I swear I’m not an ungrateful jerk…

image I’d like to preface this post by saying, on the surface at least, I would appear to be an awards-receiving schmuck in the eyes of my fellow bloggers — so many of whom I admire and am inspired by on a daily basis. Yet in spite of this, I have successfully been unresponsive to six awards since March, which began when newly-christened grandmother Marcia at Bookin’ It presented me with the lovely “Shine On” award. A week later, National Harold-Gazette included me on its list of “15 Very Inspiring Bloggers” which, I suspect, came as a result of my repeated failed attempts to add a Facebook link to my account without crashing the entire WordPress platform.

As I sat at my desk the next day feeling both appreciative and humbled by the nods from fellow bloggers, Reflections of a Single Girl, who has educated me about modern single life with a mix of whimsy, wit and WTF, graciously awarded me my second Liebster. At that point, I was already teetering on the brink of feeling overwhelmed by the need to respond with something brilliant to no fewer than three bloggers and 35 personal questions. At most, there are four interesting things about myself, three of which took place before I was conceived.

So when the words “You have been selected to receive the ‘Epically Awesome Award of Epic Awesomeness!'” came my way from DumbFunnery (Who has the best tagline ever with “The intellectual equivalent of a ham sandwich”), I went from teetering on the brink of the overwhelmed to falling into a full-blown guilt-ridden panic attack that would shame a Catholic. Then Reo Cochran at Witless Dating After Fifty, who gives me a glimpse into the what would’ve been my dating future had I not gotten divorced and remarried before I turn 50, graciously added to my overwhelming sense of guilt with the Versatile Blogger Award.

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Determined to shed the skin of my growing sense of schmuckness, I sat down to respond one at a time to each of these wonderful bloggers, wanting to make sure they knew how much their recognition meant to me, and how much I enjoyed learning more about them through their responses to the obligatory questions they answered. With my fingers poised above my keyboard, I was about to begin my first response when the little “quote” button in the right corner of my blog screen lit up.

“We here at Moment Matters have just awarded you the “Best Moment Award!” Ironically, as much as that tip-of-the-hat meant, coming from a site that truly celebrates the notion of appreciating everyday moments, in that moment I dropped to my knees and threw my hands upward, emitting a primal holler from the proverbial twin bowels of joy and fear, which exist side by side for purposes of this post much like Yin and Yang, and in no way refers to me naming my testicles.

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But I digress.

The point is, I put myself in a catch-22, simultaneously feeling guilty about not acknowledging the generosity of these bloggers while harboring a growing sense of embarrassment the more time passed.

Until yesterday.

That’s when Randy at Created by RCW, a blogger who is as entertaining and insightful with words as he is with a camera, informed me of being among his three choices for the “Always Here If You Need Me” award, which recognizes fellow bloggers for their support, encouragement and, I’m guessing, a promise to buy the drinks should they ever randomly meet at a bar in Canada. Truth be told, I consider Randy a writing sage because of his years of experience, which is so much more than a reflection of his age. His writing speaks for itself and speaks loudly of someone who is a keen observer of life, of the little things that make it matter most, and how to appreciate them with or even without alcohol.

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I definitely want to be the kind of blogger who is “Always Here If You Need Me,” whether it be for a laugh, supportive word or, in the case of awards, a gracious and responsive recipient who shares the love in a way that doesn’t cause an infection.

That said, in keeping with the tradition of this award and others, here are the answers to some of the questions, as well as five things that make me happy — and three bloggers who are always here for me if I need them…

11 facts about myself
1) I’m madly in love with my beautiful wife, Alicia.
2) I never went to college.
3) After graduating high school in Oregon, I moved to Dallas, Texas with $500 and a VW van.
4) In a moment of weakness, I voted for Ross Perot.
5) I didn’t start listening to AC/DC until this year; Yes, I wasted 45 years 😦
6) Without coffee, I would die. Seriously, it’s a condition.
7) We have a blended family, two boys (13 and 14) and two girls (12 and 18)
8) One of my sons is autistic, and he has taught me lessons — painful and joyful — about appreciating the moments in life.
9) Before becoming a humor columnist, I was a corporate chef for ten years. They said my food tasted funny; I thought it was just salmonella.
10) My father was a policeman. Four years ago, I joined the fire department… sorry, Dad.
11) I have a man crush on Steven Spielberg.

10 questions
1) What is your favorite colour?
Definitely just about any shade of green. I think there are 50 shades altogether… wait, or is that a book?

2) What was your favorite TV show as a kid?
That’s a tough one. I was a HUGE “Starsky & Hutch” fan, but I’d probably have to say “S.W.A.T.” with Steve Forrest. My friend, David, and I would play it every afternoon, climbing onto his roof with our plastic M-16 rifles and wearing our Cub Scout uniforms (which, back then, was the same color as the SWAT guys’ uniforms). Amazing how times have changed. Today, I’d probably be shot.

3) If you could chose a career without having to spend time qualifying, what would it be?
I’ve been very blessed in that I’ve had two careers like that already, although it took me five years to go from busboy to corporate chef. When I changed careers to journalism, I had no experience; just writing samples. I got hired here at the Siuslaw News over three journalism grads. I’m fortunate enough to say, so far, I have spent my life working in careers I really enjoy and have had success in. Now that I’ve added “firefighter” to the list, I’m set.

4) What is your favorite season?
Definitely the fall. I love the crispness in the air, the coming of winter and all the holidays, the smell of chimney smoke (assuming I’m not on a fire call) and high school football. One of my most favorite things about fall, though, is that it’s the time of year my wife and I met.

5) Tea or coffee?
What is tea?!?

6) What is the thing you are best at?
Lovemaking… Ok, not really — just seeing if you’re still reading. I’d have to say being an observer of things. It’s an important quality to have in successful writing. And lovemaking…

7) If you could learn a skill, what would it be?
Finish carpentry. I added a second story to our house and did most of the work myself… and it shows.

8) If you could have a drink with anyone, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be?
My best friend, Jason, who died 10 years ago from cancer. I still miss him every day. Plus, he’s the only other Danish person I know who could drink Gluk without vomiting.

9) If you could change a moment in history, what would it be?
My first instinct is to go with having Justin Beiber’s birth postponed until sometime after I’m dead, but I think I’ll go with having the “magic” bullet miss JFK. I honestly think that singular event, more than any other, began the domino process of pessimistic and self-centered attitude that is gripping our country and so much of the world today. Come to think of it, so is Justin Bieber.

10) What animal would you chose to be?
I’m a wolf nut; I love them. They are majestic, family-oriented and absolutely amazing. I cringe every time they are portrayed as mindless, savage creatures. There are plenty of creatures like that wearing pants to worry about.

Five things that make me happy:
1) Lazy days with my wife. Because we are a blended family, there are occasional weekends when the kids are with their other parents. When they are, my wife and I slide the couches together and make a giant “bed” in the living room, throw on blankets, and watch old movies all day and night, stopping only to answer the door for food deliveries. The other reason we stop, I can’t really talk about here.

2) The “other” reason my wife and I stop watching movies during lazy days, which I can’t really talk about here.

3) Knowing when I’ve done something right as a parent because I can see it in the eyes of my children.

4) Whenever I can make someone laugh. Especially if my clothes are still on.

5) Loading hose back into the fire engine after a fire. It’s tedious but there’s just something satisfying about getting the engine back in service, working together, and the conversations that take place between firefighters. There’s nothing else like it.

And lastly, bloggers who are “Always Here For Me If I Need Them.” I’m only supposed to name three. I have to make it more than that…

Paul Brodie Paul is my sounding board for anything off key. He has an ear for the abstract that is seldom seen.

Michael D. Kelleher: Aside from being one of my first “followers,” I don’t believe he has ever missed a post. More importantly, though, he is a talented writer and chronicler of life. He also humbled me with one of the nicest pieces anyone has ever written about me in one of his writer spotlights.

Reflections of a Single Girl: In addition to being witty and thoughtful about life, she never fails to offer a perspective or observation I didn’t think of. Which was sometimes for the best, yet I can’t help but appreciate it — she’s that good.

Lisa John Sawyer: She’s a voice from The Deep South who is always there to offer an insight that never fails to raise my eyebrow as well as the corners of my mouth.

SHenryDaFrankmann: He makes every Tuesday exceptionally bearable, thanks to our often day-long exchange of one-liners following my weekly post of The Door. Our exchanges are easy to follow; they’re the ones that are reduced to a series of single letters running down the side of the comment thread. Some people skip the posts and look for his comments. Damn him.

Polysyllabic Profundities: One of my first “followers,” she is an extremely talented writer and thoughtful person who has offered encouragement, insight and many smiles. Also, she possesses a dead-eye aim when shooting frozen raspberries from her nose.

I didn’t intend for this to be a novel, but I had a lot of explaining and apologizing to do, and some long-overdue recognition to share. If you read all of this, I truly appreciate it. If you didn’t…

…well, you’re not reading this anyway. But thanks nonetheless.

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54 thoughts on “I swear I’m not an ungrateful jerk…

  1. I love it when you talk about your wife — it shows your softer side 🙂

    Now, head upstairs and fix that door jamb — you know the one I mean — the one with the crooked molding. Wood putty doesn’t hide everything, Mister!

  2. I am deeply touched!! Mosey on down and I’ll cover that Media Noche with your choice of beer 😉 Consider number 4 done on what makes you happy. You accomplish that with every post. From what I read here, you are doing parenting exceptionally well 🙂 Thank you fro the nomination!

  3. omg, ned – – you have just been permanently deleted from my lottery winnings distribution list! apparently you missed the “super sweet blogger” award i nominated you for in may, and now i’m considering hibernating for the rest of the summer to avoid being seen crying in public, which will no doubt be a giant burden for me because summer is by far my favorite season.
    http://myzencity.com/journey/my-work/qualifications/super-sweet-blogger-award/

    • Good Lord… Apparently, my Jerk-ness knows no boundaries! I am so sorry. I don’t know what happened 😦 Thank you so much for this award, and please don’t take me off your lotto list! I have a feeling we… I mean You… are going to win! Besides, I can’t stand the thought of you missing the summer because of my blatant disregard for something I somehow missed. Please take me back…

      Seriously, though — Thank you so much for looking past my jerk-ness, which goes to show how sweet You are.

  4. Thanks for the shout out. Tuesdays make me fart. And laugh. And cry. And adjust my underwear.. all while reading the Door.

    The Door is a bacon, drawing us deliciously into the jager on the rocks of alcoholism.

    I just created an award for you. I’ll flush it now. It should float your way soon.

    • I awoke this morning to a bacon-scented “award” in my commode. I had no reason to suspect it was anything other than my own until IO caught a whiff of Jager.

      Thanks, my friend.

    • Thanks so much, Tom. You’re definitely a constant blip on my awesomeness radar as well. Sometimes several blips. I don’t know how that’s physically possible, but I won’t question your talent.

  5. I am deeply touched…but despite that I understood most of what you said.

    Ooh, and I saw my name! That was very exciting! The rest of it was mostly a meaningless blur about you or other people.

    All the best, my friend…Randy

    • I had a feeling you were deeply touched. It’s probably too late for you to tell someone now. Either way, I’m glad I was able to get your name in there, although I can’t remember for what…

      Oh yeah — because your a terrific writer and blogging friend 😉

  6. Ned … you are the funniest man! I bet you’re even funnier without your clothes.

    If I had any sort of award to give out … for plumbing or carpentry or whatever, I would send it your way 🙂

    Seriously mate … your humour this morning (UK) just made my day brighter. Big hug!

  7. I am so disappointed that you only recently began enjoying the kick-ass stylings of AC/DC!! However, I would say, better late than never. I am also guilty of not responding in the proper way to awards, and passing them on. I always say thank you, and let them know I suck at doing them. Plus, who really wants to know any more about me than they already do?? lol

    • What can I say? I’ve always been a late bloomer!
      And I completely understand about the awards thing. Obviously. Part of it is humility; part of it is laziness. I’m not sure which is bigger. But I’m making an effort to do better.

      And don’t sell yourself short; I have a feeling your blog just scratches the surface of what people would find interesting about you. Depending on what surface you’re scratching… 😉

  8. I actually love those goofy questionnaires. They make people reveal stuff about themselves that typically doesn’t go with their “theme.” Thanks for sharing. No, I mean it.

  9. Your posts make me laugh. I’m even jerker than you. I get nominated and all I have time for is sending a thank you and accepting. Well that and I have not had the time to figure out how to upload these or whatever you have to do from WordPress iPhone app. I can’t use my laptop as ther is no “S” key. You never realize how important the letter is until it goes missing and when you ask about it all you get is “I don’t know” or “I didn’t do it”. And if you look at my latest blog and all the “s’s” in that post… Well you get my point! Lets just say… I’m very very sorry I’m not responding and if anyone out there can tutor me on how to do this? Well I like how you combined them but I don’t even know how to do that!!! Well lets just say… Show or help me know hot to do this task so I’m not such a jerky bloggess… 🙂
    Thanks Ned for the laughs and love hearing about wife and kids!

  10. I was hoping against hope, that my award did not have a lot of questions! I tend to try to bungle through the acceptance, move on the presentation and dismiss all memory of the whole process! But you have encouraged me with your interesting work choices and love story, too. I have a rather boring job, wish I could be something else, and try to run after, chase and meet men in the darndest places! I liked your talking about your old movies days and we can use our imagination on that subject! So glad that someone is having romance still these days! Thanks for naming me on this post and also, although I just press “like” I do read all of your posts! They are very amusing and you’re not as bitter as you would have us believe!

    • It was my pleasure to include you on this list, and I appreciate you noticing I’m not really all that bitter 😉 As for the questions, I fudged a bit and just picked the ones I wanted to. Feel free to answer what you see fit, or even throw in your own Q&A. Just watch it on the T&A… 😉

      And romance will find you when you least expect it…

  11. Ned. Your life, your music choices… 😉 I’m glad you picked up AC/DC, because they are unspeakably awesome. Unlike the beibs, who brings me joy only when he smacks that coiffed head of his into a revolving door somewhere. Last I heard he was trying to be a rapper… God help us all.

    On an unrelated note, my Dad is a fireman, so I laughed quite a bit over the fireman/policeman issue. My Mom made it clear to me when I was little that I was forbidden from following either career because, and I quote “I’ll die at the ripe age of 50 after I have 10 heart attacks because of you both.” My Dad wouldn’t trade it for the world, but my Mom would have killed me. I’m sure Dad would have cried had I chosen to follow a career in law enforcement.. but only a little. 🙂

    But props for recognizing all those awards. My info page has quite a few on there that I don’t think I’ve ever really acknowledged… Probably should work on that one…

    • I don’t know if you remember Vanilla Ice, but it’s obvious that JB’s new direction — not to be confused with One Direction — is channeling Vanilla Ice. The hair, the clothes, the fake angst; it’s all there. And you’re right: God help us all in the wake of THAT second coming!

      Like your Dad, I love firefighting. Because of our location on the Oregon Coast and at the crossroads of two major highways, there’s a lot of diversity in our department — ATV rescue, river and lake emergencies, car accidents, and a large population of retirees that give us plenty of CPR practice 🙂 I can totally understand you Mom’s point of view, though. Kudos to both your Mom and your Dad 🙂

      And as for all those awards? Well-earned from what I’ve read of your stuff. I have to really force myself to acknowledge them to anyone but the person who gave them to me, to which I am always truly grateful. I’m just not much of a horn tooter. It’s more comfortable for me to do it in a way that lets me make fun of myself.

      Plus I’m a jerk… 😉

  12. Pingback: Very Inspiring Blogger Award & Always Here if you Need me Award – I’d Like To Thank My odd/funny Life for That. | Reflections of a Single Girl

  13. Pingback: Monday Morning Make Me Laugh 16 | PaulBrodie.NET

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