Story time: I’m not as bold as I used to be.

One time, I called up a girl that I knew had a crush on me, and told her she shouldn’t marry a guy she had just gotten engaged to. It was the right thing to do and yet I would never do it again.

Last week, a friend gave me a motorcycle. Just up and gave it to me. Awesome. It took a little convincing for my wife to welcome it into our home, but she’s warming up to the idea.

Frankly I don’t blame her for being hesitant. She wasn’t in my life when I had my accident in 2009, but she’s heard the stories, seen the pictures, seen my scars get lighter over the years. She was with me when I went through PT in 2012 because I hadn’t gotten proper treatment three years prior. It lingers.

(And my accident wasn’t even that bad–hell, you could call it lucky, considering I was wearing board shorts, a T-shirt, and no helmet. But I digress.)

As I sat on my new Chinese steel horse in my garage, I thought back to the last time I owned a motorcycle, in 2007. I had bought it off of my older brother. It was the bike I learned to ride on, a ’92 Honda Nighthawk 250.

Great size for a novice rider. Plenty of power, but not so much that it would overwhelm you if you didn’t know what you were doing.

When I got that bike in 2007, my life was very different. I was 23, single, working full-time, in college part-time, still living at home and helping my mom with a few bills here and there. My parents’ divorce had just finalized and she was still on meds/chemo/radiation from her cancer treatments. I had a lot going on in my life and pretty much all of it was great, truth be told.

I had a lot of really great friends, too. And if I may be so bold, I was even kind of popular with the ladies in the circles where I ran. I went on a lot of dates but didn’t bother getting serious with anyone, since I planned to go to school out of state later on.

This particular story centers on a girl, we’ll call her Michelle, who I’d known for a year or so, friend-of-a-friend situation. Our mutual friend had dropped a hint or two that Michelle was into me, which I thought was pretty cool, even though I didn’t see us getting together. Major confidence builder, knowing that a girl likes you.

A few things about Michelle: she worked hard and supported herself, even at the young age of 21. She had to. She had a daughter. The daughter’s father was in the picture, but not with Michelle. It happens. No judgment from me, I’d dated girls with kids before.

Still, I knew I wasn’t going to get involved with Michelle, and I had to be careful when groups of us hung out, because I didn’t want to give her the impression I would go after her. Our lives weren’t on the same path.

Then she started showing up to group hangouts with another guy, and there was talk of an engagement on the horizon. I thought that was cool, good for her. She wanted to be married and have a family, all that stuff, and it looked like it was finally happening!

This is where the boldness comes in.

After a few hangouts with the group, and some observations I made, I got the feeling this wouldn’t end well for Michelle. The guy wasn’t necessarily bad news, he was just…well, there’s “settling for what you want,” and then there’s something three floors beneath that, and that’s what Michelle was going to anchor herself to for the rest of her life.

As I went about my life, working, studying, going to school, it kept swimming around in my head. Michelle is going to marry a deadbeat guy. Her life is hard enough without attaching herself to this, and maybe she thinks it will fix her problems, but it won’t.

I prayed about it, I thought over it, and got it into my head that I needed to tell her she shouldn’t do it.

I tried to talk myself out of it, to analyze the consequences and stuff, of what it might do to her if I said that to her. In the end I weighed the cost and the outcome, and decided it was better if I said something to her, if it would have a positive effect on her.

So one day, after I left work and rode my old motorcycle to school (heeeeeey it finally came into the story), I stopped in the parking lot, shut it off, and started to head inside. Then I stopped. I took my helmet off, locked it to the bike, and called up our Mutual Friend to get Michelle’s number.

Mutual Friend knew what I was up to, and had my back. So I called Michelle. I still don’t remember everything I said, only that I prefaced it with a lot of things, and it boiled down to “You might think you want this, but you can do a lot better for yourself, and it would be better for you to find that.”

It didn’t scare me to say that, it just made me really nervous, and I was worried even then that I had done the wrong thing.

Fortunately, to my relief, Michelle was grateful that I had called, and even better, she told me she had already broken off the engagement. She knew she was walking into the wrong situation, even though she really wanted to be married. Big sigh.

We still hung out in groups, and things were great after that. We even went to see Stardust that summer, and had a good time of it. It made me glad to see that she had taken control of her life and her daughter’s life, and to this day she is still an excellent mother, providing for her family mostly on her own.

The point of this story, as I think back to it now, is that I doubt I would be that bold today. And I mean even if I wasn’t a married man with my own kids. I just wouldn’t jump into a peer’s business like that, knowing they might get the wrong idea about my intentions.

I wonder why it is. Maybe cynicism? Maybe I have enough of my own problems? Is it self-interest? Do I lack sufficient altruism? It could be a degree of apathy. As I’ve gotten older, I know that I care less and less for my fellow man in the abstract.

I’ll help a stranger, I’ll help a friend, and yet I find myself remaining distant from a lot of, I don’t know, emotional complications. I find myself thinking that people should reap their own consequences, and they should, but shouldn’t I also care a little more? Reach out more? Give good advice, even if someone won’t like it?

You think that you get smarter as you get older. Me, well, I’ve gotten more information, but I think the last ten years have added to my confusion, not my wisdom. Hell if I know.

Maybe if a friend was going to make a damaging decision like that, I would still say something. I hope I would. Guess we’ll know when it happens.

I just know that there was a time when I would have done it without question. Even if I had to talk myself into it.

I’m getting older, there’s no stopping that. But I can decide if I get better or worse as a friend. Food for thought.

Characters First: Why “Incredibles 2” was a worthy addition to the first one.

It’s always scary when they make a sequel to a really great movie. If the first one was 100% great, the second one would only need to hit 90% for you to feel like it didn’t live up.

Fortunately, Pixar has enough cultural capital for people to give them credit in the sequel department.

DreamWorks, for example, sequeled the hell out of the Shrek franchise, and none of them were all that great. The How To Train Your Dragon series started strong, but the sequel wasn’t able to recapture all the magic, and the 500 spinoff shows have watered down the product. Still, the third looks promising.

Incredibles, though, knows what it’s about. Yes, there are superheroes, and societal issues, and Big Questions, but those are just dressing on the plate. At its core, it’s a family story.

Bob is the husband/father who hates his job and longs for the glory days when he felt more valuable to the world. Now he tries to fill that void by figuring out how to be the dad his kids need him to be.

Helen struggles with the opposite problem–trusting her husband to run a tight ship like she does at home, while also accepting the responsibility of being The Main Superhero who will usher in a new era.

Violet isn’t just the girl with invisibility powers; she wants more adult responsibilities, and a relationship with a boy. The fact that she has powers and has to hide them makes that really hard to manage.

Dash is trying to keep up with a changing curriculum at school, and idolizes his dad, hoping to live up to his standard of heroism someday.

And Jack-Jack…oh man. That baby. Anyone who has had a baby boy in their house knows what’s up. Even without any dialogue, and limited cognition, he imposes his will on the world around him. Jack-Jack steals the show.

I could go on and on about the brilliant angles and aspects of this, but really, you just need to see it and you probably will. The 14-year wait, while unconventional, was worth it, and your patience is rewarded.

I would rather have to wait a decade and a half and have them get it right anyway.

5 Things I learned from a social media absence (#2 will SHOCK you!)

A week ago, President Russell M. Nelson of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints challenged the youth to go 7 days without social media. I decided to join in because I am an assistant youth advisor in my local Church ward.

Here is what I learned from those 7 days without constant social connection.

5: It was harder than I want to admit it was.

Granted, our lives are generally digital these days, but I’ve only owned a smartphone for five years, and I wish I was disciplined enough to not feel like I was going through withdrawals by avoiding Facebook or Twitter. That should be a warning to me.

4: Most of what I consume on social media is pointless.

We tell ourselves we are staying connected and informed…but about what? And at what price? How often are we really just filling ourselves with negativity and anxiety?

3: My immediate surroundings are more important than a digital environment.

It’s one of those things you know, but don’t realize that you were ignoring it until you actively address it.

2: The sting of a championship loss by your hometown’s first-ever pro sports team doesn’t suck as bad if you don’t wallow in it.

Up yours, Washington Capitals.

Really 2: Most of what I post is only interesting to me.

And I think my tweets and posts are just me assuming that my thoughts and observations are interesting to others. Instead of putting them online, I started writing them down privately. Hey, that used to be called a journal!

1: You do a lot of productive things when you don’t waste time online.

I packed food for work each night. I got out of bed on time. I hit the gym in the morning. And even though my kids ruined my scale with bath water, I can tell I lost a little more weight.

Were those the things President Nelson wanted me to learn with his challenge? Probably not, but I bet he suspected a lot of us would figure it out.

The real takeaway is that social media can be good if you actively make it so…but if you coast, and if you don’t prioritize, it becomes so much idle noise. Noise that distracts me from my commitments to my family and to God.

Even though I wasnt perfect in my fast (I did check it from time to time near the end, though I didn’t post anything), it helped me see what I want to do with it going forward.

If you didn’t participate in it this last week, try it sometime. Go without something that you are hooked on. See how you can better yourself without it.

Then get back to work.

Giveaway: SHATTER, by Aprilynne Pike.

Hi. You might be new to DreadPennies, so here is the skinny: Aprilynne Pike is a friend of mine and I like her books. I usually preorder them when I can.

SHATTER came out in February, sequel to GLITTER, which was a fearless genre masher wherein a future corporatcracy purchases the Palace of Versailles, and a young woman in the palace gets caught up in court intrigue.

When Danica’s mom blackmails the young king into marrying Danica, our intrepid heroine cooks up a dastardly plan to buy her freedom by becoming a drug dealer. Only instead of smoking or shooting this drug, you wear it as makeup.

It all pretty much goes sideways from there.

When my copy of the sequel finally arrived, it had been beaten up in the mail due to poor packaging. Amazon came in clutch and sent me a free replacement, telling me to keep this one, so I had an idea:

I would draw the characters in the front and back flaps, then do a giveaway.

Admittedly I’m not thrilled with how Saber came out (bottom right) but it was hard to find any Mongolian actors to model him after. As for the models I used on Justin and Danica, well, you’ll have to read Aprilynne’s afterword 🙂

Anyway, if you would like to win this copy of SHATTER–and heck, I’ll throw in a copy of THE HERO NEXT DOOR while I’m at it–send me an email. Dreadpennies [at] the ol’ gmail dot com.

The contest will run until May 14th, 2018, 6PM MDT. Only one email, one entry. I won’t sign you up for a list or sell your address or anything, I’m just trying to spread the fandom here.

Have fun, see you out there!

Summer Reading List: ELANTRIS by Brandon Sanderson

ELANTRIS is set in a fantasy world, where residents of a kingdom would randomly wake up and find themselves ascended to a higher state of divinity, capable of magic and eternal life. They would then get to move to Elantris, the perfect city.

However, ten years ago, the blessing became a curse, and now Elantrians live in a constant state of hunger and pain, confined to the fallen paradise like lepers. The surrounding kingdoms jockey for power, and a sinister plot is underway to rule them all.

Unless of course Prince Raoden, recently cursed to become Elantrian, can solve the mystery of why Elantris fell…

In May of 2008, I joined a legion of readers who were discovering Brandon Sanderson for the first time. He got a fame boost when Tor hired him to complete The Wheel of Time by the late Robert Jordan, and only had a few of his own books out back then.

ELANTRIS was his first published novel, and sometimes gets overlooked in the shadow of his larger properties like Mistborn or The Stormlight Archive. It’s excellent though, and at a time when I was devouring shorter books, I killed this 500-pager in three days, ignoring homework and bills and such.

Summer reading is a favorite tradition of mine, dating back to childhood library visits, and I look forward to it every year. This year I am revisiting some of my favorite reads, rather than just glutting myself on new ones like I always do. That particular summer was a very difficult and disappointing one, and the escapism of literature helped me find joy in hardship. ELANTRIS sparked the flame for me.

Since I spend a lot of time driving for work, or drawing at night, audiobooks supplement my yearly count. I’m lucky enough to have the GraphicAudio version of ELANTRIS, which is about 75% as long as the regular audiobook, because it’s done like an old time radio soundstage production. Full cast of actors, all of that. The sound effects really bring it to life.

If you haven’t read this book, try it out! Even if you don’t like fantasy, it might be your gateway drug to the genre.

Thoughts on Mind-Reading

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It was oddly difficult to title this post, because I know what I want to say, I just don’t know how to sum it all up in a one-liner. Here goes:

I have a theory about the impact of social media on our interactions with each other: Twitter and Facebook are the closest thing we have to actual telepathy, where we get raw, brutal insights into the minds of those around us, oftentimes whether we want to or not.

To illustrate the net result of this, I give you an anime parable from the Japanese cartoon Kino’s JourneyKino is a young girl who rides around on a talking motorcycle called Hermes, going from fictional country to fictional country, never spending more than three days in the same spot.

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Each episode of the cartoon (available on Amazon) had a fairy tale quality to it, and Kino learned lessons from the various places she traveled. I found it quite touching and insightful, as any good fairy tale would be.

The pilot episode has hung with me for a few years. Kino arrives in a country where everybody is in hiding and nobody leaves their homes to talk to each other. She visits a man in his home and learns that everyone in town drank a potion that would give them telepathy. The idea was that if everyone understood each other’s thoughts, it would create harmony.

Instead, it drove everyone apart, and nobody could stand each other. Even the man and his wife split up, despite loving each other deeply before the potion. He was a musician and she was a florist, but neither of them could stand each other’s trade by the time the telepathy had taken full effect.

Now everyone lived so far apart that they wouldn’t have to hear each other’s thoughts. As tragic as that was, Kino noticed when she left the man’s house that he had maintained the flowers out front, the flowers planted by his wife.

Down the road, Kino passed another house occupied by the wife, and she heard classical music coming from inside.

The takeaway for me was this:

  • There’s a reason our innermost thoughts are known only to us and God. Part of the human experience is to decide what to say, what to think, and what to keep to ourselves, especially in consideration of others. This burden is heavier than we think, and we ignore it at our own peril.
  • People leave their mark on us in one way or another, especially the ones we love the most. Those closest to us can push our buttons in ways that others can’t, but we take people as the sum of their parts.
  • Love (specifically) and society (broadly) is about living together in spite of the things we might not like about each other, because we value the things we do like about each other.

I’m writing about this tonight after an experience I had yesterday, where somebody shared an opinion on Twitter that grated hard against my values. (Shocking, right.) This person was also an artist, working in a different medium than I do, but I am a fan of their work.

I’m sure they felt very passionately about what they said. They might have even been coming from a genuinely good place. My instinct was to assume otherwise, to the point of feeling like they were directly attacking my belief system, and by extension, me.

When I sat down to update my journal for the evening, I chastised myself for thinking that way, and recalled Kino’s journey to the country of nationalized telepaths.

This wasn’t the first time I had had such an interaction with a fellow artist. I myself am on the “conservatarian” side of the spectrum, while a lot of other artists fall on the left side of the grid.

What good would I be doing them if I got so angry at their Tweets or blog posts that I cut them out of my life? Not just stopped following them on social media, but tossed out their books or albums or movies?

I used to follow a bunch of authors and artists whose work I loved (and still do.) But most of them, at one point or another, spouted off ideas that I found philosophically wrong or politically ignorant. Often in today’s climate you’ll see people attach their dislike of an artist’s work to a dislike of the artist’s values, whether or not those values are reflected in that work.

And I think back to Kino. I think back to a nation full of people living so far apart from one another that they have no interpersonal connections, no communication, because they can’t stand each other…and yet they miss each other.

People will spout off on the Internet with things that they would mostly never say in real life to a random stranger. (There are exceptions, we’ve all met one.) I don’t blame Twitter or Tumblr or anything for this; a person’s words are the property of that person. They alone are answerable for it.

I’ve had to unfriend very few people for espousing really, really offensive beliefs (including cutting out a couple of friends in 2016 who I found out were…pretty proud racists, actually.)

Other times, if I run into a fellow artist who starts spitting political fire all over their platform, my policy is just to mute or unfollow (if it’s bad enough), and continue to enjoy their work. I don’t have to be a florist to enjoy flowers, or a composer to enjoy music.

What I’m trying to say with all of this is that social media connects us to each other in ways never before seen in human history. Maybe the rampant, staggering division is an unforeseen consequence (I doubt it) but we can still choose to be better. To be kinder. To listen to each other. And to share the best things about us with each other, patiently, and considerately.

I hope all of this made sense. Online, you’re pretty close to reading someone’s mind. Remember that everyone is imperfect, like you, and that before we completely cut anyone out, let’s remember the good parts about them in the first place.

That’s all for now. Get back to work.

Pacific Rim Uprising was really cool.

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Pacific Rim was a borderline cult-hit from 2013 that somehow lost its opening weekend to a Dreamworks Minion movie, and an Adam Sandler sequel. That kind of sucks, because it was better than its trailers led people to believe.

First off, I get it: you see a movie trailer about giant monsters and giant robots, and you think “Well, the last Godzilla movie sucked, and the Transformers flicks have never had a story, so why bother?”

Well, Guillermo del Toro is not a “low-hanging fruit” kind of director. Pacific Rim had a story, an interesting world, and a fun cast of characters. Del Toro had a 400-page manual of worldbuilding that he had put together to answer practical considerations about a monster apocalypse. Trade routes across the Pacific would be interrupted, there would be food shortages, etc.

(Granted, he didn’t see the problem with *waiting* to put swords on the Jaegers, but I digress…)

Either way, whether it’s a giant robot movie or a giant monster movie, the plot is smart, the characters are memorable, and the “Cancelling the apocalypse” line was an instant classic.

After  being stuck in development hell for a few years, they finally got a sequel off the ground. Again, people were apprehensive. “It just looks like a smasher.” Well, after seeing DC’s poor excuse for a superhero franchise–and in fairness, the fact that Marvel tends to level cities in its movies–there might be fatigue on this subject.

But again, there was a smart plot with a natural development from the first one, focusing on John Boyega’s character, Jake Pentecost.

It’s a story about freedom, survival, unity, and grit. Some characters came back from the first one, and they all progressed and had good arcs with natural motivation. There’s a plot twist halfway through where you realize the villain is not who you thought, and the final obstacle is not what you expected.

And also there are giant robots smashing monsters with some pretty impractical weapons. (Titan Redeemer’s “Ball of Death,” for example.)

If I have any knocks on it, there are as follows:

–The cast seemed kind of bloated at times, especially once you get to the cadets at the Shatterdome. The only  name I remember is “Vik” for the Russian girl. Beyond that they were pretty much Russian Boy, Indian Boy, Chinese Boy, etc. Their names did appear on screen at different times, but not long enough for them to sink in.

–Jules Reyes, the apparent mutual love interest between Pentecost and his Jaeger co-pilot, is just…kind of…there. Without spoiling anything, I think she should have been the one to pilot Scrapper, instead of the pilot that ended up doing it. Minor tweak that would have given her character more relevance.

But that’s really it. I am glad I spent the extra bucks to see it in 3D, that gave it some depth (heh) and made the world more immersive. I’m taking the wife again soon.

Go see it. It’s a fun ride.

Send Graham to Writing Camp!

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Well okay it’s more a of a retreat than a camp, but there will be real hiking and stuff. But the important part is, there will be writing, and coaching and stuff, with a legit editrix who I really want to work with.

Here’s the skinny: we were able to pay for my dog’s leg surgery, but it’s left just about no wiggle room in the budget for a while. This retreat is one of the reasons I moved up to Utah, to improve my writing and my career, so it’s really important to me that I get in.

SO. I’m open to commissioned artwork. These make great customized gifts (see the gallery below.) The larger pieces are 18″ x 24″. I can do them for $75 apiece, and I’ll include shipping in that. Please note that for this promotion, $75 will also get you an illustrated background, not just a foreground. 

I also have copies of the Engines of Liberty books on hand, as well as about 18 copies of THE HERO NEXT DOOR, with a blank sheet in the cover for a custom drawing. Contact me for prices on those. Many a reluctant teen reader has jumped into these books for hours of fun.

My email address is grahampbradley [at] gmail (dot com.)

Talk to you soon!

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My sister requested a female Star-Lord for her friend’s birthday.

 

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Another gift for a friend, with her two oldest kids as Winter Soldier and Captain America.
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Illustrations from “KILL THE BEAST”
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More illustrations from “KILL THE BEAST.” My friend Danielle was the female model.
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Commission for my friend, with her oldest as Batman.
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Same friend as the Batman drawing, this is her youngest.
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Commission for my friend Case, a drill operator on the blast crew.

Grind O’Clock

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Six years ago, I got into the best shape of my adult life, thanks mostly to my friend Braden (left, with Mjolnir.) He told me to train for a Tough Mudder, so with 7 or 8 months to go, I signed up and hit the cardio.

Between exercise and calorie counting, I dropped thirty pounds and had a great time running with Braden and my other friend, Aprilynne. We went with an Avengers theme, since it was 2012, and I thought the shield would come in handy on the electric cable obstacles.

It ended up being a nuisance more than anything, but it got the job done.

 

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Six months later I did a Spartan Race with a different group. I liked it a lot more than the Tough Mudder, because the obstacles were spaced out better, and were more geared toward upper body strength, which I had. I managed to stay around 190 pounds for this run, as well as the Mudder before it.

 

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Two years after my first run, I did a third, this time with my wife. Between life as a trucker and life as a parent, I had gained some of the weight back, and ran this one at about 205. It was also at a higher elevation, double what I was used to, so it didn’t go as smoothly for me, but we had fun.

Then this one happened. October 2015.

 

 

Aprilynne invited me back for a third Mudder, my fourth overall mud run, and I had not had the time to get in shape for it. Our second kid had just come along (and Schaara had been sick for most of that pregnancy) and I was working a new job with longer hours. I ran this one at about 215 pounds, and wanted to die after 3 miles. (The whole course was 11-12.)

At one point I even looked to my wife, who was there as a spectator, and said “Don’t let me run one of these ever again.”

About that. I’m signed up for another Spartan, later this year.

Having been stuck at 230 pounds for about six months, I’ve decided to get back in the game. Changing my diet again, counting calories again (though with some modifications…the first time, I was 27 working a desk job. Now I’m 33 working a field job. Different animals.)

I’m going to do this. I have five months to get back into shape and the clock is ticking. I’m only a third of the way through my life, I really don’t want to be an out-of-shape suck for the rest of it.

Here we go. It’s Grind O’Clock.

Mother Knows Best (How To Get You In Trouble)

Once, when I was 18, my mom insisted that I wear a sweater to a girl’s house. The sweater had a bad double-entendre on it.

Story time:

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In 2002, my older brother went to serve an LDS mission to Italy. He left his ’92 Honda Nighthawk 250 at our house. Our vehicular situation required me to learn how to ride, and I quickly fell in love with motorcycles.

My parents, being the safety ninnies that they were, wanted me to “be careful” on the bike, whatever that meant…well anyway, in those days I usually spent Saturday nights hanging out with my friend Rachael, who lived on the edge of town.

As I was gearing up to ride the bike out to her neighborhood, my parents complained that I was wearing dark clothing (cargo nylons, a hoodie, a backpack) and would not be immediately visible to motorists on the dark roads in Henderson.

I informed them that I wasn’t wearing dark clothing, but rather really cool-looking clothing which enhanced my aesthetic appeal, a key factor when I was going to Rachael’s house, because I liked to hit on her sister.

There was some back-and-forth, but my parents insisted that I wear a light-colored sweater for the ride. I didn’t have one. Dad dug one out of his drawer, a sun-worn old white sweatshirt that was older than I was. It had a logo on it. And a slogan. I read the slogan.

And I quickly realized something.

Flashback time: my parents owned a print shop when I was a baby. It was called “Graphic Insanity.” My dad probably thought it was cool and edgy to put a slogan on the sweater that…had more than one meaning. I remembered seeing the sweater when I was five or six, before I had the frame of reference to understand.

Flash forward to 2002, when I was 18, after spending my formative years in the Las Vegas valley, and suddenly I understood what “printers do it without wrinkling the sheets” meant.

In my own constructive way, I indicated to my mom that this was a problem. There may have been a subtle charge of hypocrisy leveled against her and my dad (e.g., “you filthy hypocrites”) when I put it all together. Nevertheless, they again insisted on the sweatshirt. For visibility, or whatever. Never mind that the motorcycle had, like, LIGHTS  on it, and stuff.

At this point it’s worth mentioning that Rachael’s dad was a CSI agent, so my very conservative, very Mormon parents were basically ordering me to put on a shirt with a sex joke before riding a motorcycle to the house of a girl with a cop father.

Understandably, I put my original hoodie in my backpack, donned the dirty sex sweater, rode the motorcycle down the road, changed into the original hoodie, and went to Rachael’s house for the evening as planned.

It simply occurred to me that there were better ways to die, thus, I acted accordingly.

Besides, I had already used up my extra grace capital with Rachael’s dad earlier that year, when I knocked on his door at 1AM because my truck had died while I was trying to drop an old car in the desert near his house, and I needed to use his phone.

But that’s a story for another day.