stories, lessons, and a lot of nonsense

Archive for the ‘humor’ Category

I am afraid of Pop Tarts. They’ve attacked me.

I have a reasonable fear of Pop Tarts.  It is a fear born out of experience.  One attacked me when I was in high school.  No one threw it at me.  It attacked on its own.  I have not been able to enjoy them fully since that time.

One morning before school, I grabbed a Pop Tart from the cupboard.  Actually, I grabbed a Meijer (off) brand toaster pastry, which is (to the best of my knowledge) actually made by Kellogg’s, so it was a Pop Tart in sheep’s clothing. I took said pastry and put it in the toaster, because it is called a toaster pastry, not a cold pastry.  Toasting it magically takes it from bland and cardboardy into a delicious treat – a delicious treat I am afraid to enjoy.

The toaster popped the pastry up, and I grabbed one and put it on my plate.  Then I grabbed the second one, but before it could be placed safely on my plate, it broke in half.  Half went to the floor, which was okay, but the other half landed napalm side down right in the center of my hand right hand.  I didn’t cry, but I did simultaneously get some dust in my eye, which caused it to well up with tears.  Tears meant for cleansing dust from my eye, not meant for indicating sad emotions or pain.  This half of the pasty hit the wall, as I flung it from my hand.

I immediately ran my hand under cold water, which was pointless.  It only stung more.  A blister appeared and grew to a quarter inch high off the palm of my hand, spanning over an inch in length.  My mom, being the worrier, made me go to the doctor.  The diagnosis was bad: I had a third degree burn.  I went to school the next day, unable to do any upper body lifts in gym class.  I showed my teacher the doctor’s note.  He wanted to know what happened.  I told him, and he laughed at me.

Between the emotional scarring of my gym teachers laughter and physical scarring of a fruit filling turned napalm applied to my hand, I have never been able to fully enjoy Pop Tarts since.  I have tried, but my fear of burning is strong.  I’ve tried eating them cold, but they taste awful that way.  It is my burden to bare, and it is a difficult burden to carry.  I see others enjoying their hot breakfast treats, and I smugly eat my granola bars, wondering what could have been.

My Saturday with Jakob

I don’t know if most of you know this, but there is something called a post preaching hangover. It takes a lot of energy and emotion. If you preach at night, the next morning is a bit of a drag. My Monday mornings start out with this feeling every week. Saturday was the same, since I preached on Good Friday, but there would be no rest.

Sarah had Easter choir practice, so it was me and Jakob. We hung out for a couple hours. Here is a pictorial account of our day.


sweet to lick – repost

I love the Karate Kid movies – well, all of them except the one with Hillary Swank. To be fair, I’ve never seen it, and I probably never will.  Anyway, growing up in the 80′s, karate was the coolest thing ever because of these movies. Dan and I used to practice our Karate Kid moves in the basement. We’d do the crane kick, the hammer punch, and the flip over the shoulder.  Whoever was playing the part of Daniel Larusso had to yell, “Step back, Daniel-san,” in his best Japanese accent before performing the move.  The person to be flipped would stand on the arm of the couch, and the Daniel-san would stand on couch cushion right in front of it. It was pretty much amazing.

One line that always meant a lot to both me and Dan was, “Sweet to lick. You got a problem with that?” There’s only one problem with that line: he was saying, “Sweep the leg…” We thought “sweet to lick” was a cool way of saying, “finish him!” Turns out we were wrong. We didn’t even discover our error until a couple of years ago. But still, to my brother and I, the line will stay the same. We’re too old to change. You don’t like that? That’s fine. If you bring it up, one of us might say, “sweet to lick,” and the other one will finish you. Shake and bake.

Here’s the video for everyone who likes punk music and sweeping the leg.


i’m a boxing legend

I love the scene in one of the Charlie Brown Christmas specials where Linus tries without much success to go sledding down a big hill in a cardboard box. I wonder if I saw this as a child and hoped to one day outdo Linus with my very own cardboard stunt. Well, whether I did or not, outdo him I did. At the age of 20, I – along with a good friend – became a boxing legend.

Two days ago, I was in Grand Rapids. Sarah and I decided that since we were going, we should swing by the bank I used to work at, so we could put Jakob’s savings bond in our safe deposit box. When we were there, one of my former co-workers, Mary Beth, told me that she thinks of me every time they get a shipment in a big box. If marketing is the same as it used to be, she has been reminded of me and my antics 4 times a year for the last 7 years. Why would a big cardboard box remind her of me? I will gladly tell you.
Ever heard the saying, “when the cat’s away, the mice will play?” Our cat boss seemed to be away a lot, leaving my friend and I – consummate mice – time to play. One day when he was away, we got a shipment with a lot of new forms. After we put away the new forms, we were left with a giant, empty cardboard box. Empty boxes went downstairs in one of our storage rooms, where it would be picked up and recycled by the box fairy. One of us thought it would be funny to ride down the tile stairs in the cardboard box like we were sledding. I took it upon myself to go first, and it was awesome. We both got to go down a few times before we broke through the box.
Every time a new giant box came in, we would ride it down the stairs until it was destroyed. Then one day, we had some promotional materials that had to go downstairs. They were about 2 feet x 2 feet x an inch. Being made of cardboard, they seemed like perfect new sleds, so we tried them out. That was scary. It was so scary that both of us stuck our hands and feet out as we flew down the stairs. Our black dress shoes left black scuff lines on the walls all the way down the stairs. Several years later, after we both had gone, a new manager came along and noticed the scuffs. No one could explain them. They had been there for several years, but the origin was a mystery to all. Regardless of where they came from, they were unacceptable, and had to be painted over. Five years after the incident, all evidence has been removed. The cardboard has probably been broken down and recycled into a new box, and the mystery lines are painted over. But the legend lives on.

what is a chumpstain?

Throughout my marriage, I have shocked and awed Sarah with some of the things I say and do in my sleep. For instance, when I was working full time and going to school full time, I was a tired guy. It took me a while to adjust to this fatigue. For the first month of it, I would come home from work at 10:30 PM and crash right away. Once I’m asleep, I do not like being disturbed. Sarah knew this, so I say she took a calculated risk when she decided that working out in the bedroom when I was asleep. She was lifting weights on my side of the room, right next to the bed, and I guess I didn’t like it. When she was bent over noisily adjusting the equipment, clanging metal on metal, I half rolled out of bed and kicked her right in the tooshy.

You would think Sarah would have learned her lesson about messing with a sleeping me, but nope, she didn’t. One day, while I was crashed on the couch, she decided she wanted to do some laundry. She wanted to do all the whites, including the undershirt I was wearing. She came and nudged me and asked for it. I squirmed and mumbled, and I definitely did not concede. She decided to try to get the shirt off of me herself. This didn’t work either. I wriggled more, and more angrily grunted, like Tim Taylor. Finally, I sat up straight pretty quickly and looked right at her. She thought I was annoyed enough to give her the shirt. Nope. After a couple of seconds, I laid down again, only with my head on the other side of the couch. Ever persistent, Sarah walked over to the other side of the couch and continued her pursuit. I didn’t take this well at all. In fact, I’m pretty sure I got angry, although I was asleep, so I can’t say for sure. After I felt she had gone too far, I sat up again, looked right at her again, and said very caustically, “LAY OFF ME, CHUMPSTAINS!” Then I laid back down and slept like nothing had ever happened. I’m pretty sure that Sarah will never attempt to de-shirt me while I sleep ever again, lest she face the wrath of sleepy time Jeff.

By the way, I’m really not sure what a chumpstain is, but it sounds like a horrible combination of a chump and a stain. I’d never used the phrase before this, but I’ve been sure to use it often since then.

it won’t be easy, but it won’t be as hard as some things…

I start my new job tomorrow, and I am pumped! I will be the Director of Youth and Children’s Ministry (yes, that is a very long title). I actually interviewed for this job several times. I had a phone interview initially. The second time, I had lunch with the staff, an interview with Brenda, an interview with Dave, and then a Q&A with what felt like 50 people. That wasn’t all, though. I came back up for a meeting with the elders, and a bonus interview with Brenda. A huge thanks to Big Ben for traveling with me, since Sarah was not able to make it in her pregnant condition. Finally, the job was offered, and you might guess that I accepted, since I start tomorrow. It was an intensive process, and it seemed like a long one, too, but it didn’t really take that long. It took just long enough.

One question I was asked in every meeting/interview was if I thought it was possible for one person to lead both children’s and youth ministry. I think it’s possible, but it will certainly be difficult, but that’s no big deal. My job at New Hope was difficult, and at times frustrating. My job at Baymeadows was more frustrating than difficult, but it was certainly trying. I expect every ministry position I take to be difficult, but people make it bearable. The people I’ve ministered to in my last two stops have made it worth every bit of frustration I’ve dealt with, and I expect that the awesome people of Kalamazoo Community will do the same.

Being a pastor is difficult. Few would question that. But there is one thing that is more difficult than being a pastor: having a mustache. It’s true. I’m not the only one that feels this way. Check out this video:

for the love of sarcasm

Happy Yom Kippur and a blessed National Sarcasm Day to you. It’s interesting to me that today people are celebrating both holidays. Blessing and cursing all in one day. That sounds like my life. I’ll be honest, I’ve never observed Yom Kippur, but I’m sure I have relatives somewhere celebrating right now. As for National Sarcasm Day, I celebrate that every day. I find sarcasm as natural and as essential as breathing. Without either, I would cease to be me, although one would clearly take a greater toll on me. It’d be a tragedy either way, so I’ll keep doing both on a daily basis.

Maybe I’ve mentioned this on my blog before (I’m too lazy to research), but my delicious brand of sarcasm wasn’t necessarily a welcomed entity in the south. Many people took me (and themselves) too seriously at our church down there, and so when I would say something sarcastically (in conversation or while preaching), some people would get offended. Now, had I said “just kidding” at the end of the joke, I would have been off the hook. It’s like insulting someone and adding, “bless his/her heart” or “God love ‘em,” and feeling like you did nothing wrong. To many of them, sarcasm is saying something that’s not true and quickly tagging “just kidding” at the end before you had time to process the information. That’s not sarcasm. That’s telling a joke. I don’t tell jokes. I say stupid things that amuse me, and sometimes others, and I let you sort out whether I’m being serious or not. You see, I give people credit for being intelligent individuals – no doubt a stretch for some – and I believe that using your brain, you can deduce whether or not I’m being serious. So I may be joking, but I will never tell you that I’m just kidding as a form of explanation to you. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. So, please, for the love of sarcasm, stop saying just kidding every time you say something that’s supposed to be a joke. Give it a try. It will make you feel better.

Happy Sarcasm Day. It’s my favorite holiday of the year. Just kidding.

just one of the girls

I noticed something strange when I took our car to Pep Boys for an oil change: all but one of the magazines seemed out of place. They had Women’s Health, People, Home and Garden, etc, and then one lonely car magazine. I wondered to myself, “Why would they have a bunch of ladies magazines at a car place?” Then it occurred to me. There are probably a higher percentage of women that bring their cars in for oil changes than men. In fact, based on the magazines, they must estimate that 95% of their clientele will be women. I guess I’m just another one of the ladies, unable (or at least unwilling) to change the oil in the car.

In all fairness and to my credit, I have changed the oil in my car one time. But, not to my credit, I didn’t like getting my hands all dirty. So yeah, I’m just one of the girls. Quickly, someone pamper me.

top 10 reasons why I’m glad we’re having a son

When we first learned that Sarah was pregnant, I was hoping that we’d have a little girl. Come to think of it, though, I only had two reasons I wanted a little girl: one, she would probably be a daddy’s girl; and, two, she would probably look a lot like Sarah who was a cute baby, little girl, teenager, and adult. Now that I’ve known for a while that we are having a son, I’ve had time to think of all the great reasons a dad would want a son. Here are my top 10. I’m not sure they’re in proper order. To be honest, all of these reasons are great, and they could be in any order.

10. Being boyish is acceptable. No one says, “you know, your son’s kind of a tomboy.”

9. I’ll never have to sit with him while he cries about the weird cramps and bleeding he’s

8. I won’t have to worry about boys. I was a boy, and I know what they are thinking.

7. The bride’s family pays for the wedding. My son will not be a bride.

6. I can walk around the house in my underwear forever!

5. I’ll never worry about him leaving the house dressed one way, and then changing into
something skankier when he’s out the door.

4. Hannah Montana (or whoever takes her mantle) will never be watched in my home.

3. There’s a very good chance that he’ll be just like me.

2. He’ll cause so much trouble for Sarah that I’ll be under the radar and get away with more.

1. I won’t have to go shopping for make-up, girls underwear, pads, dresses, etc.

stupid girl.

You probably don’t know this about Sarah, but she’s got quite a temper. She suffered from road rage in Florida on a regular basis. Now, I know what you’re thinking. “He’s doing a post about his wife called stupid girl? He shouldn’t call her that.” Some of you sprinkled some expletives and other descriptive words in that thought, that’s probably the core of your thoughts. Don’t worry, though, I’m not calling her stupid girl. We’ll get there. We’re talking about her temper. It’s really odd, because she’s normally so quiet, and unless you’ve seen it, you would never see it coming. If you take her temper and add it to her germ freakiness, you end up with a really scared girl in a laundry room expecting to catch a beating from a little Korean girl.

Our first home was a little studio apartment in Wyoming, MI. We lived downstairs, right across from the laundry room. Sarah would commonly put laundry in, and then come back to our apartment to do dinner. There’s no reason to hang out in there when you live right across the hall. Of course, we didn’t know laundry room etiquette, which says that if someone is waiting for that washing machine, and you don’t take your laundry within thirty seconds of cycle completion, they are within their rights to put your clean laundry on top of the dirty public washing machines. Enter Stupid Girl. Sarah would still refer to this girl as this if she was reminded of her today, and after reading my blog, she will be.

Sarah went across the hall to switch over our laundry within two minutes of it being done, and there was all of our clean laundry on top of the machines. I was in the apartment, and I knew within seconds that something had gone wrong across the hall. I quickly came over, and my seething wife was lacing into the offender that had touched her clean laundry with her dirty hands and put it on the dirty washing machines, and it wasn’t your normal neighborly banter. I had to coax her across the hall, promising that I would take care of it. The girl was so scared that she offered $2.50 to let us wash both loads again, and I told Sarah I would take it. I went back across the hall, and the girl is shaking scared. I’m pretty sure she thought Sarah was going to jump her, and I can’t say with all certainty that she wouldn’t have. I apologized and explained to her why she shouldn’t have moved our laundry and how sensitive my wife was about germs, and that the machines weren’t remotely clean on the outside. I thought we had settled things well. Everyone was calm…in that room.

I went back to our apartment, and Sarah was pacing the small kitchen. She was not feeling any better. I was pretty sure we agreed, though, that it was over. I thought it was safe to leave her unattended, so I used the restroom. I heard the door open and shut while I was in there, and then I heard my quiet wife being not quiet at all again. I walked back across the hall to a similar scene: rabid Sarah? Check. Shaking girl? Check. Our laundry still sitting on dirty machines? Check. A new variable was added: tears. Stupid Girl was crying almost as violently as Sarah was talking. I had to get my wife out of there again, apologize again, and this time I had to stand awkwardly in the door while the girl settled down. I wouldn’t normally comfort a crying woman that wasn’t my wife, but since my wife made her cry, I felt obligated. It was tremendously not awesome.

This was a long time ago. Sarah would never do that again. She has her own washer and dryer, so I can say that with all certainty. Plus, we’re much older and a little mellower. But this will always be one of my favorite Sarah stories. Basically, here are my favorite stories about her: one, she married me; two, Stupid Girl; three, everything else.


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