Those Damn Teenage Years

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In a recent conversation with my soon to be fourteen year old son, I was reminded of my youth, the choices I was forced to make, and how rough it really is being that age. I like to think I’m taking a different approach to parenting than the approach my parents took with me, I was raised in a wrath of God house by two very devout Catholics with closet human tendencies. Of course, my wife and my style differs from many parents as I’m told. I also get told I’m doing it wrong, the parents are the boss. Before you assume way to much here, I’m not the “friend” parent type. I am the type of parent who has instilled justifiable fear into his children, after all they live in my house, sleep in my house, and scary shit happens when you least expect it. Anyway, I’ve tried very hard to not raise quitters in a society where quitting has become the norm. I believe in self esteem because without it you have little control of your inward or outward emotions. But, we all get to the point where we start asking when is enough going to be enough, when will the madness end, and why can’t this be easier.

We all have given up at some point. All of us at a certain point have stopped believing that we’ll be able to make it. Some of us have done it often, some just very few times, but all of us know how it feels.The  sad fact is that most of us give up far too soon.My son explained to me that he was thinking the other day, why does he actually give up? What are his most common reasons and are there any ways to get around those reasons for giving up?

He thinks discouragement is the biggest reason for quitting and failure. No matter what you have decided to do, as soon as you share it with people there will be at least few who will tell you that YOU Can’t Do it and come up with different reasons about why it can’t be done. At that point you may decide to give up the idea even before giving it a try.  Instead of thinking about giving up think about how are you going to prove all those people wrong.  In fact proving those who doubt me wrong has been pretty good motivation for me so far, I have spent a lifetime trying to stay on top of my game. As well, if you don’t believe in yourself you will always be tempted to give up because you won’t believe in your success. The self-doubt will be keeping you from pushing forward.

I somehow thought that I was not strong enough to make my dreams come true, but then there was a shift in mindset which sort of set me free. And it was one simple realization. The realization that none of the people who have succeeded are better than me. They worked harder, they were persistent and they believed in their dreams, but they were not actually better, just approached life differently, as most of us do. These days there are so many distractions… Social media, TV series, and different smart phone notifications not letting you focus on the important things. If you don’t keep focus on your goal you will end up with insufficient results and that will discourage you even further. But, as I discussed with my son, social media didn’t exist when I was growing up, none of this shit did. My social media was friends and family. My internet was called “the outdoors”, I earned my allowance by being a part of the family unit team. Unlike today, parents give their children money to just leave them alone. As it is, in our house we are pretty tight, we do allot together on a very regular basis. On top of it all we have dinner together, every night, without fail. Also, no television is on, no cell phones are allowed at the table, and we talk or play games while we eat, there is fun and laughter, and it is also a time to gather to discuss more serious matters, if any.

That reminds me of yet another reason we, as humans, give up, we give up when we don’t get the immediate results. We all want things to happen fast and it is hard to realize that there are things that actually takes time. One can not have instant on and instant off like the flick of a light switch each and every time. Some things, to include pets and people, are more challenging, they take more time, things like trust and value in a person have to be developed and earned, which takes time. There is no such thing as overnight success so we have to keep in mind that it takes time and to be prepared not to give up.

When I am starting something new I am on fire. I am full of enthusiasm and I am motivated. But with the time things may start cooling off and at some point the self-motivation may not be enough to keep me moving. That is when I may think about giving up, that is when I need to go back to beginning and try to recall the big why. Why did I start that project in first place and what was initially motivating me? That brings me back on track most of the time. But still we need motivation, we still need the allure that there is a prize waiting for us at the end. No matter what kind of life you had, you are used to your own personal comfort zone and that brings you great comfort. Now when you have initiated changes you entered the stage of uncertainty and struggle, which by no means is comfortable. What makes me not giving up in those cases is the thought that once I get where I wanna be my new comfort zone will be a much better one. But, what I’ve learned over the years cannot be taught, it has to be experienced. This is my son’s struggle know, the learning curve, stepping out of the comfort zone, finding new experiences doing new things or with new people. Plus, he is at the beautiful age where he has really realized he really likes boobs. One more thing we have in common.

Anything worth achieving is hard. Yes the easiest option is to just give up, but then, will it be easy living with the regret that you gave up midway? On the other hand I would not say that giving up is something terrible and wrong. Sometimes you may end up having too many things on your plate and that may make you overwhelmed. Sometimes you may need to give up certain things because they may not be a priority at that point. I find myself looking at the details in my own life on a regular basis, there is never room for bullshit, it is always the first into the fuckbucket. What is important that you don’t give up your dreams and the things you want really bad. Don’t give up your passion and never give up on life. I understand living with a person like me is challenging, being a sarcastic jackass is a fine art and we all don’t appreciate fine art. We all have given up at some point. All of us at a certain point have stopped believing that we’ll be able to make it. Some of us have done it often, some just very few times, but all of us know how it feels. The  sad fact is that most of us give up far too soon.

Where does all this leave the conversation I was having with my son? Well, he was never actually clear as to what he was thinking about quitting. And, I’m not altogether sure we were even talking about the same thing. Later, while talking with my wife I was informed that a girl he knew in school, friends but not inner circle friends, had committed suicide last week. There was no clear reason why, she left no note, gave the parents no inkling that she was distressed, same with her two sisters, teachers, and friends. Except for one person, who came forward to “confess” to her parents that he knew why. You see, they were boyfriend and girlfriend. She wanted an exclusive relationship (at 14) and he wanted to play the field. She took it had, it killed her self esteem and self worth, and according to him, as she told him, she didn’t feel she was worth the effort of having his love if he was not willing to commit to her. Granted, this is the opinion of a 14 year old boy, and this story was also posted up on Facebook, so I don’t really know if it actually ever happened. But, after going back to my son to talk, he said that I did answer his question of “why people quit” without even knowing that was what I was doing. We talked more, we talked about the cruelty of emotions, especially in a teenager. But suicide is not an easy subject, simply because there isn’t an actual answer to give. The only person who knows is dead.

I don’t know if this makes me angry or sad. I do know that I have been in my sons shoes before, knowing a person who has had her self esteem crushed on a daily basis for “fun” by others. But, that is another topic altogether, since bullying seems to have become so evermore popular these days, or its just more in the public eye these days. As a parent I try to teach my children to hope for the best and prepare for the worst because the two survive together hand in hand. One may think they are just words, but others take those words to heart. As uncomfortable as I was talking with my son about suicide and how I personally believe it should never be the answer for anyone, I was also proud of my son for wanting to sit and talk to me about life, emotions, feelings, relationships, and family with me. It takes courage to begin a conversation with your father when you don’t know what the outcome will be. Both of us feeling a little bummed, we invited the rest of the family to go out for ice cream. Ice cream? Yes, the one thing on the planet stronger than any drug, stronger than and alcohol, stronger than any words, stronger than any bond, it is a time of peace for a troubled mind or a troubled soul. Its a time to take a break from the crap life offers and just enjoy a bite of ice cream.

Yes, I know, ice cream doesn’t solve all problems, but it does give the opportunity to step away from them, not to quit them, but to take a break from them. Everyone needs a break, we all take breaks or celebrate in our own ways. In the end I learned from my son that I should keep my past close so it can be accessed and shared. I never knew my life, in general, would be an education tool for the youth in my family. But then again, we do learn most of what we know from our parents and family. Having children has been the best challenge I never quit. Try something new, get in your child’s head today, give them a nice tight hug, a big smile, and a peck on the cheek. When they ask why just tell them it is because you were thinking about them. It scares the crap out of them. I know from experience that life isn’t easy. It wasn’t designed to be easy. We don’t evolve within ourselves if we are not constantly challenged. Don’t let life discourage you, leave that to the people around you, you know, the people who don’t want you to succeed because they don’t care about succeeding. Until we “meet” again, remember to eat it everyday!

Magic Weekend 4th Of July Edition

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I hope y’all are ready for this 4th of July edition of The Magic Weekend because it was definitely an eye opener for me. As you can see from the photo above I am honoring a promise I made a while back when I said I will do my best to provide y’all with the enclosed pictures as long as I could censor them enough for public display here on The Sting Of The Scorpion. I will warn readers that right here is the place to stop reading if certain language is offensive to you, or if sexual situations being explained offend you, or if you don’t want to read about another bizarre trip to the emergency room. For those of y’all sticking around now let me introduce Shawna (pictured above), age 25. who resides in El Paso Texas. She is currently employed as a graphics designer along with others who were at this particular 4th of July party. So here we go.

“Dear Scorpion Sting,

First of all, please forgive me if there are mistakes in my typing since I write this to you with two broken fingers. I didn’t want to wait because pretty much everything is still a fresh memory as I sit here this Sunday morning. I hope you can use a few of the pictures I sent in, I didn’t take any of them except for the ones of my broken fingers, but all the rest were found on my phone afterwards. I am glad someone was nice enough to document me at this party because without the pictures I wouldn’t believe anything I have been told so far. I guess I will start at the beginning here since I never had the intentions of actually partying on the 4th since I was to work on the following Saturday. So this all starts with my dumbass answering a text asking what my plans were for the night.

In many moments of personal weakness I agreed to accompany a girl I work with to a party with many of my coworkers. Honesty, my intent was to hang out somewhere, unnoticed by the others, have a few drinks, and then going home. For the most part this is how I party. When we get there they are already playing a variety of shot games and quickly I was pushed into playing by the crowd. I do shots pretty good so I wasn’t really worried. Shots turned into strip poker, which is my downfall because I suck shit playing cards. After a few hands I had lost my shirt and eventually my bra. But I was doing fair, I had the most clothes on when it was over, I guess everyone grew bored and wanted to quit so we could get more drinking done. I watched as a few guys did kegstands and decided I could do it longer, faster, and better. As a couple of them flipped me upside down into position I shoved the tap in my mouth and let it go. I think they said my time, the time to beat, was 4:10,

They let me down gently and I found me a spot on the couch to watch. I looked for my shirt for a while but had no luck, so fuck it I let it all hang out, I figured it was hot inside and I would worry about a shirt when it comes time to leave. I continue to drink, mostly on the comfort of the couch, but on occasion I would have to wobble into the bathroom, you know. I had sent a text, yes a drunk ass text, to my sister, to come get me because it was well after 2 in the morning. Last trip to the bathroom and then I’m gone. When I opened the bathroom door I tripped on the bottoms of my pants since I was working them down in a damn hurry. When I get up off the floor my pants get hooked on the doorstop so I just kicked them off so I could get on the toilet before it was too late. The good news is I made it, so it was a success. I stood up to bend over to get my jeans when I felt the most fucked up crunching pain, someone was coming in and jammed my hand into the wall down by the floor. After I screamed the person backed off and I was able to pull my hand back. I collapsed to the floor. I ended up against the wall, looking out the wide open door, completely naked, when my sister pops her head around the corner.

We decided I had two broken fingers. We decided it was time to get dressed. We found my jeans, my flip flops, and my phone. I borrowed someone’s T-shirt but had to go commando and braless when we walked out the door. The ride to the emergency room was quiet, my 19 year old sister didn’t want to know anything. We go into the emergency room and because the place was dead I guess, we went right back. After giving up all my information I went to have xrays, which show the last digit of both fingers broken. After they splinted them up I was released, although since I behaved myself, the police weren’t called in, there was talk of me being publically intoxicated. So I escaped going to jail I think. She took me home where I woke up late Saturday evening, missing work altogether, and with a fucking bad hangover. Fingers seem to be doing fine, typing this was interesting though. Hope you find something here to use in your blog. Shawna”

What do I have to say about all of this? It was an interesting story. Based on the rest of the pictures I would have to say there were some things left out, but who am I to judge. So let’s see if categorically she hit any of the criteria. Was there sex? Questionable. Was there blood? No, but there were broken bones. Was there money? No. Was there fame? No. Was there jail? The conditions were there but it falls short. In review, there was a party, drinking, nudity, broken bones, a trip to the emergency room, and a shitload of pictures Shawna didn’t take in her own phone. I think we have a winner and therefore it will be The Magic Weekend; 4th of July edition. Got your personal story ready yet? Just send it in and we will see you here.

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Look At Me ! ! ! ! We Have A Winner!

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Earlier this week I threw down the gauntlet and challenged readers to provide me with a caption for the above picture. I was provided 150+ suitable captions but (pun intended) “I think I’ve gone poopernova” was my personal favorite. The choices were so vast I had to enlist the help of my two daughters (23 & 17) to help me pick a winner. With a secret ballot with the top ten of our selections, “poopernova” got three #1 votes out three. It isn’t too often I have a hard time coming up with a caption or something smart-ass to say but I know exactly what to do each and every time it happens in the future, just ask my readers. I would like to thank each and everyone of y’all who participated. Most of y’all put in multiple captions and variations of those captions and for that I’m grateful. Dalecooper57 has an awesome blog too, go check out Diary Of An Internet Nobody and see for yourselves.

Why Is Plague So Addictive?

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I blame my children for showing me this game for the very first time. I blame my children who made killing off all mankind in a game of diseases interesting to me. I blame my children for getting me addicted to this game. I blame my children that this game consumes a more than a few hours of my day and I have a hard time putting it down. I cannot blame them for me liking the game so much. The question I have for myself is why. Why do I like this game so much? Why have I let this game take over ALL the game playing I would normally do on my smart phone or tablet? Why, dammit, why? Does anyone else in the world play this game? Are you any good at it? Did you have to cheat? I have gotten to the point, in the last few weeks of playing, where my kids use “cheats’ to try to beat my score, I do it the old fashioned way and stomp the snot out them anyways. Is it wrong I like winning this game without cheating? Is it wrong that I feel a certain amount of satisfaction winning against my children when they use cheats and I do not? Does this make me a bad father because I don’t let my children win? I would have never guessed I would be playing this game. I would have never guessed this game to be so addictive. I think I need help. I can’t bring myself to uninstall it, I am so weak. Fuck all that, I love this game! I may never stop playing it, ever. I like being the person who creates and evolves a pathogen in an effort to destroy the world with a deadly plague.  To me, this game has a complex and realistic set of variables to simulate the spread and severity of the plague worldwide. What could be a better game to waste my time playing.

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The Annual Neighborhood Yard Sale

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No matter what I get involved in it always seems that I get asked to drag my smoker out and do what I do best. Some people cook, some people grill, but only the best can smoke. For those of y’all new to The Sting Of The Scorpion all I can do is recommend that your do a category search for “Smoking” and catch up. For everyone else this in just another day in my life. I’m not sure if I have ever posted pictures of the “other woman” (as it is called by my wife) so here she is. I have more smokers but this one is my oldest and my favorite. I built this trailer smoker back when I was in high school in the year 1985 based on a smaller project I had completed in shop class earlier that year. My smoker was built-in my parents garage using leftover metal from other projects. The trailer was bought at a yard sale and then modified and beefed up to make sure it was up to the task at hand. Since its conception and completion this smoker has been in my family ever since. When I joined the United States Air Force in 1988 I made sure this smoker went with me all over the planet, wherever I went, she went. Anyway, back to the present.

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This past weekend was the annual neighborhood yard sale. Around 200 houses and businesses participate and it is generally a real big deal for this community. My baby sister happens to live here in this small country town southwest of Houston and they participate year after year because she invites all of the family and in-laws to participate. I always have two specific jobs, I smoke and I play cashier. This year was a little different because I actually brought some big things to sell like a leather living room set, dining room table with 8 chairs and three 2 foot leafs, two different Arachnid (brand) electronic dart boards that I had restored (circa 1982), an adult go-cart, washer & dryer, and an ass-load of clothes. When I pulled up at 5am with my trailer-load and smoker in tandem tow I was greeted by my parents, my sister, and some early morning “shoppers”. In the end, the only thing that made it to be sold in the yard sale was the clothes. I had made $8800.00 before it ever began. I unloaded the trailer onto 4 different pick-up trucks and I was basically done. I wasn’t expecting it to be that easy, but it was, and it made the rest of the day a breeze for me. Over all, selling 90% of the clothes brought in another $413.50 making my grand total for the day $9213.50 which wasn’t too shabby in my book. I got a whole lot more money like this than I would have seen using Craigslist. So, I had a great day. The rest of the clothes were given to my mother to donate to their local Goodwill.

I would like to discuss the people who came here to buy “other people’s junk” because the range at the yard sale was better than I could ever find at the mall. There are three types of people I saw that really stood out. There were the “lookers and fondlers” that basically had to see everything, did through everything, yet bought nothing. Then there were the “hagglers” who wanted to get a better deal than the best deal offered. These are my favorite because they have the most money to spend and they are trying to get as many deals as they can for their buck. Luckily, for me personally, I only had to drop off my price for one item which was the adult go-cart, I was asking $3500.00 since I paid $3500.00 for it. It was ran hard and I know it, but it was clean and well maintained, we settled on $3400.00 and the old man thought he got a bargain on the 5-year-old cart. I guess it is time to go buy me more toys for Christmas. The last group was the “in a hurry” people because they move at high speeds hoping one won’t see something or something will get missed. Are they scamming, probably not, but if something was overlooked they wouldn’t say anything in my opinion. But, they never haggle, just pay how much they owe, which is super easy for me. When I price something I always go high with it because I know people will want to work the price down, which is the game we play, but everything has a bottom dollar they won’t budge from.

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Pictured above was load number two of the meat that was smoked, ribs, brisket, and sausage. Earlier I had smoked 80 sausage links and sold them for $3.00 a piece as sausage on a sticks. Since the meat was provided (donated) by my sister’s father in law, he wanted all proceeds to go to the “kitty” and divided up between the 6 families that were there, so we all got an extra $40.00 to boot plus I basically snacked on whatever I wanted all day long so I didn’t go hungry. In the end it was a good day, I went home with an empty trailer, a pocket full of cold hard cash, and a full belly. Anyway, that was my Saturday what did yours look like.