Three Things Worth Dumpster Diving

Over the past week I have done a bit of dumpster diving.1 You can judge me outright for sticking my hand into other peoples garbage, or you can withhold judgment just long enough to see what cool stuff I got.2

1. A Free Chick-Fil-A Sandwich

Of my long list of unwholesome obsessions, Chick-Fil-A3 is near if not at the top. I could and probably will write an entire post about the irony of a gay guy loving Chick-Fil-A, but what is immediately important to know is that on every couple of receipts is printed an invitation to take an online survey. In return for giving feedback, you get a free chicken sandwich.4 For years I’ve gotten a free sandwich for every four or five meals I’ve had at Chick-Fil-A, but only recently have I stooped to a new low. You guessed it, two days ago I rifled through the Chick-Fil-A trashcan and found a receipt with a survey on it.5 Basically I now have unlimited free Chick-Fil-A sandwiches. And the dumpster diving doesn’t end there.

2. Four Mannequins

I pick up chicks. From the dumpster.

I pick up chicks. From the dumpster.

After Chick-Fil-A, I drove to the mall.6 After the mall, I drove past the dumpster outside the mall. Long story short, I saw a single mannequin breast7 sticking out of the dumpster, and five minutes later I drove away with four mannequins in my trunk. I looked online, and comparable mannequins are going for anywhere from $60 to $200. So basically I’m cool.

3. The Bohemian Lifestyle

Here we come to confession time: I only dumpster dove for two things, but the title “Two Things Worth Dumpster Diving” sounds horrible.8 So I forced myself to realize that I dumpster dive for another important reason: I don’t want to take myself too seriously. I want to be the kind of person who can, when necessary9 get his hands dirty.

On top of that, I have a free chicken sandwich and four mannequins. Do you? Didn’t think so. That being said, I’d love hear you comment about anything you’ve managed to get for free be it from a yard sale or a landfill.

1Primarily for my dignity.
2Because who doesn’t like cool stuff?
3An surprisingly good fast food restaurant, for those of you who are unfamiliar.
4No purchase necessary
5Is that legal? Someone on the internet told me it was…
6After all I am a cliché American teenager.
7That’s another word for boobs, right?
8Yes, I’m just making up a third, totally unreal item to complete the list.
9Or when totally unnecessary

Social Experiment: Killing Autocorrect

Let’s accept it, our chubby little human fingers were not evolutionarily engineered to tap out epic works of literature on our phones. That being said, autocorrect1 is a gift that gets us closer to passable English. Autocorrect gets heralded as the savior of humanity2 as it allows us all to pretend that we’re a bit smarter than we actually are.autocorrect-03

After that endorsement, my social experiment seems rather stupid. I plan on3 doing away with my phone’s autocorrect function. Time frame: Indefinite.

Why am I doing this? Mostly to pick up chicks.4 Beyond that, Neil Postman’s Technopoly has scared me into thinking I won’t be able to live without this artificial construct of the modern cellular telephone, and I just can’t stand for that.

In preparation I downloaded a dictionary app, listened to Weird Al’s “Word Crimes” seventeen times,5 and attempted to have a seance with the spirit of Noah Webster.6 I’ve asked some of my most textually active friends7 to monitor my spelling and grammar, so we’ll see how things go.

DISCLAIMER: If this seems petty and first-world centric, that’s because it is. Then again, that’s kind of the point.

1Or autocowreck, as is often the case.
2Or at least humanity’s ego.
3Actually it’s been 2 whole days and I’m going strong.
4Why does anyone engage in social experiments?
5Worth it.
6Dictionary guy. He didn’t show. Why am I not surprised?
7Good friends don’t question your textual orientation, even when you’re wrestling with your textuality. Just beware of TexTDs

My Mom is Trying to Fire Me

My mom left me an eviction notice.

When the last couple children leave home and ENS1 sets in, it seems parents try to make the moments last and end up showing their most caring side. My parents have five kids, and I’m the second to go, so they’re exhibiting no such behaviors.

It’s not like they’re trying to kick me out, though I woke up to this sign taped on my bathroom mirror, and it made me think they may be “letting me go.” It reads:

(people who shower, bathe, or go potty here)
Due to necessary downsizing, there will no longer be a dirty laundry hamper in this bathroom.
—content left out for brevity—
The Management

Lessons learned:

  • There is no longer a hamper in the kids bathroom
  • I am leaving for college
  • My family is calling this “downsizing”
  • Mom is now going by the name “The Management”

I told her I was going to boycott by holding it2 indefinitely, and she told me that adult diapers were on sale at Walmart.4 We have this unspoken agreement: I laugh at her stupid jokes and she laughs at mine.

1Empty Nest Syndrome: characterized by over-protection, excessive love, substantial sappiness, and bribery.
2Euphemism for “not peeing” and “not pooping” all second graders laugh now. 3
3Who am I kidding, the word poop is hilarious.
4I checked, they weren’t.

Buttered Cats and Homophobic Mormons

Buttered toast always lands buttered side down; cats always land on their feet. What would happen if you attached a buttered piece of toast to the back of a cat and tossed it over the side of a tall building?1 Does the cat land on its feet, or does the toast land buttered side down?

Artistic Rendering of the Buttered Cat Scenario

Artistic Rendering of the Buttered Cat Scenario

This is a case of the Buttered Cat paradox; two equally applicable yet logically incompatible laws are put at odds. The same is true when a Mormon is confronted with an openly gay person.

Law #1: Mormons are excruciatingly nice to everyone.

Law #2: Mormons shun sin, including but not limited to murder, drugs, alcohol, coffee, the word butt, the internet, and homosexuality.

Mormons, by universal law, have to be kind to people, yet they’re not allowed to associate with sin.2 What happens, then, when a person is the sin?3 I’m learning more and more about this,4 but by and large I see my LDS friends and family simply not address it. There may be some “hate the sin, not the sinner” and a little double-think,5 and then of course my favorite, “pray the gay away,” but the overwhelming reaction is nothing.

The church itself has an official standing on same sex attraction, but most everyday Mormons just don’t want to address the topic. I’ve gotten a “that’s gross” from one of my Mormon friends, and a couple people have asked “when did you decide to be gay?” but mostly they say nothing.

People are going to disagree on things, but there’s a difference between having an open discussion, and resolving to avoid an entire demographic of people. Gay people are not going to disappear, it’s not a phase, and the age of ignorance is coming to an end, so at some point every homophobic person of every denomination is going to have to talk about it.

1The world is rid of a disgusting beast.
2Obviously this is a major generalization used for emphasis. I’m not trying to say that all Mormons are identical or can be fit into tidy little demographics. I, after a fashion, would consider myself Mormon, and I’m just writing from personal experience.
3 For example, say, me.
4 Anecdotes to follow.
5 George Orwell 1984

Not Ours to Change

I went through bouts of indecision on this, but I finally settled with a name I lifted from the LDS sponsored website “Mormons and Gays.” The original context is “God’s law is not ours to change” referring to the church’s “unchanging” stance on gay marriage. The part that gets me is that the LDS church has an ideological out if it ever does okay gay marriage; this out has been used before. Since the church is led by a prophet who has the power to receive revelation—think Moses on Mount Sinai—things can change at the drop of a hat.

Upon its inception the church practiced polygamy, excluded blacks from the priesthood, and had this cool socioeconomic commune thing going. In 1890 the current prophet received revelation that polygamy was out.1 In 1978 there was a revelation that black people could now hold the priesthood. The “law of consecration”2 never officially ended, but it’s not currently practiced… people like owning stuff too much I guess.

Sorry for the history lesson, but it explains part of why I like the title “Not Ours to Change.” Whether it was because God eventually became okay with other races holding the priesthood, or because many wealthy Brazilians donated money to the church in 1975, things—even those once thought to be unchangeable—do change.

The other part of why I like the title is pretty straight forward.3 It’s almost universally accepted that people can’t change their own sexual orientation, yet there is a wide consensus among Mormons4 that people who experience “same-sex attraction” should be working to change themselves. And, well, yeah, I don’t think it’s mine to change.

1Though it should be noted polygamy continued through 1904.

2The Law of Consecration: Give everything you own to the church, and the church will divvy it up more fairly. Also: Karl Marx is a plagiarist.

3Why do I love being gay? Because now every time I use the word “straight” in a nonsexual context it becomes a pun.

4At least the Mormons I know.

I’m Gay, I’m Going to BYU, and I’m Not a Masochist

Whenever I tell someone I’m going to BYU,1 I always get that why-the-hell-are-you-going-there-that’s-a-bad-place look. And I suppose it really doesn’t make any sense unexplained, so here’s my justification.

I’ve more or less always known I was gay, and my parents aren’t idiots, but they are Mormon, and they are hopeful. Yes, they love me, but they also think I’m destroying myself spiritually by being who I am. Needless to say, they’ve always wanted me to go to BYU. And truth be told, BYU, by most standards, is a good school.

BYU tuition for LDS students is $2,500 per semester. In case you’ve been living under a rock in Canada, $2,500 per semester is considered to be hella cheap. My parents promised that if I got accepted to BYU, they could cover everything, and I could go to college for free. At first I thought, that’s a pretty generous offer, but then I was like, how many years has it been since BYU stopped using electroshock on gays to ‘cure’ them?

I’m not really looking to be “cured,” and I have a general policy of keeping sources of high voltage away from my genitals.2

Meanwhile, my dad, sensing my growing sexual tension—I hadn’t formally come out to him yet—sweetened the proverbial Mormon pot.4 My dad told me that if I got a scholarship to BYU, he would pay for all my expenses at college, and he would give me half of the scholarship amount in cash. This is how desperate my parents were for me to go to BYU; they were literally willing to pay me5 to go.

Admission decisions rolled around, and I ended up alone on the dance floor with BYU. They offered me a half tuition scholarship. All I had to do was navigate the sea homophobia that is BYU.6

In retrospect, I should’ve applied to more schools. There were definitely other places I could’ve gone for free, and I probably gave my parents too much weight in the application process.

But hey, five years ago you could have been expelled from BYU just for coming out of the closet. Now you can only get expelled if you do anything besides coming out of the closet. No sex, kissing, dating, hand-holding, hugging, or meaningful looks for the next four years…

Anyway, comment, shoot me an email, send me a carrier pigeon, or brush up on your telepathy, because I need some external human contact. I can answer all your deep burning Mormon questions, or send you a killer recipe for Nutella toffee.


1 BYU is an LDS (or Mormon) college in Utah, rated 5th most homophobic in the world.
2 I’m not judging if you do like voltage on you genitals, we all have our kinks.
4 Lol, Mormons can’t do pot; Mormons can’t do anything.
5 So yes, I am a collegiate prostitute.
6 And electroshock therapy.