FTM is a non-profit organization dedicated to proving the legitimacy of 1 Corinthians 1:27. We exist to entertain the masses while occasionally (and often accidentally) applying spiritual truths. We also seek to bring a fresh perspective on the Christian life in the hopes of edifying and enriching the lives of our readers. FTM has merged with S.O.S. Inc., an organization solely dedicated to the exaltation of Jesus Christ and the refutation of the lies of the enemy through the written word.
"Two chickens, because a chicken can't fertilize itself." - Saara, when asked "which came first, the chicken or the egg"
"Yup, it's a wrap!" - Bethany, after Ate Kristi said "masarap" [tasty in Tagalog]
"I have never in my life come into a house of God smelling this nasty." - Amy, during prayer meeting at PCAT
"Is that watermelon?" - Kendy, referring to a PAPAYA
"Come to our crusade as we wreck your car!!" - Unknown, yelled from the van after we accidentally smashed someone's rearview while doing the flier distribution the day of the crusade
"You have to tell Jesus what He has done for you." - Brother Alland getting a little tongue-tied during a sermon
"If we could stop crime, we would have a happy world where we could live together ever happily." -Brother Alland during street evangelism meeting
"Because these are crayons and those are markers." - Kendy's response to the questions of "Why are you separating the crayons from the markers?"
"Are you two sisters?" - Random person from the Philippines to Kimeka and Bethany in the mall [yes, that’s right. KIMEKA and BETHANY]
"There's nothing Jolly about it." - Bethany, referring to Jollibee chicken [Jollibee is the Filipino equivalent of McDonald’s]
*Kendy being confused at EVERY pre-trip meeting no matter what was said, even if it was something as simple as "bring a suitcase"
*Brother Alland snoring in the van on the way to Pila from the airport, and Bethany thinking it was the driver
*Nicole waking up at 2:38 AM and going outside to make them stop playing music at the most elaborate Sweet 16 party we've ever seen that was taking place in the hotel where we were staying
*The whole team’s confusion over whether the small yellow squares were cheese slices or butter
*Singing praise and worship @ the joint worship service and noticing an ENORMOUS PIG'S HEAD sitting on the table, staring at us
*Angela not wanting to have praise and worship rehearsal because she had to go take a shower... but she wasn't on the praise and worship team
*Bethany "saving Amy's life" in the van by reaching her arm across Amy when the van came to a "hard stop"
*Nicole getting bitten/stung by a dead crab
*Nicole and Amy smelling "barbeque" which turned out to be a huge pile of trash
*the brother at the prison being SO LOUD while Bro Alland was preaching and we were in the back room after the skit... he brought in a chair for us and loudly announced "CHAIR!!!!" as it echoed through the entire prison
*Kendy being a complete wuss during the rehearsals of the Everything Skit, and then literally putting claw marks in Amy's skin during the actual performances and literally throwing her Superman-style across the stage
*Kendy collapsing on TOP of Bethany at the end of the Everything Skit, and Bethany "rising from the dead" to move Kendy's arm off of her
*Kimeka always coming back from "doing her homework" right at the moment when all the work is finished
*Kimeka knocking on Niyah's door for AM devotions and Niyah staying asleep, then Kimeka coming back to knock again ten minutes later and Niyah pretending like she'd been up the whole time ("yeah, i'm just grabbing my shoes")
*Roosters crow at ALL HOURSE in the Philippines, not just in the morning
*Pastor Alland asking the NYC people to stand up and EVERYONE standing up cause Pastor Ed hadn't translated yet
*the first goat ever to get saved in the history of evangelism @ the street crusade - he came RIGHT up to the front of the stage the minute the invitation was given, bleating profusely
*one of our team members unknowingly making a sacrifice to an idol because he thought you were supposed to put money in it to pay for the candy he was buying... and then actually taking the money BACK when he found out what it really was
*KENDY - for being able to fall asleep anytime, anywhere; also for filling any gap of silence more than two second long with some kind of song
*NICOLE - for not retaliating after Kimeka strangled her for eating some of her halo-halo [Filipino dessert]
*BETHANY - for the most creative prayer on the trip, asking God to do "special stuff"
*NIYAH - for thinking that a sugar packet was ketchup
My apologies for not using proper capitalization – I do that a lot when I’m just journaling or writing random thoughts to an imaginary third party that didn’t originally intend to be published :-D.
June 1st, 2008
first of all, let’s talk about how i probably get a better workout during BT Kids worship than i do at the gym. goodness gracious. EVERY song has jumping for, like, 80% of the time - and the other 20% has hand motions. i'm certainly not complaining – the songs are amazing. although if part of it is an attempt to tire the kids out before the lesson... i don't think it's working :-\.
so we're singing "oh so real" and i always get a little bit excited when that song comes on cause it's just a good song and i always enjoy the inner chuckle i have with myself picturing james powell during the "jump to the front" section. james does not play with this song. dancing MUST be done full out. love it. and we get to the "he broke the chains and now i am set free" section of the song, and all of a sudden out of nowhere God just brings back to my memory chain after chain after chain that He's broken in my life. i've actually been worshiping God a lot lately as the Chain Breaker - which, although it is not an official "name of God" in all the names-of-God books and lists... it's certainly one of the "names" that i resonate most with.
which makes me think... i wonder if God had a good chuckle when Moses was like "so... um... what's your name?" i can just picture him chuckling and thinking "how in the WORLD am i going to explain the all-encompassingness (new word) of my name to this human?" I AM was actually a pretty sweet solution to this problem, although it still isn't even CLOSE to showing us the true depth of his "name"… but since we're bound by three dimensions and we use only 1% of our brain capacity i think maybe God had to simplify it a little bit. and even though this might not be theologically sound (or maybe it is), i like to think that God's name is not only "I AM" - as in "i am the essence of being"... but also "I AM..." with the dot-dot-dot. because God is so many things to us at different times in our lives - and it's not just that He possesses those attributes - He is the definition of those attributes! I AM love, I AM comforter, I AM daddy, I AM restorer, I AM chain breaker, I AM teacher, and the list goes on and on and on.
what was i talking about?
oh yeah, today at BT Kids. so God - in the time span that it took me to sing "...broke the chains and now i am set free..." - brought back a flipbook of memories in my mind of so many chains that he has cut off of me, each of which had a flood of memories attached to it. so i'm trying to process all of this in half a second's time, and then the chorus starts up:
oh oh oh oh
he is oh so real
i promise you, i almost burst into tears right there in front of all the kids... right in the middle of the three-claps. HE IS SO REAL!!! it just hit me in a completely new way... God really is real! really! real! i know it sounds like i've completely lost my mind, but it was the most amazing thing. i just wanted to start running around to every kid in that room (and every worker for that matter) and yell "don't you get it??? he's real!!! this is all real!!! God is real!!!" i thought about Job saying "my ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you," and i wondered if maybe he had the same experience... without the three-claps.
i think about so many of us who are true believers in Christ and have surrendered our lives to him... but yet deep down there's this little part of us that wonders "is this really real?" it's not a part that we talk about because we'd be afraid that people would doubt our salvation or WE'D doubt our salvation or that we'd feel like we insulted God or that we'd start re-evaluating our entire lives or ten million other reasons... but it's that little part that makes us question whenever a prayer isn't answered in the way that we wanted it to be answered or when we see pictures of children halfway across the world with their ribs sticking out of their bodies. it's that nagging little thought that - even though we've seen God move time after time after time and he's done countless miracles in our lives - refuses to go away and be silenced. today, mine was silenced. oh, i'm sure it will surface again somewhere along the road since i seem to have a short-term memory sometimes when it comes to the amazing things God has done... but i think that this moment today was enough to hold me for quite a long time.
i’m thinking right now about how i'm a completely different person than i was even just a few months ago. God has moved so dramatically and things in my life have changed so dramatically that i'm now being told by some that i'm too extreme in my pursuit of God and that i need to relax. and i understand - because i was one of those people who used to think and say that about others. but when God has moved in my heart in the way that he has... and it really becomes real to me that he is REAL and that he is ALIVE... nothing matters but pursuing him. God is speaking to me - he's showing me things - he's asking things of me... and it's real.
i know you’re thinking that it’s impossible for me to have thought all of this in an eight-bar phrase – and i’m sure some of it was fleshed out as i sat and thought about it later on – but it was just like a flood of memories all at once. sometimes i just sit and shake my head thinking about where i used to be and where God has brought me from.
i remember being in the stairwell of
three years after the stairwell on the 5th floor… here i am in the basement of
I know that most of you are chortling wildly at the immensity of that understatement, but I've recently realized that I take my own strangeness for granted. I think this is because more and more of my friends are simply getting used to the fact that I'm a few fries short of a Happy Meal – and because of that, I'm not constantly being reminded of it. Nana, my roommate since 2003, has been almost completely numbed to my insanity… to the point where, if she were to come home and find me standing in the kitchen mooing at the top of my lungs wearing tap shoes, she would simply nod at me on her way to the refrigerator.
This is, of course, an extreme case of desensitization that will probably only be cured by years of psychotherapy – but I'm definitely sensing this kind of trend amongst some of my other close friends as well. It's great, most of the time – as I don't have to answer such questions as, "What's wrong with you?" and "Do I need to call someone?" quite as frequently.
However, there's a down side to this phenomenon of desensitization – and that's the fact that I often fail to remember that there are those individuals out there who are COMPLETE STRANGERS to the realm of AmyLand. I was reminded of this lesson two weeks ago before the last Transitions meeting… which leads us to…
AMY'S GREAT ADVENTURES, EPISODE XXIII: My Kingdom For A Speakon Barrel
I had A Plan.
It was simple, really. I was going to leave work promptly at 5:00 pm, jump on the A train just two quick stops to Jay St/Borough Hall, run upstairs to the 5th floor of 163 Livingston Street to put my stuff down, take a solid 30 minutes to chill and relax, grab some grub and be ready for worship team rehearsal at 6:00 pm. Simple.
AmyLand Stranger: … okay, sounds good. So what happened next?
AmyLand Veteran: LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL.
The first part of The Plan went quite smoothly – I left work right at 5:00 and squeezed myself onto a downtown A train (motto: If You See Something, Then Obviously We Can Fit More People In This Subway Car). I was upstairs at 163 Livingston at around 5:20 and found some of the Transitions leaders already setting up. I happily greeted some of them, and then went over to chat with Dave about the worship songs. However, Dave was in Tech Mode.
Tech Mode (n.):
A frame of mind triggered by an inordinate amount of technology-related work to be done in a very small window of time. A person in this state will be unable to respond to requests, questions or statements (such as "Hi") that are outside of the technological arena, because his/her entire world is made up only of cords, cables and speakers.
editor's note: Anyone who does not understand technology should STEER CLEAR of an individual experiencing Tech Mode, both for his/her own safety and the safety of those around him/her.
Fortunately, having worked in theatrical productions for a number of years, I immediately recognized this syndrome and attempted to steer clear... as my technological IQ is just slightly below that of a doorknob. Because of this, I have a slight case of TechPhobia – so moving away from the situation was definitely the best course of action.
I remembered The Plan, and went to put down my belongings and go grab some food. On my way out, I heard a sound of exasperation coming from the closet, so I peeked my head around. Dave was standing there, cell phone in hand, looking very disgruntled. Before I knew what was happening, the words were out of my mouth:
"Are you okay? Do you need help?"
In case you ever find yourself in this situation, this is the WORST POSSIBLE QUESTION that a technological ninny such as myself can ask someone in Tech Mode. People who have made this mistake in the past have found themselves knee-deep in wires holding a set of completely incomprehensible instructions longer than the US Tax Code. I realized this immediately after asking the question, and briefly considered just turning tail and running before I heard the answer, but I stuck around long enough to hear the response:
"I need… *sigh*… I need a cable! I need to go to Sam Ash to get a cable. No, not Sam Ash. That one by Atlantic… uh, uh, uh… Guitar Center, yeah. Hey – do you drive? You drive. Can you go to Guitar Center for me to get a cable? *hands keys*"
It was at this point that I realized two things. First, I realized that Tech Mode is a very, very serious disease that should immediately and unquestionably be added to the DSM-IV. Second, I realized that poor Dave had absolutely NO IDEA about AmyLand. For those of you who are AGA veterans, you know that the very concept of handing your keys to me IN GENERAL is an invitation for Disaster to come to dinner – let alone asking me to go to a technology store to purchase a technological item that is very important to the success of a major event taking place less than an hour from that moment. However, I knew that this was important and that there wasn't anyone else available at that moment, so I agreed.
I quickly determined that the car idea was not the best course of action – since you'd have a better chance of winning the lottery than finding parking near Atlantic and Flatbush – so I decided to jump on the bus instead. I started getting my stuff together and then asked, "okay, so I just need to buy a cable, right?"
"Okay, so here's what you're gonna do. I'm gonna need an eighth inch to two XRL males, and actually, yeah, can you grab a speakon barrel as well?"
My eyes widened to the size of dinner plates. I had no idea what language had just been spoken to me, but it was most certainly not English. I immediately grabbed my cell phone and had that sentence dictated to me (including the spellings of all words, including "and" and "to"). I made Dave PROMISE me that the store employees would know what I was talking about if I blurted out the sentence that was stored in my phone, and that I would not have to answer any clarifying questions. He assured me that everything would be fine (AGA veterans are burying their heads in their hands). So off I went. As I left the church, I walked through the sanctuary where there was a men's health symposium taking place. I felt a bit weird, as the entire building was packed with men and I was just waltzing through, but I was on a Mission so I took it in stride.
I arrived at the Guitar Center after a short bus ride, and immediately proceeded to walk in the OUT door, causing a near-traffic jam to the amusement of the security guard standing by the entrance. Shaking it off, I re-checked my cell phone for the fourteenth time to ensure that my meticulous notes hadn't somehow vanished on the bus (again, AGA veterans are nodding their heads). I proceeded to the counter and was greeted by a friendly customer service representative named Josh. Josh calmly asked if he could help me, and I immediately blurted out something to the effect of "I-DON'T-KNOW-WHAT-I-NEED-BUT-
All hope was lost. I hadn't the slightest idea what these things were or how to answer his question. I was just about to pick up the phone and call Dave in absolute panic, when another Guitar Center employee walked by (Jeff) and noticed the scene. He immediately recognized the sentence typed out on the phone and told me to follow him. It was then that I realized that I had just asked someone for an audio cable in the Guitar section *sigh*. We moved over to the audio section and Jeff expertly deciphered the hieroglyphics of "eighth-inch cable split to two XLR males." Within minutes, I had the desired product in-hand and I was feeling pretty good about myself. Then Jeff noticed the speakon barrel, and gave me a near heart-attack by saying that he wasn't sure that they had that in stock – but was finally able to locate it.
At this point, my spirits began to rise. It was actually possible that I was going to be able to achieve the mission for which I was sent forth with only a minimal amount of chaos. I paid for the products and cheerfully waved to the security guard as I unintentionally exited through the IN door (yes, I'm serious). I walked off to the sound of intense chuckling and jumped on the bus to go back to the church.
Remember the Squawking Sisters from "Subway Pregnancy" (AGA Episode XVI)? For those who aren't aware, the Squawking Sisters were a pair of elderly Chinese women who were having a conversation in Mandarin on the subway, speaking at the speed of sound and using the highest-pitched tones that human ears could possibly hear. Well, I think that they might possibly have met their match. Squawking Sisters, meet Cussout Chicks. As soon as I boarded the bus, I noticed them. They were two women, sitting near the middle of the bus, having an extremely animated discussion about something or someone. But, once again, they were practically screeching and every fifth word was a curse. I think cursing is absolutely vile and it completely rubs me the wrong way whenever I hear it, so I'm trying with EVERYTHING IN ME not to get Highly Upset. The Chicks continued their diatribe and I continued breathing deeply until we reached the church. I practically dove out of the bus, feeling like I needed to immediately scrub my soul with a Brillo pad and just simply irritated that I had to endure that mess for the ten-minute bus ride.
However, I was ELATED to have successfully fulfilled my mission, and confidently strode back into the church… ONCE again walking through the men's health symposium *sigh*. On my way up in the elevator, I started to get a bit nervous. "What if it's the wrong item?," I thought. I reassured myself that the Guitar Center employees were extremely knowledgeable and that Dave's directions were very clear. I told myself that I was just flustered from the Cussout Chicks and from twice crashing the men's health symposium, and that my task was complete.
Or so I thought.
I got back to the 5th floor and went right up to Dave, who greeted me with gratitude. We opened up the bag and then I saw The Look.
The Look said quite a number of things, all in about .67 nanoseconds, but the basic gist was that this was NOT the correct item and our time crunch was now extremely serious. I was absolutely crestfallen. Dave was very kind, of course, and calmly explained to me that I had purchased a speakon barrel that had a sasjdasjdasd on one end, instead of a jdaasdh2asd. No, he actually used some kind of technological terms, but I hadn't the slightest idea what he was saying. I listened, nodded, even repeated back what was said to me, but all I could think of was "YOU HAVE TO DO ALL OF THAT ALL OVER AGAIN." I could tell that Dave was torn between his need for this item and his not wanting to send me back out again… but Tech Mode won out, and off I went once again.
I'll be honest… at this point, I was Not Happy. I was Not Happy at the Guitar Center employees, I was Not Happy at the Cussout Chicks, and I was Not Happy at the fact that I had chosen to wear boots on that day, of all days, and my feet were beginning to scream at me. And that's when the giant bulletin board attacked me.
See, I had made the egregious mistake of walking out the normal double-door exit from the 5th floor. I had CLEARLY SEEN that the bulletin board was propped up against those double doors from the outside when I came back into the room. In fact, it didn't even cross my mind that something might be amiss when I tried to exit through the double doors and was met with some resistant. I remembered actually saying, "What is WRONG with these DOORS?" and pushing with all my might. I finally managed to swing the doors open with a shove, and the first thing I saw was the bulletin board start to tumble while Nicole's voice in the background was saying "Don't go that waaaaaaaaaay….."
Desperately trying to save the bulletin board, I did what any other single-brain-celled individual would have done in that situation – I stood there completely motionless and screamed. And as I did so, the bulletin board fell in such a way that the bottom of the bulletin board tilted upward, scraping the entire front of my right calf. Of course, my scream alerted everyone in the outer room to come running and watch me standing there like a stump as the bulletin board ravaged my leg. People were trying to express sympathy (and others were trying to restore the bulletin board), but I was Done. Now I was hobbling from the scrape AND from the pain in my feet from the boots. All I wanted to do was get to the store and get back as quickly as possible. Of course, to do that, where did I need to go? Back through the men's health symposium.
Incidentally, it was this bus ride back to Guitar Center when I decided to vent through Facebook, and threw up a status message that said, "Amy is EXTREMELY displeased with a speakon barrel and a 1/8 inch cable split to 2 XLR males." To which Ricardo helpfully replied, "Try 1/8 inch to (2) RCA, into 1/4 inch adapters, into (2) DI's then XLR to XLR while lifting the ground." I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. I think I did both.
When I got back to the store, the security guard absolutely roared with laughter. He didn't even ask for explanation – I think he just intuitively knew about AmyLand and was just enjoying the experience. I found Jeff and explained the problem using the terms that Dave had explained to me and he understood immediately. "Ohhhhh," he said. "You want THAT kind of speakon barrel. Yeah, we definitely don't have that."
That would have been an AMAZING time for the rapture.
But, no, that was not the moment preordained for Christ's return – so I had to deal with what was in front of me. I begged Jeff to tell me where else I could get this thing, and he pointed me across the street to a store called ProLine. I hobbled across the street, praying what were probably completely incomprehensible prayers without the translating power of the Holy Spirit ("Lord, would you PLEASE let them have the thing with the two things instead of the one thing," etc.). I walked in and almost laughed – this store was the complete opposite of the Guitar Center. The Guitar Center was well-lit and spacious with clearly defined sections. This place looked like someone's garage. It was just this giant jumble of stuff and I was almost certain that SOME kind of illegal activity was probably taking place in a back room somewhere. However, I had no other options but to ask the guy at the counter.
Wouldn't you know it that this guy goes into one of the back rooms and comes out with the exact right item? No bag. No price tag. No label. For all I know, he could have dug it out of his couch cushions. I didn't care. I paid for the item and jumped back on the bus. This time, *I* was the crazy person that other people are probably blogging about right now. I took that infernal item in my hand and I monologued to it for most of the way back to the church ("GOD HELP YOU if you are not the item that I need… you had BETTER be the right one…") I arrived at the church and, for the fourth time, I crossed through the men's health symposium – and this time, people started turning to look. I briefly considered screaming out something like, "IT WAS THE WRONG SPEAKON BARREL, OKAY?!?!?!?!?," but really didn't want for Big Willie to have to escort me off of the premises.
By the time I got back upstairs, the entire worship team was on the stage and we were pretty much ready to start. I went up to Dave, and with my entire sanity and livelihood on the line, I held out the barrel for approval. The smile and nod said it all.
So I supposed all's well that ends well, but there are some DEFINITE lessons learned here. Flee to a neighboring continent when anything remotely connected to Tech Mode comes near. Do something beside remain motionless when a giant bulletin board is falling on you. Never wear boots to a Transitions meeting. And in regards to the AmyLand Desensitization problem… haven't quite figured that one out yet. Nana has always said that I should come with a manual. Perhaps a training course should be offered, or a mentoring program for those who are just starting to come in contact? Something to ponder. But until next time, we remain…
Foolish Things Ministries: Confounding Wisdom and Common Sense In a Neighborhood Near You!
Crabbs and Coat Hangers
After a two-and-a-half year hiatus, FTM is back! This AGA features a near-fiasco involving Jason Crabb, reggaeton, a near arrest and a good old-fashioned coat hanger. Welcome back!
Of Mice (and Roaches) and Men
This AGA episode features Stan the Roach and Norm & Babycakes the Mice (three unforgettable characters) and draws some conclusions about the origins of these type of creatures. Bonus feature: an interpretation of Adam and Eve’s first encounter with a roach.
A-Musings II: Gotta Go to God’s
A-Musings continues with some thoughts on spiritual gifts as well as FTM’s first short skit that puts a twist on a familiar passage of Scripture…
A-Musings I: Reject Demons and Ram Rights
The introduction to the A-Musings segment begins here with some discourse about “mailer-daemon,” as well as a plea for awareness and respect to an oft-forgotten Biblical character…
Putting My Best Foot Forward
Another favorite, this FTM features New Jersey – which should be enough said right there. This ironic tale features Min, directional miscues and a pair of shoes unlike any other…
The brief story of how FTM became famous through the unlikely agent of Pastor Brian Pettrey, as well as some tips and tricks about navigating through FTM.
A short AGA designed to introduce the reader to the types of things that AGAs entail – insanity and a shortage of common sense!...
If You’re New…
If you’re an FTM first-timer, check out this brief blog for a history of FTM before delving into the archives!
The Keys to Success
To this day, I still don’t know how on earth this happened. Car towage, key lockage and a host of other misfortunes await!...
Possibly my personal favorite AGA, this story involves a WHOLE lot of misfortune coupled with a lack of common sense and a small dose of healthy sarcasm. A full-fledged AGA that could ONLY happen to yours truly…
Find out what happens when you pray, “Lord, give me someone to share the gospel with today.” You just might end up in an unexpected situation, much to the amusement of your roommates…
Are You From… Where?
Although technically still an AGA, this is really a testimony and an exhortation to those who are a bit tentative about sharing the gospel – if you’ve ever felt nervous or intimidated by the idea of witnessing for the Lord, this one’s for you…
I’m NOT an Alcoholic…
This adventurette shows what happens when Amy decides to take a stand for her beliefs at the end of her New York City Teaching Fellows summer training… with hilarious and unintended results.
Under the Influence
This AGA episode features the first hints of SOS, Inc in the form of an actual testimony, combined with the hilarious hijinks involved in Amy’s first surgical experience…
Many famous AGA terms and characters (Double Black Diamond Neighborhood, Needle-Flick Nurse) come from this diverse episode that takes us from the streets of Crown Heights to a Manhattan doctor’s office and ends with an unforgettable subway experience…
Want to know what it’s like to be called pregnant on board a crowded Q train? Check out this episode – the damage control attempts alone are worth the read…
The Slam Heard Round The World
A personal favorite Adventure, this episode shows what happens when an attempt to avoid Car Door Shock goes drastically wrong in the parking lot of a Stop N Shop…
The original AGA episode! With alarming parallel’s to the 2008 Transitions Retreat, read about how an unsuspecting alto got decked in the face with a large wooden cross before a gospel concert…
I know I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again.
Please don’t EVER think that a lack of AGA postings somehow indicates a lack of AGA in general. To think that my loyal constituency would dare to even CONSIDER the possibility that I no longer get myself into bizarre situations simply breaks my heart. For example, just in the past MONTH I have managed to:
I think you get the idea.
However, I think there is one that absolutely takes the cake in terms of foolishness over the past few months, and I am pleased to bring it to you here. Ladies and gentleman, I present to you…. AMY’S GREAT ADVENTURES!!!
Amy's Great Adventures, Episode XXXI: Crabbs and Coat Hangers
It saddens me to pen this AGA episode, as one of its chief players has since passed on. She has been a beacon to the FTM community and has made appearances in just about every single Adventure. Things started looking grim over this past summer, and it just seemed like her time. After much prayer and counsel, I made the decision to let her go on to that great auto shop in the sky. Of course, there was also the fact that the Department of Motor Vehicles actually made it ILLEGAL for her to continue to occupy New York State roadways.
This AGA episode is hereby dedicated to Elmindreda, affectionately known as “Min,” the best 1997 Chevy Lumina that a girl could have ever wanted.
Rest in pieces, Min.
It was a bright sunny Saturday afternoon in mid-August as I cruised along Flatbush Avenue. Of course, by “cruised” I mean “stood still in the middle of traffic.” No one actually “cruises” on Flatbush Avenue unless they are traveling at 3:45 am or unless they are driving a dollar van (which, by definition, means that absolutely nothing can get in the way of cruisage – including traffic lights, other vehicles, police officers, pedestrians, etc.).
On this particular day, however, the fact that I was moving slower than mold didn’t bother me a bit. I was happily ensconced in my world of Steven Curtis Chapman, blasting “Magnificent Obsession” at full volume and having my own private jam session complete with steering wheel poundage and the occasional squeal of delight during a particularly effective key change. When the song finished, it randomly selected Jason Crabb’s “I’d Rather Have Jesus,” which almost caused an accident right then and there. This dude can sing his face off, and I have a particular affinity for his version of this song. Traffic finally came alive and I managed to turn off of Flatbush onto Pacific Street where parking spots were in abundance. I was Happy. Jason Crabb, no trouble with parking, no longer on Flatbush Avenue, fellowship to look forward to that evening… smooth sailing.
As those who have heard Jason’s Crabb’s “I’d Rather Have Jesus” are WELL aware, this is not a song that you just turn off midway through. So I put the car in park and blissfully belted my way through the rest of the song. When the song was over, I gently reached down to unplug my iPod (still in a state of worship) and accidentally hit the radio scan button. The radio scan, of course, immediately jumped to 92.7 FM – which, according to the website, is apparently New York’s Official Reggaeton Station. The volume was already cranked, so I was instantaneously blasted with a thousand decibels of unholiness. Couldn’t tell you what words they were actually saying, but I think I got the gist of what they were getting at, and it wasn’t “I’d rather have Jesus” to say the least.
Of course, this coming RIGHT after Jason’s soothing vocal was a bit jarring to say the least – I completely spazzed out and send the iPod flying as well as my cell phone. Once I managed to get the radio off, however, I realized the humor of the situation. “I’d rather…. have Jesus… than aaaaaaanything… this world… affords… BUM BAH-PAH BUM BAH BUM BAH-PAH BUM BAH.” Still chuckling, I started to check the car to make sure that I had collected the flying items. Cell phone, check. iPod and cable, check. I started to get out of the car and was about to shut the door when I immediately stopped – the windows! WHEW, praise the Lord. I had left all of the windows wide open and all of the doors unlocked – on Pacific Street! I might as well have put up a sign inviting someone to steal my car. I put my bags down next to the car, and then climbed back into the car and methodically locked each door and shut each window one by one, leaving only a small crack open so that I wouldn’t have to endure volcanic heat when I came back to the car in a couple of hours. For those of you who are thinking why I had to do this for each individual door/window rather than just push a button… you obviously have never met my car.
Still chuckling over the Jason Crabb/reggaeton episode, I climbed out of the car one more time, shut the door and started to gather my bags. It was around this time that I started to hear this low rumbling sound, but didn’t really think too much of it as I was trying to figure out the best way to carry all of my bags back to the house. I finally got myself adjusted and swung my purse over my shoulder… and then I noticed an ABSENCE of sound. I didn’t hear my keys jingling.
Being that I lock my keys in my car on a weekly basis, I decided to buy one of those metallic boxes that you stick underneath the car in order to hold a spare car door key. “No problem,” I thought. “I’ll just get the key from underneath the car.” I bent down to get the box from underneath the car and I started to hear that rumbling sound a little stronger. It was then that I realized that I had locked my keys in the car… with the car still RUNNING.
How on EARTH did I manage to do that? Well, it’s really Jason Crabb’s fault. I never park the car without turning off the car – but I had to in this case because I needed the car to run to keep the music going. Then I got completely distracted by the unholiness blasting at me through the radio, the collection of splayed items, the doors and windows… somehow the actual turning off of the car and removal of keys didn’t quite make it on the list. Plus, it was right near Flatbush Avenue so the sound of the car running was completely drowned out by the sound of car horns.
Now I’m really laughing, and starting to praise Jesus for the little metallic box. Could you IMAGINE if I had locked my keys in my car with the car running and had no way to get in the car? Oh, man. What a DISASTER that would be!
I went back under the car to get the little metallic box and was having a bit of trouble locating it. I checked the front, back, front again… nothing. And then I screamed, out loud, on Pacific Street.
Todd had the little metallic box.
Why did Todd have the little metallic box? Because the weekend before, I had gone to Denver and had left Min’s spare keys with Todd. Incidentally, just in case you need further proof that AGAs are happening constantly – I actually went to Denver WITH the spare keys, meaning that the car was parked in Sunset Park with no way to move it (which is towing just WAITING to happen)… which meant that I had to actually overnight the keys back to Brooklyn. And, if you’d like to complete this lovely circle of vehicular nightmaredom, the PREVIOUS time I was in Denver, my car actually did get towed because someone who shall remain nameless parked her in front of someone’s driveway.
Getting back to Pacific Street, I now have to call Todd to ask him to bring the keys over so that I can get into my car. I can’t leave the car because it’s RUNNING and anyone willing to break a window would be able to happily drive away. I actually considered just waiting for the car to run out of gas… before I realized that I had JUST gotten gas on the way home. If you haven’t yet read “Amy’s Law” in the archived episode, “The Keys To Success,” you can probably at least infer what it entails.
So a quick phone call to Todd was in order – but I didn’t even get to the second ring before I let out my second outraged shriek in the middle of Pacific Street. I knew where Todd was, and it wasn’t in Brooklyn. It wasn’t in Manhattan. It was in UPSTATE NEW YORK.
At that point, I just called Nana. Nana is extremely helpful in AGA situations, having been a veteran recipient of many calls explaining what inane situation I’ve managed to climb into THIS time. Over time, Nana has developed a time-honored system that she employs whenever AGA strikes that consists of two simple, specific steps.
“Hi Nana. I’m outside, and I’ve locked my keys in my car and the car is running and I don’t have the spare because Todd has it and he’s upstate and Jason Crabb... hello?”
At this point, desperation had sunk in. I considered just breaking the window, but at that point there was no WAY that I could afford a replacement – and with my luck, a cop would be turning the corner and immediately arrest me as a suspected car thief (AGA veterans are nodding their heads in agreement). I told Nana to come down and to bring a wire clothes hanger. I’d like to take this moment to point out the fact that when I got out of the car the first time, ALL FOUR DOORS WERE UNLOCKED and ALL FOUR WINDOWS WERE OPENED. If I had realized that I didn’t have the keys just 60 seconds earlier, I would have been completely fine. But nooooo, I had to take the time to meticulously lock each and every door and roll up each and every window… and THEN notice the problem.
Nana came down, turned the corner, and immediately burst out laughing to the point where she actually had to stop walking and bend over. Once she finally composed herself, we got things started with the coat hanger. I was a decent physics student, so I was carefully contemplating angles and leverage when another car drove past and parked right in front of mine. A large man got out of the car and walked right over to us to ask what we were doing. At this point, Nana is practically in convulsions. Visions of undercover cops were dancing in my head, so I quickly tried to explain what was going on and that I was NOT a criminal and I was NOT breaking into my car and would he like to see my license and registration??? The man was actually quite helpful and tried to have a go at the clothes hanger himself. Eventually he gave up and advised us to call the fire department. Apparently they can unlock cars… who knew.
I am so proud to be able to say that after about 20 minutes of mental and physical anguish and extreme mutilation of an innocent coat hanger… I managed to unlock my door. I seriously can’t think of a moment when I was prouder of myself. Graduating from NYU summa cum laude… MYP of the ECAC volleyball championships… nope. Prying open my car door with a jacked up coat hanger? That’s what’s up. For the third time that day, I let out a war cry on Pacific Street accompanied by a victory dance that probably will never again be equaled in terms of ferocity. Nana had to be physically scraped off of the sidewalk.
Moral of the story? Consider two metallic boxes holding spare keys to put under your car. Block 92.7 FM from your car’s radio scan. And above all else, never listen to Jason Crabb while operating heavy machinery.
Until next time, we are….
I do love my friends dearly, but there was some serious ball droppage here.
Regardless, there was a very obvious pattern of calculation in Norm's maneuvers from the very beginning. There was "Just Disgust" (appearing for the first time on TOP of our kitchen counter), "Element of Surprise" (sending two cronies to get caught in a glue trap and somehow sliding said trap so that it would be within inches of Amy's feet when she sat down at the computer) and, of course, "The Decoy" (allowing a compadre with similar coloring to get caught, making us think that the nightmare was over). "The Decoy" failed miserably however... Norm was a dark-skinned rodent, and his poorly chosen decoy was clearly mulatto.
Even though that particular tactic failed, the war waged on for weeks and caused irreperable psychological damage. I could just see Norm sitting at his Mac somewhere behind the walls of our living room, receiving updates from Personnel and checking his Human Distress Meter before a debriefing with the infantry.
See, this is just one more reason why I believe that there are some creatures that fall outside of God's original plan for the earth. Think about other creatures that might end up inside an apartment. Take flies, for example. What do they do when they find themselves indoors? Either head immediately for the nearest lamp and scald themselves to death, or attempt to fly out a closed window over and over again until they knock themselves unconscious (or are helped along by a flyswatter or, depending on the patience level of the homeowner, an unabridged dictionary). CLEARLY no intelligence is involved here. But roaches? Rodents? They bide their time... wait for the proper moment... and then strike. They must be receiving their orders from SOMEwhere.
Which is why I believe that, rather than having been created by God on the sixth day of creation like all of the nice creatures such as bunnies and panda bears... some creatures came about as a direct result of the fall of man. Seriously, can you imagine Adam and Eve fellowshipping with, say, a louse? No, no, no. It must have been that, just like death, certain things came about as a result of sin.
Adam: *crunching* Mmm, great idea, Eve. This apple tastes GREAT!
Eve: See, if you'd just LISTEN to me once in a while, you'd AAAAAAAAAAAEEEEEEEEE!!! WHAT IS THAT HIDEOUS THING???
Adam: Hey, I thought you liked it when I wore my hair this way.
Eve: Not YOU-- THAT!!! It's hideous! Whoa, and it's FAST! *jumps up on tree stump* KILL IT KILL IT KILL IT!
Adam: Sorry, the first murder of the Bible is reserved for our son.
Eve: What's the Bible?
I know, I know. It might be a bit theologically unsound. But come on, people... if any creature can embody sin, it would be a roach or a rat. Unfortunately for Adam and Eve, the Rat Zapper (www.ratzapper.com) was not invented until 1994. I'll spare you the details but let's just say that Norm's minions have returned to their maker... whoever it may be.
Or it could be that I live in New York City, whose official population would quadruple if roaches and rats were included in the census, and that I should stop whining and pray those rodents out of my apartment. Well, if THAT be true... then how do you explain THIS???
Amy's Great Adventurette XXXVII: Norm's Revenge
After a long day of helping Zakiya and Jeff move out of their apartment, I was trudging back up the stairs after bringing down another armful of goods to be loaded into the van. I stopped to chat with Z for a few minutes, making sure that all was well with the last bit of packing, and I even managed to avoid tripping over the doorway that had bested me seven other times that day. Feeling somewhat proud of myself for that small accomplishment, I grabbed a couple of garbage bags and started to make my way down the stairs... when I felt a strange sensation on my right foot. It felt like I was dragging something on my sneaker. Perhaps a stray paper towel, or a plastic bag? Right before I looked down, I remembered thinking "it almost feels.. sticky."
There, stuck firmly to my right sneaker... was a glue trap.
".... um .... Zakiya ....?"
Zakiya walked out of the kitchen, took one look at the situation at hand, and said, "This is N.G. Not Good."
No, seriously, Zakiya handled the situation extremely well and managed to come rather quickly to my aid, despite laughing uproariously. I would like to take this opportunity to commend CatchMaster, Inc. for the fine quality of their product, because it was nearly impossible to get that thing off of my shoe. After a great deal of straining and the strategic use of a paper towel, I was free. I tested a couple of steps and it felt like I had just stepped in gum. I smiled bravely and thanked Zakiya for her help as she threw out the offending trap and then made it almost to the refrigerator before succumbing to another bout of laughter.
It was funny, though, because as I started toward the steps again, it was my LEFT foot that started feeling sticky. I mean, I've heard of phantom pains but that's a little excessive. Just to make sure I wasn't losing my mind, I looked down at my other sneaker.
".... um.... Zakiya ....?
By this point, I thought that poor Zakiya was going to die. I don't know how she even made it back out to the hallway to help me scrape off YET ANOTHER glue trap. And, in case you haven't assumed this already, yes, these ARE the same sneakers that were featured in "Putting My Best Foot Forward."
Now tell me that this wasn't an OBVIOUS revenge attempt by the sin-spawned vermin whose comrades succumbed to my Rat Zapper. I'm sure that Norm enjoyed every moment as he watched via video conferencing before powering down his iBook for the evening.
Well, it's almost midnight, so I might as well go check on Stan. Babycakes, incidentally, was the name of the perp that came out of my closet that fateful evening. I knew that HE wasn't Norm because Babycakes was white and only half Norm's size. At least Norm is an equal opportunity employer.
Please don't misunderstand. The fact that I've posted A-Musings for two straight weeks does NOT mean that I haven't done anything foolhardy in two weeks. Au contraire (French for 'whatev'). In fact, here's just a smattering of oopses that I've accomplished since the shoe incident:
So don't worry. Things are just as they should be in Amyville. In fact, there was a perfect AGA incident that occured on Friday, but the circumstances must remain classified until next month.
So while you wait.... let's muse over some A-Musings.
My spiritual gift is E.
While you're chewing on that, I'll give a quick shout out to Nana, who has re-claimed her life after spending 25 hours per day studying for her MCAT... and also because she is the ONLY person who posted a comment after reading "Reject Demons and Ram Rights" *ahem ahem*. Also, just to keep you posted on previous events, I have since returned to the Jersey Gardens Mall and exchanged the two right shoes for a right and a left. The next day, I went out to play softball and forgot to change into my cleats, and got dirt in EVERY POSSIBLE CREVICE of those shoes.
But back to E. See, I have an uncanny yet unsurprising ability to fail tests that don't have right or wrong answers. It's incredible, really. For example, I took a test a few weeks ago to determine which careers I was best suited for. It was a simple test, asking questions about my likes and dislikes, values, personality type, etc. When I received my computerized results via email, I read a statement that basically said (in lots of technical jargon):
Scientifically speaking, you shouldn't be able to exist.
Well, that's about accurate. I've always said that I can singlehandedly disprove Darwin's Theory of Evolution by my mere existence. If survival of the fittest were true, I would SO not be around right now. However, I think they were more referring to the fact that my answers were seemingly contradictory and my personality type was undefinable... so they couldn't really give me results.
But don't think this is the first time that I've confounded a test of this nature. Some of you may remember the Spiritual Gifts inventory that Brian gave out at Transitions a while back. In case you weren't familiar, it was basically a questionnaire that helped to show you what some of your spiritual gifts might be and then gave some ministries that might be a good fit with a person of that particular gifting.
This was very exciting to me, as I had no clue what gift I might have. The gift of Foolishness wasn't listed, so I figured this might be an opportunity to branch out and fan into flame some of those other gifts that might be lying dormant. (I've now sat here for about 30 seconds, laughing hysterically at the word 'dormant.' I have no idea why.) I finished up the questions and then began adding up the numbers. The higher your number, the more you line up with that particular gift. If I remember correctly, which is unlikely, a score of 9 or higher indicated that you might be gifted in this area. When I finished, I sat scratching my head... because my paper looked something like this:
Gift 1: 5
Gift 2: 5
Gift 3: 5
Gift 4: 5
Gift 6: 5
Gift 7: 0
Gift 8: 5
Gift 9: 5
Gift 10: 5
Amazing. I rightly deduced that I probably should not pursue a career in Gift 7, but after that I was a bit stuck. I thought that maybe my computation was inaccurate or that I wasn't taking the test correctly, so I waited a couple of weeks and tried again-- same result.
Not a problem, people! I have since discovered that I have one of the cooler spiritual gifts out there. Remember when you took those evil tests in high school that had three multiple choice questions and then the choices 'all of the above' and 'none of the above'? Well, choice E was always 'none of the above.' It didn't mean "nothing," it just meant "not on this list of choices." That's my gift! E. I love it-- it's adaptable, interchangable and undefinable. And speaking of undefinable...
Who is Sam Hill? And why was he so important? Why do people say, 'What in the name of Sam Hill...?' What does that even mean?
Customer Service Representative: Welcome to God's, how can I help you?
Me: Oh, um, yes. Hi! Um, I need to return a gift.
CSR: ... I'm... sorry?
Me: I need to return a gift, please. It's malfunctioning.
CSR: Oh! I see. You're looking for Repairs. Down the hall, first door on your left.
Me: No, you don't understand. I don't want it fixed. I don't like it. I want to return it. It doesn't work, and it just brings me pain and frustration. It was obviously given to the wrong person, so if I could just give it back and be on my way, I would appreciate it.
CSR: .... Oh...... I see. *looks very confused* I'm sorry, it's just that... we don't accept returns.
Me: Oh. Okay, then I'll just exchange it. Any chance I could trade it for the ability to fly?? I've always wanted to do that. Or maybe omniscience, yeah, that'd be cool. But that one's probably for owners only, right? No matter. Just point me towards the Holy Spirit section and I'm sure I can find something in there.
CSR: I'm sorry, ma'am. We don't do exchanges either.
Me: Then what good are you?! Look, you don't seem to understand my situation. Other people have gifts, and they work. They use them, and people are blessed and God's kingdom is expanded. My gift isn't like that. It hurts me and it hurts other people. It controls me instead of me controlling it. It doesn't help anyone and it's not bringing any glory to God. I wouldn't call it a gift. I'd call it a thorn. A problem. A hindrance. I don't want it, and I'm sure that God doesn't want me to have it. If He did, then it would work and I wouldn't be here.
CSR: .... I understand, ma'am. I think there's someone here who might be able to help you. Would you mind waiting for a moment?
*I wait. After a few minutes, CSR returns with a man wearing a God's uniform.*
Me: Are you the manager? Great. Let me explain why I'm here, and--
Paul: I know why you're here. You'd like to exchange a gift, right?
Me: .... well, yes. How did you know that?
Paul: I used to come here for the exact same reason.
Paul: Really. In fact... I came three times.
Me: THREE times! That's perseverence. I'm hoping I only have to come this once. It's not like it's easy to get here, you know. That winding staircase is a killer. So, where did you go? Who did you have to talk to in order to give back your gift?
Paul: Well, that's just it. I talked to everyone. I came to Customer Service and they wouldn't listen. I was desperate, you know, so I made a big stink. I asked to see the manager, and then I asked to see HIS manager. I complained so much and I was so insistent that I finally got an audience with the Owner.
Me: *jaw drops* You did not.
Paul: I assure you, I did.
Me: WHOA!!! Well, that's GREAT! He must have been able to do something for you, right? I hear that He's the one who decides who gets which gifts in the first place. So.... you told him that He must have made a mistake... and you want Him to take it back!
Paul: I did.
Me: And?? What did He say?
Paul: "My strength is made perfect in your weakness."
Me: .... huh?
Paul: He said, "My strength is made perfect in your weakness." He told me that He had given me that gift for a purpose, and that part of that purpose was learning what it meant to be weak so that He could show Himself strong. See, Amy, if your gift was managable and if you could make it work, then you wouldn't need Him. You'd be able to make things happen on your own, and that would take away from the main reason why He gave you the gift in the first place... to glorify Him. I used to think that if I couldn't control something, or if something caused me pain, it was evil and that I could just ask and it would be taken away. Now I know better. Now I know that my thorn was an opportunity for Him to shine. Now I BOAST in my weaknesses, my thorns, and my 'malfunctioning' gifts. For when I am weak...
Me: .... He is made strong. Thanks, Paul.
CSR: Is there anything else I can help you with today, ma'am?
Me: .... yes, Ma'am. Do you have any Grace in stock?
CSR: Always. That product is a part of our In-Stock Guarantee program. Just stop by the Mercy Seat on your way out. It's waiting there for you.
CSR: And thank you for shopping at God's.