Saturday, April 30, 2011

My Seven Year Old Stalker

      This summer will mark the seventh year I have worked at the same children's camp. Last summer I had one of the most interesting child experiences of my life, and there is one child that keeps killing me in my dreams, so kudos to last summers kid.
     It all began when I went to go play with the youngest group of campers and the smallest little six year old took quite the shine to me. The next morning I was sitting outside as the campers arrived and I saw the small six year old from the day before step out of her car, make eye contact with me, look down towards my feet, look back at me and get this ridiculously crazed look in her eyes like I was made of cotton-candy wonderfulness.

     The small child ran over to me, no hello, and immediately crouched down by my feet and began yanking my shoe off my foot. Once the shoe was successfully removed she ran away laughing maniacally and zigging and zagging around the yard. No more than a minute and a half later the Small Child returned, yanked off my second shoe and resumed running away like a crazed dinosaur.
     While I stood barefoot with the outer layer of my skin burning off from the hot asphalt, I was absolutely dumbfounded. Finally, the Small Child returned and told me that she hid my shoes and I would never find them. I sent some eight year olds on a scavenger hunt to go find my shoes and they returned about five minutes later and gave me back my footwear. I assumed this was just a weird thing of the day for the Small Child and didn't put much thought into it. However, for the next two weeks we went through the exact same morning process. Small child gets out of car, we make eye contact, crazed look, my shoes are gone and eight year olds go find my shoes. I began bringing two pairs of shoes to camp. She stole both pairs.
     Eventually I decided I needed to sit down with the small child and I explained that she just cannot take my shoes because my feet are burning off. She argued with me about this for a while and fought fervently for her cause of stealing my shoes and hiding them. After a good ten minutes of debate, she came up with an ultimatum. She said, "I won't steal your shoes anymore if you let me build a Jewel-Cage." The small child had mentioned the Jewel-Cage before but I just brushed it off as the crazed talkings of a small, six year old, shoe thief. I said, "Absolutely. You can totally build a Jewel-Cage." I did not see the Small Child for the rest of the day.
     At the end of camp, my intern Ezra came up to me and said, "You would not believe the conversation I had with the small child today." Ezra presumed to tell me the funniest conversation to ever happen between a sixteen year old and six year old ever.
                         Small Child: "Ezra, I need you to bring a tape measure to camp."
                         Ezra: "What do you need a tape measure for Small Child?"
                         Small Child: "I need you to help me measure Jewel."
                         Ezra: "Why do you need to measure Jewel?"
                         Small Child: "Because I'm building a Jewel-Cage."
                         Ezra: "You are what?"
                         Small Child: "I'm building a Jewel-Cage so I can confine her scent and turn it into a              
From my understanding thus presumed the longest awkward silence between a sixteen year old and six year old ever. 
     When Ezra told me this story I first just stared at him for maybe a minute, and then I just laughed. I honestly didn't care what the cage was being used for as long as my shoes were remaining on my feet.
     Now, months after camp I have begun to find out that my friend enjoys using the Jewel-Cage as a bribe to make her calm down. My friend offers to help her build a Jewel-Cage and in return the Small Child listens and sits. 
     Over Christmas Vacation I found out the Small Child has teamed up with the child who constantly kills me in my dreams (the second child happens to be my best friend's little sister... yeah). While at my best friends house his little sister told me that she needs a strand of my hair. I of course asked why because there is just something unsettling about the child who kills you in your dreams asking for a strand of your hair. She told me that she needed to give it to the Small Child for her Jewel-Perfume. I spent the rest of the night protecting my scalp from a little girl who followed me around waiting for a moment to pounce or just a loose strand to fall out. She did eventually get a hair so if you ever see "Essence of Jewel" on the market, you'll know why.
     Shortly after Christmas I was told by one of my co-workers that the Small Child informed her during Musical Theatre Class that she was planning a special trip to Missoula to kid-nap me or some crazy Small Child stuff because over in Missoula there won't be any adults who tell her what to do and that she can't build Jewel-Cages. 
     This is the story of my seven year old stalker.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Climbing Shit

     I've lived in Montana for eighteen years now and so I think I am of the authority to say that Montana is a pretty unique state. For one... we are the fourth largest state and one of the most commonly forgotten about states. Maybe there should be a geography and vision test at the same time because if your excuse is you didn't see Montana on the map then I think you need some glasses.
    There are about one million people in Montana and the majority of these people live in the Missoula, Bozeman or Billings area. Pretty much everywhere else are men talking to cows and tumbleweed. However, there is one thing people in Montana have in common: we like to climb shit.
     I honestly don't know what the fascination is with climbing shit in Montana, but we frickin' love it. If you are ever in a town in Montana, look for a giant M on a hill (what most people would consider a Mountain else where but I digress). If there isn't an M, look for the first letter of the town you are in. I promise you that 95% of the time you will find a letter on a mountain. This is about the closest you get to a monument in Montana other than the Virgin Mary in Butte. So what's the one thing all of these letters and Jesus' mom have in common? We like to climb to them. All the time. It is a common pass time to go "climb the M" or "L" in Missoula (yeah we have two letters... we're kind of a big deal). At one point we had a peace sign that people climbed to and when they got rid of it people flipped. In Montana, we take climbing shit seriously.
     Now I also live part time in Bozeman (yeah... they have an M). However, the shit we climb in Bozeman is a little more diverse than letters on the face of a Mountain. In Bozeman we like to climb buildings and cars downtown too. I cannot count the number of times I have been just hanging out with friends, having a good ol' normal time and someone (usually the same guy) says, "Hey guys, wanna go climb shit?" Now instead of responding like responsible adults who would say, "Same dude who always suggests climbing shit, that is not necessarily the safest way to pass our time. Perhaps we could watch Fraser and learn something." No. We get pumped and go climb shit. We climb on cars, we climb on buildings and our primal monkey takes over. Downtown Bozeman at night is like a jungle with crazed monkeys climbing shit.
     The best moment of my life is when my best friend and I were driving home and I was telling her about the giant "Kick Ass" sign on a sky-scraper as you enter Manhattan in New York City. I was describing the massive size of this poster and said, "it would be like a giant "Kick Ass" sign on that mountain (hill)." And her response, "if we build a giant "Kick Ass" sign on a mountain, we would finish building it and people would be lined up ready to climb it." Nothing has ever been more true. In Montana, we build monuments and then we climb them. We frickin' love to climb shit.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Xenophobia in the U.S. of A.

     I am usually not one for writing about politics, however with Barack Obama's publishing of his birth certificate, I decided to put out my two cents. 
     The controversy of whether or not Barack Obama is truly an American has been being tossed around the table for over three years now and for what reason? Because his name doesn't sound like your next door neighbor's? Because of how he was raised? Because he is black? It's sad to say, but that is the main reason. Let's look at our presidential history. Barack Obama is the first African American president and the first president to be publicly forced into publishing his birth certificate on the internet. I do not recall George W. Bush, his father or Bill Clinton having to publish their birth certificates in the Times. And that's probably because they didn't have to. But neither did Barack Obama.
     Since it is a requirement to be an American born citizen to be president I would guess that congress and the supreme court made a copy of his birth certificate or at least took a look at it to make sure he was actually an American born citizen, you know, those checks and balances we learned about in government. If a person takes Presidential office, I am going to take a leap of faith and assume it is safe to say that they are an American. If congress or the supreme didn't check that would be a major oh sh!t moment for our country, and we already have quite a few of those lined up. 
    This whole controversy is part of a much bigger problem in America. We assume that anyone of a different skin color is probably going to kill us, kidnap us, mug us or possibly hit us. I guarantee that if our president had the last name Rodriguez or Chang, their birth certificate would be demanded as well and Rush Limbaugh would find a way to connect them to Al Qaeda or Jihad. 
     Also, take a look at the countries we boarder. To the North Canada, and the South Mexico. These are the two boarders crossed legally and illegally most frequently each year. Can you guess which is number one? Canada. Now I can understand some increased security around Mexico given that there are the dangers of narcotics and weapons trafficking. But is a wall that completely blocks us off from them going to fix the problem? No. It is a non-cost efficient solution that is not plausible and neither are thousands of man hours in boarder control. The fact is that thousands of people die in those deserts every year because of that wall when what we should put that money towards is affirmative action. They need help not a wall. We can't be afraid of what's different than us. That's what America is. We are built up of everyone that was different and now we say we only want the same. It's very hypocritical.
     I am proud of my heritage. I love the look on people's faces when I get to tell them "I'm half portuguese" because it's interesting. Our heritage is beautiful and we should love human beings because of their heritage and not hate them for it. We should not be divided by our races, our state lines or our country lines. We are one species: human. And we need to work together if we are going to get anywhere.