Saturday, April 12, 2014

Cussing at Clergy

I should have learned my lesson. A wise man once said " Out of the abundance of a man's heart, he speaks." It was a warm spring day in 1988 in the city of Detroit. I was finishing up chef school at Oakland Community College and I was working full time at a restaurant. Chef School was tough. We arrived daily at 7:00 AM and went until 3:00 PM, plus we were expected to take two academic courses on top of being in culinary art school and we were required to work in a restaurant 30-40 hours per week. After two years at this pace I was becoming burnt out, stressed out, and exhausted. The pace and the stress were making me into someone I wasn't. Between school and work I went shopping at a busy K-mart near my home. As I was leaving the parking lot the person behind me was angrily honking their horn at me. As the honking continued the level of frustration and anger began to rise within. "What is this guys problem." My inner demons waged war with my moral compass and after one more honks the demons prevailed. I stuck my middle finger out my window and I saluted the driver behind me with evil satisfaction. The light finally turns green and the honking man continues his assault. With defiant rage I salute my assailant with unbridled intensity. The man pulls his car next to mine at the next stoplight. Finally I will be able to give this man a piece of my mind! I roll down my window ready for a verbal assault on this obnoxious honking man. To my surprise it is a man, his wife, and two children waving hi. I look with a horrified expression at the man waving and I instantly recognize him as my boss. My heart and my defiant rage sink into my chest. "Oh what have I done." My boss told me afterwards that he was telling his wife and children about what a good Christian young man I was and how much he appreciated my Christ-like behavior. I vowed that day to put a guard over my lips and my finger and to always wave hi to people honking at me.
I have a new sport in my life. Disc Golf. When I first moved to Oregon my two best friends "the Reverend Brian Condello and the Reverend Erik Williams" played horse shoes together. These epic trash talking, sarcastic filled, horse shoe battles have been replaced by epic trash talking, sarcastic filled, disc golf battles. We traded horseshoes (a sport enjoyed by elderly gentleman) with disc golf (a sport enjoyed by nature loving hippies) In my long 20 year history with Brian and Erik I have never witnessed a tirade from Brian. Emotionally speaking he is the one constant in the universe. Erik has small moments of emotional instability but I have only seen him completely unhinged once. Disc golf can be a frustrating game. Who would think throwing a disc into a chain basket could bring out the worst in a person? Many of my best unhinged moments in the past year have materialized on a disc golf course. Sometimes when I miss a super simple shot an overwhelming level frustration and deep disappointment erupts into a childish display of immaturity. My Happy Gilmore tantrums are comical to watch as I throw several discs as hard as I can into the hole and then throw my disc bag into the hole. All dignity and decorum are swallowed up by immature rage. I'm not proud of this behavior. I wish I possessed Brian's unshakable demeanor or Erik's laid back Hakuna Matata approach to the game, however I possess a wild, unpredictable, passion charged, competitive nature, which emotionally vomits (for all to see) when I make a bad shot. I'm happy to say that the demons of my competitive nature seldom if ever show up in my day to day life but in the crucible of epic trash talking, sarcastic filled, disc golf battles my nature is revealed. Disc golf is all about consistency. You develop a throwing technique and you practice it until your throw becomes predictable. My technique is to throw low, fast, and to the left of my target. All disc and throwing techniques have a natural fade to one side or the other and my discs and technique always fade right. We have a saying "it is all about the second throw" If you have a good second throw you will par the hole. About a month ago we were on our second hole. My first throw was average. I was left of the hole, but I had a simple second throw for an easy par. I aimed left of the hole and let it fly. As soon as the disc left my fingers I knew it was catastrophic. The disc flew sharply left instead of right. Prior to this throw I was 75 feet from the hole. After my throw I was 90 feet from the hole and in the woods. The anger and frustration at my pathetic ability grew within. This throw was so bad that my typical childish tantrum just simply wouldn't suffice. Like a can of Coke that has been well shaken before it is open a choice word forms on my lips. This word would explode forth with volume and passion and it would flow from the abundance of my heart. An atomic S bomb exploded over Woodmansee Park that day. The good Reverend Brian Condello and the good Reverend Erik Williams turn their hallo ornamented heads towards me. The word felt so good, so right, so appropriate, as I shouted it at the top of my lungs, but now as the two reverend's condemning eyes pierce into my soul I feel like a naughty puppy dog who just made a S bomb on their new carpet.
I should have learned my lesson. A wise man once said " Out of the abundance of a man's heart, he speaks." I believe these words to be true. My mouth once again betrayed my heart. I have proven once again that I'm a flawed individual who desperately needs the grace abundantly given to me by my God, family and friends... and one day if you are out on a disc golf course and an absentee rises above the trees take a good look around and wonder if it is Stevey?

1 comment:

H said...

Well written Steve... and I agree with the Condello universal constant.