Thursday, January 22, 2015

Satire (final)

The sun hung low behind the dark grey clouds that stretched across the sky like a blanket. I quickly shuffled into the back of my mother’s minivan next to my brother. “Could you move over a bit, Jenna,” he said condescendingly, “I feel like you’re practically on top of me. I need my space.” I rolled my eyes and smacked him in the arm. “Liam, shut up. We’re in two separate seats and I’m buckled in, how do you expect me to move over?” I spat back at him. There's nothing that annoys me more than fourteen year old boys. Especially if that fourteen year old boy is my obnoxious younger brother. Just as he was about to open his mouth to interject, my youngest sister, Allie, jolted around from the seat in front of us. “Can you guys stop fighting for once in your lives?” She spoke with the attitude of a fifteen year old, even though she was only nine. My other sister Peyton, she was eleven, sighed heavily and dramatically turned the page of the book she was reading. I rolled my eyes and angrily kicked the back of Allie’s seat and stared frustratingly out the window.
As a Christmas present to all of us kids, my mom promised that we could adopt a puppy. Allie mentioned getting a dog once, but none of us had specifically asked for one. Tensions had been thick and moods had been sour since my parent’s divorce last year. So my mother, in attempts to bring a little joy and lightheartedness into the atmosphere, decided it was about time we got a dog.
After about a half an hour of being cooped up in that metal prison of a car with my siblings, my mom made a sharp left turn off the main road onto a dirt path.“Where are we?” Peyton asked, looking up from her book. My mom turned the volume of the radio down. “We’ll be pulling into the shelter in about two minutes,” she responded. I shifted my position in my seat so I could see over Allie’s head and out the windshield at the approaching “animal shelter”. It looked more like a log cabin that you’d see in a horror movie to me. My mom parked the van alongside the curb as my siblings and I piled out. “Are you sure we’re at the right place?” Liam asked. My mom waved her hand dismissively. “Of course we are! This is the address I was told to go to in the email! Jenna, hand me my purse please.”
The moment I opened the door I felt like I had gotten hit in the face with the worst smell I had ever experienced in my entire sixteen years on planet earth. It was like some awful mixture of wet dog, pee, old wood, and something else I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I looked at Peyton and saw that she had her jacket zipped up to her eyes, masking her nose from that rancid stink. My mom walked over to the front desk with Liam as my sisters and I walked around the small lobby-ish area, checking the place out. That building was filthy to say the least. Dirty dog kennels, cat carriers, empty shampoo bottles, and more were scattered everywhere. I felt if I tried inhaling that dust would coat the inside of my windpipe, cutting off my oxygen. I could hear distant barking coming from what seemed to be the upper level of the building.“Great! Thank you very much!” I heard my mom say to the man at the desk. Liam walked back over to me and my sisters. “They’re going to bring the dog in now,” he told us with a small smile on his face. After what felt like decades, we finally heard footsteps coming back down the stairs. “Eeeeepp!” Allie squealed. “I can’t wait to meet her!” I looked around anxiously. The man from the front desk turned the corner with probably the cutest black lab puppy I had ever seen. My mom and sisters all screamed and ran towards the excited pup to pet her. Liam made his way over as well. I, on the other hand, stayed right where I was. What if it doesn’t like me? What if it bites me? What if it bites, like, a neighbor or something and we have to give it away? What if it whines at night and I won’t be able to sleep?
“Jenna! You have to come over here and pet her!” My mother exclaimed as the small lab puppy licked her face affectionately. I glanced around the shelter nervously and approached the dog. “Hi there, little fella,” I cooed. I got down on my knees and the puppy stumbled over to me. I smiled and scratched her ears. “You’re just the cutest thing!” I said as I pat her, “I can’t wait to take you home with us!” The puppy was panting, wagging her tail, and obviously getting a little over excited. I felt more comfortable and sat down on the floor, despite the filth, and continued petting her. All of a sudden, I felt this warm sensation on my lap. “Oh my…” I heard Liam’s voice trail off. My mother gasped and Allie let out a shriek. “What the heck, Jenna?!” Peyton was now shrieking too. I looked down at my lap and saw the one thing I had not expected to see. Dog pee. I let out a blood curdling scream and jumped up on my feet. “WHY?!” I yelled down at the dog, who, much to my annoyance and dissatisfaction, seemed remarkably pleased with herself. The dog scurried around behind me as I continued to stare at my pants in disbelief. 
By this time my entire family, along with the man from the front desk, was laughing hysterically at me. My mom was laughing so hard she made this horrific snorting noise.“You all think this is funny?!” I projected. “Getting this stupid dog wasn't even my idea! It was just mom’s pathetic way of bringing this obnoxious family closer. Well, congrats mom, you've actually done the opposite. I hate you all twice as more now!” I was yelling so loud I felt as though a blood vessel would burst. However, my family (and the man from the front desk) did not feel even a shred of sympathy as they continued to wheeze with laughter.I rolled my eyes and screamed one last time before making my dramatic exit, “You know what...Whatever! I don’t even care anymore! I’ll be waiting in the car.”I spun around angrily, ready to stomp out of that dilapidated animal shelter and never look back. But, instead of leaving after proving my point, my foot landed into warm, freshly produced pile of black lab puppy excrement. My eyes widened as I felt my face redden, unable to process what exactly just happened. Outrageous fits of laughter erupted from behind me as I looked down at that obnoxious disgrace of a dog, who seemed to be happier than ever.  

Angry Letter (final)

Dear TDA,

     Before I begin, let me tell you a little bit about myself. I, like most teenagers at the age of sixteen seeking to learn and master the skills involved in operating a motor vehicle, must spend the majority of my day obtaining a high school education. I take school very seriously and rarely miss a day. However, a particular instance forced me to be dismissed from class early in order to complete my last road lesson before my scheduled license test.
     As you obviously know, your company policy is to have each student complete all twelve hours of driving and six hours of observation twenty-one days in advance to their license test so the lesson has time to "process". Well, I had booked my license test far in advance, using my best judgement and knowing how fast the slots fill up. Finding an open time slot was always quite difficult. I had my last road lesson booked three days before my deadline was reached, giving myself just enough time. This became problematic in the end because one of my cross country meets got cancelled and rescheduled due to weather complications. Why was this such an issue, you may ask? Well, the meet was conveniently moved to the day of my last road lesson, therefore throwing off my entire plan and schedule. I frantically attempted to reschedule within a two-day time span. The only lesson available before my deadline was a Friday afternoon...during school.
     Naturally, I booked the lesson. What else was I supposed to do? I had no choice if I wanted to get my license on time. So I was dismissed from class early and went home to wait for one of your driving instructors to pick me up. I was all ready to go when it was time for the instructor to come and get me. But, the instructor did not show. I figured they were just running behind. Center-of-town-traffic can be very messy at times. So I waited. Ten minutes past my lesson time went by. No instructor. Fifteen minutes. Still no instructor. At this point I was rather irritated. I waited a couple more minutes before getting the phone and calling your main office.
     The phone rang multiple times before someone finally answered. I explained my situation with a very calm, patient, and understanding tone. The individual on the other end stated to me that she would try and get in touch with the instructor who was supposed to take me out on my lesson. So from there I was put on hold. For a very long time.
     When the woman finally came back to the phone, she explained that she "could not get in touch with the instructor", that this was "very unusual for him", etc. For the record, I don't really care if this was "unusual" or "out of character" for this particular individual. First impressions are very important. I haven't even met this person and I already strongly dislike them. But anyways, by now I was more than slightly annoyed and irritated. The woman proceeded to say "I don't know what to tell you" in regards to the lesson.
     In a much more harsh and sharp tone, I informed this woman that I had a deadline to meet (one enforced by your company) and that if this road lesson that I had scheduled (inconveniently) for myself was not completed by tomorrow I would not be able to take my license test. I also emphasized that I had missed school to make this lesson.
     There was an uncomfortable silence on the other line while I waited for her response. After what felt like a decade, she decided to respond with "I guess I can see what other times I can reschedule you for today" and then proceeded to put me on hold...again. Then, after what felt like another decade, the line reconnected and the woman informed me that she could "squeeze me into a lesson for 3:30 if that was okay" (which by the way was not okay because I had cross country practice starting at 2:30 which I would now have to miss as well). Relieved that they were able to fit my lesson in, but still thoroughly irritated, I took the lesson, "thanked" the woman, and hung up.
      So, in summary, I would just like to thank you for inconveniencing my entire day and ruining the fantastic mood I had that lovely Friday afternoon. Also, bravo on your horrendous customer service. I probably won't be recommending your company to anyone in the near future.



Self-Deprecation (final)

         German poet, Charles Bukowski once wrote, “Find what you love and let it kill you”. Growing up, this has been a very true statement for me. Loving something to such an extent as this has always been quite easy. Ever since I was very young I’ve had an extremely obsessive personality. I have always loved a lot of things, but I didn’t just love them- I loved them large. So large, in fact, that these things seemed to overtake my life. Take Care Bears for example. When I was about five or six, these small, colorful bears weren’t just more stuffed animals to add to my very large collection. They were my entire life. Everything I owned had to be Care Bear related. Care Bear pencils, Care Bear pillows, Care Bear pajamas, Care Bear blankets, etc. Every time I noticed something associated to Care Bears in a store I would bother and pester my mother until she caved and let me buy it. I would also, regrettably, cause a horrible scene involving screaming, pathetically begging, and crying if she refused my pleas. Onlooking shoppers would stare pitifully at my mother, almost feeling a sense of second hand embarrassment for this poor woman with a baby in a stroller and a red-faced, screaming five year old. But hey, you got to do what you got to do to get that brand new Care Bear look-and-find book.
           My bedroom at my grandmother’s house was another story. Looking back I have to admit the Care Bear comforter and bedding set was a bit much, but at the time it was all I had ever wanted. I was in my glory. Holding a normal conversation with me as a child was seemingly impossible due to all the unnecessary comments about those bears. But, as one would expect, as I grew older, my obsessions grew older with me. I soon ditched the Care Bear phase and moved on to whatever caught my attention at the time. Whether it were animals, certain colors, movies, foods, TV shows, or bands, something was always on my obsessive radar.
            When I was fourteen, I made the choice to alter my dietary habits by picking up vegetarianism. I always have been, and still am, a very big animal lover and the more I thought about it, the more the idea of eating animals distressed me. The solution, in my mind, to save the helpless farm animals of the world was obviously to give up meat eating entirely and go vegetarian. I had pondered my decision for quite some time before making the switch. I spent many moments alone with my thoughts weighing out the pros and cons of a meat-free lifestyle. I kept thinking about all the animals I could spare by not eating meat. Take cows, for example. I love cows. I mean, just look at them. They’re so innocent and helpless. They just stand in fields day in and day out grazing to their hearts content. Killing something so sweet and harmless for the mere purpose of satisfying a hamburger or steak craving seemed merciless in my opinion. I also couldn’t stop thinking about pigs. Have you ever seen Charlotte’s Web? Every time I ate pork or ham the only thing that came to mind was that pig, Wilbur. I just couldn't eat little Wilbur’s anymore. Going vegetarian would mean I could finally go on with my life with a clean conscience.
            However, one con in particular stuck out in my mind. Going meat-less would mean I would have to remove chicken from my diet. And I love chicken. Like really love chicken. I would eat chicken every day and chicken with every meal. The thought of parting with it seemed torturous to me. If this sounds really stupid to you, just think of your favorite food in the entire world and imagine never being able to eat it again. Ever. Are you imagining it? Well, that’s how I felt.
            But, nonetheless, I made my decision to go vegetarian. The switch seemed easy at first until I went out to eat with my family. I can’t remember the restaurant at the moment since the only thing burned into my memory was this: we were seated at a table in a quiet corner of the restaurant. At a table nearby was a kind looking middle aged couple that just got their food delivered to their table. Usually, I’m not one for people watching, but today was different. The woman at that table had ordered a huge plate of chicken parmesan (the man had ordered something completely irrelevant to me). When I saw it, my heart snapped and it felt like someone had thrown a chicken sized brick at my chest. Here I was, vegetarian, sitting directly across from some random omnivorous stranger eating my favorite food in the entire universe. It was unbearable. Call me rude for staring, but I could not stop. A small part of my soul withered away with every bite she took. It was almost like she knew. She knew I had given up meat and she knew I wanted her chicken parm more than I wanted air in my lungs.
            The entire rest of the night was torture as I ate my salad, trying to forget about the chicken eating episode I just witnessed. When I returned home, all I could think about was chicken and how I’d probably never taste it again, seeing to that I kept my vegetarian habits up. Chicken had overtaken my thoughts.
            To make a long story short, and to spare you of any more pathetic details, I quit vegetarianism as one might expect. It took two years of will power and self-control until I caved. My infatuation was too much. I still don’t eat beef or pork, but being able to eat my first chicken nugget since I was fourteen this summer was life changing. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Modest Proposal

     Today's society revolves around efficiency and convenience. Cars being one of the main sources of this efficiency. However, with such luxury comes a price to pay.  The exhaust and toxic fumes given off by vehicles is extremely harmful for the environment, causing air pollution. Air pollution is the most common form of pollution, also being the most dangerous. Other forms of pollution include water pollution, soil pollution, radioactive pollution, and light pollution. Pollution is an extremely serious and growing problem in our world today. The increase of CO2 in the atmosphere, stemming from the exhausted from vehicles, creates smog which restricts sunlight from reaching the earth. Other such harmful gases can lead to acid rain. With the increase of air pollution especially, cancer rates and respiratory problems skyrocket. Not to mention the additional environmental problems resulting from pollution such as global warming and ozone layer depletion.
     With the health of the human race and the environment at stake, one can only hope that a solution will be advised for this ongoing problem. Take vaccinations into consideration. An individual will get vaccinated in order to build up an immune system to a certain disease or ailment. Now picture Mother Nature as one infected with a disease – the disease that is pollution. In order for this sickness to go away, she must develop an immunity to it. That being said, there is only one solution to pollution (no rhyme intended) – over pollute the earth until Mother Nature reaches her breaking point. If we as a society continue to litter on highways, spill oil in the ocean, drive environment harming vehicles, and send up toxic fumes from factories destroying the ozone, eventually the earth will have to fight against it, therefore making the problem of global warming, greenhouse gases, etc. disappear completely.
     One might be inclined to reject this proposal because they believe that over polluting does not solve the problem, it only makes it worse. In the past the only attempt to solve this ongoing issue was to recycle and conserve energy. However, these efforts have failed countless times considering the thick layer of smog that still lingers over so many cities across the globe. Don't knock it 'till you try it, right?

     Going through with this plan would mean no more fees for recycling bins and cheaper cars considering no one will have to worry about purchasing the more expensive and environment-friendly ones.
     Now, let us go forward from this moment on as one people, one nation, and one cause united against the lies of recycling and environmental conservation to over pollute the earth in order to further improve our state of living!