Monday, August 25, 2008

Croc Attack

We get Newsweek here at home and I read one of the most hilarious things ever... Several week ago a journalist wrote an article about crocs which you can see Here This article caused a swarm of responses which prompted the journalist to write a follow-up which was what amused me. America is ridiculous....

A Croc of … Wit

Readers lash a rant against the popular rubber clog

By Steve Tuttle

Over the last couple of weeks I've received at least five marriage proposals and a couple of death threats. One guy told me he wanted to shoot me. Another thought a knife would be best. I was called a bad father and a wonderful, caring man. Several women admitted their undying love for me, and several men wanted to do something to me with a shoe that is anatomically impossible. At least one person thinks I'm "friggin' hilarious." But many, many more have concluded that I am an "idiot," a "dork" and a "loser."

My crime? I wrote an essay for NEWSWEEK in which I said that I sorta, kinda, maybe don't like Crocs shoes all that much. OK, I said I hated them and that people who wear them are dorky. It was an Ed Anger-style rant for a lazy August afternoon, intended to brighten the Friday of our Web readers and maybe make them chuckle a little. I had hoped a few people who noticed the story would even leave a quick comment.

I had no idea what I was in for. Within hours, there were hundreds and hundreds of comments. Within a few days there were thousands. The people who wrote in were elated. They were furious. They demanded to be heard. Tip to fellow journalists: Forget the presidential election. Never mind Iraq. The death penalty? Gun control? Feh. If you want to inflame the passions of the American people, write about rubber clogs.

I was called "absolutely brilliant" and a complete "dumbass." I was accused of being a racist and yet somehow pro-Barack Obama because I ended my rant with a jokey "Yes! We! Can!" Some said I was just plain un-American for criticizing neon clown shoes that are made in Mexico, Italy, Romania, China, Canada, and the United States. One patriot went so far as to accuse me of stirring the pot "with the stick of America." I honestly have no idea what that means, but at least it makes me sound manly.

Many, many people speculated that I was a big loser in high school. If being in charge of the Senior Class Homecoming float and being the water carrier for the varsity football team makes me a loser, then fine. But one guy defended me on this front: "I want to be a has-been high school loser, too. He's clever, witty, ironic AND brilliant." Clearly, this reader gets me.

Two themes ran through the negative comments: One, that I shouldn't spend my time railing against rubber shoes in a world threatened by war and disease and global warming; and two, that I am an idiot. Many of those who accused me of slacking off as a journalist—and there were hundreds—were no doubt themselves reading the article and posting about it while they were at work, on company time. As far as I can tell, I was the only one who was actually doing my job. Some of the more entertaining comments came from the second group—the ones who accused me of being an idiot. A reader with the user name Castanee was "amased of myself that was cappable of reading through this lines." Ouch. that stings, I think. A Crocs lover who goes by Allen54456 thought I should try to be more "revenant." Another angry reader wondered how I ever got "publicated."

There were many suggestions about how I could better use my time, from killing myself to seeing "how long it takes to replace all your light bulbs with energy saver bulbs." I'll choose the latter if that's OK. One guy said my essay was "fascism disguised as humor." Many thought my outlandish opinions about the shoes were a threat to our free society. At least a couple of people accused me of encouraging genocide. For the record, in no way did I intend the article to encourage genocide, and to the extent that it might have done so, I apologize.

Bitter Crocs owners said they were going to rush out to buy more Crocs to punish me. Darn, didn't see that coming. Many, many readers thought I was a terrible father because I let my son poke gentle fun at people who wore Crocs. Farmgirl12 put it best when she said, "I cant beleive your raisin your son like that." One thought I was a cool dad for spending time with my boy, but that maybe it might be best if I "didn't procreate again." From your typewriter to God's ear, my friend. Another felt sorry for my son for "having a goober dad with a job writing about shoes." That one made me laugh out loud; I'll definitely be stealing that line. So will my boy.

One angry reader said he could picture me in my ivory tower sipping wine by candlelight as I typed my essay. That is a gross mischaracterization. I drink bourbon. Guilty on the candle, though.

One woman wrote that she thought it was unfair to judge me just from one story so she went and looked up my other work. She thought all of those stories sucked, too. SeriouslySad agreed: "The writer is obviously not a good one, he works for Newsweek." Another careful reader said he couldn't believe Time magazine paid me to write such garbage. The good news for me is that all of this angry reading of my awful prose drove up my traffic numbers, which only encourages my editors to let me commit more acts of bad writing. The Crocs story alone got millions of hits, so you haters can look forward to hilarious rants about people talking in public on cell phones andnasty airline food. You have only yourselves to thank.

One quick side note: To reader Eroticism, who wrote, "I think I love you," and to laftacad who went all the way and said, "I officially love you," and to all of the women who proposed marriage: could you please send photos? I know we'll have at least two important things in common right off the bat: you love me and you don't wear Crocs.

I went through every single one of the thousands of responses and letters, and some of them were tough to read. But one stood out, and I'd like to close with it, because one Crocs wearer, Leayellowrose, got the joke: "OMG ... This was hilarious!!! Thanks for the laugh. I lost my 4 year old to brain cancer in January and hadn't laughed this much since ... Now, that being said, I wear Crocs all the time!!!"

It was signed, "A dork in Texas."


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Reflections from the Summer

As the days are now counted down to less than a week till I go back to school, and I have not much better to do than watch my cats stalk each other, I figured I should look back and reflect on the past summer experience and draw some conclusions.

I worked at Camp Cherokee for the better part of this summer, about 8 weeks. I readily admitted that I never really wanted to work at camp. I never went to camp myself. I didn’t grow up around horses and canoes, archery or sailing. And I never felt a burning desire to experience these things. Therefore the thought of going to or working at camp was never foremost in my list of summer ambitions. However, through several circumstances: volunteering last year and the persistent bugging of the camp director are notable; I ended up working at camp this summer. I was hired as a counselor and craft assistant. Crafts largely involved ceramics which I had never done before. But that soon became comfortable with the presence of one of my good friends in crafts with me. By the end of the summer I was running the craft house by myself and despite breaking a couple ceramics and a window on the craft house, I did fine.

As far as being a counselor…that was an interesting experience. I am the type of person who has ideals for everything and thinks about things a lot. However, as far as practical experience, I am usually lacking.

It is interesting how satan takes advantage of our weaknesses. I alluded in a previous blog how starting the summer at camp was such a struggle in that I felt that satan was plaguing my mind with doubt. This will always happen when one steps out of their comfort zone. Camp was outside of my comfort zone in about every possible way. I don’t like being in charge. I am not naturally assertive. Being in charge of the craft house and especially as a counselor I had to be on top of things and not passive. We started with teen week and that was a tremendous struggle. In the middle of the week I was sitting on the director’s porch crying out my frustrations. However, I survived. I can never thank Kristin, my co-counselor enough for her presence that week. Junior week and adventurer week were such blessings compared to teen week. We had several incidents. Bed wetting, homesickness, girls fighting amongst themselves. It was stressful and exhausting. But rewarding. I think generally speaking I did a good job.

Family Camps were fantastic. I enjoyed them immensely. It was a welcome break from 24/7 supervising children. There was more free time and it was great to be around families. Ministering was a different concept with the families than the kids. With the kids we could essentially say “let’s talk about Jesus..” but with the families it was different. And for me, I felt that some of the families were ministering to me more than we were them. It was such a blessing to be around families which were centered on Jesus. It seems like only the families I see day to day are so messed up. And yes, there were those too at camp, but there were families where it was so obvious that the parents loved Jesus and were working to have a Godly relationship with their spouses and children. It was so encouraging and inspiring to see.

Some other notable camp memories are:

  • · Doing Bible studies with the kids. One girl had absolutely no knowledge of the Bible. She didn’t know what the Garden of Eden was or who Adam and Eve were. And it was amazing to see her start reading her Bible at nights.
  • · Our Sabbath afternoon activity was a walk through the 2300 days. The kids went through a walk through the woods and around campus and met people through history and different activities. I was a “deceiver” who tried to make the kids leave their path and then they would be arrested. It was hilarious fun.
  • · Days off randomness: camping, eating fudge, lake placid, hiking gorge for $10, walking barefoot when my flip flop broke etc etc
  • · The “Gallant Gentleman” of Cherokee had a breakfast for the “Lovely Ladies” of Cherokee
  • · Salty the camp cat was the most matted animal I have ever seen. She was appalling. I took scissors to her mats whenever I could.
  • · Having my eye nearly swell shut from bug bites during staff week. “Little lady with the eye problem.”
  • · Running in to a door and soon after falling flat on my butt in mud when trying to enact revenge on a worthy person. Revenge is never worth it. I had not been so dirty in years.
  • · Speaking of which, I was always dirty. I don’t think I was clean all summer.
  • · The cinnamon sugar toast epidemic during kid’s camps. I have never seen children eat so much toast in my life. Those kids ate way more than me.
  • · My first kayaking experience. Although there was much whimpering and whines, it was fun.
  • · My first horse riding experience since I was 13. It’s like a slow cumbersome car.
  • · My first archery experience. Though several arrows were lost in the woods, it was grand. I did manage to hit the targets. Some of those bows are hard. It’s harder than it looks.
  • · The raccoons that were adorable.
  • · Being a drunkard in the passion play.
  • · The most amazing cherry, orange, various fruit jelly I have ever had.
  • · One of my girls chewed through a glow stick and had it in her mouth.
  • · Bedwetting and homesickness.
  • · Lice…..and the pink eye that threatened being an epidemic.
  • · CPR
  • · Praying over the kilns, that they would work. (they were questionable)
  • · Shooting stars and the call of loons in the night.

There are many more I am sure. So, do I want to go back to camp? Well, I don’t know. I feel like I missed out on a lot of the enjoyment I could have had simply because I didn’t know what to expect. That would be different if I returned. When people have asked me how camp was, I have been responding “character-building.” It definitely was. Christ gave me strength in my weakness. Those verses of “my strength is sufficient for you. For my power is made perfect in weakness…for when I am weak, then I am strong” were definitely the promise I claimed, especially during kid’s camps. I enjoyed getting to know the staff. I wish everyone had stayed through family camps because there was definitely more hang-out time then.

Overall it was definitely a positive experience. I felt at home there. And learned a lot. I actually wasn’t exhausted when I left. It actually progressively got easier throughout the summer. However, the last week for some reason the Pastors/teachers wanted breakfast at 7am which was lovely. But besides still getting up early, the stress was minimized as the summer went on.

So in one week I will have had class today. I’m very excited to go back to SAU, my best friend and our apartment. I have very high expectations for my senior year of college. Can you believe it? I sure can’t.

I cut my hair- not the best pics
but I'm not great at posing for myself