The Case for Cowardice

As defined by, cowardice is the “lack of courage to face danger, difficulty, opposition, pain, etc.”

Self-protection is fundamental. There is absolutely nothing shameful about taking cover when someone is shooting at you. Cowardice is the point at which self-protection is placed before other concerns that are more important. It’s hard to find that point, and there’s a lot of gray area there.

I think I live in the gray area, in more ways than one. I am simply unwilling to take risks, which is well-balanced by the fact that none of my other concerns are much more important (to me) than self-protection. But I’m starting to question that policy.

As I’ve said before, I’ve fucked up impressively in the past. I can point to a number of times when I was simply too afraid to take risks, particularly social risks, and ended up crashing into the dust thereafter. Maybe I just choose the wrong dust to fall into.

Again, though, I’m defending cowardice. I’ll come right out now and say that this is all about romance and love and all the other bullshit therein. Let me briefly sum up the exact problem I have always faced in a bulleted list:
-I am male.
-I am a nerd/intellectual/elitist.
-I have avoidant personality disorder.
As impressive as those bulleted points may be, you are probably still wondering just how they come together. Well, get ready. Are you ready? GOOD.

As a male, I am expected to take the active role in pursuing a romantic relationship. Dudes, and by that I mean dudes, are supposed to be brave, courageous, cool, suave, and sexy when they talk to girls. I have a number of problems with that. Let me first say that I have a reasonable response to your objection here. As I am a nerd, I tend to be both around and interested in intelligent/elitist girls. Those also happen to be the very girls that (usually) assume a shy, inert role when it comes to love, at least at the start. They are all just sitting around, waiting for Mr. Darcy, like Geraldine(?) in that one book. They are also usually quite intimidating. Those women who fight the norm are often less interesting, or at least less appealing. Also, I do know that the character’s name is Elizabeth, just so that all you wonderful nerdy girls won’t lose any esteem you have for me for making a dumb joke. For the rest of the girls and all the men, I still haven’t read the book, because I am full of testosterone and other such hormones.

ANYHOW, I am not properly equipped for those girls. I am a wimpy, reclusive coward, and for good reason. I suffer from avoidant personality disorder, which has caused a number of problems with my social interactions. I have spent a long time believing that there is something horribly wrong with me. For a long time, I used the word “unlovable” in my own head, often like a mantra. Not only was I sure there was something wrong, I was so sure that I never tried to act otherwise. Occasionally I was able to avoid risks entirely, usually in the simplest of situations, and then I’d make an effort.

Even so, I hated big groups, and still do. I hate birthday parties, concerts, drunken get-togethers, and similar situations. I try to be there when people ask, but even so, I usually find myself in the corner of the room, staring at the floor, wishing I had brought a book. Naturally, I turn all of this into more self-disparaging rationalizations, so I can sink my self-esteem even lower. I usually feel like I can only ever see people in small groups or one-on-one (which is somewhat true), and that in some ways it’s just a huge burden for people to be friends with me. I’m not saying it’s true, but it is how I feel.

I think if anyone ever said “I love you,” my first response would be “why?”

Anyway, I’m not trying to make excuses, although I definitely did. I just want to say that I am trying. I want you all to know that, and I will keep trying my best with all of this. I think I just want people to understand why I fuck up so much and so well. Expect more of the same in the future. Maybe I’ll do something right one of these days.

The Ideal Mix Tape

Gentlemen, this is the perfect mix tape for any (yes, ANY) woman. It is the perfect way of saying, “hey, I’m into you and also the following songs.” I know what you’re thinking, and it probably has to do with the word “tape.” In this case, I really mean a CD or some kind of fancy mp3 shopping list thing. I haven’t really given it that much thought. Tape is just an expression. Anyway, the following songs, in exactly this order, will successfully kick off any relationship. I have provided descriptions where necessary to justify the inclusion of some songs.

Ladies, if a man gives you this mix tape, it is the ultimate gesture of affection. Remember that as you listen.

1. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Theme Song
This is the perfect way of telling a woman “cowabunga.” She’ll know what you mean by that.

2. The Spongebob Squarepants Theme Song
After the perfect beginning, you have to keep the flow going. Another TV theme will do just that. Furthermore, Spongebob proves that you are young and hip.

3. Baby Got Back – Sir Mix-a-Lot
Now that you’ve played two repetitive songs, you have to change tactics. This song is both sexy and a reference to Avenue Q. It is also in no way repetitive.

4. Let’s Duet – The Walk Hard Soundtrack
No explanation needed.

5. Simultaneous – Chef (South Park)
You should never begin a relationship without leaving open the possibility for a threesome. If she’s not into it, just laugh and say you like South Park. Then get the hell out.

6. Sweet Transvestite – The Rocky Horror Picture Show Soundtrack
This is the perfect way to develop or establish a common interest in the Rocky Horror Picture Show. The only drawback here is that you don’t see Tim Curry in drag. The solution? Put a picture of Frank N. Furter on the cover of the CD. If you’re going the mp3 route, just email her a picture of him. No need to add a subject or body to the email. She’ll get it.

7. Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight – James Taylor
This song paired with a salacious wink is how you say “I’m interested in sex AND emotions.”

8. Naked Pictures (of Your Mother) – Electric Six
A good, fast-paced song. Also, made in America.

9. Gay Bar – Electric Six
This will tell her that you’re heteroflexible. Women love men who love men, but only sometimes, because the fairer sex is selfish in love. Again, if she doesn’t appreciate this, just laugh and leave. You don’t need her, you need a man who likes Electic Six.

10. My Happy Ending – Avril Lavigne
Women just love this song. If she asks how you discovered it, say you read Avril Lavigne’s interview in Maxim and it brought you tears. Again, sensitivity paired with blatantly sexual images is the perfect turn-on. If she thinks you heard it on the radio, say “it was on the radio? I had no idea.” She’ll know that you are highly individual that way.

11. Stacy’s Mom – Fountains of Wayne
Of course you discovered this song on the radio, because otherwise she’d think you’re out of touch. Radio singles from 7+ years ago say that you’re in the now. If she wants to play a newer song, say you don’t think new music has the “same spark.” There are only two songs about moms on this tape because more would just be creepy.

12. Beer – Psychostick
Women love beer. They’d hate to date a guy who can’t hold his liquor. If you’re thinking “that song is abusive to the ears,” then you clearly don’t understand what women like.

13. Eat It – Weird Al Yankovic
This is your way of encouraging her to gain weight, or if weight’s her problem, bulimia. The best part is that it’s so subtle. Weird Al can sneak bulimia into just about any song without you even noticing it. If she needs more encouragement, ipecac is an option.

14. Jizz in My Pants – The Lonely Island
No explanation needed.

15. Ice Ice Baby – Vanilla Ice
A second rap song shows that you are wordly and “street savvy.” If she gets worried, it’s okay because it’s performed by a white guy. Just in case.

16. Everybody Wants to be a Cat – The Aristocats Soundtrack
Cats are the fastest way to a girl’s heart without breaking the skin. Not only that, this song is jazzy and classic, showing that you are aware of older stuff like traditionally animated Disney movies.

17. Yesterday – The Beatles
This song is present to reestablish repetition. No one wants to listen to a whole CD without a few repetitive songs.

18. (You Make Me Feel) Like a Natural Woman – Aretha Franklin
No explanation needed.

19. Foreplay/Long Time – Boston
A nice, long song, this shows that you have patience and enjoy foreplay. Both are good in a relationship with a woman.

20. Blue – Eiffel 65
Of course you want a strong finish, so you put Eiffel 65 here. Everyone loves the color blue, and again, repetition is key.

21. Run Rudolph Run – Hanson
All good tapes have a bonus track. In this case, the obvious choice is from Hanson’s Christmas album. It’s good and fast, and festive in the wintertime. What could be better?

Now that you’ve seen the perfect mix tape, no other mix tape will be as good. Go ahead and make a few copies for yourself and all of the women you know. If they already have a copy, it’s a good reason to mark them off of the “potential romance” list, because they must be hussies. I hope this note has helped you, because without a mix tape, romance would be nigh-impossible. Now, go and show the world that you know music and love like the back of your hand, and that way you can avoid using your hand. You’re welcome.

It’s Djibouti and I’ll Cry If I Want To

Of all the time in my life, the most frustrating moments are spent in front of a blank computer screen. I sit, wishing I had something in my head worth transcribing as the background shoots white light into my eyeballs. Because I often use EditPad Lite, there aren’t even many fun icons to stare at above the text area. In other words, this program is compact and efficient. It’s clear that editing is my true strength because I can always start revising something that is (partially) complete, but once I get to the end, I can’t keep going into the blankness.

Enough about that, though. Today was my 21st birthday, so I had my first legal drink this afternoon. I had about a sip and a half of a whiskey sour, a girly drink recommended by Lindsay, before I decided that my dislike of the taste of alcohol was simply too great and let Mom have the rest.

Mark and Alan had come down (separately) from Lincoln for the weekend, and I think we all had a pretty good time. The true celebration was last night, when I invited Beth over and we all had dinner on the patio. Alan didn’t show up until 9 because he had a highly important Warmachine competition in which he had to compete. Unfortunately, he only won 1 of the 3 games yesterday, making him a FAILURE, by percentages at least. Mark had already come down on Friday, so we got games accomplished Friday night as well. Our favorite 4-player games are Spades and Hearts, and while Mark and I sucked miserably at the former, I managed to rock everyone’s world in Hearts.

After dinner on Saturday, Grandpa left after I opened all of the cards, and Beth lingered to play still more games. We ended up playing Spinner (a domino game), the Game of Things, and Pictionary. I won Spinner, lost badly at the Game of Things, and managed to drag Alan to the finish in Pictionary. We were highly reliant on my expert drawing skills, perhaps best demonstrated by my blobby Texas with pointy arrow for “Dallas Cowboys.” I still do not know where Dallas is located in that state, but Alan knew what he was doing.

The meal and DQ ice cream cake went well, so I went to bed satisfied. We also had two kinds of cookies, one of which was supplied by Beth and contained both fruit and vegetables. “What could those possibly be?” you ask. Well, I will tell you. They were oatmeal cookies with zucchini in the dough and also raisins. Furthermore, they had sugar in them, which I feel is a reasonable approach to making cookies.

Today we went to High Noon Saloon for the aforementioned drinks, and I also had a sandwich with onion rings. Everyone else (conformists!) had Chicken Fried Chicken. Finally, I demonstrated the proper way to kick ass at Super Mario Bros. 3 for Alan. I opened my gifts, all of which I had picked out, and Mark and Alan made their way back to Lincoln. It’s nice to choose what you want when it comes to technology and such. The list: I got Super Mario Galaxy 2, Picross 3D, a laptop “chill pad,” Little Billy’s Letters, the Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook Collection, and a Sansa Clip mp3 player with accoutrements.

Now I’m watching the new stuff on the Food Network. Tomorrow I have class and an appointment at St. Mary’s, plus I need to clean my room and deposit some birthday money. I also need to get up early and I’ll have to figure out what I’m going to start reading next. Unfortunately, Little Billy’s Letters had half of a page missing (ripped out), so we had to return it to Amazon. I still have a ton of other books, but I have to make a choice.

I’m ready to do my next speech for Public Speaking, but in the meantime I need to pick a topic and write it. In terms of other things coming up, Top Chef D.C. starts this week and that’s exciting. I need to exercise more regularly this week. Starting next weekend we’re going to be moving Mark’s stuff back to the house and storage here in Leavenworth. I need to start a couple of new songs on the piano, I think. Practice, practice, practice.

We’ll see what happens from here, I suppose.