Innermost Secrets 9 – 15

I was thinking that this was going to be a Thursday post, but since tomorrow is Thanksgiving, I’ll do it a day early. That way, you have one more thing to be thankful for. If you have no idea why I’m starting at nine, you should probably start back at the beginning.

9th Innermost Secret:

  • I derive pleasure from demeaning the British (but only because I’m jealous).

The YMCA camp was part of a really cool program that hired English-speaking international staff for the summer. We had one girl from Australia, and a girl and some guys from England. Sometime before they got there, one of the English guys called the camp and I happened to pick up the phone. His Manchester accent was so thick, I had to tell him to call back because I had no idea what he was saying. By the end of the summer, I could understand him just fine, but I helped to watch him speaking. Over the phone I was at a complete loss.

10th Innermost Secret:

  • Jason is really my twin.

In an act of pure nepotism, I hired my former college suitemate, Jason. I’ve written about Jason before. He was the vice-president of the Valhalla Norwegian Society, and he and I shared some frightening similarities. People really did believe that we were related. And we had a lot of fun that summer. In addition to all of the normal fun of being at camp, Jason and I had a folk-rock comedy band in which we used bad British accents (see Innermost Secret #9) called The Electric Fandango. Jason is now a Latin teacher at a school nearby me. Maybe we should get the band back together.

11th Innermost Secret:

  • I like to wear pink undies (when I wear undies at all).

I feel no need to explain this secret.

12th Innermost Secret:

  • Jay Turpin is my father.

Jay was the camp’s executive director. He’s been mentioned before on the blog as well. I pranked him though he did not deserve it. Sorry Jay. Anyway, Jay is only like 10 years older than me, so if he were my dad, he would have had to get started at a pretty early age.

13th Innermost Secret:

  • Honey Mustard…

This is simply the title of one of the songs from The Electric Fandango (see Innermost Secret #10). The whole song is a declaration of love to Honey Mustard, God’s own condiment. The reason I wrote the song was because Honey Mustard was the only thing that enabled me to eat all of the processed chicken that showed up on the camp menu. Pretty much every other meal was some kind of processed chicken. But it was free processed chicken because I lived at camp, so I’m not going to complain too loudly.

14th Innermost Secret:

  • Sometimes I drink bleach.

This is stolen directly from a thing I saw David Letterman do one time. I only saw it once, but for some reason it really stuck with me. Letterman was going through his desk routine, playing the little games that he does when all of a sudden he reaches down and brings a jug of bleach to his lips, takes a deep drink and puts it down. No one says anything about it, so he does it again later. Finally, he says something like, “Isn’t anyone going to try to stop me? I’m drinking bleach for goodness sake.” I thought that was hilarious. I couldn’t tell you why now.

15th Innermost Secret:

  • I clean the bath house for fun and profit.

As the Visiting Groups Director, it was my responsibility to make sure that all of the facilities that my visiting groups used got cleaned up. I never wanted to be the type of boss who simply assigned the dirty tasks to my underlings, so I cleaned the bathhouse personally. And though it wasn’t always that much fun, I think it was a good way to help my staff feel appreciated. Plus, someone had to do it, and I was getting paid the most of any of my staff so it might as well have been me.

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned next week for the continuation of my innermost secrets.

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100 Word Challenge | I really tried not to laugh…

“I stayed up last night practicing,” said Ben.

“How do you practice handing a girl a note?”

“It wasn’t easy, but I tried, man. I really tried.”

“Not to laugh at your efforts,” chuckled Jake, “but you know that she’s the most popular girl in school and you are… well…”

“Me?”

“Right.”

“Maybe she’ll just think it’s a joke.”

“Maybe not,” said Jake, nodding toward an approaching Jessica.

She strode purposefully. The note was slightly damp as she pressed it into Ben’s hand. And then she was gone.

Ben unfolded the note as though disarming a bomb.

Finally, he remembered to breathe.

“Well?”

“She marked yes.”

I am descended from Callaway slaves.

It started with a voicemail from my mom. Apparently, one of my aunts was having our family’s genealogy done and something surprising had turned up. I should call when I got a chance.

I listened to this voicemail while on lunch while working at the mall. Something surprising in my family genealogy? My interest was piqued. I called right away.

What my mom said floored me.

Ely Callaway, of Callaway Golf Clubs

It turns out that my mother’s mother’s father’s father was black. And sometime before then, my ancestor’s had been slaves to the Callaway family. The Callaways that nowadays make fancy golf clubs, but before that owned Georgia textile mills, and held prime spots in cotton manufacturing. Not only was I descended from slaves, but I had living black relatives no further than Kalamazoo, Michigan.

I went to college in Kalamazoo. Kalamazoo is only about an hour from Grand Rapids. I might have come across these relatives and never known it.

When I went back on the floor after receiving this information, I remember feeling very strange. My identity had changed a bit. I was no longer “Josh Mosey, whitest guy ever.” I was now “Josh Mosey, a bit black.”

Every black person I saw for the rest of the night and for the next few weeks, I thought, “I might be related to them.” It was surreal.

Shortly after the initial revelation, my mom told me a story about when she was a little girl. Some men had come to the house to give her family some inheritance money. One of my mom’s mom’s dad’s black relatives had passed away and included the family in the will. Apparently, the black side of the family was doing pretty well for themselves, or at least better than the white side. But instead of accepting the money, my grandma refused it, swearing up and down that the men had made a mistake and that she was not related to any black people. This would have been in the 60’s when this happened.

She spent years protesting the notion that she had any African-American blood in her veins. Truth be told, she was a bit racist. Probably not more than your average octogenarian, but still, sadly so.

When my grandma passed away a few years ago, the aunt who had done the genealogical research reached out to our black cousins in Kalamazoo. And though she spent years denying them, though she turned away her inheritance, my grandma’s funeral was attended by her African-American family, whether she would have wanted them there or not.

Jot: The GR Writers Mini-Conference

It has a name.

After conducting a poll to determine which of the names were most popular (the most popular category was Other, as in, other than the names we liked), the Weaklings decided to throw all previous names out the window and start fresh. Thus was born Jot: The GR Writers Mini-Conference.

So, for those of you who value putting events in your calendars, jot this down. Jot will be happening February 8th from 7:00 – 11:00pm at Baker Book House in Grand Rapids, MI.

Baker Book House's new event areaNow that we have a name, a date, and a venue, we need to market this thing. And to do that, we’ll need your help. In order to market effectively, we need to create some graphics for the conference. And so, we are having a Jot Logo Contest. Think you have an eye for graphic design? Send us a logo! Make sure that the logo features the name (Jot) and the subtitle (The GR Writers Mini-Conference). PDFs are preferred, but we can work with JPGs as well. Send your submission to josh@thoughtcrimemarketing.com. The winner will be chosen by the Weaklings. The contest ends December 15th.

Don’t have an interest in designing our logo? That’s okay. You can still help us market Jot by telling your friends about it.

“But Josh,” you say. “What do I tell them?”

Say this: “Have you heard of Jot: The GR Writers Mini-Conference? It’s a free, one-day writers conference happening in February. It will be a night for meeting other writers, learning the craft of writing, and actually having some time to write. The presenters will be speaking on things like writing with a busy schedule, flash fiction, and marketing yourself and your books. It’s happening at the newly remodeled Baker Book House in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I’m going, of course, and you should go too.”

That should cover it.

I’ll keep you posted as we get closer to the actual event. In the mean time, tell your friends and maybe submit a logo. Thanks for reading!

Innermost Secrets 1 – 8

I was cleaning part of my basement the other day when I happened across a relic from my time as Visiting Groups Director at YMCA Camp Manitou-Lin. What I found was a little notebook filled with all of my innermost secrets. I filled this little notebook with my innermost secrets because that is what the cover told me to do. And though there is a picture of a lock on the cover, it isn’t all that safe of a notebook.

You see, I used to leave this little notebook around the camp for people to enjoy before they returned it to my desk. I liked to see if people would read the secrets or whether they would respect my privacy. In most cases, curiousity triumphed over privacy (which shouldn’t that surprising to anyone who has worked at a camp). Anyway, I thought I would share these secrets with you too.

Today, I’ll cover the first two pages of the notebook. More pages will follow in future weeks.

1st Innermost Secret:

  • My name is Josh Mosey.

I wanted people to be able to identify the owner right away. That way they could easily return my secrets to my desk. Also, I liked the idea of using known facts as innermost secrets.

2nd Innermost Secret:

  • I’m the Visiting Groups Director.

Just in case anyone didn’t know who I was, they could find my office by my title.

3rd Innermost Secret:

  • I’m straight.

I don’t think there was a lot of question here, but in case there was, I wanted people know that I am a straight man whose secret inclinations are also straight.

4th Innermost Secret:

  • I really am 23.

This was actually a lie. At the time I wrote this, I was 21. I think I told people that I was 23 because that was the minimum age for certain camp restrictions, like administrating the ropes course.

5th Innermost Secret:

  • My favorite animal is a human woman.

I read this to my wife and she said, “So we’re just animals to you?” I didn’t know how to respond at the time, but I’ll try now. “Um,” I would say. “Nope, you aren’t animals at all. But if you were, you’d be my favorite.”

6th Innermost Secret:

  • I had scones once.

I know that scones are delicious pastries that go well with coffee and tea, but the word scones also kind of sounds like a horribly painful disease. Like shingles or boils. Scones.

7th Innermost Secret:

  • Norway rules!

This isn’t a secret so much as an opinion. Actually, no. This isn’t so much an opinion as a fact. Norway rules!

8th Innermost Secret:

  • My “gut” is really all muscle.

I like this one because it is quite obviously not true. And even if it were, how would that explain the extra chin that hides neath my beard?

Hopefully you’ll enjoy this series, because I have a total of 54 innermost secrets to share. Until next time, thanks for reading!

100 Word Challenge | The Silence Was Deafening…

On the final day of his “Let’s Talk” campaign tour, politician Jake Hoekstra arrived in the wrong Janesville.

The Janesville he meant to visit was wealthy and made up of business owners.

The Janesville where his driver took him was poor, made up of minimum-wage workers.

The driver dropped Hoekstra at the back of an auditorium, where a propped door spilled light into the alleyway. Hoekstra walked through, found a podium, and gave his stump speech.

The silence was deafening.

Turning around, he noticed the local Union Workers flag.

“Oh,” he said and turned toward the door, only to find it barred.

“Let’s talk…”

On Trying New Things

My wife and I recently went on a lunch date. We both skipped out of work early, left the kids at Grandma’s house for a few hours and went out to eat. We went to The Wild Chef, a Japanese Steakhouse with hibachi grills in front of the tables.

For all the times I had seen this sort of thing featured on television shows, I had never personally experienced it. Being there at lunchtime meant that we had the restaurant pretty much to ourselves, which was nice. Our cook put on a wonderful show of flipping his spatula and fork, playing with fire, breaking eggs, and flipping rice into our mouths (both DeAnne and I caught the rice like pros!). And the food was delicious. I’ve already decided that we’ll be coming back for the next meal-type celebration.

We chose The Wild Chef for lunch because my wife had been to the one in Holland with her workmates and she really enjoyed herself. She was pretty sure that I would like it too. She was right. I did.

While we ate, I remembered an episode of Radiolab where they talked about a gentleman who was trying to slow down his perception of time by trying to do something new everyday. The theory goes that we remember time moving slower as children because we are constantly doing things we had never done before. For a while, everything is a first (the first time you rode a bike, the first time you went camping, the first time you read Lord of the Rings). But as grown-ups most of our schedules look the same. We get up, go to work, eat, drive, and sleep, pretty much everyday. Time seems to move more quickly because there isn’t anything in our schedule that stands out in our memories as noteworthy.

The gentlemen who underwent the experiment to slow down time was Matt Danzico and his adventures can be found at The Time Hack. Everyday, he did something he had never done before. He brought someone along who ran a stopwatch to record the actual time Matt spent doing the activity, while Matt estimated the time he spent without having access to the stopwatch. So if something he did felt like it took ten minutes, but it actually only took eight, he gained two minutes of experiential time. And his year would have felt like it passed more slowly since he wasn’t doing the same thing everyday.

Although I am mostly a creature of habit, I really like the idea of trying to slow down my perception of time by trying new things. This is why I am glad that we went to a Japanese Steakhouse. Not only did it stand out against the humdrum of normal life, it was delicious. My wife and I could easily have gone to a restaurant that we had both been to before and knew that we both enjoyed. Instead, she shared with me a new experience.

Next time an opportunity arises to try something new, I think I will try it. I will slow time. And I might just find something new that I really enjoy.