Author: Brandon Kauffman (Page 1 of 2)

Garbage Day

by Brandon Kauffman

Trash

I’m taking it out
I’ve left it at the curb
The plastic cans are full
Rich in things I can go without
I hope the animals won’t disturb
The scraps of what I’ve left behind
Or pick at those that I once held close
The disgusting filth I formerly found superb
Folks walk by on their ways to work and school
They don’t know what’s hidden just a few feet away
It’ll all be gone tomorrow when that big truck comes
It will all be taken away – each and every bagful

Photo by Paul Sableman on Flickr

Remembering B.E. Taylor

This past Sunday, the musical world lost a legend that, I believe, many didn’t know existed. B.E. Taylor, of “Vitamin L” and, more importantly for me, Christmas music and tour fame, passed away on August 7, 2016 due to complications from a brain tumor.

William Edward (or “Billy Eddy”) Taylor was a singer-songwriter who was born in Aliquippa, PA, just a stone’s throw from where I grew up, and was one of my favorite artists of all time. He was an inspiration as a musician and as a person. He loved his fellow man and loved to entertain. More importantly, he was a devoted follower of Christ and was never afraid to make it known.

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Little Miss Muffet

There’s one thing you have to understand about me: I’ve always been pretty tough. I don’t like to admit when I’m scared nor do I readily admit defeat. Okay, so that’s technically more than one thing, but go with it.

I moved into my current apartment during the last week of September 2015. I was excited to start a new chapter in my life (man, that sounds just as cliche as I thought it might). Unbeknownst to me, I was in for one doozy of a time.

I moved in on a Sunday. I didn’t really have much. A loveseat. A bed. A TV. Wifi. A shower curtain. Pretty much all the necessities. But, the worst part of moving in on a Sunday was that I had to go to work on Monday. There was no chance to do a whole lot or get stuff situated. Everything felt disjointed.

I awoke the next morning as excited as anyone who wakes up in an unfamiliar place. It took me a second to gain the acceptance of where I was. I stumbled out of my bedroom and into the living room, then I made the right into the minuscule water closet just off the living room.

This would be my first use of the shower at this apartment, so I didn’t really know what to expect. Some showers are awesome, others not so much. A shower is my favorite part of the day. No lie, if the hot water tank would hold out, I’d be in there for hours. Water is also included as part of my rent, meaning I don’t have to see the water bill. So, there’s that.

Anyhow. I flipped on the overhead light and pulled back the new brown shower curtain and liner from front to back. I looked down at the new anti-microbial, anti-slip mat that, only a half day ago, I had suction-cupped to the recently cleaned tub floor and “Gah!” (That’s the exact sound I made, just fyi).

At the back of the tub, where my sleepy, and late for work, feet should have already been, was a ginormous spider. I’m sure it wasn’t as big as my brain remembers it being, but it was large. I’ve heard people refer to such arachnids as a wolf spider. Disclaimer: I don’t know if that’s really what they are or not. Regardless, if that doesn’t spark an image in your mind, imagine a spider that has a really big butt and an itty bitty body. Teenage Brandon would have described it in the words of his favorite rapper Nelly: “She got mo’ back than she got body, Eh!”

If even those descriptions don’t help, Google it. The internet is a wonderful thing. Actually, don’t do that. I just did, and now I won’t be able to sleep for a few hours. Sorry if you actually listened to my instructions. Now, back to the story.

We stared at each other for a second or two, him, to adjust to the sudden light shining down on him and me, to try to get my heart and lungs functioning in all normalcy again. Once those couple seconds passed, I reacted almost immediately. I spun around and rolled off a long series of toilet tissue squares. Charmin Ultra. Strong, yet soft. I judge people based on the toilet paper they buy.

I hovered the quilted pile over my spidey nemesis, anticipating it to scurry at any moment, but it just sat there as if he knew the inevitable was coming. The TP trap descended slowly and I was able to partially smash him and scoop him into the toilet bowl and send him on his last ride accompanied by his personal ferryman named Charmin. (Charon/Charmin. Get it? The underworld ferryman? Greek mythology… Nevermind.)

“That was it,” I told myself. No biggie. The apartment had been empty for a couple weeks prior to me moving in, so I figured that things like this could potentially happen. When there’s no human activity in a place for a while, non-human creatures can try to take over. I mentally prepared myself that this could happen again in the future.

And it has. And I’ve managed to not freak out and “Yah Mo Burn” this little yellow duplex to the ground. I just always check the shower AFTER pulling back the curtain and BEFORE stepping over the threshold into the warm, soothing stream.

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Working in the seasonal business that is the swimming pool industry, it is understandable that there should be a slow season. Like, really slow. Because of this, Burnett Pools closes on Sunday and Tuesday during the time period of October through April. This past Tuesday was our last one that found us closed for the season. It also turned out to be Election Day in PA.

As I was getting ready to travel the mile down the road to do my civic duty, I jumped in the shower after eating some Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Pop-Tarts. I was just about finished getting all squeaky clean when I turned around to wash the excess shampoo off of my back and looked down and, through my bleary water filled eyes, I saw a little black mass with a big butt and a small body scurry towards me from the back of the tub.

Now mind you, I had been in the shower for about ten or so minutes. That meant that this little dude had been in here with me for that period. I didn’t hesitate this time. I was out of that shower faster than you can say, “Ahhh Gahh.. Nnngghh!” I know that because I finished that sentence as I stubbed my toe on the terra cotta brown bar table in my living room.

I’m not sure how I got through the shower curtain as quickly as I did, because when I turned around the curtain was barely moved to one side. It was easy to get into the living room because the bathroom door was already open, because what person who lives by themselves actually closes the door when they’re in the bathroom? Show of hands? Seriously, if your hand isn’t up right now, you’re the weird one. Ask around.

I turned around and decided that I was going to be that brave guy that I said I was at the beginning of this story. I went back into that bathroom, grabbed a large chunk of Charmin and prepared to face my fear. I whipped back the curtain and looked at the place where big booty had been scampering toward and there was no sign of him. I turned toward the front of the tub and there he was.

I lifted the murder weapon and started to pounce…

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During my days of living on campus at Geneva, I roomed every year with my best friend and IC Editor in Chief, Seth. As he has discussed in prior posts, and if he doesn’t want me saying this he’ll just do his editor duty and take it out, Seth has Type I Diabetes. And if there is one thing you learn when you live with someone with Diabetes it’s that you will find blood glucose test strips everywhere. They will be in your clothes, in your bed, they stick to your feet… They are literally everywhere. 

The funny thing is this: Living with a Type I Diabetes patient is very similar to living with, or being, a guitarist. When you’re a guitarist you find guitar picks everywhere. In your clothes. In your bed.

And sometimes guitar picks stick to your feet. And sometimes when they stick to your feet you may not feel them. And then, when they stick to your feet and you don’t feel them, they can sometimes end up in your shower with you…

I guess the moral of the story is this: Don’t freak out over every spidery situation in life. Sometimes the big booty spider in your shower of life is just a dark brown celluloid medium thickness Fender guitar pick.

Take a Look At Your Selfie

PhoneShe was always on her phone.

She never went anywhere without it. She saw the world through that five and a half inch rectangular screen. Whether she was snappin’, tweeting, vining, gramming, or using any of the other various social network apps, she was always live and in the moment with her phone. She walked around the local Kmart with her father, nose pointed directly at the screen. She often walked right past people she knew because she was so distracted by that screen. People usually thought her to be rude.

She got the last laugh, though, because that little piece of metal and plastic got her famous. Vine famous, that is. She was funny. She was serious. People could relate to her. Young men admired her. Young girls wanted to be her. She left the town she grew up in for New York. Then, in a few short months, she left New York for Los Angeles. She lived there for months gaining more and more popularity.

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Only the Seasons Change

The sun will shine and the rain will fall
And the temperature outside may change
But I don’t care what the weatherman may say
Because our love will stay
And only the seasons change

The leaves will turn and they will fall
As the daylight loses ground to night
But no matter how long the day
I know our love will stay
And only the seasons change

The cold will bring its snow in squall
While the earth cries out in groans
I’ll say bring on the skies of gray
For I know our love will stay
And only the seasons change

The rains return and cease the snowy drawl
And the birds’ songs start anew
But no matter how strong the flowers’ bouquet
I know our love will always stay
And only the seasons change

The sun still shines and the rain does fall
And the temperature outside has changed
I didn’t listen to the weatherman today
And kept believing that our love would stay
While only the seasons change

The ground has dried and the winds they gall
And the plants don’t grow and thrive
The birds have left, their songs flown away
And I see our love, it couldn’t stay
And left as the seasons change

I Need New Shoes

Shoes
The last pair of shoes I bought was in April of last year. They’re super comfy, too. They have memory foam bottoms that make me feel like I’m walking on little rubbery rainbows.  Or at least they did.

For the last month or two, they haven’t been as comfortable as I’d like. The upper that was once nice and white is a dull tan color. Those rubbery rainbows I mentioned in the last paragraph have turned instead to hard, uncomfortable cement blocks. They have been worn almost daily since the day of purchase, so it’s no shame for them. Let’s be honest, if three hundred(ish) pounds of pure sexiness walked on top of you for eight to twelve hours a day for months on end, you’d be a little worn out, too.

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Reduced

This is another older piece from my college days. I find it pretty entertaining and it is all true, mostly.

I decided the summer before sixth grade that I needed a change. I never had any money and that needed to change. My mother saw an ad for a paper carrier position in our local newspaper, The New Castle News, and she hung it on our refrigerator.  This was her way of telling me to call and set up an interview. This interview led to a job, which led to fame and glory – or at least cash in my pocket and a Carrier of the Year trophy in my room. But it also led to something that I will never, ever lose or forget: a huge scar on my right knee, and another one on my heart.

Just a few short months after starting my position as future Carrier of the Year, I began to deliver the paper to three buildings on the campus of Westminster College. The buildings were separated by three steps and a few thousand feet of rough, grey sidewalk. No big deal. That is, until the day the sidewalk sought revenge for the daily trampling I gave it.

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A Memoir From Cell Block C

Cell

This is an old piece of writing I did in college.  It was a colloquial writing piece that I liked and apparently so did my professor.  Just a little bit of change from my previous pieces.  Think about it and enjoy.

Whelp… I guess this is it. White-washed walls, a thin mattress, and a little hole that gives me a small piece of a hallway. No hope. No outside world. Just a hallway.

I did it for the money. That’s what the world is all about after all.

All about the money.

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Labels

Stupid.  Fat.  Stuck up.  Junior Highers.  Awkward.  Not fun.  Ugly.  Senior Highers.

Don’t look at me. I’m not saying these things. They are. And they’re saying these things when they describe themselves.3898591046_de92b6281f_o

This past weekend I had the honor of helping to lead 115 teenagers and adult staff in worship at the Free Methodist Pittsburgh Conference’s Winter Weekend 2016. God made some big things happen through little people and events. It was awesome.

On Saturday afternoon, the students had breakout sessions where they were able to meet in small groups and dig deeper into the theme of the week, “Custom Made,”  which was pulled from Colossians 3:9-11.

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When Grace Becomes Gauche

Photo by Daniel Ramirez

“Grace?  She died thirty years ago!”

If you’re not sure where that phrase comes from, set aside an evening during the 2016 Christmas Season.  You and I have plans. 1989’s National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is one of my favorite holiday movies, second only to A Garfield Christmas.

Why am I beginning this post with a quote from a movie that many consider to be, let’s say, unedifying? Because miraculously, Grace didn’t die thirty years ago. She’s still alive – barely.

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