Monday, July 25, 2011

A Tale of Two Tommys

Once upon a time, French Tommy bought a sweater.

French Tommy liked his sweater so much. It kept him warm in the bitter Paris winter and fit his slender frame as though it were knit especially for him. He even wore it to a Thanksgiving party in Paris last year.

American Tommy then borrowed the sweater a time or two during the Georgia winter and then placed it in a plastic tub with the rest of the winter clothes that were no longer necessary in early spring. Then, re-energized with the onset of a new calendar year, American Tommy and Pastor Dan kicked their workouts up a notch or two throughout the spring and early summer months. When Pastor Dan moved from Atlanta down further south, American Tommy continued lifting for several weeks in preparation for moving all of he and Abbey’s earthly belongings to Tallahassee. When Abbey suggested using sweaters and winter clothing to wrap the more fragile of these belongings, American Tommy stumbled across French Tommy’s sweater and mockingly tried it on.

This irritated prideful French Tommy and prompted the following exchange:

French Tommy (FrT): Hey Meathead, take my sweater off you’re stretching it out.
American Tommy (AmT): No problem, slim, it’s 157 degrees in Atlanta today anyway.
FrT: Well why don’t you just run around with no shirt on and drink a protein shake you dumbbell pushing gym rat?
AmT: Why don’t you go eat a baguette and ride the metro…you…baguette eating metro rider?
FrT: You’re mad because you’d no longer comfortably fit on the metro.
AmT: We don’t use metros in America, we use cars like real, freedom loving people should.
FrT: You also are paying 40 bucks a tank to sit in one place getting frustrated while you collectively trash the o-zone.
AmT: Well…at least we love Freedom.
FrT: Well at least our government isn’t gridlocked in a giant “whose [ego] is bigger” controversy over raising an arbitrarily assigned number that has been raised roughly 100 times before and, by not raising, could have dire consequences for the global market – thanks for that.
AmT: Shutup.
FrT: No witty comeback or are you just looking at yourself in the mirror again, admiring your trapeziuses?
AmT: Nobody says trapeziuses.
FrT: Nobody here has them, how should I know?
AmT: By nobody you mean you because you are too cheap to buy a gym membership.
FrT: It was a matter of accessibility and fiscal responsibility, as well as an embarrassing inability to speak French well upon my arrival thanks to…whose fault was that again…ah yes…yours.
AmT: Speaking of which – your abbreviated name looks like fart.
FrT: Real mature.
AmT: That wasn’t my point, just something I noticed. Anyway, I need to take a French test this Fall proving that I can translate a passage of French to English, wanna help me out?
FrT: Let’s see…do it yourself sweater stretcher.
AmT: Get over it Frenchie. Have some vin rouge and calm down.
FrT: Go bench press yourself.
AmT: That doesn’t even make sense.
Floridian Tommy: Can’t we all just get along?
FrT/AmT: Who are you? And why are you so red?
FLT: It’s sunny down here and thanks to both of you, I had no basetan so now I’m sunburned. Anyway, we live in Florida now. I say ‘we’ because we are now going to be pursuing a PhD in comparative religious ethics while lifting weights and enjoying vin rouge. We all need to get along and stop stretching out each other’s clothes.
AmT: That’s kind of a one way street, there, guy.
FrT: Another witty retort, go burn some fossil fuels and pass racist legislation like Georgia’s HB 87 or Arizona’s SB1070.
AmT: Or France’s Burqa Ban. Racist Pot, this is Xenophobic Kettle, I think you two would get along grandly.
FLT: Did I mention you study religious responses to socio-political oppression and both of your academic/life experiences are going to be necessary to even think about beginning this project?
FrT: I can’t work with this fast food eating, flag waving, baseball cap wearing, smug tourist.
AmT: I don’t eat fast food or wave a flag and I’m not a tourist you cheese sniffing, pointed nosed, snooty croissant face.
FrT: Croissant face. Clever. No wonder you did so well on the GRE Verbal.
AmT: Shut up.
FrT: Another witty American retort.
FLT: You two need to figure this out sometime in the next couple weeks or we’re all going to look like buffoons. In the meantime, stop stretching clothing and making fun of your nations inadequacies – the whole world is in a less-than-favorable political and economic state at the moment so those disparaging remarks are quite useless. In the meantime, musclehead can go back to packing and carrying boxes and shelves and frenchie…don’t forget any French or anything you learned in France, we’re going to need it. Meet back in a week and we’ll try to sort out your differences.
FrT: Stop stealing my stuff.
AmT: Go ride the metro.
FLT: Stop it. Go Pack. Go study.

Stay tuned. Thanks for reading.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Peter, Paul, and Mary: Meet Charles

A Foray into Photojournalism

Peter and Paul (aka dinner)and Mary (aka diner)

Dinner time?

Mary is huge. Dinner postponed. Something is amiss.

The Enemy Approaches

Mary: crumpled and vanquished in the corner. Peter: Hanging lifeless by a thread. Paul: ground into the pavement. Charles "Chuck" Taylor: triumphant.

thanks for reading/viewing

Thursday, July 7, 2011

On to the next one: a year in review

Author's Note: It has been so long since I last posted that blogger has reinvented itself in a confusing new user interface.  It is my hope that my first man-computer interaction with this new interface is successful and you are all able to joyfully read my latest musings.

As Abbey and I begin to once again box our belongings and attempt to locate the most inexpensive mode of transportation for our ever expanding trove of furniture and gnome-related knick-knacks I can’t help but take a sarcasm-and-run-on-sentence-laden nostalgic look back at the past 12 months or so.  Upon my attempted re-entry to the Amurrican workforce I was faced with a familiar dilemma which my year in France had afforded me the opportunity to somewhat forget about: to Church or not to Church?  I’m not talking the “do-I-stop-hitting-snooze-and-get-my-ass-out-of-bed-on-Sunday-to-attend-a-worship-service-as-is-the-socio-religious-custom-of-many-whose-demographic-classifications-coincide-with-my-own” type of Church dilemma, but rather the “do-I-devote-most-if-not-all-waking-hours-answering-a-call-I’m-not-sure-I-really-hear-in-order-to-help-provide-insight-to-the-spiritual-and-philosophical-quandaries-of-a-local-congregation-thereby-outwardly-affirming-god’s-call-to-and-claim-on-my-life” type of Church dilemma.  My decision was somewhat made for me when I began to test the waters for full-time churchwork-related interfaith positions and found less than a few, furthermore, it seemed that the more “traditional” jobs for seminary-educated folks who aren’t quite ordained as of yet (youth director) had been, at least in the expansive metro-Atlanta PC(USA) universe, relegated to part-time status (apparently god did not escape the recession unscathed).  This would be ideal for one who was still in school seeking to supplement their Federally subsidized temporary income; however, for one who is seeking something to occupy his time for approximately 40 hours per week and provide a means to put food and beverage on the proverbial table this arrangement was less-than-sterling.  Additionally, having discussed “part-time” churchwork with many who will remain nameless I came to realize that “part-time” in this field tended to refer moreso to the monetary reimbursement than to time one was committing.  Further complicating matters was the question as to whether I would give PhD applications another go (I had another publication under my belt, had completed masters numero dos, was much more directed in my scholarly interests, and would now be able to personally visit the schools I would be applying to…leading me to believe I could make myself a stronger candidate than I had been the previous year).  After discussing with Abbey and coming to the conclusion that I would once again apply to PhD programs, I knew I would need a job that would be flexible enough to allow time off for campus visits, phone interviews, and would provide enough money each week to pay some bills without requiring an amount of hours each week that would hinder my ability to revise a writing sample, contact and meet with recommendation writers, research programs and faculty, improve my resume by gaining teaching experience/professional affiliations/conference presentation, and find a way to succinctly state my area of academic interest and future career goals in a manner that would make an otherwise stoic academe exclaim, “I must work with this student!”  

One last requirement for this temporary dream job is that I would not have to take it home with me, so to speak…a job without homework whose stress I could check at its employee entrance as I strolled to the car at the end of a shift.  A job that I would have to take seriously enough to avoid being terminated but not seriously enough to require undue stress.  A job at the golf club I worked at through Seminary.  I interviewed with the new head of banquet staff who hired me on the spot pending a drug test  (I would learn that this hiring occurred two days before the aforementioned head of banquet staff flung a stack of event order forms in the air and yelled “I fornicatingly quit” before walking out the door one last time…an action which had the [probably] unintended consequence of requiring my first day back at work to include two shifts with a meeting with a new boss [who had never met me] occurring between the two events). I spent the year pouring drinks, picking up dirty plates, moving tables and chairs, and catering to the whims of a portion of Atlanta’s wealthy elite.  I have purposefully not blogged about work or any of the three churches at which I taught this year due to the fact that, unlike in Paris, the people I work for and/or with and/or teach would have a relatively easy time googling my name and arriving at this blog only to see that I have devoted an afternoon or evening to constructing what would be, to me and likely many of you, a hilarious piece of literary genius which would cast them in a less-than-flattering light causing them to contact my employer/pastor of whatever church I may have taught at, which would, in turn, cause me to be reprimanded in some manner, which would, in turn, deny me the aforementioned luxury of leaving work stress at work.  I realize that this is likely overly cautious and that, despite having roughly 500 facebook friends, my blog posts typically generate substantially less than 500 views, but, alas, I haven’t blogged about work yet and likely will not do so now.

I will, however, say that those whom I and my colleagues serve have made/are making quite a decent living as we the workers are reimbursed with what amounts to barely qualifying for what the government would refer to as an “annual living wage.”  This is not to say that “the rich” are bad, or to impose judgment on groups or individuals, especially by saying one is "better" or "more Amurrican," but rather to say that the disparity in income in this city, has become, to me, over the course of this year, quite stark.  Furthermore, it has not been lost on me that each day I, personally, am one of many who disposes of a good amount of food, placing it in a dumpster near a lush golf course tucked just blocks away from a dozen or so homeless shelters and the tired, weary masses who live shelterless.  Perhaps I’ll elaborate on my experiences at a later date in the form of some kind of extended book-like prose, but for now, I am satisfied to study and contribute to the further study of religious responses to socio-economic and political oppression - or at least the religious thought arising from such conditions, whether the call-response motif is accurate or helpful is quite debatable - with my experience of subservience to a group of “haves” likely serving as the ever-present backdrop to my scholarly pursuits.

My that was quite a tangent.  Well, over the course of last fall, while working 15-45 hours/week at the club, I developed several goals for myself, some professional (i.e. start a career soon, publish something and present something somewhere each calendar year) and some personal (i.e. read books for fun, be able to pick up and put down increasingly heavy things [I've recently begun a powerlifting workout regimen that is a lot of fun], continue to enjoy spending time with my wife, etc.).  I’ve hit most of the goals I’ve set, so here’s to making new ones.  We have set a moving date for the first week of August, I will put in my two weeks’ notice at the Golf Club today in order to resign the day before Abbey and I celebrate 5 years of marriage.  Classes begin at the end of August for me while Abbey will continue to plug away at the leviathan known as the dissertation.  All in all it should be an exciting couple of months then years for the Carrico, Jrs as we continue to pretend to be real, live, grown ups.

As always, thanks for reading.