Monday, June 07, 2004

My writing triumph

So I wrote this a year ago, but my sister thinks it is worth posting on here for anyones entertainment.

Boulder is a really strange place. For the last week I have been driving into work, and on the side of the road a man has been putting up a chicken wire fence. I thought, "My, that is strange. The side of this busy road has to be city property. I wonder what he thinks he is doing?" Yesterday I got the answer. Imagine my surprise at 7:15 am when I see a herd of goats penned up on the side of one of the busiest streets in Boulder. I guess here in this "earth friendly" city, they prefer to keep the weeds down by letting these goats roam next to cars going 50+ mph with only a chicken wire fence to stave off disaster. On the way home from work, I noted the excellent job the goats had done. Not a blade of grass could be seen. The once lush sides of the street were brown and dried up like the Oklahoma dust basin. On the way to work this morning, I again saw the goats hard at work a little farther down the street. The thing that got my attention was not the efficient way the goats controlled the overgrowth in the new area, but the ineptitude the city was showing in the area cleared out by the goats yesterday. They were sprinkling the dirt. Gone was any reason for the watering to occur; yet the sprinklers came up to do their duty. For those of you who don't know, every summer in Colorado is near drought season. It boggled my mind why they took the time to control the grass, and then water it again. Furthermore, are they not wasting the efforts of poor overworked goats by cultivating areas that the goats had previously demolished? How are these goats going to feel pride in their work if “upper management” constantly reverses it? Will they not see that their efforts are futile and give up? Am I projecting my own views about my job onto these animals? Things to think about.

Besides my philosophical musings about goats, and water conservation, things are going really well for me here in Colorado. Last night a bunch of friends and I were going to go Red Rocks Amphitheatre to see Lord of the Rings 2 on an outdoor, big screen. The whole place was sold out for a movie. I was floored. Some concerts don't even sell out this venue, but Lord of the Rings did. Instead, we went to dinner at La Mariposa (yes, for you Spanish speakers, there is a restaurant called this, and no, the waiters aren't fems). All five of us ordered the house special, a 20" long burrito. In my mind this didn't sound very big. I figured it would be long and skinny, churro-esque if you will. When it came out, my spirits sank. This log of Mexican joy was about 4" wide, and smothered in sauce, sour cream, and that lettuce. (Side note: why do they put that lettuce on Mexican food? If they are trying to pretend that the meal is in some way healthy they aren't fooling anybody) Looking down at my plate that was easily twice as long as my body is wide was intimidating to say the least. We all made jokes about the impossibility of finishing the monster. We even took bets about how far we could go. I set to the task of defeating this foe placed in front of me. It was slow going, but bite after bite my competitive spirit began to come forth. As I turned the half way point, I was a close second place behind my good friend Calvin. Everyone's money was on him for the win. As I hit the 2/3 mark I felt myself slow down and reassess the pros and cons of finishing this beast. I realized that the burrito was the embodiment of everything I had given up on in life: the dreams not achieved, the relationships not pursued, the physical feats not surmounted. My nerve was steeled. Everything was riding on this one plate of Mexican cooking. With five bites left on the plate I had been staring into for the past 45 minutes I felt victory immanent. I took a break from my intense concentration to look around at the others and their quests to dominate the meal. Calvin had given up with about 4 inches left on his plate. Ben, the lightweight, had about the same amount left. My only real competition was my friend Sarah. She had only about 8 mouthfuls remaining. As I lifted bite 5 to my mouth, the once delicious scent of shredded beef and refried beans wafted into my nostrils, causing me to involuntarily gag. Breathing deeply I took a step back from the situation, and tried again. I realized the only way I was going to get it all down was to act quickly and without thought, as so many important life decisions must be made. I took a deep breath, and finished my plate. Immediately I was filled with mixed emotions. Joy in conquering my demons, and nausea at having consumed at lease twice the amount of food any human body should hold. Sweet victory, accompanied by overwhelming pain. I have three lessons from this amazing night of self discovery: (1) A mans reach should exceed his grasp, (2) Mexican food should not be used for self validation, and (3) although it seems like a good idea at the time, eating competitions should be left to those with no job the next morning (I still feel like barfing).

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