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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Go for the gold!

Kyle Klein

Samuel Howard

English 2010.010

1 December 2009

Go for the gold!

        Have you ever wondered how you know how to dress?  Where did you learn that the standard tip for waiters is 15%?  When did you come to understand that its rude to stare at somebody you don’t know?  Where did the common knowledge that it is inappropriate to pick your nose in public come from?

        The answers to these questions are not based on law.  Nor did public polls determine any of them.  There are no written rules laid down that determine your fashion, tips, or where your eyes linger.  I have never seen a posted notice or heard someone with the proper authority tell me that these things should be this way.  Why, then, am I willing to admit that these trends are important?  Why do I take great care not to break any of these unwritten rules? 


The social norm

        Social norms exist in every society and play an integral part of everyday life.  They help govern the way you act in public, how long your socks should be, and in some cases moral standards.  Many aspects of human behavior are controlled by social norms that you probably didn’t even realize were in place.  Even though there is no legal repercussion or any set punishments when they are violated, everybody expects them to be upheld.  Often, when we violate these standards, we feel foolish and out of place and take great care not to mess up again. 

        Although commonly accepted as part of life, "the substance of any norm is neither inherently good nor inherently valuable; its power is granted by its acceptance within the culture" (Berger & Luckman; Solomon, Greenberg, & Pyszczynski as cited in Cialdini and Trost, 153).  These commonly accepted guidelines generally guide good etiquette for a society and tend to make life a little better; however, just because “everybody’s doing it,” doesn’t mean that it’s the rational thing to do. 

        For example, from a neutral point of view, leg shaving isn’t necessarily good or bad.  It is a natural human phenomenon that both men and women grow hair on their legs, so is the removal of it really valuable?  A natural course of thought from this neutral view might even lead us to realize that leg shaving is somewhat silly.  However, the social norm associated with this act has extremely high influence and power.  I have four older sisters, and not one of them is willing to be seen in public if they haven’t shaved.  When I see a hairy woman, my first reaction is generally, “sick...just gag me!”  None of us would feel that way if the social norm governing leg shaving were not so influential.

        I once found a sweater at a second-hand clothing store that I absolutely loved.  The color, material, and style really appealed to me.  However, the first time I wore it to school, people gave me queer looks and ridiculed me; apparently my tastes were not fashionable at all.  Apparently, I had bought an extraordinarily ugly sweater.  I felt embarrassed and very uncomfortable wearing it.  I wanted to torch it as soon as I got home and forget all about that ugly thing.

        My sense of fashion had no power in society because I stood alone.  People around me accepted brands like American Eagle or Aeropostale.  That acceptance gave that name-brand fashion—that norm—great power.  My sweater wasn’t inherently good, bad, or ugly from a neutral standpoint; I’m sure God loves all his children’s sweaters equally!  However, my sweater was immediately rejected by society because it went against the norm that was widely accepted.

        Just as most Americans would agree that women should shave their legs, the vast majority of Americans also believe that public nose picking is an unacceptable activity.  As evidence, I recently surveyed 88 people (37 Males, and 51 Females, ages ranging from 18 to 30+, 83 of them American), and found that 96% maintained that American culture looked down on the act.  84% claimed that their parents discouraged them from picking their nose while growing up (Klein, Kyle).  Obviously, American society, in general, has placed a taboo on nose picking. 

        It is probably a surprise, then, to hear that 89% of people polled admitted that they pick their nose, of which 58% admitted to picking at least once every day with another 18% picking every few days (Klein, Kyle).  It shocks me to know that a society that picks its nose so commonly in private is able to hold a taboo for it while in public.  What are the motives that drive people to maintain that social stigma?  How did this norm even start when such a large majority of people pick their nose? 

        When asked how often they pick their nose in public, 48% of nose pickers indicated that they never pick their nose in public, and another 45% stated that they rarely pick their nose in public.  That means that only 7% of nose pickers that are willing to do so fairly often in public.  Not one person admitted that public nose picking is a common activity for them (Klein, Kyle).  These numbers suggest that the social norm in place, while accepted by individuals in public, has little power over how we act in private.  There must be certain aspects of nose picking that, while ignored in private, are undesirable from a public standpoint. 


The spread of bacteria

        When I asked the participants to explain how they feel about nose picking, I found a few common concerns that arise from picking in public.  The first such concern had to do with sanitation.  Many people indicated that its “gross” to find other people’s boogers, shake hands with somebody that they had seen picking their nose, or touch anything that person has touched.  Also, 50% of people who used to pick their nose but don’t anymore indicated that they stopped picking their nose due to sanitary reasons (Klein, Kyle).  Germaphobia is apparently quite rampant in today’s society. 

        Based on these numbers, it would appear that sanitation is a big reason this social norm continues to govern our society.  Avoiding germs is indeed a valid concern, but the question arises: in reality, how unsanitary are boogers?  According to the University of Pittsburgh Nurse Anesthesia Program, boogers are formed when the nasal mucus that lines the nasal cavity traps any foreign objects in the air being breathed, including dust, bacteria, or other particulates and congeals into a solid.  This is a filtering process that cleans the air we breathe before it gets to the lungs (Cwynar).  This information suggests that the only bacteria found in a booger are the bacteria inhaled and trapped in the nose. 

        Considering this information, it seems to me that I'm more likely to get sick by breathing through my mouth all day than I am by touching somebody's booger.  To get sick from someone else’s booger that I came in contact with, I'd have to first ingest the bacteria in it.  That means that any bacteria found in a booger would have to first cling to my finger and then be transferred to my mouth.  Unless the booger was still wet and gooey, I don’t think much of the bacteria will get stuck to my finger anyway.  One the other hand, if I breathed through my mouth all day, I would be subject to all the bacteria I had inhaled; the air would have gone straight to my lungs without getting filtered by my nose.  I’ve never heard tell of someone falling ill because they chose to breathe through their mouth; the notion seems absurd. 

        However, let’s examine the worst-case scenario.  As you are sitting in class, minding your own business, your finger happens to find a big, juicy booger deposited on the under-side of a chair 5 minutes ago.  Your finger has just been subjected to the bacteria found in that booger.  Lucky you!  Assuming all of those bacteria cling to your finger, the amount of bacteria on your finger is exactly the same as the amount of bacteria inhaled through the nose of the person who deposited the booger.  For argument’s sake, let’s say the depositor, the hick Cleatus Joe, cleaned the wild boar exhibit at the local zoo today and then sorted through a large section of the local landfill to find some toys for his 12 kids, so his boogers contain an unusually high amount of bacteria.  Cleatus Joe has some highly nutritious boogers for the bacteria in them, and the population growth in his booger is exponential.  You have a lot of bacteria on your hands now.  However, in order for the bacteria on your finger to enter your body and make you sick, you must first ingest it.  You generally don’t make a habit of licking your fingers after touching dirty things in public, so I don’t imagine that bacteria will enter you any time soon.  As long as you keep your finger out of your mouth until you have a chance to wash it, you run no real risk of getting sick from Cleatus Joe’s nasty booger.

        Still concerned about the bacteria?  Perhaps this will assuage your fears, in the remote chance you do accidentally ingest the bacteria: some people argue that the bacteria found in boogers, when ingested, actually make you healthier.  Lung specialist Dr Friedrich Bischinger claims that this is one of the best ways to strengthen your immune system.  You may shudder at the thought, but his argument is rather convincing: “medically it makes great sense and is a perfectly natural thing to do. In terms of the immune system the nose is a filter in which a great deal of bacteria are collected, and when this mixture arrives in the intestines it works just like a medicine.  Modern medicine is constantly trying to do the same thing through far more complicated methods, people who pick their nose and eat it get a natural boost to their immune system for free" (Ananova). 

        The "more complicated methods" he referred to are called vaccines.  They consist of weak strains of bacteria or viruses injected via needle that the body is capable of fighting off.  Once the body has fought them off, that person becomes more immune to stronger strains.  Although studies have not proved or disproved that ingesting bacteria found in boogers works the same way as vaccines, he does make a convincing argument.  Wouldn’t eating your boogers accomplish much the same feat?  I submit that the presence of bacteria in our boogers is not worth worrying about; on the contrary, they may even prove beneficial.


The slime factor

        Going back to the hypothetical situation with Cleatus Joe, I admit, even though there is no real risk of getting sick, finding a booger that somebody left behind is never pleasant.  This leads to the second common concern of nose picking.  Dirt, slime, sticky things, and other foreign objects on people’s hands tend to irritate and gross out most people, regardless of how much bacteria are present.  Personally, when I get something on my hands, I immediately try to wipe or rinse it off.  I find it very uncomfortable to have something slimy, gritty, or sticky on my hands. 

        For this reason, public nose picking can indeed be undesirable; who wants their hand covered in somebody else’s gooey nose residues that they wiped on some random object?  However, there are ways to avoid this problem.  A public nose picker can easily dispose of his bounty in a more sanitary fashion.  Rather than wiping a booger on some random surface where it can eventually be discovered, if it were simply dropped on the floor, it is very unlikely that it will be encountered.  In a public place, like a classroom, in your car, or walking across campus, a booger dropped here or there makes no real difference.  It is tiny compared to the amounts of dirt, grime, and dust that have been tracked in by people’s shoes.  A booger on the floor can easily be swept or vacuumed up later, and nobody will be the wiser. 



The unsightly excavation

        Another common complaint about public nose picking in my survey was that it is simply unsightly or distracting.  There are ways around this too.  My mother, who has spent a lot of time in Japan visiting her sister, explained how it is considered impolite to let somebody see you using a toothpick to remove food from your teeth.  However, toothpicks are still used quite commonly; as they are picking food from their teeth, they simply bow their head and cover their mouth with one hand while the pick with the other.  Everybody knows what they are doing, but nobody has to sit and watch them dig at their teeth (Klein, Carol).  A similar method could be adopted for picking your nose in public.  When the need arises, simply bow your head, and cover up what your one finger is up to with your other hand.  True, people might know what you are doing, but they couldn’t complain about being distracted by your digging in your nose. 


Private picking preferred to public picking… how puzzling!

        These arguments are supported by other statistics collected in my survey.  This graph compares the number of people who pick in public to the number who pick while driving their car or walking.  These numbers are out of the 89% of people that admitted that they pick their nose. 


Chart good.bmp


        How interesting that our population's willingness to pick their nose increases as the level of privacy is increased from a classroom setting to driving a car or walking.  Somehow separation from others is a situation that is much more conducive to nose picking.  While 37 of 78 people who pick never pick their nose in public places, only 14 of 78 people never pick while driving or walking.  For this group of people, the willingness to pick while driving is fairly even across the board, while a huge majority of them refuse to pick in public.  (Klein, Kyle).  People in our culture are much more willing to pick when they aren't as likely to be caught in the act.  Apparently, the reason we don’t pick in public is because we fear what other people think of us if we are seen and because we don't want our boogers floating around where other people can come in contact with them.


Picking Pros

        Obviously, there are pros to picking your nose.  Otherwise, nobody would pick their nose, and it wouldn’t be an issue.  In my survey, people claimed to pick their noses for multiple reasons.  Of the 89% of people who admit to picking their nose, 94% claim they do so to relieve discomfort or itching, 74% do so to open their airway, and 21% do so out of habit.  13% claim that it is an instinct or that it is more convenient than other methods of clearing the nose.  As a humorous side note, 4% admit that they pick their nose for pleasure (Klein, Kyle).  I can assure you that most of these percentages would be slightly raised if I had included my own survey submission. (And that includes the statistic on pleasure!  Some people like a good back massage.  I happen to prefer a good nostril kneading now and again.) 

        The reasons that people pick their nose are not barbaric or distasteful in nature.  Rather, most people (myself included) primarily pick because it’s simply the easiest way to relieve discomfort from dried boogers blocking the airway or itching the nose.  Should relieving discomfort be inherently offensive to others?

        According to one of the people who replied to my survey (a male American, age 19, who lived in Indonesia, Thailand for at least 3 months), it “was not such a social faux pas to pick your nose there. It was just a regular thing” (Klein, Kyle).  How interesting that something that is so unacceptable and seemingly offensive in America could be “just a regular thing” elsewhere.  People in Thailand are not offended or grossed out when they see somebody else picking their noseIt is just a part of life.  This again makes me wonder how this social norm ever started in America.  At some point, we chose to make it unacceptable to pick your nose.  And yet, almost everybody here picks their nose in private without a second thought. Why then do they turn around and look down their nose at people pick them in public?!


Standing Proud

        I never actually burned my second-hand sweater.  Once the initial humiliation from wearing it had dissipated, I realized that I had cared way too much what others thought of me.  I loved that sweater, and I shouldn’t be embarrassed about that.  I started wearing that sweater to school frequently, and I received ridicule time and time again.  And yet, I wore it with boldness; I wore it with pride.  Nothing anybody could say would make me leave it home.  It took some getting used to all the negative comments, but slowly, I started noticing a change.  The hostility I felt from others was being replaced with respect.  People saw that I was willing to stand up for what I personally liked, and I started receiving complements on my sweater.  Things like “snazzy sweater, man!”  and, “I dig the wool,” reached my ears like rush of cool air.  I admit that it came as a pleasant surprise when I found friends and acquaintances wearing equally ugly sweaters and T shirts.  I had overcome a social norm that had held me back and revolutionized our sense of fashion.  I was now free to wear my sweater without any judgment being passed.

        Why do we live this double standard of nose picking?  Why do make hypocrites of ourselves by picking our noses behind closed doors and turning them up in public?  If we allowed ourselves to pick in public as we do in private, we would never have to suffer through the discomfort of an itchy, clogged nose.  Proper precautions could be taken that would greatly reduce any sanitation risks, concentration of waste under seats or tables, or the unsightliness of the act.  If these steps were taken, our lives could be made that much simpler. 

        The bottom line is, practically everybody picks their nose, but we are all too scared of what others think of us.  In public, most of us suppress our instinct and desire to pick because we don’t want to embarrass ourselves.  Most of us allow this social norm to govern us because we are too scared to make a stand for ourselves.

        When I catch someone picking their nose, I don’t see bacteria, grime, and distraction.  I see a natural, logical process and a comfortable individual.  I say we join this comfort revolution and overturn this outdated norm; let’s free ourselves of this self-imposed bondage.  In the words of the ever-reliable Justin Timberlake, “I pick my nose and I’m not ashamed to admit it. If there’s a bogey there then just pick it man!” (Celebguru)  It would save us all discomfort, embarrassment and mountains of tissues if only we made the natural, logical choice: go for the gold! 



Sources Cited

Annanova. “Top doc backs picking your nose and eating it.” Ananova Ltd., n.d.  Web. 15 October 2009

Celebguru. “Justin Timberlake confesses picking his nose.” The Insider. CBS Interactive Inc., 17 April 2007. Web. 23 September 2009.          <http://www.theinsider.com/news/133954_Justin_Timberlake_confesses_picking_his_nose>

Cialdini, Robert B. and Trost, Melanie R. “Social Influence: Social Norms, Conformity, and Compliance”. The Handbook of Social Psychology, Volume Two.  Compiled Gilbert, Daniel T., Fiske, Susan T., Lindzey, Gardner.  Published Vaicunas,  Jane, 1998.  Pages 151-168. Web.  Scholar.Google.com, 23 September 2009

Cwynar, Justin.  NURSAN 2720 (Applied Physiology and Pathophysiology). University of Pittsburgh Nurse Anesthesia Program. 2003. Web. 7 October 2009.  <http://www.pitt.edu/~anat/Head/Mouth/Mouth.htm>

Klein, Carol.  Personal interview. 26 October 2009.

Klein, Kyle.  “Need-to-Nose.”  Survey.  21 October 2009.


Friday, October 17, 2008

Master Chief vs. Professor Jimbo

Sometimes its hard to say "no". We've all heard of people who couldn't decline the drugs offered to them. Many people have dozens of credit cards because they don't know when enough is enough, and choose to say, "yes, I think I do need another one". When Mom asks, "will you clean your room today?", its never something you want to do, but always something agreed to. When you are all alone with that certain someone, "no" is the last thing on your mind.

While I've never experienced any of these things, the latter somewhat regrettably, it is clear to me that there are some forces in this world that are extremely difficult to blatantly turn away. Different people are susceptible to their own individual banes, and not one person on this earth is exempt. That's just how life works.

My folly today was nothing of a serious matter. I'm still reading positive numbers in my bank account, proud owner of one credit card. No "happy hour" with my "Mojo", or raging hormones opposite some girly friend. And yet I am rather unnerved and glum about how the day has passed. Here I sit at 10:19 PM, exactly 12 hours after waking up, wondering how on earth those hours passed without exerting one bit of effort to do anything worthwhile. You see, I was in my appartment all day today alone, and decided to take my vacation time seriously. It was no more than 10 minutes after I woke up this morning that I was on my couch, X Box controller in hand, saving the galaxy from the ill threat of the alien forces of the Covenant and Flood. At exactly 6:30, I put the controller down after successfuly destroying Halo to watch the credits roll.

Granted, I didn't play straight through that entire time. I played Ultimate for about 2 hours in the middle there, and...no wait...other than that, it was pretty much straight though.

So there I was, content with beating Halo, ready to do get on with the day and do what I had planned to do today: Physics homework. I was ready to get to work and get a jump start on my homework, but in the back of my mind, my mind was curious as to what happened next in the story I had just concluded. The Monitor said there were more Halos! Did the Covenant ever discover where Earth was? How is mankind going to defeat the Covenant?!

Halo 2 seemed to be calling my name from its resting place in the front room. It wanted me to play it, and I definitely wanted to oblige.

But here I had my choice: stay on top of my homework and give the gaming a rest, or screw Professor Jimbo, my Physics teacher, and continue the mindless, unsociable mess that had consumed so much of my day already.

Alas, I couldn't say no.

Of course, I could have said no. But that's besided the point. I didn't say no. So, after filling my belly, I resumed my position on the couch and let my Physics untouched.

Even now, several hours later, I'm only sitting here writing about not doing my Physics, rather than actually doing my Physics.

Obviously saying "no" to Physics isn't one of those things that I struggle with.

In all honesty, I had fun today. Ultimate was good times; I got to hang out with some really cool people. I made plans to hang out with Annie and Emily tomorrow, and I got to relax and veg out the rest of the day. Good times.

Yes, I am disappointed that all that time went to pot, but I can make up for it tomorrow. I'm at a ridiculously hard part of Halo 2, so saying "no" ought to be a little easier tomorrow :D

So, tomorrow I have some fun plans, but I've also got a lot to do because it didn't get done today. I have a lesson on Sunday that I have to plan, and a whole chapter of Physics to do. I'll try and get my lesson done in the morning before I do anything else, then I'll have some fun, and then I'll get my Physics done before it gets too late. Then, hopefully I can enjoy tomorrow evening as well. I'll have to really motivate myself to stick with the plan so I don't end up trying to get it all done tomorrow night. Yeah, that would be ugly.

So, I guess the moral of the story is don't fornicate, pop some Mojo, or sell your soul to Capital One and chances are you'll end up alright.

Oh yeah, and follow all those other commandments too. Them'r some good'ns.

Monday, September 22, 2008

On My Own

Tomorrow is my one-month anniversary of living on my own. I can't believe that. Its crazy to think that I haven't had my mom around to make me one meal, do my laundry, or do all the shopping. It was a rough transition, but I really feel like I've started to settle into the college life. Even though the title of this post suggests loneliness, I'm feeling pretty good. I miss my parents, but I call them occasionally and have nice chats with them; I don't feel homesick at all.

I think Molly is right though. If I weren't here with my best friends, things would be a lot harder. I'm really starting to feel very grateful that I'm here with my friends. I'm not going to take things like that for granted anymore. I hope I've been as much of a help to everyone here as they have been for me.

I hope that if anybody ever needs anything that they won't hesitate to ask. We are here together, we might as well help each other out.

Anyway, that's the end of my soap box.

One thing I need to get better at here at college is managing my time. For instance: I have an entire chapter of Physics to do before 1 AM tonight. Its 10:05 right now, and I haven't started. What was I doing for the last 2 hours? Watching Heroes. What was I doing before that? Playing Halo. Yeah, I definitely need to work on managing my time. I wanna go to bed right now, because I'm super tired. Not gonna happen :D

That being said, I should probably get to work.

"We're all in this together. Once we know that we are, we're all stars." HSM FTW

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


She strives to live the words of God,
the truths that have been taught her
Ever holding to the rod;
She is the Father's daughter.

Her sacred beauty she holds dear,
as a gardener loves her rose
The virtue that she keeps within
flourishes and grows.

Every day I yearn to see
her beauty and her grace,
The smiling eyes and upturned lips
that sit upon her face,

To hear her voice, rich and sweet,
as soft and warm as air,
And hold her gently in my arms,
pure love forever shared.

The day she kneels across the altar,
our souls entwined forever
Will only come if I prepare
and worthily endeavor.

Above all rubies and wealth of worlds
is the virtue priced
Of the woman in my dreams
who strives to follow Christ.

Monday, May 12, 2008


So many memories.

The last 6 years have flown by. I really can't believe its been that long since I sat down at a desk for the very first time in 7th grade at Eisenhower Jr. High. I sat there in Mr. Beagley's room, eyes open for any potential crushes, my brand now forest-green zip-up folder resting in front of my scrawny body. Courtney, if you read this, kudos to you. I apologize for my immaturity several times over.

The weekly sleepovers with my best friends, the Gardner twins and Chris Thatcher, always included a weekly report of who we thought was cute or otherwise repulsive. Occasionally we also debated who Levi ought to like, how much we liked or disliked Ms. Alsop, Mr. Lyman, Mr. Brough, Morris, Earl, or Wong. I don't even know how many times we acted out the scene of Mr. Earl in lederhosen saying, "GT Puzzle".

The hours we have spent playing Super Smash Brothers, Battle Tanx, Mario Tennis, Mario Party, Fusion Frenzy, and Halo have been astronomical. Honestly, the four of us could be pro ballers by now if those hours had been spent on the court rather than in one of our basements, our eyes wide and our hands firmly gripping a controller.

But that's not what I'd want. The good times we've had on those games will be something I will remember for a long time, and I wouldn't even trade that for Brewer's shoes, and Brewer's my homie. No sir, I wouldn't trade the Eternal Order of the Dead Sock Society for anything.

Lunchtime. Oh, the joys of lunch in the EJH cafeteria. We had our table reserved all three years; that was home to us. The chocolate milk bubbles, the tomatoes on the crotch, the ladies flocking to us...err...to Thatcher...the data matches, opened anxiously as we sat in our designated spots.

I always finished my lunch last, and was left alone for a good 5 minutes while my posse fortified the corner by C Hall. You'd think they would have waited for me, but no... Shoot, and what about our excursions to the drinking fountain in the corner of the cafeteria? That was an every-day event for us!

Band class. How can I even begin to recall the good times spent in that room in that remote hallway of the school? The first memory I have of Cadet Band is playing the Stars and Stripes Forever, the same arrangement the 4 of us played the year before in elementary band with Ms. Ryburg. We dominated that song hardcore; that was the shock and awe of the century, that was.

Before Jazz Band every day, waiting for Smith to get there was awesome! Turning all the combination dials in the hall to '0' was ever so much fun. I owned the alto sax during Jazz Band, with Thatcher behind me on his bone, sitting beside the Child Molester, and the twins and Nickmo off to the left with their clarinets on the Tenor 2 part. Beseme Mucho, Abracadabra!, Pennsylvania 65000, that crazy Spy Medley Song, Tequila, Smooth, Shaft, Channel One Suite, My One True Friend, La Bamba. Those songs were the ultimate. We were the ultimate.

Spirit week. The best week of each year, hands down. Oh man, the things I wore. It was awesome. Bathrobe with the waist tie around my head, my sick nasty nerd get-up (head-gear included), the Vietnam get-up (which, by the way, gave me the name CombatKyle), the decked out EJH colors (complete with Dracula cape), cowboy a freaking awesome Ninja Turtle, and many more. I even came to school dressed as Marge Simpson once, with everything from the tall blue hair to the long green dress. And yes, lets not forget the time Thatcher and I were a cow. Freaking awesome. We did a runway walk on the cafeteria stage and won a Smores Bar for our awesome-ness. I took Spirit King 2 years in a row, and feel pretty good about taking it Freshman year, had they had a spirit king. I even complained openly about the stupid coconut that was cut open at the Spirit Assembly one year. I won't ever forget dethroning the Freshmen our 8th grade year either. We got a day at Hollywood Connection for our amazing spirit.

Spanish class. I was bilingual by the time the summer of 9th grade came around. BYU Spanish fair was ridiculous, Thatcher and I dominated the impromptu conversations. We were unstoppable. Even when Horton trapped me in a box or threatened to make me eat my way out of the dung I'd stepped in I was unstoppable. And lets not forget, "I am I, Don Quixote!" or the annual "Dia de los Muertos" video. Wow, we were good enough to even make Caminos Peligrosos. "You've got Francisco!" Dang straight Levi. I remember walking every step of the way on La Gran Aventura de Alejandro. What a stud he was.

Academic Team. Sure, I scored more negative points than I did positive, but how could I ever forget the practices after school with the best kids ever? I loved learning those things, even if I didn't use them to dominate like my boys in the games. Peck, Mann, and Chambers were awesome. I can still taste Peck's cookies and pop. My circumcised square still smarts too :S I still listen to Thatcher's Nerd Jump and Nerd Win CDs, they rock. "I just torched a building downtown, and I'm afraid I'll do it again!" "...dinner with friends..."

Running. I was the skinniest runner ever. But man, did I run. I'd say not too shabby if you ask me actually. Chris dominated me in the long run (ha!), but I'm still proud of my 5.42 mile time. How many skinny 9th graders do you know who did that? Look at me and my bad skinny self. My skinny bad self that just loved to pee a hundred times before a race and puke a dozen afterwards. Bladder the size of a walnut, as I recall Thatcher saying several times.

Good times with Earl, thats for sure. Yessir, Coach Earl and his calfs. We even worked out with him in the weight room during CC. What a stud.

I do recall the time Thatcher's backpack was stolen from the park down by Lion's Club Fitness Center. Sucks to his ass-mar.

Seminary. Best seminary class ever. Good old Brother Whitmer. I read the Book of Mormon for the first time ever that year. I also learned all 25 Styx Mastery through the awesome power of music. Those songs rocked my world. I'm sure Whitmer would be proud that I still Remember Euticus too. :P

Oh man, Chris, your girlfriend is smart.

That girlfriend of yours was an adventure in and of itself too :D

Man, EJH was good to us. Thats the moral of story. And look at us now, 3 years later. It really has gone by in a blur. We've grown so much (in more than one way), and I've only gotten closer to my friends. My friends are freaking awesome. New and old friends alike; the group I hang with is certainly the cream of the crop.

So thanks everyone. Thanks for an awesome 6 years. And for Chris, James, and Levi, Katie, Molly, and M. We: lets rock next year hardcore. Utah State, hey, Aggies all the way!

This has been a walk down memory lane by yours truly, CombatKyle.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

11 Months

It has now been exactly 11 months since last I posted. Why did I ever stop, I wonder. Time, habit, nothing to say. It all played a part. But here I am now a month until the one year anniversary of my interweb silence.

I've been talking to my sister for the last 38 minutes about something that has been bothering me. It is something that I really haven't ever experienced before, and I feel like a complete moron because of it. I even felt stupid talking to her about it, and the answers she gave me don't give me much hope.

I'm a happy person. I love life. School is a blast, water polo provides me with so much happiness (it has given me everything from raging pecks, to friends from all over the valley, to something to do with my time after school every day, to the fiercest competition of my life every week) and I have the best friends and family I could ever ask for.

And yet, despite my awesome life right now, I still feel like a moron. And really, I should feel like a moron, because lately I've acted the part.

Man, I don't even know what to say. I'm just glad to be on here venting once again. I don't want anybody to worry about me, because I really am happy. I'm awesome actually.

Just acknowledge the fact that I'm a moron and let me relish in my moronish-ness. I'll figure something out that'll help me tip the Scale of Moronity back towards neutral.

It'll take time and a lot of discomfort. But I guess if thats all it takes from me I'll be able to consider myself a lucky guy. Very lucky indeed.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Flight Plan

PLC was great. I learned a ton of stuff about leadership and the gospel, and my testimony grew through the roof. I feel much better about myself after coming home from it that I did before for several reasons. The boost of spiritual strength I got from it is the biggest reason. I came home with a lot of things to help me out. One of the biggest things I learned--or rather, relearned--is the importance of making and meeting goals. This is probably the the biggest way that we can progress as individuals, even if we don't always realize it.

So, at PLC, we were all challenged to make a Flight Plan--a detailed outline of what you want to achieve in the near future. It consists of goals that can be completed in a timely manner; goals that can be met, but are a challenge to do so. These goals are meant to make you a better person as you strive to meet it, and once you do, new goals can be set to further yourself even more.

So, with no further ado, I will now lay down my Flight Plan for you. I do this so that you might be encouraged to make your own objectives that you can strive for personally. It is something that each of us should do, and maybe I can give you some ideas for your own Flight Plan.

1) Graduate High School with a 4.0 GPA and 4.0 CPA
2) Reread the April General Conference talks this summer and do my best to follow what the Prophet and Apostles said.
3) Read the Book of Mormon again by New Year's.
4) Make it to every Cross Country and Swim practice this summer that I can make it to. Give 100% effort to make it worthwhile.
5) Live up to the Purposes of the Aaronic Priesthood and keep myself worthy to hold it.

The Purposes of the Aaronic Priesthood are:

• Become converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ and live its teachings.

• Serve faithfully in priesthood callings and fulfill the responsibilities of priesthood offices.

• Give meaningful service.

• Prepare and live worthily to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood and temple ordinances.

• Prepare to serve an honorable full-time mission.

• Obtain as much education as possible.

• Prepare to become a worthy husband and father.

• Give proper respect to women, girls, and children.

6) Go to the Temple at least once a month for the rest of my life.

These are the things that I am striving for at this time. These are some of the most important things in my life right now, and I am going to do my best to meet them. Some of them are going to be a real challenge, but I know that by doing my best to meet them, great things will happen. I hope that those of you who see this will follow suit and make your own personal goals. Make them "realistic, yet challenging" (in the words of Thatcher) so that you can grow.

I guess that is all I really have to say right now. I challenge all of you to do what I've talked about; it will make a difference in your life.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Summertime Blues

We all know how tiring this last month of school has been. With AP classes coming to an end, we crammed to prepare ourselves for the ever-feared tests. For a month solid I worked harder than I ever worked in my life. I really didn't even work that hard looking back on it, but at the time I thought I was going to die of work overload.

Now that the tests are over, school is basically coming to a close. I played Frisbee in English class yesterday, and I watched a documentary that tried to convince me we never landed on the moon in Physics today. Life has calmed down from the torrential hurricane it was before to a nice cool breeze.

Along with a big stress release, this breeze has blown something our way. It has brought in the prospects of the future. What will summer bring us? What will next year bring us?

As I began to think of such things, a realization hit me like I was a rabbit on the freeway. This summer is going to be harder than the last month of school has been for me. As Thatcher mentioned, I have a new interest in running Cross Country this summer with the team. Whether or not I run on the team next year is to be determined, but I am going to run with them as often as possible this summer. I am going to hang out with the team, run with them, and get ripped legs with them. When I went running with Chris and James last night, I realized just how much more in shape I am than when I ran at Eisenhower. We ran at a pretty good jog, and we went for about 3 and a half miles; back in the day, I would have died. When we stopped, my heart wasn't beating that fast, I wasn't gasping for air, and I didn't hurt at all. I felt pumped.

So, while I'm excited to run this summer and be crazy ownage, I remember the other two teams that I am going to be practicing with. The swim team is going to be practicing for 2 hours every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at about 9 o'clock in the morning. That means that I will be running every morning at 7, and going straight to the pool upon return to the school, getting in, and swimming for two hours. I'm determined to be a much stronger swimmer this year, and I'm going to give it my all at practice instead of the lousy half-way covenant of the previous year.

This means that before lunch time every day, I will have already had a four hour workout. that is really depressing. I know its going to be incredibly good for me, and I'm gonna get ripped doing it, but its going to be dang tough. Especially when I will be having water polo practice with a team I'm joining several times a week in addition to all this.

I'm really excited to exercise so much, because, lets face it, I'm really skinny. I'm gonna get ripped, and its going to be great. I am also going to get very rich this summer. See, in addition to these three team practices every day, I will have work for about 6 hours every day Monday through Thursday, meaning I will be in the water about 10 hours a day. I don't know about you, but I'd classify that as amphibious. That is a LOT of treading water. I guess it pays well, which is a good thing. For teaching for 6 hours, I'll be getting about 64 dollars a day. Very nice.

So, between Cross Country, Swim, Water Polo, 6 hours of lessons a day (plus whenever I'm scheduled for lifeguarding) and, of course, the weekly Frisbee Friday session, this summer is going to be DEATH, plain and simple. If I don't die of exhaustion, I'll prune to death in the water. I'd advise you to take some before and after pictures, because you'll be amazed at the changes...if all goes according to plan. I'm gonna be a few thousand dollars richer, a few more pounds heavier, have recognizable pectorals, calfs, abs, and biceps, and chlorine-bleached hair. I'm gonna be a new sort of guy.

Overall, this summer will be good to me, but I can easily see it being the hardest time of my life so far. However, the endless hours of movies that we are going to watch are going to be good times, and I am very excited for them. Let us not forget the list we have compiled, which I still have, and may we go through with our plans of watching each one of them.

Here we go, death comes for me, but I'll only be made stronger for it. Come and get me summer.

Monday, May 14, 2007



In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, the world can be a tiresome place to live in. With so many quotas and deadlines to meet, the world is constantly caught up in one huge rush order. We all know people who are obsessive compulsive about every little detail. They are the people who keep every piece of paper that comes under their possession in a marked file. They mark every due date in their planners, and get to work on it the moment they get home from school, no matter how long they may have to get it done. You may say that it is an admirable quality to be prepared, but upon closer examination, anybody can see that a person consumed by such a characteristic is simply robotic.

Why rush life? It’s a question I ask myself frequently. I look around and I see so many lost souls, confined to their programmed routines, never stopping to enjoy their surroundings. They have a deadline to meet, and their primal instincts tell them their project must be complete before its actually due. In the words of Ryan Shupe, these are the kind of people who miss things every day, simply because they are driving in the fast lane. They don’t get to smell the flowers or enjoy the ride; their destination is far more important to them than the process of getting there.

I am the kind of person who likes to smell the flowers along the road. In fact, I’d say that I’m the person most people see picking the flowers as they wiz by going a mile a minute. Everyone makes the word “procrastination” out to be an abomination, but in my opinion, it smells rather nice. While everyone else has the wind in their face and a huge assignment in the back of their minds, I find myself care-free and relaxed, strolling along on my merry way.

Of course, when the due date comes and everyone else has finished the work, I am still smelling the flowers on the wayside. Those finished with their work scoff at me and tell me there is no hope for one such as I. They tell me my procrastination has gotten me nowhere, that I can’t possibly accomplish my aims. If they could see clearly, they would realize that their workaholic mind-set has gotten them even further behind than me in the race of life, and they wouldn’t be chastising me. It is at times like this that I leave my flowers and pick up my pencil and gather my thoughts. I begin a steady sprint to the finish. I weave into my work every conscious particle of my refreshed mind, and I finish the race.

Panting at the finish line, I read back over my work and find something far more profound than any automated response my hasty counterparts pulled together. In their rush to finish early they forgot the most important element of work: play. Procrastination is not putting of work until the last possible second; rather, it is making work a walk, a game, and a sprint in the park. In my defense, I never put off work. I simply start my work with something that will get my mind off of it.

It is plain to see that procrastination is the real key to success. Forget automation. Infuse work with play, and with a little bit of a kick at the end of the race, you’ll finish stronger than any robot could ever manage. Take the time to smell the flowers. “Time flies too fast, I got to make it last. So enjoy it; relax, chill out, just give it a try. I say simplify.” Ryan Shupe has definitely got the right idea.

The Orange AP Test

Here's a little first-draft English assignment that I just wrote. It was due a month ago, but thats besides the point. What really matters is that I did it, and I'm going to turn it in tomorrow.

The Orange AP Test

Taking an AP class is a lot like peeling an Orange. When you sign up for your classes at the beginning of the year, you want to choose the juiciest, most plump classes you can find. It is your design to get the most for your money, so you choose carefully. When choosing, you must remember that you can only handle so many AP classes, just like you can only eat so many oranges before you tongue feels raw. Once you sign up for the classes, and the year begins, you begin to peel away the undesirable exterior, little bit at a time, trying to get to the good stuff on the inside. In any AP class you take, there is always a peel of worthless crap that you have to work your way through before you can get to the juicy, nutritious knowledge. You are always being fed the “how to pass the test” part of the orange—that’s the worthless part—and you never really get to the good “this is how and why this works this way”. Nobody is to blame for this, but that’s the way it is. The guy at the store who sells you the orange knows that you are gonna have to peel your way through the orange, just like the teacher knows that you have to learn how to take that single test at the end of the year.

So, the entire year we struggle with the peel. We can smell a hint of the really juicy part of the class all the time, but it is always out of our reach, because we can never really get the peel off completely. By year’s end, when it is time to take the AP test, the peel has been removed, but now you are left with an orange that went bad a year ago! It stopped smell good a long time ago, but you spent $83 bucks on it, and endless hours trying to peel it. You aren’t about to throw it out the window. So what do you do? You take the test, and you eat the orange. Its just terrible. The material that you learned all year long has gone bad, and the tasty juices are all but gone. You find yourself eating a dried up, worthless piece of biotic stuff that isn’t benefiting you in any way, shape, or form.

But you can’t stop eating it. You are in the middle of a test. The counselors are standing there, forcing you to eat the nasty orange. All you want to do is throw the orange at them, but that would benefit you even less, as you would lose all “privileges” to eat it as you are sent to the hall, your 83 dollar orange behind closed doors.

So instead, you muscle your way through the test. You plug your nose and force it down. You do everything you can do finish the orange in the remaining time, and make the best of your crappy situation. You do the best you can, despite wanting to hurl, and then, in the blink of an eye, the orange is gone. You’ve eaten the entire rotten orange.

You don’t know how you did, because the entire process became a blur to you. You feel a sense of anxiety as you realize that you won’t see the results for another few months. Your digestive system and the AP readers are so slow that you will have forgotten eating the orange when you finally see the results. The results are there, staring you in the face, and man alive does it stink.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

The First Week of High School

The First Week of High School

As I am now nearing my senior year of high school, I look back and remember my first days of attendance at Taylorsville High School. My first week as a sophomore met me with several challenges and instilled in me a variety of emotions new to me. Looking back on that week, I think of several items that, would have saved me a lot of trouble had I known them at the time. I found these secrets myself through the course of natural events. I believe that, if applied, they will make the first week—and following high school experience—of any sophomore who applies them much easier and more fun. It is my hope that the secrets I am about to share will be for the benefit of the new students of the high school I love so much. May the sophomores who read this take it seriously, and may their first week of school be all the better for it.

My first word of advice is confidence. It can be easy for new students at any high school to feel intimidated or overpowered. However, those feelings will pass with time as you grow more accustomed to the high school life. Every other student at the school has gone through the exact same experience, and they all came out alive. Confidence is the primary factor for your success at school in every aspect of it.

The next thing all you sophomores need to remember is that high school—besides being bigger and busier—is a much different place that what you are accustomed to. With more diverse classes, many new people from other junior highs, and dozens of teams, clubs, and cliques, it can be even more intimidating. Just remember to be confident; open yourself to these new ideas. Introduce yourself, and get to know the people in your classes. You will be with them for the rest of your high school experience, and the longer you wait to introduce yourself to them, the harder it will be. If you enter your classes with an open mind and make a good first impression, you will find yourself making many new friends very quickly.

To add to this friend-making business, I am going to let you in on another little secret that I have discovered: the opposite sex does not have cooties, contrary to popular belief. Keep your eye out for that cute girl, or that studly guy, and then introduce yourself. High school is meant to be a fun time of your life. Eventually you will realize that the more friends you have of the opposite gender, the more fun it is. However, a word of advice: try not to get into a steady relationship. A good friendship with multiple people of the opposite gender is much more fun than a really tight relationship with one of them. Remember that you are only in high school once, and that you will have plenty of time later to have relationships. For now, take it easy, and have fun. Make wonderful memories that will last a lifetime, not a phony relationship that will last to graduation.

Another good way to have fun in high school and have awesome experiences is to involve yourself with the school. If you want to join a club or a team, join it. Remember that confidence is key; don’t back down from something that you want to do just because you are afraid to try it. Personally, I haven’t gone straight home after school since elementary school. I have involved myself with many teams, including Cross Country, Track, the Academic Team, Swim, and even Water Polo. When I joined the Swim team as a sophomore, I didn’t really even know how to swim. I joined Water Polo later that year not even knowing what it was or how it was played. If I had never gotten involved with my school, the only memory I would have of high school is going home and playing endless hours of video games. Yet here I am two years later, and I can look back on my high school experience and recall so many wonderful times that I’ve had on these teams. I have met many wonderful friends and gained many new skills; where I couldn’t swim before, I can now swim all four competitive strokes. Where I didn’t know what Water Polo was before, I can now tread water with ease, play the sport relatively well, and have a great time while doing it. I can say that I am proud to be a Warrior, because I have fought, lost, won, and become a better person by being Warrior. One of the best words of advice I can give is to take pride in your school and join the clubs and sports that will make you happy. It has made all the difference in my experience.

To sum it all up, start the year out how you want it to end. If you want good grades, start working for those grades immediately. If you want to have a lot of friends, start meeting people right off the bat, and it will happen. If you want to be a student body officer, a star athlete, the President of a club, part of the school musical, or even just a good student, then the best time to start is the first week of school when your slate is clean. Get on top of your work, investigate what the school has to offer you, and give the school what you have to offer it. Remember that your year will end the way that you want it to end, but you have to start now; confidence is the key.

I do not think that I have much more advice to give that can help you with your first week (and year) of high school. The only other pointers I can think of are to bring a chair to mass class change day (because the line is horrendously long) and to not be afraid to try the cafeteria food, because it is actually pretty darn good. Other than that, remember what I’ve said, and you should be ready to rock and roll. High school is what you make it; nothing more, nothing less.