and clothespins mysteriously disappear”
“But the chest of toys in the corner is untouched!”
“Strange kid”
It wasn’t my fault toys weren’t vague enough
There was no canvas to paint upon when the portrait was already there
I didn’t want to re-imagine. I wanted to create my own.
Dad helped me a few times when I was younger
He’d take me to the barn with a handful of two-by-fours
Show me the jigsaw and let me carve figures
For action figures unavailable at Meijer
Thirty-seven wooden figures and several gallons of paint later
I realized supply could not meet demand
Needed more housing for the creatures wandering the streets of my thoughts
Residency needed to be cheaper, simpler,
Easier to build.

Cardstock paper was idyllic
My doodles were drawn in black sharpie and cut out like paper dolls
Except they weren’t dolls
They were creatures
Stupendously awesome creatures
That consumed my bedroom walls, the upstairs halls, and most space in between
Once I started I could not stop
An addiction to keep spawning more fantasies
A box under my bed collected these paper-thin perversions
Until I played with them again
Speaking aloud or in my head
As they ran and leapt about the cliff of a bed
Actors for scenes I soon learned to document
Via words
To become future novels
Of war and adventure
And all great things for a young boy’s head
Without the need for a football helmet
“He’s in the sixth grade and still plays with action figures!?” said Mrs. Caulfield
“Well they’re more like scraps of paper,” my mom responded
“He draws characters on them”
“I’m concerned,” was her response, pressing an over-manicured finger to her gossiping lips
“I took Josh’s action figures away in the second grade.”
Maybe that’s why he sits in her basement playing PS3 all day?
He never did get that football scholarship
Or that perfect ACT score, did he?
I didn’t either
But my little doodles on cardstock
My homemade action figures
Created the scenes to fill my stories
In a book published by a high schooler
Impressed the letter readers at a prestigious university
Rewarded the skill of my upbringers
With pride and respect.

That’s why I love my parents
For not shooting the stork
Or shaving Santa
While my friends were shoved down the current
My parents gave me a paddle
Permission to sail against the stream
And pursue any dream
That gave me happiness
They never threw out my doodles
Or sold my action figures
They told me to make more.