Friday, December 02, 2005

Best Defense

You tell me how you would react to this:
You wake up and look over to see where your partner/spouse/bed buddy would be. Instead of a body, you see an empty space and blood. You wake up, and walk to your bathroom. Along the way you find a partial handprint made up of blood on a door. The bathroom door is closed, but you hear someone moving around in there, so you decide, "Hey, it must be my (whatever) and go and look. Inside you find that person with blood on their face and down their shirt.
What's your first reaction?
If you said laugh, then you and my wife have a lot in common.
My day has been odd and really not going very well from the moment I woke up.
This morning, after barely getting any sleep, I woke up to find that blood was streaming out of my nose. Not a great way to wake up. Sure, it beats waking up after wetting yourself (something that I and many others I know have done after drinking way to much), but it still sucks. You feel the warm liquid on your lips and taste it to find that saltiness.
First thing I did was grab a tissue and check the bed. Unfortunately I had bled on my pillow case (and blood is a giant pain to get out of things). Not wanting to wake up my wife, I made my way very groggily (it was very early in the morning folks) to the bathroom where I could clean up.
The blood coming out of my nose was going through the tissue and on to my hand. Now, in my house, the master bedroom is upstairs from the bathroom which is on the main floor. I have to navigate steps down and as I am slightly spooked and still groggy, I have to switch hands and use the railing. Here is the first bloody handprint. At the bottom of the steps is a door which, conviently, had been shut by one of my cats during the night. Pushing the door open left the second handprint.
When I turn on the lights in the bathroom, it takes a second for my eyes to adjust. At first, all I can see is a red mass on my face and shirt, but as the world comes into focus, I am quite shocked to see how much blood is on my face and shirt. It honestly looks like I bit into someone or something and let it bleed on me. Had I been more with it, I would have taken a picture (sorry I didn't). I end up staring at myself in disbelief. Worse yet...the bleeding hasn't fully stopped. As I lift my head and grab a new tissue (while pinching), I hear the footsteps coming toward me. My wife opens the door, looks at me, the shirt, and the bloody sink...and laughs. Now, I know why she does this, and I know if my mother reads this, she would be horrified, as this has happened before.
Mrs. Leab and I visited my mother in a previous fall. We were being taken around outside the house while my mother was explaining the various things she wanted to do with plants and bushes and such. To the left of one of the bushes is a covered well of sorts. See, part of the house is underground. It was built into a hill. The laundry room is about 15 feet below where we are standing, and the dryer is vented through this well (there's also a window for air). This well does have a covering, but it's not really designed to have a 200 pound man stand on it.
Long story short (too late) I take a bad step, the covering buckles, and I am now clutching the side of this well trying not to fall. My mother turns and is horrified. My wife...laughs. It's her defense mechanism. We all have one. Each of us reacts differently to tense situations. She laughs. I don't. It's very different for me. I don't think so much as react. There's a quick moment to assess what's going on around me and then I move. It's almost to logical...whatever. Anyway, the point is everyone reacts differently. I'm hanging there trying not to fall, and my wife can't move. She just laughs. After about three or four seconds, she is able to move and help my mother bring me up. To this day my mother still can't believe that happened. Not that I almost fell, but that my wife laughed.
So, she opens the door, sees me bleeding, and Mrs. Leab laughs. I know it means she's nervous, but I also know that if it were really serious, she wouldn't least I hope she wouldn't.
"Honey, my hand has been cut off!"
That would suck.
I'm a very independent person. When I was in high school, I got a concussion by diving into a concrete wall (I was playing Ultimate Frisbee, and I was very competitive). I knew I was in trouble, but I didn't want anyone to touch me. Same when I hurt my knee, and the very same when I hurt my ankle.
Hell, when I was a Freshman in college, I dove off a ladder to save a light that was falling and was crushed underneath it (the light didn't break, however). There was another place where you could see how people react to tension. Two people laughed, one other gasped as if I had fallen 100 feet instead of 20. Lying there, my back in serious pain, I didn't want anyone to touch me. I couldn't move at first and my arms tingled, but I would be damned before anyone would help me get up. Was I possibly acting too macho? Looking back now, yeah, but it's also not wanting to be helped by others. Why? Control, most likely. I don't owe anybody then I'm on my own and not beholden.
As for today, my wife was shocked, but relieved I was ok. The bloody nose became the perfect symbol of my day (it didn't get much better, my day that is).
So how you react? Do you laugh? Do you act right away and think later (thus making you a good fireman)? What do you do? Hopefully you don't do what a former classmate of mine does and just sit on the ground. That's right. He would buckle his legs, move into a Half-Lotus position really quickly and just sit. Not good under pressure.
Have a peaceful weekend, folks.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Slander a la Leab (12/1/05)

Wow, I've only tried a few of these, but apparently the new "Slander" portion of the blog is very popular. I had several emails from people telling me who they want targeted next. I also received a few emails from people telling me to be ashamed of myself for targeting "a good Minnesota family."
You know...when I moved to Minnesota, I was told people here had a GREAT sense of humor. I'm starting to doubt that EVERYONE does. I think it's really a minority....And most of them are transplants. Maybe that's too harsh.
Let's get to tonight's Slanderama!
A Prairie Throwdown!

As everyone in the Minnesota Blogoverse (and other places as well) are aware of, "Rex" of the fantastic blog of the year
MNSpeak sold a shirt which made fun of local entertainer Garrison Keillor's beloved show. Now most people understand a joke is a joke, but for some reason Keillor and his Lake Woebegon Law Team (they bleed you dry, but apologize the whole time) decided to come after "Rex". This is old news.
However, The I.T. Team managed to be present at all of the legal proceedings between Mr. Sorgatz and Mr. Keillor. What we discovered will make promoters, fans, and Minnesotans everywhere salivate: The two men will settle the problem in the most ancient fashion known to man: A fifteen round boxing match. You heard it here first folks.
The fight has been signed by none other than that mogul of the mat: Don "Only in America" King.
On December 17, "Rex "the Titanium Typist" Sorgatz will battle Garrison "The Lake Woebegon Battler" Keillor. The fight will take place not at the Fitzgerald, but at the Target Center. Both men had to be talked into this neutral site as neither man really wanted to be in St. Paul.
Not since the battle between
Wassily Kandinsky and Pablo Picasso has the world of art & literature been so abuzz about a feud between two of its members. One local blogger put it best: "This fight makes all the hip-hop feuds look tame. If these men owned them, they would bust out their gats and do it gangland style."
The fight has many noted Minnesotans talking. On his most recent podcast, Senator Norm Coleman stated, "Paul Wellstone will probably crawl out of his grave to watch's that exciting."
Coleman quickly retracted that statement with a Kennedyesque "Er, um, uh."
When asked about the fight, Mr. King began speaking with his typical flamboyance:
"This could be the greatest fight in the history of the world. On the one hand you have the young upstart. A man whose sheer presence in the blogging world has changed the very face of the Internet. His opponent is a crafty veteran of both literature and drama. When you hear the name of Garrison Keilor, you immediately think of the slow drawl, the quiet town, and the upcoming movie (which I helped produce). ONLY IN AMERICA!"

When pressed about naming this fight, Mr. King got very contemplative.
"I don't know yet. I was originally thinking 'The Throwdown in Hometown', but too many people thought that was odd and misleading.
'The Fight in the Snow Blight' didn't really make sense either. Right now, I'm leaning toward 'The Hostility in the TC.' Then Mr. King spent the next 20 minutes speaking about Tyson and other things the I.T. team couldn't really understand.
It's important to note that Mr. Keillor has done everything he can to avoid this fight. A recent transcript was delivered to the I.T. Team by none other than...Woody Harrelson. The man who will be portraying "Lefty" in the upcoming Prairie Home Companion movie came forward with a proposition that Mr. Keillor made to him:
GK (Keillor): How would you like to get a...bigger part in this movie?
WH (Harrelson): What would I have to do?
GK: There's a gentleman in this town causing me...anguish. I want him...removed. Would you be willing to do it?
WH: Mr. K, I don't know what you think I am. I'm just an actor...and a part-time activist.
GK: Look...I want Mr. Sorgatz taken down for what he did.
WH: Uh....Yeah....What did he do?
GK: He sullied the good name of Prairie Home Companion!!!
WH: I think I have to go, sir....
Mr. Harrelson has also indicated that Mr. Keillor has also hired a bunch of thugs he christened "The Lake Woebegon Bullies."
Get your tickets now, folks, because this fight is going to be one for the ages.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Fun With Lists (Part Deux) 11/30/05

Ok, so Meridita had this list on her site, so I figured I would answer it here. This is tough, because it makes me have to open up, which...I'm not so good at...seriously.
Do you have any:
Allergies: Pollen
Phobias: Nope
Irrational fears: That my wife will wise up and leave me.
Siblings: Two older sisters
Girlfriends: I have in the past. Umm...married now. I have friends who are girls though...that count?
Pets: Three boy cats (all 8 years old).
Tattoos: No Comment
Friends you don't like: Yes, unfortunately.
Pet peeves: Talking in movie theatres, bad driving, bad sports ettiquette, bad manners, total ignorance
Have you ever been:
Arrested: Yup. Thanks alot Pope John Paul II
Engaged: Si.
Married: Currently so. Five years in March
Abroad: Yup. Europe, Canada, and the Caribbean
Hospitalized: Yup. It sucks
Heartbroken: Sigh. Yes. It was very bad.
In a fight (of the physical variety): Yes. A few times. I used to have a VERY bad temper. Most recently I threw down with a fellow Master's student.
What is your favorite:
Movie, Actor: This is WAY too hard. Movie: Hmmm, uh...I guess The Salton Sea...for now.
Actor: No idea.
Album, Musician: Also too hard. I'll go with Moby, 18.
Author, Book: Carter Beats the Devil.
Piece of art-work: Anything by Carravaggio.
Story to tell at a dinner party: There are alot. I've had a weird life. I could talk about my first date with my wife, or many others.
Story to tell on a first date: Swimming with Dolphins in the Galapagos, and how it relates to life.
Bar, locally: I seem to always end up at either Harvey's or The Independent.
City, in the country (and/or in the world): Hmm. Ok, in America: New York, hands down.
World Wide: Munich.
Yourself, using ten adjectives: Humorous, loud, loving, introspective, philosophical, tired, eccentric, damaged, devoted, loyal
Your dream home: The Una-Bomber's Cabin...Ok not really.
Where you want to be in 5 years: Teaching high school possibly in somewhere other than Minnesota.
Where you think you will actually be in 5 years: Uh, probably teaching high school here and taking care of my child.
Your ideal partner: My wife. No one else I know has that much patience.
A time when you were most happy, or at peace: The first time I learned to meditate. I managed to shut it all off. The happiest? My first kiss with my wife.
The memory you wish you could forget: Walking in and catching my ex and her boyfriend in flagrante delicto.
The trait you most deplore in others: Ignorance
The trait you most deplore in yourself: Overt dependence on logic. Understanding of human condition (makes conversations hard).
There you go. Me, myself, and I in black and white.
Tomorrow, should nothing else go wrong (knock on wood) Slander a la Leab.
I hear a rapping, a gentle tapping...on my chamber door....Nighty night.

Turkey Day Down

I know, it's now Wednesday night, and I haven't posted in a while. Sorry. To my E-migos, I apologize for my tardiness. To those of you who hate me, sorry to disappoint.

I have returned. Is this a good thing? I don’t know. I’m really tired. Faith said I should catch up on my sleep. I tried to, but at my in-laws’ house, that was never going to happen. However, I won’t bore you with my whining. Instead I think I will talk to you, dear reader, about my Turkey Day weekend. First of all, you’re probably wondering, “Hey, Leab, why isn’t this post a ‘Mail Monday’ post. Are you an idiot?” No. I know it’s Monday, but I didn’t really get any questions in my mail. I got hatemail, but that’s no fun when it isn’t in question form (seriously). Because of this, Mail Monday was canceled this week in order to bring you “A Very Special Holiday Episode.”
My in-laws, as I have mentioned before, live in a small town in Missouri. There’s nothing really there. Want to go out? Well there’s Wal-Mart…or…uh…well, there’s a movie theatre there somewhere. The whole town is essentially a housing development. Rowhouses as far as the eye can see. This is the town where my wife grew up.
You have to understand. I like my in-laws. I get along with them really well usually. How? I avoid all subjects that we would either disagree on or argue about with each other. I probably have a peptic ulcer from all the thoughts I’ve kept to myself. This past trip, I almost bit through my tongue trying to hold it. Still, I like my in-laws. They are nice people.
I have never really been a fan of the holidays. It has nothing to do with family issues or any of that crap so many people like to say is the reason people like me hate this time. No, it’s because of the commercialization of it all. Friday (or as it’s known now: BLACK FRIDAY, and what the hell is that. When the market crashed, it was a black day, but now it’s a good thing? New century…I guess.) is all about shopping. Yes, Thanksgiving is still safe…for now. Give it time, folks.
My wife’s family essentially gets tipsy and attacks each other with verbal barbs. It’s supposed to sound innocent, but you can feel the malice. In order to avoid retorting, arguing, or even talking, I had to constantly drink. I had a large amount of wine. Did I get a hangover? Not even close. Ah…it’s great to be a former drunk.
This is how dinner went:
Food is served
Grace is said
Everyone splits up. The men go watch football, the women chat.
Football game gets boring so the channel is changed to Fox News thus making it harder for me not to argue.
Now, you may be a hardcore Conservative, or just a Republican reading this thinking “Wait Leab, what’s wrong with Fox News? Are you a Pinko-Liberal or a Democrat?”
Here’s your answer: It’s not about my political affiliation. I'm not Republican (I'm not Democrat either, but that's not the point).
It’s about the fact that my in-laws are all Evangelical Conservatives. They are WAY over to the right. They make the Exile look like a Democrat. I’m not kidding. Here are some examples from the weekend:
If you say all politicians are corrupt (as my wife did), the response is, “No they aren’t. It’s only the Democrats. Republicans have everyone’s best interests at heart. You should not talk that way.” (SO NOT KIDDING.)
John McCain is now known as Traitor John. Period. No discussion.
If a Democrat is slandered on TV, it’s true. If a Republican is slandered, it’s the Democrats acting like children.
Nixon may have been framed.
That’s just a few.
My father-in-law likes to talk about what he would do if he were, “dictator for a day.” Actually he says, “Fuerher,” but…uh…yeah.
The best part of the weekend? Well, that would be when my wife mentioned that my father officiated a civil ceremony for two gay men. That did not go over well. My father is now considered “a traitor,” to the Republican Party. Apparently no self-respecting Republican would do that.
Now I have no problem with them attacking me. I have no problem when they question my wife about why she married me (“I mean his political and religious views…Come on!”), but you don’t attack my family. I explained I was proud of my father.
This touched off a skirmish. Not a war, not a battle, just a skirmish (I eventually backed off and left the room). Here’s what I learned from my in-laws:
-Homosexuality is a choice. If a 16 year old kid thinks he or she is gay, they’re really just confused, or they hate God. In fact, the downfall of America apparently coincides with the rise in Homosexuality. If there were fewer gays, the country would be stronger.
-It is because of teachers and public schools for teaching Sex Ed that teenagers are having sex younger and younger. That’s right. If Sex Ed wasn’t taught, then kids wouldn’t have sex. That’s the argument. If Sex Ed weren't taught there would also be fewer Homosexuals.
-John McCain is a traitor to the Republican Party for speaking out against torture. Traitor John, ladies and gentlemen. Traitor John.
This was all in one sitting. Oh, and I’m affecting my wife in a very negative fashion, because she now believes that all politicians are corrupt.
The other highlight for me: My mother-in-laws reasoning to not go to the movies: “People talk. It’s so annoying. You want to watch the movie but some person is sitting there talking away.” So, we watch Elf at the house. What does she do the whole time? TALK! She talked through the whole movie. I finally asked her to stop, because she was driving me nuts. She was describing all the actions, asking questions, and talking about things that nothing to do with the movie. “Oh that reminds me, two weeks ago I was going through the laundry when….”
Sigh. I could have seen the Johnny Cash movie or any other film, but alas, I was not allowed to go alone (so said my wife).
Let me say it again. I like my in-laws. We get along with each other (usually). Partially due to the fact that we can talk to each other and partially due to the fact that we avoid topics we’ll argue over. I get along with them (usually better than this). They treat me very well, and they have told my wife (or at least she says they have) that she couldn’t have married any better. They’re good people. We just have different views about the world. That’s normal.
Before you say anything, my wife’s relationship with my family is a little different. It’s less about arguing about different viewpoints and more about trying to figure out what the hell are my parents talking about (that’s the problem when two genius Bibliophiles talk to the each other: No one knows which way is out). That being said, if my wife disagreed with my parents’ P.O.V, she would be allowed to argue and not be made to feel as if she was a bad person (or un-American).
And if you have to question how I know I love my wife then listen to this: I’m returning to Missouri for Christmas. That’s right, my family gets no holiday this year…and my mom…not so happy about that.
Still, for all the downsides of this Turkey Day, I’m still grateful that I was able to be with my wife. She makes all the little things that drive me nuts vanish with a hug and a kind word.

That’s love in my opinion.
In the end I know what this is really about: The differences in people. I don't blame my in-laws for anything, and I don't think they're stupid for having different opinions. We are different. I celebrate it. Sure, it drives me insane, but my father put it best: "Sam Rayburn once said, 'You get along by going along, and you go along by getting along.' Do you understand?"
I do, Dad. I may not agree with my in-laws beliefs or politics, but I respect them for sticking to their guns and for being able to laugh with me. I also thank them for giving me permission to marry their daughter.