I Love Mondays

funny-saying-wish-break-up-with-Monday-dreaming-about-fridayI’m sure you’ve heard it a million times. “Mondays suck!” But for two very big reasons, I respectfully disagree.

  1. New beginnings are spectacular.
  2. Holidays, anyone?

I know a lot of people who get freaked out by new beginnings: the guy who started college just to drop out because it was overwhelming, the girl who stayed with one guy for four years not because she loved him but because he was familiar. Many people I know just don’t like change. They like things to stay the same. It soothes them because they know what’s coming. The unfamiliar is daunting, so they try to avoid it.

Mondays are fresh reminders that things don’t stay the same, that just as the weeks change so do we. I was reading a book the other day that talked about how a band that was just starting off was able to book a venue quite cheaply for six consecutive Mondays because people just didn’t go out on Mondays. And it rang true on that first Monday, but word of mouth spread and that band was selling out their Monday shows before too long. People gradually gave them a chance, they opened themselves up to something new that blew apart their preconceived notions of what Mondays were supposed to be.

I recall back when I was in elementary school and I had an interesting conversation with my teacher:

Teacher: Next Monday is the celebration of Martin Luther King’s birthday.

Me: Is that his actual birthday?

Teacher: No, it’s not.

Me: Then why do we celebrate it on Monday?

Teacher: That’s just the way it is.

Me: Is it because we just want to make the weekend longer?

Teacher: I guess Mondays are more convenient.

Yes, Mondays really were quite convenient. Fridays are often seen as parts of the weekend anyway, so making Monday a weekend day to accommodate holidays seems like a novel idea. These Mondays aren’t dreaded because we can sleep in, at least as students and federal workers. Or something like that. I think my teacher thought I was being a smartass, but it honestly intrigued me. I mean, if Martin Luther King’s birthday was on a Wednesday, why not just get out of school on that Wednesday to observe it? Because Mondays were more convenient.

I was born on a Monday, by the way. But it was a Monday in late December, when kids were already out of school for their winter break, and the biggest holiday of all. I hear tell that there was a massive blizzard over the weekend and I was lucky to even be born in a hospital and not at home. Perhaps people exaggerate, but maybe that’s part of what makes Mondays special to me, the ultimate new beginning, a brand new life seeing this world for the first time.

And I’m still amazed by it.

Sam

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I Did What?: My Sordid Job History, Volume 10

coverI remember I was in a room with close to 25 other youngsters aged 7-12, all wearing shorts because it was hot out. We were in a church recreation room in West Philadelphia with two older ladies who were obviously in charge. I was 10 at the time and out of school for the summer – we all were – so I could have been anywhere doing anything, but my mom had heard about this program to help kids do outreach for the church as well as assist in paying tuition to a rather expensive private school that we attended. And I was scared.

You see, back then I was nervous about pretty much everything, the shy kid in the back who doesn’t say “boo” and hopes to keep blending in so people don’t make fun of him. That was me. And I saw pretty early on that the “outreach” we were expected to do meant going out in a public place, talking to absolute strangers, and getting them to sign up for a subscription to a Christian magazine (or several). You can understand why that properly freaked me out.

Now, the ladies seemed nice enough. They were going to split us up every day and head to two different parts of the city where we would canvas people all day long, while carrying around  satchel full of magazines that they could purchase for $2 or $5 dollars apiece, and subscriptions that cost considerably more in the short term but “paid for themselves” in the long term (i.e. eternal salvation). They were magazines with one name monikers like Insight, Messenger, Listen, and Outlook. I personally didn’t think people were allowed to solicit in some of the places we did, but the ladies apparently either didn’t care or thought God would take care of it.

We went places like 8th and Market Streets outside of the subway stop, to catch all the people who were going into the Gallery to shop, or outdoors in the marketplace two blocks from our church in North Philly. But the prime two places were the 30th Street Train Station and the outside doors of Strawbridge & Clothier downtown. On occasion several of the employees of Strawbridge’s would tell us we couldn’t be there, but no one in a uniform came to force us out. So we kept going. Continue reading “I Did What?: My Sordid Job History, Volume 10”

Six For Saturday

six_lgIt’s amazing that even though February is the shortest month of the year, March has flown by very quickly this year. With only a couple of days remaining in the month, though, it still doesn’t look like spring outside. As I look out of my window I see patches of snow on the lawn, but it has been receding of late, a positive sign. It did get down to 7 degrees yesterday, but it’s supposed to get up to 50 tomorrow. Global climate change? Perhaps. Or maybe that’s just good old upstate New York.

Here are my Six For Saturday:

  1. I’ve gotten back to the new novel I’m writing. I started it in summer, but then got caught up in promoting my second novel, and I recently returned to it. It’s interesting what perspective a few months break gives a writer. But I’m back into the flow of the story and the characters, which makes me feel for the first time that perhaps I have material enough to work with for a series. We’ll see.
  2. We are trying something different here when it comes to laundry, utilizing a rack in the front room in order to save energy from overuse of the dryer, which we had gotten into. Not only does it save energy, but it extends the life of the dryer. It just takes a bit more personal time when we hang the clothes individually on the rack, and it has been quite a switch, but the only things we dry in the dryer anymore are the towels and sheets. I can’t wait for the weather to break so we can put things on the line outside again.
  3. Frozen was an amazing movie in the classic Disney tradition. I agree with the people who said that it’s a return to form for Disney, after somewhat lackluster films like Planes. It’s funny, though, because we got the blu-ray version with the digital download, and the girls were so excited to be able to have the movie on their iPads. It took me ages, though, to clear space on Alexa’s iPad, and she begged me about getting it done so she could have Frozen. Then, of course, ever since I finally got it on there she hasn’t watched it. Head being scratched.
  4. I’ve been branching out at work this week, too, doing everything from setting sales planners, to participating in organizational meetings, to leading a “freshness Friday,” to backstocking tons of merchandise as a result of setting the sales planners. I even backed up the front lanes as a cashier when needed. There’s never a dull moment at Target.
  5. My bracket is completely busted now for March Madness with the losses of Virginia and especially Louisville last night. I had predicted that Louisville would repeat as national champions but they lost a close one to Kentucky while Virginia failed to defeat Michigan State. Another year down where that’s concerned, and it was one of my worst brackets ever, but I’m not feeling defeatist. Next year will be better.
  6. I’m afraid of deer. One of them showed up on the front lawn and freaked me out. Heidi claims the deer is more afraid of me than I am of the deer, but I can’t help thinking that deer weighs a TON, and if it sat on me I wouldn’t around much longer. Yeah, I’m definitely still a city boy.

Sam

What She Needed

His hands always drove her crazy. The way his palms slid smoothly across the inside of her arches sent shockwaves through her brain, every single time. The oils he massaged into the soles of her feet lulled her into a state not unlike sleep, where everything was balloons and cotton candy, a veritable smorgasbord of heavenly proportions. His ministrations tricked her mind into thinking only the two of them existed in the whole wide world, that none came before and none would come after. It was just them, in the moment, forever. Or at least until the half hour was up and she paid him the $50 bucks she owed.

Valerie almost never went into the mall by herself, preferring to do most of her shopping online, like most people her age. It took about two seconds for her to buy a few entire outfits, while still in her underwear, and all she had to do was use her credit card like it was going out of style. That turned out to be her problem, though, when every month the credit card bills would fall into her mailbox and put her into a mood. And of course when she was in a mood over money the only thing that could soothe her was another visit to Nails & More in the mall. It was the only reason she ever went.

Then there was Thad too, the man she was sort of seeing. He reminded Valerie of a hitchhiker who was always thumbing a ride to somewhere new because being stagnant was not in his vocabulary. It always surprised her that she could even call him her boyfriend, but he had allowed it just a few weeks before, and she even changed her Facebook status to mirror the sentiment. But she hardly ever actually saw him — he was always on the road with his band — which made it difficult to rely on Thad for support, moral or otherwise. And she needed him desperately right then.

It had hit her like a sack of potatoes when her boss called Valerie into the office to deliver the news, a surreal experience if there ever was one. Twenty minutes later she found herself wandering the small mall like one of those zombies she liked to watch so much on TV, aimless until she found the one place that felt to her like home. Continue reading “What She Needed”

Confidential

th“Confidence comes not from always being right but from not fearing to be wrong.” -Peter T. McIntyre

Having confidence is easy. Just convince enough people of it, and you’re in. The old “fake it til you make it,” mentality that seems to work on so many people because they want to believe it. The key is to find out what others are looking for from a confident person and portray that. Now, some people aren’t good enough actors to pull this off, and those are the ones we label “anti-social,” or “followers,” which is okay. But many people exist who push that fear down deep enough to project confidence.

Want to know something funny? Usually pretending to be confident is adequate over the long run to actually make you confident. That works with anything, pretty much. Remember Eddie Murphy’s character in “Trading Places”? He was down on his luck and resorted to running scams to try and get cheap money while living on the streets. But then he was picked up out of the gutter and given his heart’s desire, and a sense of purpose. Suddenly he began acting like a more confident man to the extent that he shed the bonds of those men and made something of himself. By himself.

“Confidence is the first step. It doesn’t matter how you achieve it. What truly matters is that you get it in the first place.”

This happens often, from shy nerds who only have confidence in their computer abilities, to weightlifters whose confidence comes strictly from their physical strength, to stay-at-home mothers who are only confident in their homemaking skills. Yet, if these people are placed in other situations which require confidence of a different sort they can usually adjust and pull it off. How? Because confidence is the first step. It doesn’t matter how you achieve it. What truly matters is that you get it in the first place. Then use the power of transference and you’re set. Continue reading “Confidential”

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